Thursday, August 16, 2018

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Been in my head all week, is why.

•  The Pennsylvania Catholic Church abuse scandal is grim indeed, though when I read Rod Dreher on the subject, portraying it as a sort of Day The Music Died ("my friend, a tough-guy lawyer, wrote to tell me that he wept in his office. He said, 'I am at the end'"), I have to ask: In the brief time he spent as a Catholic, did he not read any Church history? The stateside sex abuse has been a live story for decades, but the One Holy & Apostolic has been corrupt as hell for centuries. If you believe in the Church, it must be because God called you to it, not because you think the depravity of Man ceases once he crosses the threshold of a cathedral. Anyway, the silver lining is some of the worst writing Megan McArdle has ever done. Here's a sample, and I hope you have your Bad Analogy filter on:
According to news reports, the church hierarchy in Pennsylvania and beyond has already denied Christ’s gospel three times: once when it sheltered predators in silence; once when it failed to remove everyone who was involved in covering up any crime; and again when two of the six dioceses involved tried to shut down the grand jury investigation that produced the report. Now they face the same choice Peter did.
I should say the comparison with child molesters is a bit hard on Peter, who only let a bit of social anxiety run away with him after a rough night.
They can offer the full record of faithlessness in abject penitence, witnessing for repentance and redemption even at risk of martyrdom. Or they can deny Him a fourth time by minimizing the past and protecting those who helped maintain that grisly silence. Which is to say, they can choose to be a millstone around the neck of the faithful — or the rock on which the church can be rebuilt.
Aaaagh! And people think folk masses are corny.

•  You may have already seen what I expect will become a legendary column by Matt K. Lewis, "Did I Join a Movement That Naturally Attracts Extremists and Kooks?" This soggier-than-most I've Made a Huge Mistake, Trump regrets dreamboard is funny for many reasons: First, because Lewis is a tool in general; second,  because up till recently Lewis was writing columns like "Amy Coney Barrett, the Trump Supreme Court Pick Who’ll Troll Liberals the Hardest" ("Jurisprudence, schmuriprudence. She’s under 50, devoutly Catholic, has seven kids, and she’ll make the libs crazy. Good enough for me"). He's like a dumb hood who, having been cheerfully knocking over liquor stores and joyriding in stolen cars for months, discovers immediately upon arrest that he's been misled by false friends.  But third and most hilariously, get this:
I grew up with (and signed on for) Reagan’s version of conservatism. In recent years, I have become disenchanted—not with the intellectual philosophy of Edmund Burke or the governing philosophy of Ronald Reagan—but with what passes for conservatism today.
I wonder what Lewis would say if you asked him what conservative principles Burke supported -- probably either "He didn't like the French Revolution" or "Jonah Goldberg says he's conservative." As for Reagan, it may be asking a lot of Lewis to connect the Gipper's trickle-down bullshit with the reign of the 1%, but if he's going to pretend to convert he might at least look at the prayerbook. As it stands, his act is like any other NeverTrumper's: to repurpose an aging joke, he and they say they never dreamed the Leopards Eating People's Faces Party would eat anyone's face, and it must be the fault of all the Face-Eating Leopards who inexplicably showed up.

•  Speaking of hot takes on the Church scandal, here's Michael Walsh at American Greatness:
I cannot say for certain when the rot set in, but I can say when my disillusionment first set in: with Vatican II and the papal reigns of John XXIII and Paul VI... some of the outward changes [John] and Paul instituted in the Church -- the abandonment of the Latin rite was one that most affected this altar boy -- seemed arbitrary and superfluous; we would have called them “virtue signaling” today.
The author of Humanae Vitae as a limousine liberal! I can imagine an ancestor of Walsh sighing that it all really went downhill when the Church stopped torturing heretics. Also:
...the French Revolution’s violent destruction of the ancient regime was as much directed against the Church as it was against the monarchy. To this day, laïcité is one of the French Republic’s guiding principles, and it’s no accident that into the Gallic spiritual void left by ostracized Christianity has rushed recrudescent Islam. Satan, like Nature, abhors a vacuum.
To help fight off the pervs and Satanic Muslims, Walsh calls for "a restoration of the Latin rite," which I'm sure goes down a treat with American Greatness' Throne and Altar readership, though I expect the younger set who are abandoning churchgoing in general will find it more evidence they've made the right choice.

ARETHA, 1942-2018.


Nothing like her. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

JEFFREY GOLDBERG IS ONE LUCKY SON OF A BITCH.

