Showing posts with label victor davis hanson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label victor davis hanson. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


The headline on Victor Davis Hanson's column is even more, how you say, impactful when you see how those rascals in the National Review art department chose to illustrate it:

You could use this same technique for a "Obama and Hitler: Two of a Kind" or "Obama and Leatherface: Two of a Kind" story. But how does Hanson support the interesting concept that "Obama is Trump’s doppelgänger"? This'll give you some idea and believe me, even if you're familiar with Hanson's work you may be surprised:
Donald Trump believes he can oversell America abroad in the manner of Chamber of Commerce boosterism; isn’t that the twin to Obama underselling the country in the fashion of a wrinkled-browed academic? Both are stern moralists: America is too often shorted, and so Trump is angry over the sins of omission. For Obama, past genocide, racism, and imperialism vie as sins of U.S. commission.
Ahh, we are not so very different, Mr. Trump! I think America has too much, and you think it has too little! No, wait, that didn't come out right -- how about:
The two see the world in similarly materialist — though, again, opposite — terms: Trump wants net worth to be the litmus test of political preparation (“The point is that you can’t be too greedy”), even as Obama professes that big money is a Romney-like 1 percent disqualification. Obama’s infamous communalistic quotes to the effect that you didn’t build that, at some point you’ve made enough money, and this is no time to profit are just bookends to Trump’s money-is-everything ideas that he built everything, he’s never going to make enough money, and it is always time to profit.
Ahh, we are not so very different, Mr. Trump! We are both materialists, unlike the rest of America -- you in your money-is-everything way, I in my communis -- my commonalist -- my supercommunalisticexpialidocious way oh fuck it.

In some ways it's vintage Hanson -- there's even an obligatory VDH Obama/Jay-Z moment -- but in other ways it's uniquely awful, just like so much stuff coming out of National Review anymore. They're actually breaking the Jonah Goldberg paradigm, and I didn't think such a thing possible.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


'Round rightwing world, there has of late been much lamentation and weeping over the ruin Obama is alleged to have made of America. This is of course just their way of trying to distract the rabble so they might forget who George W. Bush was and let the Republicans get back into power, whereupon they will begin a war with Iran, force paupers to subsist on protein powder (but not the good kind the yuppies get!), institute the Yacht Needs Cleaning Income Tax Credit, and generally complete the neo-feudalization process. But right now they're really gnashing their little teeth out and it's fun to watch.

Take the ultimate wingnut Memorial Day essay by Town Hall's Slaverin' Kurt Schlichter:
Like everything about the Community Organizer-In-Chief and his cronies, everything about the carefully choreographed charade we’ll see this Memorial Day is a lie... 
It’s a pose, an act, a scam. You can see it in the faces of the liberal politicians as they are forced to stand there onstage each last Monday of May, pretending they wouldn’t rather be anywhere else in the world than in the sun listening to people talk about what, at best, liberals consider suckers, and more often consider outright babykillers.
(His readers nod sagely from their Barcaloungers and wash down another burger with another craft beer.)
Look at Obama’s face as he walks behind the floral tribute in front of the cameras at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Tell me he’s thinking about the men who stormed ashore at Normandy and not about getting out of there and teeing up.
He’ll talk a good game – they all will, but it’s all a lie. If he cared, he wouldn’t have squandered the victory in Iraq to satisfy his America-hating pals on the left. ISIS, the JV team? Obama lied, and tens of thousands died – and those were the lucky ones.
The whole froth is a delight -- some sections, e.g. "They spit in our warriors’ collective face every time Jenjis Kerrey’s equine mug flashes across the TV screen as he rushes back to the Middle East to tongue kiss the Iranian Islamonazis..." you can easily imagine being read by Patrick Magee in A Clockwork Orange. But "and those were the lucky ones" is sublime -- her heroes spent, America  cowers before the coming reign of Hitlery ISIS!

