Showing posts with label ben shapiro. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ben shapiro. Show all posts

Monday, November 06, 2017

CIVIL WAR CONSPLAY.

[The Sutherland Springs shooting required that I rewrite, as we say in the journalism business, my Village Voice column last night. But a rough version of the original still sits on my laptop and I figure you might get a kick out of it.]

Hear about the big antifa “civil war” last weekend? Kidding, it didn’t actually happen — and when it didn’t, rightbloggers took credit.

Rumors that The Left would go all Helter Skelter on Saturday had apparently been brewing on the right since August, when old-left group Refuse Fascism called for a nationwide “struggle” against Trump, Pence, and The Man, begining with demonstrations on November 4.

I’ve seen these guys as part (a small part) of anti-Trump events before, and their efforts probably wouldn’t have entered public consciousness were it not for rightwing reports by internet randos about a “civil war” that “antifa” — the randos’ generic term, apparently, for all leftist boogiemen — were planning for November 4.

Word spread among other conservative sites. “America is poised for revolution, and a date has been set, November 4, 2017,” warned Catholic Online.

“’Antifa' preps mass uprising to remove 'fascist' Trump,” reported WorldNetDaily. Like many of the story-spreaders, they started out talking about antifa (“The far-left group known as ‘antifa’ has dramatically increased its presence”), then suddenly switched gears to talk about Refuse Fascism (“On Nov. 4, the group Refuse Fascism is calling for gatherings around America to demand ‘the Trump/Pence regime must go’”).

And of course Infowars was all over it (“ALT-LEFT PLANS ANTI-TRUMP RIOTS IN MAJOR CITIES ON NOVEMBER 4”).

The story even got some play at Politico in a Taylor Gee story called “Inside the Left’s Plans to Occupy Trump.” Though Gee did wonder “whether Refuse Fascism can persuade anyone to show up on November 4,” the Politico placement gave rightboggers’ forebodings an air of legitimacy, and it was cited by rightblogger outfits such as Ben Shapiro's Daily Wire (“POLITICO is being generous when it calls the group's message ‘hazy’”).

All this publicity apparently got the Refuse Fascism guys so excited they took out a full-age ad in the New York Times — or as The New American, confused as to the nature of newspaper advertising, reported, “NY Times Promotes Antifa-Communist Coup Effort Against Trump for Nov. 4.”

As conservatives counted down the days to the new civil war, leftwing wiseguys teased them mercilessly; @KrangTNelson goaded, “Can’t wait for November 4th when millions of antifa supersoldiers will behead all white parents and small business owners in the town square.” A retweet of this taunt was promptly picked up by the notoriously credulous Gateway Pundit: “ANTIFA Leader: “November 4th […] millions of antifa supersoldiers will behead all white parents.”

When informed of their pwnage, Gateway Pundit pretended to be mortally offended (“Imagine for a second if I, or any other conservative with a public voice, tweeted out a ‘joke’ about how we should ‘behead all black parents’”) while other rightbloggers banged the drum even harder:

“Antifa plans massive demonstration for one demand – and it’s about Trump,” cried Glenn Beck’s The Blaze.“Antifa Rallies Planned in at Least 20 U.S. Cities — Won’t ‘Stop Until This Regime Driven from Power,’” announced SGT Report.

“More than 20 cities across the nation fear protest marches on Saturday to demand Trump's removal from office could be hijacked by violent anarchists,” long-breathed the Daily Mail. “USA coast to coast RIOTS planned TODAY as Antifa anarchists hijack anti-Trump protests,” claimed the Sunday Express.

Legit outlets like the Washington Post and Newsweek tried to calm them down, but why should patriots in the Age of Trump listen to the Fake News Lügenpresse — especially since Fox News was out there telling the real story: “Anarchist group's plan to overthrow Trump 'regime' starts Saturday,” Caleb Park told Fox’s audience of terrified elderly shut-ins at their website; the TV station, of course, did the same.

The 4th came and went and only a few small and non-violent rallies materialized. Did the brethren admit at last they’d been conned? On the contrary: They declared victory.

“Antifa Activists Overwhelmed by Huge Trump Supporter Contingent in Austin, Texas — Forced to Slink Away (VIDEO),” announced Gateway Pundit.

“George Soros may want his money back today after Refuse Fascism's mass insurrection failed to materialize on November 4,” laffed Debra Heine at PJ Media.

“Nationwide Soros-Funded, Antifa 'Uprising' To Remove Trump From Office Fails,” reported Zero Hedge, which further reported that the protests fizzled even though they had “received widespread attention in the mainstream media for the last week” — without mentioning the “widespread attention” was mostly from rightbloggers or people revealing it as a fraud.

“ANTIFAIL: LOW TURNOUTS AT NATIONWIDE ‘REFUSE FASCISM’ PROTESTS,” hollered Breitbart. “In contrast to previous Antifa rallies, there haven’t been any reports of violence as of yet,” they reported, “although independent journalist Tim Pool did report being yelled at for asking questions about communism. That’s the thing about commies, they never admit it. Except when they wave Soviet flags in the middle of Seattle. So I guess they sometimes admit it.” Save a vitrine at the Newseum!

It makes sense in a way. For a year liberals have been holding huge anti-Trump rallies while pro-Trump rallies have been more modest — over which conservatives could only fume. How much better, then, to fabricate the specter of a violent leftist mother-of-all-rallies, and then stand in the empty public square, fists balled up, crying "aha -- so you're scared, are ya?"

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

YOU CAN'T BEAT US, WE GOT CLETUS; OR, THE @NRO-CONFEDERATES.

Ed Gillespie's running a tight Virginia Governor race on a Yee-Haw-The-South's-Gonna-Do-It-Again platform and, as you can see below, Them National Review Boys are going all out for him on the front page:



Man, these fuckers love the Confederacy! To summarize their cases:

David French, a stars-and-bars enthusiast from way back, defends "Confederate honor" and the statues of slavers-'n'-traitors Ed Gillespie is using to draw gomer voters:
In the town square in Mount Pleasant, Tenn. — just a few miles from my house — there stands a weatherbeaten monument to a small Confederate unit nicknamed the Bigby Greys...
Cue the lonesome harmonica, the crack of the bullwhip and Rastus crying, "Cut it out, Massa, it tickles!" French doesn't see what you black and liberal people are bitching about -- look, they have a slave memorial nearby, too, and together these monuments celebrate the South at its best: French's confederate ancestors in battle dress and glory, and black people in chains.

Also, French speaks up for John Kelly, whose absurd defense of the Confederacy the other day convinced the last remaining "but Trump's got a few good people around him" holdouts to give it up. My ancestors were honorable just like Kelly says, insists French; only "the cause for which they seceded was repugnant and reprehensible," just like those poor dead German boys at Bitburg. But my, how gallant those French ancestors were, especially in their grey uniforms that were cleaned and tailored just so or else the slaves in charge of them would be whipped and their wounds washed with brine!

