Friday, July 31, 2015


Sort of the theme song here at alicublog.

•   It's like Jonah Goldberg is actually trying to live down to the role in intellectual history I've assigned him.
Huckabee’s Hitler Comparison That Wasn’t
Huckabee, you'll recall, said that by negotiating a treaty with Iran Obama "will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven." OK, the generously-inclined might say, maybe this is just a bagatelle for Goldberg, like Mencken's In Defense of Women. (Sorry, I just suffered an eternity in Hell for comparing Goldberg to Mencken.) But Goldberg's method is, unlike the Master's, charmless and bucket-footed. He tries to warm up the crowd by sneering at the silly liberals who would take offense at such an innocent statement ("Clinton even said she was 'really offended personally,' as if her feelings are what really matters"). Then he pulls out the big gun (or, in the more appropriate Virgil Starkwell usage, gub):
Now, I’ve never been a big fan of Huckabee’s style of politics — or policy. But a remotely fair reading of the statement strongly suggests that Huckabee was comparing Obama to Neville Chamberlain or some other member of the “Hitler is a man we can do business with” school. That’s the point of calling Obama “naive” for trusting the Iranians — the Hitler in Huckabee’s analogy.
We all remember the newsreel footage of Chamberlain marching Jews -- well, more like escorting them, he was a polite fellow -- to the ovens at Dachau, and saying, "in you go, there's a good chap."
We can parse more deeply if we must.
Oh Jesus.
Hitler didn’t march Jews to the doors of the ovens, but into them. The Iranians are the ones with sinister intentions in Huckabee’s description, not Obama, who, again, is described as naive and feckless, not sinister and evil.
Revise the imagery: Chamberlain escorting the Ashkenazim to Berchtesgaden, and Hitler going, "Thanks, Neville!" and Chamberlain going "not at all," and shuffling away saying "remarkable fellow that Hitler."
Huckabee probably shouldn’t have used the word “march” because it muddies his point.
"March" was actually very much to Huckabee's point, which is the one Goldberg is strenuously missing.
“Delivered to” or “abandoned at” would have worked better.
This is a man too lazy to even access an online thesaurus.
I think, as a general rule, one should pretty much always avoid talking about Jews and ovens unless discussing the actual Holocaust. And one could argue that Huckabee, who insists he never compared Obama to Hitler, was cynically hoping to be misconstrued in order to get some media attention — which he got.
And this is where ten years of farting-Goldberg analogies pay off: This really is the equivalent of Goldberg, exhausted from several paragraphs of holding it in, finally unloading the inevitable and, while hoping  the sofa cushions will filter the evidence, trying the distract us with even worse reasoning:
But on the merits, Huckabee isn’t saying anything that lots of serious people haven’t said, albeit more eloquently. In countless speeches, Bibi Netanyahu...
We can stop there, as it's a sad scene and the room is filling up with stank, but connoisseurs will be pleased to learn that at the running-out-of-the-room-crying stage Goldberg actually says this:
George W. Bush was routinely compared to Hitler with a fraction of the outcry Huckabee has received.
Like the guy waiting at the barroom door says, it's always 9/11 somewhere.

•   Can there be any hed more glibertarian than this:
The Gay Marriage Case Against the Minimum Wage
From A. Barton Hinkle's copy:
True, at present all of this seems thoroughly academic. The likelihood that the U.S. will abandon minimum-wage laws anytime soon sounds almost preposterous. Then again, once upon a time so did the idea of gay marriage.
Deep in my heart/ I do believe/ You will work for scraps, someday. Yea, even unto the Middle Ages.

•   Speaking of which, David Weigel:
Rand Paul's politics are a constant source of debate on the libertarian right and left. Some think he's lurched too far toward military interventionism. Some think he's too close to the Republican establishment. but Paul's abortion views are less nettlesome than liberal observers of libertarianism seem to think. In April, ThinkProgress's Judd Legum wrote confidently that Paul was "not a libertarian"; his first evidence was that the senator "vehemently opposes abortion rights." This week, Little Green Footballs's Charles Johnson wrote that "Rand Paul likes to present himself as a civil libertarian, but his stance on reproductive rights is straight from the darkest, most regressive part of the Republican Party’s war on women."

The evidence for Paul's heresy is his sponsorship of legislation to define life as beginning at conception -- something liberals see as antithetical to "choice." Doctrinal libertarians don't necessarily agree.
I'll say. I give Weigel credit for  1.) getting Megan McArdle to embarrass herself more than usual, and 2.) patiently explaining to the punters what those of us who've been paying attention have known for years and years: Forced childbirth is not an issue that interests libertarians, because to them there is no freedom even remotely as important as the freedom of capital and of those who possess most of it to do whatever they want -- and those guys tend not to be child-bearing. They only tell the rubes that The Movement will protect them from revenooers* and court orders from their bitch ex-wives to keep it from looking too obvious. (*Damn it, now I got this song stuck in my head).

Thursday, July 30, 2015


The Republican Party is at present in (to echo the immortal words of Ken Russell) a weird, feeble state.  My heart goes out to them and in the ancient tradition I offer suggestions for their restoration:

1. To pre-empt the threat that belligerent oaf Donald Trump poses to the debates, forget about relying on the "serious" candidates to make him look ridiculous; just say to hell with decorum entirely and flood the stage with other joke candidates who will distract from him. Some possibilities:
The ensuing brawl will discharge tensions, purge bad blood, and leave the Party faithful ready and perhaps even eager for the more traditional meaningless yammer.

2. In the wake of the Planned Parenthood sting videos, your Party's presidential candidates should follow the lead of its intellectual class and beef up their anti-abortion cred by actually picketing clinics while carrying pictures of dismembered fetuses. Stirring speeches at press conferences won't achieve nearly as dramatic an effect on whatever voters you expect to influence as film of your candidate screaming "MURDERER!" at a terrified teenage girl. And imagine the footage when the storm-trooper clinic escorts mix it up with your candidate's security! Call up Joe Miller's and Rand Paul's old teammates for pointers.

3. The story line that Obama's treaty with Iran is shameful because it doesn't involve American prisoners held by their government should be dynamite, but it's not getting any mileage for a reason: Nobody knows the prisoners. But if one of your candidates should somehow get to Tehran and wind up in custody, think of the press, and the ensuing drumbeat for war -- "Remember [Your Name Here]!" Never mind the logistics, Bud MacFarlane has a package all worked out for you. Carly Fiorina would be a good choice, as the threatened-womanhood angle has always worked well in jingoistic propaganda; but really, any or all of the candidates could with profit be sent to Iran. (If they should balk at the idea, tell them they'll be greeted as liberators.)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Politico reports that Jon Stewart visited the White House twice in the Obama era. To you and me and other ordinary citizens, no big; but to the Washington Free Beacon it’s “Jon Stewart Secretly Visited Obama White House Two Times” — that’s two (2!) times, America! — a development “previously unreported in the media.” The story concludes: “Stewart has become infamous for his consistently negative portrayal of Republican lawmakers. He will appear in his final episode as host next Thursday.”

You may be wondering, why the ominous tone? Turns out it’s widespread among the winger brethren. “That’s the clown-nose-on, clown-nose-off issue again with Daily Show and its clones,” seethes Ed Morrissey at Hot Air, replicating a ten-year-old wingnut talking point; “they want to be taken seriously as cultural drivers and news disseminators, but don’t want the responsibility for disclosing their biases or their slants.”

One wonders: What “desire to be taken serious” or “responsibility” is Morrissey talking about? The responsibility to look glum and serious like Ben Shapiro? (If Chuck Todd decided to try and be funny, would he be more likely to increase his effectiveness, or to embarrass himself?)

