Monday, January 01, 2018

FORGET THE OLD PAIN, SING A NEW REFRAIN.



Last year was a fiasco, a real disaster, so full of sorrow,
This year will be a great year, I just can't wait, dear, until tomorrow

Listen, guys, it was a bad year, but we summoned our energy and sometimes our rage, and mostly kept our sense of humor, and -- I guess maybe I should speak for myself here -- it was that sense of humor that carried me though. The past year compares badly to recent years, but compares tolerably well to the past century; and throughout the tough years of that century guys like Nikolai Gogol, Jaroslav Hašek, Joseph Heller, Evelyn Waugh, Michael O'Donoghue, Kurt Vonnegut, Matt Groening, and others have on black days parted the clouds so the rest of us could see a way clear.

Let sad dogs nurse and worry gloom; I was born to be happy, and if there's nothing to be cheerful about I will rely on my gift of laughter and my sense that the world is mad. If you need, I will share it with you; follow along then into 2018 and devil take the hindmost.

UPDATE. Oh yeah, like last holiday weekend the Voice column will be delayed till Tuesday. If you need some funsies before then, check out the annual Jon Swift Roundup hosted by the brilliant Batocchio of Vagabond Scholar, in which some fine web writers select their own best work from the now-finished year. Not a dud in the bunch!  

Thursday, December 28, 2017

REVERSE DEATH WISH STILL LIBERALS' FAULT!

Remember when Bill de Blasio, promising to stop stop-and-frisk, was elected Mayor of New York in 2013, and all the wingnuts were insisting the City would suffer a 70s crime wave as a result? (Which I hoped they were right about, because then maybe I could afford to move back.)

At City Journal Bob McManus raved about Bernie Goetz and Sonny Carson and murmured with a flashlight under his chins, "History may not repeat itself, but sometimes it whispers warnings. The wise will pay heed." "Mayor Bill de Blasio’s radical dreams are leading straight to chaos," moaned his colleague Myron Magnet.

When the cops were mad at de Blasio in 2014, fedora clown Jazz Shaw called for de Blasio to resign, claiming he had "open[ed] the door to anarchy." "Everyone loves a little nostalgia," said Susan L.M. Goldberg. "It's just too bad for New York that de Blasio favors the era of Midnight Cowboy, Taxi Driver and Dog Day Afternoon. Still thinking of watching the ball drop this New Year's Eve? Join the rest of us celebrating from the safety of our own homes."

And there were endless "Welcome to de Blasio's New York" fart-bubbles from assholes like John Podhoretz, and ooga-boogity one-liners like "DE BLASIO’S NEW YORK LOOKING MORE AND MORE LIKE TAXI DRIVER" from gomers and hayseeds.

Well, here it is almost 2018, de Blasio has been re-elected, and crime in the Apple is the lowest it's been since the 1950s. (The numbers were going down throughout de Blasio's tenure -- which you could tell because reporters started talking about how stop-and-frisk actually stopped before he became mayor, something you would never have heard had crime gone up.)

With their doomsday scenario in ruins, what's the play for lawn-order conservatives now? Fox News yesterday:
Does Trump deserve credit for drop in violent crime?
Ha ha, of course. But for the "intellectual" take, let us attend the first City Journal hack out of the bunker, Heather Mac Donald:
Cop critics who assiduously ignored the 20 percent increase in the national homicide rate over the previous two years have suddenly become enthusiastic purveyors of crime statistics.
Back when you libtards were made out of straw and called I.M. A. Stupid Libtard, you didn't like statistics! Well, Mac Donald has some stats for you -- New York's safer because it has fewer black people!
New York City’s formerly high-crime neighborhoods have experienced a stunning degree of gentrification over the last 15 years, thanks to the proactive-policing-induced conquest of crime. It is that gentrification which is now helping fuel the ongoing crime drop. Urban hipsters are flocking to areas that once were the purview of drug dealers and pimps...
And by "drug dealers and pimps," Mac Donald means African-Americans (and she's shockingly up front about it):
The degree of demographic change is startling. In Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, for example, the number of white residents rose 1,235 percent from 2000 to 2015, while the black population decreased by 17 percent, reports City Lab. In Bushwick, Brooklyn, the number of whites rose 610 percent over that same decade and a half; the black population was down 22 percent. Central Harlem’s white population rose 846 percent; the black share dropped 10 percent. In 2000, whites were about three-quarters of the black population in Brownsville-Ocean Hill; by 2015, there were twice as many whites as blacks...