Also, it was after all a War of Northern Aggression with an "invading northern army ... attempting to restore the union by sheer force of arms," plus French's ancestors were scared the slaves would rise up in a "bloody, genocidal slave rebellion" and kill them -- and think how unjust that would have been! If you're shocked French thinks such an argument will sway you, remember it's not you he's trying to sway.

Meanwhile Ben Shapiro does a full column of YOU STARTED IT LIBS:
...as Hamilton also recognized, demagoguery provides an easier ascent to power than reason. The Left has known this for decades, which is why they labeled conservatives bigots in the 1960s, even as the Democratic party provided the base of support for segregation...
Yep, he's actually doing the Did You Know Robert Byrd Was In The Klan thing, just like his fellow conservative intellectual Dinesh D'Souza. Shapiro knows which way conservative discourse is going!
The Gillespie ad — the worst in political history — is merely the apotheosis of the trend.
I bet if you could get close enough to ask him, Shapiro would say the 1990 Jesse Helms "Hands" Ad was just a reasonable appeal to North Carolina voters' economic anxiety. In short, Shapiro blames liberals for tearing the country apart while simultaneously defending "the conservative desire to strike back at the Left," then flops on the soccer pitch holding his knee and crying "unity" ("Can the country survive such ongoing, bipartisan hatred?") and hoping the refs will buy it.

As for Michael Brendan Dougherty, as near as I can make out, he seems to think that statues are all that's holding America together, and though people like Jamelle Bouie promise that if we get rid of the Confederate statues they won't try and get rid of Jefferson and Washington, Dougherty knows Jamelle Bouie will get rid of them first chance he gets, and then we won't have any statues except maybe of black and Hispanic historical arrivistes, and thus falls the Republic because the Constitution cannot possibly survive if we don't have pigeons shitting on the Founders, just as Britain would fall into the sea if the statue of Boudicca were ever to be uprooted,.

He's seen it all before, Dougherty has:
When Vermont was considering legislation providing for civil unions for same-sex couples, not even the sweatiest, most paranoid snake-handler imagined that florists would be financially ruined by the government for refusing to serve customers whose nuptials violated their religious scruples. Yet here we are.
The Old Ones tried to warn you that if you fell for their persecution song-and-dance, homosexuals would complain if you said "we don't serve fags here." But nobody listened, and that's why "religious liberty, a liberal value and achievement, died and became doomed to a second ghostly life as a conservative preoccupation, one that makes both the conservative and the preoccupation seem more suspicious by association." And the proof of that suspicion by association is you're laughing at Dougherty instead of crying with him over iron replicas of Jubilation T. Cornpone.

It'd be funnier if there weren't a chance there are enough hayseeds in the hoots and hollers to carry it off.

Friday, August 18, 2017

ANOTHER ONE JUST LIKE THE OTHER ONE.

I see a lot of jibber-jabber on Twitter to the effect that Steve Bannon's exit will activate some sort of big change. Don't you believe it. Optimists (who are nearly always wrong) think it's great that Trump jettisoned a fascist, but his staff is full of them; the only thing that makes Bannon look more dangerous to us than, say, the deeply evil Scott Pruitt is his history at Breitbart, which has given us a lot of over-the-top rightwing gibberish headlines. (That, and him looking like a tub of rancid butter come to life.) But Trump doesn't even recite Breitbart headlines when he wants to go full Klansman -- he mainly cribs from Fox News. And just because Bannon's creepiness is more obvious than that of the other creeps doesn't mean his is particularly meaningful. There are tons of budding factota in the rightblogger farm system who could whisper the same poisons into Trump's ear, and he can get them cheap.

Even more hilarious is the idea that Bannon's ouster will lead to a Breitbart vendetta against the President. Those guys were on a 24-hour vendetta against Obama for years and it didn't amount to a fart in a windstorm. People make much of Breitbart factotum Joel B. Pollak tweeting "#WAR" after the announcement, but he and his squad were continually tweeting that hashthreat at the Kellogg's cereal company when they got into that stupid beef with them back in December, and people are still eating corn flakes. Our problems with endemic racism and dumbassery predate Breitbart and Bannon.

Expectedly, Breitbart alumnus Ben Shapiro takes the cake:


I'm sorry, shit like this just makes me think of that Achewood thread:


Can't you explain it to me in terms of The Two Ronnies or The Life of Riley?

UPDATE. Ha ha, sorry I can't stop Shapiro is killing me:
Bannon is also media savvy enough to know that he’ll never miss work being a Trump critic. The media will continue to book him. They’ll be eager to put him on television to criticize Trump; they think this will drive down Trump’s approval ratings. 
Millions of Americans who've never heard of Breitbart or Bannon will turn on the TV and think they've accidentally stumbled onto an old George Romero movie. "Mommy, is he a zombie?"
And Bannon will look for some other horse to back, or try to become the horse himself.
Oh Ben. Still haven't lost that fine literary style.
...I said one year ago that Bannon understands that in the game of thrones, you win or die; he doesn’t intend to die. Now that he’s been beheaded by Trump, look for him to try to become the Night King, leaving destruction in his wake.
What can one say to that except:

Friday, May 19, 2017

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Damn thing's been in my head for days. Here, you have it.

•  I know New Yorker profiles are not endorsements, quite, but I could barely get through the one about Tony Blair. I mean get a load:
Over the weekend, focus groups carried out by HuffPost U.K. brought back news of a “Tony Blair-shaped hole” in the political landscape.
It's called a cloaca.
One of Blair’s defining qualities as a British politician was his indeterminacy: of place, of background, of ideology. And his voice was the ultimate classless artifact... 
Sincerity was Blair’s genius, and we have not forgiven him for it.
Arrgh. It's much easier for me to believe the Brits wanted Brexit than it is to believe they want their Blair-holes re-engorged  -- though I do understand why the trimmers and feebs whom Corbyn annoys want him, and certainly why the moneyed interests who give him millions of Euros worth of their run-off want him as well. And apparently he still believes himself the Savior of Baghdad. If he had a scrap of conscience he'd have long ago fucked off to the woods like the Mayor of Casterbridge. As it is the only interview question anyone should be asking him is "Have you any last requests?"

•  I got in touch with an old high school friend recently and found out he's a digital archivist -- ha, like who isn't these days, right? -- and that he also reviews books, mostly but not exclusively history. You can see his stuff at this site. He's much more a descriptive than prescriptive critic, and pretty meticulous, so if you want to know what's in books like David O. Stewart's Impeached, Robert Strauss' Worst. President. Ever., Holger Hoock's Scars of Independence, et alia, and a bit about what a very astute reader thinks of them, you should take a look.

