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Showing posts sorted by date for query "normal people". Sort by relevance Show all posts

Thursday, August 01, 2019

THIS YEAR'S GIRLS.

There's always something creepy about Republicans offering what I am accustomed to call Advice From Your Mortal Enemies, but in the wake of the two Democratic Presidential debates this week they've managed to make it creepier with their encomia to weirdos Marianne Williamson and Tulsi Gabbard. It's not just the interplay with the rightwing operatives pushing Williamson and Gabbard in online polls, though that's weird enough; it's their passive-aggressive insistence that these fringe candidate could lead the party to sanity and victory if only Democrats weren't such losers.

Since Libertarians Are The Worst let's start with Christian Britschgi at Reason:
While the rest of the candidates at the first Democratic debate tonight have been doing their best to out-socialist each other, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has been trying to keep the country out of war.
Save us from those famous neocon-socialist hawks Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, Tulsi! Ha, kidding, he maybe means these guys:
Gabbard's position contrasts with the positions of other Democratic candidates on stage. Sen. Cory Booker (D–N.J.) was the lone debate participant to say that he would not automatically re-enter the Iran deal worked out by President Obama, suggesting a better deal could be had. 
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D–Minn.) said that, while she favored reentering the deal, she would like to push for stricter terms. Klobuchar also stressed that if a war with Iran were to occur, it would require congressional authorization.
Stricter terms! Better deal! Well, that couldn't possibly be look-tough bullshit for the moderate wing, it has to be socialist bloodlust. But wait -- how do we know Gabbard isn't a socialist? After all, she's standing up there with all those socialists and not wearing a dollar-sign pin nor quoting Ayn Rand. Here's the best Britschgi can do:
That Gabbard was willing to duck a softball, red meat question about raising wages for women to focus on America's war-making abroad was nonetheless a refreshing moment amidst the otherwise dreary, shockingly left-wing rhetoric from the rest of the Democratic field on stage tonight.
Higher wages for women -- that's how Kennedy got us into Vietnam, right?

Meanwhile at The American Conservative, James Antle III, a buffoon, assures that while Bernie Sanders has "mostly failed to recapture his 2016 magic" (cite needed), Gabbard, "perhaps the most interesting Democrat running for president," has the secret sauce:
While reliably progressive, she has occasionally reached across the political divide on issues like religious liberty and Big Tech censorship, a potent combination that could prove more responsive to Trump voters’ concerns than what we’ve heard from her neocon lite interlocutor from Youngstown.
By "religious liberty” I assume Antle means she ragged on Senators Kamala Harris and Mazie Hirono for questioning anti-abortion crusader Brian Buescher, now comfortably ensconced on the federal bench, on his Knights of Columbus membership during his Senate hearing, which she called anti-Catholic bigotry; by "Big Tech censorship" I assume he means her lawsuit against Google, a tedious tactic of Republican cry-babies that she has adopted and promoted on Tucker Carlson's show.

Antle affects to believes that Democrats' failure to take Gabbard up is because their party "cares more about wokeness than war." Think of all those Social Justice Warriors who want to abolish ICE and invade Iran!

As for Williamson, well, let's just stick with the always good for a laugh Rod Dreher:
Russian Orthodoxy treasures the yurodivy, or “holy fool,” an ascetic who behaves in ways that seem insane to normal people, but who, in so doing, reveal Christian truth. The New Age guru and Democratic presidential candidate Marianne Williamson is not a holy fool according to the usual definition, but I can’t help thinking that to some extent, she’s playing that role. We all love to laugh at her, because she is something of a kook … but she’s onto something important about us. 
In last night’s Democratic debate, Williamson spoke of the “dark psychic force” of “collectivized hatred” that Donald Trump draws up and exploits. Here’s the clip... 
I know: ha ha, what a ding-dong! But she’s not wrong, except in that she pins this entirely on Trump.
In other words, the holy fool is absolutely right about Trump being evil, except she doesn't realize that evil is also Al Sharpton, and since TV commentator Sharpton is, like President Trump, the leader of his party, it's all the same really, just like the Republicans were really just as bad as the fascists in the Spanish Civil War, and we should all unite to persecute homosexuals.

Can they get the suckers to lemming after one or both of these new Jill Steins? Once upon a time I would have said God doesn't hate us that much yet, but now I'd say it's a toss-up.

Friday, April 05, 2019

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


End it someday what's that sound

•   This is the 25th anniversary of Kurt Cobain's suicide. On Twitter people are talking about where they were when they found out. I certainly remember; I was getting into a van to do some road dates with a band. Someone said they couldn't understand why he did it; I thought I did understand, and was even more of a drunken asshole on the trip than usual. A few years later I quit the limelight, as it were, and performed only as a humble bass player until I knew I had lost the calling and laid down the tools for good. Part of me thought and still thinks I did so because I was weak, but part of me -- the part that won -- thinks I did it to save myself, and Cobain's suicide was part of the fact pattern that convinced me.

With the benefit of a quarter-century's perspective I realize that everyone's damage is different, and one data point for that is I haven't blown my brains out -- not dispositive, but I'm willing to take it as a sign that either my problems weren't as bad as his or my resources were better, or both. But in 1995 I was vibrating sympathetically with Cobain's music, and the finale made sense to me, not because it rejected life but because dredging up those painful feelings and amplifying them to that scale seemed like very dangerous work -- like sculpting an avalanche. It isn't how it has to be; a lot of artists have plumbed those feelings without even getting dirt under their nails. But some guys can't do it any other way.

Anyway it seems pop music doesn't seem to have any place for that sort of work anymore, and maybe we're better off, just as maybe we're better off with the tiny speakers digital tech has made possible instead of the large, cumbersome, and chest-rattling subwoofers of the past. We're here and he's not, that's for sure. Still, I miss the comfort in being sad.

•   Oh, here's another newsletter edition opened to the general public (Susbcribe It's Cheap™), about how conservative anti-LGBTQ efforts are still happening very much though on the downlow as far as the media's concerned. One of their tools, as usual, is reverse victimhood -- it's actually the minorities who are oppressing them, and they have to exclude them from certain civil rights in order to protect themselves. Today in the Wall Street Journal:
We Were Smeared by the SPLC
Our work for religious liberty got us branded a ‘hate group.’ Such lies have real consequences 
...[The Southern Poverty Law Center] falsely maligns ideological opponents in an effort to crush them rather than debate their ideas honestly. I know, because in 2016 the SPLC branded my organization, the religious-liberty nonprofit Alliance Defending Freedom, a “hate group.”
Hang on, some of you are thinking -- Alliance Defending Freedom? The group that in its early form, the Alliance Defense Fund, field an amicus brief in Lawrence v. Texas for guess which side on the grounds that "same-sex sodomy" is "clearly" a "distinct public health problem"? The group that wants to bring back conversion therapy where it's been made illegal? Whose executive director praised an Indian court for ruling to "protect society at large rather than give in to a vocal minority of homosexual advocates"? SPLC has these fuckers dead to rights, but op-ed author and ADF SVP Kristen Waggoner cries she's been "smeared as a bigot" by them merely because she is moved to "disagree with its far-left worldview." She ends, "Let’s aspire to be a country characterized by tolerance, freedom of conscience and love of neighbor," which must be some sort of inside joke. Remember: These guys have to disguise what they're doing because if normal people knew they would laugh them out of existence.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

INTO YOUR LIFE IT WILL CREEP.

