Showing posts with label national review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label national review. Show all posts

Thursday, June 04, 2015

P.C. B.S.

I keep hearing from conservatives that political correctness is ruining everything. For example, at National Review, which runs stories about PC at about the rate The Federalist runs stories about Caitlin Jenner, Ian Tuttle extrapolates from an advice column at a site you never heard of that the peecee people "would do much to crack down on the number of Fitzgeralds or Faulkners or Cormac McCarthys" and supplant their brilliance with "the Afro-Cuban lesbian experience," har har; also,
No doubt over the next several years book clubs across America will pore over many a bestseller fitted to Gabbert’s advice, in the process sacrificing better authors — e.g., Homer, Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Milton.
If Ian Tuttle knows where the next Shakespeare is, he should tell his editor, so they can use him to replace Kevin D. Williamson, Dennis Prager, or one of National Review's many other shitty writers. (For perspective: previously Tuttle told his readers "If you’re looking for a genuinely open-minded academic experience, Brooklyn College may not be the place for you" because the school refused to take money from the Koch brothers.)

Anyway, a lot of prominent liberals (including Amanda Marcotte, conservatives' favorite feminist voodoo doll) are saying Laura Kipnis got a bad rap from hypersensitive apparatchiks-in-training at Northwestern, and good for them (the liberals, not the apparatchiks). The other day Edward Schlosser had a long piece at Vox, of all places, complaining about student noodges. You'd think that if PC were as much of a menace as it's been portrayed, conservatives would be happy to at last have bipartisan support in fighting it. Well, here's James Taranto at The Wall Street Journal:
As we read the Schlosser piece, we felt more Schadenfreude than sympathy, and we wondered if that reflected poorly on us. (Spoiler: Nah.)
Instead Taranto complains that liberals like Schlosser are only upset because they're getting it in the neck, and are fundamentally incapable of understanding the pain of censored "outgroup" conservative academics like Glenn Reynolds, Ann Althouse, Harvey Mansfield, William A. Jacobson, et alia. Taranto explains:
Social systems have existed—think of the American South under slavery and Jim Crow—in which a dominant ingroup governed itself in accord with liberal principles while subjecting the outgroup to a combination of oppressive rules and often-cruel whims.
Time for a Poor Wingnuts' Campaign! Back at National Review Charles C.W. Cooke says
Of course Jonathan Chait is turning against political correctness and campus self-indulgence. Of course Vox’s editor, Ezra Klein, is now peddling lefty academics who are willing to stand up to the mob. Of course the good denizens of Jezebel are beginning to wonder aloud whether a feminism that eats the likes of Laura Kipnis is useful. If neo-McCarthyism “becomes a salient part of liberal politics,” Schlosser writes in his conclusion, then “liberals are going to suffer tremendous electoral defeat.” The American Left has started to rebel at the exact moment that its own interests are being hurt? Naturally. This isn’t about standards; it’s about power.
Cooke's essay is called "Is the Tide Turning against PC?" but it's not clear that he wants it turned if it means linking arms with those people. So I guess PC must not be such a big deal after all.

Sympathetic as I am toward Kipnis, I never thought so myself -- if some dumbasses want to play thought policeman in select programs at elite colleges, I figure, let them waste their parents' money and God help them when they graduate. And let those other dumbasses turn their tattered propaganda equity now this way, now that, trying to catch the wind. (Good luck explaining the menace of "social justice warriors" to downsized factory workers!) We who have free souls, it touches us not.

UPDATE. Comments are all glorious, but special thanks to commenter atheist for invoking La Rochefoucauld: "Our hatred of favorites is but a love of favor, and our scorn of those who enjoy it is only a balm to our vexation at being deprived thereof." Conservatives had their way exclusively for several centuries before the Enlightenment, and have been sore ever since they lost the franchise.

UPDATE 2. What causes political correctness on campus? Joseph Bottum at the Weekly Standard:
It’s possible to ascribe the situation to the presidential elections of 2008 and 2012.
Ain't even kidding.
The guidelines for Title IX issued by the Obama administration have shifted power to the outraged, and everyone seems to know it.
Everybody Joseph Bottum talks to at the Club, anyway. But wait, Bottum allows that the roots of PC do go deeper:
The reaction to Bill Clinton’s sex scandals, leading to his impeachment in 1998, may have been the first hint of a new choosing of sides, followed by an abiding anger over the outcome of Bush v. Gore in 2000. But the fate of the Democrats is not quite the same thing as the fate of radicalism, and to find the real springs of what is now washing over the nation’s schools, you have to go back, I think, to the fall of the Iron Curtain, 26 years ago.
Everything Democrat causes everything bad, and the same goes for the Soviet Union! In fact the title of Bottum's column is "I Still Blame the Communists." I expect if you swapped out "political correctness" for "riots in Baltimore," "Ebola," "potrzebie," etc., it wouldn't have to be changed much. Sometimes I think they work from Mad Libs.

Friday, May 22, 2015


Mama had this record. Whole thing's great, but I particularly like the part
with the Leslie'd organ and what I believe is choked-pick percussion git.

