Monday, January 20, 2020


Conservative MLK Day tributes are always hilarious. This year the brethren seem to have coordinated on the theme that King wasn't really as interested in winning rights for black people as he was in helping conservatives defeat social justice warriors.

A few wingnut outlets go old school: "Does Martin Luther King Day Honor a Communist?" asks a thing called Headline Wealth (one of the Senile Rageaholic Grandpa sites I used to cover), and avers that it does, because the ex-communist Stanley Levison gave him money, supporting "FBI claims that King had told Levison that he was a Marxist." They also repeat the FBI claim that King watched a guy commit rape and laughed, which has also been circulated by more prominent conservative outlets, who always act as if the vile charge were undisputed. 

But most of the brethren realize outright demonization of King is no go, and so try to portray him as one of them, or at least the enemy of their enemies. "The woke Left vs. Martin Luther King Jr." editorializes the Washington Examiner:
The cultural Left’s intersectionality crusade has separated the country into different corners: White people are not permitted to address racial issues, and men are forbidden from speaking about women’s matters (i.e. abortion).

This is exactly what King feared.
If a guy can't advocate white and male supremacy without getting yelled at, MLK's Dream is over.'s important also to acknowledge that those who claim to be carrying on King's struggle for justice in modern times have strayed far from his dream..

Instead, they have embraced an identity politics that veers from merely fighting against all forms of discrimination, to carving people up by race, gender, sexual orientation, and placing those distinctions above all else...
Imagine MLK coming back today and seeing people fighting for Latino, immigrant, and gay rights! Boy, would he be mad. The Examiner also says MLK sided with Israel against "Arabs" ("Asked about the argument advanced by a black editor who viewed Arabs as people of color and thus supported them against Israel, King was dismissive"), without noting that, in the very same interview the Examiner cites, King said "peace for the Arabs means the kind of economic security that they so desperately need" and called for a "Marshall Plan for the Middle East, where we lift those who are at the bottom of the economic ladder and bring them into the mainstream of  economic security," which is the opposite of what both the Israeli government and American conservatives endorse for Palestinians.

At GraniteGrok, Steve MacDonald:
Today, equality, when invoked from the left, is about silencing free speech or ideas with which the Democrats disagree.

They empower their quest by calling it hate speech, bullying, bigoted, or even supremacist. As if there were a form of supremacy higher than using the power of the state to deny human beings the right to express ideas of which it disapproves.

Martin Luther King Jr. had plenty to say about that.
There follows an MLK quote in favor of free speech, which MacDonald interprets as a wicked burn on "The Democrat party, some in the media, the white tower, and more than a handful of street thugs" who "work diligently to deny you free association and expression even your right to free press –- as a creator, curators, or consumer." Again, if you have to go on Gab because Twitter won't publish your Nazi propaganda, the Dream is over.

The New York Post:
We suspect [King would] also be distressed by the hypersensitivity and growing political correctness of today’s discussions about race — the near-impossibility of honest dialogue and the insistence by too many to label any who disagree with them as racists...

And, while hailing the beautiful prose of writers such as Ta-Nehisi Coates, he’d be saddened by their pessimism about the possibilities for true and full racial reconciliation.
Picture King shaking his head at Coates: "Brother Ta-Nehisi, you have to give the white man a break. How can we achieve true equality if Stefan Molyneaux can't use Mailchimp to send his white supremacist newsletter?"

Maybe the best is by Jeremy Lott at The American Spectator:
About 30 years after King delivered his speech, a young white high school student in Tacoma, Washington, delivered fragments of that same speech over the school intercom. He did so by mimicking Reverend King’s great, deep voice, which apparently rubbed a few black students the wrong way. A friend warned him, “Do you want to get your ass kicked?” He was bumped into a few times and nudged up against a locker. He left by a different route than normal to avoid such a conflict.

That naive student was me, of course. It wasn’t the huge deal it could have become. Things didn’t escalate into the Great MLK Day Throwdown, thank God. By the next day, folks had let it go. Looking back, it’s really amusing. Still, it helped to reinforce in my mind an important lesson: dreamy idealism will get you only so far in life.
The message of Martin Luther King is boy, those black people are touchy!

UPDATE. Meanwhile in Richmond at the big gun fetishist flex,
 Won't someone please think of the militias?

UPDATE 2. I thought National Review's MLK tribute would be utterly anodyne, the magazine having been in a confused defensive crouch since the dawn of the Trump era. But Roger Clegg turns in a honey. He spends the first half of it praising Donald Trump, and eventually gets to the black people:
Black Lives Matter and Michelle Alexander’s polemics to the contrary notwithstanding, the reason there are a disproportionate number of African-American prison inmates is not because of racist laws or law-enforcers: It’s simply because a disproportionate number of crimes are committed by African Americans.
Um, Happy MLK Day?  Here's his wow finish:
Now, I said that Americans really aren’t hopelessly divided with respect to foreign policy, capitalism, and our constitutional structure: Am I exaggerating when I assert that there is such a division with respect to law, work, family, patriotism, and God?

Well, no doubt there are plenty of people who voted for Hillary Clinton and like at least a couple of items on that list. But I do think there is more of a division here, and certainly it’s more reasonable for a lot of Americans to perceive it here. In one way or another, the Left derides them all — and one major political party is unwilling to challenge the Left, because its politicians and leadership are afraid to.

I’ll end by saying that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., while not blameless in his entire legacy, did not intend to reject any of them.
So King was kind of a shit, just like the Democrats, but at least he did his damage unintentionally. Well, no black people read National Review, so no harm no foul.

Friday, January 17, 2020


In a mellow mood.

•   For grins (grim grins, but still) here's another newsletter Oval Office scene unlocked for your pleasure. Don't thank me, just subscribe!

•   David Fucking Brooks:
There is Donald Trump’s culture-war Theyism: The coastal cultural elites hate genuine Americans, undermining our values and opening our borders. And there is Bernie Sanders’s class-war Theyism: The billionaires have rigged the economy to benefit themselves and impoverish everyone else.

Each of these stories takes a genuine tension in society and blows it up into an all-explaining cartoon in which one part of America is trying to destroy the other part.

The G.O.P. has been swallowed by Trump’s culture war, and many Democrats seem to be rushing to join Sanders’s class war.
Trump convinces rubes that liberals and Messicans stole their good jobs and made their kids gay; Sanders wants health care and income equality. Same diff! And anyway, David Brooks says, capitalism isn't your enemy, it loves you, but it hates your boss and that's why you'll die in penury:
As Michael Strain of the American Enterprise Institute puts it, capitalism is doing what it’s supposed to do. It’s rewarding productivity with pay, and some people and companies are more productive. If you improve worker bargaining power, that may help a bit, but over the long run people can’t earn what they don’t produce.

Third, and most important, most of the increase in earnings inequality has happened between companies, not within them. As John Van Reenen of M.I.T. has found, all over the world superstar businesses are racing ahead of their competitors. As those companies grow more productive, they earn more profit per employee and pay their workers more. Companies that can’t match that productivity don’t, and their workers lag behind.
So if your Uber, housecleaner, and journalist gigs aren't paying enough to feed you and protect you from medical bankruptcy, blame your employer for not working you hard enough. Go to work for a superstar! Use the keyword search on Monster.
Successful executives are doing what’s best for their companies, gathering as much talent as they can. This isn’t evil. It’s not exploitation.
And by "much talent" he means "many stock buybacks." As long as Brooks draws fat paychecks for his bullshit, he'll assume it's because "capitalism is doing what it’s supposed to do." The rest of us can draw our own conclusions.

