Monday, January 24, 2022

(ALMOST) NO COMMENT.

GG's wrongness factor has officially gone off the charts. Next he's gonna tell us that a hot dog is a sandwich. 

UPDATE. Here's how StupidSonofaBitch-gate should have gone down. It's not too late! As for GG and that lot, commenter redoubtagain makes an excellent point: I don't recall them saying anything when Trump threw Jorge Ramos out of a press conference

UPDATE. Also, it's instructive to see what kind of people would rather listen to a weed-and-'roid-addled dumbass than to "On The Beach" or "Live Rust": Who-Moved-My-Cheeseballs and ragequeens. I'm very much a chacun à son goût guy and if someone prefers noise to lovely melodies I'm all for it, but this kind of willful perversity challenges my equanimity.  

Friday, January 21, 2022

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



Been listening to Jimmy Driftwood lately and --
man, he's
strange, ain't he?

•  Every so often I go among the Twitter morons and waste time talking back. It's interesting to see which subjects draw the dumbest respondents -- in this case, it's the removal of the Teddy-Roosevelt-and-the-lesser-races statue from in front of the American Museum of Natural History. Even the TR Presidential Library in North Dakota, to which the statue is being removed, finds the thing "problematic in its composition," and it always seemed kind of gross to me, but apparently its disassembly, which began this week, has got the MAGA types raging about wokeness and cancelculture and all that bullshit. As usual there were respondents who think statues are the only way to learn history and those who think taking out statues of famous racists is totalitarianism. None of the brethren seemed to grasp that it was not their statue to dispose of, and this is something I've noticed about their hot-button issues concerning statues and movies and advertising and other forms of intellectual property: that to them free speech is based on other people doing things with their own property that they don't like. It's an idea of free speech, in other words, that's not about their own right to express themselves, but anger at how other people do. As you might imagine they really didn't like my suggestion that they make their own Rough Rider statues out of Play-Doh and put them up on their front lawns. 

•  Busy day, not much time to do more than pass you some Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebies! Here's one on Monday's crop of bizarre rightwing tributes to Martin Luther King, and another with the minutes of a development meeting of the University of Austin Board of Advisors Starring Wari Beiss.  That's just two of the five weekly installments -- if you don't subscribe (cheap!) you're missing out! 


Thursday, January 20, 2022

CHECK YOUR HEAD, BUCKO.

I see Patron Pseud of Anti-Wokeism Jordan Peterson has pulled a BariWeiss -- that is, not having succeeded by obnoxious behavior in getting himself martyred by defenestration, he has quit his academic sinecure while blubbering over the unfairness with which he has been treated, hoping for the same effect. At the Ezra Levant Post the professor explains

First, my qualified and supremely trained heterosexual white male graduate students (and I’ve had many others, by the way) face a negligible chance of being offered university research positions, despite stellar scientific dossiers. This is partly because of Diversity, Inclusivity and Equity mandates (my preferred acronym: DIE). These have been imposed universally in academia, despite the fact that university hiring committees had already done everything reasonable for all the years of my career, and then some, to ensure that no qualified “minority” candidates were ever overlooked. My students are also partly unacceptable precisely because they are my students. I am academic persona non grata, because of my unacceptable philosophical positions....

By "unacceptable philosophical positions" Peterson seems to mean "status as a public laughing stock." The rest of his lament resembles your average Rod Dreher column: Lots of sweeping and hysterical claims with thin or non-existent documentary evidence, e.g. "there simply is not enough qualified BIPOC people in the pipeline to meet diversity targets quickly enough... This has been common knowledge among any remotely truthful academic who has served on a hiring committee for the last three decades." Peterson also says his colleagues "all lie (excepting the minority of true believers) and they teach their students to do the same," which ought to really set the tone for his U of Toronto going-away party (and excite his future Substack readers!). I especially liked this bit denouncing a well-known implicit-bias test, about which I am fully prepared to entertain doubts if they are expressed via coherent analysis, as opposed to whatever this is: 