At National Review Victor Davis Maximus Super Hanson brings the back of his wrist to his forehead, flutters his eyelids, and mourns the wreck Obama has made of the Middle East to which C-Plus Augustus once brought order and stability. Also unlike Bush, Obama won't suck up to the Saudi pashas  -- and have a care, soothsays Hanson, for "their financial clout and the availability of Pakistani bombs for Sunni petrodollars" (also, they share our values!) -- plus Obama hates Israel, perhaps because "it resembles the United States too closely, and thus earns the reflected hypercriticism that so many leftists cultivate for their own civilization," but he loves his fellow black people, whom he and "the elites" subsidize with "huge, unquestioned redistributionist entitlements for the inner city." You see the problem: Obama gives more attention to America's despised underclass than to Arab sheiks and Israel. Vanitas! 

Hanson's colleague Quin Hillyer actually revives the #Benghazi-is-worse-than-Watergate thing ("a few goobers rifling through the office of the opposing political party" etc) and denounces the Clintons in general for "putting all the rest of us at substantially greater risk of annihilation" (hysteritalics his). But it's the American people who seem most to disappoint him. "A goodly number of Americans apparently are aware of the scandal yet still fall at [Hillary Clinton's] feet," he gasps. The punters also "believe quarterback Tom Brady cheated but say in the next breath that he’s a good role model for children." Of course, dummy, you want to say to him, how long have you lived in this country, Brady's rich and butch! But by then Hillyer is on about our "culture" and how it "celebrates depravities" and  "we're now told that we can't spank a misbehaving child; that we can't read Huckleberry Finn because it features the 'n' word; that we can’t name sports teams in honor of Indians" etc. and eventually Hillyer is holding his knees to his chest, rocking and reminiscing on Pat Moynihan and the Moody Blues.

The best, however, is Rod Dreher having the expected 100,000-word meltdown over gay marriage in Ireland. Here is, in every sense, the nut graf:
Understand that by “liberalism,” [Matthew B. Crawford] means not the social politics of the Democratic Party and its supporters, but the entire Enlightenment framework of social and political ideas. All of us Americans, whether we call ourselves liberals or conservatives, are liberals in this sense. I am no different. I believe in free speech, freedom of religion, civil rights and the other hallmarks of liberalism. Now that liberalism has evolved into hostility to what I believe to be true about religion, morality, and human nature, I — like all orthodox Christians — have to face the fact that liberalism, which all of us Americans took in with our mother’s milk, may ultimately be alien to our faith, because in the end, it enthrones the choosing Self over God or any conception of external, transcendent Truth.
Keep this in mind when they come whining at you about gay wedding cakes -- these guys think that the Enlightenment, whence came the American idea of freedom, is anti-Christian. And you know what the next step would be. I'm beginning to think Dreher's half-hearted praise of the "hallmarks of liberalism" is just so much taqiyya.

Sunday, December 28, 2014


(Here's the first installment of a year-end bottom-ten of the lowlights of 2014, culled from my archives and elsewhere. Read 'em and weep!)

10. Dunhamania! Culture war, as we call the unpleasant ruckus that ensues when political obsessives blunder among the muses, had another big year, with conservatives shaking their fists at everything from opera to comic books. Rather than survey all these cases, let’s focus on the instructive example of the one cultural artifact that seems most reliably to excite them: That marketing phenomenon known as Lena Dunham.

Conservatives first developed a hard-on for the Girls auteur during the 2012 Presidential campaign, when she made a pro-Obama ad, and they have yet to detumesce. The brethren hate other entertainment professionals, of course, but Dunham pulls so many of their triggers — she’s liberal, she’s a tattooed hipster, she has the nerve to act sexy despite not having a nice build like Ann Coulter — that she has remained their #1 groovy hate fuck, the Jane Fonda of the Obama age, at whom they rage for her sexuality as well as her politics.

This reached critical mass late in the year when Dunham released a celebrity memoir containing (as tell-all tradition demands) salacious details, including the news that, when Dunham was seven, she looked inside her one-year-old sister Grace’s vagina and found she had stuffed pebbles in there. Truth Revolt reported that Dunham was seventeen years old at the time (later correcting this “typo”) under the headline “Lena Dunham Describes Sexually Abusing Her Little Sister.”