•   The fuck:

I'm beginning to think Idiocracy undershot. I mean, at least Macho Camacho showed up sober.

Thursday, January 16, 2020


It's always interesting when Rod Dreher goes on a multi-installment tear, as when he melted down over Chick-fil-A's gay reversal and started babbling about Thomas More. LSU's college football championship has had him man-crushing hard on coach Ed Orgeron over several posts. Dreher has talked in the past about how unathletic he was as a kid and how his dad thought he was a sissy ("raised me to be a miniature version of himself... The damage this did to me, and to our relationship, was significant") so you don't have to be Sigmund Freud to figure this one out.

In his latest Orgeron orgasm Dreher scoffs at Binyamin Appelbaum, "an Ivy League graduate who writes editorials for The New York Times" -- haw haw, what a sissy! -- who "did not like the fact that LSU cancelled classes on game day and the day after... You’d think that the media elites would by now have learned the cost to their own credibility of not understanding this country... if you plan to vote for Donald Trump in November, do me a favor, and think of Binyamin Appelbaum and the LSU Tigers when you do." Reg'lar folk don' care 'bout no book-l'arnin' nohow!

Then come more belligerent insults to Appelbaum ("Maybe economics nerd Binyamin Appelbaum gets little endorphin bumps of pleasure when the Fed lowers interest rates, but that doesn’t do much for the folks in south Lafourche"), and this poignant reflection:
I used to be something like Binyamin Appelbaum. I’m not much of a sports fan, but I am an LSU Tigers football fan, because that is our tribal religion here on the bayou. I’m not kidding: I’m sitting here writing this with tears in my eyes at the very though of Ed Orgeron. I love him so much. Here is a rough guy from down the bayou...
Eeeeyikes. The howler is, when he's not butching it up, Dreher is the sort of wispy pseud who claims to appreciate fancy cold cuts better than you grubby commoners because they're "sacramental" to him, and is too exquisitely sensitive to clean up after his dog. He's like a rightwing version of Malcolm of The Modern Parents in Viz.  He even wants to start "a Benedict Option for the traditional humanities... the equivalent of monasteries and monastic communities," he says in a recent post, because, don'tcha know, kids today only study wokeness and are unacquainted with "the philosophical genius of the Greeks," which I assume Benedict Option Distance Learning Academy will teach without the homosex.

But Dreher's other recent obsession is even sillier: The Harry and Meghan royal thing. First he offered "A Yankee Yoko In Queen Elizabeth’s Court," and called the couple "Henpecked Harry" and "the Princess of Goop" for being mean to the richest woman in the world.  Dreher then makes his dumb insults even worse in a second post trying to make them look intellectual, as a response to "a clash of worldviews" between Markle's corrupt Hollywood values and "the great good the monarchy does for Britain simply by existing" (which Dreher never explains, probably assuming his readers are sufficiently monarchist to share the assumption) rather than just gossip.

The post contains this wonderful "no, it's the children who are wrong" bit:
There’s been a lot of attention paid to this Buzzfeed piece comparing and contrasting UK tabloid coverage of Kate Middleton with Meghan Markle. This is prima facie evidence that there is a double standard. But why that double standard? Some say racism, though there’s no proof of that...
I mean come on -- racism? Among British royalty?
I defer to British readers on this point, but it strikes me as plausible that the tabloid editors, with their intuitive grasp of what their readers think, gave Kate the benefit of the doubt not necessarily because she was white, or British, but because as a Briton, she intuitively grasped the monarchy’s role, her own place in it, and what was expected of her. Into this very particular and rarefied world walked an American television actress, who has been accustomed to living out her privilege in a different way, and she rebelled against it. Perhaps the British tabloids sensed that Meghan wanted to set her own rules for how she was going to be a Royal, and they decided to take her down a few pegs to teach her what it meant to be a British Royal.
So, see, it's not because she's a sooty --- it's because she doesn't know her place!  Fortunately those great guardians of morality, the British tabloids, have fulfilled their Constitutional duty by piling slop on her. Ugh -- it's enough to make one wish Dreher would go back to football fantasies.

Monday, January 13, 2020


I see a lot of people complaining in near-apocalyptic terms this morning that their Oscar faves didn't get nominated -- or, in the ridiculous popular term (considering this is a ballot result), were "snubbed" -- and maybe I'm insensitive but really: this is a silly social event where movie people give each other prizes, why you stressin'? The New York Film Critics Circle Award is much more meaningful honor, and Lupita Nyong'o won that; and she shares the distinction of winning a NYFCCA acting award without a concomitant Oscar nomination with Steve Martin, Ralph Richardson, John Gielgud, and a lot of other geniuses.

If there's anyone who should feel cheated it's Kevin Garnett.

I've just started my way through the big award-season movies, and have written at length about Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood, Marriage Story, and The Irishman. I'll get to the rest in time. Right now I'll just say I'm surprised that Taika Waititi wasn't nominated for best director, because I thought and still kind of think JoJo Rabbit would be a good Best Picture choice -- weird enough to hit the artiste-voters where they live, and also extremely well-done and even inspirational. It could still win but it'll be more of a stretch.

As it stands, I will say yay Parasite.

Thursday, January 09, 2020


I'm unlocking another newsletter episode of my Oval Office one-acts, this one based on the latest bizarrely out-of-it performance by our Commander in Chief in his Iran speech-thing.

It put me in mind of the previous Republican president. Bush Jr. was widely acknowledged to have been a clumsy speaker. I recall conservatives admitting this, notwithstanding they thought him right. (Peggy Noonan: "Mr. Bush continues to prove that he is not eloquent, and that he does not have to be. People need a plain speaker who'll tell them what he thinks and why.") Eventually, because in our self-referential culture everything has to be endlessly revisited, we had post-presidential arguments over whether or not Bush was dumb. (I would say that he was certainly cunning enough to become president, but not particularly good at -- perhaps because he wasn't interested in -- the ideological and practical details of governance).

But Bush seemed alert and at least emulated the structures of coherent speech. Now we have a president who is not only ineloquent but expresses himself like a brain damage victim, and his supporters pretend not to notice. If audio-visual equipment survives the coming apocalypse, people are going to marvel at that sudden fall-off in basic standards and wonder if there was a gas leak across the entire country.

Friday, January 03, 2020


 Been a while.

•   I finished up my 2019 Ten Worst at the newsletter today, and in a spirit of hell's bells I'm opening these editions to the non-subscribing public for 24 hours. Regale yourself with how bad things were, comfortable in the knowledge that they aren't getting any better!

•   Speaking of that, how about the latest wreckless endangerment in Iraq? Pretty bold for Donald the Dove! And Republicans have already hauled out the Iraq War playbook, claiming we'll be greeted as liberators and anyone who says otherwise is a traitor. Inspired by Olivia Nuzzi's invitation to share what we all said back in March 2003 about this, I dug up this old alicublog chestnut -- I was a lot more polite about my opposition to the war then, before I fully realized the pro-war people were unreachable. (From the preceding year at the ur-alicublog, here's a nice rundown of conservative's jingo fever.) I expect there'll be plenty of reasons to revisit old posts as things progress.

