Thursday, September 13, 2018


One of the great gifts the missus has given me is an appreciation of this giant.
What Chandler said about writers and style goes double for singers.

• In the Friday newsletter (not to late to sign up!) I mention these oddly-promoted PJ Media stories:

I told readers I wouldn't worry about the actual content of these things, the blurbs being so delightful, but later snuck off and read them anyway. Roger Kimball's is a long yawn about how no matter what the kids think socialism is Venezuela. After a few grafs of that and some historical padding Kimball gets here:
So, what is the emotional motor of socialism? In a word, benevolence. 
That may seem counter-intuitive. Isn’t benevolence a good thing? 
That depends. Benevolence is a curious mental or characterological attribute.
He’s an intellectual, see! He sloshes around in this for a while, then:
The sad truth is that theoretical benevolence is compatible with any amount of practical indifference or even cruelty. You feel kindly towards others. That is what matters: your feelings.
I can see, in the abstract, what the appeal of this might be: Why someone might want to call anyone who wants the state to relieve the afflicted a feeling-centered SJW, but wants with it some intellectual credibility. And here's some wiener in an ascot and horn-rims saying it in purty words ("The intoxicating effects of benevolence help to explain the growing appeal of politically correct attitudes about everything...").

But who’s the market? In the age of Trump, why would anyone bother? Just say, as Trump did about the death toll in Puerto Rico, that it has nothing to do with you because you're smart so whatever went wrong with those losers must have been their own or someone else's fault. In the immortal words of Elvis Costello, pretty words don't mean much anymore.

• As for Richard Fernandez, ermahgerd the lede:
Any directed tour depends on prior knowledge of the scenery so it can be introduced as it comes into view. A guided tour into the unknown is impossible by definition. What has kept pundits from accurately predicting what comes next in these years of turmoil is that they were surprised by developments like everyone else. 
The result is that the Narrative is now burdened by a tremendous accumulation of events whose significance no one can quite understand. The liberal response to this jumble of mysteries...
AAAGH STOP I'LL CONFESS. Fernandez has always been tough to follow, but you can usually track his intent through chunks in the spoor. And for a while that method serves here, too:
Europe appears to be unaccountably in the midst of what the media vaguely describes as a drift to the "extreme right." Even Sweden, long the iconic "moral superpower" of the left, is developing a distinct right-wing list.
The libs are concerned with the rise of crypto-Nazis. How childish, when the real problem is political correctness! On and on Fernandez goes about the "censorship" experienced by -- let's look at where his link goes; ah yes: experienced by Alex Jones and other assholes.

And what's worse is what the censorship is doing to our minds: "The willingness to self-censor speaks volumes about how important it is to preserve the paradigm." Soon our children will come home morosely dragging their bookbags and, after the mandatory prayer to Soros, murmur, "Teacher says I shouldn't talk about lizard people and try and sell the other kids supplements."

Let's look at his close:
But the Narrative, however powerful, cannot remain unchanged forever. If the liberal world order does not break up along left-right fault lines then it will fragment under the regulatory schemes aimed at carving it up into fiefdoms It may in the end prove impossible to determine in which direction the "arc of history" bends. #TakeItBack? There's nothing to take back. The future we imagined on September 11, 2001, and the one promised by Barack Obama in 2008 were not what we wound up with. Maybe that is all for the best. About the only thing we can confidently predict is that tomorrow will surprise us.
This is gibberish. I'm sorry. If you've done some reading of rightblogs you'll have some idea of what they mean when they refer to The Narrative, but when it comes to cases all it really means is Stuff Said By People Who Are Not Me. Like The Federalist’s Stella Morbito, who recently harrumphed that "a stranger coming up to you assuming you share his views" is "annoying, not to mention disrespectful," Fernandez eschews the consensus reality of us littlebrains. But what he offers as an alternative is just a thicket of allusions, quotations, and bosh. I charitably assume that he hopes with his wordstorms to attain something like the effect, or at least the status, of poetry. But his writing sucks. It really, really sucks.

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