For me the whole Covington thing boils down to this: These Catholic schoolboys acted like assholes, which is totally typical of Catholic schoolboys, as I can attest because I was a Catholic schoolboy myself and frequently behaved like an asshole. I still cringe when I think of my teenage behaviors, and am glad to have (to some extent, anyway) grown out of them. I hope these kids will, too, but there's less chance of that now that they've been celebrated as holy martyrs by rightwing crackpots. The smirk kid has had his PR-firm-crafted defense published in hundreds of outlets including CNN and been interviewed on national TV, yet conservatives act like he's the Dauphin during the French Revolution.

No doubt you've seen plenty of shit takes without trying or wanting to -- including this brain-melting Twitter spiel by Megan McArdle, which includes a lecture on physiognomonic studies ("most facial expressions are to some extent culturally constructed, even though we learn them so early we think they're innate reflections of our inner emotional state") and ends with "please do read [my column]. Also, hug someone." About the looniest is by Kevin D. Williamson, who seems, well, disturbed:
You people are a bunch of hysterical ninnies, and it is time for you to grow the hell up. 
You know who you are... 
Joy Behar, as profoundly dim and tedious a person as American public life has to offer...
...narrowly partisan, selfish, deeply stupid, entirely unpatriotic, childish, foot-stamping, fingers-in-the-ears, weeping, cooties-loathing, teary-eyed, tremulous, quavering, pansified, gormless, deceitful, dishonorable...
That's in the first three paragraphs. Later:
I’m talking about you, Ruth Graham of Slate, still trying to justify by whatever pathetic means are available what everybody with any sense knows to have been an exercise in pure horses***. I’m talking about you, editors of the New York Times. You sorry specimens are poor excuses for journalists, which, of course, we already knew. What’s more relevant here is that you are bad citizens. Trafficking in lies and distortions...
This is what passes as sweet reason in wingnut world. I recommend you read Laura Wagner's essay at The Concourse, and to watch how this incident feeds the acceleration of conservative paranoia. David French at National Review:
Hostility to traditional, orthodox Christianity is no longer confined to the white progressive elite. It’s now popular in the white Left. Liberal elites who attack traditional Christian beliefs and express contempt for traditional Christians aren’t demonstrating their disconnect from America, they’re giving their constituents exactly what they want.
White Democrats want to kill Christers -- thank God for the black Democrats, I guess; maybe French will support Kamala Harris in 2020! And at the meth labs of The Federalist, Nathanael Blake declares "a culture that considers sexual desire the essence of a person will not tolerate a rival Christian viewpoint, but stigmatize and punish it," and that liberals' "ultimate goal is a legal regime that will treat us very much like the English treated the Irish Catholics" -- prepare for Cromwellian massacre and starvation, Joel Osteen! Our sexy heresies demand it!

I wonder if any of these guys know that they're just talking to themselves and normal Americans are wondering how the fuck they can get them and their psycho leader out of government.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

2018: THE YEAR IN BULLSHIT, PART 3.

[See also Part 1 and Part 2.]


2. The Republican Trump protection racket. Normal people perceive the Mueller investigation to be a sober, workmanlike pursuit and analysis of leads to determine how the 2016 election became a Russian propaganda operation. Yet conservatives kept trying to discredit the investigation and its sources in the FBI and elsewhere.

California Republican Congressman Devin Nunes and his GOP buddies kept hinting that there was something in a House Intelligence Committee memo that would expose criminal or at least unseemly overreach in the FBI's investigations of Trump -- but when released the memo proved to be a put-up job meant to shield the President, of the sort in which Republican committees seem to specialize anymore.

Republican periodically waved messages between anti-Trump FBI lovebirds Peter Strzok and Lisa Page as if their private political opinions invalidated whatever intelligence the agency might have turned up on Trump. Wisconsin GOP senator Ron Johnson even claimed "he had an ‘informant’ corroborate reports concerning the existence of an FBI ‘secret society’ working to undermine President Trump," reported the Washington Examiner.

This went on all year and probably reached its apotheosis in the loony accusations by rightwing grifters Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman that Mueller, despite evidence removing him from the alleged scene of the crime, committed sexual assault. And indeed the part played in this protection racket by pundits has been huge -- and ongoing: See the New Year's Eve post by David Brooks, in which he suggests that, notwithstanding Trump's probable crimes, if Democrats don't say Simon Says when they go after him -- if they don't act like "modern versions of Archibald Cox, Elliot Richardson and Judge John Sirica... then the roughly 40 percent of Americans who support Trump will see serious evidence that he committed felonies, but they won’t care! They’ll conclude that this is not about law or integrity. It’s just a political show trial." Totally ignoring, of course, that the quietly industrious Mueller is the most Cox-Richardson-Sirica-like Republican since -- well, since Cox, Richardson, and Sirica, yet Republicans already act as if it's just a "show trial."

But even weirder than the paid propagandists running interference -- which we could expect -- is the dedication of what were once unironically called public servants to defense of Individual 1 -- with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell repeatedly propping the door open for Trump to shut the investigation down. I gotta admit, when I focus even for a moment on that, I get that old feeling of outrage we used to get whenever prominent politicians acted like low-level mob goons. And Mitch and the boys don't have too much time left to wear us down and get us accustomed to that level of criminality.


1. Conservatives versus kids. I understand why they take public stands against immigrants, minorities, and even women -- it's the same evil they've been doing for years, and it still works for them, if less over time. But it strikes me as a bad political move for them to side so strongly against the survival of children. Americans don't even approve of Trump's conscious and deliberate immiseration (and in some cases killing) of refugee kids -- and they're not even white! Also, sending administration lie generator Kellyanne Conway out to accuse Democrats of using the dead children as "political pawns" is, under the circumstances, like a rapist complaining that the prosecutor is ruining the girl's reputation by revealing that she isn't a virgin.

But the real headscratcher is their continued devotion to the NRA in the face of all the school shootings -- and, more importantly (because face it, they've been stonewalling school shootings for years), in the face of strong public awareness and activism against their reign of terror, particularly since Parkland and the media-savvy survivors that came out of it -- not to mention the boycotts.

Apart from the usual only-outlaws-will-have-guns bullshit, their outreach seems faulty, too -- mostly these-kids-today seethings from guys like Rod Dreher ("They’re already celebrating the intersectionality of [Emma] Gonzalez, a self-defined bisexual who has shaved her head") and Dinesh D'Souza ("Worst news since their parents told them to get summer jobs"). It's almost as if they don't care if they lose -- that they just want to reassure one another of their own righteousness as Americans get pissed off enough to finally turn on them. I'd like to think it's a neurosis born of guilt, but I must say I'm having a hard time giving them the benefit of the doubt anymore, even on that.

Friday, December 28, 2018

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


One of my favorite tunes, of which I was reminded
by this terrific interview in the Detroit Metro Times.

•  Rod Dreher's talking Spanish Civil War and guess which side he's on:
I didn’t intend to argue about who was right and who was wrong in that war. Personally I believe the better side won … but that there were no good sides.
Translation: Bothsides, but I gotta go with the fascist dictator. Which is no shock if you're seen Dreher moon over the current crop of European fascists such as Marion MarĂ©chal-Le Pen (and her Auntie Marine) and Viktor Orban ("It seems to me that the Orban government correctly understands that the culture war is a war of imperialism and subversion fought by other means by nations and private actors [Soros] who wish to defeat traditionalists"). To make it look good, Dreher does a little hedging, pointing out that Franco Was A Very Bad Man, but inevitably tips toward the Throne and Altar authoritarian because the Civil War was "incredibly brutal on both sides" and Jesus is the tie-breaker.