•   National Review's John Miller is again pimping Liberty Island, the website whose politically-driven belles-lettres we've examined before, so I figured I'd have a look. Among recent offerings is the winner of its recent Memorial Day writing contest, a story called Bait, in which he-men with Marine training use a sissy Hollywood actor to break up a super-sophisticated dogfighting ring, and then see to it that the sissy gets beat up because he's a sissy. The author demonstrates a great deal of knowledge about armaments, and sympathy for dogs if not Hollywood sissies; if you're going to be cruel at Liberty Island, it pays to be sentimental, too. Fave line: "Hell, there was even the rock god my kid sister had worshipped in high school [at the dogfight]. I guess meat was only murder sometimes." Picture Morrissey crying "ten thousand quid on the pitbull with the faraway eyes." Also in rotation: "WILL YOU SURVIVE IF (WHEN?) THE POWER GRID GOES DOWN?" which I think is sponsored content but with this bunch you never know. Oh, and an announcement for a new Book of the Year contest, sponsored by the Conservative-Libertarian Fiction Alliance, for people who like their art-product vetted by ideologues.

•   Elizabeth Warren says "the game is rigged" and she's right, says National Review's Jim Geraghty, "but she’s off-base in her assessment of how it’s rigged" -- it's you liberals and your so-called "education" that rigged it! Geraghty points to an article in The Economist called “America’s new aristocracy: Education and the inheritance of privilege," and tells us,
...the liberal-dominated world of higher education has turned itself into the exorbitantly expensive entry gate to the middle class, setting aside quite a few slots for the offspring of current elites.
Wait a minute -- colleges are expensive, and the children of the rich get unfair advantages in them? This is brand new! Thanks, Obama! Wait, it gets worse: Geraghty says the article also tells us firms, investment banks, and consulting firms tend to hire applicants from well-known universities who were already “culturally similar” to the institution. “Employers sought candidates who were not only competent but also culturally similar to themselves in terms of leisure pursuits, experiences, and self-presentation styles. Concerns about shared culture were highly salient to employers and often outweighed concerns about absolute productivity.” In other words, if you don’t remind the elite employer making the hiring decision of himself, you’re less likely to be hired for the big job.
It sounds as if Obama has changed human nature itself! In the old days, you could just search the candidate's chest for the right class pin or school tie; now I suppose you have check out his "self-presentation style" -- to see if it's liberal! Next Geraghty will read somewhere and rush back to tell us that under Obama rich people eat fancy food while ordinary Americans eat sammiches. This could break the election wide open for whichever rich theocrat the GOP nominates!

•   I'm tired of doing all the hard work around here, so I'll just point out that in this Michael Brendan Dougherty column the job of proving, or even making an argument, that letting all kinds of people (including gays and singles) have babies will lead the disaster is entirely left to the framing device, which talks about an abandoned baby left in a bag -- another thing that never happened before Obama! -- and then shock-cuts to the tale of a child-support suit against a sperm donor and proceeds to other such curiosities, none of which, so far as the column tells, are related to the abandoned baby except in that abandoned babies are bad and these things near it are, in Dougherty's view, also bad. I knew these guys were feeble in the logic department, but couldn't they take a weekend course and learn something about metaphors at least?

Friday, May 15, 2015


•    You may remember him for his later, lush 'n' luxe blues stuff, and that's all very fine. I love B.B. King, now passed, for his slightly cheesy "B.B. 'Blues Boy' King" stompers from the 50s like the one above. Sure sounds like him and the "Orchestra" are having a good time. I expect some of my readers have their own favorites to recommend.

•    Many conservatives, even ones who are not Rod "The Get-Ready Man" Dreher, are bitching about that poll showing a slightly smaller percentage of Christians in America than once there was. At National Review David French knows why: "Why Does ‘Organized Religion’ Get a Bad Rap? Because the Elite Lies About It." Evil liberals say Jesus people are obsessed with cultural issues like gay marriage, but the truth is Christians contribute heavily to charity. Yes, it's the old "society claims I'm a pedophile, but I bought twenty tickets to the Policeman's Ball" argument. More interesting to me is this claim:
Sexual politics is simply not a dominant topic compared to scriptural study, discussions of family, or exhortations to serve the poorest and most disadvantaged members of the community. If I were to critique the church, I’d say we need to discuss the sexual revolution issues a bit more — to equip kids and families to face the cultural onslaught.
Don't talk about it enough, huh? Let's look at the past few examples of French's own writing at National Review. What picture of Christianity do you get from it? There's not a lot about charity in there -- in fact, I found no David French posts at all promoting alms to the poor. (Come on, it's National Review!) Here's what I did see:
"The Clintons, Tom Brady, and the ‘Scoreboard’ Life" (Shorter: Libtards cheat because they don't have Jesus);
"When Crusades Meet Courtrooms" and "Three Recent Lawsuits Challenge the ‘Rape Crisis’ Storyline" (Shorter: Rape is not the fault of the men lying bitches falsely accuse of raping them, it's the fault of the sexual revolution);
"Why a Huckabee Loss Would Be a Win for Religious Conservatives" (Shorter: Because all the other GOP candidates hate gays and fornication as much as Huckabee does. Eat it, libtards!);
"Obama’s Crackdown on Dissent Has Made Conservatives a Little Paranoid — and Rightly So" (Shorter: If Ted Cruz was President libtards would so be just as paranoid about Jade Helm as we are, except we aren't paranoid because Obama really is a monster);
"Comedy, Cowardice, or Both?" (Shorter: SNL libtards didn't draw Muhammed! Sure, it was funny, but what's that got to do with anything?);
"Liberals Peer into Your Heart and See the Darkness Inside" (Shorter: Libtards are mean and hateful. Not like us!)
Etc. And here are the records from the other times we've caught French's culture-war act. (This one will do if you can't read them all.) All told I'd say the biggest PR problem Christianity has isn't "Elite Lies About It" -- it's people like David French.