•   I don't say much about Peggy Noonan these days but, along with more quotidian guff about how there are no good jokes anymore because everyone's scared to be racist, holy shit:
Speaker Nancy Pelosi made herself look ridiculous this year when she backed lowering the voting age to 16. This is an idiotic and destructive idea, an epic and hackish pander, and is offensive to the baseline reality that the adults of a great nation have the right to govern its affairs. It will go nowhere, but the coming decade may see some pushback against the 18-year-old vote, passed in 1971. A lot has changed since then. We know the brains of 18-year-olds are not fully developed and haven’t fully knitted. Young people are educated more poorly, and the screens that surround them and through which they learn encourage sensation, not thought. Their experience of the world is limited; most are financially and emotionally supported by others. All this as the questions we face grow more complex. We should raise the voting age, not lower it.
The pseudo-scientific excuse for de-franchising a Democratic voting bloc aside, did it occur to her for a moment that if cognitive issues were a reason for removing the right to vote, it would make more sense to look at the other end of the demographic spectrum? Like, the one she's on?

Tuesday, December 31, 2019


Seasonal favorite. 

Last year blew, and the new one’s already riding in on a shit-wave. As mobs descend on the American embassy in Baghdad, I imagine John Bolton slamming back Jägermeister and crying “If only I was there to guide Fatso’s tiny finger to the Iran War button!” (Not sure where Stephen Miller is on this; maybe as we speak he’s sifting through a racial analysis of projected invasion casualties, and will decide based on the damage to the Aryan race.)

In New South Wales, Australia, brush fires driving people into the sea give us a terrifying preview of our globally-warmed future. And wingnuts are boasting that Texas allows concealed carry at religious observances because one carrier stopped a shooter (after, eh, a coupla deaths) -- without even considering that maybe a country where our churches and synagogues have to be patrolled by armed guards is actually going backwards, civilization-wise.

But like Hamlet said, we who have free souls, it touches us not. Well, it touches us a little -- even a childless fatalist such as myself finds it concerning and even a little depressing that our nation and indeed much of the world seems bent on self-destruction. But we've been governed by idiots in eras and ages past, and occasionally we've gotten a break because men and women of good will decided to buck the tide, and we've still got a few of those despite the massive pressure our society applies to make them and all of us more idiot-friendly.

We hear and talk a lot about the basest instincts of our fellow countrymen because, duh, look who's president, but also let's look at the elections since -- 2018 made a big difference, as Dems took the House, but remember 2017, when Trump-emboldened Republicans ran Roy Moore for Senate and he got his ass beat? Plus this:

[Republican propaganda] did have some impact: Mainstream media outlets that had been giving us a year of What-Do-Trump-Voters-Think, Let’s-Go-to-a-Diner-and-Ask stories fell as usual under their sway and ran headlines like “Are Democrats blowing it in Virginia?”

What they didn’t affect was the election. Not only did Northam beat Gillespie [for Virginia governor] by nine points (while the Democrats may have taken control of the Virginia House of Delegates), but other election results looked like a liberal revenge fantasy: A trans woman beat an anti-trans bigot; a droopy-drawered BLM protester won a City Council seat; a victim of gun violence beat an NRA shill; a freaking Democratic Socialist defenestrated the Republican Virginia House majority whip.

The rainbow of hits kept coming, climaxing with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose first win in 2013 drove conservatives to predict the Big Apple would immediately revert to Death Wish status, getting re-elected — even after a Manhattan terror attack! — with two-thirds of the vote.

It was so bad for the brethren that Fox News blacked out reports of the election for a while, covering breaking stories like Donna Brazile’s tell-all book instead, then playing the whole thing waaaaaaay down and eventually going with a “Dems in Disarray” shtick.

2019 wasn't bad either, and Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are hanging in there looking good despite the driveling of conservatives. Not every hand's a winner, but like Terry Southern said, little man beat a big man every time if the little man's in the right and keeps a'comin'.

Monday, December 30, 2019


[The Oval Office. TRUMP is standing in front of his desk, hands hanging at his sides, chin up, a bland, disengaged look on his face. To one side IVANKA TRUMP is standing with White House Chief of Staff MICK MULVANEY. They are apparently waiting for someone.]

MULVANEY: [Sotto voce] This is a bad idea.

IVANKA: [Brightly] I think it’s important that our people see that their president supports the troops.

MULVANEY: Whatever.

[A door opens and celebrity war criminal EDDIE GALLAGHER enters, smiling in a nice suit.]

TRUMP: Here he is. Man of the hour. 

[GALLAGHER approaches and shakes TRUMP's hand]

TRUMP: How you doin'?

GALLGHER: Fine, sir. Thanks for having me.

IVANKA: [quietly to MULVANEY] Where are the photographers?

MULVANEY: I cancelled.

[IVANKA looks shocked, but recovers as GALLAGHER shakes hands with her and MULVANEY.]

IVANKA: [To GALLAGHER] So nice to see you!


TRUMP: [To GALLAGHER] C'mon, let's have a seat on the couch.

[TRUMP and GALLAGHER sit on a sofa. IVANKA and MULVANEY continue their muted conversation.]

IVANKA: You cancelled the photographers?

MULVANEY: Yeah. Seems a bit much to have grip and grins with a war criminal.

TRUMP: [to GALLAGHER] You want something to drink, some snacks?

GALLAGHER: I'm just fine, sir.

IVANKA: [To MULVANEY] How dare you! I ordered those photographers. 

MULVANEY: [To IVANKA] Maybe you can get up on the couch and take pictures with your iPhone like Kellyanne.

TRUMP: Good, good. You look well.


IVANKA: [To MULVANEY] Well, we'll see about that. [Brightly, to TRUMP] Daddy, I'm going to get a photographer. For publicity purposes.

TRUMP: OK, sweetheart.

[IVANKA leaves. TRUMP speaks in a confidential tone to GALLAGHER.]

Listen, Eddie, hope you don't mind I asked you to leave the wife at home, but I wanted to ask you about your experiences over there in, uh, Afghanistan

GALLAGHER: Sure. Iraq.

TRUMP: What was that?

GALLAGHER: Iraq. I was in Iraq.

TRUMP: Of course you were. Eddie, lemme ask you something: When you killed those girls, did you get a boner?


GALLAGHER: Well, Mr. President, I --

TRUMP: What am I saying -- I'm sure you had a boner, who wouldn't?  I mean when you shot ‘em, did you get off?


TRUMP: I don’t mean “get off” like you got off on the charges, like how I got you off. [Looks around.] Geez, sounds dirty when I say it that way, doesn't it. [To GALLAGHER] No, I mean, did you squirt. I can only imagine it, the power to kill like that, cold blooded, out in the open. I can kill, but it’s not the same. I say to the Chiefs, “let’s wipe out some terrorists,” you know, when I feel blue, and they send a drone or something. It's good but it’s not the same. Right?

GALLAGHER: I'm sure it's very different, sir.

TRUMP: Yeah.


You feel it, right? The life of the other person, going away. Doing it, not ordering someone else to do. Like you feel it inside you, like their spirit enters you?

GALLAGHER: No, sir. It's... it's.. I don't know how to describe it.

TRUMP: That medic who smothered the guy, the guy you stabbed, what was his name?

GALLAGHER: I don't remember his name, sir.

TRUMP: That's a hell of a way to die, huh?

GALLAGHER: I think his name was in the papers, sir. You could look --

TRUMP: You don't need to cover for him, Eddie. In fact I want to do something for him, too. I'm gonna give him a medal. I'm gonna give you a medal, too, on national TV, live. Maybe at Rockefeller Center. You'd like that, right? But you gotta give me his name, he still in the service?

