Friday, November 26, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


An old favorite.

•   Good news if you’ve been on the fence about subscribing to Roy Edroso Breaks It Down: I’m holding a Black Friday sale! Go to https://edroso.substack.com/AFFILIATE10 by tomorrow and get monthly or yearly subscription at 15% off!  That means your annual sub price goes from the already absurd $70 to, ludicrously, less than $60, and the monthly from $7 to $6. It’s almost criminal negligence not to subscribe at these fantasyland rates.

Here’s a little taste up front: A free-to-the-general-public item on a weird Matt Taibbi Thanksgiving column, in which he complains not everyone loves the holiday the way he does -- that is, as a boo-yah in-your-face sack dance over wokesters. He’s not ignorant of the genocidal backstory, he just doesn’t care, or rather makes a strenuous pretense of not caring because it Owns The Libs. 

•   At least Taibbi’s approach reveals something interesting about conservatives who basically concede liberal points but want to make them not matter. Most of these guys are far too lazy to go beyond “Happy Thanksgiving to everybody but you Biden rad libs.”  This Washington Examiner Thanksgiving thumbsucker runs the “House Divided” play:

There is no civil war today as there was when Lincoln first set a national day of thanks, and thank goodness for that. But the nation is clearly divided to an extent perhaps not seen since then.   

An insurrectionist rump trying to delegitimize the government because they no longer control it isn’t exactly a House Divided scenario -- it's more of House Stormed by Shitheels scenario -- but maybe that’s just me. (Republicans love the civil-war theme because, as I’ve said elsewhere, they yearn for a rerun of Civil War I in which their side finally wins, and also because it makes them look more powerful than they are because they’re the ones making the war faces.)

If that part of the WashEx essay hasn’t broken your bullshit meter, get the gaffer’s tape ready for the very next line:

Woke police have so captured higher education and corporate America that most people are now scared to speak their minds in the classroom and at work.

People have been “scared to speak their minds in the classroom and at work” for decades, if by “scared to speak their minds” you mean aware that if they started dishing out slurs and insulting their colleagues and fellow students they’d suffer consequences. And as their silence when the “free speech” issue is school boards banning books shows, their own personal right to call Sue from Accounting a tranny is all that term means to them. 

•   Hey look, a new COVID variant is on its way! Let me take this opportunity to remind you that back in early days of COVID vaccinations, conservatives were yelling that people who still wore masks in public -- whom they presumed to be liberals, because public health measures are liberalism now -- were actually making COVID worse by discouraging vaccination, because masklessness was a benefit of vaccination and, since Americans could not be expected to do anything that doesn't result in immediate gratification, they wouldn't get the shot unless it meant they could rip off the "face diaper" and dive head-first into a ballpit of virus, and masked-and-vaccinated people were making them feel like they couldn't. I will also remind you there have been little revivals of this rightwing anti-mask thing ever since, including recently, after the spread of booster shots, as shown by this Noah Millman column at The Week ("the pressure for continued restrictions is itself an expression of lack of confidence in vaccines... It thereby contributes to the anti-vaccine sentiment that is the primary cause of America's continuing high death toll from COVID"). Millman compares attempts by the fascist CDC to get us to observe these measures to the unheeded commands of decaying despotic regimes, and suggests that requiring masks in schools helped elect Glenn Youngkin in Virginia. If a new COVID wave, enabled by the recalcitrance of red states to masks and vaccination, sweeps the country, I predict neither Millman nor any of his fellow yahoos will reconsider, and will instead blame it on the 6.2% inflation rate. 

•   Tell you what, here’s another freebie for REBID non-subscribers who remember the good old days of Liberal Fascism: The inevitable next step for Jonah Goldberg, whom we may expect to try and cash in on his post-Fox-News cred. Lots of low humor! 

Monday, November 22, 2021

JONAH GOLDBERG: SECOND TIME AS FARTS.