•    OK, here's the advertising portion of the program: A friend of mine in New York is between freelance gigs DON'T RUN AWAY SHE DOESN'T WANT A HANDOUT only another freelance gig. Métier includes branding, marketing, research, strategy, communications, social media, digital product development, content and product creation, etc. Drop me a note if you've got something for her.

•    Melissa Langsam Braunstein of The Federalist testifies to "listening to a panel at AEI on Monday night, during which several contributors to The Dadly Virtues: Adventures from the Worst Job You’ll Ever Love discussed their take on fatherhood." Sounds like a corker:
I cannot imagine a similar panel of mothers laughing as they described purposely breaking their child’s leg, as P.J. O’Rourke’s son believed he did, while regaling the audience with the saga of teaching that young son how to ski. The experience taught O’Rourke that he’s better off being the breadwinner who can afford ski lessons.
And this:
Tucker Carlson’s presentation may have been the most different from what a panel of mothers might offer. Amidst his lighthearted remarks, Carlson repeatedly mentioned that he’s not reflective about his parenting and takes no responsibility for any of his four children’s failings; he believes any mistakes his children make are strictly their own, and he does never holds his wife or himself liable.
And this:
Jonah Goldberg sounded endearingly clueless...
Stop to take a breath here.
.... – since we gather his daughter’s alright now – as he described a fall she took during toddlerhood that resulted in a sizable forehead gash. Apparently, Goldberg was still new enough to parenting that he didn’t realize his daughter’s bloody face needed to be stitched up professionally. Luckily, his sister-in-law was able to advise via telephone and pass along the good advice to wait for a plastic surgeon at the hospital.
Braunstein's conclusion:
This is all to say: fatherhood sounds rather liberating. Whatever our cultural expectations of men, it seems our standards for fathers are less exacting (and crazy-making) than those for American mothers. Having listened to the fathers on this panel, I dare say that difference is largely driven by the fact that men aren’t critical of one another’s parenting in the same way that women can be...
Either than or these guys are just a bunch of fucking idiots.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015


There's been a lot of sputtering among the brethren as Republican Presidential candidates run screaming from W's Iraq War (Washington Times: "As GOP hopefuls flee Iraq War, Rubio to tout hawk credentials"; The Hill: "Rubio: I wouldn't go into Iraq either"). The prize, however, goes to Quin Hillyer at National Review. After some stuff about how Saddam Was a Very Bad Man and there were so WMD (or "weapons of mass murder... WMM — a better term than WMD" -- Hillyer has some marketing skills), he gets to the money shot:
Fifth, while this is only a satellite effect of our involvement in Iraq, it actually served as a net-plus politically for George W. Bush in his re-election effort against John Kerry — a net-plus without which Bush probably would not have won. This is from memory, but I think the “for-or-against” Iraq poll questions in that campaign were about a net wash, but the “who do you trust to be strong in defending American interests” question still favored Bush significantly enough to have made the difference — along with high turnout in anti–gay-marriage initiatives — between winning and losing. And if anybody thinks that subsequent Bush performance made that a pyrrhic victory, I have two names for them: Roberts and (especially) Alito. As frustrating as the Supreme Court is, imagine how badly off the country would be if Justices Rehnquist and O’Connor had been replaced by justices Laurence Tribe and Hillary Rodham Clinton. And imagine how much more badly bungled so much other domestic policy would have been under Kerry. Ugh. 
So, hundreds of thousands dead and Iraq and our nation's foreign policy credibility in smoldering ruins, but at least Bush got reelected and a couple of wingnuts on the Court. Purple fingers all around, not all of them caused by gangrene.

UPDATE. In comments, Jay B shorters this one "I like to think your son died so that Sam Alito can deny you healthcare." (All the comments are good, definitionally.)