“Secret visits, unprecedented access,” sputters Amy Miller at Legal Insurrection under the title “It’s Official: Jon Stewart is an Obama Shill.” “Comedy is an effective buffer against criticism,” Miller says, carefully sloshing the volatile essence of comedy between two beakers in the pale moonlight, “and now we know that there was a coordinated effort to control which Administration foibles got ha-has, and which were exposed for actual critique. It’s not a particularly shocking revelation, but it does serve as one more layer of slime covering the travesty that is the relationship between liberals and the media.” (You disgusting jokesters! I knew there was a reason why they made you sit at a table far from the paying customers!)

The Politico reporter “never questions the appropriateness of Obama’s private meetings with the liberal comedian,” gasps Newsbusters. "A DEMOCRATIC OPERATIVE, MASQUERADING AS A COMEDIAN... Potemkin Village? We’ve got a whole freakin’ Potemkin Culture," crypto-fascizes Ole Perfesser Instapundit (h/t @punditdotcom).

“While President Obama was leaving the money on the nightstand for the rest of the press… he was making waffles and fresh squeezed orange juice for Johnny in the morning,” says alleged comedian Steve Crowder. “…If you ever needed any more proof as to the corrupt relationship of not only the press, but the entertainment industry with the Democratic party… you’re welcome.” In a healthy democracy apparatchiks would encourage the people to laugh at Steve Crowder, not some commie oaf!

“Confirmed: Jon Stewart Was Obama’s Official White House Jester,” snarls Philip Wegmann at The Federalist. His lede is precious:
Molière, the 17th century French playwright, once observed that “comedy alone can correct the vices of men.” Too bad he never watched The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. It turns out that the Comedy Central funnyman was just another flak for the Obama administration.
Whereas Molière was always telling people what a treasonous bastard Louis XIV was. Surely you remember “La comédie de l'acte de naissance”? Wegmann closes,
Comedy probably won’t see another Stewart anytime soon. His comedic genius will be hard to match. But one can’t help but wonder, what if Stewart had really gone after everyone? How many laughs did he lose by telling canned-political jokes? How many vices went uncorrected?
Does it strike you as it does me that these people have never told a joke — I mean, never done so just for the pleasure of making their friends laugh? (Though they may have lab-tested some pieces of ordnance marked “humor” for their loathsome work of correcting vices or whatever, and stood sadly in their lab coats watching them fail, wondering why their creatures never came to life.)

This is sort of the essence of conservatives when they talk about culture. They show not the slightest awareness of the fundamental truth that comedy, like drama and film and music and everything else like it, is animated by something much deeper and more elemental that politics — though artists may become political themselves and be motivated to approach those subjects, particularly when the society they’re born into is as fucked up as ours. Art confuses conservatives, so they despise it, and treat it as some unfair advantage that liberals have. They don’t think artists tend to be liberal because liberal society gives human beings the breathing room to develop their talents — such a thing is impossible for them to grasp; they think it’s because ObamaHitler and his fellow Hitlers have found some community called “Artsilvania” or something where people are temperamentally just like conservatives except talented, and paid them a great deal of money to promote liberal lies (which, in the conservative imagination, they would do happily because money is more important than anything).

I’d feel sorry for them if they weren’t working so hard to destroy everything I love.

UPDATE. Angergrams keep coming in. "I’ve always viewed Stewart as Obama’s messenger boy and this pretty much confirms it," says American Spectator's Aaron Goldstein, whose usefulness in any capacity has never been demonstrated. And the New York Post's Kyle Smith calls Stewart a "partisan hack" who "allowed himself to be seduced by power. He sold out. He dined with those he should have been dining upon." Back in 2009, Smith was yelling at Will Ferrell for making fun of newly-evicted POTUS George W. Bush: "Is it too much to ask for Hollywood's leading comic actor not to use the deaths of our troops in combat for a giggle?" his subhed sputtered. Smith was talking about a bit where Ferrell's Bush interrupted a moment of silence for the war dead to take a phone call. This is an ancient gag (there's an especially funny variation involving Ralph Richardson in O Lucky Man! starting at 6:45 here) but Smith seemed never to have heard of it, and to be mortally offended:
The problem is, during what turned out to be merely a pause to set up the punchline, I actually was thinking about our war dead, and so were a lot of others. Left and right, we all believe, or supposedly do, in honoring the sacrifice of our servicemen and women. 
Here, Hollywood is letting its mask slip...

But is it too much to ask for our war dead to not be ridiculed by wealthy comedians? Maybe those who fly on private jets, live in closely policed communities with surveillance cameras covering every inch of their property and send their kids to private school don’t understand that there is such a thing as public security, and that it isn’t a joke...
Also, how about that bastard George Grosz, painting deformed World War I veterans so disrespectfully instead of promoting kinder, küche, and kirche like a good citizen?  That Smith's talking about anyone else's hackery is rich, but I'll say this for him: What he lacks in talent he makes up for in nerve.


Among the National Review new breed Kevin D. Williamson and Charles C.W. Cooke are pretty far out there, but don't sleep on David French, who despite lacking his colleagues' hipsterish affectations (peculiar hair balance, two middle initials) is more than a match for them twaddle-wise and seems to drift further from earth's orbit with each passing column. The title of his latest:
Are Encounters with the Police Really More Dangerous for Black Men?
If you guessed "Nah, son!" you've been paying attention. French starts with a story about how as a lad he himself was roughed up by the constabulary, but generously offers further evidence:
The results so far for 2015 show much higher numbers of police killings than previous FBI reports. They also, at first glance, seem to prove the #BlackLivesMatter thesis that police target black men. 
As of July 27, the Guardian claims, American police have killed 657 people in 2015. The large majority, 492, were armed. Some 316 victims were white, 172 black, and 96 Hispanic. (The rest were of other or unknown ethnicities.) Whites constitute a majority of the population, however, and police kill black Americans at a greater rate than whites — with 4.12 black victims per million versus 1.59 white victims per million. 
So case closed, right? Not so fast. Comparing police shootings by race with crime statistics by race tells an entirely different story: It may in fact be the case that white Americans are ever-so-slightly more likely than blacks to die in any given encounter with a police officer. After all, blacks commit homicide at eight times the combined white/Hispanic rate, and, despite their constituting roughly 13 percent of the population, represent a majority of homicide and robbery arrests. Indeed, the disproportionate share of arrests exists across all categories of violent crime — at a rate that often exceeds the racial difference in police shootings. Thus, blacks are seriously overrepresented in the most dangerous police encounters of all — encounters with violent suspects.
Go ahead, read it again. He really is saying it: That while in raw numbers blacks do get killed by cops more often than whites, you have to grade on the curve because blacks are so criminal.

The rest is also gibberish, though some of it is prime:
It’s just sheer fiction that white men enjoy some sort of shield of immunity, engaging in disrespect and defiance at will. After all, police kill white men almost twice per day.
This is where I'm supposed to lament how far National Review has fallen, but except for its arts and letters coverage it always sucked; all that's interesting about the new Review is that they've found people who are willing to say absolutely anything to keep their jobs.

UPDATE. Comments are as ever prime, and include a link to a few good explanations, as if they were needed, as to why French is full of shit: montag2 offers Jacobin's "The Making of the American Police State"; Robert M. offers, in response to an industrious troll, the insight that French's "principal error is conflating 'encounters with police' with the incidence of crime, and the incidence of crime with arrest rates" -- assuming, perhaps over-generously, that this was not deliberate.