Keep in mind that mainstream conservatives like David Brooks take this guy seriously and escort him into polite company. Which has been and remains the way with modern conservatism. Get a load of Roger Kimball, the very model of a rightwing intellectual, hoity as well as toity, getting down with wingnut clown Charlie Kirk:

This is why, when people wring their hands and go, "oh William F. Buckley Jr. would never have gone along with this," I just laugh. Like his pal Reagan was any less of a moron.

•  The conservative movement is in love with Blonde Chicks with Big Glasses like S.E. Cupp and Tomi Lahren, so naturally National Review had to have its own: Katherine "Kat" Timpf, whose attempt to promote herself with a victim narrative I covered some weeks back in my newsletter (and I am unlocking that issue for you because that's the sort of Robin Goodfellow I am -- but you should still subscribe!). Her shtick is silly-liberal-snowflake stories -- and here's her latest:
Being Bigger Than the Person You’re Asking Out Deemed Title IX Violation 
A student at the University of Missouri was found to be in violation of Title IX in part because he asked another student out on a date and is physically larger than she is.
If that "in part" made you suspicious, congratulations. Further into the story:
To be fair, the document does report that the male student had also been pestering the female student for dates and wasn’t leaving her alone — which is, obviously, unacceptable — but the fact that his physical size was enough to constitute a violation-worthy power imbalance is absolutely ludicrous.
Pestering? Wasn't leaving her alone? Hmm -- sounds like him being more physically powerful than her isn't the only issue here. Amanda Marcotte and Andrew Fleischman do us the favor of reading a filing by the guy's lawyer: He sent her romantic Facebook messages, she asked him to stop; he switched to paper notes left with her dance teacher, including one containing "apologies and a confession of 'love' for her." This went on for months with no encouragement from her before the poor woman went to the authorities. Timpf's column -- "updated" once, so I can only imagine how bad it was before -- is like an Olympic victim-blaming routine, e.g.:
The way in which this kind of thinking hurts men is obvious: They risk violating a law, and potentially being punished for it, over what every sane person could agree is normal human behavior.
I predict Timpf will serve as U.N. Ambassador in the Honey Boo-Boo administration.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

HEAP BIG BULLSHIT.

It is sometimes observed that conservatives' only real principle is racism. That depends, I say: is looting the public treasury for one's donors a principle? It's a real chicken-and-egg thing, as I was reminded by Howie Carr's latest attack on Elizabeth Warren at the Boston Herald:
Smoke signals say Elizabeth Warren’s presidential dreams are over
Just in case you think this might be some disgruntled editor's prank:
It was just a few weeks ago that the fake Indian sanctimoniously released the results of her alleged DNA test. She thought it was going to be the greatest triumph of Indian arms since the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Within hours, though, her political career had taken a worse pounding than the Creeks at Horseshoe Bend or the Sioux at Wounded Knee... 
Sometimes the Times prints fake news. That was not fake news. I have indeed enjoyed – relished, actually – holding “the DNA issue” over the fake Indian’s war bonnet.
This has been a wingnut talking point since Warren's successful 2012 Senatorial campaign, and they haven't learned a new trick since.

I'm not outraged that Carr is still using this ugh how woo-woo-woo shit throughout his column ("But it’s too late for that – many moons too late"); I'm just confused as to the target audience and intended effect. The median U.S. voter age is 47.5, which suggests very few 2018 voters will have grown up with The Lone Ranger. Some of us may have enjoyed the antics of the Hekawi on F Troop as children but, for reasons that have maybe a little to do with wokeness but certainly have everything to do with elementary good manners, don't think this kind of shit is cool.

What makes it even weirder is Carr's pretense that he finds something gravely offensive about Warren getting and publicizing her DNA test and thus "stealing somebody else’s heritage." Does anyone on God's green earth think people who find Photoshopping a feathered headdress on Warren's head hilarious give a shit what Native Americans think?

The only strategic sense I can see in this is that Carr and his cronies get plenty of support from two sources; first, clueless dopes in the mainstream media desperate to look sensitive -- such as (you knew it had to be) the New York Times, which in October ran several thoughtful and polite comments by Natives about how tribal identity is not the same thing as a genetic trait under the ridiculous headline "Why Many Native Americans Are Angry With Elizabeth Warren."

The other source of support they can count on is rightwing fake-woke trolls on social media who also act like they care about identity and appropriation but only use that affectation to attack liberals. A quick look at their feeds usually reveals this to be the case, but most people aren't going to bother:


I mean:

This elaborate fraud will probably work on the press, but maybe normal people have seen too much of this shit to buy it anymore and will in any case be glad someone like Warren who has actually tried to give them a break against the corporations is running. As to the racism vs. cynicism-in-defense-of-corporate-donors question, I see no reason why it can't be both.

Monday, October 15, 2018

WHITE MAN SPEAK WITH FORKED TONGUE.

So now she's not Indian enough:


In the immortal words of Jay Silverheels, ugh. I wrote way back in 2012 about rightwingers' woo-woo-woo jokes about Pocahontas Warren (“You Won’t Have Elizabeth Warren To Kick Around By Indian Summer,” said Dan Riehl shortly before she was elected Senator) and today was the first day they even slightly altered their shtick. Warren could split open and Sitting Bull himself emerge from the husk, and conservatives would say, "hyuk, she was pretending to be a chick all along to get that sweet affirmative action!"

There is no reasoning with these people, nor any point in taking them seriously.

UPDATE. I see the credentialed and formerly respectable conservatives are playing the same stupid game. National Review's David French, who recently completed his turn to Trumpkinism by telling the world  Trump calling for his opponents to be jailed was nothing compared to liberals being mean to Ted Cruz, is now pretending to be outraged by what he calls Warren's "resume fraud." French talks as if her criminality were obvious to all True Sons of Liberty, which is what these putzes do when they're nervous that no one is listening to them. Finally, the last refuge of a NeverTrumper turned Tip-InTrumper -- he says Warren's the real Trump!  Can you imagine Tom Cruise once made people think JAG officers were cool?

UPDATE 2. In my newsletter today (Subscribe! Cheap!) I explain, among other things, why this is Bad News for Donald Trump:
Trump uses insults like this to neutralize his enemies, but by showing she had some Native American blood — not 1/32nd or three generations back, as her family had told her, but between 1/64th to 1/1,024th, or six to ten generations — Warren showed her good-faith claim was based on reality, and good faith and reality are to Trump as garlic and crucifixes to a vampire, as shown by his even more petulant than usual response: claiming "who cares" — a weird response to something he normally goes out of his way to make a big deal of — and that he never made a promise to pay a million dollars if Warren's Indian heritage were proven even though his promise is on tape. ("It was in the context of a future hypothetical debate and wasn’t actually a promise to give one million to her charity if she actually did a DNA test," homina-homina'd the ball-washers at The Right Scoop.) 
In other words, Trump couldn't even act like he was on top in this situation —he just blustered, something he's actually always doing but, in this instance, was so clearly doing it that even the redhat dummies might notice.
I would also add that, as with French and this Breitbart schnook, the fallback position among conservatives is that the Lame Stream Media, though malice or stupidity, missed the real story, which is that Warren and not Trump is the real crook. Not only is this message not a compelling one,  but they're delivering it to a small audience that already despises Warren and could not despise her more; normal people with memories of the schoolyard will appreciate her fighting back.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

THE LADYKILLERS.