National Review’s Kevin D. Williamson dug in -- “Grace’s satisfaction with her prank suggest that Grace was expecting her older sister to go poking around in her genitals and inserted the pebbles in expectation of it… There is no non-horrific interpretation of this episode” -- even though he found the story “especially suspicious” — which just made it worse; imagine, lying in a celebrity memoir! When Dunham complained of this rough treatment — ensuring more press — the investigators of her celebrity memoir high-fived each other. “Lena Dunham is learning the power of the right,” gurgled Don Surber while strangling a pillow.

Then investigated another Dunham story about a college Republican named Barry who took advantage of her, and found that -- get this! -- some details were not verifiable (“A longtime employee at the Oberlin library could not recall working with any student with a flamboyant mustache”). A guy from Dunham’s college claimed the memoir defamed him because his name is Barry, too. “Sue the bastards,” cried professional scold Rod Dreher. “That’s the only way they will learn. Make the publisher withdraw the whole damn book…” The publisher instead agreed to add “a disclaimer that explains that the Barry described by Dunham was not really named Barry” and pay court costs, per Fox News.

There followed much popping of rightwing corks. "LENA DUNHAM WALKS BACK FABRICATED RAPE CLAIM" unh-unh-unhed John Hinderaker at Power Line. RedState called Dunham part of a “Rape Accusation-Industrial Complex” of women who habitually lie about sexual assault in order to advance a “victimization narrative.” The American Spectator’s Ross Kaminsky went further, tying the case to what he called the “lie” that Michael Brown didn’t deserve to be gunned down, and declaring that the “true motivation” of “too many” feminists is “hatred of men.” Ann Coulter added that Dunham, like all women who disclosed sexual assault after an interval, was just “trying to get attention.”

Despite their best efforts, or perhaps partly due to them, Dunham remains on the best seller list — without resorting to bulk sales to think tanks, imagine that! — and in the celebrity pantheon. Conservatives, for their part, maintain their place at the wrong side of a peephole, banging on the fence with one hand and doing God knows what with the other. Between the sexual rage, the rolling-out of big guns to prosecute a flimsy piece of pop-art crap, and the ultimate, flaccid ineffectuality of their efforts, could there be a more perfect example of culture war?

9. The right comes out for income inequality. The term is relatively new to common discourse, and in years past was mainly engaged by wingnut think-tankers to explain why such a thing didn’t exist. But Piketty’s big book and Obama’s mention of income inequality in his 2014 State of the Union led lumpen conservatives to modify their argument to: income inequality doesn’t exist, and so what if it does.

When rich guys complained the poor were giving them stink-eye, conservatives rushed to comfort them the best way they knew how: By associating their opponents with Nazis. At the Wall Street Journal, venture capitalist Tom Peters compared resentment of the rich to Kristallnacht; in the same venue, Ruth R. Wisse asked, “Two phenomena: anti-Semitism and American class conflict. Is there any connection between them?” and answered yes, because anti-Semites often complain about wealthy Jews, which makes any complaint against American oligarchs, despite the impressive number of goyim among them, a veritable Blood Libel.

Daniel Henninger (also at WSJ — these guys know their audience!) suggested that Putin was getting belligerent because he “surely noticed” that “the nations of the civilized world have decided their most pressing concern is income inequality,” and were too busy coddling paupers to trouble with the Ukraine. Ace of Spades protested the real problem was “social inequality” — that is, the alleged contempt of Democrats for rich people who are rightwing and folksy, such as the Palins or the Duck Dynasty guys.

And forget about trying to level the field with a higher minimum wage — that’s socialism. If you asked why the current minimum wage isn't already socialism, the brighter bulbs would tell you, you’re right, it is — let’s get rid of it altogether! Libertarian Virginia Postrel wept over all the folks out there with multiple jobs — not because they had the work multiple jobs, but because “employers can’t offer, and workers can’t take, lower wages in exchange for better hours. The minimum wage sets a legal floor.” The injustice of it! In fact, if you complained about getting your tiny wages ripped off by your boss, that too was socialism, or at least rather petty of you.

