Showing posts with label jonah goldberg. Show all posts
Showing posts with label jonah goldberg. Show all posts

Thursday, November 05, 2015

WHEN THEY SAY IT'S NOT ABOUT THE MONEY...

You may have noticed the statistical review on white working class mortality covered by the Washington Post:
The mortality rate for white men and women ages 45-54 with less than a college education increased markedly between 1999 and 2013, most likely because of problems with legal and illegal drugs, alcohol and suicide, the researchers concluded. Before then, death rates for that group dropped steadily, and at a faster pace.
And you might have thought, as I did, well, no wonder: the white working class was doing great for decades after World War II, but in this generation it's seen its jobs offshored, then onshored at much lower wages -- and the jobs that stuck around don't pay so well either. Having excavated everything that can be excavated from the poor and the black, our system has taken to chipping at the lower end of the middle class. Between the economic and the emotional toll of this de-privileging, no wonder so many of these people are killing themselves, quickly or slowly.

National Review's David French read the same story, and of course his conclusion is that liberals are to blame:
While the economic challenges of working-class voters are well documented, the cultural challenges are just as notable. 
You may think  trying to raise kids on twenty grand a year is rough, but your lack of culchah is just as much of a problem -- and cheaper for me, so let's tackle that first!
At every turn, the cultural aristocrats cause harm. Mocking poor whites is among the last acceptable forms of bigotry.
You mean like "Li'l Abner"? Or "South Park"? French is unclear -- I assume purposefully, and that the picture he wishes to paint is of callous urban sophisticates laughing at a meth-addled cracker, rather than of salt-of-the-earth middle Americans laughing at "The Beverly Hillbillies."
Even the white working-class voters struggling with declining wages, declining health, and increasing despair are derided as somehow “privileged.” Those who speak for them are labeled bigots.
Like how they treated this fella. Obviously it was class warfare against white people.
Meanwhile, people keep dying, and families fracture. This is more than just mocking suffering, though — it’s celebrating the disease while rejecting the cure. Self-indulgence is the animating force behind the sexual revolution, and the sexual revolution is gutting the working class.
If you callous sophisticates hadn't done so much coke and had so many orgies, right out there where people could see it, Cletus and Brandine would never have took to moonshine and sex with their cousins.
As Murray notes in his book, cultural progressives flood the nation with messages celebrating hedonism and sexual experimentation even as they tend to preserve their own wealth and power through remarkably restrained and disciplined personal lives — getting married, remaining faithful, and investing in their children. They don’t practice the hedonism they so loudly preach.
Make that "if you callous sophisticates hadn't etc. etc. and nevertheless managed to live happy productive lives, etc." Why, it's like having to put up with a cheerful atheist -- it sets a bad example for the proles!

On the one hand you have wingnuts like French crying that the middle class is collapsed or collapsing because of Playboy and rap music; on the other you have wingnuts like David Harsanyi who claim that this shit economy is actually "dynamic" and you should all go get Uber jobs and feel the dynamism of a week-by-week struggle to afford a hovel and slop. Pick your confusion; doesn't matter which, so long as millionaires get all the tax breaks and we zero out welfare.

UPDATE. At The Federalist Ben Domenech gets in on it. He implies -- slightly more gently than other benefit cops like Jonah Goldberg -- that the growing ranks of erstwhile workers on disability are swollen with frauds. And natch, it's about the culchah:
As a cultural matter, the picture is even worse. The surrender to the permanent trap of disability payments is a consequence of a loss of a certain American working class stoicism, which grappled with the tragic nature of life with what was essentially a 19th-century mentality.
We were a stronger, more American America when crips were left to forage or beg.
It was hard enough to deal with such a vision before the disintegration of working class marriage in the country – notice the contrast drawn by Charles Murray between the attitudes toward marriage and the experience of divorce in the white working class versus professionals.
When we've finally turned into the neofeudal hellscape of Lang's Metropolis for real, I expect there'll be a statue of Charles Murray in every town square.

UPDATE 2. Some very fine comments here. e.g., Susan of Texas:
What is it about white culture that is destroying white Americans? 
You vote for politicians who outsource your jobs. Your own crap job, when you can get one, is hard on the body and soul- and dignity-crushing. You go to the doctor for pain-killers to ease the bodily pain and take too many to anesthetize the mental pain. You fatally poison yourself with drug and alcohol anesthetics or get a DWI and lose more jobs or drive away your family. (I'm still waiting for someone to tell us how getting married and not having kids will create factories out of thin air.)...
Worth going in and reading in full. I should add that, especially when you get past a certain age, physical labor is hard on you -- which is something you might miss even if you were a waiter at 20 but never a fry-cook at 55. Go to any actual working-class neighborhood and you'll see some people limping or hobbling from the bus to their homes -- and if they stiffen up they tend not to work it out at the yoga studio. I wonder if French and Domenech have ever seen this, or if they think it's really like the Seven Dwarves whistling to and from the mine.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

YOUR LYING EYES.

Remember at the last GOP debate, when Carly Fiorina described a Planned Parenthood video where evil abortionists threw living fetuses into a whirring blender, then drank it? Okay, so she described (as revealed by Sarah Kliff) some other bullshit that wasn't there. Anyway, to the rescue of her fantasy rides Jonah Goldberg:
And they have a point. The exact scene, exactly as Fiorina describes it, is not on the videos. But anybody who has watched the videos would find Fiorina’s off-the-cuff account pretty accurate. 
It's fake but accurate, in other words.
Most of the center’s videos involve hidden-camera conversations with current Planned Parenthood managers, as well as interviews with veterans of the abortion industry, discussing the selling of fetal body parts for research purposes. The video Fiorina probably had in mind included eyewitness descriptions accompanied by borrowed footage of a fetus dying in a metal bowl, its leg kicking, to illustrate the witness’s recollection of seeing precisely that in another case.
Probably! She might be talking about "videos of fetuses moving and kicking" that "were not shot at a Planned Parenthood clinic," which Fiorina's staff sent Kliff in her defense. But there's no need to nail it down, because we're looking at a wider truth:
That sort of juxtaposition might not fly on the nightly news, but it’s the sort of dramatic device used in documentaries all the time. It’s akin to a documentary maker interviewing a witness to Cecil the Lion getting shot, and using footage of another lion getting shot as an illustration...
I know how that is. There was that documentary where I was described as being an asshole to people (which I freely admit I have been at times, I'm not proud of it), followed by that famous clip of an South Vietnamese cop shooting a guy in the head. I tell you, I got some shit for that! More than a few people said they were with me until that scene.
The larger problem is that people are talking past each other. Fiorina’s remarks — and these videos — are really aimed at the abortion industry and its Achilles’ heel, late-term abortions. None of these videos would strike a chord if the only images were of blastocysts.
Likewise, Roy Edroso, Asshole, wouldn't have stirred much interest if it merely contained my drunken tirades and pathetic attempts at fisticuffs, but throw in a summary execution and we're cooking with gas.

On Goldberg goes till the Otteresque summation (the abortion lies of Hillary Clinton are "a far greater distortion of the truth than anything Fiorina said") and the traditional fartcloud, and we are left with the inescapable conclusion that abortion is gross and shut up.

UPDATE. From comments:

Well, I'm convinced. I mean, look -- they're right next to each other. 

Monday, September 07, 2015

ROOTING FOR INJURIES, PART 329.

One of the creepier developments in the right-blogosphere has been the emergence of a group of white supremacist online losers who think the conservative establishment isn't racist enough; they throw around the word "cuckservative" and get excited when it is repeated even in disgust or derision, because it means attention; naturally they're big fans of Donald Trump. By and large the group has been disowned by the better-known conservative bloggers, who try to steer their readers away from the group, much as Dorian Gray tried to keep people from seeing the picture in his attic.