As I've said, and keep saying in my latest newsletter (subscribe! It don't cost much), it seems all conservatives are now solidly on board with Brett Kavanaugh and the Tit and Clit Club and, when it comes to their arguments in defense of the accused attempted rapist, the sober mainstream types are more or less indistinguishable from the crazy he-man woman-haters club types on the fringe. Dig professional harrumph machine David French, for example, arguing in the allegedly legit National Review that the real problem is not Georgetown Prep Republicans who think they own women, but liberal jazzbos who "stripped away moral prohibitions against extramarital sex, celebrated youthful experimentation, combined it with similar celebrations of drug and alcohol use — even at early ages — and then have been shocked — no, stunned — at the sheer amount of groping, grabbing, coercion, and assault." Yeah, elite males getting drink and rapey are the fault of Hugh Hefner; before the 60s, they only raped low-status females who were easily paid off and no one was the wiser.

But give the low-class conservatives credit; while guys like French are matching them in misogyny, they can't keep up with their expertise in plain old insanity.

Take Robert Stacy McCain, who I last noticed attacking Sarah Jeong for racism against whites -- "No one at Harvard or at the New York Times will speak a word in favor of white people, Christians, heterosexuals, or police officers" -- which was pretty ballsy of him, considering McCain is a neo-Confederate.

Well, sure enough, the American Spectator enlisted McCain to tell this mouthy Christine Blasey Ford a thing or two. A large part of his rap, you will not be surprised to hear, involves the Rolling Stone/UVA case -- when Men's Rights types can't get it up for normal porn anymore, they can always get a stiffy over that.

But the meat, as it were, of McCain's argument is that Kavanaugh's accuser has no right to be in a position to make such an accusation -- and the fact that she is in such a position suggests that she's lying:
It is perhaps not a coincidence that Judge Kavanaugh’s accuser is a university professor. The former prep-school girl Christine Blasey went on to obtain two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. in psychology, marry an engineer named Russell Ford, and thus become Professor Ford of California’s Palo Alto University. 
That's how women get doctorates and professorates: Marrying titled men!
Having spent her entire adult life working in academia, Professor Ford is eminently qualified as a representative of the mentality that currently prevails on our nation’s university campuses, where male students are presumed guilty of rape as soon as any female student accuses them.
Interesting. And what mentality is represented by Kavanaugh, who has spent his entire adult life as a factotum to Republican Party bosses? Why should his predictable careerist rise be any less suspicious than hers? It would seem the main difference between Kavanaugh's and Ford's position among the "elite," in McCain's view, is that hers is absurd because she lacks a penis.
This mentality was what led to the debacle at the University of Virginia in 2014, when a Rolling Stone reporter destroyed her career...
Let us draw the curtain, or close the men's room door, on McCain, and look in on Dennis Prager at National Review. Prager is a total idiot who has in the past argued that wives owe their husbands sex ("Why do we assume that it is terribly irresponsible for a man to refuse to go to work because he is not in the mood, but a woman can -- indeed, ought to -- refuse sex because she is not in the mood?"). I wouldn't say he's topped that in his pissy column "The Charges against Judge Kavanaugh Should Be Ignored," but he comes close. First he pretty much accepts that Kavanaugh tried to rape Ford but shrugs it off because he's been such a good boy since ("No matter how good and moral a life one has led for ten, 20, 30, 40, or even 50 years, it is nullified by a sin committed as teenager"), and that anyone should think otherwise is just "another example of the moral chaos sown by secularism and the Left." But here's the money part, and by "money" I mean nuts:
When my wife was a waitress in her mid teens, the manager of her restaurant grabbed her breasts and squeezed them on numerous occasions. She told him to buzz off, figured out how to avoid being in places where they were alone, and continued going about her job. That’s empowerment.
If only gals would learn to dodge their bosses' advances like Andy dodged butt-rape in The Shawshank Redemption, then come home and gave their husbands the blowjobs they deserve, we'd have the little gender thing fixed up PDQ.


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

THE WHITE WORKING CLASS WHISPERER HITS A SNAG.

I recently noticed that one of my 2017 tweets -- about a fanciful story by one of my favorite subjects, White Working Class Whisperer Salena Zito -- was suddenly getting a lot of play. Then I saw new Twitter threads and old stories suggesting Zito is, how you say, full of shit. People began making fun of her now-infamous gas station anecdotes. Also she's being defended by Bethany Mandel, which, like the appearance of a famous mob mouthpiece at a gangland trial, is not probative but certainly suggestive.

Let me state for the record that, in my coverage of Zito's writing, I've never accused her of fabrication. I have observed that many pronouncements she attributes to her allegedly salt-of-the-earth subjects sound a mite canned ("It took me a while to realize those words weren’t theirs, but skillfully crafted sentences that had been massaged and focus-group tested by a full staff of speechwriters and strategists..."); in fact even her paraphrases sound too good to be true. Also, I noticed her referring to Republicans as Democrats for apparent conversion-narrative purposes back in 2016, a tendency for which the new jacks have found more examples.

Which is hilarious, but kind of beside the point. When I'm not regaling you good people here and at the Voice I work on trade publications ("It's a living" -- bird on The Flintstones), and I can assure you that, in that homely branch of journalism, attributions are taken very seriously. But I know pundits like Zito get a lot more slack -- hence the Alan Bromleys and Friedman cab drivers of the world, dispensing unverifiable swear-to-Gods in the service of verisimilitude. I can't imagine any reader of even normal intelligence will fail to hear the clang of poorly-written dialogue any time one of these writers' simulacra speaks. They'll believe if their need to do so is great enough, in which case no Twitter expose is going to change their minds.

So Zito's alleged journalistic crimes I take in stride. If anything I've been much more amused by her sneakiness -- like using a rich surgeon's family as an example of down-to-earth Trumpiness ("On the wall, she was adamant: 'Build it'") by referring to them as "upper-middle-class suburban voters who live in a blue-collar, upper-middle-class exurb," which is almost adorable, like seeing a melting ice cream cone dripping behind the back of a kid who's trying to pretend he didn't steal it. I'm also impressed by how committed Zito is to her Trumpkin shtick-- even allowing herself to look dumb and incoherent in defense of The Leader's gibberish (and, when the jig is up, she knows how to diminish expectations on his behalf -- this act can travel!). Not to mention the (to me) most important fact: that, even by the slithering standards of rightwing propaganda, she's a God-awful writer. But I'm a terrible cynic; your mileage, and that of the nation's editors, may vary.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

ALL MOD CONS.

I have yet to hear a convincing explanation why Scott Pruitt was finally egressed. John Fund's at Fox, expectedly, makes the least sense: "pressure rose for Pruitt to step down," he claims, "when his travails shifted from the merely humiliating to potential legal violations." This suggests -- from a normal person's point of view (which, I will explain in a minute, may not be the way to look at it) -- that Trump was aware of a year's worth of "humiliating" events and just shrugged them off, or told Pruitt to stop it and Pruitt said "sure t'ing boss" and got even worse, and Trump only noticed this week.

