Saturday, February 28, 2009

I went to the New York "tea party" protest in New York today and did coverage for the Voice. As you will see, the crowd was small but the meat on offer was blood-red. The Perfesser's correspondents concentrated on funny signs and inflated crowd estimates (I heard a guy walking around saying "400, 400" -- that's message discipline!), but I actually listened to what they were saying, which was in the main that Obama is a tyrant, a Marxist, a Socialist, the new Hitler, etc., and that he would be taken down by such patriots as appeared today.

It is something to see the conservative movement go totally LCD like this. Jonah Goldberg is talking about showing his patriotic disgust by looking "for every means within the boundaries of the law to minimize what I pay in taxes," which I assumed he did already, though I may have been overestimating his self-maintenance skills. His colleague Steve Hayward invokes the John Galt option, saying "my bigger idea is to go all Randian and literally go on strike... I'm going to start converting income opportunities into more leisure by deliberately reducing my income... I suspect a lot of self-employed people will make similar calculations and adjustments, and the revenue yield will be far below what Obama's people project. " Yeah, that's the word on the streets, alright. I can't wait till Hayward gets out on the hustings and tells the proles to earn less money as a protest. They'll carry him on their shoulders and, in the confusion, go through his pockets. Hail the groovy revolution!

Friday, February 27, 2009

IT TOLLS FOR THEE. The Perfesser tells us that it's "sad" that the Rocky Mountain News is ceasing publication tomorrow. Normally, like most conservatives, he gloats over the death of newspapers, or glibly explains they're only dying because they eschew "hard-news reporting" for "editorializing and 'attitude,' often in support of political positions that many people don’t agree with." So why the sympathy now?

Say Anything explains: the News was "the traditional voice of conservative thought in Colorado." "The Rocky was also one of the main reasons that the more liberal Post didn't become the utterly irresponsible caricature of a newspaper that the Star-Tribune and the Los Angeles Times have turned into," says NewsBusters. " It's a sad loss for Colorado, because it provided a conservative counterpoint to the Denver Post's more liberal bent," says Forget the Health Food.

The Volokh Conspiracy's Dave Kopel is particularly upset -- he wrote a column for the paper. (In a related podcast, he says the editorial page took "more of a free-market bent" than the Denver Post.) The News endorsed Bush in 2000 and 2004, and declined to make a presidential endorsement this year.

Most commenters on conservative websites -- including the ones who turn up on the blogs mentioned above -- are ecstatic, snarling about the death of the liberal media, fishwrap, dinosaurs, etc. They don't know what they're talking about and, their comments show, prefer to keep it that way.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

YOU WANT TO SEND A MESSAGE? CALL WESTERN CIVILIZATION. CPAC is in full swing, and though I picked out some of its random social media moments, it's probably better left to genuine Kremlinologists of the Movement. But I thought this clip of Tucker Carlson giving a speech was interesting. The CPAC crowd took issue to his assertion that the New York Times, though librulmedia, actually gathered news, and that gathering news is expensive and hard. This would seem a self-evident fact. Here and at the Voice I mostly just pull stuff off the web and the wires; it's only hard because I have to do so goddamned much of it, and I certainly don't cost the Voice much money. But the reporters spend days and weeks tracking stories, and that requires plenty of work and money.

Carlson got the crowd back on his side by praising Fox News, which also uses reporters, and they really perked up when he asked why there aren't 25 Fox Newses. But I think he meant it as a challenge and they took it as wish fulfillment -- in a just world there would be 25 Fox Newses, at least. Rupert Murdoch's only paying for one, though, and in the current environment it's hard to see how others would get financing.

I think this is really what all the conservative rage about allegedly liberal institutions comes from. Newspapers, universities, Hollywood -- they all grew more or less organically into what they are, and if they did not develop as conservatives would like, their options (absenting acceptance) are to create alternatives or seize the citadels. Often I have puzzled, or pretended to, over the conservative rage at big schools with their liberal professors; there are plenty of Bible colleges and, with some scratch, they can always make their own, new academies. But that would take time and effort and, even worse, leave Yale and Harvard still standing. The idea of taking them over in a groovy revolution speaks to an apparently constant emotional need which is probably bigger than any notion of reform.