The simplest pro-inequality argument was advanced by Ben Domenech, who attributed any concerns over the ginormous 99%-1% gap to “jealousy… in real life, the money doesn’t stay in Scrooge McDuck’s vault, it goes into investments which pay more people to do more things.” Scrooge McDuck may someday build a condo, and you may get to clean its hallways, which along with your others job(s) may permit you to rent a hovel. Now stop complaining, anti-Richite!

8. Conservatives fall in love with Vladimir Putin. When Putin muscled Ukraine in March, very few conservatives called for the U.S. to intervene militarily. Nonetheless they blamed the Commander in Chief because, in the words of Rand Paul, he “hasn't projected enough strength and hasn't shown a priority to the national defense” — that is, he hadn’t rattled a saber that no one expected or wanted him to unsheathe.

But never mind those details -- the real issue for conservatives was less geopolitical than psychographic — rightwing pundits, however pencil-necked, worship butchness and reflexively attribute it to their heroes, such as former cheerleader George “he’s got two of ‘em” W. Bush, while portraying their opponents as sissies.

Judging from conservatives’ previous investigations of Obama’s wearing of mom jeans while pretend-shooting and bike-riding, not mention his unwillingness to punch down on the poor, clearly the President fits their definition of a sissy. But it’s hard to identify a domestic conservative with whose roughness they can creditably contrast Obama’s affect. Mike Huckabee? Newt Gingrich? Chris Christie, being a bully, might do, but he betrayed the brethren by accepting Federal help on Hurricane Sandy.

With such a weak bench, it was perhaps inevitable that conservatives would find a foreign dictator to embrace. Putin is ruthless, rugged, and hates homosexuals — really, their dream candidate if they could get the citizenship thing sorted. They’d been contrasting bare-chested manly man Putin with metrosexual Obama on flimsy pretexts for years (“IT LOOKS LIKE OBAMA IS PUTIN'S BITCH,” etc), but Ukraine really brought it out of them. They were especially fond of funny pictures, but employed wordcraft, too, e.g. “Putin Treating Obama Like Half a Fag.”

Putin received perhaps his most eminent conservative blessing from Sarah Palin, who sneered at Obama as “as one who wears Mom jeans and equivocates and bloviates” and sighed over Putin as “one who wrestles bears and drills for oil.” But the most grandiloquent paean may have been that of National Review’s Victor Davis Hanson, who found “value for us” — meaning for the American People, I guess — in “Putin’s confidence in his unabashedly thuggish means, the brutal fashion in which a modern state so unapologetically embraces the premodern mind to go after its critics… Putin speaks power to truth — an unpredictable, unapologetic brute force of nature.” Hanson did put in some mild admissions that Putin was not really a role model, in much the same way that the Shangri-Las told us their guy was good-bad, but he's not evil.

Months later, with the ruble crashing, Putin’s cowboy diplomacy doesn’t look like such a winner, and Obama’s restraint looks rather better. Since Kim Jong Un doesn’t look so hot with his shirt off, conservatives may have to wait for a coup to rekindle their dictator-love.

(More later.)

Monday, December 08, 2014


Shorter Jim Geraghty, National Review: It's 2014 and race is still a problem in America. This is clearly the fault of the black guy in the White House.

UPDATE. Speaking of which, here's Victor Davis Miles Gloriosus Hanson on America's recent wave of police-and-race demonstrations, which he seems to think have more to do with Michael Brown than with Eric Garner -- well, it's all the same to Hanson; that Trayvon Martin was a thug, too, and anyway what the protesters really want is a lawless Negrocracy in which cops cower before the dusky hordes:
Some of the public may think that the lessons of Michael Brown — and Trayvon Martin — are that it is unwise to commit a crime and then assault an officer, or confront a stranger in the rain and slug him in the head and get into a tussle, given that such targets may be armed and may respond with deadly force. But I think critics would privately respond that in Al Sharpton’s America both cases instead advise to take the beating and do not dare use a firearm for self-protection from assault on the chance the attacker is unarmed. In retrospect, Zimmerman might have preferred to have been “whoop-assed,” or Wilson preferred being slugged than to become lifelong targeted pariahs...