Plus I'd like to correct "Iraq and our nation's foreign policy credibility in smoldering ruins"; Iraq's may still be smoldering, but the ruins of our credibility are not; they're cool, have kudzu growing over them, and show little evidence of their former exalted state, besides mass.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Kevin D. Williamson at National Review:

Believe it or not, the article is about charter schools. Liberals don't like them, and some of them say it's because they're a racket but the real reason is liberals are communist tyrants:
The Left’s heart is still in East Berlin: If people want to leave your utopia and have the means to do so, then build a wall. If they climb over the wall — as millions of low-income parents with children in private schools (very commonly Catholic schools) do — then build a higher wall. If they keep climbing – and they will — then there are always alternatives.
Also liberals are George Wallace:
But then, standing in the schoolhouse door when the poor, the black, and the brown want to enter is an ancient tradition for Democrats.
And you know what else is CommieWallace?
It’s a funny old world when being “pro-choice” means that people who object to abortion will be forced at gunpoint to pay for them. But that’s progressivism: a purportedly secular movement with a whole lot of “Thou Shalt” and “Thou Shalt Not.”
In rightwing world, some of the brethren endeavor to advance arguments to which outsiders (or at least credulous editors who wish to be considered even-handed) might respond. But there seem to be fewer of these all the time. Maybe it's because that particular budget is all eaten up by high-end, big-ticket pundits like George F. Will and Peggy Noonan; maybe organizations like National Review no longer believe the arguments can travel very far outside their own circles. Whatever the reason, Williamson represents the future of the movement: Not evangelists, but jeerleaders.

UPDATE. Speaking of which:

Well, at least it's a nice break from them calling him Hitler.

UPDATE 2. If it isn't out of keeping to mention the ostensible topic of Williamson's column, it appears charter schools aren't doing so hot:
Underscoring the risk to bondholders such as Nuveen Asset Management, two New York schools are set to shut at the end of this school year after their charters were revoked this month for academic shortcomings. The closings represent a default under terms of the $15 million bond deal that financed the land acquisition and construction of Brighter Choice’s middle schools for boys and girls, which opened in 2010 under the same roof. 
While charter schools are gaining popularity across the U.S. as an alternative to local systems, their default rate reached an all-time high last year of 5 percent of outstanding issues, according to a biannual study by the New York-based Local Initiatives Support Corp. That’s up from 3.8 percent in 2012.
Look on the bright side, citizens --  you're not losing your money to a Big Gummint grift, you're losing it to an honest, privatized grift! (h/t Atrios)

Sunday, March 15, 2015


This National Review article by Kevin D. Williamson is just another Oooh Scary Hillary piece of shit for the regular crowd, and for anyone else not worth reading -- to give you some idea, he compares her with Nixon and the Marquis de Sade. But I'll show you this much, just because it's nice to know....
President Clinton had a diabolical knack for turning his self-inflicted problems into referenda on the moral standing of his opponents, or of anybody who happened to be convenient for the purpose; thus the Monica Lewinsky scandal became a question not of the president’s venality in the Oval Office and elsewhere or of his consequent crimes — perjury, etc. — but a public trial of Kenneth Starr for the crime of being a buzzkill. Everybody — everybody, friend and foe — knew that President Clinton and his minions were lying about the matter, but the Democrats place an extraordinary value on cleverness: They are the party of the student council, and Bill Clinton has spent 50-odd years proving to the world that he is the cleverest boy at Hot Springs High School, and his admirers loved him not in spite of his gross opportunism and dishonesty but because of those very things. Finally, the Democrats rejoiced, a man who can show those Republicans for the unsophisticated, unclever fools that they are!
...that the great GOP Clusterfuck of '98-'99 left such a stink, even wingnuts who were little children at the time are still pissed about it. Why, I bet Williamson is at this moment on a phone-throwing rampage!

UPDATE. Over at TownHall, Kurt Schlichter calls Mrs. Clinton, "a Lovecraftian monster, the Cthulhu of American politics," and Bill Clinton "an elderly leech" -- I think he was going for "lech," but was too engorged with Clinton rage to proof his own copy. Jesus, the election is 20 months away and these hate-wankers have already shot their loads. Really, where's there to go from here? Maybe Hitler, but in wingnut discourse Obama is Hitler, so that's out. Perhaps they can get some of their Culture Warriors in the Comics Division to create a horrible intergalactic tyrant who's like a thousand Hitlers, and then compare her with that. Or they can just fill pages and screens with BITCH and WHORE; really, it wouldn't harm their meaning and would save time.

Friday, March 13, 2015


Tom T. Hall sure writes a lot of songs about musicians.
This one really needs an uptempo rock cover.

•     Stephen F. Hayes of Bill Kristol's Get Your War On thinks the Iran Letter was a masterstroke:
A final point: The Cotton letter has already achieved its goal. We are, finally, engaged in a serious national debate about the threat from Iran. That is something the Obama administration has avoided for six years. No more.
"We have engaged a serious debate" is press-agent for "people think we're idiots." Also, Hayes hauls out the customary oh-yeah-what-about-traitor-Dems-and-the-Russians examples, apparently just because he can't help himself, as these examples certainly don't help his cause:
Of course, the past behavior of Democrats doesn’t justify the Republican letter on Iran.
[Vaporlock vaporlock quick give me the index cards...]
The letter needs no justification.
[Dammit, shoulda pulled the fire alarm instead!]
...Unlike, say, John Kerry or Ted Kennedy, and unlike David Bonior and Nancy Pelosi, these senators gave no succor to dictators and despots.
Of course not -- when we blow up this Middle Eastern country, somebody good will take over! Isn't that how it always works?