GALLAGHER: I think his name is Scott --

TRUMP: Scott. Good, good, we're gonna find Scott and we're gonna take care of him, I'm gonna bring him in here.

[IVANKA returns with a MARINE in full dress, holding a point-and-shoot.]

IVANKA: Okay, boys, picture time! Dad, Mr. Gallagher -- or should I say Admiral Gallagher?

TRUMP: [Standing up] Oop, she spoiled the surprise. But we can talk about it later. Lotta paperwork! 

[GALLAGHER stands; TRUMP crosses to sit at the Resolute Desk.]

C'mon, Eddie, you stand next to me a little behind the desk. Maybe show 'em your thumbs-up, job well done.

[GALLAGHER does so.]

MARINE: Which button, ma'am.

IVANKA: [Sighs disgustedly] The one on top!

[The MARINE takes a few shots of them with flash. IVANKA snatches the camera.]

IVANKA: Thanks, soldier! [Looking at MULVANEY, waves camera] I'll send these straight to the papers. It's going to be great. [To TRUMP] See you, Daddy. [Calls back to GALLAGHER] Nice to meet you.

[She leaves. GALLAGHER seems confused. He looks at TRUMP, who has taken out his phone and started playing with it. MULVANEY gestures GALLAGHER over to the other side of the Office, near a door. GALLAGHER crosses to him, shooting nervous glances back at TRUMP. MULVANEY waits with his arms folded.]

GALLAGHER [quietly, to MULVANEY] Are they really going to make an Admiral?

MULVANEY: Don't ask, don't tell. There's a car outside. Take the first left and the Marine will take care of you.

GALLAGHER: What about those pictures? This is getting weird, my wife and I want to have kids --

MULVANEY: I wouldn't worry. Last week she tried to get CNN to do a feature on her dog.

[MULVANEY gently kicks the door open with his heel.]

Better hurry before he snaps out of it.

[GALLAGHER looks at TRUMP, then quickly leaves the room. MULVANEY crosses to TRUMP.]

Anything good on there?

TRUMP: [Still looking at the phone] You know something, I don't think he really killed those people.

MULVANEY: Oh, why not?

[TRUMP looks up from his phone.]

TRUMP: He doesn't have it in him. A real killer would have opened up when the women aren't around. Plus when he gave me that present at Mar-a-Lago? It was just some plaque with a lot of Navy stuff on it. I thought it'd be like a skull or a human foot or something like that. Like serial killers do. You know, trophies. Guy's a dud. Plus he smells.

[TRUMP goes back to his phone.]

But let's run down the guy who smothered the prisoner. He has possibilities.


[PS -- Normally we do skits like this at my newsletter, Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, but we're doing our end of the year Top Ten so I figured I'd put this one here. Subscribe, it's cheap!]

Wednesday, December 25, 2019


Tidings of comfort and joy. I've unlocked another newsletter issue (my newsletter makes a lovely LAST-MINUTE GIFT HINT HINT) about how Christmas should be good even if you don't believe in or even like Christmas. For one thing it's one day our fuckwad bosses can't squeeze out of us (most of us anyway). And though DC is of course even more stupefyingly dull today than usual, the movie theaters are open! Think I'll go see Cats. It's already given me more pleasure than most pictures through the reviews.

But I do have a more sentimental side. Maybe I'll watch The Only Scrooge That Matters, A Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim, a movie that makes me cry roughly once every seven minutes. I will certainly spare a thought for Jesus Christ, whose message has been so badly garbled and misused by American God-botherers; what a irony (though not surprising) that it's the allegedly godless liberals who demand America live up to Christian principles while fundies howl for vengeance and authoritarianism! Finally I invite you to raise at least one glass to the best of hymns from old Alex Chilton. Wassail!

Friday, December 20, 2019


 This is just nice. DC inna haus!

•   I've been so frightfully busy! Sorry not to have too much up here. Here's a free newsletter entry (my newsletter makes a great gift, you don't have to wrap it and it's cheap, hint hint!) on impeachment.

•   I couldn't watch every bit of last night's Democratic debate because life's too short, and I would very suprised if it or any debate at this stage had any more effect on the nomination race than, say, a really good campaign ad for any candidate. (I have a sneaking suspicion that Julián Castro is going to play a bigger role in the process than some of the folks on that stage.) But I feel comfortable saying that a few of the candidates stripped, as Lee Atwater would say, the bark off the little bastard Buttigieg. The guy's been pissing me off since David Brooks was pimping him and last night his response to getting smacked around for his wine cave donor spelunking was not so much Presidential as Mayor of Sound Bendy. Frankly when Sanders isn't preaching and Warren's not doing her soft non-socialist sort-of Sanders, I tend to either tune out or laugh -- Joe Biden strikes me as almost comically over the hill, Klobuchar's a trimmer trying to paper over the inadequacies of her policies with biographical details, Steyer's nothing (though it's not bad to have a rich guy up there who doesn't have to worry about alienating people when he says out loud "this president is not against immigration, he's against immigration by non-white people"), and Yang is a buffoon (though thankfully not the malignant kind Republicans worship). I'm voting for whoever they pick and I assume most good people will do the same; I don't make "strategic" decisions based on what I think other people will like, which is the very definition of Too Clever By Half. Here's hoping we can even survive until the fucking election.

•   Christianity Today said Trump should be removed from office? On moral grounds? What's that got to do with Christianity as practiced in America today? Here's Jesus freak Erick Erickson:
Now we have a host of Democrats, each progressively nuttier than the other, and all of whom support the wholesale legal extermination of human beings they deem convenient in addition to other terrible policies. I’ll have to hold my nose to do it and would rather it be Pence at the top, but I’ll vote for Trump in 2020. He’s not the hypothetical President we can’t trust. He’s a deeply flawed, immoral politician who has both surprising managed to keep many of his campaign promises and not squander the lives of our soldiers and sailors for righteous causes that lose their purpose.
And here's Rod Dreher:
I am very sure that I would prefer to have a drink with any of the candidates on the Democratic stage last night than with Donald Trump.  I’ll likely vote for Trump, but only because abortion is very, very important, and so is religious liberty, and so is stopping the laws the Democrats want to roll out on sexual orientation and gender identity. And so is immigration.
These two JustTheTip Trumpers are going full penetration and I doubt either one would piss on Jesus Christ if his cross was on fire.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019


As regular readers will know, David French is awful -- a theocrat who not only denounces Roe v. Wade but also Griswold v. Connecticut (not to mention Prince, whom French considers a "decadent voice in a hedonistic culture"), and rants about devil worshipers like a regular Rod Dreher, and is the author of "If One of the Churchgoers in Charleston Had Been Armed," etc. (There's a short list of some of his dumber columns here.) But he also likes to play the reasonable NeverTrumper moderate, which is really the most annoying part of his shtick.