Will some law enforcement officials now surmise that it is wiser to ignore some crimes in the inner city on the practicable logic that the denouement for the officer will likely be negative — either by stopping the assailant through force or not stopping the assault and thus being assaulted?
You white liberals will be sorry when the oogaboogas steal your latte money! Beyond this Afro-6 vision, there's the usual black-on-black-blahblah ("That 5,000 to 6,000 African-Americans are murdered each year, the vast majority by other blacks... is not so important as the single death of Michael Brown"), and how come there's no riots when black people (who are not cops) kill white people, etc. Also, Hanson invokes Al Sharpton three times; maybe he thinks it's like Beetlejuice and it'll free him from this mixed-race netherworld before they remake Clash of the Titans with Morgan Freeman and spoil all hope of escape.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014


Conservatives are making big promises about the downfall of their enemies (i.e., all rational people) and their own coming Reich; see, for example Victor Davis Maximus Super Hanson's "Liberalism in Ruins" -- boy, if I had a nickel for every time I heard that one! Byron York is no exception. Now that the HNIC is leaving the White House, he says, blacks will stop voting Democratic, as will those other pesky interest groups to whom his Nubian charm appealed:
First the coalition: Obama's powerful appeal to minorities, women, and young people propelled his decisive wins in 2008 and 2012. But those voters didn't show up at the polls in 2010 and 2014. 
Some Democrats are confident the coalition will be back in 2016, when interest in a presidential race is far greater than during midterms. But will it return in the strength it showed in '08 and '12? Or will Democratic voting return to pre-Obama patterns?
So, this is a great time for the GOP to appeal to and pick up these stray black, Latino and female voters and shore up their legitimacy as a national party, right?

Don't be silly. York has no advice on that, because even Washington Examiner readers wouldn't understand why he was bothering. But white people -- that's another story:
"Given its sheer size, the working-class white population in the U.S. is of keen importance to politicians and strategists on both sides of the aisle," Gallup wrote recently, noting "the complex set of attitudes and life positions which … have pushed this group further from the Democratic president over the past six years." 
If Democrats don't find a way to connect with those "attitudes and life positions" of working-class whites in coming years, they'll have a big problem...

In the end, no single group will mean defeat for the Democrat and victory for the Republican in 2016. But President Obama's troubling legacy — a weakened coalition and growing ranks of alienated white voters — could mean a serious post-presidential hangover for Democrats.
"No single group" is a nice evasive harrumph-harrumph, but the message of York's column is clearly that women, youth, and minority votes can only be lost -- like some kind of gas that escapes, evaporates, and is seen no more -- whereas white votes are something you can win by appealing to their "complex set of attitudes and life positions." Normally, based on his previous writings and conservative history, I would assume York considers these to be the usual hatred of minorities, contempt for the poor etc., but his column suggests he's at least dimly aware that the most effective thing conservatives can communicate to white people is that they are to be taken more seriously than anyone else.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