•     In a grand act of slur reclamation, Charles Two Middle Initials Cooke of National Review pimps his "Conservatarian Manifesto," in which the sort of thing we use the word to make fun of -- i.e., bullshit libertarianism -- is claimed as the Future. In Kang and Kodos terms, it's "Miniature American flags for some, abortions for nobody." As with anything associated with the Future these days, there's a Kids & Tech angle:
The first thing is that young people are just used to customizing their lives. They are used to Facebook. They are used to their cell phones. They are used to building their own computers. Yet they are routinely asked to vote for the DMV. They haven’t rebelled against that, but there will come a point where that sort of homogenization starts to irk them.
Surely der kinder will rise up against Net Neutrality -- that's just an FCC "power grab"!  -- and prepare to go overseas and fight ISIS, cognizant that "in 1945, the British, overnight, handed the baton to the United States," etc. I can see this going over big with the MySpace generation.

Sunday, March 08, 2015


The Wall Street Journal announces that Emily Zanotti has joined their staff. alicublog readers will know her as E.M. Zanotti, and perhaps recall my review of her culture-war work ca. 2007. Highlights from one Zanotti post at National Review:
There seems to be a degradation of the concept of art that starts around the Enlightenment. Naturalism was a rejection of the spiritual art that came before it... Somewhere along the way, [art] became less about making a visionary artistic statement, and more about making a statement that was "counter-cultural" (the Dada movement, for example) and meant to shock the collective consciousness... what fit this qualification often garnered an artist fame in his own community and an increase in his paycheck...
Modern art, whatta racket amirite? You may wonder how National Review let this one get away: Her last post for NR, filed from the 2008 Michigan GOP primary, contains this:
McCain has added difficulties of his own making as his Michigan campaign winds down. His sudden affinity for plaid dress shirts has ensured visually painful clashes with the blue backdrops at press briefings.
We also learned from this valedictory post that "good hair and rolled-up sleeves are in the Romney blood."

Zanotti kept her own blog for a while, too, where she tackled head-on and without a helmet issues like "If [abortion] IS a killing, why don't you just throw everyone who has one in jail?!"
To answer the question outright, if its a life, then taking the life is murder. We have no problem with that assertion, and frankly, believing it to be a life makes even their arguments easier. Its hard to stand on stable ground when your fundamental argument involves a distinction you cannot prove, but allowing, for a moment, that the fetus is a human could present a wealth of not esoteric but legal defenses...
[Blah blah, Margaret Sanger, the Spartans, Peter Singer, murder, etc.]
That said, its not as though making something illegal necessarily makes it punishable. Widespread recognition of the dignity and worth of human life by making it a crime to take one isn't something we brought into being by majority vote. Its a long-standing tradition. Some might call it the "natural law." Whether humans punished it was up to them...
On and on through thousands of words of point-dodging, but nothing resembling an answer; those who hung on till the end, however, got some nice anti-feminist insults ("everything short of unfettered access is totally unreasonable to Anna [Quindlen], though she'd never care to admit it"), and were probably satisfied.

Then came years of banging out boob-bait for outlets such as the American Spectator; last week, while other outlets were covering the recent Department of Justice report on Ferguson with headlines like "DOJ Report Condemns Ferguson Police Department's Practices" (NPR) and "Ferguson Officials Suspended After DOJ Report Have Resigned, City Confirms" (NBC), Zanotti's Spectator dispatch was headlined "DOJ FERGUSON REPORT VINDICATES OFFICER DARREN WILSON." She has also served as a "strategic partner" at Republican consultant bullpen Hynes Communications, and occasionally goes on Catholic sites to bitch about "the stretch pants ladies’ substituting Maya Angelou poems for Gospel readings." Can't say she hasn't paid her dues!

Zanotti seems to have calmed down, or at least gotten hungry enough to send in better first drafts. Her first offering for WSJ is a thumb-sucker on the Chicago mayoral election -- did you folks know that progressives are dissatisfied with Rahm Emanuel? Zanotti characterizes the contest as "two unappealing candidates who are battling for the measly one-third of the electorate that hasn’t checked out completely," which may seem a strange way to describe Chuy Garcia, an activist who came out of nowhere to win 34% in a primary against a standing mayor, but Zanotti huffs that Garcia's "a man who has many progressive dreams and no idea how to pay for them," and though she currently lives in Chicago she really wants to move away (presumably to some conservative oasis like Fritters, Alabama, to serve as the village strategic partner), and what else do Wall Street Journal editorial page readers need to hear?  I predict a bright future, for Zanotti if not America.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015