Fund suggests Pruitt having people falsify his official calendar was the back-breaking straw -- but he doesn't mention that it appears Pruitt fired one of his schedulers for making a stink about his fraud which, call me over-sensitive, I think makes it so much worse. Nor does Fund mention that Pruitt made his employees cover his hotel bills and then failed to pay them back. It's almost like Fund doesn't find it especially noteworthy when a made man in Trumpworld screws his poorer subordinates, which given what conservatives are like these days makes sense.

Anyway, Pruitt's maladministration of the EPA was terrible and will lead to lasting damage to the planet, but his successor will pretty much keep up the planet-killing work with a lower profile -- in the same way that, when high-living HHS Secretary Tom Price finally got too embarrassing to keep, they just slotted in pharmaceutical executive Alex Azar, who yakked about how he and his phrama buddies really wanted to keep drug prices down and who has overseen a bunch of price hikes which, Politico hilariously observes, "cast doubt on whether Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar can pressure manufacturers to voluntarily drop prices without the threat of specific consequences."

Well, bad, even destructive administration is par for the course with this lot, but Pruitt's trail of grifts is the stuff of legend and we should take a moment to marvel at and perhaps learn from it. It has long been my theory that Trump's administration is so overwhelmingly corrupt because a.) no one with anything to lose, reputation-wise, would have anything to do with him in the first place, and b.) there is honor among thieves, and Trump's understanding with them is, if he goes down they're going with him.

I still think that's about right, but the volume, scale, and exoticism of Pruitt's scandals -- his wild impulse purchases, from his cone of silence to his tactical pants; his muscling of business for personal favors; and his aforementioned, vicious exploitation of his employees -- are extraordinary even for this administration. Indeed, his behavior would seem, under normal circumstances, evidence of mental instability -- surely no one sane would go that far in a cabinet post under the full glare of national publicity.

Maybe so, but let us be charitable and imagine that Pruitt was not just greedy, but actually responsive to an existential imperative. Here he was, a man of limited talent of intelligence, not only placed far about his deserts and abilities but set among some of the greatest crooks of his time in the great candy shop of the public fisc. Being a Republican, he was already accustomed, indeed trained, to think of anything in a public Treasury as ransom held by liberal commies and queers that should by right and in the name of Reagan be liberated into the Private Sector, preferably through the medium of one's own pockets (doing good by doing well, haw!). And certainly when one is set about such work shoulder to shoulder with such as Ben Carson and Ryan Zinke, one is encouraged to go hard about it rather than gentle. What if Pruitt had a moment of poetic insight -- for these can happen to all kinds of people -- and saw, in the midst of otherwise quotidian graft, what this implied about life itself. Maybe he saw then that all was madness -- that men die and they are not happy -- and was driven by that insight to buy the tactical pants, to cheat even his own aides, to grift until even the God of grift said, no more. Let us at least accept the possibility that Pruitt was not merely greedy, but touched by the madness of Camus' Caligula.

Monday, June 25, 2018

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about the imprisoned, immiserated immigrant kids and the Cult of Civility outcry that has ridiculously ensued. If you tried to explain to a normal person how a racist administration's notorious abuse of children and shameless defense thereof led our Guardians of Groupthink to admonish, not the guilty parties, but the liberals who mildly expressed their frustration to the guilty parties, he might not understand you, so I have tried to explain it for the masses.

I didn't have time to stick in other examples of woe-is-me snowflakery, like complaints over Seth Rogen rebuffing Paul Ryan ("The stoner comedy stalwart has built a career on playing the over-his-head everyman," foams Conservative Tribune, "...yet is shockingly clueless about everyday America in real life. During a recent appearance on Stephen Colbert’s increasingly leftist late-night program..."). Like Ryan didn't just assume Rogen was merely protecting his brand! They're both big boys.

As usual, Rod Dreher is ridiculous on the subject. He's mad that Maxine Waters encouraged people to give "anybody from that cabinet" a hard time. Trump's cabinet is basically a supervillain cabal whose members' only superpower is immunity from prosecution, so I can't fault Maxine; if we can't prosecute the bastards, let us at least tell them to go fuck themselves. But Dreher thinks this liberal Helter Skelter. He soothes himself by having a talk with some nice lady he came across in Boston:
“I’m only sorry that I wasn’t here long enough to have any Massachusetts oysters,” I said. “They’re the best in America.”

“You’re right about that!” she said. “My husband is in the restaurant business, and we both love oysters.”

I bid her farewell, and told her I look forward to coming back to Boston when I have time to eat. She smiled at me, wished me a safe flight, and went off down the street with her dog.

Boston being Boston, she’s probably quite liberal. She might have accurately figured me for a conservative, given that I’m from Louisiana. It didn’t matter. We had a lovely conversation about our shared love of dogs and oysters.

That is America.
Awwww. I wonder how the conversation would have gone if Dreher were the DHS Secretary, his agents had snatched the lady's kids and put them on a plane to God knows where, and Dreher was on record saying that's just what happens to people like her. Maybe it still would have been sunshine and lollipops!

UPDATE. I should note that Dreher quotes in support of his point a CNN received-opinion group grope as described by Mediaite:
RealClearPolitics editor A.B. Stoddard kicked off the CNN panel by pointing out that Waters is set to take over a highly important position in the House as chair of the Financial Services Committee — and "she’s doing everything she can to prevent her own promotion."
Gasp! It's almost as if Waters doesn't share the priorities of a bunch of careerist shits!
“This is beyond overreach,” Stoddard said. “It is so outrageous that she is trying to motivate voters on her side to be as divisive as President Trump...."
Only Trump can be divisive -- your job is to be a spineless wimp and go "gee, fellas, I don't know about these concentration camps," as Republicans stampede you en route to sacking and looting the country. It's in the script!

UPDATE 2. Now the shtick for conservatives is that they're ascared Maxine Waters and her liberal friends will kill them, so their factota circulate bullshit stories supporting this delusion. Hack of hacks Paul Bedard at the Washington Examiner:

Trump aides urged to get a gun 
Facing a new wave of potentially dangerous threats, called for by a top Democratic lawmaker, legal and gun experts are calling on top Trump aides to get their concealed carry permit and back it up with a pistol, 
"There are simply not enough police in D.C. or Virginia or Maryland to protect all Trump officials at their homes and when they go out to restaurants. Getting a concealed handgun permit would be helpful to protect themselves and their family,” said John R. Lott Jr., president of the influential Crime Prevention Research Center.
John R. Lott -- possibly the most notorious lyin'-ass bitch among the gun nuts' pet scholars! Still, I endorse Trump officials following his advice and getting guns because, seeing what fuckups they are, they'll probably just shoot themselves with them. It's win-win!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

DEFENDING THE EVEN-MORE-INDEFENSIBLE-THAN-USUAL.

Trump's brown-baby-stealing proceeds apace and, as we saw in my Monday Village Voice column, conservatives are really reaching to make it try and make it look good -- or, I should say instead, since nothing can make this abomination look good, to try and distract people from noticing how evil it is and they are.

Part of their shtick has been, amazingly, humor, as we saw when former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski reacted on CNN to the seizure of a disabled 10-year-old girl with a comedy sound effect. That Lewandowski refuses to apologize for being an obvious asshole -- demanding instead, in the long tradition of Trump factota, that someone apologize for people "killed by illegal aliens," some of whom were presumably 10-year-old girls with Down Syndrome -- shows, just as Ilsa She-Wolf of Homeland Security's choice of restaurant last night shows, that their intention is to act as if those of us with basic decency are the ones who are fucked up for protesting their treatment of the untermenschen.

