Friday, December 01, 2023

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN: PRESS GANG EDITION.

My wings are broken and so is my hair.

The two Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebies this week (free to non-subscribers, that is – subscribers get five days a week of this excellence! Sign up!) are both about media malfeasance, in a way. Today’s is about Kissinger’s death, treated by the big shots in Prestige Media as an occasion for gracious tribute, but by the average man-on-the-internet-street as either a who-he or fuck-him. 

Kissinger was a mass-murdering, democracy-toppling monster, and the press’ inability to see it, or even admit that reasonable people might consider carpet-bombings and military coups to run contrary to the ideals of their country, is funny in a way, like theater critics reviewing Tamburlaine the Great as if it were Abe Lincoln in Illinois. It’s also depressing – also it just figures, when you consider how slow the Prestige Media has been to acknowledge the menace of Trump even after he literally tried to overturn a presidential election with violence. Well, at least some of us cheap-seaters are catching on. 

The second freebie is about the ridiculous new story about Mike Pence’s decision to preside over the Electoral College vote on January 6, 2021 – that he was talked into his patriotic duty by his son the Marine! Banana oil. He hauled ass to save his ass.

Friday, November 24, 2023

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN: PIQUE PROTEST VOTER EDITION.

Certainly the best version.

Hope everyone had a beautiful Thanksgiving. I worked full shifts at Roy Edroso Breaks It Down this week, and a couple of items have been put on the “FREE” rack for you non-subscribers, though they’re every bit as good as the stuff people pay for. (Which you should think about doing – five days a week, $7/month; it’s like wasteful not to subscribe at these prices.)

First, I have Monday’s scene from the villain’s-lair of Elon Musk, based on what at that time was his latest embarrassment – trying to buy his way out from under his own ridiculous antisemitic comments. In real life it seemed to work on the Anti-Defamation League’s Jonathan Greenblatt, at least, though in my version Musk’s appeal to another prominent Jewish American goes in a different direction. 

(Since then, of course, Musk has further soiled himself by suing Media Matters for reporting the truth about Twitter’s infestation with antisemites. It’s almost as if thuggery and bribery are the only ways he knows to win back lost admiration. You’d think he’d settle for the devotion of the many Weird Elon Nerds who heap mega-dittos on his every tweet – but then it's conservative SOP, isn’t it, to blubber that the people you’ve been absolute shit to don’t love you for it.)

The other freebie is thumbnail biographies of some new Democratic challengers to Joe Biden. You’d think there’d be few Democrats who would fall for the old Jill Stein routine – now the Jill Stein-Cornell West-RFK Jr. routine – and file a protest vote knowing it could deliver the presidency to a fascist lunatic who openly promises to rule as a dictator. I guess you could say the lack of faith in democracy that would drive someone who is intelligent enough to find their polling station to make such a bonehead mistake is the fault of Both Sides, but talk about cutting off your nose (or enabling the Secret Police to cut it off) to spite your face! 

Friday, November 17, 2023

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN: HEARTS AND MINDS EDITION.

I heard this in a coffee shop playing the most coffee-shop mix imaginable.
Still good tho!

So much going on, more than I could keep up with at Roy Edroso Breaks It Down but I made a valiant effort. I dropped by the Israel rally in D.C. and saw on the ground mostly Jewish solidarity, fellow-feeling, and determination to get back the hostages. It was understandable and even moving — how can thousands of voices singing “Acheinu” not be? — and I wish it were not attached to the Israeli government’s insane and vicious bombing of the many Palestinians who are not Hamas (and hospitals and refugee camps, and probably whatever hostages were not already dead). 

Jeet Heer makes some good points about why the lies the Israeli government tells about their depredations are so cack-handed and unconvincing, but in the final analysis it’s simply the same reason that Trump lies as baldly as he does: Because the denial of reality is itself a display of power, showing the aggressor is so powerful that he doesn’t even have to make it look good. They believe in this manner they’ll get what they want (in Netanyahu’s case I frankly don’t think the hostages even figure in it) no matter what anyone else thinks, because there’s always another threat behind this one. 