"Better-known conservative bloggers" and "white supremacist online losers" are not exactly huge constituencies, so any publicity bump for the controversy, however modest, was bound to stir the shit, and under cover of Labor Day Weekend Jonah Goldberg spoke against Trump and by implication his fringier fans -- Stormfront versus stormfart, as it were. Whether Goldberg speaks from conviction or because David Koch held a gun to his head, his nerves are evident. Goldberg doesn't get into the racist stuff, probably because he realizes that, given his own history, he would be laughed off the face of the earth if he tried to claim that particular high ground, so he reminds people that Trump used to be pro-choice, and that he's ill-mannered. Apparently intuiting how little this would mean to anyone,  he embraces martyrdom for the Cause:
...I am tempted to believe that Donald Trump’s biggest fans are not to be relied upon in the conservative cause. I have hope they will come to their senses. But it’s possible they won’t. And if the conservative movement and the Republican party allow themselves to be corrupted by this flim-flammery, then so be it. My job will be harder, my career will suffer, and I’ll be ideologically homeless (though hardly alone). That’s not so scary. Conservatism began in the wilderness and maybe, like the Hebrews, it would return from it stronger and ready to rule...
Oh, sphincter up, Mary, one wants to tell Goldberg -- you're a legacy pledge and your Mom will never let you miss any of your dozen daily meals.

Anyway the white supremacists let up a collective shriek and in their Laboratories of Butch developed a nice new hashtag: #NRORevolt, meant to signal their displeasure with Goldberg and the entire rotten establishment. The tweets, like the one reproduced below, have the belligerent yet wounded tone of a 10-year-old boy telling his G.I. Joe doll to go gut-stab his mother in vengeance for his time-out.

Feel the momentum! The mainstream conservatives are mad, but what can they do? After years of throwing boob bait, they find the boobs fording the moat and don't know how to send them back. Some, like The Weekly Standard's Jim Swift, try to portray these white supremacists as just like liberals:
Like a right-wing bastard child of Occupy Wall Street and Anonymous, #NRORevolt was popular among the nom-de-plume crowd on Twitter (i.e. cowards). Like OWS, it didn’t have much in the way of stated goals, other than outrage/revolt. But hey, when you have former Enron Adviser Paul Krugman agreeing, what else do you need?
That last bit refers to a column in which Krugman calls Trump "exactly the ignorant blowhard he seems to be" and his platform in general "viciously absurd," but allows that the idea of taxing the rich, which Trump happens to share, isn't bad. For the equally tendentious Occupy Wall Street and Anonymous references, Swift doesn't even have that much of a fig leaf. I know partisanship requires a certain willing suspension of disbelief, but does Swift really think anyone attracted to this Aryan Little-Brotherhood is going to be scared off by the taunt that it will make him look like a liberal?

The fleurs du mal are getting more pungent by the day. Here's something from Taki's Magazine -- a guy complaining about the "faux 'anti-PC' bravery of many conservatives" including... Mark Steyn. Wow, you may be thinking, he's calling out Mark Steyn -- this guy must be really hardcore anti-PC! Buddy, you don't know the half of it:
So here’s the bigger point I’m trying to make. My example proves the emptiness of the braggadocio you hear from many conservative pundits about how fearless they are in the face of political correctness: “Mexican immigrants are rapists. Palestinians are a death cult. Black Americans owe whites a ‘debt’ for being enslaved and then freed” (a gem from David Horowitz, an original FOA member). “Women in higher education will lead to the ‘abolition of man.’ White women need to breed more to overcome an invasion of uncivilized darkies. ‘Sodomites’ are waging ‘gayhad’ against straight people. Offended? Get over it, Mr. Sensitive. We’re being brave and audacious and in-your-face! Oh, but just don’t say anything that might be offensive to Jews. That’s crossing the line. Hey, look how quickly we found our sensitivity!”
I should tell you that the author is David Cole, best known for his unorthodox ideas about the Holocaust ("'The best guess is yes, there were gas chambers' he says. 'But there is still a lot of murkiness about the camps...'"). Now he's complaining that Mark Steyn and David Horowitz are too PC. The old curse may have been mistranslated: Maybe our enemies really wish for us to live in hilarious times.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

AND IF YOU LISTEN CLOSELY, YOU'LL FIND HE HAS A SLIGHT LISP.

Jonah Goldberg explains that Donald Trump isn't the "politically correct" he-man he purports to be:
So first let me say, as I said to the caller, that I agree that political correctness is a huge problem, one I’ve written about many times (often punctuated with many un-PC jokes). 
One can imagine. ("So black not even The Man can keep it down!")
Second, as I also said to him, maybe I’m not the one who is befuddled. Perchance Trump fans are the ones who are confused, while I see the man more clearly... 
It is a lie that Donald Trump stands athwart political correctness, yelling Stop. For example, you may recall that Donald Trump and I got into a Twitter fight a few months back. At one point I wrote that he was “relentlessly tweeting like a 14-year-old girl.” 
How did Trump respond? If you guessed with Churchillian statesmanship, you guessed wrong. If you guessed with anti-PC fearlessness, you guessed wrong again
Instead, he played the political-correctness card. He said my tweet was a “horrible insult to women. Resign now or later!”  
I still love the “or later."

He followed up with more demands that I lose my job because of my insult to women.
In our debased era, portents of societal decay are all around us, like confetti at a Rip Taylor show. But this is a doozy: The author of a book about how liberals are fascists telling his Donald Trump fans that they should abandon their new idol because he played the war-on-women card like a PC sissy. Yeah, that'll move the needle. Doesn't Goldberg realize that none of Trump's followers, dumb as they may be, are so very dumb that they would take that "insult to women" stuff seriously? They recognize it for what it is, a mean joke -- because among guys like them, what else could a profession of sensitivity toward women possibly be?

If this is how Goldberg expects to keep the punters in the National Review tent, things must be worse than I thought. Perhaps it's time to drop the prices on those NR cruises, and add more proletarian on-board entertainments, like Goldberg on a dunking stool.

Friday, August 07, 2015

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


I had the great pleasure and privilege to see Harold Prince's
stripped-down version of Candide on Broadway in 1974 and still 
appreciate its crispness, but I just love the original version of this song.  

  I think I made the right choice to skip the debate and go see Loudon Wainwright III last night. He opened with "Double Lifetime" and "Heaven," which set the tone -- death and jokes! Wainwright seems to have repurposed some of his material from his Surviving Twin thing about fathers and sons -- in fact he not only prefaced some of his songs with bits from his father's Life magazine columns, he even performed one of those columns as a  comic monologue. I wanted more songs but it made an interesting point of comparision: LWII's stuff is pretty good for magazine work; it's well-crafted and has the old-fashioned, better sort of middle-class attitude toward the big issues -- that is, a becoming gratitude for one's privilege, and respect for the mysteries of love and death and the inadequacy of privilege before them. It strikes me that his son picked up some of that, and though he likes to be more irreverent and playful that's still his grounding. Which may really be the reason he never got to be a big star -- not because of the "novelty-store garlic gum" bitter surprise lyrics I blamed when I wrote about him years ago, but because his truths are literally old home truths, a hard sell to a pop music audience (unless of course you lie about the truths).  Concert highlights: A song for his upcoming Alaskan family boondoggle called "Meet the Wainwrights" ("Rufus used to be a tit man/Now he checks out pecs at the gym"), and a really good "Be Careful, There's a Baby in the House," a song that sounds pretty mature considering it debuted in 1971.