The much-vaunted IAT, which purports to objectively diagnose implicit bias (that’s automatic racism and the like) is by no means powerful enough — valid and reliable enough — to do what it purports to do. Two of the original designers of that test, Anthony Greenwald and Brian Nosek, have said as much, publicly. [Cite please - Ed.] The third, Professor Mahzarin Banaji of Harvard, remains recalcitrant. Much of this can be attributed to her overtly leftist political agenda, as well as to her embeddedness within a sub-discipline of psychology, social psychology, so corrupt that it denied the existence of left-wing authoritarianism for six decades after World War II....

Is this guy still on the all-meat-coma diet? He seems to have missed a few OS patches.

You can see how this is meant to work: the casual reader may see the length of the thing and catch some keywords, but be put off by the poor writing and painfully aggrieved tone from reading too much of it, and think, "Well, he has a long list of complaints, some of them must be justified." That's how the whole cancelculture/CRT scam gets over; when it wears out, they'll move on to the next grift. 

Sunday, January 16, 2022

"THE SNAKE," REVISITED FOR SLOW LEARNERS.

I used to post here way more often than I do now. That was partly because I was young, dumb, and full of rage. Also I had fewer outlets then, whereas now I have Twitter and the daily newsletter Roy Edroso Breaks It Down (subscribe, cheap!).

But every so often I see something that I really worry will be overlooked if I don't say something. (I know, hubris -- but in a good cause!) So in this public forum I would like to call your attention to a detail from Tubby's Saturday lie-fest in Arizona.

In recent weeks many people who should know better have been giving Trump credit for saying nice things about vaccines. It's a hangover from the old bothsider trope: Of course we should encourage Trump to push vaccines! If he wants to take credit and make political capital from it, let him! It's fine if it will get people to vaccinate! 

Well, Trump has spoken up for vaccination publicly a few times. I'm sure the moderates and milquetoasts are thrilled, notwithstanding that his yokels booed him for it

Like the trimmers, I knew when Trump pushed vaccines it would not be out of a suddenly spasm of altruism. But unlike them, I was not deceived that it would cause Republicans to vaccinate, or favor vaccination, or take any other public health precautions against COVID whatsoever,

And I appear to have been right. Take this poll from last month, showing 30% of Republicans saying they'll never get vaccinated. Congressional Republicans are still objectively anti-vaccine: When, in the face of the Omicron surge, D.C. instituted an extremely limited vaccination requirement for some public accommodations, GOP members raved about Nazis and Big Brother. And one of crypto-Trumpkin Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin's first acts in office was to make mask mandates in public schools illegal.  

So de facto Republican policy is, obviously, to make it as easy as possible for COVID to rampage through the country and then complain about how Biden isn't stopping the pandemic. And in Arizona last night, Trump made clear what his yeah-sure vaccine endorsement was all about:

The left is now rationing lifesaving therapeutics based on race, discriminating against and denigrating, just denigrating, white people to determine who lives and who dies. If you’re white, you don’t get the vaccine, or if you’re white, you don’t get therapeutics.

Claiming liberals are taking vaccines belonging by right to white people and giving them to the dusky hordes -- that's guaranteed to cause something, but it ain't vaccination. 

I don't know how many times I have to tell you: This guy is not going to help America even if it appears to be in his interest to do so -- because he finds it much more rewarding to make everything worse. He's not a recalcitrant public servant who has to be prodded to do the right thing; he's a sociopath and a public menace and he really has to be stopped. 

Friday, January 14, 2022

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



About how many bands can you say
you're always glad to see them?

