Tuesday, October 21, 2014

SHUT UP AND... SAY, WHAT IS IT THAT YOU DO EXACTLY?

Well, I see conservatives are bitching that the Met dared to put on a well-regarded John Adams opera called The Death of Klinghoffer. Plenty of Zhdanovites to choose from, but let's go with John Podhoretz; he's been awful a long time without notice. He accuses the Met of trying to stir "controversy" with the 23-year-old opera:
The point is not that “The Death of Klinghoffer” shouldn’t be performed. Fine, let it be performed. When it comes to anti-Semitism, “The Merchant of Venice” is far worse. But then let it be protested as well without whining.
Because if you protest our protesting, it's whining; if we protest your protesting (say, in Ferguson), it's just reasoned debate.
No one gainsays the question when people protest the staging of “The Merchant of Venice,” because every honest person acknowledges what is profoundly offensive about it even as they admit it is an undeniably great work.
As witnessed by all the celebrity wingnuts protesting whenever The Merchant of Venice plays. Whoops, sorry, no Palestinians in that one! (Maybe he means this.)
Perhaps there are people who can honestly argue “The Death of Klinghoffer” is a work so aesthetically vital every culturally literate person must see it or be deemed a Babbitty boob.
Remember, whenever you make a case for a work of art and John Podhoretz doesn't like it, what you're really doing is insulting simple, salt-of-the-earth folk like John Podhoretz.
No, what they wanted was a nice, comforting, fake controversy, one of those controversies that makes something seem larger and more relevant. This is a violation of the true aesthetic purpose of an arts institution.
Spoken like a guy who used to review movies over a little meter that showed how "left" and "right" they were.

You know how you can recognize propaganda from other kinds of bad writing? By the inescapable sensation that it couldn't have made any sense even if its author had actually tried.


Monday, October 20, 2014

BUTCHING IT UP.

As he's the king of the rightbloggers, it may be instructive to excerpt a number of Instapundit Gelnn Reynolds' posts from today:
7:00 AM: TEACH WOMEN NOT TO RAPE! (CONT’D): Lehigh Acres woman arrested for sex with 15-year-old... 
7:48 AM: THAT’S DEEPLY DISAPPOINTING: Cathy Young: The Federalist Society Caves to “Rape Culture” Orthodoxy... 
10:38 AM: AS THEY SHOULD. THE NEW POLICY IS A POISON PILL FOR HIGHER EDUCATION. Harvard Profs Hate New Campus Sex Laws... 
12:27 PM: LIFE IN THE 21ST CENTURY: Welcome to Oculus XXX: In-Your-Face 3D is the Future of Porn... 
12:42 PM: TINA BROWN: Women Feel “Unsafe” With Obama... 
1:00 PM: THIS IS UNSURPRISING: Women Prefer Male Bosses Even More Than Men Do... 
2:44 PM: TEACH WOMEN NOT TO LIE ABOUT RAPE! (CONT’D): Woman claims she was sexually assaulted, admits it didn’t happen... 
6:39 PM: FORBES: #GamerGate Is Not A Hate Group, It’s A Consumer Movement. Related: #GamerGate Makes the Left Uncomfortable Because Gamer Gaters Have Adopted the Left’s Tactics... 
9:38 PM: JUSTINE TUNNEY: “The 900 pound elephant in the gamer/sexism debate, is they’re really just attacking autistic people for clumsy social propriety"...

9:47 PM: SHOCKER: Vegetarians Have Much Lower Sperm Counts...
You may perceive a pattern. The Perfesser has never been a fan of women's lib, but in the past has been content to occasionally float fanciful cointelpro, like his wingnut versions of Cosmo, and to dream of robowhores. What else could he do? Electorally, he was outnumbered. But this election season, with the Democrats' war-on-women strategy growing long in the tooth, the Perfesser seems to see an opening, and to believe that the Angry Nerds of G-gate will bring some fresh energy to the Lost Cause, if they can be spurred to action by tales of virago manrape, lesbo-liberal anti-fuck squads, and such like. Either that, or he figures the midterms are a cinch for the Republicans, and hopes he can convince them afterwards that he delivered an important constituency, one that should be rewarded with an Anti-Witchcraft Amendment or something like that.

The rest of his posts are mostly about Ebola, which just makes it perfect.

UPDATE. The night of the following day: "21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: Why I Visit Prostitutes," "SHE SHOULD HAVE BEEN MORE CAREFUL ABOUT BODILY FLUIDS, I GUESS: Monica Lewinsky: I was 'patient zero' in Internet bullying," etc.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

EVERYTHING OLD IS NUTS AGAIN.