•   Tell you why else I think I made the right call: I saw the video clip where Donald Trump excuses calling women "fat pigs" on the grounds that "this country" doesn't have time for "political correctness," and I have to say he exceeds even my satirical gifts. I also see that the mainstream National Review conservatives, who were pissed when Trump began hogging attention, are starting to love him for it.  A month ago Jonah Goldberg was calling Trump a fraud -- now he says, "[Trump] makes the debates entertaining and his competitors look more serious and responsible -- what’s so bad about that?" which suggests that they could have gotten the same effect with the Iron Sheik, who I understand has a higher Q rating. Jim Geraghty crows that Trump "killed with that 'Only Rosie O’Donnell' line" (in re women as fat pigs); he's slightly more protective of Megyn Kelly, which is perhaps just his way of showing that there's no principle of chivalry at stake, he just like fat jokes about lib chicks. I wonder what election this is meant to win? These guys already had date rapists and gamergaters locked up. On the plus side, Ben Carson mentioned Alinsky, thereby alerting whatever normal people may have been watching to this weird conservative secret handshake, which ought to help them decide how seriously to take the Republican Party as presently constituted.

UPDATE. Gack:
"[Megyn Kelly] gets out and she starts asking me all sorts of ridiculous questions," Trump said in a CNN interview. "You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever"...
How will the Trumpenproletariat react? Let's see what Breitbart.com commenters have to say about it:


The more toffee-nosed cons protest: National Review's Charles C.W. Cooke sputters, "Trump has no attractive qualities at all. He's not a conservative, he's not a good politician, he's not eloquent, he has no experience." Which seems a harsh thing to say about his party's front-runner.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

THAT'S NOT FUNNY! OR, MICROAGGRESSING THE WINGNUTS.

As we have seen, the winding down of the Jon Stewart show has prompted a right-wing sputterfest. Now we are at the close, and some of the brethren are seizing the last-minute opportunity to steer some hapless internet bazaar patrons into their tents. The Federalist has two essays devoted to this -- one in which a Washington Free Beacon writer insists Jonah Goldberg really mopped the floor with Stewart, thereby executing the prized clickbait-logroll; another in which the house hipster actually says out loud that "Jon Stewart Isn’t Funny Because He’s a Coward" and "The purpose of the show is to entertain, sure, but the purpose of the entertainment is to discredit political opponents of the Left." To be fair he didn't mention Alinsky, which may be a sign that ol' Saul has fallen out of fashion (maybe at this moment all the cool kids in Woodside are citing the Frankfurt School, or some even more obscure conspiracy you squares haven't heard of), but it's the same idea: laughter is illegitimate if it's at your expense.

Oh, and they both compare Stewart to Donald Trump, because words that end in "Trump" are funny. It's amazing no enterprising conservative has explained yet how Will Rogers was a shill for Roosevelt. Get scribbling, crybabies!

UPDATE. Reason has a video about how Stewart is "full of shit," but do you seriously expect me to watch a Reason video? Have you ever seen one of those things? They make PJTV look like HBO.

UPDATE 2. The tears just keep on coming: At The American Spectator, Aaron Goldstein's actual subhed is "Jon Stewart is neither as funny nor as smart as he thinks he is." That'll show him! Goldstein goes on: the show "is more smart-ass than smart. It is the sort of humor geared to the mentality of a 12-year old... The approval Stewart receives from his audience and critics isn’t because he’s actually funny, it’s because they agree with him... Simply put, Stewart thinks he’s a lot smarter than he actually is." Then Goldstein pushes out his lower lip, dips his head, and stomps back to his deserted clubhouse. Cheer up, Aaron, you've given my readers lots of laughs in the past, and I assume more are to come.

UPDATE 3. Never sleep on alicublog commenters, e.g. Dex: "First they ignore you, then they say that you aren't as smart as you think you are, then they say Jonah Goldberg totally laid a sweet burn on you back in 2007 or whenever it was, then they say you were actually conservative."

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

GOLDBERG BONANZA!

Jonah Goldberg has had a fartful morning. At The Corner, he reacts to a feature about Chelsea Clinton -- first, by acknowledging that he wrongly characterized it as a puff piece without reading it  (for which he blames Twitter, no dog or intern being handy); then, by taking the opportunity to harsh on C. Clinton at length for -- well, for existing, it would seem, and for allegedly being a "total political mediocrity" which might mean something if 1.) the current GOP Presidential field did not exist as a point of comparison and 2.) C. Clinton were actively running for something. (She has said she's "open" to running for office in the future.) Also, she only got where she got to because of her family. "Are there many average people who can take inspiration from Chelsea’s 'struggle'?" asks Goldberg. "I doubt it." (To quote August J. Pollak, "PLEASE tell me Jonah Goldberg is whining about someone getting where they are because of their parents." Oh, here's a bonus.)

Goldberg then tries a few carom shots to get at Hillary via Chelsea ("she is also a total political mediocrity. In this sense she takes entirely after her mother," "she certainly didn’t get her dad’s political chops. This is pure Hillary," etc.), but this hot mother-daughter action isn't really doing it for him so eventually he just unpantloads:
As for the bit about her being the closest thing America has to a princess, well, when you think about it for a second, I think that’s right. The problem is that the closest thing to a princess in America is very, very, very far from an actual, you know, princess. We don’t do royalty here very well. The thing that makes her most princess-like is that she really doesn’t seem to know what to do with herself except get caught up in the lie of her family business. What I mean is that she may actually believe that the Clintons are a kind of secular royalty and a dynasty. No doubt she’s been told that a lot. No doubt her parents don’t loop her in on the seamier side of how the Tudors of the Ozarks operate. She probably thinks the primary purpose of the Clinton Foundation is philanthropy rather than extending the Clinton brand and empire, in much the same way descendants of the original medieval robber barons believe their family has always been about public service. Bless her heart
There is no coherent meaning to the paragraph other than "Are you proud of me now, Mom?" In the ancient tradition of Goldberg's less-connected colleagues coming to his rescue, Jim Geraghty tries to hand Goldberg a much stronger case against C. Clinton -- that she's been promoted beyond her competence in the media world due to her celebrity -- to which Goldberg responds that he entirely agrees "about the broader phenomenon of Chelsea Clinton, which is why I assumed that Contrera’s piece was just another one of these insipid sweeteners." Well, Jim, you tried.

Goldberg also has an anti-Planned Parenthood article that starts with the kind of bloody fetus prose-poems that have become his movement's new lazy-man equivalent of clinic protesting, and proceeds to what I'm sure he thinks is a brainstorm:
...It was Thomas Jefferson who wrote, “To compel a man to furnish contributions of money for the propagation of opinions which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” 
It was at least partly on these Jeffersonian grounds that proponents of removing the Confederate flag from South Carolina’s statehouse grounds won their argument. The statehouse belongs to everyone, and forcing those who abhor that flag to pay for it, even symbolically and even if many of its supporters meant no offense, is still sinful.

Well, if you don’t believe that a fetus with arms, legs, a face and a brain is an actual human life worthy of protecting, or at least deserving of a level of respect greater than a hangnail, it’s doubtful anyone will ever persuade you otherwise.  
But maybe you can still accept that other people disagree with you. Abortion is not simply a symbolic act, but perhaps it would help to see it as one. And, if you can muster that much imagination, maybe you can also understand why those truly offended by the practice don’t want their tax dollars subsidizing it.
In other words: Look, be fair -- we took down our tributes to the Confederacy, the least you can do is enact the Hyde Amendment what you already did well no uh because fungible did I say that right and in conclusion  farrrrrrtttt.


Friday, July 31, 2015

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Sort of the theme song here at alicublog.