Here's the latest issue of French's newsletter -- it's called The French Press, har, and it's on substack; they let anyone have one, it seems! -- and the title of this edition kind of says it all --
The Necessary, Kabuki-Theater Impeachment
-- but only kind of so let's look at it a bit.
The president of the United States is likely to be impeached today (and may be impeached by the time you read this newsletter), and outside of America’s subculture of political hobbyists, nobody seems to care. 
(No citation given, wonder why.)
It still matters, though, and it’s still important to lay down a marker—even if the nation is replaying 1998, but with the partisan roles reversed. 
Shaking down a foreign head of state for dirt on my political opponents on the one hand, a blowjob on the other -- yeah, pick 'em.
But let’s not focus entirely on the president. Bernie Sanders is surprisingly resilient in the Democratic primary, so it’s time to ask him: Why are so many anti-Semites orbiting his campaign? 
Ugh yeah, in the second stage of this crap-missle French does the whole Noah Rothman-Tiana Lowe bullshit about how Sanders is, well he's not saying an anti-Semite buuuuttt d'jever notice how he's surround by "anti-Semites" (French's word for "Muslims")? But I digress, which is easy, believe me, with someone this nightmarish. Back to his impeachment bosh:
In my adult lifetime, I’ve supported impeaching two presidents—one Democrat and the other Republican. In both circumstances, I knew there was zero chance the president would be convicted. 
And in both cases it had zero chance of affecting his career, so why not?
Yet, in both circumstances, the president was clearly guilty of serious misconduct. Partisanship saved Bill Clinton. Partisanship will save Donald Trump. 
Again, the blowjob-blackmail conundrum! One of French's go-to bits is assuming we've all agreed to some absurd point he then just breezes past.

Then French does several paragraphs about Clinton's Chinese fundraising and Whitewater -- look, he's a lifelong conservative factotum, they drill them on this stuff like Russian ballet students -- and then says,
In context then, the impeachment of Bill Clinton wasn’t just an indictment of his conduct surrounding a single sexual harassment case -- though that conduct was certainly impeachable -- it represented the culmination of a long train of scandals and a declaration by one elected branch of government that this man did not belong in the Oval Office.  
So, see, you oversexed liberals may not think getting his dick sucked was such a big deal, but there was a bunch of other stuff he really deserved to be impeached for, so it was only just. And now French, not at all obsessed with the Clintons, is really just sad as a good patriot that Clinton got away with it because (deep sigh) thanks to him Trump will get away with it too:
Watching Trump today, I’m reminded of the movie Patton. Squinting through binoculars as he watches American forces defeat the Germans in North Africa, Patton memorably says, “Rommel, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!”  
There’s Trump, squinting back in political history, declaring “Bill, you magnificent bastard, I read your book!” Trump did read Bill’s book. So did Republicans. So the Trump presidency will survive, even if it shouldn’t, and Republicans may well regret their defense.
If you're wondering what that last huh-what clause is about, the answer is that French is about to pull a fast one, and he wants to make it look related to everything else he's been talking about with a quick last-minute feint so you don't catch on:
Not long ago I had dinner with a Clinton loyalist, someone who stood by his president back in the day. I was amazed when he frankly (and with some emotion) admitted his error.
His name: Favid Dench.
“We could have drawn a line,” he said. “Instead, we helped erase the lines.” That comment has stuck with me ever since. And that’s the choice today—and it’s the choice that Trump will keep giving Republicans. Draw the line? Or erase the lines? 
See, this is why, though JustTheTip Trumpers are the absolute worst, the NeverTrumpers aren't really much better: Their whole moral pose is entirely cost-free. There's nothing brave about it. Because for these guys, it was really the best career move they could make. Trump didn't need Max Boot -- he already had fake intellectual warmongers like Seb Gorka, so of what use was Boot? Similarly, Trump's surrounded by snake-handling, tongue-speaker Christian nutjobs -- what's he need David French for? So naturally French went off and did the wilderness act.

But even in his wilderness, French gives absolutely no evidence that he knows why conservatives flocked to Trump, or that conservatism has anything to do with the problem. Hell, French approves of a lot of stuff Trump does -- tax cuts and Jesus-freak judges? Thumbs up! -- and, much like the JustTheTip guys, mainly focuses on Trump's rude behavior -- like he was Mayor Jimmy Walker, a charming roué rather than a vicious thug. Go find me a piece where French mourns the immigrant children Trump has locked up and in some cases sold to Christian families -- and I don't mean a Obama-did-it equivocation like his column "Trump Moves to Obama’s Position on Family Detention, Democrats Outraged." Trump's cruelty is only disturbing to French because it makes conservatives look bad, not because of the damage it does to the untermenschen. And French only disapproves of conservatives' embrace of Trump because in his view it means they're acting like liberals -- while really, as the evidence shows, they're acting like conservatives who've found their dreamboat -- more senile than Reagan, more crooked than Nixon, and even more outrageously fake-Christian than George W. Bush. Hell, I wouldn't be shocked if French felt the same way and just couldn't hear to admit it; and maybe that's not entirely careerism -- it could also be self-care.

Friday, December 13, 2019


It’s never easy seeing the wicked prevail but if you’re serious about saving what’s left of our democratic traditions you should get used to it. The game is longer than any of us knew.

How could we know? I recall Reagan’s first election, and knowing by instinct (for I barely had anything else in my youth) that this was worse than the usual Their Team versus Our Team. Still I couldn't then comprehend their method -- breaking the fisc with deficit spending while claiming a devotion to fiscal responsibility, then using the damage they caused as an excuse to hire their cronies as contractors to pretend to clean it up. They didn't advertise it in those days.

But I had to live in the world they were making, and couldn't bear (or, maybe better said, was not yet resigned) to be as angry and despairing as the occasion seemed to demand. I recall being laughed off when I questioned the new order -- for example, by a bunch of Wall Street kids for saying it was absurd that Chrysler workers had to take a cut while Lee Iacocca was not only unbothered but lionized for thinking of it. No one wanted to hear it or anything like it.

So I internalized to an extent their thinking: Who knows, I dimly thought, maybe we had been a little too focused on the apparent inequities of the system, a little too generous with benefits, a little too P.C.; maybe if we got lean and mean capitalism would bring the improvements we once hoped to get from government action. In other words, I was rather like one of those dreary trimmers you see gassing up social media now. (Not that bad, of course, but still.)

It took a while for me to completely shake that POV, as the system kept offering rewrites on the social contract that seemed reasonably generous (see Clinton, Bill); some social realities were acknowledged, albeit slowly, and some minor changes were allowed. But these could only be had on the terms of the market; that beast always had to be fed first. Since I was largely insulated from the worst impacts (I lived cheaply, I'm white, etc.) this seemed to be going the right way.

But over time I got disabused. By the top of the century I noticed the economy was not as hot as advertised. The war years were such a carnival of bad faith that I not only paid attention, I got interested. The run-up to the recession was a watershed for me; as Wall Street overheated I noticed conservatives trying to distract everyone from the smell. In the wreckage the whole thing became clear: lives had been destroyed and the bean-counters were hauling safe-deposit boxes out of the ruins -- social contract be damned.

It's all even clearer now, maybe because I got more observant but maybe just because of the id monster Trump's inability to even try and conceal it. They throw spoils to the rich like bandits looting a wagon, assign DeVoses and Rosses and Azars and other such scum to get what’s in the back; they don't even pretend to be doing anything patriotic.

What I'm saying is this problem is not new; that the slight relief from it offered by occasional Democratic administrations was not fundamental and couldn't last; and that if there's anything good about what's happening, it's that the stakes are plain. I doubt many people are confused about it now as I was forty years ago. That doesn't mean everyone else sees it the same way, but they see it; maybe some of them are so addled by racism, conspiracy theories, and vengeance fantasies that they don't care, but they're not fooled, though eventually they may find it convenient to say they had been. Whatever happens, howsoever it may be enabled by social media and malign foreign actors, is entirely up to the people.