This Netanyahu thing reminds me in some ways of the visit Hungarian freedom fighter Louis Kossuth made to the States in 1851, as described by Francis Brown in his biography of New York Times founder Henry Raymond, Raymond of the Times. As Brown has it, Millard Fillmore and the conservative Whigs didn't want Kossuth to have too prominent a reception, on grounds that "public concern with what was held to be solely a European matter endangered American neutrality and held the threat of war," and abstained from welcoming him to Washington. But the proto-Republican Senator William Seward and Raymond "saw political significance in [Kossuth's] visit" and whooped him up when he came to New York, which effort did not go unresisted:
The city's bells peeled, and cannon boomed from Governor's Island, Bedloe's Island, the Navy Yard, and Brooklyn Heights. He came ashore at Castle Garden -- the Battery's trees were black with cheering boys... 
 At the Irving House more than 400 prominent New Yorkers and distinguished guests gather for the municipal dinner for Kossuth. In the banqueting hall, where evergreens masked the salon's columns and the Stars and Stripes was linked with the Hungarian Tricolor, the dinner moves slowly through its many courses and the wine was passed and repassed. The evening's guest of honor spoke for more than an hour. Toasts followed. That to the press belonged to Raymond, and as he prepared to respond, his figure dwarfed in the gay assemblage, [New York Courier and Enquirer editor] James Watson Webb challenged his right to speak. Cries of "Raymond!" "Webb!" echoed through the banquet hall, and when quiet was momentarily restored, Raymond tried to explain that he was only performing a duty assigned to him. Webb once more challenged his right. There were cheers, hisses, and boos, and as confusion mounted, the police were called...
So not everyone liked that idea, either. Also, Kossuth had a unfortunate taste for meddling in American affairs, just like Netanyahu. And, Brown reports from a contemporary account, "on this excitement the Times gained laurels and subscribers, and the Hungarians dollars and sympathy..." which analogizes nicely with the hopes of many rightwing Bibi's Boys who've been trying for years to get Jewish-Americans to love the GOP.

There are some major differences between the 1851 contretemps and this, though. For one, the White House eventually relented and received Kossuth, Congress invited him to be the first foreigner since Lafayette to address a joint session, and even Daniel Webster was inveigled to a Kossuth dinner where he "offered somewhat indiscreetly a toast to Hungarian independence that made Kossuth momentarily happy." ("The Hungarian question has settled down into the old worn channel of politics," Seward observed.) For another, Kossuth was according to Brown widely popular in America as "a symbol of European liberty"; Netanyahu, not so much

Also, there is no record of Seward or other Kossuth admirers like Abraham Lincoln crying aloud that Kossuth was their true leader, not this so-called President of the United States, as so many conservative nuts have been doing lately. (Quin Hillyer's ravings at National Review -- e.g., "Netanyahu — who spent far more of his formative years on the American mainland than Obama did, and who took enemy fire at the age when Obama was openly pushing Marxist theory..." -- are perhaps their ripest expression, though as we get closer to speech time maybe some of them will compose and perform a "Bibi for President" anthem.)

Finally, one may say that the Young America adherents who were hot for Kossuth and other European revolutionaries had at least the advantage of idealism on their side, not to mention fewer American historical examples to show them how badly these enthusiasms can turn out.

UPDATE. Well, that was bizarre. Say, how about we invite Iceland president Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson to Congress to tell us how we should handle our rogue bankers? (I admit the analogy with Netanyahu isn't perfect, as Iceland is not trying to muscle anything out of us.)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015


Carly Fiorina? For President? At National Review, Jim Geraghty jokes about the demon sheep ad from her disastrous 2010 Senate campaign, but in his newsletter for the true believers Geraghty circulates some straight-up Fiorina PR: After praising Fiorina's staff hires ("CRC Public Relations is a pretty big mover and shaker in the world of conservative clients"), he says:
You may recall that last month I wrote, “the former Hewlett Packard CEO has a broader and more interesting résumé than you might think -- member of the CIA’s External Advisory Board, committee adviser to Condoleezza Rice, senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies -- and despite the “nice” CEO image, she’s fearless on the attack -- tearing into Hillary for lack of accomplishments, ripping liberals for hypocrisy on abortion, challenging Valerie Jarrett on live television about unequal pay for women at the White House. A cancer survivor with a great personal success story, she may be a much more serious contender for the [vice-presidential] slot than most people think right now.” 
Heading into CPAC, she has the not-so-insignificant advantage of being accomplished and almost entirely dismissed by the political media, so the bar is set pretty low.
Pretty low indeed! "The not-so-insignificant advantage of being accomplished"? The consensus (bipartisan, as it were) on her reign at Hewlett Packard, the most significant of her alleged accomplishments, seems to be that she nearly ruined it. And getting on committees and boards is simple for high-level executives even if they are terrible at their jobs. As for tearing and ripping, you can get a dog to do that. (I will say it's nice that she got over cancer.)

Also: Fiorina has never won elective office. Neither had President Washington and President Grant, but we are talking about a whole different level of being-accomplished here.

In fact this is very close to the imaginary-but-with-a-budget campaigns of Ben Carson and Donald Trump. And it reminds me of the complaining conservatives and consensus-seeking politicos did when Scott Walker was recently mocked as a college dropout. I understand the anxiety that episode raised: American folk wisdom says you shouldn't need certification to excel and prosper, and I hope all good people lament that citizens are badgered by employment anxiety to get a diploma and the gigantic price tag that comes with it just to keep the wolf from the door.

But with  candidates like Fiorina, it looks like the Party of Joe The Plumber, which has never put much stock in fancy book learning anyway, is not merely being open to talents (as if these people really qualify as talents), but favoring people who lack not only traditional qualifications but also common sense, as if having the slightest idea what you're doing is some elitist shibboleth that needs to be refuted once and for all with the election of a total dumbass.