•   It's like Jonah Goldberg is actually trying to live down to the role in intellectual history I've assigned him.
Huckabee’s Hitler Comparison That Wasn’t
Huckabee, you'll recall, said that by negotiating a treaty with Iran Obama "will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven." OK, the generously-inclined might say, maybe this is just a bagatelle for Goldberg, like Mencken's In Defense of Women. (Sorry, I just suffered an eternity in Hell for comparing Goldberg to Mencken.) But Goldberg's method is, unlike the Master's, charmless and bucket-footed. He tries to warm up the crowd by sneering at the silly liberals who would take offense at such an innocent statement ("Clinton even said she was 'really offended personally,' as if her feelings are what really matters"). Then he pulls out the big gun (or, in the more appropriate Virgil Starkwell usage, gub):
Now, I’ve never been a big fan of Huckabee’s style of politics — or policy. But a remotely fair reading of the statement strongly suggests that Huckabee was comparing Obama to Neville Chamberlain or some other member of the “Hitler is a man we can do business with” school. That’s the point of calling Obama “naive” for trusting the Iranians — the Hitler in Huckabee’s analogy.
We all remember the newsreel footage of Chamberlain marching Jews -- well, more like escorting them, he was a polite fellow -- to the ovens at Dachau, and saying, "in you go, there's a good chap."
We can parse more deeply if we must.
Oh Jesus.
Hitler didn’t march Jews to the doors of the ovens, but into them. The Iranians are the ones with sinister intentions in Huckabee’s description, not Obama, who, again, is described as naive and feckless, not sinister and evil.
Revise the imagery: Chamberlain escorting the Ashkenazim to Berchtesgaden, and Hitler going, "Thanks, Neville!" and Chamberlain going "not at all," and shuffling away saying "remarkable fellow that Hitler."
Huckabee probably shouldn’t have used the word “march” because it muddies his point.
"March" was actually very much to Huckabee's point, which is the one Goldberg is strenuously missing.
“Delivered to” or “abandoned at” would have worked better.
This is a man too lazy to even access an online thesaurus.
I think, as a general rule, one should pretty much always avoid talking about Jews and ovens unless discussing the actual Holocaust. And one could argue that Huckabee, who insists he never compared Obama to Hitler, was cynically hoping to be misconstrued in order to get some media attention — which he got.
And this is where ten years of farting-Goldberg analogies pay off: This really is the equivalent of Goldberg, exhausted from several paragraphs of holding it in, finally unloading the inevitable and, while hoping  the sofa cushions will filter the evidence, trying the distract us with even worse reasoning:
But on the merits, Huckabee isn’t saying anything that lots of serious people haven’t said, albeit more eloquently. In countless speeches, Bibi Netanyahu...
We can stop there, as it's a sad scene and the room is filling up with stank, but connoisseurs will be pleased to learn that at the running-out-of-the-room-crying stage Goldberg actually says this:
George W. Bush was routinely compared to Hitler with a fraction of the outcry Huckabee has received.
Like the guy waiting at the barroom door says, it's always 9/11 somewhere.

•   Can there be any hed more glibertarian than this:
The Gay Marriage Case Against the Minimum Wage
From A. Barton Hinkle's copy:
True, at present all of this seems thoroughly academic. The likelihood that the U.S. will abandon minimum-wage laws anytime soon sounds almost preposterous. Then again, once upon a time so did the idea of gay marriage.
Deep in my heart/ I do believe/ You will work for scraps, someday. Yea, even unto the Middle Ages.

•   Speaking of which, David Weigel:
Rand Paul's politics are a constant source of debate on the libertarian right and left. Some think he's lurched too far toward military interventionism. Some think he's too close to the Republican establishment. but Paul's abortion views are less nettlesome than liberal observers of libertarianism seem to think. In April, ThinkProgress's Judd Legum wrote confidently that Paul was "not a libertarian"; his first evidence was that the senator "vehemently opposes abortion rights." This week, Little Green Footballs's Charles Johnson wrote that "Rand Paul likes to present himself as a civil libertarian, but his stance on reproductive rights is straight from the darkest, most regressive part of the Republican Party’s war on women."

The evidence for Paul's heresy is his sponsorship of legislation to define life as beginning at conception -- something liberals see as antithetical to "choice." Doctrinal libertarians don't necessarily agree.
I'll say. I give Weigel credit for  1.) getting Megan McArdle to embarrass herself more than usual, and 2.) patiently explaining to the punters what those of us who've been paying attention have known for years and years: Forced childbirth is not an issue that interests libertarians, because to them there is no freedom even remotely as important as the freedom of capital and of those who possess most of it to do whatever they want -- and those guys tend not to be child-bearing. They only tell the rubes that The Movement will protect them from revenooers* and court orders from their bitch ex-wives to keep it from looking too obvious. (*Damn it, now I got this song stuck in my head).

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

...UNTIL GOLDBERG WRITES SOMETHING ELSE.

Jonah Goldberg:
Huckabee’s Anachronistic Brand of Progressivism
We could shorter this "farrt" and call it a day, but let me  give you the gist: Because he wants the state to meddle in people's business, as has every Bible-beater since time immemorial, Huckabee is actually a "right-wing populist-progressive." Sure, why not -- Goldberg already told us liberals are fascists so why can't right-wingers be progressive? The explanation is, as usual, that William Jennings Bryan and Woodrow Wilson did racist or repressive things, therefore progressives are racist and repressive.

You can catch some of Goldberg's related argumentation in a remarkable Twitter debate with Jamelle Bouie; Goldberg leans heavily on the assertion that he didn't mean anything bad by "ideologue" because it just means somebody who has an ideology -- you know, like when your smartass friend in middle school told that Jewish kid he was anti-Semitic because he didn't like Arafat. Some Goldberg highlights: "Hey, I don't have a huge gripe with you. But the idea you're not a liberal ideologue because you say you're not is...unpersuasive" (this is known to rhetoricians as the argumentum ad ellipsis) and "the term 'ideologue' was largely invented by Napoleon and Marx to do exactly the kind of thing you're trying to do to me."

The column ends with Goldberg saying even though Huckabee is bad because he's a progressive, he's not as bad as those progressive-progressives because he believes in God. If nothing else, it proves the wisdom of this old saw.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

TWENTY MINUTES WASTED WITH GOLDBERG AND MURRAY.

"Is it time for civil disobedience? Charles Murray says yes!" So begins Jonah Goldberg's interview of Murray, whose new book about bureaucracy attempts to give a modish civil-rights frisson to the fight against our fascist government's onerous regulations on drinking water, workplace hazards, and other things that should be left to the wisdom of capital. It's in the form of an American Enterprise Institute video, alas, but I have nutshelled it for you:

Goldberg, who increasing resembles Sig Ruman, says he'll start with the riots in Baltimore, which he describes as Murray's "wheelhouse"; as Murray is best known as the author of a book claiming to scientifically prove that black people are stupid, you can imagine the gooseflesh among the brethren in attendance.  Goldberg's got the fever and tries to insert as a topic of conversation the alleged "debate about whether or not it's racist to call people thugs" -- though the closed caption guy has other ideas:


At first it seems as if Murray will oblige. "I'm old enough to remember what Watts was like," he says, and adds that he acknowledged at the time  "there was something really different about inner city neighborhoods," which shows just how far he was willing to go for Those People, but now after all the years you have the "same litany of complaints" despite "overwhelmingly Democratic control implementing Democratic solutions," i.e., using whatever  money is left over after the city or state has delivered all its subsidized stadiums, office parks, and other emoluments for the deserving rich to build an occasional playground or put another bench in the courthouse/cash extraction center. And now, says an indignant Murray, "I'm supposed to be moved when President Obama says 'we know how to cure this if only we had the will'?"  By God, he acknowledged something really different about Watts, but a man can only do so much! 

Goldberg informs Murray that  "I monitor a lot of mainstream media," aka "enemy broadcasting," and he has seen such hard leftists as Joe Scarborough citing the Kerner Commission, as if race had anything to do with it, which Goldberg attributes to a "lack of self-awareness" -- that is, "they all appreciate the irony but they don't appreciate the depth of the irony," which is that black people were happy under Giuliani, or at least terrified into silence. "You have solutions that are tried to no effect," sighs Murray, but "cold-blooded, hard-headed evaluation" shows there's "no effect" cuz look, a riot.

At this point someone must have held up a sign saying PIMP BOOK ABOUT BUREAUCRACY because Goldberg praises Murray for his assertion that "complexity from the federal government always backfires." "Complexity has a whole bunch of different aspects," Murray charitably concedes. Then he gets to his signal example of intolerable bureaucracy, and if you guessed "military" or "housing court" you must be new around here.