To this point, Patrick Ruffini got on a high horse about Joe the Plumber, and said something about Hollywood:
The left assumes that it is culturally superior and the natural party of government and fights aggressively to frame any conservative incursion on that turf as somehow alien and unnatural. (The "Oh God..." whisper being the perfect illustration.) They dominate Hollywood not by actively branding liberalism in their movies, but by cooly associating liberal policy ideas with sentiments everyone feels, like love (gay marriage) or fairness (the little guy vs. some evil corporate stiff).
He still thinks conservatives should take over Hollywood, of course, but with "an all encompassing argument for conservative cultural and political relevance." At The American Scene, Conor Friedsdorf (of all people! I may have misjudged him) raises a demurrer:
Those professions may be overwhelmingly liberal, but they are also populated mostly by folks whose primary goals aren’t political. Most Hollywood actors, directors and writers set out to do good work and make money, not to advance the cause of the Democrat Party or liberalism generally.
Yeah. You claw your way to the top and then you party with Castro and Che. I thought everyone knew that.

Building the modern conservative movement also took years of painstaking work and heavy financing. But since it was a political movement, it could take a shortcut: access to power attracts rich backers who'll pay to get it, and you every so often you can get the people to vote on it. In this it is much different from the institutions they yearn to take over, which are less easily overturned. The great irony is that, once upon a time, conservatives were supposed to be the ones who "feel affection for the proliferating intricacy of long-established social institutions and modes of life." Now they want culture, cirricula, and the content of newspapers subjected to a plebiscite. No wonder that, now that they're dislodged from political power, they seem so adrift. They're no longer even who they pretended to be.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The question, though, is not whether the Sixties (or the Enlightenment) were good or bad, but whether on balance the Sixties (or the Enlightenment) were good or bad. I answer in the negative.
Think about this: the lunatic Dreher has, in the past week or so, been engaged seriously by Andrew Sullivan, Megan McArdle, and Ross Douthat -- three writers for the Atlantic Monthly, a magazine that once represented the summit of American intellectual attainment. And now its authors treat seriously a man who thinks we'd be better off if the Pope could make us say that the sun revolves around the earth.

Wiser men than I have been talking for years about how conservatives have pulled American discourse to the right. But we can't be reminded often enough that they pulled it so far to the right that it left the earth's gravitational field.

WHAT LIBERAL MEDIA? WEB EDITION. Governor Bobby Jindal addressed the nation last night, saying that government had tried to drown people during Hurricane Katrina, and would have done so were it not for Jindal and a sheriff who Doesn't Play By The Rules. He also called for tax cuts. Before the speech President Obama delivered a prebuttal.

(I love memeorandum but sometimes, when they play the counterintuitive "The real story is some loudmouth wingnut" routine, they remind me of a robot George Stephanopoulos.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

THE POUTS WILL RISE AGAIN! Why, lookee here -- Human Events done got nullification fever!
State governors -- looking down the gun barrel of long-term spending forced on them by the Obama “stimulus” plan -- are saying they will refuse to take the money. This is a Constitutional confrontation between the federal government and the states unlike any in our time.

In the first five weeks of his presidency, Barack Obama has acted so rashly that at least 11 states have decided that his brand of “hope” equates to an intolerable expansion of the federal government’s authority over the states. These states -- "Washington, New Hampshire, Arizona, Montana, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, California...Georgia," South Carolina, and Texas -- "have all introduced bills and resolutions" reminding Obama that the 10th Amendment protects the rights of the states, which are the rights of the people, by limting the power of the federal government.
It's too late and I'm too drunk, but -- California? Where former GOP ubermensch Arnold Schwarzenegger said of the stimulus rejecters, "Fine, give it to me"?