In the category of long-form humor, here's John Zmirak of The Stream demanding -- wait, you'll love this -- we "Seize Ivy League Dorms and Give Them to Immigrant Families." Ha! "Lest Laura Bush, Catholic bishops, and Planned Parenthood throw another public tantrum about how the U.S. is Nazi Germany or something" -- keep your chuckles down, punters, the real gags are on the way -- and because Democrats just loooove the "little brown kids" because though they're "a little too old for Planned Parenthood to dismember and sell in Styrofoam coolers" they're perfect to use as "human shields for open borders policies" -- because why else would anyone care what happens to the little shits, amirite? Come on lady, I laughed when you came in! -- then, Zmirak zmirks, we should "Fill the Lavish Dorms with Migrant Families, and House Students in Tent Cities."

Zmirak's big joke thereafter is an image of Messicans nestled in a "glorious Gothic dining hall, with sixty-foot carved ceilings and iron candelabras," being served their food by the silly SJW students. Liberals made to serve the brownskins they pretend to love so much -- it's a classic conservative humiliation fantasy straight out of Birth of a Nation. To add cream to the jest, Ole Perfesser Glenn Reynolds pimps that shit to his own coprophages and, in their rush to assault their strawmen, they suggest things like "Just dump them all in Brooklyn" -- because that's where the hipsters live, see, and since they're all limp-wristed sissies they've probably never seen an immigrant, especially in the trendier nabes like Crown Heights and Bed-Stuy.

A bunch of them are weeping over the heckling of Ilsa -- "PUNDITS, ACTIVISTS CELEBRATE HARASSMENT OF FEMALE DHS SECRETARY" screams The Daily Caller; you libtards are supposed to love females! -- with the apparent, fond hope that readers will find a straight-up fascist government functionary forced to hear the complaints of her constituents for a couple of minutes more sympathetic than children torn from their parents and stuck in cages because Trump wants to Look Tuff. Well, with readers of The Daily Caller I guess they have a shot. With normal people, not so much.

UPDATE. Looks like Ilsa wants to walk in the sun again. Let's see what else we can get these assholes to back off of.

Wednesday, June 06, 2018

YOU GOTTA FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHT TO PRIDE PARADE.

The Trump era was made for such as Rod Dreher. He likes to protest that he's not a Trumpkin, but no one else on God's green earth has as many "I'm not a Trump supporter but..." qualifiers in his writing as he does. Part of this has to do with his Benedict Option racket -- how can he sell the rubes on his monasticism-plus-wifi palaver if Trump has sanctified the land and removed the need for holy retreat? But mainly it's that Trump is Dreher's secret dream: He's embarrassed by Trump, but he loves what Trump is doing for America -- that is, making it easier for bigots like himself.

Lately Brother Rod's been especially hard on the blacks and the gays. Recently he found a Quillette article by a black wingnut at Columbia where the kid, Coleman Hughes, actually asks: if Rihanna gets to have an all-black band, why can't a white person have an all-white band? The obvious answer is GO TO ANY GODDAMN MUSIC FESTIVAL IN AMERICA OR THE U.K. THEY DO IT ALL THE TIME! But Dreher's excited, thinks Hughes is "very, very brave" -- though I can't guess why, because black wingnuts are worth their weight in gold these days -- why, with such credentials you can commit felonies and, if you're sufficiently vituperative toward liberals, there's a good chance Trump will pardon you. (Dinesh D'Souza is so juiced about his pardon that, to reward his benefactor by making him look racially sensitive, D'Souza actually inferred that he himself is a person of color, which I don't believe I've ever seen him do before; usually he hits black people with racial slurs.)

Anywho, Dreher thinks Hughes is the bees knees and, though there's nothing in the Quillette article about gay people, he hauls them into the target area too:
[Hughes] focuses on blacks, but as a general matter, if you read the mainstream press, you’ll find there’s a tendency to treat gays and other minority groups favored by liberals with kid gloves — as if they were symbols, not real people, with the same virtues and vices that everybody else has.
"Mainstream media" being here an obvious, redundant synonym for liberals, this is a callback to an ancient trope that I've been hearing all my life -- probably most familiar to you via Tom Wolfe, but known to me by the yammering of the bigots I grew up with: That liberals, who are always assumed to be white, must not see blacks as fully human -- because if they did they would, like conservatives, despise them. But this Dreher column is the first place I can remember seeing gays pulled into this if-you-really-knew-them-you'd-hate-them-like-me paradigm as well.

The gays have been on Dreher's mind much of late, thanks to Masterpiece Cakeshop's SCOTUS victory over the same-sexers who thought they had a right to buy a wedding cake from them. Over several posts Dreher pee-dances over the decision because it was narrow and does not guarantee a wider right to discriminate against Sodomites (and to keep alive the BenOp shtick, natch). It's all disgusting, but one section particularly leapt out at me: Dreher quotes with approval (that is, he says the author "nails what's happening") R.R. Reno of the theocon magazine First Things on Masterpiece:
That two gay men in Denver can bring to bear the full power of the state against a baker who does not wish to bake them a wedding cake is the height of absurdity. The gay couple do not belong to a vulnerable class of Americans. IRS data show that male-male married couples filing jointly have dramatically higher family incomes than other married couples, to say nothing of the disintegrating working-class families who don’t enjoy the benefits of marriage. Empowering a segment of the upper class to beat up on those who don’t approve of their sex lives is a recipe for social fragmentation.
This brought to my mind the triumphal citation among normal people of gay earning power and corporate acceptance as a sign that gay rights are here to say. I actually got a taste of this today at the corporate cafeteria I visited for lunch, where they were giving away Pride t-shirts, festooned with anodyne (and mostly too small to read) pro-gay hashtags and the (large and readable) company logo on the back. The innocuous ubiquity, or ubiquitous innocuousness, of this sort of thing may give the impression that the battle has been won.

But the very thing that looks like victory -- and should mean victory, given that America advertises itself as a place where honest commercial and financial success are all that matter -- is what Reno is using to attack gays: the notion that they "do not belong to a vulnerable class," and in fact "beat up on" the "disintegrating working-class families" (always presumed to be white and straight) who "don’t enjoy the benefits of marriage"  -- that is, have chosen not to get married, which in the minds of Reno and Dreher must be the gays' fault -- or that of the liberals (always, also, presumed to be white and straight) who, perversely and disloyally, side with the gays. As for the beating-up, why, that is done by gays merely by being gay, and being so rude as to insist on what in other contexts are called Constitutional rights.

In short, these people will do anything to destroy gay rights, and the easiest path for them now is to pretend they're doing so on behalf of less fortunate white straights -- in other words, that segment of the population shown to be most susceptible to Trump's bullshit. If they can convince these poor white, het dopes that gays are stealing something from them -- Straight pride? Jobs that might otherwise be reserved for heterosexuals? The right to beat up and/or rape a class of people that had been fair game in their pappy's day? -- then they just might be able to hitch the Trump Train to their retro mission and pull things back to the way things were before members of the same gender could hold hands in public, let alone all that other stuff.