Can they pull it off? Depends on how much the voters remember about George W. Bush.

UPDATE. Geraghty's not Fiorina's only friend in the world of wingnut journamalism -- Al Weaver of The Daily Caller:
Is Hillary Clinton Stealing Speech Lines From Carly Fiorina?
The Answer May Surprise You!
During her speaking event in Silicon Valley, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seemingly snagged a campaign line from potential GOP 2016 candidate Carly Fiorina, the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard. 
Clinton, the presumptive 2016 candidate for the Democratic Party, called on attendees at the conference to “unlock their full potential,” a line Fiorina uses.
Unlock their full potential -- has a ring to it! I bet it catches on, retroactively. Weaver also claims that "back in June during Clinton’s book release of 'Hard Choices,' much was made of the similarities between her book and Fiorina’s 2007 memoir, 'Tough Choices.'" No links and no quotes, natch, and besides, who believes anyone read enough of both books to make an informed comparison?

Thursday, February 19, 2015


At National Review, Mary Eberstadt denounces "jailhouse feminism" -- that is, feminism acting all mad and pushy, you know, like guys. Her examples include Miley Cyrus and Lena Dunham NO DON'T RUN AWAY YET this is actually funny. Eberstadt starts with the feminist reclamation of  the world "slut," which inspires this Rotary-Club-dais-joke-slash-non-sequitur:
Of course this approach takes for granted the sexual revolution’s first commandment, which is that any such act ever committed by any woman is by definition beyond reproach.
Hm, I don't remember that one. Ladies, when did that go into effect? And when was it repealed?
...Even so, something deeper is at work here than ideological tussling over a word that no halfway-civilized person would use anyway. The promiscuous slinging of “slut” is only the beginning of the obscenity- and profanity-saturated woman-talk these days, from otherwise obscurantist academic feminism on down to popular magazines and blogs.
Previously the word was only used by fathers toward their daughters if they didn't like how they were dressed,  by accused rapists' lawyers in court, etc. But now ladies (even the obscurantist ones) are using it, and also "the b-word," which is grounds for concern.
The interesting question is why. A cynic might say it’s just smart branding. After all, sex sells; women talking about sex sells; and even women talking about women talking about sex sells, too. Everyone knows that slapping a salacious word into a title will pull more eyeballs to the screen or page. Maybe it’s time the objects of exploitation got some of their own back. Why shouldn’t enterprising modern women perform some commercial jujitsu exploitation, via the promiscuous use of “slut” and other rough talk, to sell their stuff? A play called “The Private-Parts Monologues” would have folded on opening night
Same thing with Slutwalk. You think it's about preventing rapes, but these women are actually just trying to make a fast buck by working blue!

But there's something deeper going on behind this, says Eberstadt:
All of which leads, finally, to a sad and monumental fact. Beneath the swagger and snarl of jailhouse feminism is something pathetic: a search for attention (including, obviously, male attention) on any terms at all.
[Blink. Blink.]
If that means being trussed up like a turkey, so be it. If loping about on TV in your birthday suit does the trick, so be that, too. And if getting smacked around from time to time...
Whoa, some segue! part of the package — if violence is what it takes to keep an interested fellow in the room — that is a price that some desperate women today will pay.
See? Feminism caused Fifty Shades of Grey, twerking, and assault -- or rather, feminism happened to be standing around when a culture cop needed to make a collar on thousands of years of abusive behavior and attitudes toward women, and so why not pick her up? It's not like they haven't pinned lots of men's crimes on feminism before.

There's more -- endlessly more -- but I'll just leave you with some key words and phrases: "ethos of recreational sex," "decline of the family," "draconian speech codes on campuses," "the defunct Pussycat Dolls," "Amanda Marcotte," "Jessica Valenti," etc. (Maybe I should have put these up top -- but then you never would have read past them, and I would have been lonely. Now we suffer together!)

Oh OK, one more pull-quote:
The result is that many, many women have been left vulnerable and frustrated. That’s why a furious, swaggering, foul-mouthed ideology continues to exert its pull. Jailhouse feminism promises women protection.
Like butch dykes in those women's-prison movies! See, we told you this would happen if you started wearing pants.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015


I think most of my readers will agree that the murder by ISIS of Christians in Egypt is bad, right? Well, that's not enough for conservatives -- you have to agree with them that Christians here in the States are persecuted, too, or you suffer from "anti-Christian bias." Here's Rod Dreher's brain-teaser on the subject, from his evocatively-titled post "Lions & Christians in America":
The mass martyrdom last week of the 21 Egyptian Copts at the hands of ISIS is a sobering reminder of what real persecution looks like. Yet it is also the kind of thing that people in this country who fear and loathe Christians point to as an argument-ender when Christians complain about social injustice against themselves, e.g., “Get back to me when they’re chopping Christian heads off, then we’ll talk.” I would point out that ISIS is throwing gay men out of high windows to their deaths, and the crowds below are finishing off the job with stones. No secular liberal would — nor should — accept the argument that gays in the US have no right to complain against discrimination because they don’t have it as bad as gays in ISIS-held territory. So let’s put that cheap argument to bed.
Based on this, if some nut on the other side of the world is persecuting your affinity group, you're being persecuted here as well, or should at least be treated as if you were. I wonder if Dreher knows that ISIS is a champion killer of Muslims, and would agree that we should for that reason hold our domestic Muslims as a persecuted group as well, and tell their stateside critics like Pam Geller and Daniel Pipes to fuck off.