•  It is, along with everything else, strange to say Terry Teachout has died. As you can see from his About Last Night blog, he was busy as a drama critic for the Wall Street Journal -- as well as a playwright, librettist, and biographer -- when death swooped in and took him. He was no spring chicken, but he was sufficiently buoyant to make you think he was, so his death feels even more untimely than it is. Terry was good at paying attention, which was part of his arsenal as a critic but also his charm as a human being; whether he agreed with you or not, he took account -- generous account -- of what you were saying and doing, and you knew it. I’m very bad at taking advice or criticism, but I didn’t mind it from him, for that reason. And though he was a man of strong (and, I often felt, wrong) beliefs, he had admirable perspective and a very good sense of humor about them. He knew that there was more to life than meets the eye, and I like to think he’s currently following up on that insight.  

•  The Supreme Court, allegedly a politically neutral body, has decided to kill us slowly in order to make it look less like they’re killing us. No other explanation makes allowing the CMS mandate and killing the OSHA mandate look coherent. I mean, if I were forced to come up with a rationale, I hope I could do better than Neil Gorsuch:

…[OSHA] directs us to 29 U. S. C. § 655(c)(1). In that statutory subsection, Congress authorized OSHA to issue “emergency” regulations upon determining that “employees are exposed to grave danger from exposure to substances or agents determined to be toxic or physically harmful” and “that such emergency standard[s] [are] necessary to protect employees from such danger[s]”…

The Court rightly applies the major questions doctrine and concludes that this lone statutory subsection does not clearly authorize OSHA’s mandate. See ante, at 5–6. Section 655(c)(1) was not adopted in response to the pandemic, but some 50 years ago at the time of OSHA’s creation. Since then, OSHA has relied on it to issue only comparatively modest rules addressing dangers uniquely prevalent inside the workplace, like asbestos and rare chemicals... As the agency itself explained to a federal court less than two years ago, the statute does “not authorize OSHA to issue sweeping health standards” that affect workers’ lives outside the workplace… Yet that is precisely what the agency seeks to do now—regulate not just what happens inside the workplace but induce individuals to undertake a medical procedure that affects their lives outside the workplace.

If only there were some way workers could “clock out” of the onerous requirement that they be vaccinated against a deadly disease when their shifts end! But they can’t, so undue burden, everyone go get sick and spread it at work for freedom. 

If the right wing killed the health care worker vaccine mandate as well, it would have made the death-cultism too obvious, so they got Kavanaugh to take the bullet and vote with the liberals. It was truly gruesome to see, when “Kavanaugh” was trending on Twitter last night, how many of those tweets were from conservatives enraged that he let hospitals require what would seem to any sane person an elementary health precaution. (Jesus, I hope Pete Hegseth doesn’t get any more popular or we’ll soon be waiting on pins and needles for SCOTUS to decide whether hospitals have the right to demand doctors scrub in before surgery.)

The American conservative movement is objectively pro-COVID -- and that goes not only for the lunatics with their crackpot theories and tubes of horse paste, but also for the politicians and conservative justices who flatter those nuts and cause their madness to be enacted in law and practice, in hopes that the continued spread of the disease will sabotage their opponents. Weird way to live! 

•  Oh, yeah, here are two Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebies: one,  my own version of the hot-TV-wingnut-of-the-moment mainstream puff piece; and two, a review of Ross Douthat's foray into filmmaking. Subscribe, why don't you? 

Thursday, January 13, 2022

HOW BULLSHIT WORKS, PART INFINITY.

CNN:

New York (CNNBusiness) -- Grocery store shelves across America are wiped clean, and they're staying empty as stores struggle to quickly restock everyday necessities such as milk, bread, meat, canned soups and cleaning products.

Disgruntled shoppers have unleashed their frustration on social media over the last several days, posting photos on Twitter of bare shelves at Trader Joe's locations, Giant Foods and Publix stores, among many others.

By “disgruntled shoppers” on “social media” I assume they mean the people working the #BareShelvesBiden tag -- which is as obvious a coordinated campaign as it gets. (Sometimes they use foreign grocery shelves to illustrate their point.)

The other day my wife went to the Eastern Market Trader Joe’s and found many of the shelves empty. There was a note explain the situation, pictured below: 


Makes sense. She went to a Whole Foods a mile away and got everything we needed. Also TJ’s was stocked back up the next time she went in.