What I'm saying is, happy Pride, but be prepared: Stonewall was a riot, and it looks as if we may have to pick up some paving stones ourselves.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

RETURN TO NORMALCY.

Sometimes it's just good to shut out all the jibber-jabber and look at the situation as if we were all still normal people.

Trump's at one of his stupid events and some sheriff mentions MS-13; Trump, doing the usual stream-of-semiconsciousness slurring he does whenever foreigners of a certain hue are mentioned, says something absurdly offensive. Times being what they are, I have to reproduce the relevant section -- not for the Trumpkins who are deaf to evidence, but just to remind you and me what actually happened:
SHERIFF MIMS: Thank you. There could be an MS-13 member I know about — if they don’t reach a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE about it. 
THE PRESIDENT: We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — and we’re stopping a lot of them — but we’re taking people out of the country. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals. And we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before. And because of the weak laws, they come in fast, we get them, we release them, we get them again, we bring them out. It’s crazy.
The meaning is not really in dispute. We can't even say that it would be different if someone other than Trump said it, because if someone other than Trump said it and it were pointed out to that person what it sounded like, unless that person were a Nazi or the near equivalent, he or she would attempt to explain themselves and probably be slightly embarrassed that he or she had allowed themselves to be so disgracefully misapprehended.

But instead wingnuts screamed that Trump meant only MS-13, for what else could a sensible person like Trump mean, and in fact the Real Outrage is that liberals are supporting MS-13. The first proposition is asserted by replacement-level douchebags like this --


-- and the even further-out secondary proposition is asserted by Times-endorsed "cool kid philosophers" and Intellectual Dark Websters (you know, morons) like this --



In response the mainsteam media falls all over itself to appease and agree, yes, the President could not possibly have meant what it sounded like he said; and Trump lopes a hammy arm around the neck of the mainstream media and says oh, yeah, right, I meant that other thing.

I'm never a fan of the 11-dimension-chess POV where natural reactions are treated like Machiavellian gambits, notwithstanding this has become everyone's default POV in the Age of This Is Why Trump Won. And in this case, in which you have a million wingnuts screaming not only that Trump would never slander immigrants (when that is self-evidently most of his shtick and his appeal) but also that liberals are in favor of MS-13, I think it makes even more sense to step back and try to imagine: What would a normal person -- of which we have millions more in the country than political obsessives, thank God -- think about this? Would he or she really look at Trump, who's been what he's been, and the Democrats, who've been what they've been, and think: You're right, Trump's just being fair and the Democrats are openly supporting Latin American drug gangs?

If you first reaction is to say that's exactly what they think, that's an understandable mistake -- the mainsteam media is so far up Trump's ass that it daily, unthinkingly disseminates the impression that Trump is normal and all America is one big Trump rally. But neither the vote totals nor the poll numbers support this -- and neither does my, nor your, experience of ordinary people -- and I don't just mean (though I certainly don't exclude) academics and intellectuals and public union employees, but also carpenters and crossing guards and waitresses and landscapers, and other folks who are not included among the caricatures of American voters we read about in the major newspapers that tell us the Real Americans spend all days siting in Pennsyltucky diners telling New York Times reporters how Obama let the Ordinary Diner-Sitting American down -- notwithstanding that Democrats have been flipping dozens of Congressional seats since Trump got in.

In other words, the American People may not agree with you on everything, but that doesn't make them dumb -- and certainly not as dumb as wingnut crackpots want you to believe they are. So don't you believe it. Hold fast, have faith, tell the truth, and shame the devil.

Friday, November 17, 2017

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



Cranky old David Thomas totally bailed emotionally when the band did this last Thursday in D.C.,
but fortunately we have the artifact.

It may be that I am insufficiently woke, but the story of Al Franken kissing a woman who wasn't into it seems more sad than monstrous to me; as for Franken pretending to grope her, we'll just have to agree to disagree whether that's a criminal matter. I do notice that numerous liberals have rushed to demand Franken's resignation and some Democratic Senate colleagues (and Franken himself) have demanded he be formally investigated. Rightwingers, meanwhile, either accused liberals of covering up for him or laughed at them for being stupid enough to fall for their feigned outrage ("Can you imagine how the left must be twisting up as they are turning on one of their own? Al Franken has been thrown under the bus"). The worst response so far, however, comes from Jonathan V. Last of the Weekly Standard, whose headline, "Al Franken: Even Worse Than You Think," should be actionable under Truth in Advertising laws. Last opens by quoting Franken about his time at Saturday Night Live:
There was not as much cocaine as you would think on the premises. Yeah, a number of people got in trouble. But cocaine was used mainly just to stay up. There was a very undisicplined way of writing the show, which was staying up all night on Tuesday. We didn't have the kind of hours that normal people have. And so there was a lot of waiting until Tuesday night, and then going all night, and at two or three or four in the morning, doing some coke to stay up, as opposed to doing a whole bunch, and doing nitrous oxide, and laughing at stuff. People used to ask me about this and I'd always say, "No, there was no coke. It's impossible to do the kind of show we were doing and do drugs." And that was just a funny lie that I liked to tell. Kind of the opposite was true, unfortunately, for some people, it was impossible to do the show without the drugs.
Here is how Last responds to this mild it-was-the-70s anecdote:
So Franken liked to tell funny lies about not using drugs when he wasn’t writing a book castigating Republicans which was titled -- this is so great -- Lies: And the Lying Liars Who Tell Them. Maybe now when he says that he “doesn’t remember” his encounter with Tweenden the way she describes it, this is a funny lie, too.
He also suggests that Franken was guilty of "distributing" drugs because John Belushi did some of his blow. The "funny lies" bit is perfect enraged-dorkspeak -- sputter, you took drugs and yet didn't turn yourself in, now John Belushi is dead and it's all your fault, so what else are you lying about Mr. Funny Liar??? Speaking of your high school guidance counselor, Last is also mad that Franken slurred Spiro Agnew:
I mean, sure, Agnew fought in the Battle of the Bulge and was awarded a Bronze Star. And yeah, I guess it’s true that as governor of Maryland, Agnew repealed the state’s laws against interracial marriage. But you know, he was a double-plus bad Republican and Franken was a coked-up, 20-something comedian in New York. So he really showed that guy.
You are more likely to know Agnew as a guy who pleaded out of a kickbacks charge and had to resign the Vice-Presidency, but that's probably because you're a damn cokehead.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

THE DEATH OF THE PET ROCK.

Y'know, most of the time I occupy myself here by making fun of Jonah Goldberg and other mentally defective sinecure jockeys, and part of the reason for that is I don't want to just come to you good people with my opinions. I understand pure opinion, untainted by close reading or analysis or even evidence that the opinionator has walked a time or two around the block, is the real high-stakes game in today's media, and that's why Chris Cillizza is making, what, eleven million dollars to put out shit like "It took Hillary Clinton five days to issue this statement about Harvey Weinstein" (She has, so now we can go back to waiting for Greg Gutfeld to denounce Roger Ailes, I guess) and "Donald Trump is acting like a fifth-grade bully" -- boy, that'll twirl some tassels in the head office, huh fellas! Get a load:
Lyin' Ted. Lil' Marco. Low Energy Jeb. Crooked Hillary. Little Rocket Man. Pocahontas. 
It worked like a charm in the campaign. Trump's voters loved his lack of political correctness. They loved that he called politicians out. They loved that he refused to apologize for anything. 
The laughs Trump got from his name-calling masked a far darker -- and more toxic -- iteration of Trump's bullying.
"Far darker"! [yells into kitchen] Honey, did you know about this? GTFOOH. Trump has been like Pere Ubu meets Idi Amin for two years and suddenly Cillizza is playing Edward R. Murrow.