Sunday, July 26, 2015


At the New York Times, Ross Douthat starts by regaling us with a Richard Selzer story about "tiny, naked, all-too-human bodies of aborted fetuses," then moves on to the Planned Parenthood sting videos:
It may be disturbing to hear those procedures described: “… we’ve been very good at getting heart, lung, liver, because we know that, so I’m not gonna crush that part, I’m gonna basically crush below, I’m gonna crush above, and I’m gonna see if I can get it all intact"... 
But in the end, Planned Parenthood’s defenders insist, listening to an abortionist discuss manipulating the “calvarium” (that is, the dying fetus’s skull) so that it emerges research-ready from the womb is fundamentally no different than listening to a doctor discuss heart surgery or organ transplants. It’s unsettling, yes, but just because it’s gross doesn’t prove it’s wrong. 
And the problem these videos create for Planned Parenthood isn’t just a generalized queasiness at surgery and blood... 
...the reluctance to look closely doesn’t change the truth of what there is to see. Those were dead human beings on Richard Selzer’s street 40 years ago, and these are dead human beings being discussed on video today...
Douthat's always been horrible, but now he's like one of those nuts standing outside abortion clinics, waving pictures of dismembered fetuses -- look, guts! -- except when the guards fail to restrain him he also pushes a note into the terrified women's hands explaining that he's really thought this throughGoogle "Nucatola" and "sips wine" and you'll see (along with impressive message discipline) that a huge chunk of the American Right is there with him, though they're not usually such candy-asses about expressing it.

Meamwhile Rick Perry is telling the world that the lesson of the Louisiana movie theater shooting is that people should be able to take loaded weapons to the movies. (You thought the guy who always spills his popcorn was a problem before!) Mike Huckabee says by negotiating an arms treaty with Iran, Obama "will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven."

And Donald Trump leads this great party's Presidential race.

Isn't it about time we acknowledged for good and all that the Republicans are basically the Monster Raving Loony Party, but without the sense of humor?

UPDATE. Drop me a line at roy at edroso dot com if your comments aren't getting through.

Friday, July 24, 2015


My favorite version. (Explanation.)

   Maybe you saw that story about a drone with a gun on it, and maybe you didn't think that was awesome because you're not 12 or a conservative. But Hot Air's Taylor Millard negs to differ:
Government, others freak after CT teen makes cool flying gun 
The government and others are going nuts over a Connecticut teen’s pretty cool invention: a drone with a gun. Austin Haughwout posted YouTube video on July 10th, showing the drone firing a semiautomatic handgun. 
Cue government outrage. Clinton police are up in arms (pun intended) over Haughwout’s invention, with one officer saying it’s obvious technology is surpassing legislation. They’re now actively trying to figure out if they can charge the teen, even though the gun was fired on private property...
The ACLU of Connecticut, the organization that claims to want the government to stop using drones in surveillance, is now calling on the government to push through comprehensive regulations for drones.
They don't want freelance assassins or the government to shoot people by remote control -- What a bunch of hypocrites!
People need to remember drones are amoral tools. They can all be used for good or evil, depending on how the person operating said tool acts. South Park had a pretty good episode on drones last year....
Yeah, we could stop paying attention right there, but it's Friday, let's give him a minute:
Those wanting to seriously regulate drones, armed or not, are forgetting how they can be used for good. Ranchers can use them to patrol their fields. Hunters could use them on tough to find predators. People who prefer not to go outside at night could use an armed drone to detect prowlers.
Hi, our car broke down, is anybody BLAM!
Plus, there’s always the simplest solution: take a shotgun to the offending drone. Problem solved.
This is what their ideal world looks like: Everyone tiptoeing around locked and loaded, like Elmer Fudd in search of Bugs Bunny. Only with lots of blood.

   Oh yeah, Mytheos Holt:
At the time, my thesis was mocked by liberals, some of whom even thought the article might have been a stealth parody. After Pao’s resignation [from Reddit], I expect these people don’t think this idea is quite so funny.
On the contrary! I mentioned last week the idea that a website owner controlling the content on his own site equals censorship is ridiculous, and it remains so. Holt also says the "Left hates Internet freedom," in defense of which proposition he expands the definition of the Left to include the U.S. Department of Justice and major movie studios, and portrays Gamergate, that rat's nest of harassment and crap writing, as proof that conservatives love internet freedom. (Remember when The Well was the poster child for the power of internet freedom? Sigh, me too. And I don't recall the members driving anyone out of her home, either.) I hope Holt can promote this POV sufficiently that some Republican debate moderator has to make Jeb Bush prove his right-wing bona fides by agreeing Anita Sakeesian had it coming. In closing, here's my favorite paragraph:
Even social conservatives have changed from being smugly self-assured about their own “Silent Majority”-style dominance to an embattled approach personified by Rod Dreher’s “Benedict Option,” while blatantly anti-political correctness neoreactionaries like Pax Dickinson and Curtis Yarvin are being cast less as cranks and more like brave, countercultural heroes. One can quarrel with the wisdom of this iconoclastic turn, but no one would ever accuse today’s Right of being defined by its reverence for established pieties.
That'll light a prairie fire, alright. The people will march, just as soon as you explain to them what the hell you're talking about.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015


Guess what this story at The Federalist is about:
How to Live in Pagan Society
It turns out that this situation is similar to some classic moral problems that Christians and other philosophers have been considering for some time now. If you’re a Nazi soldier, can you, in good conscience, fight the Allies? Would it be moral to kill Jews? At what point, if any, does “obeying orders” stop working as a valid excuse? On the other hand, do you have to starve and die to keep from being implicated in the Nazi atrocities through taxation? 
Thankfully, an evil empire and moral purity were precisely the concerns of first-century Christians as they wrestled with living in extensively pagan societies with tyrannical militaries. One ethical conundrum of the day was: is it permissible to eat food sacrificed to idols? In 1 Corinthians 10:25-57, Paul lays out the righteous path: “Eat anything that is sold in the meat market without asking questions for conscience’ sake; for the earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains. If one of the unbelievers invites you and you want to go, eat anything that is set before you without asking questions for conscience’ sake.” 
Money spent on food sacrificed to idols ended up funding the pagan temple system one way or another. Paul is unfazed. Like Jesus insisting that we should give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and pay our taxes, Paul shows that the evil actions of the other participants do not preclude the narrowly righteous action of the Christian. The reasoning is, buying food is just buying food; buying food isn’t wrong; what people do with the money does not contribute to your sin... 
Give up? The title of this thing, bylined "The Federalist Editors," is
How Christians Can Bake Cakes And Sign Licenses For Gay Weddings
Ain't even kidding. They're meeting you homo-lovers halfway, explaining to their followers how and under what circumstances they can dispense services to the God-accursed SSMers. Here's part of their summation:
So in the case of a cake for a gay wedding or being a witness on a slip of paper, it makes sense to analyze the act itself. It’s not wrong to give people a beautiful cake. It’s wrong to encourage people to do evil things. If you make your views and the company’s views clear, you can feel free to make that cake. If they want it to say “Congratulations Angela and Norma!” you may feel morally free to do as they wish. As long as they know that you are merely serving their own self-congratulations and are not participating in congratulating, your conscience can be clear.
 So, maybe serve the cake while turning your head to one side and retching.

I run into people who think The Federalist is an upscale, intellectual conservative publication. And I suppose it is, grading on the curve.

UPDATE. Comments are, consistent with alicublog tradition, very good. Here's a sample by Rand Careaga:
In The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire Gibbon discusses the difficulties experienced by the early Christians as they attempted to observe the tenets of their faith without participating in an overwhelmingly pagan society. Money quote (heh, heh): "Even the reverses of the Greek and Roman coins were frequently of an idolatrous nature. Here indeed the scruples of the Christian were suspended by a stronger passion."