You may trust your fellow citizens; you may doubt them. But you can't do much about them except show a good example and hope for the best. As Captain Shotover said in Shaw's Heartbreak House: Courage will not save you, but it will show that your own souls are still alive. If our country's beyond the reach of that, then it was never going to be saved. We'll soon find out. Hold fast and see you on the other side.

Thursday, December 05, 2019


So Professor Karlan said this at the impeachment hearings:
When Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas asked Karlan, "What comparisons, Professor Karlan, can we make between kings that the framers were afraid of and the president's conduct today? she responded, "So, kings could do no wrong, because the king's word was law. And contrary to what President Trump has said, Article II does not give him the power to do anything he wants. And I’ll just give you one example that shows you the difference between him and a king, which is the Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility. So, while the president can name his son Barron, he can’t make him a baron."
And as you no doubt have seen, a shitstorm has ensued in which all the major assholes have portrayed Karlan's innocuous statement as an attack on a child. "Major assholes" includes mainstream media suckers, of course (usually from an "unforced error"/"civility harrumph" perspective); wingnut propaganda farms like the Washington Examiner are even worse. ("Karlan's comment was largely derided for bringing a child into a discussion about impeachment" -- "largely" being the paper's version of "bigly," I guess.)

There's not a lot to say about it beyond the usual: This is all bullshit, and to the extent anyone enables or accommodates it (and this includes Professor Karlan and whoever squeezed her to apologize) they are doing the devil's work.

Nonetheless it's an ill wind that blows no one some good and the incident has inspired me to a cracker-jack Oval Office scene starring Trump, Barron, and Melania, with a supporting role for Mick "Sad Sack" Mulvaney. Enjoy!

Monday, December 02, 2019


Man, this particular Rod Dreher "reader mailbag" -- the latest in a series of highly suspect alleged third-party transmissions Dreher publishes that, remarkably, always sound like Rod Dreher -- is a corker; it goes on so long that Dreher even has to start it in his own voice before cutting to the correspondent's, just for the sake of variety.

I have to admit, when I saw the title art --

-- I was expecting big drama, like maybe a gang of trans thugs beating up a wispy Dreherite. But instead I got acres of this:
He studied education in college, and said that many of the materials they studied were preoccupied with “white privilege” and woke ideology. He didn’t think it was a problem, because it conformed to the view of the world that he’d been raised with. He ended up in the social work field, which was ideologically the same. 
In college, he converted to Christianity, which radically changed some of his values. He now identifies as a conservative, though he has never voted Republican in a presidential race. He says he’s “kind of confused politically” because of all this.
Less talk more rock, buddy! Get to the bigot-bashing!
He says that he’s growing increasingly angry by the relentless wokeness in popular culture. He gave a couple of recent examples of having a strong reaction at the overt liberal messaging in TV shows he and his wife watched.
He says they talked about it, and she convinced him that the liberal messaging was based somewhat in reality (e.g., racism and sexism really do exist). What surprised him was how “black and white” his thinking has become on these topics, as a result of being on the defensive all the time against the overwhelming progressive messaging he sees.
So... the guy sees "liberal messaging in TV shows" (unnamed, probably because Dreher doesn't want to be laughed at even more than he already is), and he and his wife talked about it? Doesn't seem so Stalinist to me -- hold on, Dreher's switching to the Voice Of The Correspondent, maybe there'll be some hot stuff here:
I certainly feel like the progressive ideology is being forced down my throat at every turn. I have unfollowed basically everyone on social media and stopped using it except for work purposes because the stuff people posted made me like them less (both on the left and right).
Wait, so you've had something forced down your throat -- boy, if I had a dollar for every time a theocon told me that! And it's so bad that you had to block nearly everyone you know on social media. Wow, must be something terrible -- lay it on us, bro, and don't spare the lurid details!
I can’t count how many times I have heard people make flippant comments about the taint white men and the patriarchy have left on our society. I don’t feel like I can express my thoughts about any polarizing topic because I will be dismissed due to my sex and skin color.
Blink. Blink.

Flippant comments?
Of course, I recognize I don’t have to let that happen to me, and I don’t want to just sit here and say I’m helplessly being polarized by the rhetoric coming from the left.
Great, maybe he'll snap out of this now!
I won’t ever go down the alt-right road. I don’t want to watch shows and movies and feel so sensitive to what seems like a political agenda or start disliking friends who are left leaning and that I may even agree with about a lot of things! Even if they aren’t militant, I still feel threatened. I have a friend who is letting her 8 year old present as the opposite gender...
AAAARRGH I've stood all I can stand and I can't stand no more! To cut to the chase, nothing happened to this guy but the presence of conflicting views and lifestyles, and he talks about it as if it's Kristallnacht. There follows a lot of traditional Dreher you'll-be-sorry I'll-show-you-all snowflake gush ("Woke cultural politics are crow-barred into any and all areas of news and entertainment. And it’s radicalizing to the Right people who don’t want to be"). But all I can think to say in response is the words of Billy Sol Hurok:

May the Good Lord take a liking to you and blow you up real good.

Thursday, November 28, 2019


I'm unlocking today's newsletter story (Subscribe! Cheap!™). It's holiday-themed! The subject is all the yap about liberals trying to destroy Thanksgiving, and the related yap that liberals are to blame for political fights over the holidays -- not by provoking them so much as by talking about their existence (which conforms I guess to conservative attitudes toward, for example, homosexuality -- everything was better before you had the bad taste to mention it!).

For example, Brittany M. Hughes at Brent Bozell's Media Research Center tells readers:
Happy Holidays! Liberals Rant About Having to Spend Thanksgiving With 'MAGA Relatives' 
Welcome back to that time of year when progressives have to consider facing their No. 1 fear: how to interact with someone who disagrees with them.
Because if you don't want to fight during a family gathering, that means you're not open to a free and frank exchange of ideas with Uncle MAGA as to whether immigrants are human.
Liberals, particularly of the vehement anti-Trump variety, have taken to social media in droves to stress, joke, and lament about having to share a meal with their “MAGA relatives"...
"Stress, joke, and lament" is the tell there; even if you take a fuck-'em attitude toward your asshole kinfolk, you're still a loser because you won't sit there and listen to Grandpa recite "The Snake" instead of grace before dinner.

At the same time, we've got this from Donald Trump's smellier adult son:
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump’s oldest son announced this very specific — and almost certainly trolling — holiday giveaway: His supporters should “trigger a liberal” by discussing politics around the Thanksgiving table and whoever shared the best photo or video of the ensuing conflict would win a signed copy of Don Jr.’s new book and a “Make America Great Again” hat.
These people seem to think that conflict will always benefit them, just like in their tweets about how they'll kill us all in a civil war because they have lots of guns. Well, I say in my newsletter story that if your family is a family worth the name, and someone wants beef, you should give it to them:
However: One thing the mainstream press is too busy filling columns inches to consider, and the conservative press is too busy feeding resentments to consider, is that some of us like to argue. In many families, a heated discussion takes the place of a touch football game or a bonfire, or is enjoyed in addition to. Some may even end in drunken brawls or fist-shaking family ruptures. 
I remember when that sort of thing was taken as one of America’s leisure traditions. Remember Errol Flynn fighting his brothers in Gentleman Jim? (“The Corbetts are at it again!”) This obstreperousness was often laid to the Irish, but as with many our antique American bigotries I think it was a back-door way for the rest of the nation to celebrate the tendency...
Anyway go read, and have a beautiful holiday, whether it's a Quaker meeting or a slugfest. And if you have to work today, well I've been there, brother, and I sympathize; steal something nice from your boss.

