Friday, August 03, 2018


Put on Lenny Kaye's first "Nuggets" compilation yesterday and, well,
I've been there ever since.

•  More proof that libertarians are simply the worst: At Reason Jesse Walker has an essay about some books on the Hollywood Blacklist that is somewhat moored to reality -- he accepts it existed, for one thing, and that it was bad, which is more than assholes like Jonah Goldberg can do. But there's a lot of otherhanding -- did you know pro-blacklist Hollywood hands suffered, too? -- and when he talks about the messages screen artists like Dalton Trumbo conveyed in their films before (and, behind fronts, during) the blacklist, he emits lulus like this:
Communism that's been translated into Hollywood terms doesn't always look so red on the screen. As the independent historian Bill Kauffman once commented, when communist filmmakers had to work "within studio straightjackets," they often "channeled their work into 'populist' avenues (the small banker fighting the big banks, the lone man against the crowd) and wound up sounding libertarian." 
When was the last time you saw a libertarian attack a bank?
Take 1958's Terror in a Texas Town, a Western best known today for a gloriously weird showdown that pits a gunman against a man armed with a whaling harpoon. Here the blacklisted Trumbo (working behind a front) wrote a story in which a wealthy businessman used both private violence and a corrupt government to seize property from independent farmers. I can see why a Marxist would like the movie, but a Randian might appreciate it too. Who exactly was subverting whom?
Yeah, if Dalton Trumbo were alive today, he'd be calling for the end of Social Security and letting paupers sell their kidneys for money. Also, Walker's thesis is that the real message of the blacklist is censorship by"public-private partnership," and compares it, naturally enough, to the political muscling of social media companies today. I just wrote a bit about that -- Republicans and alt-rightists coming after Twitter and Facebook to get them to privilege conservatives, with Republicans holding actual hearings on Facebook. Guess what Walker uses as an example, though?
In the Trump era, the target of choice for people worried about foreign subversion—and other disfavored speech, from "fake news" to sex ads—is social media. "You created these platforms, and now they're being misused," Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D–Calif.) told representatives from Facebook, Google, and Twitter during last year's hearings on Russian activities during the 2016 election. "And you have to be the ones who do something about it—or we will." 
As tech companies create ever-more-intrusive rules about what can and can't be said using their products, threats like Feinstein's clearly play a substantial role in their decision making.
Remember, kids: a libertarian is just a Republican with social anxieties.

•  So you go to the New York Times and see this hed and dek...
Need a Politics Cleanse? Go Ahead and Treat Yourself.
Overwhelmed by current events? You can skip a few weeks without losing track of the plot.
...and think, ah, more mush for the toffs and would-bes, okay how bad can it be?
Using “feeling thermometers” — ...
...the quantitative measure of how warmly people feel toward others — the researchers found that we don’t care much for rabid partisans, even if we agree with them. Why? In their words, “Although some Americans are politically polarized, more simply want to avoid talking about politics"...
So feel free to go on about politics all you want — to your cat. Forever.
You don't to elicit the wrong feeling-thermometer temperature and be unpopular, do you? So do the politics-cleanse this guy recommends "for two weeks — maybe over your August vacation" -- because everybody gets two weeks in August, don't they, Times fans? -- and "when you find yourself thinking about politics, distract yourself with something else. (I listen to  Bach cantatas, but that’s not for everybody.)" That's where I really begin to really mistrust this guy. More:
This is hard to do, of course, but not impossible. You just have to plan ahead and stand firm. Think of it as ideological veganism. On the one hand, your friends will think you’re a little wacky. On the other hand, you’ll feel superior to them. 
Haw! He shore knows his libtard audience alright! So filled with gratitude will the Times readers be for this latest life hack -- because, come to think of it, shutting out all that child-stealing and treasury-looting and democracy-destroying might give their skin a nice, healthy glow again -- they won't bother to look at the byline:
by Arthur C. Brooks
Mr. Brooks is the president of the American Enterprise Institute.
Well, I can imagine why he wants to get Times readers to give up on politics! The chutzpah high-point: Brooks tells us to focus on ideas rather than politics and adds, "They aren’t the same thing. Ideas are like the climate, whereas politics is like the weather." If you don't know why that's funny, take a look at the American Enterprise Institute's "climate change" page. Sample item: "On Earth Day, let’s appreciate fossil fuels." Thanks, pal!

•  Oh, and of course the twitter-sputter over Sarah Jeong is exactly the bad-faith bullshit that The Verge called it out as, and good for them. I am an elderly white man, and I find Jeong's allegedly monstrous tweets amusing, especially when waved as bloody shirts by idiots like Andrew Sullivan and Rod Dreher. How I wish I could be lionized for my toleration of Jeong, the way black conservatives are always celebrated for approving of white reactionaries! But no one on God's green earth -- including Sullivan, Dreher and the rest of them -- really considers her tweets a genuine threat to white folks. In fact you get the impression that what animates the haters is not Jeong but the white people who aren't going along with the gag by pretending to be offended -- here's Sullivan, agape at the race-traitors (or should I say race-fifth columnists):
Scroll through left-Twitter and you find utter incredulity that demonizing white people could in any way be offensive. That’s the extent to which loathing of and contempt for “white people” is now background noise on the left.
Nobody knows the trouble he's seen. But what is the trouble, really? Are mobs of Korean-Americans going to hunt down honkies for a knockout game? All Sullivan's got is this:
What many don’t seem to understand is that their view of racism isn’t shared by the public at large, and that the defense of it by institutions like the New York Times will only serve to deepen the kind of resentment that gave us Trump.
This Is What Gave Us Trump -- the last refuge of the neo-scoundrel!  The whole thing's got Sullivan retweeting #WalkAway tweets like some Trumpkin rageclown, a position to which he will certainly convert fully by 2020. Even worse (and that takes some doing) is Lord Saletan:
The problem with speaking coarsely about whites or men isn't that they're in danger. They aren't. The problem is that when you talk this way, you corrupt yourself.
You're only hurting yourselves! Somewhere Margaret Dumont is miffed Saletan stole her bit.

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