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


The Federalist's Kurt Schlichter went to Europe, but it's hard to guess why, since the way he tells it he  clearly despises the place:
Europe is different from when I first lived there in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It was not as superficially wealthy then, although this time I rarely wandered far from where the tourists congregate. On the outside, at least, you would hardly see the rot of debt and welfare-state mismanagement even in Italy and Spain. The people were well dressed. The cafés were expensive but still packed. The cars are fairly new and have shockingly little body damage, when you consider the insanity that overtakes Europeans when they slide behind a steering wheel.
But that’s on the surface. Once you get behind the walls and into interior of the homes, the old cramped shabbiness is still there. All their money goes to clothes, food, and drink, because there’s no room in European apartments for the stuff Americans pack into theirs.
Not a McMansion in sight -- what a bunch of losers!
Countless stores will dress women in the latest, most expensive fashions, but few supply the woman who wishes to dress her children. The merchants know their markets, and you need babies to support baby clothes stores. When you walk the streets, you notice the couples with kids—they stand out, and it’s always just one kid.
No Duggars in this socialist hellhole, I tell you what.
Even the cabbies sigh that the birth rate is below replacement level. Children are the ultimate luxury item.
The Friedman cab driver still lives! Man, Schlichter hates this Europe dump worse than Tyler Cowen and Megan McArdle. Wonder why?
The blood of the likes of Charles Martel no longer runs in the veins of today’s café-dwelling Europeans. They sip coffee and their (excellent) wine and, in Spain, drink their bizarre cerveza/lemonade and rioja/Coca-Cola combinations, oblivious to what’s coming. Perhaps it’s mere ignorance, perhaps it’s a choice. It will end the same way regardless—in blood. When the time comes to choose between picking up a rifle and dying, we’ll find out if the human instinct for self-preservation has successfully been bred out of the men of Europe. I know where I’m putting my money...

Ukraine will fall. The Baltics will fall. Turkey will fall. The Balkans will fall. Europe will fall.

This is the fiesta before the storm, and Europe is busy partying like it’s 1939. These are the New Wilderness Years, except this time the bad guys are going to win.
Ahh, right, they haven't herded their Mooslims into concentration camps so they're worthless and weak. Schlichter's come a ways since he approved Britain at least for its Windsor obsession in his classic "The Royal Baby Is a Rejection of the Family Chaos Liberalism Feeds Upon" column. Now...
When you go to a restaurant or a store in or around London, you almost certainly won’t be served by a native Englishman. Often, it’s an Eastern European. Our most frustrating language challenges took place in the United Kingdom. The immigrants do the work, while working-class Londoners apparently stay home and collect dole checks.
Even England is full of furriners! All those stupid little countries can go to hell!

He'll get to the same place with America, too, once he gets that bunker built.


The headline on Victor Davis Hanson's column is even more, how you say, impactful when you see how those rascals in the National Review art department chose to illustrate it:

You could use this same technique for a "Obama and Hitler: Two of a Kind" or "Obama and Leatherface: Two of a Kind" story. But how does Hanson support the interesting concept that "Obama is Trump’s doppelgänger"? This'll give you some idea and believe me, even if you're familiar with Hanson's work you may be surprised:
Donald Trump believes he can oversell America abroad in the manner of Chamber of Commerce boosterism; isn’t that the twin to Obama underselling the country in the fashion of a wrinkled-browed academic? Both are stern moralists: America is too often shorted, and so Trump is angry over the sins of omission. For Obama, past genocide, racism, and imperialism vie as sins of U.S. commission.
Ahh, we are not so very different, Mr. Trump! I think America has too much, and you think it has too little! No, wait, that didn't come out right -- how about:
The two see the world in similarly materialist — though, again, opposite — terms: Trump wants net worth to be the litmus test of political preparation (“The point is that you can’t be too greedy”), even as Obama professes that big money is a Romney-like 1 percent disqualification. Obama’s infamous communalistic quotes to the effect that you didn’t build that, at some point you’ve made enough money, and this is no time to profit are just bookends to Trump’s money-is-everything ideas that he built everything, he’s never going to make enough money, and it is always time to profit.
Ahh, we are not so very different, Mr. Trump! We are both materialists, unlike the rest of America -- you in your money-is-everything way, I in my communis -- my commonalist -- my supercommunalisticexpialidocious way oh fuck it.

In some ways it's vintage Hanson -- there's even an obligatory VDH Obama/Jay-Z moment -- but in other ways it's uniquely awful, just like so much stuff coming out of National Review anymore. They're actually breaking the Jonah Goldberg paradigm, and I didn't think such a thing possible.

Sunday, July 19, 2015


Carly Fiorina did a short video for BuzzFeed in which she turns around popular sexist tropes in an office setting -- e.g., "How do you walk in those shoes?" "I didn't know men could be funny," "Does your wife help out with the kids?" It's a little over a minute long, totally innocuous, and of a genre that goes back to George S. Kaufman's If Men Played Cards As Women Do, at least. If anything the effect is to make Fiorina seem like a good sport, and not just the woman who nearly destroyed Hewlett Packard and thinks that was a good stepping stone to the Presidency.

Yet Amy Miller at Legal Insurrection thinks the video is worse than bad. While admitting through gritted teeth that "humanity goes a long way when it comes to connecting with voters and gaining trust on a more personal level," she says,
Carly is funny, engaging, and smart—but she used that power for evil. She walked into a young, modern, progressive venue, and threw her own womanhood under the bus in an effort to pander to a base that will never vote for her. 
Fiorina has defined herself as a businesswoman, CEO, and force to be reckoned with; she should not have to—and should never (NEVER)—have to play into the hands of liberals who work every day to manufacture divides in our society. 
This isn’t effective outreach; it’s Stockholm Syndrome.
Maybe she thinks gender reversal jokes are the first step toward gender reversal, Caitlin Jenner, and dogs and cats living together. Sadder still is Ashe Schow at the Washington Independent Examiner, who admitted "that I laughed multiple times throughout the video" before she got her mind right and "concluded that it was just another attempt to divide people" through the dark art of humor. Schow even explained why some specific sections did not meet her standards for minute-long internet joke videos. For example, the "men talking over women" gag:
This one I've experienced. Maybe it's sexism, maybe I didn't speak up loudly enough. I've had people steal my ideas — and my jokes — because I wasn't heard and they were.
I'd love to know what ideas of Ashe Schow's somebody stole, and what workplace they were worth stealing in.
One example of this occurred at one of my previous jobs — but I can't conclusively say that it was due to the fact that I am woman and not, say, the fact that I was new to politics and knew very little compared to the people around me (I definitely lacked confidence due to that).
You've all been there, right, ladies? Some man talks over you and then steals your idea, and you think, hmm, maybe I'm to blame for this, but one thing I'm sure about is that it has nothing to do with institutional sexism. also happens to men. Certain bosses take credit for their subordinate's ideas, regardless of whether the subordinate is a man or a woman.
Also, in prison men rape other men, so I don't see why everyone makes such a big deal about women getting raped. On the joke about women getting asked about work and family more than men:
The difference here reflects poorly on both sexes. When women are asked this, the implied question seems to be: "Why don't you spend more time with your children?" At the same time, not asking this question of men comes with the undertone that men don't need to be there for their children, or simply don't need to care about them.
I bet men really suffer from this one. No one asks if I'm spending time with the kids. I feel so -- not-validated! 

They have a female candidate who's pretty conservative and the minute she acknowledges the experience of many, many women voters it's like she turned into Germaine Greer. They're really asking a lot of their white male base in 2016.

Friday, July 17, 2015


A very nice Richard Thompson tune
and a valuable reminder that Sting is a twat.

•   Charles C.W. Cooke's latest at National Review is about Reddit. Like the full-fedora MRAs who got Ellen Pao fired, Cooke clearly doesn't know what these bitches are bitching about, and he's enraged that Reddit is, with the blessing of the returning founder who's understandably sick of the "white-power racist-sexist neckbeards" who stirred up this whole shitstorm, trying and keep things civil on the site, which Cooke denounces as "censorship" -- i.e., people having different standards for their sites than Cooke would have if he were in charge as God intended. Cooke describes the wonderful State of Nature at Reddit that he would like maintained:
Within the swampier quarters of the site, you will find all sorts of insalubrious offerings. One area features graphic discussions of bestiality. Another hosts a bunch of white supremacists. Elsewhere, there are threads that brim with unreconstructed misogyny — perhaps exhibiting the rare and ugly “rape culture” that we are told is ubiquitous.
And then it hit me: Cooke isn't really complaining at all -- he's just seizing a market opportunity: If Reddit won't have the white supremacists and rape cultists, National Review will. John Derbyshire, expect an apology!