No chance of that -- you can read farther down Dreher's post about the media's "normalization of homosexuality," just a small number of paragraphs after Dreher was using gays as a point of comparison with Christians. At National Review, Jim Geraghty also thinks the newsies are unfair to American Christians; he heads toward the same affirmative-action argument we often get about conservatives in the press, but is smart enough to realize that most reporters are probably at least nominally Christian -- or else Jewish, and he can't complain about that; think what Bibi Netanyahu would say! -- so he takes an interesting tack:
Last night I argued that in most media newsrooms, the notion of Christians as victims doesn’t fit their usual narratives. Fournier argued that there are a lot of Christians in the Times newsroom, and that the Times has a lot of reporters in the Middle East, covering ISIS, at considerable risk to themselves. Both points are true but neither really refutes my argument. 
For starters, sure there are Christians in the Times newsroom, but not particularly representative ones. Here’s Nicholas Kristof, New York Times columnist, back in 2003: “Nearly all of us in the news business are completely out of touch with a group that includes 46 percent of Americans. That’s the proportion who described themselves in a Gallup poll in December as evangelical or born-again Christians.”
So it's not enough for reporters to go to some modern Church where anything goes -- one has to roll hard and roll holy! Picture the new breed of newsroom quota-Christians: Fear-God Gump and Barebone McGillicuddy, working on a Style section piece about a hip new way to handle snakes.

My own solution would be regular cats-for-Christ slideshows, which should give everybody what they want, or at least deserve.

UPDATE. Mmm, them's some good comments, e.g., Megalon:
[Dreher says,] "The mass martyrdom last week of the 21 Egyptian Copts at the hands of ISIS is a sobering reminder of what real persecution looks like." 
Yes it is. That's why you and your cohorts in this country trying to claim that having to accept a paying job to bake a gay wedding cake means you're being persecuted the same way is so offensive. Especially when it's coming from a man who often talks like he's about ten minutes away from converting and joining IS himself.
Also, Hob runs down Kristof's shady "a group that includes 46 percent of Americans" = fundies claim and finds it possibly lacking. I wouldn't be surprised, but then, the claim is 15 years old -- maybe since then millions of Americans have got born-again, moved to the haunts 'n' hollers, and stopped voting, which explains how Obama won twice.

UPDATE 2. If we ever get Cats for Christ (no not this one) off the ground, I think we have to use ADHDJ's topline: "I'm not purrfect, just furgiven."

Thursday, January 29, 2015


At National Review, Heather Mac Donald tells the story of de Blasio and the cops. It's full of grafs like the following, about de Blasio's famous comment that his black-skinned son had to watch himself around the police:
At the time, those remarks — based in thorough ignorance of the facts about policing and crime — were a body blow to the rank and file. But after the Ramos and Liu assassinations, carried out in the name of Eric Garner and Ferguson teen Michael Brown, they became a source of visceral rage, as they fed the atmosphere of escalating cop hatred that led to the killings.
So de Blasio's remarks were like a time bomb, or rather a time-traveling bomb -- after officers Ramos and Liu were killed, the remarks "fed the atmosphere of escalating cop hatred that led to the killings." That's propaganda, baby -- by which I mean, the author is so committed to bamboozling you that she's willing to embarrass herself with incoherent prose to do it.

Mac Donald portrays de Blasio as an out-of-touch elitist social justice warrior -- "[New York's] long term public safety remains at risk from an activist mayor who sees his base as the anti-police Left" -- but does not mention even once the polls that show most New Yorkers siding with de Blasio  against the NYPD. Mac Donald does seem aware of them, though, because instead of larding in anonymous quotes from humble citizens begging for Giuliani to come back, her anonymous quotes are all from alleged cops who agree with her ("'Liu and Ramos would have turned their backs as well,' asserts an official at One Police Plaza").

Mac Donald also defends the force's work slowdown as justified because they felt like it:
Ideally, and usually, cops perform their duty regardless of their attitudes toward the civilian authority under which they operate. That this tradition of neutrality cracked in this instance shows how deeply de Blasio violated their trust.
The next time a public service union feels itself disrespected and goes on strike, I wonder if we'll see Mac Donald at the barricades.

Boy, that libertarian moment seems like a long time ago, huh?

UPDATE. There has been some misunderstanding about my first complaint, which is not that de Blasio's comments came after the cops were shot -- they came before -- but that Mac Donald wrote about it as if time itself were fluid, and the Mayor's remarks had been weaponized by the shooting, then sent back through time to do their lethal work. Regarding the notion that de Blasio's expression of concern for his black son had anything to do with the nut who shot Liu and Ramos, commenter Ellis_Weiner laments that "MacDonald has never recovered from the trauma of discovering that the Beatles killed Sharon Tate."