The weirdly-spaced quote marks, misspellings, and conflation of gubernatorial and legislative measures also indicate that this story is not even half-baked. Bottom line, even the most recalcitrant governors will probably go for a Jindal evasion -- that is, reject part of the money with strings attached, take the rest, and declare a victory for the Lost Cause, the better to plausibly tie their fortunes to the upcoming Tea Parties should they turn into something politically viable.

I'll send a shiny silver dollar to whichever of these rebel Gubners takes no money from the Federal Gummint. And I likes me my silver dollars.

I understand the pressing personal need to pretend you're William Wallace online, but when you take even part of the king's shilling, dude, you're just a doofus with paint on his face.

Monday, February 23, 2009

MORAL DEGENERATE. I've been reading around the morality conservatives this evening. I'll spare you the details, but they basically say that everything is rotten and it's up to conservatives to admit that capitalism alone hasn't saved us and we need some sort of public education program to give people values, perhaps out of William J. Bennett books, after which they will behave like Reagan Republicans, only this time with feeling.

A prime example is Matthew Continetti, who started out as a student Republican Iraq War fan, and later became aware that conservative Republicans were not entirely what they said they were. Nonetheless he continued to write for the Weekly Standard in defense of timeless conservative principles such as electing Republicans to prevent liberal weenie judges, electing Republicans so we can invade Iran, and just plain electing Republicans.

Now in the Weekly Standard Continetti writes like man who, finding himself out of other options, must appeal to his readers' tender memories of Bible School. He writes that the American people are weak, depraved by Paris Hilton and A-Rod and, yes, some Wall Street tycoons and yes, yes, even President Bush -- which we must take as a grand concession, though Bush is in Dallas where he can do no one, least of all the Party he lately led, any harm.

Reagan, of course, was an unqualified success; he "instituted public policies that spurred the economy, forced the collapse of the Soviet Empire, and reinstilled national pride among Americans." His economic miracle had nothing to do with the financier-rentier culture that has recently come a-cropper. That was all because of Fannie Mae and steroids and Michael Phelps' bong, which somehow have had a more powerful destabilizing effect on us than Keith Hernandez' cocaine habit, Porky's, and the Savings and Loan scandals of the golden age.

Imagining the crowd may be with him, Continetti makes some soothing noises about Obama before announcing that he must be fought tooth and nail -- but not on partisan grounds; only in defense of America's moral regeneration.

And what will be the agency of our regeneration? Why, "responsibility" -- we must create a new Age of it. Michael Phelps must be responsible not only for swimming fast in quadrennial contests, but also for being a "role model," because "role models have responsibilities." The American people, also, must take responsibility, but not the weak, Democrat sort of responsibility to which Obama alluded in his inaugural address, because that "will encourage the individual to turn to government instead." Where, then, will this new sense of responsibility come from?
Where to begin? Start with some exemplars of decency, professionalism, and ability. US Airways pilot Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger III riveted the nation with his dramatic crash-landing into the Hudson River. -Sullenberger's experience and stoicism meant that not a single life was lost during the dramatic and dangerous touch-down. It is no surprise that he has been lionized in the days since. When everything else seems to be crashing all around us, Sullenberger is a rock of common sense and soft-spoken modesty. Imagine--just imagine--if the men and women who represent us in Congress shared his character?
You've tumbled to it by now. The Republicans have totally fucked up, but there is some public figure of indeterminate political affiliation who has done something right, and by God that's what the new conservatism is all about. He's like -- let's see -- he's like the 1980 Olympic hockey team! He's like -- give me a minute -- Lee Iacocca! He's like, he's like, he's like -- the crew of the Challenger! They slipped the surly bonds of earth, and so can we!