Temporary shortages during a snowy winter and a freaking pandemic are neither new nor a big deal, and it may seem puzzling at first that operatives are telling Americans who are in absolutely no danger of running out of food or even missing a meal that somewhere in this favored land we’re experiencing Soviet shortages. Wouldn’t they go to their own grocery stores and see the disconnect?

But these days propaganda is often about the Other who are portrayed as suffering or depraved; the message is that you better watch out or else their suffering or depravity will be visited on you. The best example is all those rightwing stories about how crime is out of control in the cities and you can’t walk down the street without getting shot (which I recall was an actual line from one of Trump’s 2016 debate yammerings). Many Americans (and certainly most Republicans) don’t live in cities and have little experience of them, so they may be easily persuaded that urban life is one big prison-yard smorgasbord of violence punctuated by BLM “riots,” and that the evil Democrats who run these hellholes will try to drag you good non-city folk down with them via their drive to “abolish the suburbs.”   

The idea is to portray people who live differently from you as not only deprived but depraved, and thus a threat to your way of life -- and that’s why, the reasoning seamlessly goes, we have to keep them from doing “election fraud,” i.e. voting. 

Friday, January 07, 2022

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



Boy, that must have been some party.

I noticed a bunch of liberals objecting on Twitter to this John F. Harris/Politico story, “We Are In a New Civil War … About What Exactly?” Sample:

If this is a 21st century version of 19th century disunion, shouldn’t it be more obvious what the war, at bottom, is all about?...

Only in recent years have we seen foundation-shaking political conflict — both sides believing the other would turn the United States into something unrecognizable — with no obvious and easily summarized root cause. What is the fundamental question that hangs in the balance between the people who hate Trump and what he stands for and the people who love Trump and hate those who hate him? This is less an ideological conflict than a psychological one.

Now, this is Politico so I guess one has to be sensitive to its bothsidesing agenda (“the Trump phenomenon defies explanation,” Harris says -- ha, yeah, if your first acquaintance with the GOP was Romney 2012!) But I take his point to this extent: that all the yap about civil war -- and despite all claims to the contrary, including Harris’, as I have written before “civil war” really is overwhelmingly a rightwing thing -- it’s just ridiculous. 

And I’m not calling it ridiculous because I don’t think these guys wouldn’t do it if they could -- on the contrary, as polling and experience show, conservatives are now extremely comfortable with violence against liberals. I call it ridiculous because they have no actual complaint even remotely worth having a civil war over. Here’s the top of an email I got from one of the many rightwing mailing lists to which I subscribe:

Now, I ask you: What normal American would read something like that without wondering: What the fuck is this guy talking about, America is a "dystopian, tyrannical state"? 

It’s like when Rod Dreher goes on about “soft totalitarianism” and constantly invokes non-soft totalitarianism when talking about it (e.g., “There is no Stalin of the Social Justice Warriors, but that in no way means they are not dangerous”), but when someone (someone who’s not a mark, I mean) takes him to mean what he seems to mean, he weasels, “do I say that the libs are ‘just like’ the Bolsheviks? No, not at all,” and then explains that the liberalism “seeks domination and conformity not by imposing pain and terror on people, but rather by manipulating their access to status and comfort.” Which sounds like a pretty weak kind of “totalitarianism” in the first place, and when explicated it  turns out to mean a bunch of just-so stories about how everyone’s too scared to say trans women are men because they might lose their jobs -- which is 99 44/100% Pure Bullshit -- or that a racist getting kicked off a social media platform for flouting its terms of service is the Coming of the Camps.

The next time one of these nuts tells you about the intolerable tyranny under which Americans live, ask him what he means, specifically. Watch his hands, though. 

Want a Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebie? This week, along with the January 6 anniversary one I mentioned yesterday, there’s also Amy Wax’s talk radio audition. That leaves three very fine issues you could have read with a subscription, and more where that came from. Sign up and treat yourself