I guess it’s time to remind people about the Doughy Pantload, aka the Flatulator. From an otherwise estimable Greg Sargent column about Stephen Hayes and Jonah Goldberg quitting whatever it was they were getting paid for by Fox News over Tucker Carlson’s pro-insurrection TV special:

Some liberals have scoffed that Hayes and Goldberg are unreliable allies who should have recognized Fox’s toxicity long ago and have taken other unforgivable positions over the years. But liberals should want the existence of a center-right that is fundamentally for the baseline of respecting democratic outcomes and institutions, for reasons I’ve outlined elsewhere, even if we disagree with them about everything else.

In the story linked from his “for reasons I’ve outlined elsewhere," Sargent acknowledges that people like Hayes and Goldberg aren’t exactly democracy’s best friends, but they are more likely to defend it in a pinch than are the true Trumpkins:

On CNN, [Trump apostate Miles] Taylor said: “The one place we are united with Democrats right now is in defending our democracy.” Unfortunately, when it comes to center-right voices willing to say this, right now we don’t have the option of being particularly choosy.

But we only have their say-so on that -- what’s the proof they’ll “defend democracy”? Taylor was revealed to be the author of the hilarious 2018 “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration” op-ed in the New York Times, in which he claimed to be one of “many Trump appointees [who] have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.” But what’d he actually do, besides wait until just before the 2020 election to out himself? 

Taylor's anonymous op-ed suggests he and his buddies just tried to keep the mentally unstable Trump from fucking up Republican policy too much. Even the many “oh yeah, Trump was nuts but I couldn’t tell you at the time because I needed it for my upcoming book” reports out there don’t show Taylor or anyone like him stopping Trump from declaring martial law or anything. (I will add that I take the stories about Pence resisting Trump because of James Madison, rather than because he was ascared he’d get in trouble, with a megagrain of salt.) 

As I wrote when the op-ed came out:

…it's taken me more than a year to acknowledge that Max Boot, for example, is sincere about opposing [Trump]. Boot remains a war-mongering monster, of course, but he's not pretending to be anything else -- he even admits that he can't approve of Trump's saber-rattling, not because Boot has turned pacifist, but because he thinks Trump lacks the belly (figuratively speaking) to follow through with the civilizational slaughter Boot's approval would require.

So when Boot says he's hoping the Democrats take over to teach Republicans a lesson, I believe he means it, because he's not trying to snow me about why he wants it. Thus, if he and his comrades of convenience get rid of Trump and eventually install President Mattis, I won't be stuck with my thumb up my ass blubbering "B-b-b-but I thought we was pals" as America blows up half the Middle East and Boot orgasms voluptuously.

More likely Taylor et alia were just looking for a more comfortable niche in the rightwing universe with some staying power for after Trump sharts himself to death. Taylor is currently working something called the Renew America Movement, pitched by -- red alert! -- the Niskanen Center. These guys are less likely to save democracy than to save their own asses.

Now Sargent and others think Hayes and Goldberg are part of some post-Resistance. Hayes ran the Weekly Standard, the wingnut mag that went anti-Trump, thus driving away its rich rightwing funders -- at which, LOL, on many levels, not least because Megan McArdle thought the demise of this sinecure meant there was a “civil war shattering the [conservative] movement,” notwithstanding “some of the movement’s stalwarts did turn into Trump boosters, if only half-hearted ones.” Har de har har. Pick up a copy of National Review sometime and tell me how anti-Trump they are

As to Goldberg: Since his emergence as his mom’s backup in the Lewinsky affair, he’s been a public nuisance -- my alicublog archives return hundreds of entries on his awfulness, despite my getting bored with him over the past couple of years. The most recent phase of Goldberg’s failsonry is his quasi-demi-hemi-anti-Trumpism, by which he heretofore hoped to straddle Trumpworld and NeverTrumpworld -- here, for example, he sputters that he’s not technically a “Never Trump” conservative, but more of a “Trump skeptic.” Whatever you call his aposta-half-assy, he has mainly expressed it by sneaking snide remarks in between pats of the Former Guy’s back:

Goldberg actually lists several columns where he's been "criticizing Trump." Let's take one at random -- "The False Prophecy of the Presidential Pivot” -- and look at the lede:

It was just last week that Donald Trump had the finest moment of his short presidency — his address to a joint session of Congress. Even many of his harshest critics praised his speech or reluctantly conceded that it was “presidential.”