•   As we have seen again and again and again, there are conservatives who are not just anti-abortion but also anti-sex, viscerally repelled by the notion that anyone might want to do it just for fun. At The Federalist, Joy Pullmann is pissed that people want to make a government benefit out of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC).  Pullmann tips her hand early, complaining as she begins her "full-throated defense of the human person as an intrinsically valuable, community-embedded, and wholly sacred being, atop the also-eternal case for limited government" that
taking up the job feels kind of like being the best friend and roommate of a party-hearty girl who upchucks her innards out night after night but just won’t lay off the booze. Okay, I guess I’ll hold your hair and even clean up the vomit sometimes, but I’m also going to start giving you some straight talk, because this is ridiculous. And no way am I paying for your habit.
That ought to reel them in. Pullmann's sisterly chat continues:
We have a leading U.S. publication paternalistically implying that women cannot be trusted to responsibly manage our own bodies, dreams, and impulses, so we poor little impregnated patsies need The Man to come in and preemptively spay us or retroactively destroy our preborn children for what he thinks is our own good? What an empowering worldview! Doesn’t it just make you glad to be a woman? Doesn’t it just make you love your sex daddy? We’re so progressive and advanced in the twenty-first century!
It goes on like this forever, with subheds like "Human Haters Measure Us In Money" and "No One Has a Right to Sex," and lines like "If a baby happens during nonmarital sex, it’s about the only healthy thing going on!" I'm beginning to suspect these folks are not trying to win converts, they're trying to pump donors.

•   At National Review Fred Bauer says "The GOP Needs an Enlightened Populism." He says populism's big these days, mentions Greece. Stop laughing. (He also mentions France, which is a bit more like it.) Yet Trump, popular as he is with the racist halfwits no GOP candidate can win without, won't quite do for reasons Bauer does not articulate. But Bauer does lay out populist strategy. He wants whatever approved candidate runs to come out against "crony capitalism," of course, which is bullshit and which will in any case have to be decoded for those members of the electorate not well-versed in rightwing pundit fads. Also, "Reforming entitlements so that they are sustainable could help assure members of the middle class that, as if they hit hard times, a support system will be there for them" -- in other words, tell voters they have to work till they're 72 for their Social Security, which ought to go over great. Then there's the cultural component -- did you know there's a cultural component to conservative populism? And no, it's not John Wayne killing injuns, it's conservative columnists going on for the fourth decade in a row about political correctness. Bauer:
Attempting to tamp down the new crusade against free expression could be a key component of this enlightened populism. Cultural sophistication has a long pedigree in modern conservatism (see William F. Buckley Jr., Irving Kristol, et al.), and a soupçon of adventurous cosmopolitanism could be an antidote to the aggrieved parochialism of the reigning progressive cultural elite. In countering the outrage Wurlitzer and defending freedom of thought, this cosmopolitanism would help various communities stop feeling themselves the target of an endless cultural assault.
Me, I'm such a fascist I think you shouldn't even be allowed to talk about populism unless you actually have some idea how to talk to people with whom you don't share a masthead. For starters, lose the soupçon.

Thursday, July 16, 2015


Conservative writing on the Iran Deal has been so feverish that it conjures an image of a red-faced Bibi Netanhayu screaming at the authors to "DO WHAT I'M TELLIN' YA!" like Broderick Crawford in Born Yesterday.  One of the weirder specimens appears at National Review where, after some preliminary obvious bullshit ("It’s nice to see that even CNN recognizes the president’s deal with Iran for what it is: 'another legacy-making item on his checklist'"), Ian Tuttle tries this gambit:
What could account for [Obama's] astonishing indifference to American security? In his 1838 address to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Ill., Abraham Lincoln suggested ambition, and that seems to me as good an explanation as any.
Lincoln? Iran? Huh? Tuttle preambles a quote from the speech...
This “field of glory” harvested, to what would the next Alexander or Napoleon turn? He warned: 
Towering genius disdains a beaten path. It seeks regions hitherto unexplored. It sees no distinction in adding story to story upon the monuments of fame erected to the memory of others. It denies that it is glory enough to serve under any chief. It scorns to tread in the footsteps of any predecessor, however illustrious. It thirsts and burns for distinction... 
Distinction will be his paramount object, and although he would as willingly, perhaps more so, acquire it by doing good as harm, yet, that opportunity being past, and nothing left to be done in the way of building up, he would set boldly to the task of pulling down.
 ...and interprets:
Barack Obama’s ambition, his hunger for his own aggrandizement, has long been obvious. No humility afflicts a one-term senator who promises to “fundamentally transform” the United States of America, or who proclaims his mere nomination for the presidency “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” 
He is an ideologue, yes, a Chicago leftist, community organizer-in-chief, unreconstructed Columbia poli-sci grad student. I’ve no doubt he thinks a diminished America a better America — for us, and for the world. But “building up” or “pulling down” is secondary. America is merely the instrument with which Barack Obama would carve his name into history.
The short version is: Lincoln said America would have ambitious, bad presidents in the future -- and that's just how I feel about Obama! Plus Alinsky!

The subterfuge seems at first merely lazy,  the prose equivalent of the Obama paintings of John McNaughton. But I see a deeper purpose: The connection between the modern Republican Party and Lincoln has taken a beating over the past 50 years, and the recent Confederate Flag controversy has pretty much severed it. (Tuttle was a big help there!) Now that they've totally blown it on race, I guess they have to find some other way to associate themselves with Honest Abe. Foreign policy seems a stretch, but what else do they have? It's not like they can endorse high tariffs. (And if they don't have Lincoln, what other GOP president is left beside Reagan, who is losing his charm as a demigod? They disowned Teddy Roosevelt. Tricky Dick, maybe your rehabilitation is at hand!)

There's always abortion, which some of the more hysterical brethren (including Tuttle!) like to portray as the new slavery, but in order to get traction on that they're going to have to work on their approach:
COLUMBUS, Ohio, July 13, 2015 /Christian Newswire/ -- Created Equal, a national anti-abortion group, will be displaying abortions in progress on a Jumbo-Tron TV screen at the Lincoln Memorial on July 14, 2015 as part of our week-long Justice Ride.
I'm seeing the hearts and livers angle, but not the hearts and minds. Maybe they should put a beard and stovepipe on Mike Huckabee and see where it gets them.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Normally I don't talk about the comments sections associated with my subjects, on the proven theory that comments sections are generally awful (not alicublog's, though! Feel free to weigh in!). But I'll make an exception for this post by Andrew Klavan at PJ Media. Klavan, as regular readers of alicublog know, is a culture warrior of the worser sort who gets the brethren to laugh (or at least to go nnnnggh while filleting a Barbie doll named Lena with a Bowie knife) by comparing Democrats to rapists, etc. In this new thing, though, Klavan tells his readers that the hate-fest represented by (I never tire of saying this) Republican Presidential front-runner Donald Trump is a losing bet. He's taken the conciliator role before, telling the guys in 2014 they should go easy on gay marriage outrage lest liberals win the debate "by a flagrant and self-serving display of compassion." But now he sounds a little stressed about it. First he quotes Star Wars:
“Fear is the path to the dark side,” said Yoda. “Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
Then he preaches sweet reason:
You want to win back your country? Here’s how. Fear nothing. Hate no one. Stick to principles. Unchecked borders are dangerous not because Mexicans are evil but because evil thrives when good men don’t stand guard...
These things are true. They’re true for white people and black people, male people and female people, straight people and gay people. We should support the smartest, most proven, most statesmanlike candidate who best represents those principles. And we should do it out of — dare I say the word? — love. Love for our neighbors, our fellow citizens, white and black, male and female, straight and gay.
Straight and gay? Forbid it almighty God! Commenters descend like locusts on Klavan -- and that RINO bastard Yoda:
Why would I want to take advice from some pipsqueak who didn't see that his Jedi Council was being manipulated by evil into doing evil things in the name of order, until it was much too late?... 
...Yoda's wrong. Frustration leads to anger. I'm not afraid of these lying SOB's at all...
Klavan must have downed a couple of his elitist pills before penning this attack on conservative Americans... 
Just like the writers at National Review and Republican politicians, PJ Media writers, like Andrew Klavan want to be loved by their liberal friends... 
We don't need to be lectured about things we already know, pal. Out here in what you seem to believe is the backwater idiocracy between Hollywood and DC, we know precisely what Trump is and what he is doing... You and your peers, on the other hand, seem to have let your girlish social ambitions swirl away at your brains. This sort of article isn't about us: it's about you. It's about your preening egos and need to be seen as a certain type of (frankly, faux) conservative who can be accepted in certain circles [nnnngh etc.]... 
I am tired of people like Klavan and others calling us idiots for disagreeing with them. I am done reading Klavan and Goldberg. If I wanted to be insulted I could go to some liberal site...
The more optimistic of you may be thinking, ha, their Frankenstein's Monster has turned on them! It's tempting to think so, as the Trump phenomenon has become such an obvious embarrassment to the GOP that conservatives are trying to portray Trump as a liberal and his candidacy as good news for Republicans.