A black New Yorker is 50 times more likely to commit a shooting than a white New Yorker...
Yeah yeah, Racist Aunt, except in 1980, at the height of Death Wish Woo-hoo, black people made up 25% of the City’s population and today, it’s… also 25%. So, WTF? I guess maybe she means the shooty-stabby blacks all moved to neighborhoods where they don't have fancy restaurants. Anyway forget that, because Mac Donald rejoices that fewer cops are getting shot, which she imagines must make "libertarians and the anti-cop Left" mad, and for which of course she can't possibly credit the Mayor:
It is too soon to know definitively if the animus toward officers has fallen and if any such fall is behind the welcome drop in officer slayings. But without question, there has been a sea change in rhetoric and policy from the White House. Trump and Sessions do not take every opportunity to accuse the cops of systemic and lethal bias — yet when the facts warrant, the Sessions Justice Department has vigorously prosecuted and denounced cops who violate their oath of office. Sessions and Trump have repeatedly voiced their support for law enforcement, without coupling that support with a denunciation of phantom police racism.
So the intellectual wingnut perspective is essential Fox News': All good things flow from Il Douche! Well, why wouldn't they: Their base of Godly Country Folk and Righteous Suburbanites despises New York anyway, and are only interested in it as a symbol of the foul consequences of Other-loving. When stories like the New York crime drop make it apparent that in the Big Wicked Cities people of different races and creeds can actually live close together in relative harmony and comfort, they may become confused, and led to wonder whether there's something wrong with their own way of life, in which they can't be comfortable unless insulated from their fellow citizens by miles of waste space, opioids, and guns. That's where the MAGA fantasies come in most handy, assuring them that any way of life they weren't born into has to be wrong, despite the evidence. 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...how the rightwing swoon over the tax bill reveals how completely those credentialed conservatives who once declared themselves "NeverTrump" have gone right past WhateverTrump into 4EverTrump. This has been obvious to me for a long time, and in the run-up to the tax bill I was frankly disheartened to see mainstream media outlets like the AP running heds like "For Trump and Ryan, a tortured relationship grows more so." Unless by "tortured" they mean Ryan and Trump like to get together and watch dark-skinned detainees doing stress positions at black sites,  this is ridiculous: As the old saying (one of many I have bequeathed to Barlett's) goes, he signs their bills and they let him grift. The loyalty this has engendered between their houses makes their relationship indistinguishable from any other political alliance, except this one is probably stronger than most, as it earns both parties an enormous amount of cash.

The rest of the commentariat are slow to catch up. The Guardian's Adam Gabbatt has a column called "The conservative resistance: the rightwingers who stood up to Trump," in which he scrapes up a few Republican resisters that Sam Tanenhaus missed, such as Jeff Flake -- but he fails to mention that while Flake's pretty good at talking the talk, he's not so great at walking the walk. And I'm willing to bet Gabbatt started his Susan Collins section before the final tax bill vote, necessitating the hilarious late addition, "like many on this list, Collins’ opposition to Trump has not been consistent."

Sunday, December 24, 2017

AND WE'RE GONNA GET BORN NOW.



Let not the MAGA choads and their attempts to turn "Merry Christmas" into a war cry for assholes dismay you. Christmas is not a sack dance of wealth and power, and could never be. It is rather a call to all mankind to celebrate the birth of a child of poor and weary travelers who yet became Lord of lords. You can take that literally, or as a bit of poetry to remind you that though the fat thugs and their manicured grifters always expect the last word (and may seem to have gotten it, in those short stretches our attention-deficient media morons mistake for eternity), in time they are humbled, and the humble exalted -- or, as Alex Chilton sang in my favorite hymn, the wrong shall fail and the right prevail.

In the shortest term, in this very moment, you, my friends, who have a care for the world beyond yourselves and feel the lash of injustice even when it falls on others -- wheresoever you touch the world or embrace your fellow man, you hold the true gifts of life.

(Column will be up on Tuesday. Tidings of comfort and joy.)

Thursday, December 21, 2017

SIX IMPOSSIBLE THINGS BEFORE BREAKFAST.

You think being a conservative propagandist is easy? Well, maybe if you're brain-damaged, but otherwise think of how tough it must be to suppress your mental gag reflex at some of the things you're expected to pretend to believe. From Dave Blount at Right Wing News:
Last Jedi Chokes on Its Own Political Correctness 
Critics love the latest Star Wars movie. Audiences, not so much. This is in part because The Last Jedi is saturated with in-your-face political correctness. Therefore, it is not the movie’s fault if fans don’t like it; it is the fault of the fans, many of whom are probably the worst of the worst — that is, white males, just like the villains in the movie.
Wait a minute... "audiences, not so much"? People don't like The Last Jedi? Let's look at Box Office Mojo:
Total Lifetime Grosses
Domestic: $278,710,009 48.6%
+ Foreign: $295,000,000 51.4%
= Worldwide: $573,710,009
It opened less than a week ago and it has already made half a billion dollars. should be so unpopular!

Blount supports his theory that The Last Jedi is unpopular despite its humongous grosses with a link to a story that says "On Rotten Tomatoes, The Last Jedi currently has an audience score of 60 percent, which is a stark contrast from its 93 percent Tomatometer score."

What do you think is a better sign of a movie's popularity -- how many millions of people pay money to see it, or the percentage of people who bitch about it on a film nerd site?