•  Among the latest clot of help-me-help-you Trump crap from aggrieved wingnuts is Ben Shapiro's. I draw your attention to one particular passage:
Yes, dealing with Congress is like trying to herd cats. But you can’t herd cats if you’re too busy shooting yourself in the foot. Yes, dealing with media is like attempting to feed a pack of hyenas. But you can’t deal with them if you’re too busy providing them red meat to dissect.
[gasface] This calls to mind Twain's jest that an aspiring writer should write until offered pay, and if no one offers after three years, "sawing wood is what he was intended for." We should remember, though, that wingnut welfare did not exist in Twain's time, and that Shapiro makes a handsome living disgorging literary stillbirths such as this. I can see taking the money, but it still surprises me that he signs his name to it. I guess they really are shameless.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

WHO'S NEXT.

The end of O'Reilly's TV show means nearly nothing to me. Big-ticket rightwing rageclowns like him are like blockbuster movies and reality shows, just gargoyles for gawkers, and we who have free souls it touches us not.

I'm more interested in the conservative pseuds who try to explain it all on the internet, and so far their take seems to be that the preferred viewing choice of your aged relatives who send you pictures of Obama with a bone through his nose doesn't have anything to do with conservatism.

"He Was a Centrist, Not a Conservative," claims Joel B. Pollak at Breitbart. But look where Pollak's baseline is, via his approving quote of some wingnut chin-stroker:
What if we could magically remove the metaphoric glass and see, face-to-face, the average American, once his political views are no longer distorted by media bias? What would we see? 
The answer, basically, is Ben Stein.
Tell your aged Obama-hating relatives that their avatar is Ben Stein and they'll smack you. I won't even accept that slander on them! Hell, if the average American were the chinless Stein, we'd have receded into the primordial ooze years ago. (Try to imagine Ben Stein without money. He'd be raving next to an overpass. Or at least whining loudly.)

The others are worse. I include the worthless Chuck Todd who, seeking to impress Hugh Hewitt for some reason, "agreed" with him according to this Daily Caller report that O'Reilly wasn't a real conservative, that is, not a fancy intellectual like Hugh Hewitt:
“He was — to me, what he did — he was the tone-setter,” Todd continued. “He was sort of that anti-political correctness.” 
[facepalm]
“He was the opening act that brought the crowds, but he became almost more fun to watch than the concert itself, sometimes, but he was the entertainer, probably more entertainer than any of the others.”
Similarly, gameshow buffoon Trump isn't conservative either -- he just pumps out rightwing policies self-identified conservatives eat up, but he ain't got good taste so when the smart guys stand around in cigar bars with snifters and talk about the Glooory of the Mooovement & Burke & Hayek &tc they shove Trump into a coatroom and blame the smell on the dog.

Plus there's Mark Judge at Splice Today -- "The left is cheering the demise of O’Reilly, but liberals have nothing to boast about," he says, because someone got raped at Occupy and what about that bitch who said she was raped but wasn't, huh libs? And Scott Lehigh at the Boston Globe: "Bill O’Reilly types aren’t just a conservative problem," because all those liberal TV hosts are sexual harassers too and the only reason we don't have proof like with O'Reilly is because chicks lie to protect libtards to keep their precious abortions.

At National Review Ian Tuttle tries a variation: Sure, the old-fogey conservatives go for O'Reilly, but we youngs are modern and a-go-go and we think O'Reilly's trad, dad:
This rough-and-ready genealogy might even include a third generation, emerging now — one whose world was shaped by September 11, Iraq, economic recession, and the hyper-partisanship of the Obama years. These conservatives are not Bill O’Reilly; they’re Ben Shapiro, Mollie Hemingway, and Mary Katharine Ham. Their media are podcasts and Twitter, and while they’re certainly combative, they are more interested in a savvy, cosmopolitan conservatism that goes toe-to-toe with progressivism on its own turf (consider Shapiro’s popular campus-speaking events) than in the countrified, bigger-government, populism-tinged conservatism embodied by Mike Huckabee.
"Ben Shapiro, Mollie Hemingway, and Mary Katharine Ham??" cry the youth of today. "That's all I needed to hear. Direct me to the scene of their symposia, where I will vape, denounce socialism, and maybe beat up some antifa chicks!"

At least Tuttle's got enough sense to be ashamed, but not enough to see that O'Reilly isn't the problem. You still need someone; that someone could be younger, and maybe even female (sexual harassment is a nice-to-have, not a need-to-have for this gig!) or non-white (the murderous psycho Sheriff David Clarke might even do). But you will need someone to summon the clans, and he or she will have to be a scumbag -- and, since this is the age of Trump rather than the age of Reagan, that person also has to let the slavering masses know he or she is a scumbag. Because St. Ronnie wouldn't make it today; they'd see through his unctuousness right away and despise him for thinking them dumb enough to believe he's a nice guy. Shit, even conservatives don't believe in "trickle down" or "law and order" or any of those magic words anymore -- you can imagine what the marks they've been bilking for decades think!

No, for them only the Savage Messiah will do. And if the prissier among the Movement Conservatives have to stand off the side, look as innocent as their careers as childhood snitches taught them, and say oh no this is not what we meant at all, well, they can afford to pretend it's strategy instead of self-deception -- after all, they still get paid.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

WORST NEO-CONFEDERATE EXPLANATION YET.

Today at National Review it was Ben Shapiro's turn (perhaps he lost a bet) to bitch about the removal of Confederate icons from campuses and town squares (in this case, Yale's removal of the name of John C. Calhoun from a college), and simultaneous explain why it wasn't because he was racist but because blah blah blah. We've seen some sad entries in this line, particularly after the Dylann Roof massacre -- see here for David French's insistence that the flags and statues must stay because in addition to slavery and treason they commemorate "Confederate valor." But Shapiro doesn't have the balls to be that bald-faced, and takes up an educational angle, which makes him sound like a 60s nudie movie producer telling prosecutors he was just trying to be Frank About Sex:
Calhoun’s name on buildings reminds us that Calhoun was once honored for his perspective rather than derided for it. It is a reminder that evil once held sway in our world, and that we cherished it. It also reminds us that brilliance and patriotism and good and evil can all exist in the same human being: Calhoun’s slavery advocacy existed alongside his desire to build up a strong, robust American military; he created the Bureau of Indian Affairs at the same time that he stumped for the expansion of slavery into the Western states.
So I guess all those gomers waving the Stars and Bars (or getting it tattooed on their bodies) are just trying to show us how bad slavery was! Or how evil and goodness can co-exist in the same person, e.g. themselves ("But wait a minute! Hot dog, love's a-winning!").

If only we needed to be reminded but, alas, these guys refuse to disappear.

Friday, November 18, 2016

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


I thought the only lonely place was on the moon.