 We’ll see. There have been some interesting side effects: On the one hand, lots of what usually gets called “cancel culture” applied to Palestinian advocates (can't wait for Bari Weiss' big expose!) and, on the other, guys like Elon Musk and Charlie Kirk deciding now’s the time to just say some absolutely crazy shit about Jews. Maybe recent events have convinced them that, since anyone showing any sympathy for the massacred people gets called an antisemite nowadays, the genuine article will go unrecognized. 

On a lighter note, sort of, we have Trump going even fuller fash than before and prestige media affecting not to notice. His “vermin” shtick dovetails nicely with the proffer videos of Jenna Ellis and Sidney Powell (leaked by a conspirator’s lawyer!) explaining that The Boss did in fact know he’d lost the election and still intended to stay in office – that is, was planning the coup some people will tell you he wasn’t planning. I’m inclined to credit Tubby with a sense of humor here; he might come out with a little toothbrush mustache and brown uniform, and start throwing out Seig Heils, because he knows the Times editorial board will be like, “So, is this a Charlie Chaplin thing? I didn’t think red state voters liked old movies! Quick, gentlemen -- to the diners!”

Friday, November 10, 2023

FRIDAY ‘ROUND THE HORN: CRAZY PEOPLE LOSE ELECTIONS EDITION.

Still the best version.

Another week in the books, and what a week it was here in God’s Country, with people getting fired or muscled for showing sympathy toward massacred Palestinians and yet, somehow, not a peep from Bari Weiss or any of the usual cancelculture crybabies in their defense! Why, it’s almost as if the whole cancelculture thing were bullshit

Speaking of that, I went to last weekend’s Palestine rally in DC and my account of it is one of the week’s two (2) Roy Edroso Breaks It Down posts FREE TO THE PUBLIC thanks to a generous donation by General Dynamics. 

The theme of our other free REBID essay is Election Day and all the Republicans who got their asses kicked because their whole party be acting all crazy. As Jamelle Bouie writes it’s their whole “culture war shtick” that voters seem fed up with, as seen by the defeats suffered by the book-banning Moms for Liberty and various transphobe dickweeds. But abortion is clearly the deal-breaker – the kind of thing that gets red staters to vote against the will of their overlords as they did decisively in Ohio on Tuesday. I’m convinced it’s not just that these voters want reproductive rights – they also know that the people who are desperate to take these rights away from them are out of their minds and cannot be allowed that kind of power over their lives. 

As mentioned in my essay, it’s clear a lot of conservatives have been driven to despair and/or madness by this turn of events. Our old pal Hindrocket from Power Line, for example, headlines his post-electoral-debacle item “WHY DEMOCRATS ARE PANICKING,” which certainly is a counterintuitive take, and Yells At Cloud:

Currently, the most popular position a politician can take, even in red states like Ohio, is enthusiastic support for abortion, as often as possible up to and including the moment of birth. In several states, like Minnesota, abortion after birth–infanticide–has been made legal.

I have heard the up-till-birth-abortion bullshit many times, but “legal” “infanticide” in Minnesota is weirdly specific. Anyone know what he’s talking about? Also, how long after birth can you do it, because I have some suggestions.  

More ominously, I note Republican politicians are working overtime to keep voters from getting any more chances to make their preferences law by referenda -- and to take away those rights even after they're voted into law. That, too, is a thing with Republicans these days – preventing untoward electoral outcomes by force – so don’t let mere awareness that most Americans agree with you make you too confident of the outcome. 

Friday, November 03, 2023

FRIDAY ‘ROUND-THE-HORN: LET’S SEE IF THEY BLOCK THIS ONE EDITION.

News is grim these days, eh?
Let's lighten things up.

As mentioned last week, the prior alicublog F’R-T-H edition that Google unaccountably put behind a gate can be viewed without encumbrance at my Roy Edroso Breaks It Down Substack – as can all previous alicublog posts, and some selected REBID posts that I’ve released to the general public (pay full freight -- $7/month, cheap! -- and you get five posts a week).  