But then, what do you expect -- these are the kind of people who look at the 2017 elections, when Democrats ran the table, and a Democrat beating a Republican in a freaking Alabama Senate special election, and think, "Yeah, 2016 second-place finisher Donald Trump is more popular than ever." I guess they think about box office the same way they think about elections -- that they can always cheat.

UPDATE. I should have known, but had to be tipped off by commenters:
A Facebook page called Down With Disney’s Treatment of Franchises and its Fanboys is claiming responsibility for tanking the Rotten Tomatoes audience score for the latest “Star Wars” film, alleging that it used bots in a concerted attack against the Rian Johnson-directed movie...

The page moderator HuffPost spoke to, who did not provide his name, said he launched this supposed bot campaign to protest the way “The Last Jedi” diverges from the franchise’s so-called Expanded Universe...

“Regarding female heroes: Did you not see everything that came out of Ghostbusters? That is why,” he said. “I’m sick and tired of men being portrayed as idiots. There was a time we ruled society and I want to see that again. That is why I voted for Donald Trump.”
What a fucking dork. Well, like the Trump campaign -- and smaller related phenomena, like that Hollywood wingnut whose tiny anti-liberal poster campaigns are mysteriously always given star treatment by The Hollywood Reporter -- this really does fit the conservative pattern: fraudulently portray yourself and your positions as popular, then denounce actual evidence that you're not as the real fraud.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

CAPITALISM CAN'T WIN IN THE FREE MARKET.

"Blue State Scrooges," eh? OK, how do you figure, James W. Lucas of American Thinker? He admits blue states subsidize red states by generating income, and federal tax revenue on that income, that goes to subsidize the low-income folks in Hog Waller, Arkansas. But because those blue states enjoy state and local tax deductions on their federal tax -- or did until they lost it to the GOP tax bill today -- that means "low tax states [were] underwriting profligate high tax Democrat state spending," and rootless cosmopolitans are "Scrooges" for not wanting to give up that deduction which was hurting Hog Waller's economy (unlike the incoming private plane and second-home mortgage deductions).

No, it doesn't make sense -- the blue states were already carrying the freight for the red, so Louisiana was in no way paying for Minnesota's decision to pay more in taxes to pave their roads and operate public schools -- but it sets Lucas' topsy-turvy victim-blaming tone. He then asserts that red states are entitled to some of that blue-state money because businesses in LA and New York get their money from red state customers:
...corporate taxes are ascribed to the state where a company has its headquarters. Thus, Disney’s corporate taxes are all attributed to California, and Citigroup’s to New York. However, the revenue upon which their profits and taxes are based normally comes from across the entire nation. Disney does not sell tickets to Star Wars only in California, and Citigroup branches and operations are not limited to New York. For them and all other companies with nation-wide sales, revenues, and the profits and taxes which are based on them, come from throughout the country. The profits and taxes may be ascribed to states like New York where the companies have their headquarters, but the money comes from West Virginia and Mississippi as well... 
What this analysis can show us is that if blue states are subsidizing red states with federal expenditures, red states are supporting those blue states with the revenues which are the source of those higher federal tax payments. Indeed, if I were a radical leftist rather than a firm supporter of free enterprise, I might point out that it appears that blue states are holding red states in a quasi-colonial relationship.
Ho ho, okay Hoss, then let's look at it from a "free enterprise" perspective: Red state people buy Disney movies instead of Festus' iPhone Camera Skateboard Stunts, and use Citigroup's financial services instead of borrowing money from Clem down at the general store, not because they have no choice, but because they do have a choice and judge the big-city product to be preferable to the homegrown. That's not colonialism, comrade -- that's capitalism!

And as much trouble as I have with corporations of all types, at least Disney offers a consistent stream of product to customers and strives to keep them happy -- not like the jes'-plain-folks, salt-of-the-earth, red state companies like Piggly Wiggly and Walmart which have a tendency to crush smaller local businesses and then, when the profits have all been wrung out, abandon them to economic misery. Which, judging by this tax bill, is the Republican Party's model for all 50 states, and is being instituted by them not in the interest of what these guys jokingly call free enterprise, but toward the political goal of making Oregon as miserable as Mississippi so their citizens will be equally inclined give up on life and take what pleasure they can from racism and war, which are among the few things a GOP government can reliably offer them.

Guys like Lucas act perplexed that millennials are leaning toward socialism, but never admit even to themselves that it's because they've made capitalism a shit product. And if articles like this are the marketing campaign, I don't see the numbers getting better.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

'SWOUNDS, WHAT A DORKNERD.