But the monster hasn't turned on them, quite -- the brethren are just lumbering around with increasing agitation, as they tend to do in that aimless period between the beginning of a Presidential campaign and the nomination of some douche of whom it can at least be said that he's not a libtard. Other conservative pundits are finding ways to occupy their attention so they won't turn on them -- which perhaps explains the latest Planned Parenthood attack, as it gives their more excitable columnists like Kevin D. Williamson an opportunity to really lay the outrage on thick ("the people who run Planned Parenthood are crooks," "President Barack Obama... is neck-deep in blood," nnngh, etc.). After a few days of that, the punters are spent and ready for a lie-down until it's time to repeat the process with #Benghazi or whatever else turns up on the Wheel of Fortune.

So they haven't lost control yet. But I'll be interested to see how many of their followers will be left after a few more rounds like this one.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


Having apparently given up on convincing voters on the issues, The Federalist is working on Arguments from Butchness. There have been a couple of stories in the news lately about Kitty Genovese-style mass indifference to attacks on the D.C. Metro, from which Federalist author Robert Tracinski extrapolates that liberals are pussies:
Ironically, the same people now making excuses for [Metro] cowardice are the kind who engage in exaggerated Kabuki theater displays about how evil slavery was and how terrible the Confederate flag is and how much they furiously oppose them—150 years after it took any courage to do so.
This causal or genetic link between disapproval of Confederate flags and cowardice is not supported by any evidence except, well, D.C., they're all Big Gummint sissies, right? Also, Tracinski saw in the paper that "at a Renaissance festival in Colorado, a 'wench-costumed woman' put a man in a headlock after he stole a jouster’s sword, which gives you some idea of the cultural difference between Colorado and DC." Maybe the Colorado wench was just high. Speaking of which, just in case you were wondering, Tracinski says he's no sissy either:
I know how I would react [to random violence] because I’ve done it. The last time I can recall was many years ago: two drunk guys in a parking lot were attacking a third guy, and I tackled one of the drunks, allowing the victim to safely escape. It was not that big a deal and did not involve much risk on my part, though I didn’t really know that going in. 
Giving Tracinski the benefit of every doubt, including sobriety, good for him but so what? I lived in New York City in the late 1970s; maybe I should have the Croix de Guerre, or at least bring it up when I run out of political ammunition ("Hey, I lived under the Koch Administration, motherfucker! And I say single payer rules!").

I also worked several years as a waiter and a busboy, so I can sympathize somewhat with Traciniski's colleague Peter Cook, who is proud of his experiences in F&B and retail, and I agree with him that "Everyone Should Work at Least One Crap Job." But Cook thinks this is a political distinction, too. He sneers at a few reporters (aka "the national media") who laughed because, after serving barbecue to a crowd, Scott Walker kept his latex gloves on while eating. Well, huffs Cook, "why wouldn’t you after spending that much time around ribs?" I can imagine why you wouldn't (for one thing, it makes you wonder if Walker kept serving up BBQ after slobbering over them), but Cook makes it a crusade:
Yes, gloves. That’s what food service regulations require. These two journalists seem unaware that when you prepare or serve food to other people, you should have clean hands while doing so, and the best way to ensure one’s hands are clean is to wear gloves. Doing so is not a freakish anomaly, but what food-service workers do daily, all around the country.
I was a dishwasher once, too. I wonder if the dishwashers Cook knows eat with their gloves on.

Also, the catchphrase "beta males," familiar to readers of MRA fedora dopes, has caught on at The Federalist: "Tocqueville Identified The Original Beta Males: Europeans," "Behold, The Beta Males Who Feel Good About Watching A Man Die," "while not all men can be alpha males, they can be men," etc. For readers who need a little more help with their masculinity, they have an article by Rebekah Curtis about how her husband made a real Second Amendment woman out of her with guns:
The guy loves guns: he has a lot of them, he’s good at shooting them, and he wanted me to be a part of it. Having my Second Amendment adherence bluff called has been a rough, but worthwhile, experience.
To each her own. I expect this outbreak is really about identity politics. Since gay marriage went nationwide and the Battle Flag came down, what conservative signifiers are left? Being a prick to working people and hatred of Mexicans, which in and of themselves have limited appeal -- but that appeal may be boosted if it's accompanied by a bit of swagger. It's been hard for conservatives to work machismo since that unfortunate Iraq war which all of them cheered and in which few of them served, and it just got worse when the gay rights avalanche made it harder than before to get away with portraying their opponents as sissies. The upside is that the gays, having been recast as fascist overlords, can be ignored, and the brethren can butch up and work on their manly prose physiques with some web sparring matches against accommodating strawmen. Maybe by the time the campaign heats up they'll be sufficiently ripped to call Hillary a bitch out loud and not run away.

Thursday, July 09, 2015


My favorite AC/DC tune is "Back in Business," but there's no good video of it.
This'll do, though. What's your favorite? It's all streaming now!

•     Republican pundits (or should we say RINO elitists?) are panicking over Donald Trump's strong showing in GOP polls. Jim Geraghty attempts, unqualified as he is, to talk sense to his fellow wingnuts in a post called "Do Trump and His Fans Even Want to Persuade Others?" (something I ask about conservatives generally all the time):
I realize that if you’re a Trump fan right now, energized by his in-your-face combativeness with the media and anyone who disagrees with him... 
But let’s take Stephen Covey’s advice to “begin with the end in mind” — presumably that is conservative governance — and recognize that to achieve that, we need a Republican president. And as much as Trump may be rising in the polls of the GOP primary... let’s take a look at his numbers head-to-head against Hillary Clinton: 
CNN: Clinton 59 percent, Trump 35.
Fox News: Clinton 51 percent, Trump 34. 
Quinnipiac: Clinton 50 percent, Trump 32.
Some of you will see the problem right off. Wait for it...
(One caveat: That CNN poll had Hillary ahead of Rubio by 16, Walker by 17, and Bush by 13, so perhaps we can argue that it was a Democrat-heavy sample...
A Democrat-heavy sample! Or "perhaps we can argue" that Clinton is a revered name in American politics and the Republicans are running approximately 239 feebs, flakes, and nincompoops led by a racist blowhard clown. Wait, though, Geraghty's not finished:
...Most polls have these candidates trailing by single digits or tied with Hillary.)
Geraghty provides zero links to support this assertion, so I looked up keywords in Google News and got some results such as this from the Washington Examiner:
Ted Cruz is winning at Twitter, tied with Hillary Clinton on Facebook
If only elections were totes social media LOL!  Also, that was from December of last year.  Much more recent (June 26) was this:
Poll: Sen. Bernie Sanders Is Statistically Tied With Hillary Clinton In New Hampshire
Well, now it makes sense!