I guess you heard about "Stephen Miller Is an Immigration Hypocrite. I Know Because I’m His Uncle." Said uncle, David S. Glosser, talks about Wolf-Leib Glosser from Belarus -- a mutual ancestor of himself and the xenophobic Trump flunky Miller — and how he came through Ellis Island with no more credentials for entry than have the immigrants of today, and what would have happened to him if someone like Miller had been around to shut them out:
I shudder at the thought of what would have become of the Glossers had the same policies Stephen so coolly espouses— the travel ban, the radical decrease in refugees, the separation of children from their parents, and even talk of limiting citizenship for legal immigrants — been in effect when Wolf-Leib made his desperate bid for freedom. The Glossers came to the U.S. just a few years before the fear and prejudice of the “America first” nativists of the day closed U.S. borders to Jewish refugees. Had Wolf-Leib waited, his family likely would have been murdered by the Nazis along with all but seven of the 2,000 Jews who remained in Antopol. I would encourage Stephen to ask himself if the chanting, torch-bearing Nazis of Charlottesville, whose support his boss seems to court so cavalierly, do not envision a similar fate for him.
Stepping up to answer Glosser is rightwing free speech martyr #276 Kevin D. Williamson, who at National Review sniffs Hypocrisy, ha, I put sneer quotes on your "hypocrisy"! and proceeds to tell this sentimental descendant of Holocaust escapees how small the story of Wolf-Leib Glosser is compared to Kevin D. Williamson's expansive view of history:
Miller’s ancestors immigrated to the United States. Every living American is either an immigrant or had immigrant ancestors. For that matter, every human being dwelling in North America, and every one who ever has, is either an immigrant or a child of immigrants, humans not being native to the continent, or to any other continent but Africa, the significance of which ought to be obvious to any Homo even half sapiens. By the Glosser standard, everybody who supports immigration restrictions is a “hypocrite.” (That’s how you know it is kind of a stupid standard.)
See, Glosser, your ancestor and his murdered coevals are not so special -- we're all immigrants, really. (And those coevals' deaths aren't so meaningful either because, hey, everybody dies!) Believe it or not, Williamson decides to gild this lulu:
By the same standard, everybody who thinks that living like a caveman is sub-optimal is a hypocrite, too: What, it was good enough for your ancestors! If it weren’t for grub-eating, head-bonking, and casual cannibalism, you wouldn’t even be here!
Boy, the Atlantic really missed a trick there, huh?

Monday, August 13, 2018

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about the conservative elevation of Alex Jones to a hero of free speech. It is extremely rare for conservatives to defend users of speech rights with whom they do not agree, and I am extremely unconvinced that they all suddenly got religion on behalf of Jones in an ecumenical, Voltairean spirit.

Friday, August 10, 2018

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


There are some good modern versions of this with better sound,
but I love how wonderfully
sleazy this 1958 original is.

• It's hilarious -- but not surprising -- that conservatives are defending Alex Jones from the private companies that dumped him on free speech grounds. Look at this nav bar from National Review's front page:


Also at NR: "Don't Ban Alex Jones," "Are We to Blame for the Alex Jones Problem?" ("we" being "America," not "rightwingers who benefit from his Overton shifting"), etc. Interestingly, while conservatives used to cry "censorship" in the cases of James Damore and Brendan Eich, they also usually stuck in grumbling asides admitting that of course businesses had a right to associate or disassociate will whomever they liked (usually without mentioning the exception of protected classes -- perhaps reminding themselves that black people made the cut and they didn't was too bitter to bear). But they're less likely to mention it now -- maybe because, as I mentioned at the Voice the other day, conservatives are increasingly comfortable with the idea of regulating internet companies so they can't bounce Nazis and crackpots like Jones.  They would not admit that's why they're doing it, of course  -- nearly every one of their pieces has some blahblah about how awful Jones is, and that this is all about principle. But I haven't seen these guys rush to the defense of alt-right social network Gab, which just got muscled by Microsoft to dump some straight-up Nazi, anti-Semitic shit they had up there if they wanted to keep using their Azure servers to publish. (Gab posted some anti-Semitic shit of their own on Twitter before the Gab poster withdrew his posts.)  Surely conservatives should be denouncing this persecution of the Gab Nazis and their free-speech rights by the evil liberal corporation -- yet I haven't heard a word from them. Maybe they figure they have to work on normalizing Alex Jones for a while before they wrap their protective arms around the Fourth Reich.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

IN NO POSITION TO MAKE DEMANDS.