Really lets him have it, huh? Actually Goldberg does get to criticizing eventually, but it's mainly criticism of Trump's intemperate Tweeting…

The great irony here is, Goldberg’s intellectual cred is largely based on his book Liberal Fascism -- a book about, unsurprisingly, how liberalism is fascism. (Goldberg, sneaky little shit that he is, claimed the book wasn’t about that when hawking it in the prestige media, and mostly got away with it, though not with Jon Stewart.) Now Goldberg finds himself chased out of the top tier of conservatism by the actual fascists in his own movement. Don’t worry about him, though -- he still has his phony-baloney job at The Dispatch as well as his Asness Chair (snerk) at AEI. And eventually you’re see him again in some place of unaccountable prominence, admitting that while the Proud Boys sometimes go too far, they’re a welcome change from the protestors they’ve put in the hospital. FarrRRt

Friday, November 19, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Saw One Hour With You a few weeks back.
I knew old Chevalier was charming, but young Chevalier is a whole 'nother story.

I lived in New York during the Bernie Goetz thing, so I certainly wasn’t expecting any better from the Rittenhouse jury. (The Goetz jurors at least hung an illegal weapons possession charge on him -- which the judge in this case preempted -- and Goetz didn’t kill anyone.) 

Judge Schroeder’s bizarre behavior couldn’t have helped, but let’s face it; most of the sort of people who would make it onto a jury like this are predisposed to support vigilante “justice” if they dislike the victims and the shooter is white anyway. 

That Schroeder felt it necessary to encourage that decision, even with the world watching, is disgusting, but until ordinary people treat such encouragement as a reason for suspicion rather than an excuse, we’re going to keep having this problem whenever there’s a protest to which nuts with guns are not only admitted but invited -- and in other areas where, until recently, we were less accustomed to expect violence, such as at school board debates

The goons themselves are still a minority. Somehow the non-goons who enable them have to be convinced that indulging their violence is bad for them as well as for the rest of us. The goons’ efforts to insulate them from this knowledge has been pretty successful, but we must count on what’s left of the enablers’ common sense to kick in. It’s been known to happen! But it better happen sooner rather than later. 

Anyway, from the newsletter: We all know what the babyface killer’s next step will be.

Friday, November 12, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Only recently heard this one. Billy Stewart's always cool,
but dig the two-chord structure! Heavy.

•  Marc Thiessen, Washington Post:

By now, most Americans have heard of critical race theory. But many do not know just how radical or pernicious CRT is — because, as a new study from the American Enterprise Institute shows, the media does not explain its key tenets in its coverage. So I asked one of our nation’s preeminent historians, Princeton University professor Allen C. Guelzo, to explain CRT and why it is so dangerous.

Critical race theory, Guelzo says, is a subset of critical theory that began with Immanuel Kant in the 1790s.

The fuck? 

It was a response to — and rejection of — the principles of the Enlightenment and the Age of Reason on which the American republic was founded. Kant believed that “reason was inadequate to give shape to our lives” and so he set about “developing a theory of being critical of reason,” Guelzo says.

I don’t know which of these worthies dropped the ball here but describing The Critique of Pure Reason and The Critique of Practical Reason as “Being critical of reason” is like describing Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations as “questioning the wealth of nations.” 

But the critique of reason ended up justifying “ways of appealing to some very unreasonable things as explanations — things like race, nationality, class,” he says. Critical theory thus helped spawn totalitarian ideologies in the 20th century such as Marxism and Nazism…

I’m not an expert but have you ever known anyone who was not putting it on as a pedantic display who said they got into Marx via Kant? (As for Nazism, maybe he’s thinking of Fichte.) The Critiques are about time and space and categories and thing-in-itself and whatnot. It ain’t Points of Rebellion

The rest of the column by the Post’s second-worst columnist is the usual CRT Panic bullshit (yes, Thiessen invokes MLK). My guess is that he threaded in the highbrow stuff to appeal to rightwing cranks who learned about the Frankfurt School from Glenn Beck and will yell about it like the guy in the diner in The Birds going "It's the end of the world!" Why not? In the coalition of crackpots -- the anti-vaxx members of which are now bathing in Borax in an attempt to neutralize the effects of their mandated COVID shots -- there’s plenty of space for pseuds who think blaming liberalism on foreign philosophers makes it sound extra sinister.