•     Jesus-con Alan Jacobs has a long more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger thing at The American Conservative about how all us gay marriageists and non-fans of the Confederacy are not merely expressing opinions he does not share, but actively trying to shut down debate with our Twitter feeds and our mean looks -- which schtick, I'm sure you've noticed, is a popular favorite among the brethren these days. "Survey and critique others, lest you make yourself subject to surveillance and critique," Jacobs characterizes his opponents. "And use the proper Hashtags of Solidarity, or you might end up like that guy who was the first to stop applauding Stalin’s speech." He himself, of course, is just trying to keep free discourse alive -- his post's called "The Value of Disagreement," see?  The first tell that this is bullshit is an opening quote from a particularly passive-aggressive post by P-A Queen Mollie Hemingway. But it's even more instructive to get in the Wayback Machine and read Jacobs' 2003 article called "The War in Quotes: Journalists who don't like the war -- and like thinking even less -- have a little trick they use to tell us how they really feel." There, Jacobs calls rightblogger whipping-boy Robert Fisk "the Krusty the Clown of journalism," and notes that when referring to the invasion of Iraq Fisk put quotes around "liberators" and "liberation," which seems to me like basic hygeine for handling government propaganda, but which Jacobs calls "punctuational Tourette's Syndrome." Jacobs also complains that the New York Times and other peace creeps are doing the same thing:
...the Times apparently can't bear under any circumstances to use that term, in the context of the Iraq war at least, without scare quotes. Thus my description of this practice as a tic or as disease: After a while it kicks in automatically, and one wonders what habitual users could do to keep it from taking over their minds.
Twelve years later, Iraq is wreckage and everyone knows the idea that we "liberated" it was always a joke -- and Jacobs, then so diligent about what he considered journalists' inappropriate use of quote marks, is now telling us that liberals are the real language cops.


Kevin D. Williamson says you lieberals are Ikea-racist:
The curious task of the American Left is to eliminate “white privilege” by forcing people to adopt Nordic social arrangements at gunpoint.
("At gunpoint" is apparently Williamson's term for something lawful he doesn't approve of -- e.g. "people who object to abortion will be forced at gunpoint to pay for them" -- you know, kind of like when you were mad at your Mom and called her Hitler.)
Progressives have a longstanding love affair with the nations of northern Europe, which are, or in some cases were until the day before yesterday, ethnically homogeneous, overwhelmingly white, hostile to immigration, nationalistic, and frankly racist in much of their domestic policy. 
In this the so-called progressives are joined, as they traditionally have been, by brutish white supremacists and knuckle-dragging anti-Semites, who believe that they discern within the Nordic peoples the last remnant of white European purity and who frequently adopt Nordic icons and myths, incorporating them into an oddball cult of whiteness. American progressivism is a cult of whiteness, too: It imagines re-creating Danish society in Los Angeles, which is not full of Danish people, ascribing to Scandinavian social policies certain mystical tendencies that render them universal in their applicability.

Call it “Nordic Exceptionalism.” 
The Left occasionally indulges in bouts of romantic exoticism — its pin-ups have included Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, Patrice Lumumba, Mao Zedong; we might even count Benito Mussolini, “that admirable Italian gentleman” who would not have been counted sufficiently white to join Franklin Roosevelt’s country club — but the welfare states that progressives dream about are the whitest ones: Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, etc. The significance of this never quite seems to occur to progressives. When it is suggested that the central-planning, welfare-statist policies that they favor are bound to produce results familiar to the unhappy residents of, e.g., Cuba, Venezuela, or Bolivia — privation, chaos, repression, political violence — American progressives reliably reply: “No, no, we don’t want that kind of socialism. We want socialism like they have it in Finland.” 
Translation: “We want white socialism, not brown socialism!”...
You'll notice I haven't been inserting comments on this as I usually do. That's because I don't know what to say. I've just been sitting here slack-jawed, marveling at the insanity of the thing. To suggest that liberals champion social-welfare ideas from Scandinavia because they don't want to be associated with unpopular South and Central American dictatorships is just a more advanced version of their usual slurs -- but to add that this makes liberals white supremacists is so crazy that I'm convinced I was right about these guys and they've lost their collective minds.

And I haven't even got to the really hot parts:
When Barack Obama wants some solar-energy subsidies to pay off his crony-capitalist backers, he doesn’t rebuke the Canadians, but those damned dirty brown people in the Middle East. (Middle Eastern people seem destined to take the eternal brunt of American economic stupidity: It used to be the scheming Jewish bankers, now it’s the nefarious awful Arabs who want to sell us crude oil that we need at market prices.)
Who is this written for? Whom is it meant to convince? It's impossible to imagine anyone who isn't already infected reading it and saying, "He's right -- universal health care is racist!"

UPDATE. Comments are a joy. I appreciate the contributors who sought to characterize Williamson's very-fabric-of-space-and-time-rupturing stupid ("the HyperDerp" -- derelict; "a fragmentation grenade of stupid" -- Al Swearingen), but I must give a special No-Prize to LookWhosInTheFreezer for this:
Shorter Williamson: You liberals all wanna turn America into Denmark, we conservatives want to turn it into Somalia. Now who's the real racist?!!

Wednesday, July 08, 2015


I haven't been paying proper attention to Acculturated, that most enjoyable culture-war make-work project, so thanks to alicublog commenter mortimer2000 for alerting me to a new column there by Mark Judge (known as Mark Gauvreau Judge in an earlier incarnation). It's called "'Manhattan': Remembering a Near-Great, Near-Conservative Film." Get a load:
Manhattan was famously shot in glorious black and white by Gordon Willis, who passed away in March. Manhattan is also, at least at times, a conservative film. This sounds absurd about a Woody Allen film, but it’s useful to remember that Allen has always had a lot of criticism for the cultural revolution of the 1960s. His films often poke fun at drugs, radicals, rock and roll, and the movie industry. Allen’s obsession with sex and younger—much younger—women has often obscured this fact. But without it, Allen could write for National Review.
Well, he could still serve as president of Hillsdale College.

Anyway: the fact that Woody Allen's character Isaac has the hots for the Diane Keaton character Wilkie, even though she believes in God and talks smack about Norman Mailer, proves to Judge that "he’s a New York liberal with a conscience that tells him that Wilkie may have a point," because there's no bigger turn-on than philosophical differences, look at James Carville and Mary Matalin, preferably not before lunch. Also, Isaac is mad at his lesbian ex-wife -- which has to be a moral imperative, because it can't possibly be the kind of psychological reaction you'd expect Woody Allen to have to a woman who left him for a woman -- and also has character-building tips for his underage girlfriend:
Isaac criticizes his young girlfriend Tracy for being raised in the Sixties.
I hope you've learned your lesson, young lady! Next time pick a responsible decade to be born in.
“You were brought up on drugs and television and the pill.” He then adds that he believes “people should mate for life, like pigeons or Catholics.” Then, disgusted with the drug-taking hippies who produce his show, Isaac quits. This is not a member of the Weather Underground.
No, this is typical Woody Allen, a crabby guy who likes to lecture his friends about God and death -- and in the end gets his comeuppance from, surprise, the teenage girlfriend, which shows at least a little self-awareness on his part. In Judge's view, though, "Manhattan sets up a great premise and then fails to deliver" and guess what, it doesn't have to do with anything as puny as art:
Keaton’s Mary Wilkie arrives as an intellectual equal to challenge Allen’s assumptions. Then, just as suddenly, she and Isaac fall in love and she loses all of her edge. She vacillates when she gets involved with a married man, Isaac’s best friend Yale. Where she was once fearlessly direct, she becomes dithering and morally uncertain. It’s fine to have characters who have self-doubt, in fact it makes for a more compelling film—and a fresh alternative to so-called Christian and conservative films, which give us square-jawed protagonists who get all their answers from God.
Allen will be relieved to hear he avoided this pitfall.
But you don’t establish a powerhouse female character who dismisses liberal journalists as “schmucks... mired in Thirties radicalism,” and two scenes later have her almost begging Woody Allen for a date.
I have asked this many times but: Has Judge ever met a real person? Or at least seen a Whit Stillman picture? Eventually Judge tells us how he would have made Manhattan:
How different and better Manhattan might have been had Allen just gone with the initial premise of the script: a middle-aged TV writer who is uncomfortable with the Cultural Revolution meets a sharp journalist who validates his doubts. They don’t become born-again Christians, but they do navigate their way to a better moral place. He stops dating teenagers, and she stops fooling around with a married man.
I'm on the edge of my seat! You won't be able to sell tickets fast enough! Maybe for the foreign markets, though, in the third act we should have them go on vacation to the Grand Canyon, and have one of those humorous encounters with wildlife Allen's so good at.