The thing that makes nerds insufferable -- that promotes them to dorks, in fact -- is their complete lack of perspective, their inability to remember that it's only a comic book, a video game, or whatever. Take G. Shane Morris at The Federalist and his angry cri de cœur, "‘The Last Jedi’ Blasts The Heart Out Of Star Wars By Declaring War On The Past." If you thought your old lab partner was a pain in the ass raging about the lack of Lucasworld verisimilitude in some Star War thing -- maybe the grain of the robe on a Jawa doll or some shit -- get a load:
The appeal of Star Wars has always been its extraordinary heroes. When we first meet Ben Kenobi in “A New Hope,” we lean in and our arms prickle as he gazes into the past and murmurs, “Obi-Wan Kenobi. Now that’s a name I’ve not heard in a long time.”
Right up there with "This town needs an enema" and "To infinity and beyond." Yuh can't beat the classics!
...Contrast this with a pivotal scene in “The Last Jedi,” in which Luke and ghost Yoda burn down a gnarled tree that housed that last books of the Jedi library. “Page-turners they were not,” quips Yoda, who then chuckles as he watches the flames. Nobody, evidently, needs any of the wisdom in those books, or of the ancient religion they represent. 
This kind of lighthearted immolation of the past permeates “The Last Jedi,” which may be best summed up as a cinematic act of demolition. The movie doesn’t just kill an absurd number of characters. It represents a rejection of “Star Wars’” core concept: that in a galaxy full of mind-and-planet-blowing machinery, there is a power older and greater than any technological terror—a power wielded and taught by certain extraordinary individuals whose moral choices can change the fate of the universe.
You don't understand, he rages through hot tears. It's not just a Hollywood franchise, it's a celebration of the high school English teacher who told me I was special!

This being The Federalist, we eventually have to go here:
“The Last Jedi” transforms Star Wars from a space-superhero story into one consumed with what C. S. Lewis calls the “I’m-as-good-as-you” spirit. It’s a spirit all too common in our time, when “equality” is the sole remaining virtue, and young people rally to topple statues of historical figures about whom they know next to nothing.
You stupid hippies don't respect anything -- not my favorite proto-Douthat, and certainly not Stonewall Jackson and Nathan Bedford Forrest! 'cause Star Wars is really about The Lost Cause, and The Force is honah, suh!

It's a pity we don't have adult lockers to stuff them into.

Monday, December 18, 2017

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about conservatives convinced a "coup" against Trump is happening, and how that has less to do with any evidence thereof than with the black swan event of Republicans losing a Senate election in freaking Alabama (thanks to their increasingly obvious prion disease) and the panic it has sparked among the brethren.

One good thing about the whole get-Mueller movement is that maybe the dimmer bulbs will finally abandon the comforting fantasy of anti-Trump conservatism. At National Review -- onetime NeverTrump HQ, you'll recall! -- we currently have Jim Geraghty laying the groundwork, in his usual smarmy way,  for Mueller's ouster; that a new investigator (probably a former Trump hotel pool boy) "would be able to continue Mueller’s work without the perception of partisan bias," he claims, is an argument Trump can win "in the court of public opinion" (in which court he currently enjoys record-low approval ratings). Also at NRO, Charles C.W. Cooke devotes a column to blasting Jennifer Rubin for being seriously anti-Trump instead just throwing out the occasional "oh my word, how uncouth" while rubbing one's hands and dreaming of the day Trump can replace Ruth Ginsburg with Godwrath Darkykiller on the Supreme Court. Their above-it-all act is just another con.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

BULL.

The Federalist is a uniquely awful piece of shit, not only for its wingnut politics, which you can get at a dozen other internet popsicle stands (and not only for the wretchedness of its writing, which ditto), but also for its culture-war crackpottery. Last week I mentioned their weird attempt to make a porn star's suicide into an anti-gay statement, and now there's this thing about a fucking cartoon:
Similarly, in the latest Ferdinand film, audiences will be told, “Be strong, be brave, be true… to yourself.” In the case of a bull who’d choose peace under his cork tree over fame with the matadors, we might argue that he chose the better. But our world is not the fictitious world of Ferdinand. For the human heart and mind, being true to oneself can quickly lead us to dangerous relativistic thinking.
Actually the relativism goes back to Dumbo, which betrayed our old certainties about how elephants should submit meekly to their bullhooks and do ordinary circus tricks -- and now look; Ringling Brothers is kaput -- talk about a Gramscian Long March of pink elephants through the Institutions! But let us not intrude on Federalist writer Jessica Burke's thesis:
Ferdinand, The Transgender Bull?
OK, let's intrude. Apparently someone has mentioned that the flower-loving Ferdinand "did not want to perform his or her gender as expected," making this cartoon in Burke's view "an emblem of gender nonconformity" and an assault on godly butchitude. Not only that, it encourages the sin of individualism:
But being true to yourself isn’t isolated to just rejecting classic sexual ethics or sex roles. We can be true to ourselves in any number of gluttonous, lustful, and selfish ways. My millennial friends are known to say, “You do you,” believing that each person has the right to pursue whatever makes him or her happy. They don’t want to deem any actions or beliefs as wrong or untrue because they believe that each person defines truth and morality. This thinking has led to a culture that often ignores sin and even calls it courageous.

In “Mere Christianity,” C.S. Lewis...
Ugh, okay, I draw the line at citations of the proto-Douthats. So to sum up, Fendinand, like Dumbo and his mom, should have submitted to the will of heaven and led the children to Christ, but he made them into flower-sniffing do-your-own-thing hippies instead, so you will see him, heathen, bucking and snorting in Hell as you both roast for all eternity.