•  You know it's trouble from the hed and dek:
Why This Twitter Purge Is Okay with Me
In the case of Richard Spencer, the media jackboots are getting it right.
And make no mistake: National Review's Ian Tuttle still thinks that, while libtards kinda-sorta-maybe have a right to invite or disinvite whomever from their own social media networks and college commencements, they're still liberal fascists because liberals are fascists Q.E.Duh. Here's Tuttle's extremely unfortunate object lesson:
Those of us on the right spend our time trying to loosen the very real clamps that exist on speech, for instance, on university campuses. And that’s important work. DePaul University has the right to forbid Ben Shapiro from speaking, as it did this week. But conservatives oppose DePaul’s doing so because they object to the idea that Ben Shapiro is somehow morally beyond the pale. He’s not. He’s a mainstream conservative, working within a delineable tradition of conservative thought.
Actually Ben Shapiro is a fucking asshole, and DePaul needs no better reason than that to disinvite him. You don't have a Constitutional right to be the skunk at someone else's picnic. I've been saying this since wingnuts wept because Rutgers students didn't want war criminal advice from Condi Rice,  but they never seem to have a better answer than Yer Hitler. Anyway, Tuttle approves of the (still fascist!) Twitter throwing a bunch of neo- and crypto-Nazis off their rolls because he doesn't like them, which he justifies with a lot of gloopy talk e.g.,
Communities form a consensus about what is right and wrong based in part on public debate, but also on custom and taboo and religious practice and a whole lot of other factors that were built on syllogisms and that are not entirely subject to rational debate.
"A whole lot of other factors." That's really threading the needle, buddy. Well, I guess one benefit of our increasingly post-logical environment is that intellectuals don't even have to pretend to try, and we will know them only by their tweed and shitty attitudes.

• From "Annals of the Age of Trump," a continuing series: Larry O'Connor of Hot Air announces Jeff Sessions' AG appointment, then cackles, "And right on cue, the mainstream media and Democrats (redundant) are shouting 'racist!'" Ha ha, stupid libtards, always with the racism! Then O'Connor quotes CNN to show how they're all worked up over nothing:
The former US attorney for the Southern District of Alabama and Alabama attorney general isn’t without controversy. His appointment to a federal district court by then-President Ronald Reagan sank when a former Justice Department employee testified that Sessions had made racially tinged remarks.

He had denounced the 1965 Voting Rights Act and had labeled the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP “un-American” and said the organizations “forced civil rights down the throats of people.”

A black Justice Department staffer said Sessions had called him “boy” and claimed he had thought the Ku Klux Klan “were OK until I found out they smoked pot.”
Maybe O'Connor didn't read it. Maybe he assumed none of his readers would read it, since it was printed in a grey box. There are other possible explanations, none of them flattering. (I think we can rule out economic anxiety, though.)

Monday, September 19, 2016

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about Trump's claim that, birther-wise, it was Hillary all along, and the brethren's rush to go "that's right, boss, I seen it with my own eyes." Give 'em credit: at least they shovel shit snappier than Chris Christie.

One thing that struck me as I paged through my scrapbook of birtherism bullshit was how closely the Trump of today resembles the Trump of 2011. Get this, from Mediaite five years ago:
 “I always give my credentials," [Trump] told Rivera, "I like to give credentials. I’m a really smart guy. I’ve always been a really smart guy," noting that he had [gone] to "one of the best" schools in the world, apropos of nothing.
We actually thought Trump's reflexive solipsism was weird once upon a time! Ah, young and innocent days.

Among the outtakes: Not wanting to clutter it up too much, I didn't mention that among the "proof" rightbloggers, and the Trump campaign itself, are offering of Hillary's Real Birtherism is the long-available Mark Penn memo to the Clinton 2008 campaign, which mainly portrays Obama’s cosmopolitanism as a Clinton competitive advantage (“not at his center fundamentally American in his thinking and his values”), explicitly stipulates that “we are never going to say anything about his background,” and never claims he was born outside the U.S.

For obvious reasons, rightbloggers are trying to portray this slightly sleazy tactic as birtherism. For example, The Daily Wire's Ben Shapiro applauds Trump for his “Trolling Master Class” and judged his Hillary birther claim “at least partially true.” In evidence of this, he cites a report by colleague John Nolte, called "Hillary Invented Birtherism: 11 Things the Media Won't Tell You." (Spoiler: "The Media" already told you, and they show no such thing.)

Nolte also alludes to Clinton’s “questioning [Obama] ‘lack of American roots,’ her focusing on Obama's exotic ‘foreignness’” — which is a little closer to the truth. It’s also closer to Ben Shapiro in 2011, when he called Obama “a member of the same global community that despises America and tolerates Islamism, that slams American consumerism and praises Chinese communism, that rips evangelical Christianity while ignoring Muslim-imposed clitorectomy” — which, he said, was why “Americans are desperately seeking an answer to a simple question: why does President Obama appear to be so un-American?"

I guess, by the Hillary standard, Ben Shapiro qualifies as a birther, too -- which is awkward for him, since it's just gone out of fashion!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

BEST IN SHOW.

There are different kinds of conservative reactions to the hilarious phenomenon of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump. There are lofty denunciations from rilly smart conservative True Scotsmen like this one from Charles C.W. Cooke: "Trump’s devotees consider themselves to be the rebels at the gates," he sniffs, but "by their dull, unreflective, often ovine behavior, they resemble binary and nuancless drones, as might be found in a novel by Aldous Huxley or Yevgeny Zamyatin" yeah yeah whatever Limey Brainiac hey didja see Trump smack down that fat bitch Rosie O'Donnell?

Others just compare Trump to other things they don't like, or blame him, as conservatives do everything else, on Obama; for example, here's some guy at the Washington Examiner who understandably did not demand attribution, bidding us "imagine America with an older, less knowledgeable, rude and charmless version of Obama as its president, and you get some idea of what Trump is all about," though he doesn't explain how Trump differs from an "older, less knowledgeable, rude and charmless version" of, say, Thomas Jefferson or anyone else.

And there are outright Trump defenders, generally small fry or once-major wingnuts who no longer have anything left to lose, like Ben Shapiro.

But in a category all by herself is D.C. McAllister from The Federalist. Like Shapiro, she's upset that conservatives are dissing The Donald, but for her it's intensely personal, and by way of explanation she chronicles her own feelings from 2009 to the present. First:
Like so many of my fellow Americans, I felt helpless as I sat in front of the television in the fall of 2008, watching Barack Obama become the 45th president of the United States.
If only we had elections back then! Happily for McAllister, then came the Tea Party, which she characterizes as a response to the "huge government bailout of the housing market," a popular but woefully incomplete rightwing theory that doesn't explain what the Tea Partiers themselves actually yelled at their rallies. Bliss it was to be alive then, but alas, the tricorn rubes were teabagged by Anderson Cooper and stabbed in the back by the Republican Establishment. This taught McAllister that Mitch McConnell was no different from Barack Obama -- they both believed in "Money. Power. Cocktail parties. Media incest." So McAllister did what any patriot would do -- she became a blogger. "I made friends," she tells us, "and I made enemies because I didn’t care about playing politics.... I didn’t have a fancy degree. I didn’t have a fancy fellowship," unlike all us other web writers who went to Breadloaf with Saul Alinsky and swim in Moscow gold.