From "The Real Fat Cats" by Victor Davis Hanson, December 13, 2012:
Who exactly were the rich who, as the president said, were not “paying their fair share”? The rapper Jay-Z (net worth: nearly $500 million)? The actor Johnny Depp (2011 income: $50 million)? Neither seems to have heard the president’s earlier warning that “at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”
From "Conservative Populism" by Victor Davis Hanson, December 18, 2012:
The truth is that everyone from the college president who gets his taxes paid by his university to Jay-Z is a beneficiary of Republican advocacies that he damns.
From "The New Affirmative Action" by Victor Davis Hanson, March 14, 2013:
Will the children of multimillionaire Tiger Woods — or of Jay-Z and Beyoncé — qualify for special consideration on the theory that their racial pedigrees or statistical underrepresentation in some fields will make their lives more challenging than the lives of poor white children in rural Pennsylvania or second-generation Arab-Americans in Dearborn, Mich.?
From "The War against the Young" by Victor Davis Hanson, April 9, 2013:
The administration seems aware of the potential paradoxes in this reverse “What’s the matter with Kansas?” syndrome of young people voting against their economic interests. Thus follows the constant courting of the hip and cool Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Lena Dunham, Occupy Wall Streeters, and others who blend pop culture, sex, youth, energy, and fad...
From "Our Postmodern Angst," by Victor Davis Hanson, August 13, 2013:
Today, obesity, not malnutrition, is America’s epidemic. Our youth’s education is hindered by too many cell phones, not access to too few books. Misogynistic and obscene lyrics may have enriched Jay-Z, but they reflect the sort of values that lead millions to remain in poverty, rather than becoming disciplined cadres organizing for social justice.
From "An American Satyricon," by Victor Davis Hanson, August 27, 2013:
Civil rights once meant an existential struggle between the oppressed and villains like Bull Connor with his dogs and fire hoses. Now Oprah is miffed over being treating rudely while eyeing a $38,000 purse in Switzerland... near-billionaire rapper Jay-Z warns that the have-nots may riot...
From "Miley Cyrus and Ugly Sex" by Victor Davis Hanson, September 3, 2013:
Where is the elemental inspiration, the existential need to tap popular anguish and turn it into revolutionary artistic expression?
If multimillionaire rapper Jay-Z performs at the White House, where is to be found the font of resistance? In short — resistance to what?
From "Medieval Liberals" by Victor Davis Hanson, October 8, 2013:
As recompense, [the Medieval Liberal] is not just liberal, but liberally hip and cool... in his 50s he listens to Jay-Z and Beyoncé as well as Springsteen and the Dead.
From "Progressive Insurance" by Victor Davis Hanson, April 15, 2014:
Certainly racial venom is not a career ender for the fully insured. Jay-Z, a frequent White House guest, is not shy about wearing a Five-Percent Nation medallion, which reflects an ideology that considers whites inferior devils...
From "The End of Affirmative Action" by Victor Davis Hanson, May 1, 2014:
Class divisions are mostly ignored in admissions and hiring criteria, but in today’s diverse society, they often pose greater obstacles than race. The children of one-percenters such as Beyoncé and Jay-Z will have doors opened to them that are not open to those in Pennsylvania who, according to President Obama, “cling to guns or religion.”
From "Egalitarian Grandees" by Victor Davis Hanson, May 27, 2014:
Being liberal in the abstract also provides psychological penance for enjoying the good life in the concrete. A Johnny Depp or a Jay-Z is cool and therefore free to enjoy compensation based entirely on what the free market will bear.
I feel bad for the kids, who have this instead of Biggie and Tupac.

UPDATE. In comments (always worth visiting! No trip to alicublog is complete without the comments!) D Johnston observes, "Everything [VDH] writes about politics is just a random assortment of talking points, creaky old bugaboos and Mark Steyn-brand simulated humor, all tied together with the pseudo-scholarly pablum of a bright but seriously self-obsessed high school senior." Johnston does us the further favor of identifying the paragraph subjects in Hanson's latest column: "Para 1 - Elizabeth Warren, Al Gore; Para 2 - Michelle Obama; Para 3 - 'Silicon Valley to Chevy Chase'; Para 4 - Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz; Para 5 - The Steyer brothers and 'the media'..."

You get the idea. The basic Hanson is that rich liberals are hypocrites because all liberals are supposed to live in rags and filth like their best friends The Poor -- I think that was in Herodotus -- and because they made their money in the arts and sciences they are morally inferior to people who made their money buying property with oil under it (whom Hanson takes care to associate with hard-bitten sons of toil, usually by adjacent description).

Also, Hanson's most recent column actually contains a reference to Pajama Boy. Is this what they mean when they call Hanson a classicist?