We seem to be entering a Republican retro phase. For one thing, just like in '01 the GOP brethren are all keen for Boots on the Ground in the Middle East (Operation 'What Quagmire?'). They're even talking about WMD and citing the New York Times as evidence. Somewhere Judy Miller is laughing her ass off.

Also, a scant six years after capitalism shit the global financial bed, we're seeing a resurrection of capitalism-rocks boosterism straight out of the Reagan era. Regulate financial institutions? Hmmph! scoffs Veronique de Rugy, veteran richie apologist, at the Daily Beast. "Regulators are often captured by the industry they regulate at the expense of everyone else," so let the banks police themselves, just as corruption among the cops means we should leave street gangs free to sort out their own affairs. (Talk about little platoons!)

Hernando de Soto in the Wall Street Journal actually ties Yay Capitalism to ISIS:
As the U.S. moves into a new theater of the war on terror, it will miss its best chance to beat back Islamic State and other radical groups in the Middle East if it doesn’t deploy a crucial but little-used weapon: an aggressive agenda for economic empowerment... 
As anyone who’s walked the streets of Lima, Tunis and Cairo knows, capital isn’t the problem -- it is the solution.

"I get a closer, cleaner decapitation with Gillette!"

De Soto tells us that Shining Path was defeated in Peru mainly by capitalism ("These new habits of mind helped us to beat back terror in Peru and can do the same, I believe, in the Middle East and North Africa"), and only incidentally by increased force of arms and oh yeah, authoritarian rule funded by the U.S. via tariff relief and narco-war military aid. Well, at least in this case there's no functional democratic tradition to topple, and the next wave of Chicago Boys can implement their Shock and Awe Doctrine with a clear conscience, assuming some friendly unipolar superpower can keep their offices from being blown up by whoever replaces ISIS (but what are the chances? We'll be greeted as entrepreneurs!).

Speaking of entrepreneurs, here's Reihan Salam at Slate with "In Praise of Amazon -- Jeff Bezos’ company is not the problem with American capitalism. It’s the solution to our economy’s ills" -- and boy, doesn't that call to mind "you mark my words, [it] will not only save Teldar Paper, but that other malfunctioning corporation called the USA." Salam thinks we don't give enough credit to our Titans of Industry:
Most of us believe that patents—legal monopolies that entitle you to all of the benefits from your invention for a limited period of time—are an OK idea because you have to give people some ex ante incentive to do the hard work of creating new things. You and I might both believe that the U.S. patent system has gotten way out of hand, but it’s hard to argue that patents are always a terrible idea. But what about the incentive to engage in the kind of complex coordination that creates enormous value, that raises productivity and delivers lowers prices, that can't actually be patented?
There's something wonderful about Salam having to hurriedly gin up some respect for the patent system so he can use it to show the littlebrains how important intellectual property is -- you dopes love this so-called "inventor" who just wants to clean up the environment or some junk, well how about someone who invented a way to crush his competition and capture markets? Shouldn't he get a fancy certificate, too, along with protection from the FTC?

Next they'll all start wearing red suspenders and smoking cigars again.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

INEPT EVEN AT SPREADING PANIC.

One of our most esteemed conservative writers approaches the important subject of Ebola:
While disposing of a body in a mass grave, one man in a hazmat suit turns to another and asks, “When did we run out of body bags?” 
“Two days ago.” 
Fortunately, the scene is only from the movie Contagion, though it’s probably close enough to what is going on in parts of West Africa right now.
Surprise, it's National Review legacy pledge Jonah Goldberg, talking about something he understands (a stupid movie) and something he doesn't (everything else, except maybe delis with the best deals on Cheetos and Mom's List of Names of Librul Fascists I Can Use). Boy, I bet West Africa's like that movie Contagion -- not very popular and it stinks, amirite!

After some pro-forma slurs on Gwyneth Paltrow, Goldberg suggests that liberal Hollyweird has been covering for Obama fake-epidemic-wise:
Contagion broke away from the shackles of the genre. Ross Douthat put it well in an essay for National Review, calling it a “pro-establishment thriller.” Government officials, the scientists, even the military were all competent and determined to do the right thing. 
It was a fascinating departure from the speak-truth-to-power cinema of the Bush years and even Hollywood’s paranoia in the Clinton years. (In the movie version of The X-Files, FEMA was a villainous cabal.)...