UPDATE. Speaking of which:
A liberal ex-governor walks into a bar, followed by a conservative Trump administration official.
Instead of a punchline, what followed, one witness said, was a “shame-invoking tirade” by Martin O’Malley, the former Democratic governor of Maryland, directed atKen Cuccinelli II, the former Virginia attorney general who is acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. 
The two political polar opposites crossed paths Wednesday night at the Dubliner, a Capitol Hill Irish pub popular on Thanksgiving Eve with Gonzaga High School graduates. Both men attended the school, graduating five years apart in the 1980s.
Siobhan Arnold, who was visiting from Philadelphia, had just met O’Malley at the bar when Cuccinelli walked in. Soon the two men were face-to-face, she said, with O’Malley excoriating Cuccinelli over the Trump administration’s immigration policies. 
O’Malley said “something about his [Cuccinelli’s] grandparents,” Arnold said in an interview. Cuccinelli said little if anything in reply, she added, quickly leaving the pub.
If you think it's tewwibly unfaiw for O'Malley to give grief to this immigrant-hunting asshole in a fucking Irish bar, I don't know what to tell you.

Monday, November 25, 2019

JOHN SIMON, 1925-2019.

True, he was a misogynist and a racist. He famously insisted on cataloguing what he saw as actresses' physical shortcomings (he wrote with evident distaste, for example, that Vanessa Redgrave had "no breasts to speak of") on the grounds that female beauty as judged by John Simon was an important attribute of their performances, however little it mattered in those of male actors. And he criticized the vocal and physical training of African-American actors on stage, which was both racist and canny of him, as only people who had actually attended the plays could dispute his judgment. I had that experience with a 1979 Public Theater production of Coriolanus starring Morgan Freeman, in which the cast moved gracefully and spoke beautifully. Simon:
To have a group of black and Hispanic actors, almost totally untrained in Shakespearean acting, do Julius Caesar (at the Public Theater) was rashness and folly; to have them do Coriolanus ranks as advanced dementia... the consummate, uncompromising patrician is a figure far removed from the ken of most white Americans; to black and Hispanic Americans, actors or otherwise, he is through historical and economic circumstances even more remote and inconceivable, Morgan Freeman, who plays Coriolanus, cannot even approximate the part in sound, look, or demeanor; but, for one reason or another, no one in the company begins to approach what is required of them.
I saw the show and Simon was full of shit.

It may seem absurd to even say "on the other hand" after that, but when Simon was engaged by the material and unencumbered by his prejudices, he could be a highly perceptive critic with a lively, illuminating style. Here he is, excerpted, on the Mike Nichols 1988 production of Waiting for Godot with Robin Williams and Steve Martin:
Beckett's Waiting for Godot is the tragedy of man comically told. Mike Nichols's Godot at Lincoln Center is the tragedy of an American theater turned  into shtick. With this fractured Godot, Nichols proves yet again (as if it were necessary) that he is one of the greatest directors of mediocre material. Not content with finding mediocrity where it so plentifully exists, he must create it where it isn't: in the heart of a masterpiece.

The reason Beckett is execrated in Communist countries and trivialized in capitalist ones is that neither ideology can accept his stance: a heroic negation  of any kind of salvation, so monumental  as to dwarf the myths of redemption according to Marx, Mammon, or the Judeo-Christian God. The only way man can endure his mortality and assorted miseries is with an epic vaudeville act: You only laugh when it hurts — and it hurts all the time. The sole surcease is death, the classic case of a cure worse than the malady. This is a laugh, all right, but not one that leaves the throat unlacerated...

Anyone who can have the barren tree, which in Act II sprouts "four or five leaves" and  prompts Vladimir's "It's covered with leaves," display only one leaf — thus changing a pathetically hopeful remark into an imbecile one — has no feeling or understanding for the play.
Now, I did not see this production and can't tell if its creators were slandered, but Simon's description of the play is not only sound but eloquent, and his criticisms of the production, while full of that lofty contempt that was really what made him famous ("if theatergoers are really so benighted that only this kind of Godot can reach them, they are not worth reaching. Beckett's God, or Godot, is absent; Nichols's Godot is dead"), at least provide negative examples that illuminate his description of the play's qualities. Click through the link to see his criticisms of the actors, which have nothing to do with their technique and everything to do with how Simon saw the characters and the play. All these years later we may have forgotten or never seen the production, but we do have, though limned for better or worse with Simon's acid, a good little essay on Beckett's drama in the form of a review. That's why his criticism is still worth reading.

I will add that Simon's Movies Into Film was a very helpful book when I was a teenage film freak, and that his film reviews in National Review during those years were, his faults once taken into account, well-balanced and had nothing to do with the loathsome politics among which they were set.

Excellent obituary by Robert D. McFadden at the New York Times here.

UPDATE. Kenneth Mars' performance in What's Up, Doc is clearly a John Simon rip, and very funny.

Friday, November 22, 2019


I've loved this song since I first heard it.
It's a classic specimen of getting to the universal by way of the specific.

Jonah Goldberg has still got that newsletter thing going and it's no Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, lemme tell ya. But he keeps a hand in at National Review, and today has something called
Opponents of ‘Unfettered Capitalism’ Are Fighting a Phantom
It's a big deal because not only Democrats and Socialists but also rightwing assholes Tucker Carlson and Josh Hawley are bitching about capitalism and Jonah's here to even the odds (fart).

The simple version: There are lots of reguatory agencies, what are you guys talking about, "unfettered capitalism"? Goldberg does not address what happens when the regualtory mechanisms are put in the hands of, for example, a Ryan Zinke or a Wilbur Ross, who take said mechanisms to a bridge and throw them into the river. Also Republicans tend to deregulate processes they think don't need oversight -- like food safety.
My frustration stems from the fact that we “fetter” the market constantly. And whenever the fetters yield an undesirable result — such as, say, the financial crisis of 2008 — the blame always lands on eternally unfettered capitalism.
Overregulation is an interesting diagnosis of the financial crisis, given that the many of the financial instruments that pumped hot gas into the bubble suffered no regulation at all. I assume Goldberg referred only to an index card that read "Blck ppl got houses no fair BIG GOVERMENT."

Closing farts:
Just to be clear: I’m not an advocate for unfettered capitalism.
[querulous balloon-fondling noise]
But I am sick and tired of hearing people advocate unfettered government to fight an enemy that doesn’t exist.

In conclusion, Jonah declares himself against this non-existent thing, and further stipulates that he has smelt it, but most assuredly has not dealt it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019


I'm opening to the general public (that's you guys!) the latest issue of my newsletter, about Rod Dreher's extended shitfit over Chick-fil-A's disinvestments. Longtime readers may recall my writing at the Village Voice in 2012 about how a couple of colleges booted the fast food chain for its president's homophobic sentiments and conservatives went nuts, making special "Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day" trips (or saying they did) to gorge on waffle fries and show the gays and gay-lovers that nobody out-grievances the Right. Sample:
“Tastes Like Liberty,” said Doug Ross. “Tasted like freedom,” said Mollie Hemingway. They must have changed the formula since we ate there. 
“80% of the folks at the tables [at the food court] were sporting Chick-fil-A bags. Taco Bell and Sbarro’s shared the rest of the tables, it seemed, with Five Guys, a very popular Washington area burger chain,” reported Robert Morrison of the Family Research Council. “‘I’ve had enough of those ‘gaystapo tactics,’ we heard one diner say.” 
“The Chick-fil-A controversy has no doubt been polarizing in some corners of the country,” said Mark Hemingway of the Weekly Standard, “but the undeniable success of yesterday’s nationwide rally to support the fast food chain means we’re likely to remember August 1, 2012 as Silent Majority Day.” 
It was a watershed (or a Diet-Mr.-Pibbshed) for late-stage homo-haters, and the news that CfA had removed some investments in gay-averse charities hit several of them hard, though few as hard as Rod.