This week we’ve got a consideration of the similarities between the war-drum-beaters in the run-up to the Iraq invasion, and their equivalents in the Israel-Palestine war. In both cases, there was a genuine outrage (9/11, Hamas’ attacks on Israel) followed by a lot of indiscriminate overreach that the civilized world condemned, which made the belligerents declare the civilized world to be on the wrong side of the With Us or Against Us paradigm. It’s depressing to watch an ally blow up refugee camps and ambulances and get mad when you complain, but maybe more of us remember the lessons of the last propaganda putsch well enough to stand up to the present one. 

I’ve also unlocked something for fans of satire and song parodies: A Fiorello!esque number on Speaker Johnson’s weird finances. (RIP Sheldon Harnick, btw.) I’ve seen some journalists talk about Johnson’s missing bank account records as if the issue were his inability to handle personal finances, when the circumstances – specifically his being a Republican politician, a religious maniac, and a just-plain-maniac – suggest that he’s concealing his financial arrangements, not out of modesty, but because revealing them would subject him to opprobrium or possibly criminal charges. After all the mischief they’ve caused, why do we keep giving these schmendricks the benefit of the doubt?

Friday, October 27, 2023

ANY IDEAS? (WITH AN UPDATE.)

As noted -- though, ha ha, you can't see it -- Blogger has blocked my last post and my repost of that post because they claim the posts violate "community standards" -- which they don't.  (Blogger doesn't explain their decision.) 

Google/Blogger has nothing resembling customer service. Suggestions?

UPDATE. Thanks all for your kind advice. I have added my alicublog posts -- both the one Blogger blocked, and older ones, in fact going back years --- at Roy Edroso Breaks It Down. Henceforth, when Google/Blogger gets censorious with me,  you can easily go to REBID and read the posts they block rather than sign in to Google/Blogger to do so. These posts are not paywalled, either. 

The only drawback is the Disqus comments on these posts at blogspot don't port over to REBID. But you can leave comments at either site. 

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN: CENSORSHIP EVASION EDITION (UPDATED).

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN: GOP RETURN TO RELIGIOUS MANIA EDITION.

This summary is not available. Please click here to view the post.

Friday, October 13, 2023

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN: JIHAD ENOUGH EDITION.

Never a bad day for it.

Line up now, and no shoving please, for the Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebies! First, Tuesday’s obligatory Israel post. I’ve heard the Hamas attacks called “Israel’s 9/11,” and since I remember our 9/11 I know the next step is war crimes and it sure looks like Israel’s fixing to commit them. You wouldn’t think opposition to the slaughter of civilians would be controversial, but alas! Among the lowest forms of human life there’s always plenty of engagement to be had by ginning up paranoia and cheering mass murder. 

One almost pities American conservatives, though – on the one hand, they love seeing large numbers of brown people killed; on the other, they have to countenance their bĂȘte noire Biden’s unequivocal support of Israel while their own hero Tubby praises the smarts of Hezbollah. Well, no harm no foul: In a few weeks Trump will sic them on some professor or judge, and they’ll forget all about this.

Also for free at REBID now: My essay on why MAGA people never cottoned to Ron DeSantis. Short answer: He’s a tryhard – straining to prove his viciousness while Trump just comes by it naturally. 

Nothing this week about the Speaker of the House yukfest, because how can you improve on the comic genius of House Republicans? It’s fitting that these backstabbing creeps are showing their ass every day – and predictable that the prestige press is still trying to bothsides it, insisting the Democrats have to walk one of these ghouls across the finish line so he can fuck them over. CNN’s David Gregory reaches a new low

I actually have my eye on Democrats. How long are Democrats going to stand by in the world of identity politics, and zero-sum politics, and not be part of any solution?  

One is put in mind of John Gielgud in Arthur: “Perhaps you would like me to come in there and wash your dick for you? You little shit.”

Friday, October 06, 2023

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN: NOT SEE THE SPEAKER? HANG IT, I SEE TWO* EDITION.

Some of the OGs from back home, tearing it up

Listen, folks, times are tough, so I only have one (1) Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebie for you this week -- "3 Bold Outsider Choices for Speaker of the House." 