If nothing else this is a reminder that fundamentalists were nuts well before they embraced Trump.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

WHAT PLANET ARE YOU FROM?

Now that the danger has passed, it will be something to recall and reflect how mere days ago conservatives were pee-dancing around Roy Moore, trying to look classy and moral while simultaneously endorsing a pedo. Rod Dreher had one of the worst takes: In "An Anti-Communist For Roy Moore," he told yet another of his patented "reader who doesn’t want to be identified" stories, this one about an Iron Curtain refugee who compared Moore to the persecuted souls back in the USSR, and explained why, given the chance, he would vote for him:
I would have no other choice. The reason being that if we accepted that a mere accusation — however credible — is the new basis of our political and legal systems, than we have already lost both. This principle was at the very core of the mechanism of communist terror. Did you neighbor have a better car? Well, you accused him of being a secret adherent of capitalism. That was enough. He would be done for, and with some luck, his car would be yours. We are not that far from it here …
I don't recall Dreher, or any of his alleged refugee readers, blubbering over Al Franken or giving him the benefit of the doubt -- in fact, quite the opposite ("Bring it on. This is necessary, and important"). But he was all sympathy for Moore, comparing him to Soviet show-trial victims, despite his more credible accusers.

One can guess why.

Of course when Moore lost Dreher gave a long gassy speech full of Moral Dignity, but barely a day went by before he returned to his lying-bitches theme, joining Claire Berlinsky in denouncing what they both characterize as a "Warlock Hunt." The least ridiculous thing about Berlinski's article is her acknowledgement that some of the powerful men brought down in recent scandals were accused of relatively minor offenses -- but she seems to think that, with the possible exception of Harvey Weinstein, none of them did much of anything wrong; in fact she is especially sympathetic toward the men who admitted they'd fucked up -- she assumes they only repented because feminism, like Soviet Communism, is so oppressive that it brainwashes true victims like Matt Lauer into thinking they're guilty ("The most profound mystery of the Moscow Trials was the eagerness of the victims to confess"). I bet feminists who hear this are wondering, like the Jews accused of running the world, when they will reap the benefits of this allegedly immense power.

Dreher of course makes everything hilariously worse:
It brings to mind the time I was accused of racism in the workplace on completely spurious grounds. This accusation would have been laughed out of any remotely fair-minded tribunal. But my accuser was a racial minority...
In this land where women and minorities are forever oppressing white men, Trump is king. But, to paraphrase Adlai Stevenson, he needs a majority.

Monday, December 11, 2017

JUST A REMINDER...

...there's no Voice column from me this week as I am on vacation -- or rather, in the after-vacation hellmouth caused by the snow in London, which has bollocksed my return trip. Kudos to the Edinburgh innkeeper who snuck into the closed bar and got me a Boddington's last night, and cheers to the British Airways staff on the ground who have been very patient; as to the BA organization itself, well, we'll see.

Anyway, while I'm up and the juice holds out, here's what you have to beat to make headline of the week, from Crazy Joe Walsh at The Daily Wire:
Police Murdered This Unarmed Man, But The Media Doesn't Care Because He's White
"[T]he media isn't interested in exposing police misconduct generally," claims Walsh. "They're interested in exposing racially motivated police misconduct, even if they have to fabricate it out of thin air." Out of thin air!  That's why you hear those stories about cops recklessly killing people of color -- and I guess why you see those videos too, which must also be fabricated out of thin air (and which must also be why the guy who videoed Eric Garner's murder was jailed).

It's always white men who have achieved fame and wealth despite having no talent or class whatsoever who are most convinced that black people get all the breaks.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

DR. MACPHAIL GASPED. HE UNDERSTOOD.

Well, it's been a great vacation (not over yet; no column on Monday), but it's winding down so I better take a look-in on the brethren -- huh, seems Mark Hemingway is at The Federalist talking about a pornstar lady who got some angry emails because she wouldn't work with a gay pornstar guy, then killed herself. (scratches chin) Something tells me this won't be the usual fist-shake against Our Promiscuous Society, but will instead seek to pit gay rights against women's rights. OK, let's read:
Well, I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that a mob that would tell [August] Ames to kill herself if she won’t have sex with someone who has sex with other men would also happily pass a law requiring porn stars to be subject to penalties for discriminating in who they sleep with. Certainly, trans activists are already pushing the idea that you’re transphobic if you won’t sleep with transsexuals. You really have to marvel at how fast we’ve progressed from “Bake the cake, bigot” to “Take off your dress, bigot.”
(Polishes nails on lapel) Ya still got it, Edroso!