Perhaps this, rather than Michael Phelps' drug use, outrages you. But come now, we are liberals, and full of understanding. We can no more chastise Continetti for his behavior than we would chastise a chimpanzee for masturbating in his cage. Why wouldn't he try this ancient scam on the public, and why wouldn't other rightwing moral scolds (like Ross Douthat -- who also, hilariously pleads for "an intellectually healthy American Right that's influenced by Rod Dreher and the Cato Institute") aid and abet him? It's not as if they had any real morals.
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about those little anti-stimulus protests (previously noted here) that rightbloggers like to portray as the opening volley of a glorious revolution. Their latest big win: 300 protesters in Kansas. That's about as many as turned out to protest that stupid ape cartoon outside News Corp. And its effect will probably be ever bit as devastating.

Declaring victory is one of their indisputable skills, and they have every reason to be proud of it, but they don't seem to have figured out that declaring victory isn't the same thing as winning.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

THE NIGHT BEFORE OSCAR. I never did get around to seeing more of the Academy Award nominated films, but I made some predictions anyway at Runnin' Scared, on the principle that ignorance is no more a disqualification than it is an excuse.

I did see Milk, and I thought it was good, though it's further evidence for my observation that, when it comes to biopics, the best ones either are mediocre or transcend the genre. But Harvey Milk's story is so fascinating that I was content to see it played straight, as it were, by Gus Van Sant in his Hollywood mode.

Some of the acting is very fine. Despite ample screen time James Franco, alas, barely registers as the boyfriend, and Victor Garber is eternally Victor Garber, an important man in a suit. But Josh Brolin's Dan White is frighteningly plausible as a successful small-time family-values politician wrapped tight enough to snap, Diego Luna gives some neurotic spin to the other boyfriend, and Emile Hirsch has the heedless, new-in-town gay-hooker vibe down cold, and shows enough intelligence to explain his transformation into a political lieutenant.

Penn is of course terrific, not only in his inspired mimicry of Milk, who was wrapped pretty tight himself, but also in showing the grace notes -- I suppose we should call them graceless notes -- of Milk as a politician. It's to his credit and the film's that we sometimes see Milk being a smiling shit in pursuit of his agenda. (This also helps motivate White's explosion.) Politics ain't beanbag, and if the movie has a message beyond Wasn't He Great, it's that idealists don't win without doing hard and occasionally nasty work. By noting this without making much of it, Milk suggests something bracing about the morality of doing bad things for a greater good, which many other films worry over: of course it's right, now go change the world. Milk isn't in the same class as Army of Shadows, but it shares some of the Melville film's clarity on that score, which pleasantly surprised me.

At its worst the film tediously fills in the historical record, in the classic manner of biographies like Gandhi ("You know what Churchill says about Gandhi? He calls him a half-naked fakir!") and indulges in bathetic gestures, like the rendering of Milk's death, both in the story (I really don't get the opera theme, except as a gay signifier out of Philadelphia) and in documentary footage at the intro -- which I immediately took for an awful, cheap shot that makes you cry if you remember that horrible event without the film having done a lick of work to justify such a response. Later this is revealed as a framing device -- you see the candles moving down the street again at the end, when presumably the audience will have a new perspective on the scene. But I didn't feel its significance. Maybe that's because the intro repelled me, or maybe it's because Van Sant really isn't much of a director and can't make such large formal gestures work. So Milk isn't great, but on its limited terms it does just fine.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

A SHOCKING OMISSION. I see that Videogum is looking for The Worst Movie of All Time. They have many worthy contenders, all observing the stipulation that each nominee "must have at least one A- or B-list movie star in it." But I am amazed that no one at the site has mentioned Skidoo.

This is amazing. I can only attribute the omission to the film's unavailability in official video or DVD versions. You have to get it as a bootleg, or see it in a rare revival, as I have many times.