"Teaching kids is a pretty simple thing," says Murray, but teachers for some reason want to keep disruptive children in their classrooms. No citation, but Murray assures us there are "six different school of education theories" about "why you should leave that chaotic child in the classroom." Plus even if you get these monster children out, there are "25 pages of regulations" about how to get them out, not like back when Old Man Murray was a boy and you just threw them out a window. It's about "complexity of rules... a rule for everything" -- why, Murray chortles, "I bet there's a long list of guidelines about how much physical contact you are allowed in getting that kid out of the classroom, and if you violate any of those you got a problem." (In their Idaho Barcaloungers, his audience mistily dreams of dishing out some physical contact to young troublemakers.)

Goldberg offers that public schools are "a reward for the guild and less about students." Murray generously allows that for teachers "there's always an internal rationalization for doing what you're doing," but -- look out, "what I'm about to say is not data driven about their feelings"  -- "what it looks like is people making a pretty good salary relative to what they could make in the private sector," that magical place where PhDs are forced to work at Starbucks and millionaires only break a sweat during squash or rough sex; and not only that, these overpaid child-minders have "pretty good job security" (but not for long under President Walker!). Oddly, despite all these unfair advantages, teachers are also  "demoralized" and "cynical," not because they're trying to educate children in a country that spits on knowledge and prizes conformity but because, well, aren't villains always miserable in spite of their ill-gotten gains? Murray even imagines an interior monologue for these demoralized public-sector tycoons ("I have the ability to make trouble for you..."). Ugh, teachers, why were we ever nice to them?

Someone hits Goldberg with a spitball, signalling him to announce that while Murray's book is at odds with "the intellectual Zeitgeist," normal hard-working Americans sit on girders eating sandwiches out of metal lunch pails and extol his wisdom. Then Goldberg suddenly claims that there is some overlap between the Tea Party and Elizabeth Warren, and offers to "characterize" Warren's point of view, which he does thus: the "bureaucrats and the lawyers and the politicians" are "the people who are trying to help" while the real culprits are "the one percent and the billionaires and Wall Street and the fat cats" who are "pulling all the strings." To be fair, as he said this Goldberg did not roll his eyes and speak in a grating falsetto.

You can guess what Fishtown Murray thinks of that! He allows there's a "nugget of truth" in Fake Elizabeth Warren's argument, in that the "big banks and big corporations are in bed with the government," case in point Dodd-Frank (which, in real life, every leftist from here to the Finland Station wants replaced with good ol' Glass-Steagall if not tumbrels and guillotines). The real problem is that corporations are behaving wrongly "with the help of government," whereas on their own they're great, giving us proles "ever more reliable cars, ever more powerful computers," and "Exxon cannot come to my door and say fill up your tank with super or you're going to jail." (No, says Goldberg -- that's "the Obamacare model.") In the end, Murray claims he has "as many complaints about the way capitalism is practiced as Elizabeth Warren does," but this thing you lefties think is capitalism isn't really capitalism, it's a "perversion of what capitalism ought to be," and it's the government's fault. Goldberg, caught up in the intellectual fervor, adds his own gloss on a famous Adam Smith quote: two tradesmen, or a multitude of them, "can't collude against the customer very long without the government helping [them]." Look at the ethical utopia that was the Gilded Age!

Then it's time for Goldberg to ask Murray if he's an optimist or a pessimist. Had he any guts, Murray would have said that since he'd been successfully peddling this hooey for decades and there's no reason why the suckers shouldn't buy this latest bunch of it,  of course he's an optimist. But Murray's a salesman to the end, and so tells the punters  that two hundred years from now "we're probably going to be way wealthier than we are now," allowing his audience to believe that "we" means them, too, and not just a tiny sliver of neo-feudal overlords including Charles Murray IV.

Finally Goldberg has to deliver on the opening pitch, and tells us the book encourages "civil disobedience," though of course it's not the kind with "sit-ins and lunch counters" -- he and Murray share a laugh over that: Imagine us at lunch counters, like some low-IQ you-know-whats! You can read about this in Murray's WSJ essay, but basically, if all of us few remaining middle-class white people get together and don't fill out form 47-B, we can take this motherfucker down!  Murray explains this in terms honkies can understand: that is, with speeding tickets and NBA officiating as examples. Then another shared laugh about putting body cameras on bureaucrats -- ha ha, again with the you-know-whats! -- and we're out. Next week: The people united will never be forced to provide wheelchair access! 

Friday, May 08, 2015

FRIDAY 'ROUND THE HORN.

Friday I got Monday on my mind.

   Last summer Michael Webster took some photos at Coney Island and, as is usual with him, saw the scene differently than your average joy-popper would. The package is at Burn magazine and is called "Too Many Black People in One Place." I wrote the accompanying essay. All the work predates Ferguson and Baltimore but still holds up pretty well. Give a look when you get a chance and tell me what you think.

   As we all know, my credentials as an equal-opportunity blasphemer are impeccable. Jonah Goldberg's position is similarly consistent -- that is, he was a moron before the Pamela Geller uproar and remains one today. His latest, "Progressives Love Anti-Religious Art — as Long as It’s Anti-Christian" is just another fatty serving of the same congealed ressentiment he's been dishing for years -- it even contains references to Piss Christ and "Mapplethorpe’s hide-the-bullwhip oeuvre." (It's like his mother was scared by a Duchamp readymade while she was pregnant.) Goldberg knocks people who don't think Geller has a Constitutional right to her bullshit, but who's that?  Just a tiny sliver of idiots. Most normal people don't much care how the avatars of the world's major superstitions are portrayed (at least not the ones they don't believe in!) and, I would imagine, consider Geller an nuisance on the level of Fred Phelps of the Westboro Baptist Church, looking for chances to stir the shit. (You think reactionaries like Peter King are turning on Geller because they love Mohammed?) But Goldberg portrays the real problem as snotty bohos with their so-called "art" who get fans and grants while he has to float in the oceans with nutcakes and humiliate himself with his shit writing on a regular basis.

Friday, April 10, 2015

FRIDAY 'ROUND THE HORN.


Thanks to Chuck Gilligan I finally saw the Mountain Goats this week.
Liked it all, but this song really jumped up and grabbed my throat.

•   Charles C.W. Cooke takes me to task -- rather gently, considering how abusive I've been toward him -- for my review of his column on the Walter Scott video. Let me try and return the favor. I thought that column showed him resistant to the lessons of a long and depressing trend of which Scott's killing is a part (notwithstanding Scott's is less likely to go unpunished since someone took video of it):
...I think that [Michael Graham] is confusing conviction for humility. Pace Roy Edroso, I am not at all “sure” what happened in the cases of Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin. On the contrary: I have written repeatedly that I do not — and I cannot — know what happened in those instances, and that, in all likelihood, nor can a jury...
He then goes on about Blackstone and the presumption of innocence, as if my argument (and those of the others) were for a presumption of guilt in murder cases. Let me clarify, then: that is not what I'm arguing for at all. I'm arguing instead for an acknowledgement that cops (and would-be cops) sometimes treat black citizens differently from white ones, and not in a good way. This is not just the fantasy of "those among us who are convinced that the United States is an irredeemably racist nation," as Cooke described us in his original column, but a judgment based on years of bitter evidence. I'm arguing this not to begin any bogus race "conversation," nor to agitate for some quota of cop convictions. I'm arguing this because it's a plain fact that some folks seem committed to ignoring and to slurring other people for noticing, and that's one of the big reasons why, 150 years after Appomattox, this country remains totally nuts about race.