I sent that on Wednesday and predicted, accurately, that Trump, who had been floated yet again (as he has been periodically since he left office!) as a candidate for Speaker by the trollier elements on the right (and the click-hungry prestige media outlets -- never forget those!) would never go for it.

The idea was always ridiculous, for the reason I cited in that story and in the previous day's -- oh shoot, let's make that a freebie, too -- Scene from the Throne Room of Mar-a-Lago: that Trump knows his people hate politicians who actually do governing work, as Speakers are obliged to do. As Speaker Trump could not, as he does now, fill his days with the fascist fan service of yammered threats and gibberish. He would have to try to persuade and coerce legislators who have even less respect for him than civilians, and then appear before the press to explain what he had fucked up. He'd look ridiculous, like a badly brought up eight-year-old trying to operate a steam shovel, and remind persuadable voters that he is in any executive role a live menace. (He likes the publicity this stupid idea generates, though, which is why I'm sure he encouraged the latest revival of the story.)

So Tubby has endorsed Jim Jordan, one of a field of eligible frauds who will step on each other's dicks as they jockey to briefly and ignominiously claim the chair. And they and their colleagues will continue to scream that it's all the fault of the Democrats for not carrying them over their own river of bullshit -- which I also wrote about and we might as well open that one up to the public, too! Oh, and here's a prominent Republican blaming Democrats for the Speaker mess (in a bothsider way, of course) that I missed: Come on down, Michael Bloomberg! 
I disagree with McCarthy on virtually every issue, but in some critical moments this year, he showed that he was willing to stand up to his party’s right-wing extremists and take the heat.
WHEN THE FUCK WAS THIS? The closest Bloomberg gets to an explanation is to claim McCarthy was "cooperating with Democrats to keep the government open and running" -- that is, he gave them a 45-day extension, presumably so his colleagues could continue their Biden-hunting antics for the cameras, and then told the Democrats to get fucked
Jeffries should’ve been willing to take the same risk, by rising above partisanship to save McCarthy’s job — if not for the good of the country, then for the good of the Democratic Party.
My ass. I tell you, Elizabeth Warren did us all a solid.

* source

Friday, September 29, 2023

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN: THE GREAT BOT-AND-SCROLL SWINDLE EDITION.

Nothing in this post is to be taken as a knock on Kraftwerk.

Oh boy, have I got Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebies for you! Yes, I bring Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebies every week, but I’m really trying to sell Roy Edroso Breaks It Down now because I’m such a hard-charging capitalist entrepreneur! 

Ha ha, OK, you all know I’m kidding – what a disagreeable old man I have become. I guess I was reminded of my lack of professional ambition by the subject of today’s REBID Fun Friday issue, which I’m releasing to non-subscribers, in which my prompt (a really shitty job experience) is answered by more-than-usually amusing comments. 

Which reminds me: Not only does Roy Edroso Breaks It Down have Fun Fridays, but also fun subscribers whose responses often outstrip my own efforts. Five days a week, friends, for seven bucks a month. If you don’t subscribe it’s like you’re cheating yourself. 

Also, here’s a freebie about the blood-chilling Meta AI launch in which Snoop Dogg and Jane Austen avatars were greeted with applause and appreciative laughter instead of screams of horror and fleeing as they should have been. I understand most of the concern over current artificial intelligence technologies that reduce creative work to amorphous “content” is that it will cost artists their livelihoods. I do sympathize – especially because the cannibalization and “reverse plagiarism” we saw just a few months ago has advanced to the point where scumbags are using real books to “train” robot authors, arguably a novel form of copyright infringement. 

But my own objection is mainly philosophical. At present almost no one who really wants to experience music, literature, and the visual arts would choose the cruddy simulacra that AI affords over the real thing. But in our hypercapitalist dystopia, increasingly the “real thing” in anything is reserved for high rollers. 

Time was the charm and coziness of bohemian neighborhoods was one of the compensations of not being able to afford anything better – but now gentrifiers have swamped those neighborhoods and raised the rent to the point where even the genteelly-poor can’t live in them. Literally no one believes the replacement of human customer service reps with robots has improved customer service for the customers themselves – yet because big money wants to maximize profits, that’s what we get. 