If it's so bad, why have I seen it many times? Because it's that bad. And, as Mencken observed of Warren Harding's speeches, so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it. If you want A-film credentials, it was directed by Otto Preminger in the midst of his late-60s, LSD-induced infatuation with youth culture as observed from Beverly Hills. It has Jackie Gleason (!) as a retired gangster, sent by a mob boss named "God" and played by a senile Groucho Marx (!!) to get to a prisoner (Mickey Rooney) God is afraid will talk. In prison Gleason bunks with a hippie played by Austin Pendleton, who inadvertently doses him with LSD. After rolling around on the floor going "Gnangh, gnagh, gnagh" and seeing visions, Gleason is filled with the spirit of love and liberates the prison. Meanwhile on the outside, Gleason's wife, Carol Channing (!!!) tries to seduce Frankie Avalon (!!!!), and, wearing a Revolutionary War outfit, leads a groovy revolution of flower children. The movie ends with Groucho smoking a joint in a rowboat. The music is by Harry Nillson, and includes the title song, "Skidoo, skidoo/The only thing that matters is with who ya do."

Even a great director's worst film can usually be parsed for some thematic or stylistic relationship to his other works, but for Preminger Skidoo represents a complete psychotic break. In fact, the film has no clear relationship to anything else -- not to AIP movies, not to Hollywood hippie cash-ins like The Happening, not to any known film or TV show or play or life itself. It is very like a work of genius, except it sucks. I hope this gets to Videogum, and that they will give it the immortality it richly deserves.

UPDATE. Some amazing comments. I didn't see the Netflix requirement that an anonymous commenter says is part of Videogum's criteria: I got them here. But if Skidoo is ineligible, at least I have put the word out on it, and that will stand as my legacy. I am grateful for the other nominations, and will definitely have to watch Middle Age Crazy sometime. But what's with all the unlove for Eyes Wide Shut, Happiness and Bad Lieutenant? I think Kubrick outsmarted us all with his last movie (even the great short story writer Mary Gaitskill thought it was supposed to be sexy fun, when it's really all about guilt and shame), I still maintain that Happiness is the great film of the 1990s, and you all know how I feel about Bad Lieutenant. But I appreciate Kia's claim that Forrest Gump is "the Gone with the Wind of the 1990s," and am grateful to be reminded of the ridiculous Henry and June, one of Uma Thurman's speeches from which ("Yuh so negative! Yer a complete failure as an ahtist!") I had as my answering machine message for a while.

UPDATE II: And thanks, Basharov, for reminding me of Exorcist II: The Heretic. Memories of it still return to me at odd moments.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

PUNCHLINE. Perfesser says this is hehindeed good survivalist humor from a fellow constitutional scholar named "Geek with a .45." You know, before I read it, I actually thought that, like drummer jokes or "Bartenders Do It On The Rocks" t-shirts, survivalist humor might show some modest self-awareness and a sense of the absurd. However:
$25.00 50 lbs of rice
$11.00 10 lbs of peanuts
$12.00 25 lbs of sugar
$27.00 60 lbs of flour
$34.00 50 lbs of dry beans
$14.00 05 lbs of dried milk
$18.00 6 #10 cans of misc veggies
$141.00 An additional 3 +/- months of grim eats emergency rations

The look on checkout girl's face when she figures out what's up....

...because the horror she displays upon realizing that she's to be serially raped in Geek with a .45's cabin until she bears him a male young'un excites him even more than Pajamas TV and whittlin' put together.

The End Times will come as a blessing to me. I'll go out imagining former law professors, dressed in filthy rags, trying to build a holodeck out of logs.
A PARTY ABOVE ALL PARTIES. Here's a post by a guy at Big Hollywood who says if your friends are liberals, you should get rid of them. There are three ways to look at this:
  1. Commenters are in agreement, so long as he isn't talking about Super Friends.
  2. Actually he avails a "Sopranos" theme and suggests whacking one's liberal friends. One commenter laments, "What if you do if those friends are family? And not just family but close family. Family you love deeply but simply cannot stand for the very reasons you talked about. Sure, Tony would whack them, but it's harder in real life..." Like the protest pornography lately disseminated by prominent conservatives, this reveals a fantasy life that, while it may be baroque, could not also be called rich.
  3. The only other people I've seen giving this kind of advice are nazis, commies, and cult members. Maybe Breitbart's got a different game going here than what it looks like. If so I congratulate him on his cleverness.
PORKULUS PROTEST CONTINUES! Looking at the Left announces, "Colorado Says No to Obama's Package of Pork." Colorado apparently has a population of 300.