One of the things she discovered during this journey of personal discovery was that the Republican base was "motivated by fear," an assessment she stands by today:
Some might not want to admit this fact. It sounds weak, maybe even naive. But fear in the proper context is anything but naive. It’s wisdom based on experience and knowledge...
And this, brothers and sister, is where things get weird:
Let me explain a little something about human nature. When someone feels oppressed and controlled and you continue to belittle them and push them against the wall, they get angry. They’re not going to be particularly rational at that point. They’re in a corner and they lash out—that’s human nature. They fight. They get angry. They grab hold of whatever weapon they can find to defend themselves. That’s what you mostly see with Donald Trump. It’s anger, fueled by fear and stoked by insiders who continue to demean the base, who refuse to listen, and who want to maintain the status quo... 
This reminds me of a toxic relationship between a man and a woman in which the man continues to control the woman, keeping her from speaking her mind, calling her stupid whenever she does. She tries to find ways to win her independence, to be heard, to be free, but he keeps pushing her back against the wall, telling her that she’s the problem. Over time, the anger swells within her. She’s afraid. She isn’t free, and she hates it. She’s powerless. Anytime she tries to stand up for herself, she is mocked and slapped down. Her fear resides. Her anger grows. Her hope recedes. One day, she just loses it. She lights a match and burns the whole house to the ground. Give me liberty or give me death takes on a whole new meaning in the context of oppression and abuse.
RINO-abused with John McCain, then with Mitt Romney -- what choice does a true conservative have but to BURN THE MOTHERFUCKER DOWN! It's a good thing McAllister can afford mental health coverage.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

CONSERVATIVES AND THE DARK ART OF COMEDY.

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.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

THE DEFEAT OF THE MOOPS.

Don't drink all the King v. Burwell tears, you'll get a stomach ache. However, please enjoy responsibly Wayne Root from Glenn Beck's The Blaze:


Is the idea implausible that this same Obama administration that orders IRS attacks, then orders destruction of key evidence, would stop at nothing to save Obama’s signature achievement? Is it impossible to believe that Obama and his socialist cabal that learned from Saul Alinsky that “the ends justify the means” would hold something over a Supreme Court justice’s head?... 
Just blackmail one or two key conservative leaders to stop the GOP from blocking Obama’s agenda. Just find out the weak link of a key opposition leader or government official and hold it over their heads. It’s that simple... 
Am I being too cynical? Really? Did anyone suspect former House Speaker Dennis Hastert was a child molester who commited crimes with underage boys?
No, no, I'm stuffed, positively stuffed...


Still hasn't had actual sex yet, I see. (Yeah, but would you rather believe he had, and still wrote that tweet?) As a digestif, how about some more-sorrow-than-anger nonsense from Matt Lewis:
The upsetting thing is that Roberts was essentially the poster child for what a conservative nominee was supposed to be — that is, if we were to avoid another stealth nominee (like Souter) or a failed one (like Robert Bork). Conservatives invested a lot of effort into creating the infrastructure that would incubate a young John Roberts — and then actually get him confirmed. His end of the bargain? Simply being the kind of justice who honors the rule of law and doesn’t legislate from the bench… And now this happens.
We raised him, incubated him to be impartial -- yet he ruled for someone other than us! That's it, next time we're using a Skinner Box. Also: To be fair, I haven't read the entire opinion, but I'm guessing Flopping Aces' hed "The Roberts Court renders all laws meaningless as written" is figurative.

This has all made me a bit light-headed; maybe I should steady myself with something dry and dull, like crackers, or this press release:
ObamaCare Decision Raises Issues Of Justices' Impeachment, Explains Larry Klayman
Well, that's it for me.
....Freedom Watch has grown especially concerned about the independence of the Supreme Court due to reports from a whistleblower that private information about Chief Justice John Roberts, and other judges and justices, were "harvested' illegally by the U.S. Government. Although it is illegal for the Central Intelligence Agency to operate within the domestic United States, a contractor whose company was hired to perform the "harvesting" for the CIA has come forward to blow the whistle. He claims to have proof that the CIA harvested personal and private information about Roberts and other federal judges and may be intimidating or subtly threatening the U.S. Supreme Court with the fear of personal attacks...
Hear that, Wayne? You've got some backup! Now we just need Sarah Palin or a backwoods preacher to step up and that'll make three, and we'll have a legit "questions remain" for Meet The Press.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

THERE'S SOMEONE FOR EVERYONE IN THIS WORLD.

Donald Trump threw his hairpiece in the ring today, and most people reacted with the solemnity the event demanded. Even Republicans seem to grasp that Trump's insertion is no blessing on their chances in 2016.  But Trump has a few friends among the conservative elite. Jeffrey Lord of the American Spectator is here to tell you smart-alecks that Trump has the love of the people:
The other day, Trump took a stroll outside of his iconic Trump Tower with Fox and Friends co-host Brian Kilmeade. Not surprisingly there were everyday folk instantly swarming to Trump. They wanted a picture, they wanted a handshake, they wanted to have a word. At one point, standing on Fifth Avenue, Trump is flagged by the driver of a lumber truck. “I know you!” the driver says with a laugh and a grin. 
Why? Why this Grand Canyon-size gap between media and political elites and average Americans when it comes to the subject of Donald Trump?
#1: This is probably the first time since 9/11 that anyone at the Spectator referred to New Yorkers as "average Americans." #2: I can easily see the same rubber-necking and gawking visited upon your average Kardashian, but I'm not sure what that means for their national electoral chances. (If Trump stayed out there a couple of days, he'd probably be getting the same reactions those guys who dress up as Elmo get at Rockefeller Center.)
Why is it that he is consistently underestimated whether the subject is his financial worth or his political viability? 
The answer in this corner is that Donald Trump is seen by many Americans as the very embodiment of the American Dream. Someone with vision and drive who settles down and focuses, working hard day in and day out to make his own dreams come true. And succeeding. When millions of average Americans look at Donald Trump — they see — shocker! — themselves.
If I were the American people, I'd sue for defamation. Also hot for Trump: Ben Shapiro. Yes, despite his defenestration from TruthRevolt, his prose lives on at Breitbart.com, where he has a "top seven moments from Trump’s speech." I dusted them for irony and came up empty. Example:
“I Don’t Need Anybody’s Money. It’s Nice…I’m Really Rich.” This, in a nutshell, is what makes Trump awesome. Trump may be the only candidate in the race who isn’t ashamed of being wealthy. He sees wealth as something Americans should strive for and be proud of, not something Americans should degrade. Trump also said that he had lobbyists who could get him any policy he wanted, and that as president, because of his wealth, he wouldn’t be beholden to anyone. If Trump actually sticks to this pitch, he’d do a true service to America, where Mitt Romney is supposed to act contrite for earning lots of money and creating lots of jobs...
I bet the guy in the lumber truck loved it. Shapiro is bullish on Trump's chances: "Trump must understand that he’s seen as a clown by the media – he’s too smart not to see that," he analyzes. (How'd David Horowitz let this guy go?)  "But being seen as a clown can be advantageous, because it comes with zero expectations of actual substance. Every gaffe by Jeb Bush throws mud on his skirt; every lucid moment from Trump elevates him..." Someone should check Lord's and Shapiro's bank accounts and see if they made any big deposits lately.