Astonishingly, Dreher is not the author of the stupidest thing written on the subject. This is from John Hinderaker of Power Line:
I won’t stop eating at Chick-fil-A on account of this retreat, but I won’t do it with the same enthusiasm, either.
And some people think John McCain was a hero!

UPDATE. Yikes, Dreher's got a third Chick-fil-A post:
About Chick-fil-A, I know you liberals are laughing at us, drawing comparisons between Thomas More and a chicken shack.
Yep! Bye!

Friday, November 15, 2019


Sometimes there's nothing for it but the fuzzbox.

•   Here's a freebie from the newsletter (SUBSCRIBE he hollered from the bottom of a well CHEAP!): A couple of New York mayors sitting around talking.

•  Rich Lowry has a book out praising the blood-and-soil conservatism pimped by such noted sons of toil as Tucker Carlson, and today he talks about one of the Ronald Reagan speeches people like him cream over and explains what parts are and are not, er, operational in Trump Time:
So, where does the “Time for Choosing” fall down?

The tax, spending, and debt issues so important to Reagan and to conservatives for decades have taken a back seat today — or at least deficit spending and debt have. President Trump has brought other issues to the fore and pursued a broadly expansionary fiscal policy.
"Expansionary" -- that's a hot one! When Democrats want to spend money on public health they don't call it expansionary, they call it socialism etc.
It turns out that fiscal conservatives didn’t have nearly the clout of social conservatives in the GOP coalition. But the traditional trio of fiscal issues will come back with a vengeance should, say, Elizabeth Warren get elected president.
We were full of shit all along, and we'll go back to being full of shit if Warren gets in. Way to butter 'em up, Rich!
More problematic in [Reagan's] “The Time for Choosing” is the argument — and dire tone — borrowed from Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, asserting that the growth of the state, as such, leads to tyranny, and the tipping point is imminent.
We conservatives don't really believe in financial stewardship, but in our defense, what we really don't believe in is freedom -- at least not funky freedom (guns are okay!):
It is a symptom of our time, though, that even as the government has grown, so has personal liberty, sometimes in deeply unhealthy ways. We have more choices in family structure (or lack thereof), sexual expression, and consumption of entertainment, from the exalted to the low, including a vast amount and variety of pornography. There is less prescription against aberrant behavior, as can be seen in the streets of our major cities such as San Francisco and New York City.
??? Maybe he thinks there's a 24-hour Folsom Street Festival in Central Park? Or that liberals gave us Pizza Rat?
There’s greater leeway to sell and smoke pot.
We now enjoy the freedom even — in theory at least — to pick our own gender and have institutions of government afford every consideration to our choice.
Sounds awesome so far, Starbursts, what's the beef?
...The deeper current issue is that the chief suppressant of human flourishing may be not our overweening government but our tendency toward toxic individualism — we are now a people largely disconnected from marriage, church, and workplace, and too many American sink into self-destructive behavior and despair.
Obviously, this doesn’t enter into Reagan’s speech because there was no way he could anticipate social trends 50 years in the future.
Yeah, if only Reagan had known we would eventually have throuples and legal weed and porny anime, he wouldn't have pretended to love freedom so much -- because all that talk totally wasn't just a racket to get Americans to vote him and his high-pressure crooks into office. But now conservatives know better, and advocate for big spending Puritanism. Oh, and to replace your porn, the spectacle of military parades and tortured immigrant children!

This is a movement that's going places -- to prison, in many cases.

•  Speaking of that, you all know that, though I give out insults like Trump giving judgeships to assholes, I'm sensitive about wishing punishment on even the worst of my fellow man. For new convict Roger Stone, however...

...I will make an exception. Enjoy prison, you fucking piece of shit.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019


He has stiff competition -- Kevin D. Williamson! David French! Jonah Goldberg for crying out loud! -- but on Any Given Weekday Jim Geraghty can be the absolute worst person at National Review and brother does he manage today:

I shit you not. Geraghty was in Canada and visited Casa Loma, whose owner did some fighting in the 19th Century, and his regiment in modern times did some fighting in Afghanistan. How's that for a segue?
The museum display on Afghanistan is just a small corner of a room covering the regiment’s more recent deployments, which included Kosovo and Sudan. But the display got me wondering: is it time to start thinking about a National Museum of the Afghanistan War? And should the U.S. have a separate or conjoined museum for the Iraq War? (Would the name “National Museum of Post-9/11 Wars” be too awkward?)
How about "The Foreverwar Museum: A Work in Progress"? After some research-assistant padding about current U.S. war/service museums, Geraghty preemptively pooh-poohs the naysayers:
Inevitably, someone out there is going to cluck about the irony of building a museum for a military operation that is still ongoing, and while U.S. troops are still deployed in those operations.
Well, sure. Don't your visitors want to know how it comes out? A World War II museum built in 1943 would have seemed kinda anticlimactic.
But if you wait until the operation is completely done to begin even thinking about preserving a record to tell the story to future generations . . . you’ll be waiting probably, at minimum, another half-decade.
LOLOLOLOLOLOL. Then more padding, about the great work our G.I. Joes are doing in undeclared wars across the planet, Geraghty assures us he's just asking questions:
If building a national museum about our post-9/11 wars is a good idea, then it is a good idea whether or not we still have troops deployed in these countries. And if it’s not a good idea, then it’s not a good idea regardless of the circumstances of the ongoing deployment.
Resolved: It stinks! Let's all go home! But here's where Geraghty goes into overdrive:
A strange thing happened in our national life as the Vietnam War receded into the rear-view mirror. One of the most bitterly divisive issues in our country’s history calmed, and gradually — some might say, far too gradually — shifted into a broad-based respect and appreciation for the men who fought in it and women who tried to keep them in one piece in the Army Nurse Corps.
(Gotta get the ladies in there!) Prior to that, see, we were all just spitting on soldiers:
Even the most fervent war opponents could recognize that this country treated its returning veterans terribly back in the 1960s and 1970s, and I wonder if our current much broader cultural appreciation of veterans stems from a sense of guilt over that dishonorable not-so-distant history.
I assume, given his audience and that he's Jim Geraghty, he means the myth of mean hippies rather than, say, the fight to deny vets coverage for the effects of PTSD and Agent Orange or anything else that men in suits rather than punks in love-beads may have done to them.
You can think the war was a terrible mistake and still feel a sense of gratitude, awe, and appreciation for those who served in it — and a determination to see that those who served are treated right, in areas ranging from veterans benefits to health care options to post-military careers to naturalization for those born overseas.
"Naturalization for those born overseas" -- did this motherfucker really just fucking say that?

You know what, I'm too pissed to even address the rest of his stupidity ("if the U.S. had known the true limits of the Iraqi WMD program," ha ha, yeah if only). Geraghty can jam this museum up his ass.