Some social media companies have finally decided to tell Alex Jones to get stuffed and, wouldn't you know it, prominent conservatives are demanding a mistrial on the grounds of You Didn't Say Simon Says. National Review's David French, in the gaw-damn New York Times:
Apple said it “does not tolerate hate speech.” Facebook accused Mr. Jones of violating policies against “glorifying violence” or using “dehumanizing language..." 
These policies sound good on first reading, but they are extraordinarily vague. We live in times when the slightest deviation from the latest and ever-changing social justice style guide is deemed bigoted and, yes, “dehumanizing"...
French is speaking on behalf of his own buddies who get thrown off other people's internet property from time to time -- like Muslim-hating scream queen Pamela Geller and her Jihad Watch. French's defense of Pammycakes' hate-site: "It’s controversial, to be sure, but it is miles from The Daily Stormer." Oh well then.

Then French runs through the innamalectual dork web's greatest woe-is-me-I'm-a-victim hits ("Just ask Evergreen State College’s Bret Weinstein"), and, get this, tells Facebook et alia to use his own chosen standard when deciding whom to throw out:
The good news is that tech companies don’t have to rely on vague, malleable and hotly contested definitions of hate speech to deal with conspiracy theorists like Mr. Jones. The far better option would be to prohibit libel or slander on their platforms. 
To be sure, this would tie their hands more: Unlike “hate speech,” libel and slander have legal meanings. There is a long history of using libel and slander laws to protect especially private figures from false claims. It’s properly more difficult to use those laws to punish allegations directed at public figures, but even then there are limits on intentionally false factual claims.
This reminds me of a TV variety show sketch I saw as a kid, in which Paul Lynde and Martha Raye played show-biz types. "I'm only willing to do a nude scene," Raye said with her nose in the air, "if it has redeeming artistic qualities." After looking her up and down, Lynde replied, "Who asked ya?"

I mean, this is like if some asshole starts tearing up your house and, as you're pitching him out the door, he starts naming conditions under which he'd be willing to leave quietly. At that point you only hope that when you throw him off the stoop he lands on his head.

Douchebags like French, Glenn Reynolds ("This is absolutely the first stage in a coordinated plan to deplatform everyone on the right") and Ben Shapiro ("Suggest that Caitlyn Jenner is a man, and you might be violating crucial social-media 'hate speech' taboos") come swaggering up making demands like this because they're so accustomed to bullying cowards like the New York Times editorial board that they think, in any situation, all they have to do is yell YOU'RE DEPLATFORMING ME like Rudd yelling "Diplomatic immunity" in Lethal Weapon 2 and they'll get what they want. Guess what, guys: Revoked.


Monday, August 06, 2018

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about the conservative outrage over Sarah Jeong's white-people jokes. There were many contributions cut for lack of space -- as well as events that came too late for it, like alt-right black person Candace Owen's stunt of changing "white" to "Jewish" in Jeong's tweets to get Twitter to briefly suspend her. Victim status: Achieved! (No point explaining to her why it's more offensive to rag on Jews; she'll probably tell you that Hitler killed just as many white people.)

As you might imagine, there was lot of infantile rage over at Ace of Spades, including this lightly-disguised White Pride plaint:
The left's attempt to impose a new "Woke" Jim Crow caste system will result in the same sort of mass civil unrest that the last Jim Crow caste system did-- except that there's a lot more people they're trying to turn into an Untouchable caste, now.
You see a lot of this on Twitter, too:


I can picture these cowboys carefully laundering their Confederate flags in anticipation of the Civil War Rematch. ("Basil" appears to be Canadian, actually, but probably identifies with Worldwide Wypipo.)

They're even worse when they try to explain themselves. After denouncing Jeong's "racist... misandrist and heterophobic" tweets, Daniel Greenfield at FrontPageMag repeats a crime news story about April Epperson, a white lady running a Subway sandwich shop who threw a black guy out of her store and called him n*****, for which she was later fired. Epperson claims the black guy punched her (no evidence of that, though this video reveals a tussle when she grabbed the phone he was recording her with); Greenfield seems to take her at her word, and after he runs it through his grievance-processor it comes out tied to Jeong:
But who has more power, the new writer for the biggest and most influential paper in the country or a Subway manager? And who feels more threatened, a blogger getting nasty tweets or a woman being punched in the face by a man? 
Who has more power, Epperson or Jeong?  
It's easy to tell. Because Jeong will have a job despite tweeting multiple racist things about white people. While Epperson won't. Nor will anyone else hire her.
I don't know why Greenfield didn't just use the knockout game like every other race-obsessed wingnut. Oh, and Jeong's not the only one beating up the white lady:
That's why Obama has never been held accountable for his meeting with Farrakhan. It's why the Congressional Black Caucus, the Women's March leaders and other powerful leftist figures have gotten away with being racist and being anti-Semitic. It's why Sarah Jeong and the New York Times will get away with it too. 
How do these people even live, terrified of and hateful toward half of their fellow citizens?

Friday, August 03, 2018

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


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” — ...
LOL
...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.