At Legal Insurrection, Amy Miller:
I think that most strategists would agree that a candidate who flaunts his wealth in the way that Trump has could prove problematic with the voting base. That being said -- at this point, why not try it?
She has a point. What if Mitt Romney had gone around lighting cigars with $100 bills, or paying children to dance for him?
...I may not understand what it feels like to own a yacht (anyone have a yacht I can borrow to test this?) but I do understand what it feels like to earn enough money to make a major purchase, or treat myself to a luxury item. Why shouldn’t he be proud of his towers in the same way I’m proud of the things I’ve earned?
I sweated and I saved and I was finally able to come up with $100,000 to pay off my $20,000 credit card debt from the 1990s. In another ten years I may be able to pay for this appendectomy, and then I'll be even more sympathetic to Donald Trump!
...as a wonk, I’m interested to see how his campaign plans on introducing Trump the Man to the American people.
My sources tell me Trump will do a listening tour where he hits the town halls, walks up to random voters, and offers them a million dollars to let him sleep with their wives.

Other conservative writers have less motivation to praise Trump and grimly make do with whatever dog-ends are available. At Hot Air, Allahpundit says Trump is a creature of the liberal media, who inflate him only as an excuse for "not having to cover more credible candidates like Rubio who pose a legit threat to Her Majesty. My guess is they’ll give him plenty of oxygen." If only someone could read this to Trump so he'd know what a patsy he's been played for!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

REPUBLICAN OUTREACH TO MINORITIES CONTINUES.

Some online conservatives, who haven't had proper media training,  express their feelings thus:


The better-trained ones mostly settle on the notion that the simple-minded black folk of Ferguson would not be angry but for the Liberal Media, who have riled them to violence so they can Smash the State. Radio shouter Mark Levin:
Ferguson burns and violence has been unleashed thanks to the reckless liberal media, the lawless administration (especially Eric Holder) exploiting the shooting to smear police departments across the nation, phony civil rights demagogues, race-baiting politicians, and radical hate groups.
Missing from this list is "a white cop getting away with killing an unarmed black kid." To Levin, of course Brown got what was coming -- fired upon, he raced away from and then back toward the source of the gunfire, which makes perfect sense. Levin demands that we now  turn our attention to the real victims:
What we are witnessing now is the left's war on the civil society. It's time to speak out in defense of law enforcement and others trying to protect the community and uphold the rule law.
Well, so much for that GOP Libertarian Moment, huh? I expect a lot of conservatives who made meek objections to "militarized police" last summer will now return to their previous tut-tutting over obstreperous people of color.

Breitbart.com's Ben Shapiro also condemns "the media’s attempted racial assassination of Officer Darren Wilson." But even though Wilson got off, Shapiro remains so terrified of black people that he perceives President Obama's after-verdict speech, universally acknowledged as milquetoast, as having "fueled the flames for future racial conflagrations... Obama doesn't want to prevent crime," etc. And the column is topped by the most ooga-booga picture of Obama Breitbart.com could find. I expect if Obama sneezed Shapiro would consider it biological warfare against Caucasians.

It's almost worse when they make a feeble pretense of caring. "I am trying to see this through the eyes of those I disagree with," claims Jonah Goldberg, by which he means allowing as how it's too bad Michael Brown's family lost their boy before starting this rhetorical pee-dance:
Beyond that, I think critics who see Robert McCulloch as too pro-police have a point. Or at least I can see where they are coming from. His statement tonight was very powerful and very persuasive, but not what you would expect from a prosecutor in other circumstances. If McCulloch wanted an indictment, I think he could have gotten one (prosecutors and ham sandwiches and all that). Whether he should have gotten one is open to debate. I certainly think you could make the case that the country would be better off in the long run if there was an open and transparent public trial. On the other hand, we don’t have trials of innocent men simply for appearances’ sake. Having a trial just for show is too close to a show trial as far as I’m concerned.
That's it. Goldberg's prose reminds me of how, when you toss a coin on a hard surface, it rattles side-to-side with increasing speed before coming to a dead stop. (Later Goldberg makes fun of a guy who felt sorry for the kids who mugged him. Must've been a relief for him to drop the brief pretense of empathy.)

I should also mention National Review's Andrew C. McCarthy, who thinks Republican Administrations can torture suspects if they like and who insists that you can impeach Obama for spitting on the sidewalk, suddenly arguing for prosecutorial restraint now that it appears a rare instance of it got Wilson off.

But really, it's no better or worse than what they usually come up with when a white guy gets away with killing a black guy. And there's no reason why it would change, so long as there's a political upside to it.

UPDATE. Good for some grim laughs: The comments thread on a riot post at Reason, flagship publication of conservatives who identify as libertarians. The consensus at present is that it's all Al Sharpton's fault ("This is certainly one of those issues that reasonable people can agree upon....that is, it's being pumped up by the race baiters and media and others who make a buck off tragedy").

UPDATE 2. Speaking of which, a Republican Senator appears in Time, blames Ferguson on the War on Poverty, and peddles the traditional marriage-makes-you-rich bullshit...
The link between poverty, lack of education, and children outside of marriage is staggering and cuts across all racial groups. Statistics uniformly show that waiting to have children in marriage and obtaining an education are an invaluable part of escaping poverty. 
...as well as bootstrap philosophy...
While a hand-up can be part of the plan, if the plan doesn’t include the self-discovery of education, work, and the self-esteem that comes with work, the cycle of poverty will continue.
But in an exciting twist, he mixes this ancient bunk with promises to end the drug war -- aw yeah, you caught on, it's Rand Paul, trying to maintain his libertarian USP in the GOP while talking traditional culture-scold rot. Well, what the hell, it's all just marketing anyway -- you might even say it's Uber for social conservatism!

Monday, November 17, 2014

ANNALS OF THE CULTURE WAR, PART 432.333.