And we’re increasingly told by libertarian creeps that AI will empower psychotherapy bots that will make therapy affordable – when anyone who knows this rotten society can see it’ll just create shitty fake “therapy” that’ll be fobbed off on the poors as the new “telehealth” while the rich get to talk to human beings.

There are a lot of ways in which technology has improved our lives, God knows. But any sentient being must see that our overlords’ goal is not improvement of our lives – which by now is just an incidental side-effect -- but the expansion of their profit margins by any means necessary. They drool at the prospect of feeding us machine-baked mush instead of art because it’ll be more efficient – and it dovetails nicely with the closing down of all those wasteful humanities in schools. Their ideal state is one where the self-expression that has been part of the human experience since the days of the cave-painters is stamped out of existence. 

Friday, September 22, 2023

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN: WHAT ARE YOU, MY MOTHER? EDITION.

Dig these crazy beats!

Those of us in the Northeast are feeling autumn if not autumnal. Maybe because of my somewhat recent change of address the weather shift is not exciting thoughts of death and diminution so much as curiosity – like, how will cooler weather change the pace of life in the neighborhood, and will the boiler still work? 

But whatever the season, Roy Edroso Breaks It Down goes on, five days a week, and Friday means freebies for the joy-poppers. (Get a subscription, ya cheap bastids, it lasts longer.) 

First up is one about the recent revival of the conservative “Marriage Makes You Rich” routine – you know, the idea that you don’t have to give impoverished Americans any money or job programs, you just run them through the chapel and presto, their earnings jump!   

The MacGuffin in this case is some think-tanker’s book, but I believe the wingnuts have jumped on it hard for a couple of reasons, which you’ll learn if you read the thing. Sadly I wrote it before Megan McArdle offered her contribution, which is predictably hilair:

Yet it feels nearly impossible to say “[single parenthood] is a very bad thing” as frankly — and as often — as we’ll need to if we’re going to address this critical issue, both because the first step to fix any problem is admitting we have one, and because saying “that’s bad, actually” is one of the ways that we remove risky behaviors from our cultural script.

Of course McArdle and her fellow scolds have been nagging single parents for decades, and even running marriage promotion scams based on their nagging, without moving the needle. In fact, McArdle seems to think if anything she’s been too inhibited by her fellow-feeling for single moms to nag effectively:

Yet even those of us on the center-right who privately tell pollsters that marriage is important might be reluctant to say so forthrightly in public... I cannot get through even half a sentence without an overwhelming urge to load it down with caveats, for example, that no one should ever stay with an abusive partner for the sake of the children.

So the temptation is to talk about something else, to play down the facts or, at least, sugarcoat them.

Oh, be brave, Megan! Go through the poor neighborhoods with a sound truck crying MARRIAGE MAKES YOU RICH, YOU STUPID PAUPERS!  Remember, it’s for their own good.

Even funnier in its tweetstorm version, in which McArdle answers critics who say we should help working people get jobs that can support a family first (she’s “skeptical of the power of policy change on its own,” lol) so now it’s all up to nagging and she’s tired of doing it all alone, dammit, and wants “public intellectuals” and Hollywood to help:

I’m trying to remember what the last real “marriage sux” show on TV was… “Married… With Children,” maybe? Well, now that Murdoch has left Fox, maybe at last we can get some real conservative pro-marriage programming in there! 

The other freebie, inspired by the news that Marjorie Taylor Greene is working on a book about Marjorie Taylor Greene, is an exclusive look at the book’s preface. It’s a shoo-in for a Puke-lister Prize! 

UPDATE: Rebecca Traister:

It’s not just the think-tank-economist-columnist class prescribing the marriage cure. It’s also hard-right commentators and politicians pushing policies aimed to re-center (hetero) marriage as the organizing- principle of American family life by reversing the progress — from legal abortion to affirmative action to no-fault divorce — that has enabled women to have economic and social stability independent of marriage.

Bingo.