•   With his latest on the death penalty, Jonah Goldberg not only keeps up with the worst-thing-ever-written pledge I made on his behalf some time ago, he actually outdoes himself. First, he argues, that Tsarnaev bastard deserves the death penalty, doesn't he, and if you don't think so, what about that cop who shot that black guy 'cause you love black guys when the cops shoot them:
Wait, before you answer that, consider Michael Slager. He’s the North Charleston, S.C., cop who shot Walter Scott in the back as he was fleeing and then allegedly lied about why he did it. 
I don’t have to say he allegedly shot Scott because Slager admitted that much.
Huh, what about that, libtards? The smarter libtards take a seat and wait, and sure enough Goldberg starts pee-dancing around:
Legally, it’s harder to argue that Slager should get the death penalty if convicted. Not all murders are equal before the law. It’s unclear how much premeditation, if any, there was in this case. Presumably Slager didn’t know Scott before he pulled him over for a traffic stop. 
Still, I think you could make a case for the death penalty in cases like this.
[Libtards light cigarettes, read Elizabeth Bruenig on their phones.]
The analogy that comes to mind is the wartime military.
[One libtard looks up expectantly.] 
There are capital offenses for crimes other than murder because the integrity and effectiveness of the armed forces is a priority. We are not a martial society, but I could make a similar argument about police officers who murder and lie about it. Faith in the fairness of the justice system is simply indispensable to a democracy and social peace. Lack of such faith may be why Scott ran from Officer Slager.
[By now all the libtards have turned their attention to him.] 
If so, his mistrust was tragically well placed.
[The sneering laughter comes but is soon drowned out by the most insidious weapon in Goldberg's flatularium, the Cloaking Fart.] Sometimes I think Goldberg is a gift from the muses.

Friday, April 03, 2015

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


One of the funniest things by two of the funniest people of all time.

•    It is axiomatic that Jonah Goldberg can make anything worse, and the Indiana RFRA case is no exception. Here he shows evidence of having been crammed with some libertarian revisionism: Goldberg argues that the pre-"clarification" RFRA was not like Jim Crow because Jim Crow was really about economic oppression -- because everything is! -- and had nothing to do with anything so gauche as violent prejudice against a despised minority, and still less to do with political power:
Of course, the more infamous Jim Crow laws were aimed at barring blacks from being able to vote. But there was a pernicious logic to such efforts. Denying blacks the vote, even in states where they were the majority of citizens, guaranteed that they couldn’t overturn racist state economic regulations. 
In fact, says Goldberg, Confederate businesses loved serving black people, but because a flood of emancipated black workers caused a labor shortage (forget it, he's on a roll), both blacks and black-loving shopkeepers were Jim Crowed into submission not by the Klan nor by the White Leagues, but by Big Business -- you know, the people conservatives worshiped as gods until Tim Cook said he was gay. "Ultimately," says Goldberg, "the federal government had to use just coercion to crush unjust state-government coercion," without mentioning that his own magazine was against that "just coercion" every step of the way; they affect to feel sorry about that now, and one would like to think that they'll apologize for their absurd attitude toward gays fifty years from now (if they and the nation last so long), but alas, Goldberg shows that they haven't really learned a thing:
In Indiana, the most vocal and arguably the most powerful voices against even the perception of anti-gay discrimination have come from the business community. And, one suspects, there are plenty of people in the wedding-planning industry eager for such business. 
We could impose a fine on recalcitrant religious wedding photographers. But the market already does that, every time they turn away paying customers.
They still think Title II is an injustice and don't want it applied to anyone else.

•  One Bob & Ray thing isn't enough: Enjoy this bit -- first four minutes of this clip from the Letterman show, but the rest is okay too -- in which "Barry Campbell" talks about his disastrous opening in the play "The Tender T-Bone."

•    From the Weird Reaction file: You may have seen the fascinating story of a suitcase full of photos, receipts, and diary entries chronicling a German businessman's extra-marital affair forty-five years ago that has been revived as a gallery show. Most of us find it interesting or creepy or a spur to reflection. Ole Perfesser Instapundit, however, reacts thusly:
IT WASN’T AN AFFAIR, it was performance art. Bow down and don’t criticize, philistines!
Most of the time I think Reynolds is just putting it on for the rubes, but sometimes it seems he really is that weird mix of Babbitt and Nathan Bedford Forrest he plays on the internet.

•    Speaking of the arts, I went over to Acculturated to take in the latest by Mark Judge, or Mark Gauvreau Judge or Gark Jauvreau Mudge or whatever he calls himself these days. He's sighing over a 1954 Sports Illustrated cover showing a pretty girl in a modest one-piece bathing suit largely obscured by sea spray. As you may have guessed, this inspires a meditation on how much sexier things were before sideboob.
More than fifty years later, the Pamela Nelson photo ignites my passion more than anything that is in the hyped, recently published 2015 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. The photographs in the new swimsuit issue are dull. The poses are clichéd, similar, and the models look like cyborgs. There is the arching-back pose. The bedroom-eyes-on-the-beach shot. The backside shot (or shots). Did I mention the arching-back pose?

In our culture today, pornography has excelled at titillating the masses, but is poor at capturing the soul. And no matter what our sex-drenched society tells us, sex is sexier when the soul is involved.
Every single one of the poses named above comes with a link, so Acculturated readers can decide whether they want to beat off to contemporary or vintage pin-ups -- which I guess is how some people measure cultural seriousness. Chacun à son gout is very very true...

•    Still speaking of the arts, this is from a report on wingnut intellectual George Nash's speech to the Philadelphia Society last month:
“Many conservatives, of course, including many in this room, are laboring valiantly and effectively in the realm of cultural renewal,” Nash said. “But as a historian I am constrained to note that the ‘progressives’ in this country continue to predominate in the production of culture, and in the manufacture and distribution of prestige among our cultural elites. As long as this imbalance continues, the fate of post-Reagan conservatism will be problematic.”
Do remember this, dear reader: You may think of novels, plays, ballet, music, etc. as works of art that illuminate the human condition, but to the great minds of the conservative movement they are merely widgets in "the manufacture and distribution of prestige among our cultural elites." Their policies are inhuman, that is, because they don't really relate to humanity.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

ZHDANOV NEVER LEFT.

This pops up in the middle of a Charles Two Middle Initials Cooke rant about how PC is intimidating professors and you liberals who think Ted Cruz looks like Joseph McCarthy are actually The Real Joseph McCarthy:
But the truth is that if Arthur Miller were writing The Crucible today he would likely be less interested in effusive senators from Texas and more interested in the more modern pathologies that the Cruzes of the world tend typically to disdain. Presumably, Miller would look at our universities and our media, at our malleable “speech codes,” our self-indulgent “safe spaces,” our preference for “narrative” over truth, and at our pathetic appeasement of what is little more than good old-fashioned illiberalism, and he would despair.
It seems never to have occurred to Cooke that if his analogy is sound, then The Crucible is already about speech codes etc. -- because it's not a news report but a work of art, which pertains to the universal, and resonates with anyone who has experienced mass hysteria and its attendant repression in whatever form. Other people know that; that's why the play is always getting revived. Audiences get the connection. Cooke might get a theater company together to alterna-stage The Crucible to look like Oleanna if he likes.

I suspect that Cooke's not interested in universals, though: What he wants is an already-famous property that's about how college students are oppressing conservatism -- or, failing that, to get people to believe that the dead author of the famous property was really a rightwinger and just didn't know it. You know, like they do with George Orwell and many others, to avoid the hard work of making (or even seriously engaging with) any art themselves.

UPDATE. Jonah Goldberg tells his colleague: You say McCarthyism like it's a bad thing.

Friday, March 06, 2015

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


It's a good morning for... well, actually, what isn't a good morning for Motörhead?