Next week at Acculturated: "Citizen Kane -- So much better without the class politics."

UPDATE. Comments are already fun! Gromet:
Chapter one: He adored Tulsa. He idolized it all out of proportion. Uh, no. Make that He romanticized it all out of proportion. To him, no matter what the season was, this was still a town that existed in black and white and pulsated to the great tunes of Toby Keith...

Monday, July 06, 2015


Was it really just 10 days ago that National Review's Charles C.W. Cooke, attempting to show his range by playing the role of conciliator, claimed that the wiser conservatives understood that the Obergefell "decision is now the law and that it is not going to change" and that sweet reason would prevail? Today at The Federalist, a team effort by Ben Domenech and Robert Tracinski:
Within hours of the Supreme Court’s resolution of the battle over same-sex marriage -- the triumph of a generation of gay-rights activists -- some were...
Ah, some were! Be advised Domenech and Tracinski supply no links to support the following assertions, which should give you some idea of how substantial they are:
....already calling for further steps to take tax exemptions away from churches, use anti-discrimination laws to target religious non-profits, and crack down on religious schools’ access to voucher programs. We learned media entities would no longer publish the views of those opposed to gay marriage or treat it as an issue with two sides...
Let's pause here a moment to note that, on that last bit, Domenech and Tracinski are apparently talking about the Harrisburg Patriot-News' decision to treat letters to the editor and op-eds critical of gay marriage the way it would treat "those that are racist, sexist or anti-Semitic," an arguable position to which the Patriot-News, being a private enterprise, has a perfect right, but which the brethren, whose thousands of web outlets claim and exercise similar rights every day, nonetheless insist is censorship (e.g., "Post-Obergefell, Dissent Is Now The Highest Form Of Bigotry," "FREE SPEECH TOSSED OUT THE WINDOW AS BIG NEWSPAPER BANS OP-EDS AGAINST GAY MARRIAGE"); they may also be talking about BuzzFeed's forthright support for gay marriage, which (since conservatives think every popular media venue, online or off, owes them a platform as a form of wingnut affirmative action) has similarly shivered their timbers (e.g., "EIC BEN SMITH: BUZZFEED IS PRO-GAY MARRIAGE — NEUTRAL ON SHARIAH").
...and the American Civil Liberties Union announced it would no longer support bipartisan religious-freedom measures it once backed wholeheartedly. A reality TV star pushed the transgender rights movement into the center of the national dialogue even as Barack Obama’s administration used its interpretation of Title IX to push its genderless bathroom policies into public schools. And we learned that pulling Confederate merchandise off the shelves isn’t enough to mitigate the racism of the past—we must bring down statues and street signs, too, destroying reminders of history now deemed inconvenient and unsafe...
I could ask what they mean by "must" -- has a law been passed? Or do they merely assert a right, undetectable in the Constitution, not to be mocked for their racism?  Indeed,  I could go on through every particular of the whole wretched screed -- for instance, "every comment, act, or joke can make you the next target for a ritual of daily attack by outraged Twitter mobs," to which a reasonable person might respond, first, this kind of thing is certainly not the exclusive province of liberals (e.g., "PIERS MORGAN GOT PWNED ON TWITTER OVER GUN CONTROL"), and second, grow the fuck up.

But you know what? For the first time since I took up this loathsome duty, I feel a bit overmatched.* Because since the Obergefell decision, I perceive that not some but most conservatives, from their elected officials and top pundits down to the bottom feeders, have gone barking mad. I do this alicublog thing in my spare time, you know, and most days I get material for posts desultorily, just by idly rifling through conservative sites. It's been kind of fun peeking into their rooms, detecting which of them has gone a little off his feed, and reporting back. But since gay marriage came in it's like every rightwing door I open reveals a shit-smeared, babbling Bedlam, with nearly every inhabitant shrieking his fool head off about the homosexual apocalypse. I could quit my job and report the atrocities day and night, and still not get the scope of the thing.

And it's not as if all of it's about gay marriage. Take this post by -- oh, look, it's Cooke again, and the title is "Repainting the General Lee Won’t Erase What It Symbolizes from History." No, really, Cooke, a British transplant whose pat-riotism apparently includes a fetish for the cheesiest Americana, is outraged that the impeccably Southern Bubba Watson, owner of the car from The Dukes of Hazzard, is replacing the rebel flag on the roof with the Stars and Stripes. Cooke reacts as if Watson planned to draw tits on Whistler's Mother:
There is a clear and necessary answer to Watson’s rather naïve inquiry, “Why not the American flag?” That answer: Because the General Lee is a piece of America’s cultural history, and civilized people do not vandalize their antiques.
The Dukes of Hazzard. He's talking about The Dukes of Hazzard. I was a teenager when that came out and even I knew it sucked. One searches in vain for signs that Cooke is kidding, or at least ironically inflating his own obsession like a nerd ostentatiously sighing over the set of the original Star Trek, but no, Cooke actually thinks this is important:
It is fashionable in our age to seek unity in all things, but the “General Lee” is not a statehouse, responsive to and reflective of the popular will. It is a historical artifact and cultural totem that sums up a particular moment in time. By amending it to suit contemporary fashions Watson is seeking, in effect, to erase that moment from history. This in my view is extraordinarily dangerous...

Must the owners of Monticello take Wite-Out to Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia, lest the more egregious passages offend our modern sensibilities?; Must the custodians of vintage Aunt Jemima boxes throw them into the Mississippi to atone for their ugly anachronisms?...
And finally:
Just as to burn an unwanted book is not to kill its author, to paint over the roof of an attitude-laden car is in no way to go back in time and to eradicate that attitude from the record.
If you're wondering why that sentence is even clumsier than we can normally expect from Cooke, my guess is that he really wanted to compare painting over the General Lee with burning books, but something in his soul rebelled and convoluted his sentence structure. Which means there may be hope for him yet.

*UPDATE. Not that I didn't read the whole thing, but I don't recommend it -- it proceeds to a bizarre theory that the Culture War is not just a fucking annoyance for all concerned, but the wellspring of human progress:
The culture wars of the past produced great achievements in art, architecture, literature, and science as the opposing parties strove to demonstrate that they had more to offer and deserved the people’s admiration and loyalty. Those culture wars gave us Michelangelo’s David, Galileo’s science, Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” the Declaration of Independence and the First Amendment, and the movement for the abolition of slavery.
I look forward to Ben Shapiro's blueprints for Breitbart Tower. It also contains this amazing sentiment:
The Sad Puppies are just the Salon des Refusés with different players...
It's the rightbloggers' world, we just don't live in it. Meanwhile in comments, which are choice, Another Kiwi points out that The General Lee of legend was actually a series of Dodge Chargers, so if Cooke is seriously about preserving Suthun heh'tage, he's in for a long search of collectible car dealerships and junkyards.