Hemingway's story and yet another one about August Ames are The Federalist's #1 and #2 most popular stories at the moment. I guess one part of that crowd is Ames fans who welcome the opportunity to mash up their appreciation of her oeuvre with their homophobia ("Thanks a lot, fags, now the world will never see Bang Bros Invasion 18!") and the other part is fundamentalists who would love to do a Reverend Davidson on a porn star themselves, preferably but not necessarily before she dies. I wonder how much traction they'll be able to get from this idea that LGBT activists seek to force porn stars to have sex against their will. Say, maybe that'll be a hot damsel-in-distress scenario for Bang Bros Invasion: In Memoriam!

Wish I could say it's good to be back.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

LITERAL SPOILER.

It's been nice to take a break from the Homeland and not have the nonsense I usually look at in front of my eyes. But I made the mistake of opening Twitter and I saw someone talk about Megan McArdle and The Crucible. One click led to another and uggggh:


Later:

It's like watching Oliver trying to talk to Mr. Haney on Green Acres except not funny. To quote another work of art I doubt McArdle would like, I'd give everything I own to be able to take out my brain and hold it under the faucet and wash away the dirty pictures you put there tonight.

UPDATE. I really made a mistake and went to National Review and see how they were taking the Conyers resignation. Sure enough, Ben Shapiro is there complaining that the ooga-boogas will replace him with another ni-clang I mean Democrat, and like any Democratic safe seat this means democracy is through: "It’s obvious that we’ve stopped thinking of ourselves as citizens and begun to think of ourselves as subjects," rant rave. Also, Shapiro says, "Who cares if Al Franken grabs women’s breasts as they sleep?" Aside from the observable fact that Franken was not touching Leeann Tweeden's breasts in that famous photo -- and Shapiro rushing that assertion in there says everything the intellectual vigor that got him elected "cool kid's philosopher" by the New York Times -- "who cares" is a weird way to describe the parade of Democrats calling for Franken to resign. It's like he's looking for new and exciting ways to be full of shit -- which I guess is why the Times got excited about him.

Ugh, enough. Back to my gelato and Bellini!

Monday, December 04, 2017

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about the Kate Steinle trial -- or rather, the trial by rightbloggers of San Francisco for allowing dirty dirty immigrants to live in it, leading to one discharging a weapon and killing Steinle, and then not having the decency to hit the shooter with the full murder rap rightwingers demanded, despite the evidence.

The idea that an illegal drug-addict-fuckup is more dangerous to America than a homegrown drug-addict-fuckup is mysterious unless you fathom their absolutely hard-wired hard-on for the Other.

P.S. Over this week posting may be light -- yeah, I know, I mean lighter than usual -- because I am on vacation, stuffing myself with art and guanciale. There may be pictures here.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

CUSTER THOUGHT HE WAS WINNING TOO.

I see we've had a nice fat crop of white people telling the codetalkers and their families that calling Elizabeth Warren "Pocahantas" at a ceremony meant to celebrate Native-American achievements isn't racist -- why, it's every bit as legit as if they called that "halfrican" Obama "Rastus" or "Shoeshine Boy." (It'd be his own fault for calling himself "black," the big Kenyan liar!)

Let's look at the version of this shtick offered by Mollie Hemingway -- one of the few writers at The Federalist who knows what she's doing (i.e., soulless propaganda):
Democrats and their media footsoldiers decided it’s racist to mock someone for falsely claiming to be Native American. For example, Jim Acosta of CNN wrote: “WH press sec says ‘Pocahontas’ is not a racial slur. (Fact check: it is.)” 
Uh, fact check: no.
Well, that's all the defense her readers will need. But just in case--
For one thing, as Gabriel Malor said...
Ha ha, that's good. I guess if you're going to defend Trump's slur by pretending it's not a slur, citing a gay gay who defends RFRAs makes thematic sense at least.

But hold the phone, Hemingway's got a hat trick: The column is called "Calling Pence A Liar While Protecting Warren Is Why People Hate Media," and the big gotcha is that stoopid libs defend Warren for repeating what her family told her about her Indian heritage, but the Washington Post calls it a lie when Mike Pence truthfully says, "There are more Americans working today than ever before in American history." As Hemingway tells it:
In fact, it is factually correct to say that more Americans are working now than ever before. The Washington Post admits this, showcases the numbers (124 million, up from 65 million in 1968), and says Pence is “technically correct.” So they give him, quite amazingly, three Pinocchios, their little metric that summarizes their analysis of the truthfulness of the statement. Then they admit they wanted to give him four Pinocchios but were constrained by the fact that what he said was true. I'm not joking.
But Pence complimenting his own administration for having more Americans working than ever before is pretty much giving Trump credit for America having more Americans than ever before. From the Post fact-checker, Nicole Lewis:
In 2016 the labor force participation rate for Americans ages 25 to 54 hovered around 81 percent, but it peaked in 1997 at 84 percent. The rate is often used by economists as an indicator of the health of the job market. The higher the number, the healthier the market... 
Of course there are more Americans working. That’s because there are more Americans today than ever before.
We were tempted to say that Pence earns Four Pinocchios, but the numbers are technically correct. Yet they are so devoid of meaning that Pence and the people who applauded his statement should be ashamed.
People who can read, write, and cipher understand that "technically correct" is the right term here, as it is correct in the sense that it would be correct to say when Bill Gates walks into a bar, the mean salary of the patrons exceeds a million -- accurate but meaningless.