Given the timing, I think it’s no accident Hollywood produced Contagion. After all, Obama was going to restore faith in government.
Thus were the lofo sheeple lulled into a false sense of security by a liberal disaster movie. But now we know the CDC is stupid because some people in Texas got Ebola.
We now have our own version of Contagion playing out in real time.
From the Wikipedia on Contagion: "The Minnesota National Guard arrives to quarantine the city... Meanwhile, the death toll reaches 2.5 million in the U.S. and 26 million worldwide..." The current Ebola situation in America is more like Terms of Endearment than Contagion.
The disease is different, of course, and so is the response. Still...
Just wait a second and contemplate the Oh For Fuck's Sakeness of that.
...Still, I have little doubt that the real-life players at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institutes of Health are as well-intentioned as their cinematic versions.
What the fuck does that even mean? That's like saying, "Oprah Winfrey is not really like Lizzie Borden. Still, I'm sure she has nice table manners, just like Lizzie Borden."
But they aren’t nearly as reassuring. They keep telling us they know what can’t happen right up until the moment it happens. They put the theory of their expertise ahead of the facts on the ground...
In other words, unprecedented event is unprecedented, so scientific protocol is worthless and we're all going to die like in that movie. I know some scribble has to occasionally appear under Goldberg's name from time to time, but there are so many wingnuts trying to panic the country with Ebola now that I assume conservative movement leaders take it seriously as a propaganda theme -- aren't they concerned that Goldberg's clowning might spoil it?

UPDATE. In comments, mortimer2000 brings us back to 2006, when Goldberg was telling us to "Give Bush a Break" over Katrina:
And of course there were real tragedies involved in that disaster. But you know what? Bad stuff happens during disasters, which is why we don't call them tickle-parties... 
Long before Katrina, New Orleans was a dysfunctional city in a state with famously corrupt and incompetent leadership, many of whose residents think that it is the job of the federal government to make everyone whole...
It's not as if he's completely inconsistent -- in both cases, he clearly can't give a shit about the people who are suffering.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

HOW DOES HE DO IT?

At National Review, Jay Nordlinger quotes himself:
One day, no one thought of gay marriage (or few did). The next day, “civil unions” were the far-out, progressive position. The day after that, if you favored civil unions but not gay marriage, you were a Klansman. A Nazi. That’s where we are now. Try refusing to bake a cake for a gay wedding, or refusing to rent your hall for such a wedding. Just try it.
As enraged as Nordlinger is because you can't discriminate against gay couples, he is more enraged that Obama and Biden changed their minds on the subject:
Running in 2012, of course, both Obama and Biden sang a different tune. They had had an epiphany or something. (Is “epiphany” too religious a word for our modern society?) 
Here’s the grating thing: They scorn people who are against gay marriage as, basically, Klansmen and Nazis. The blink of an eye ago, they themselves were against gay marriage (officially)! But now the people who hold that same position — the Obama-Biden position until May 2012 — are Klansmen and Nazis?
I suppose someone called opponents of gay rights Nazis and/or Klansmen, but this is the first I've heard that Obama and Biden did so. Anyone got the link?

In a later post, Nordlinger again:
I watched the Kentucky Senate debate last night — the debate between Mitch McConnell and Alison Lundergan Grimes. I am a partisan Republican and an admirer of McConnell. Even if I were not, however, I think I would have the same view...
After that, I should have known better than to keep reading.
Grimes was a robot, and an often nasty one. She was scarcely a human being.
Why, this is the kind of reductive language I expect from Klansmen and Nazis!

Both posts end with Nordlinger weeping that politics is too dirty for him. Well, I'm glad something is. In addition to these deathless insights, Nordlinger does articles: This is from his latest one:
But I must say, I find it increasingly difficult to read things on the Internet. I click on an article, and I’m not taken to the article: I’m taken to an ad instead. Then there is this experience: Loud music will suddenly start playing...
Jonah Goldberg at least has family connections. I assume Nordlinger has lurid pictures of Buckley locked away somewhere; nothing else explains his persistence.

Monday, October 13, 2014

LIKE THE WAR ON SCIENCE, ONLY DUMBER.

National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins, probably annoyed that Republicans who couldn't give two shits about medical research are whooping up Ebola like it's an STD Obama is giving to white women, came out and said that budget cuts to the NIH have adversely impacted their development of a vaccine.