Big claim in this headline by Andrew Klavan:
There’s Something Happening Here: Conservatives Are Catching On to the Culture!
That would indeed be news. So, did they finally make The Joe McCarthy Nobody Knew or any of the other big-budget projects I've recommended to them? Don't be silly; "It’s not enough to have talented artists and good works," says Klavan, which is why instead of supporting any such specimens as exist they "catch on to the culture" by piling on a lefty artist they don't like -- and surprise, the target in this case is their traditional fantasy hate-fuck object, Lena Dunham.
Recently, my friends at Ben Shapiro’s website Truth Revolt did for Miss Dunham what the economy and ISIS have done for Obama. They introduced her to non-leftism, also known as reality. They quoted sections from her recent autobiography Not That Kind of Girl under the descriptive headline “Lena Dunham Describes Sexually Abusing Her Little Sister.” Miss Dunham threatened to sue the site for quoting her verbatim! Then she canceled parts of her book tour. Then she went on a “rage spiral.” Then she jumped up and down three times and went through the floor like Rumpelstiltskin. Okay, that last part is a joke — but only just.
In other words, they kept Dunham's book, which if James Wolcott is any judge (and he is) has little intrinsic value of its own, in the headlines for a few more weeks. That's good culture-warring, soldier!

The whole thing is priceless but for my money this is the best part:
But the point is that the folks at Truth Revolt have recognized the revolting truth: liberty lovers need a cultural echo chamber of our own.
Maybe he thinks a bigger and better right-wing echo chamber will work like a Large Hadron Collider to advance his Zhdanovite cause, instead of just increasing the maddening din of their Bedlam.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

THIS WAY TO THE EGRESS.

Ben Shapiro's TruthRevolt reporting from CPAC some days back:
[Dr. Ben] Carson spoke about the need for small government, but warned that the tactics of progressives come straight out of Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals." They are not trying to have a conversation with you, he said, because that will humanize you. Their ultimate goal is to demonize you...
Then they quoted Carson:
And then recently, I said that in Nazi Germany, people do not believe in what Hitler was doing. Most of them did not. But did they speak up? Did they say anything? Absolutely not, and look at the atrocities that occurred. And of course the left said, Carson says that they are changing American to Nazi Germany. Of course that is not the case, but that is what they do. They repeat these lies over and over again because they cannot argue the actual facts...
At TruthRevolt today:
Dr. Ben Carson: U.S. is Like Nazi Germany
Again they quoted Carson:
I mean, [we are] very much like Nazi Germany. And I know you’re not supposed to say ‘Nazi Germany,’ but I don’t care about political correctness. You know, you had a government using its tools to intimidate the population. We now live in a society where people are afraid to say what they actually believe. And it’s because of the PC police, it’s because of politicians, it’s because of news...
In a few more days TruthRevolt will cover Carson saying the left lies about him saying "they are changing American to Nazi Germany," and then a few days after than he'll compare America to Nazi Germany again, and a few days later...

You get the idea. So does Carson. He's caught on quickly to the secret of conservative political success: Say something offensive, then complain that liberals are misrepresenting you.  It's like writing a book called Liberal Fascism, then saying "the real problem with all of this loose Nazi talk is that it slanders the American people." Not everyone's dumb enough to buy it, but the ones who are you can get coming and going.

UPDATE. Paul Ryan's pretty good at it too.

Friday, January 17, 2014

ANNALS OF THE CULTURE WARS, "LIBERALS LOVE BLACK PEOPLE AND HATE JESUS" EDITION.

Jesus hack Mollie Hemingway:
But the critical reception of [12 Years a Slave] also demonstrates a dramatic change in critics’ appreciation for violence in movies. When my husband and I viewed the movie, I found it almost unbearable to watch. It reminded me of my response to “The Passion of the Christ,” the visceral 2004 film about the suffering and death of Jesus. Both films are very good. Both films are depictions of real people in history. Both films are full not just of violence but violence that must be depicted because it serves the central point. And both films deal profoundly with the effects of human sinfulness...
I wish she'd tell us what she thinks of Pasolini's Salò.
Whereas many claimed they objected to “The Passion of the Christ” on the grounds of the violence it portrayed, many critics also claimed that the violent depiction of slavery was what made “12 Years A Slave” such a great film.
Hemingway thinks the liberal art people only booed The Passion to razz Christians:
...Our society is in general agreement that, apart from homophobia and racism, the only real sin is believing in sin. This creates a climate where a brutal depiction of what Christ suffered is frowned upon.
Similarly, if you liked The Maltese Falcon, you have to love The Adventures of Ford Fairlaine because it's a detective movie, too. If you don't, you're hypocritical and prejudiced against Cursery Rhymes.

Bonus hackery: Hemingway tells us that though the liberal art people stuck up for 12 Years a Slave against Jesus, they are simultaneously against it ("don’t let the bullying from progressive critics or the lame protests from the professionally outraged dissuade you from seeing the film") for some unexplained reason, probably because Mollie Hemingway, a Christian, liked it. Oh, and a moment of what I wanted to believe was intentional comedy:
There was one critic who was favorable toward “Passion” and slammed “Slave.” Yes, it was Armond White.
Alas, Hemingway affects to believe White was kicked out of the NYFCC for siding with Jesus, though in fact he was expelled for bad manners. It took a little training but I guess her hack reflexes are pretty well-trained at this point.

UPDATE. If Hemingway's post isn't snarly enough for you, you can read Ben Shapiro's version ("shows the rampant hypocrisy that is alive and well in Hollywood and in the media").

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

ANNALS OF THE CULTURE WARS, PART 432,239.

I hadn't looked at Ben Shapiro's Truth Revolt (which Breitbart.com told us in October would "WILL MAKE MSM 'PAY' FOR LIES, CHANGE 'NATURE OF MEDIA'") before now. Right out of the gate:

Also, there's an item devoted to telling us what Shapiro said on Fox News. Sample:
...[Megyn] Kelly moved on to a another quote from the piece that posits a society where people were paid for doing only what they were passionate about, like painting murals. When Kelly asked who would pay the millennials for painting their murals, Shapiro turned the conversation to the inherently destructive philosophy of Keynes.
Shapiro: This is the whole thing, passing the buck to the next generation that doesn’t exist yet. And John Maynard Keynes was fond of saying that in the long run we’re all dead. This is that philosophy taken to the extreme: In the short run we’re all dead, so we might as well all paint murals. Who’s going to clean the toilets? Who’s going to do the actual work that needs to be done in this country? Maybe this is why some of these folks want open borders.
The Mexicans clean toilets, millenials paint murals, and Shapiro yammers on Fox News. Maybe Shapiro will explain how he would redistribute these responsibilities in Part 2. I'm guessing Shapiro won't wind up wielding a brush of any kind.

Rule of three demands:
Vogue Mag Lowers Standards
‘Girls’ star Lena Dunham to feature on cover despite untraditional body type
No clue whether, before he wrote this, the author saw the recent Acculturated essay called "Why Conservatives Should Cheer On HBO’s Girls" (short vs.: The characters are dissatisfied with their lives and since they're liberals the reason must be liberalism). Despite her untraditional body type, I would bet that since the 2012 election Dunham has gotten enough hate-wanks out of conservative men to float a National Review cruise out of drydock.