Hemingway's traditional treacly mix of moral dudgeon and three-card-monte logic is always annoying, but what makes this even worse is, she's arguing that Warren's claim of Indian heritage -- which, like the claims of a lot of Americans to such heritage, is supported only anecdotally -- is so big a lie that it can be compared unfavorably to the behavior of Donald Trump,  the most notorious and extensively-documented liar in American history.

This is the sort of thing you can only get away with when your readership's minds are so poisoned by years of dumb how-me-big-chief gags about Warren that it's all they've ever cared to know about her; that one impression has become so significant to them, and they're so convinced it's damning, that they hardly notice she beat their heart-throb Scott Brown to win back a Senate seat for the Democrats and is significantly more popular than Trump.

Both Trump and Hemingway notice, though, which is why they bang that one tom-tom (forgive me) over and over. It's also why Hemingway throws in the "Why People Hate Media" bit -- like the Warren woo-woo, it's so detached from objective reality (have you seen Republicans' favorability numbers lately?) it's practically meta.

Sadly, Trump and Hemingway are also able to put this over on some mainstream media dummies, too ("Elizabeth Warren's Pocahontas Pickle" -- oh, fuck you). The good news is that maybe all the pissy media guys who like to beat up on female Democrats will be fired for sexual misconduct by the next election.

Monday, November 27, 2017

INSERT LATEST TRUMP OUTRAGE HERE.

(In this case, his racist belch over his Native American guests today.)

I often say that Trump’s obvious social and mental disabilities are not really the important thing, because he’s only carrying out the sabotage of others, and not thinking up any of this himself.

What is meaningful about them, though, is seen on occasions like this — when the extent of his disability is so obvious, we are reminded that his handlers (foreign and/or domestic) must have sought, and felt fortunate to get, someone who is so helplessly self-centered that as long as he were allowed to act out his childish fantasies of dominance, there would be no danger that he’d ever acquire an independent thought that might blow their scheme.

Think about that the next time that fuckwad Paul Ryan or any of the rest of them shakes their heads and makes vague demurrers over some asshole thing Trump did, then rushes back to work on some society-wrecking abomination they can get Trump to sign.

Which is to say, Trump is the true heir to Ronald Reagan. Like Reagan, he'll probably follow up his disastrous reign with a fat payday tour of Japan -- unlike Reagan, though, when he gets there he'll probably push up the corners of his eyes and go "me Chinee, me play joke, me make pee-pee in your Coke." 


NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about rightbloggers' Thanksgiving, and a very good one it was, too; when they weren't stroking themselves, they were stroked by the New York Times, the Washington Post, et alia. It's almost as if Trump were not an outlier in American expectations of governance, after all.

It didn't meet our theme so I left off my favorite gibberish from last week: National Review’s Kevin D. Williamson, who celebrated the death of a famous murderer by portraying him as a liberal icon in “Charles Manson’s Radical Chic.”

Yeah, guys, I know, but hear him out: “The history of the postwar period is the history of the struggle against Communism,” begins Williamson. “What’s sometimes forgotten — conveniently forgotten — is that our victory in that struggle was far from assured, and that a substantial swath of the Western intelligentsia and much of its celebrity culture was on the other side. It wasn’t just Jane Fonda and Noam Chomsky, Walter Duranty and Lincoln Steffens…”

Not getting the relevance yet? Well, perhaps this will convince you: “‘First they killed those pigs, then they ate dinner in the same room with them, then they even shoved a fork into a victim’s stomach. Wild!’ That was the assessment of…” Jane Fonda? William Proxmire? No, radical firebrand Bernardine Dohrn. And she knew Obama in Chicago. Manson to Dohrn to Obama — see, it all adds up, and also explains Obama’s Mansonian acid-is-groovy, kill-the-pigs policies as president.

Plus, argues Williamson, not only were the Sixties bad politically, “even the music was joyless, Jimi Hendrix letting his virtuosity go to rot while plonking out a honking flatted fifth, the ugliest chord in music (‘diabolus in musica,’ they call it) to open ‘Purple Haze’…” If you stupid normies knew music like Kevin D. Williamson, you’d throw away your “rock” and “rap” and, when you’re feeling festive, instead crank the speeches of Enoch Powell.

Anyway, enjoy the column; don't just leave it for extraterrestrial anthropologists to unearth and enjoy after we've destroyed the planet a couple of years from now.

UPDATE. Had to go back and correct the spelling of Bernardine Dohrn's name -- which is weird, right, since she's such an important figure among us liberals. It's like misspelling Alinsky!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

MORE ME ELSEWHERE.

Another piece by your humble narrator at America's finest literary magazine, The Sherman Oaks Review of Books.

VICTIMLESS CRIME.