The response from the rocket scientists at Twitchy, Michelle Malkin's troll factory, is that Collins is a "fool" and a stoopid egghead just trying to "exploit this outbreak to get more funding" for his precious NIH but news flash Mr. Bigbrain Twitchy goin' VIRAL with a hashtag (#TookMoneyFromEbolaResearch) that will alert the sheeple to what really robbed your stupid science-people boondoggle:
Not mentioned: The $3 trillion Iraq war which, if Republicans get their way, will soon be going for 4.

Twitchy's hashtag has indeed been picked up by other operatives, and will soon educate the masses thus:


The portion of the electorate that is not screaming EBOLA WE ALL GON DIE through beaks stuffed with lavender will, I am sure, see right through this nonsense. But we need a majority! (travelling music)

Friday, October 10, 2014

FRIDAY ROUND-THE-HORN.

•   The Nobel Peace Prize just awarded to Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzay (the latter of whom was famous shot by Taliban creeps for daring to go to school) has become, as everything in the world does sooner than later, an excuse for trolling prior NPP winner Barack Obama by conservatives and libertarians (but I repeat myself). The low-water mark (so far) can be found at American Thinker where, after some standard-issue anti-Obama arghblargh by Rick Moran, major Thinker Thomas Lifson is allowed a "dissent" in which he denigrates the Award as an affirmative-action participation trophy:
Yes, this is not as terrible as awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to Barack Obama based on nothing (unless you count being half black), but that is not the same as getting it right... 
Neither of these young women have anything to do with peace or fraternity between nations. Even though they inhabit two nations with a long history of mutual antagonism.
The Nobel Committee has hijacked the Prize, and now awards it to anybody that semi-plausibly can be identified with some sort of good works. It has become a PC award, and, as in the case of Yassir Arafat, has gone to monsters, or, as in the case of Jimmy Carter, people who have made the world a worse place. 
Instead of patting the Nobel Committee on the back we should be mocking them for mush-headed egotism in their deviation from the explicit instructions of Alfred Nobel.
Yeah, better it should go to guys like Teddy Roosevelt and Henry Kissinger. This is one of those occasions where "Christ, what an asshole" is both the most appropriate response and woefully insufficient.

•   Torture enthusiast Andrew C, McCarthy is pushing #Benghazi again via a front group's open letter to Trey Gowdy. McCarthy has been very open about wanting to impeach Obama for oh why not; in this case, the argument boils down to Leon Panetta's talking smack about Obama, let's get him on the witness stand ("the need for such an inquiry has become both indisputable and even more urgent"). I suppose he'll do it again when the Postmaster General puts out a book. Meanwhile Jonah Goldberg does his bit in the midst of a fart-filled flogging of the Secret Service scandalette:
Neither answer excludes the other, and both speak volumes about this White House’s problems. The underlying scandal is fairly minor. But if the White House would falsify records and lie to the public about this, is it really so hard to imagine that it would deceive the public – and Congress – about larger issues like, say, Benghazi?
Get used to it: When the Republicans take the Senate, it's gonna be this 24 hours a day.

•    On a happier note, I have added two blogs to the "Forget About Politics" sidebar that may give you some pleasure, both by former colleagues at the Old Firm. Life along bumpy dirt roads started as a series of Facebook posts by one colleague (who for some reason wants to be known as josegarcia333) about his upbringing in Texas and Mexico; he eventually realized he had more to say than Facebook could accommodate. You know how, once in a great while, someone starts talking about their childhood and you realize they're not just running a highlight reel but actually telling a story? That's this. Also added, lutheran liar looks at life, by Alice Henry Whitmore, ace copywriter and in this venue a composer of bagatelles which always brighten my day and might yours; here's an example. The most durable thing in writing etc.

•    Comity coffee break over -- everyone back on your heads! PJ Media kingpin and crackpot Roger L. Simon:
It’s time for Republicans to give serious thought to what happens if they win the Senate and House this November, as it looks increasingly that they will. While not exactly Pyrrhic, this victory will present a whole range of potential problems and traps that could negatively affect this country’s future and the world. And as we know, we are living in precarious times. 
Barack Obama is a man unaccustomed to losing. Life has been exceptionally kind to him, sailing, as he did, through balmy Oahu sunsets, college, law school and career on into the presidency with scarcely a bump... 
This man is angry but highly unlikely to go into an anger management program. Imagine what will happen after November. We could be looking at behavior that would fit the very definition of “acting out,” anti-social but on a global scale. And he still has two more years in office...
Don't tease us, Rog, tell us how specifically Obama's gonna go mental!
The Environmental Protection Agency could become a virtual American gestapo...
Shit, I knew I should have changed out my lightbulbs! Oh well, at least the camps will be smoke-free.