   His fellow conservatives are all blargh, Hitlery's doomed, so Jonah Goldberg must have thought "The E-mail Scandal Won’t Doom Hillary" would be a clever contrarian approach to the wingnut rage-of-the-moment that might earn him another Pulitzer No-Prize, or at least an extra box of fudge at dinner. Of course, to keep his readers from getting turned off, the Son of the Lewinsky Scandal has to front-load the column with a bunch of anti-Clinton bosh, and this is clearly the easiest part for him to write, though that doesn't mean that he can write it well:
The server was registered under the name Eric Hoteman — someone who doesn’t exist. But it’s almost surely Eric Hothem, a Washington financial adviser and former aide to Clinton who, according to the Associated Press, has been a technology adviser to the family. Tony Soprano would be envious.
Al Capone, too ([smacks forehead] "Breaking email rules! And I hadda evade income tax, like a dummy!").
Depending on whom you ask, this was a violation of Obama-administration policy, long-established State Department rules, the Federal Records Act, or all of the above. Moreover, outside the ranks of Clinton-Industrial Complex employees, contractors, and supplicants, there’s a rare bipartisan consensus that it was, to use a technical term, really, really shady.
This flimsy fart-cloud is our first hint that Goldberg doesn't actually know what kind of trouble Clinton may or may not be in, which presages the collapse of his thesis. First, he tells us Clinton will get away with whatever it is she did because she's so damn crafty she'll manage to withhold her most incriminating emails from Republican investigators -- that is, the "incriminating stuff could remain invisible — valuable snowflakes held back from a blizzard of chaff." (Look, if he could craft a decent metaphor, don't you think he'd have a less humiliating job?) In other words, he thinks Trey Gowdy and the boys are even stupider than you do. His second reason is -- pretty much his first reason:
This points to another reason why I think Clinton will survive this mess. If there’s a damning e-mail out there, it’s been deleted, and the relevant hard drive would be harder to find than Jimmy Hoffa’s body. So critics are probably left with the task of proving a negative.
Leaving aside the idea that prosecution in this case requires retrieving a hard drive (which ain't necessarily so), I would point out that we're still talking about whether the homebrew system itself is a punishable offense, and who has the standing to punish her for it. Talking about whether there's a "Well, my Dread Lord Satan, how's the cover-up of the murder of Ambassador Stevens going?" email Clinton is hiding someplace is like speculating on whether the server itself doubled as an illegal moonshine still. (By George, they'd have her then!) Even Goldberg seems to intuit this, and closes with more Clinton curses ("Nothing in this story is surprising... and certainly not the staggering hypocrisy") and even a just-you-wait, you'll-be-sorry whine...
At some point down the tracks, when yet another fetid cloud of Clintonism erupts into plain view, many smart liberals will look back at this moment as the time when they should have pulled the emergency brake and gotten off the Hillary train.
...of the sort you only hear from conservatives when they're starting to panic, or when, like Goldberg, they actually scare themselves.

•    Speaking of the wingnut equivalent of #SlatePitches, Matthew Continetti, many of whose offenses to reason (like his column during the Ebola scare, "The Case for Panic") have been detailed here, must have retucked his shirt so furiously when he thought of this one he injured a groin muscle:
I Don’t Love Spock
Column: President Obama’s favorite Star Trek character is an appeasing arrogant jerk
Ain't even kidding.
The president is not the only writer who has drawn comparisons between himself and Spock. I am also a Star Trek fan, but I admit I was somewhat confused by my rather apathetic reaction to Nimoy’s death.
Just like when my parents died. But we went over all that in the court-ordered therapy sessions. Haw! Stupid therapists!
And as I thought more about the president’s statement, I realized he identifies with the very aspects of the Spock character that most annoy me. I don’t love Spock at all. 
Not only do Spock’s peacenik inclinations routinely land the Enterprise and the Federation into trouble, his “logic” and “level head” mask an arrogant emotional basket case.
Princess Leia and Cheryl Tunt -- now they're a different story. They can hide his emails in their homebrew anytime! [retucks shirt] I wonder how much time Continetti devoted to figuring out who would be Kirk in this scenario. A Kirk who wanted to kill Spock, I guess, then deny earthlings health care and a minimum wage. (Is this what they call "non-canon"? I don't truck much with pencilnecks.)

•    By the way, if you're a fan of Dreher dudgeon, anti-gayRod is on a tear lately. First example:
We think of ISIS as anti-human, and we are right to. But...
Always a "but" with Dreher and Islamicist lunatics.
...what if the greater threat to humanity is not among the barbaric brigades of the Levant, but among the far more sophisticated barbarians at work in Silicon Valley?
You mean those tech assholes who are fucking up the Bay Area for the few remaining poors? Don't be silly -- Dreher's just heard some Singularity geeks and is as rattled, as you would expect of someone who hasn't looked at a magazine since William Gibson was a big deal. Accepting their assessment at face value, he sputters:
Will you people who sneer at the Benedict Option and think that it’s only about trying to get away from the queers finally understand that this stuff Harari is talking about is the kind of thing I say we must prepare to resist?
Surely there must be someplace where your paranoid fantasies and mine intersect -- for one thing, I have so many of them! Oh, and someone told poor Rod about the two boys kissing on The Fosters.
Shelley was right: Poets — that is, people who create art — really are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.
[Looks again -- confirms that yes, Dreher is actually talking about network television.]
If you as a conservative parent are not pushing back against pop culture propaganda as pop culture is pushing against your kids, you all are going to get steamrollered. Turning the TV off is a start, but this is where we are now as a culture, and if all you give them is “thou shalt not,” it won’t be enough.
Clearly your own godly example won't cut any ice with your hellspawn, so it's time to lock them young'uns in the Jesus shed till this whole gay thing blows out. I half expect to see Dreher cutting some guy's head off in a video one day.

Friday, February 27, 2015

FRIDAY ROUND-THE-HORN.


This is all I want to hear about fucking llamas anymore, thanks.

•  Dear God -- Ross Douthat reviews Boyhood:
“Boyhood” does a very good job of offering grist for multiple interpretations of its family drama: There are people who watch the movie and come away feeling like Linklater is passing a harsh (maybe too harsh?) judgment on the Patricia Arquette-played mother’s romantic choices, people who feel like the movie is a portrait of her overall parental success in spite of the odds, and people (like me) who read the portrait of the Ethan Hawke-played dad as a case study in how our culture tends lets slacker-ish, slow-to-grow-up men basically Have It All at the expense of their progeny and the women in their lives. But then what you wait for, or at least what I waited for, is to see how Mason interprets things, how the mess around him in his childhood affects his relationships with both parents as he rises toward adulthood, how his desire not to repeat their mistakes or his tendency to fall into the same traps might manifest itself, how the tension and difficulty that he experiences passively as a child will translate into the actions he takes and mistakes he makes as a teenager and young man. 
And that’s what the last hour doesn’t offer. The conflicts ebb, Mason’s family (parents and sister) flatten and diminish, everyone suddenly gets nicer, and the sense of dread and dislocation disappears with nothing dramatically interesting to replace it.
In other words: He wanted a movie about how single-parent families are ungodly and a social drain, preferably one where all the principals realize as much and enter covenant marriages (and maybe all the abortions they ever had go in slow-motion reverse like at the end of The Theory of Everything), and Linklater didn't give it to him, so the movie is a failure. Is there a single conservative left who is not a Child of Zhdanov? (My much better Boyhood review here.)

•  You know I offer this video with all affection -- the now-late Mr. Nimoy singing about Bilbo Baggins:



This is how I will remember him: a serious person who nonetheless was able to give himself over to the ridiculous, and thus made us all a little happier. (Oh yeah -- he was a very good Mustafa Mond.) (Oh yeah, and this -- a story I didn't know before today, but not a shock.) (Oh and yeah also, the story FMguru tells in comments about Nimoy taking a stand on voice-casting for Sulu and Uhuru.)

•  Jonah Goldberg has a post about how liberalism is "exhausted" because MSNBC isn't tearing up the ratings. Samples:
As Josh Kraushaar of National Journal recently observed, Barack Obama has successfully moved his party to the left but has failed utterly to bring the rest of the country with him.
Guess they just voted for him twice because he was black.
If you still think Obama has generous coattails, ask Rahm Emanuel for a second opinion.
Many voters deserted the socialist Emanuel for the arch-conservative Chuy Garcia.
Contrary to myth, Fox (where I am a contributor) is in fact an actual news network, albeit with prime-time opinion shows.
No comment.