We've reached a nadir -- well, a new nadir -- in the Al Franken case with this accusation that screamingly obvious joke photos made by Franken and Arianna Huffington for promo purposes are evidence of Huffington's sexual assault, even after Huffington said that they were not.

Note that the New York Post and Daily Caller stories both refer to Huffington as a "self-described feminist," a usage clearly meant to suggest that Huffington is a hypocrite for not accusing Franken -- in fact, that she is instead collaborating with Franken in her own assault! It'd be neat if they could pull that off: A Democrat sex crime where both the Senator and the woman are bad, and the real victim is the wingnut press.

Any accusation deserves to be taken seriously, but there's serious and then there's just gullible.

UPDATE. Let's Just Give Up On Humanity, A Series: Huffington ran a different photo from that shoot of herself strangling Franken, to make the point that (imagine me speaking very slowly and distinctly now) sometimes people do funny jokes for pictures, see; that's what the funny man was doing before, and that's what the cheapskate publisher is doing here. Here are some of the responses:

This shit makes Idiocracy look like My Dinner with Andre.

Monday, November 20, 2017

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about the Al Franken imbroglio, as well as the attempts of some liberals to reexamine the Clinton impeachment, and the ways in which conservatives have attempted to weaponize these events for their own ends. I hope you won't think me ungenerous in saying that these guys are not interested in advancing the Believe Women movement. They're just trying to take the post-Weinstein moment, in which abused women are getting a little more attention and credence than usual, and exploit it. You can see it especially clearly in the pissy oh-yeah-you-libs-are-supposed-to-be-feminists routines from conservatives like Laura K Potter at RedState:
We’d at least expect former presidential candidate, Mrs. Hillary Clinton to express some sort of support for Ms. Leeann Tweeden, as a fellow woman and believer of all those who come forward, right?...

Nope. Nothing. Third wave feminism is showing, once again, that women deserve to be heard and respected if they hold they correct (read: progressive) viewpoints.
If you'e thinking, wait a minute, Clinton did make a measured and reasonable statement about Franken -- well, yes, but not at the moment when Potter was looking at her Twitter feed, and when you write for RedState there's no point in updating. (Potter's only subsequent article at this writing is, awesomely, "International Men’s Day Spotlight On Male Suicides.")

The culture warriors got into it, too: You saw here last week how Jonathan V. Last at The Weekly Standard took a journey through the past and ranted about the drugs these damn hippies were using on Saturday Night Live and the soiled honor of Spiro T. Agnew. President Trump himself brought up a sketch Franken and other SNL writers worked on, in drafts of which multiple celebrities get raped by Andy Rooney, as if it proved anything except SNL writers took a lot of drugs -- and, for the millionth time, that conservatives don’t understand the difference between fiction and reality.

But Rod Dreher, as usual, outstripped them all in Fallen World paranoia with a froth of outrage over one of the last really funny things SNL did, the 40-year-old "Uncle Roy" sketch with Buck Henry. What's that got to do with Franken? Get a load:
I tried to find out if Al Franken wrote that skit, but my research indicates it was his frequent writing partner, the late Tom Davis. I was wrong — as two readers who watched the Henry interview till the end point out, it was two women: Rosie Shuster and Ann Beatts. Anyway, the reader sends in this more recent clip of Buck Henry defending the integrity of laughing at pedophilia...
And here's a clip of W.C. Fields laughing at blindness! And what about Mel Brooks laughing at Nazis? All these Hollyweirdos are corrupt!
Again: Al Franken did not write the Uncle Roy skit, though he was part of the team that aired it. I’m not saying that Al Franken is soft of pedophilia! I am saying, however, that the 1970s and those who were at the leading edge of pop culture’s evolution back then are probably going to have a lot to answer for as more and more people come out about being sexually harassed or assaulted. I’m wondering if this purgatory spasm we’re living through is going to consume way more famous Baby Boomer males than we can even imagine.
The whole thing's a pisser but what's most amazing, or what would be amazing if we weren't so used to Dreher shattering the limits of ridic, is that he kept going even after admitting his whole premise was wrong.

Finally, to Andrew Sullivan: Dude, let it go.

UPDATE.
One other thing that's struck me is the way the brethren deal with the lack of contact between Franken’s hands and Tweeden’s breasts in the famous photograph. Like Peter Hasson at the Daily Caller: “Franken’s defenders in the media have also given him credit for, they say, not fully groping Tweeden.”  I guess in sexual assault close counts, like in horseshoes. (I should add it's not only rightbloggers -- MSM types have fallen into it, too, like Nate Silver, who said the photo "appeared to show Franken groping Tweeden’s breasts while she was sleeping — not providing a lot of room for 'if true' statements about Franken’s conduct." If you're not watching that three-card-monte of a sentence closely, you'll come away thinking he's feeling her up.)

Also, thanks for Yastreblyansky and Sentient Al from the Future in comments for pointing out that the Menendez underage claims  to which Nolte alluded never panned out; I had something about that in the original but didn't feel the column would bear the time it would take to explain -- which is, come to think of it, how a lot of their shit gets over.