UPDATE. In comments, Big_Bad_Bald_Bastard:
Leaving aside the fact that one's body type is a matter of biology, not tradition, a perusal of the large "History of Art" textbook on the shelf reveals more depictions of women who are built like Lena Dunham than like Kate Moss. A quick stroll through the neighborhood finds me encountering more women who are built like Lena Dunham than like Stephanie Seymour. If I didn't know any better, I'd swear that Mr Shapiro has never seen a female body up close.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

APOCALYPSE NOW.

Orson Scott Card, some of whose ravings were covered here years ago, has recently gotten some attention for his lunatic fantasy that Obama will use black street gangs to keep the presidency in the Obama family by force for years to come. But Card is a well-known sci-fi author; less likely to be noticed, but just as nuts, is longtime conservative author Donald Sensing. After explaining that Obama is running America by fiat, Sensing writes:
Obama can do this not because the Constitution or law authorize it. Most definitely they actually prohibit it. He is getting away with it because there is no one who can stop him and almost no one who wants to stop him. No one, and I mean absolutely no one, in the Democrat party is in the slightest interested in reining in Obama's expansion of executive diktat because they know what few of the rest of us are awakening to: the Democrats are never going to lose that executive authority again. Let me be clear, with a promise to elucidate another day: there is never going to be another Republican president. Ever... 
The president of the United States is now quite literally a dictate-er: he orders what he wishes and implements what he chooses.
Meanwhile a non-discrimination law in San Antonio that would keep the city from doing business with people who discriminate against gay people -- just as the city (and every other city I can think of) would if those people discriminated against blacks -- is portrayed by conservatives as "a disturbing infringement on liberty of conscience."

Try to imagine what a spectacle this presents to normal people: The Loyal Opposition telling them that the President is a dictator, and that non-discrimination laws are the real fascism. Maybe they actually think this is electoral gold. After all, we're all supposed to be libertarians now, right?  And, as we grow weary of repeating, libertarianism is basically conservatism with a brand makeover. At Forbes, Ralph Benko assures us that "Libertarians And Conservatives Must Find Common Ground" to win, and the way he suggests they achieve that is... to turn against gay rights. "Traditional values as vote getter (not just within the party base but with Independents — including ethnics and blue collar workers) violates the meta-narrative of the party elites," he says. "Still, the conclusion that traditional values is a net, and a legitimate, vote getter is almost impossible to avoid."

That'll be news to most people (though maybe Matt Welch will go for it), but conservatives aren't most people, and decreasingly resemble them. Here's Ben Shapiro with his own formula for conservative victory:
Ask anybody who’s ever broken up with a girlfriend, no matter what you say to your girlfriend after you break up with her, she’s going to think you’re a jerk. Right? And the same thing is true with the American people. 
The American people have broken up with conservativism. You’re not going to convince them that conservativism is the way to go by being really nice. The way that you’re going to convince them that conservatism is the way to go is because this is a two-party system, and we can paint the other side as mean and nasty as they are. And they are. They’re mean and nasty and they’re horrible people. I mean, they truly are.
Maybe Shapiro will get a chance to read that from the podium at the 2016 GOP Convention. You know, in my conspiratorial moments, I think these guys are all plants designed to destroy the Republican Party. Crazy, you say? We'll see who's crazy!

UPDATE. I feel compelled to add that another crazy idea of the week, that Fox News has betrayed conservatism and gone pro-gay, has drawn the attention of Rod Dreher.
Ask yourself, Fox viewers: how often do you see religion covered on the network at all, much less the regular inclusion of conservative religious voices in regular news and opinion coverage?
These guys haven't figured out that if you want dolchstoßlegende to work, you can't accuse everyone of stabbing you in the back.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

WARNING: TRUST THE SHORTER, JAMES TARANTO EDITION

Shorter James Taranto: James Fallows was punked by an internet joke about Fox News being dumb, and admitted it. Ben Shapiro was punked by an internet joke about Chuck Hagel belonging to a fictional pro-Hamas group, and refuses to admit he was punked or even that it was a joke. If you've ever read my bullshit before, you can guess which one I'm siding with here.

UPDATE. Taranato thinks I have a reading comprehension problem. I guess I'm supposed to pay closer attention to his more-in-sorrow-than-anger, both-sides-do-it tone than to his argument, such as it is:
The difference is that whereas the Fox joke [Fallows fell for] could easily be confirmed as a joke merely by checking out the Zombie Rainbow page that was its source, the "Friends of Hamas" joke [Shapiro fell for] came from a reporter for a major newspaper--that is, somebody whose job involves trading on his own reputation for credibility.
Except Shapiro himself disputes this in his bizarre, belligerent response to being caught out, in which he claims his real source says he has other sources for the story besides the reporter ("Our Senate source denies that Friedman is the source of this information. 'I have received this information from three separate sources, none of whom was Friedman,' the source said"). Talk about an uncooperative client!

Taranto spends the rest of his item explaining that, while Mistakes Were Made, Shapiro made a harmless slip that merely led to the uncorrected smearing of Hagel, whereas Fallows thought a joke about Fox News was real, which is why such errors will henceforth be known by people who talk rightwing code to one another as "the Fallows Principle." What am I missing?

Thursday, December 20, 2012

ANNALS OF THE CULTURE WARS. Culture warriors are having a hard time churning up some actual culture of their own. Take a look at Liberty Island, an arty online pub with Ben Shapiro on the masthead. Back in August Ole Perfesser Instapundit pimped its "call for submissions." Yet four months later the project remains rather thin on content -- among the few contributions is a short story by Shapiro himself, of which we will not speak. This week the Perfesser pimped a new "call for submissions" for the thing. The fundraising ain't going so hot either.

They're probably better off claiming long-dead artists; hell, look how it worked with Orwell. At Pajamas Media, one R.J. Moeller instructs us on the proper way to read Dostoyevsky. I'll give you a hint -- it has something to do with American politics!
In the course of a number of his books – The Devils (aka The Possessed) and The Brothers Karamazov for example – he foretold of the coming socioeconomic and geopolitical nightmares that awaited 20th century societies who would adopt progressivism, nihilism, and socialism as their guiding principles... 
Dostoevsky held that the inherent weakness of the Utopian visions of socialism was a rejection of God and the institution of the family. He saw that for the Left, their politics became their religion. The members of the progressive-Left were demanding standards of Judeo-Christian morality be replaced with new (arbitrary) standards handed down from central councils and planning committees...
But this is my favorite part:
From Walter E. Williams’ August 8th column "Liberals, Progressives, and Socialists":
Well, as long as it keeps them from writing any fiction themselves, I suppose we'll all be happy.