Friday, February 20, 2015

FRIDAY ROUND-THE-HORN.


At first I thought, "O God no Joanna Newsom is trying to sneak back
get the spray-bottle" but this song is kind of sticking with me.

  Jonah Goldberg's column today could have been titled, "I'm not lazy and stupid, you're lazy and stupid!" He says Obama is dumb because he won't admit Islam itself is responsible for the nuts who kill in its name. The President's anodyne ecumenical statement is, in Goldberg's view, the same thing as saying "Michael Jordan didn’t play basketball" or  "We didn’t win World War II" in that, durr, that's stoopid too, right? The analogy invites deeper analysis, so step well back as Goldberg executes his logic-fart:
“No religion is responsible for terrorism,” the president proclaimed, “people are responsible for violence and terrorism.”

Now obviously, there’s some truth to this. We judge people more by their actions than by their beliefs. But reasonable people also recognize that our actions often have a causal relationship with our beliefs. This is hardly a controversial — or even debatable — insight. Orthodox Jews don’t avoid bacon because it tastes bad; they do so because they’re keeping kosher. One cannot intelligently discuss why Mother Teresa helped the poor without referring to her faith. And one cannot discuss why the Islamic State burns, rapes, and enslaves people without taking their religious beliefs into account.
See -- Jews have wacky eating habits, Christians are nice, and Muslims are savage rapist-murders; Q.E.Doritos Cool Ranch! While I attribute the lack of retribution I've suffered for my anti-Mohammed cartoons to global respect for my artistry, I think Goldberg is safe because most non-conservatives can't make out what he's trying to say.

•   Speaking of legacy pledges and the next GOP President, Bill Kristol worries that Hillary Clinton is getting better numbers in the reps-the-future-not-the-past category in a CNN/ORC poll than any Republican Presidential candidate. (Scott Walker's numbers are least bad, perhaps because voters relate his social-net-shredding record to the dystopian future of The Handmaid's Tale or Idiocracy.) Kristol thinks he sees a way out:
Perhaps some new set of concerns in 2016 will overwhelm all the past/future talk. Given the state of the world, that’s quite possible. We could easily have a foreign policy election in 2016. And then people might not mind a steady hand, even if one from the past (think Richard Nixon in 1968).
One thing Americans  seem to have learned from the last clusterfuck in which Bill Kristol had a hand is, let's not do that again. In fact Kristol himself was complaining about "American war-weariness" only last year. Yet now he thinks beating the drum for Gulf War III might get one of his ringers elected. I suppose that's because he has more than average faith in the power of yellow journalism and jingo. After all, he is the editor of the Weekly Standard, which is very influential among people who never read anything they can't get for free on the New York-DC shuttle; that's got to count for something.

•   Whether or not I get to see any of the other big films (see my "On to Oscar" posts), at some point this weekend I'm going to stick my fool neck out, as I have in years past, and predict Sunday's winners. So watch this space! (And the easy way to do this is to get on my Twitter feed, where I announce posts sometime and dish out apothegms.)

•   Yeah it's late and who cares, but there are a few wonderful things about this Noah Rothman Hot Air column defending noted asshole Rudolph Giuliani and the asshole thing he said this week. I mean, it's mostly terrible on the level of Twitchy (look at the sickburn takedown of the media by "Florida-based political operative Rick Wilson"!), but in his flailing Rothman does bang into an interesting defense:
What are we to make of this frenzied attack on Giuliani, in which the whole of the political press reacted as though a man who left office 14 years ago had insulted their mothers?... 
Oh, but he was a leading presidential candidate in 2007, don’t you know? And he delivered the keynote address at the GOP’s nominating convention in 2008. And he’s a frequent guest on cable news, so he must be influential (a claim that could only be made by someone who rarely appears on cable news). But observing Giuliani’s diminished stature today when compared to the last decade renders the media’s reaction even less explicable.
I hope someone in Rudy's retinue told him, "It's okay, chief -- Noah Rothman says it doesn't matter 'cause you're a has-been!" Oh but the very, very, very best is the correction at the end:
An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified the chairman of the RNC as Ron Fournier
May your weekend be as serendipitous.

Friday, February 13, 2015

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.

  I thought yesterday's First Things article -- about how, thanks to 50 Shades of Grey, BDSM will lead followers to the Church, thereby reversing the usual pattern -- would be an anomaly. But now I see it's becoming a wingnut-Christian trope, executed today by Mollie Hemingway, who I guess is the new The Anchoress. At least Hemingway starts with a perfectly entertaining review of the film; she finds the sex scenes "pretty tame" and names other BDSM-themed stories she prefers, which as a former Catholic I appreciate. But then:
Anyway — if, as a character written by G. K. Chesterton said, “Every man who knocks on the door of a brothel is looking for God,” let’s ponder what women who are into this awful literature are seeking.
Ugh, that quote again -- and I might have known it was Chesterton, that's how the more high-class God-botherers always announce themselves.
I want to say this before the days when such statements are branded hate-speech worthy of re-education camp...
And the same goes for ridiculous persecution fantasies.
...but a hell of a lot of women would, if forced to choose, prefer to be in a loving committed relationship with a dude than get successively better office jobs on the way to the corner office.
Also, they'd rather go to heaven and lounge on clouds all day than go to your liberal-secular schools. Thereafter Hemingway just spools out the usual bullshit: Girls who try to make something more of themselves than dutiful wifemothers end up bitter hags with frozen eggs; men are boycotting marriage because of bitter hags with frozen eggs; women don't want feminism, they "want to be lost in a relationship, completely submitting to a man who is dangerous enough to need rescue but loving enough to notice what makes them beautiful," etc. Well, one good thing may come of this; in future, Jesus-friendly films like God's Not Dead will have a lot more nudity, and missals may come with bodice-ripping illustrations and Fabio on the cover as Jesus.

•   I don't usually pimp books here, mainly because I'm sub-literate, but I can say this about Dead is Better, by my wife's friend Jo Perry: If you liked my own neo-noir Morgue for Whores (and if you haven't read that, what's stopping you), you'll probably like this. Actually, that's not a pre-condition -- Dead is less grimy and sleazy than my novel, which surprisingly does not make it less interesting. The narrator is a dead guy, murdered, and he's just getting the hang of the afterworld. He figures out how to locomote in his new "frictionless" plane of existence, and even to hitch rides in cars, pretty quickly, but he's slower to make sense of what he's learning about the people he left behind in meat world -- and of the dog, also dead, who appears to have adopted him. Murder, mystery, redemption -- all that. Oh, and very sharp writing. Have a look.

•   It's become de rigueur for conservatives to defend Scott Walker's college performance -- we Charlie Pierce fans call this "the C-plus Augustus maneuver." Jonah Goldberg ups the ante and defends Walker's punt on evolution. Goldberg calls it "Darwinism," a popular schtick among the brethren, and says no fair you're trying to make us look dumb:
To borrow a phrase from the campus left, Darwinism is used to “otherize” certain people of traditional faith — and the politicians who want their vote.
Same thing with those citizens whose Constitutional right to treat epilepsy with leeches is mocked by them there pointy-heads. Then Goldberg gives his own I-din't-come-from-no-monkey speech on grounds of moral grandeur:
Beneath the surface, the salience of evolution as a political football is ultimately about the status of man. Are humans moral creatures whose actions are judged by some external or divine standard, or are we simply accidental winners of an utterly random contest of genes?
A God that works through evolution -- why, it's too fantastic to even contemplate, just like universal health care. How I'd love to see the big courtroom scene in Inherit the Wind re-written for Goldberg -- especially if they replaced Brady's Bible citations with quotes from Animal House and "he who smelt it dealt it."