So I don't want to be that guy, in general and on principle, but you know what, it's been a long day and the last column was pretty good, so what the hell, I figure I can take five, stretch out and bloviate like the big boys a while. So here's what I think about this latest ooh-Trump-did-bad-this-time shit.

The hundred-dollar haircuts have been telling us for months that all the anger at Trump is coming from overeducated sissies like themselves and is therefore invalid -- that you millions-and-in-fact-majority of voters who hate Trump should just get with the Wisdom of the People and accept that squirrel-gun gomers rule America, lauded by their herald Salena Zito (let's see if she's still at it -- "who in D.C. or New York goes to a 'Gun Bash?' Plenty of people do in the West Newtons of the country..." ugh, guess she is). It may have seemed a lot to ask us, to read this defeatism week after week in their magazines and watch it on their newscasts, but the production values were excellent and besides, $100 Haircuts don't care -- they can afford to be self-abnegating, because their post-broadcast cocaine, hookers, and microneedling always lifts their self-esteem considerably. And anyway there were the funny news shows to indulge our alienation and outrage, so the serious newsies could stay all Questions Remain and This is When Trump Became President.

But all of a sudden now everyone is noticing Trump's approval isn't so hot anywhere -- not even in squirrel gun territory. Previous polls had a pall -- maybe those bad numbers were just all those educated, non-crazy majority voters, and we all know they don't count! Now even Bumfuck was standing down. Suddenly the White Working Class Whisperers aren't get the phone calls; J.D. Vance can't get his circus of star-spangled opioid addicts booked till Christmas.

Are the yokels coming around? I have a hunch on which I would so far lay only small money but, like I said, it's my day off so here goes: I don't think anybody has changed their minds. I think what they changed was the channel.

There have been plenty of people who would roar "hell yeah" every time Trump peed in the pool and a pollster asked about it. But it wasn't because they loved him. What America experienced last November was not so much a groundswell as a shrug: why not, at least it'll be fun. And it might even work.

I still believe a lot (not all!) of them are racist, sexist shitheels -- I believe this because I've seen them. But even shitheels have lives to live, just like the rest of us. And like the commercial fads that used to briefly animate the heartland in the dull years between conflagrations -- disco and boot-scootin' and C.B. radio -- Trump had his moment. I wouldn't say he jumped the shark, if only because "jumped the shark" has jumped the shark. But the numbers are running the wrong way. I mean, heartland Americans are acting sympathetic toward Puerto Ricans even though Trump specifically told them not to -- he even said "Puerto Rico" like it was black dialect at a Young Republican picnic to remind them that he was white and they weren't. Yet they sided with Chico against The Man. What's that tell you?

The thrill is gone. Women's marches and Trevor Noah didn't have much to do with it, and neither did common sense. The guy just wore out his welcome.

That doesn't mean he won't rise again in the polls. He'll kill some people, or applaud their killing, and that'll animate the base; he'll probably start a war, too, and some will always follow the bloody flag. But the cycles will be more normal, more responsive to the usual social and economic fluctuations than the testosterone surges of '16. Trump will golf and blab and tweet and roar just as Hammer had to haul out the parachute pants year after post-glory year. He'll still do a lot of damage, sure, but don't they all?

In short, the battle will be what it always has been, in reality -- against the rapacious, gun-crazed, life-hating, prion-diseased Republicans who need to be marched into the sea if we are to live. Probably a good thing we got the focus back on that.

Monday, October 02, 2017

HORRIBLE CONSPIRACIES.

As you would expect, wingnuts deprived of a dark-skinned boogeyman to blame the Vegas shooting on have already assumed their Defend The Guns posture, with The Federalist's Sean Davis assuring his readers that libtrads r dum because they're worried about automatic weapons, which are highly regulated (and expect Davis to strongly protest this fascist abridgment of the Sacred Second, once things have cooled down!), so you don't have to worry about those except when you do. It is easier to get semi-automatic weapons, but don't worry, those "will fire only one round per trigger pull while preparing the gun to fire another round when the trigger is pulled again," and how many people can you kill with that from a high window overlooking an outdoor concert before the cops get to you? You have to change the magazine every 30 rounds, and then you have to reload, or grab one of the other guns you have at arm's reach. Why, it may as well be a pea-shooter. Davis closes:
The sooner we can all agree to debate the facts, rather than be ruled by our emotions, the sooner we can work together for a solution to the problem of gun violence.
Given how much his guns have gone through, I'm glad Davis hasn't lost his sense of humor.

The weirdest thing, though, is David French at National Review:
Before I begin, let me clearly state two things. First, as I note in the title of this post, my observations are based on early reports, and early reports are often wrong. Second, do not read this post as implying any sort of conspiracy theory of any kind. I’m merely noting the facts as we currently understand them — and how they differ from recent mass shootings.
Sounds like the beginning of every Ancient Aliens show, doesn't it? French isn't saying it was aliens but...
So, a person who’s “not a gun guy” has either expended untold thousands of dollars to legally purchase fully-automatic weapons, somehow found them on the black market, or purchased and substantially modified multiple semi-automatic weapons — and did so with enough competence to create a sustained rate of fire. This same person also spent substantial sums purchasing just the right hotel room to maximize casualties. I cannot think of a single other mass shooter who went to this level of expense and planning in the entire history of the United States.
Soros, right? Must have been Soros. Or maybe it's just good old-fashioned American ingenuity! Come on, buddy, we put a man on the moon! Also, the shooter "doesn’t seem to fit any normal profile of a mass shooter" -- at least not the gibbering Muslim profile in French's head. French is a little behind Alex Jones in this regard, but give him time.

UPDATE. French has updated to note that ISIS has "tripled down" on its claim of responsibility for this old white man's attack -- that is, they jumped up and down three times as long as usual and even claimed the guy had a Jihad name, like Ish Kabibble or some shit. It's a clear sign of frustration that no one believes them, yet French is actually doing the old Questions Remain shtick ("a claim I initially discounted"), even reproducing a screengrab of an alleged ISIS communique (issued by "Abu Umayer," which I understand is Farsi for Heywood Jablome) because if this bullshit can misdirect even a few readers who were beginning to wonder why this country is so fucking gun crazy, it'll be worth it. "We’re only scratching the surface of a sad and horrible story," French closes before whipping out the Hypno Hate Wheel and crooning "you are getting sleeeepy, Moooooslims are coming to kiiiiiiill you."

Elsewhere French tells human interest stories to make you feel warm and fuzzy about the oceans of blood -- the title of his post, honest to God, is "‘Greater Love Hath No Man’ — Amidst the Horror of Las Vegas, There Are Stories of Courage and Sacrifice." From the Other Side, Cecil B. DeMille is scowling, "too much." Maybe in addition to clouding the issue it'll earn French some royalties on a few made-for-Christian-Cable movies. At least enough time had passed by then that French had more material to work with than poor Rich Lowry, who last night could only regale his readers with a story about a guy who chugged a beer and gave the shooter the finger. Shortly thereafter the Central Committee decided even the dummies who read National Review wouldn't go for the yee-haw angle, and started laying on the tinny piano music.