•  Roy Edroso Breaks It Down Freebies today! There’s the course descriptions for Bari Weissamatta U., and a partial transcript of a Rittenhousean trial of another of another freedom fighter

Thursday, November 11, 2021

"WHAT, ME WEIMAR?" WATCH.

Members of the Spotsylvania County (Va.) School Board cut right to the chase in its 6-0 vote to remove “sexually explicit” books from school libraries:

Two board members, Courtland representative Rabih Abuismail and Livingston representative Kirk Twigg, said they would like to see the removed books burned.

“I think we should throw those books in a fire,” Abuismail said, and Twigg said he wants to “see the books before we burn them so we can identify within our community that we are eradicating this bad stuff.”

The book-burning brief is open and in flux; the Fahrenheit 451 squad means to expand it to include books found “objectionable” for other reasons:

The criteria for pulling books from circulation this week is “sexually explicit,” but the board plans to refine how material is determined to be “objectionable” for a further review of library holdings…

“There are some bad, evil-related material that we have to be careful of and look at,” he said, without elaborating.

Thanks to Charlie Pierce for the heads-up (“'evil-related material' sounds a bit general,” he notes). Oh, and if you’re not feeling the Spirit of ’33 yet, get a load of this:

Firing teachers, book-banning (latest high-profile victim: August Wilson) followed by calls for book-burning, intimidation by masked paramilitary -- if you don’t see what the “CRT” bullshit is really about, you’re just trying not to see it. 

Tuesday, November 09, 2021

CRYBABY COLLEGE IS IN SESSION!

Today’s newsletter item, released to the gen pop cuz I’m such a sweetheart, is a partial course listing from Bari Weissamatta U, otherwise known as the University of Austin, the cancelculture crybabies’ new, unaccredited college. The project is hilarious on many levels, many of which have been covered in the deluge of Twitter mockery its announcement unleashed. (And that mockery has been followed, as night follows day, by second-wave sea lions doing their bit to promote the grift by castigating the mockers for being mean.  If you dunk on me, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine!

I think something that’s being missed, though, is that for people who claim to revere “the academy” and “veritas” and all that, they’re doing an immense disservice to education, even by the standards they profess. There are, as I have been saying for years, dozens if not hundreds of accredited conservative-friendly colleges out there: Bob Jones, Liberty, Hillsdale, et alia. Yet the people who are always bitching about liberal bias at the major schools never talk about funding these existing schools that share their vision, or sending their prominent intellectuals (like the ones on the "board of advisors'' of Austin U!) to teach at them. So those schools stay stuck in the lower tiers, granting degraded degrees to kids whose parents don’t care so long as they don’t get the wrong kind of education IYKWIM, while wingnuts fantasize about the defunding and takeover of the Ivies

Now Bari and the guys have actually gotten some marquee names and tech funders to back their play -- but rather than give Goucher, Ave Maria et alia the benefit, they’re playing pattycake on the internet. I expect their students will be, not budding Ben Shapiros willing to forego a proper degree for the sake of the cause (Shapiro went to Harvard, he’s no dummy), but mostly racist retirees who want to stick it to the libs by taking Phrenology from Andrew Sullivan. What a waste!  

Friday, November 05, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


La Merm created the role but for some reason backup Elaine Stritch
did the honors in this telecast scene with Russell Nype. 
Irving Berlin's songs are stupid as hell but ain't they fun? 

• Very busy today, I mean even busier than usual -- will see if I can't add a few notes here later. Meantime, the freebies from Roy Edroso Breaks It Down: First, my version of the grim Virginia prognosis; and, as a treat, a funsie in which YOU THE READER are asked to describe a memorable moviegoing experience.  Have at it!