Again, I approve of their efforts, and hope they continue, as this would lead to entertaining riots. But so far these shindigs don't seem worth the pixels they're pixelated upon, even by major rightbloggers. The intended effect apparently is not to generate civil unrest, but to stimulate more housebound yahoos to feel more transgressive by looking at the pictures. The Ole Perfesser's homepage is currently crowned by a Joe the Plumber banner demanding viewers "Resist Socialism." I didn't notice this in the early days of the Paulson bailout, so pure anti-statism is probably not the motivation. When even so frosted-tip a wingnut as Neo-Neocon writes headlines like "Chavez power grab: is this our future, too?" we can assume roiling the base where they live (the couch and carport) is what's intended. The photos of posters showing Obama with hammers-and-sickles in his eyes are meant to inflame the smoldering resentments of true believers who will in response increase traffic numbers or purchase subscriptions.

Yet I still hold out hope. Since Starbucks is now double-plus-ungood in their sect, maybe they wouldn't mind smashing their windows.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

HISTORY WILL ABSOLVE THEM. The Alex Rodriguez press conference today about his steroid use was not very interesting to me but for some related thoughts it stirred later.

Though his manipulation of the evidence was completely cynical -- he portrayed himself not as a Major League ballplayer who injected steroids, but a mixed-up kid who'd never been to college and experimented -- I imagine that by his own standards Rodriguez really believes he's in the right. His strongest argument -- and, it seemed to me, the talking point with which he was most comfortable, though he used it sparingly lest it muddy his show of contrition -- was his own performance "foul pole to foul pole" in his post-juicing days. That's his proof that he wasn't making himself into something he's not. He is, to his satisfaction (and that of the reporters, from the way they danced around it) a great ballplayer. Steroids didn't get him there, he did.

If there's a moral issue in it for him, that's it. Clearly the stuff about letting down fans and colleagues and parents was something to be expected of any star obliged to duck a rap in public, like his professions of ignorance. But you'd have to be pretty sentimental to think A-Rod feels shame about juicing. His initial reference in the earlier Gammons interview to the "loosey-goosey" MLB environment at the time suggests that he has compartmentalized his drug use. The issue of breaking MLB rules is for him a nuisance, not an agon, and since Bud Selig rather than Bart Giamatti is running the show, this superstar doesn't have to worry much about getting bounced.

This came to my mind again when I read what Megan McArdle wrote today about shame. In brief, she supports it as a means of social control, in a way indistinguishable from those of professional scolds like Rod Dreher, whom she defends, but for one thing: she excludes behaviors in which she is herself engaged and of which Dreher et alia disapprove.

Here, as traditionally, McArdle lavishes scorn on those she does think need to be made to feel shame, specifically people poorer than her ("having a baby you know you can't care for") and people richer than her ("paying yourself a lavish bonus out of taxpayer-provided funds to bail out your crappy, insolvent bank"). She doesn't consider that these people may also be impervious to shame for their own reasons. For her shame is something that should be felt by those who are not Megan McArdle or close enough.

If she chooses to behave differently than Preacher Dreher will countenance, she is undisturbed and will yet drop a coin in his collection plate, because what he stokes in his hellfire she believes to be a useful commodity, so long as no embers touch her garment.

And why should they? She has a good job and a safely contrarian niche that allows her to talk libertarianism without getting dumped among the downscale Ron Paul people. And all this is the result of her own hard work. It's not like she knocked over a liquor store or spent beyond her means. Surely the Preacher won't disdain her coin; foul pole to foul pole, she earned her place among the elect.

Update: Sure enough, Preacher Rod endorses McArdle's essay. I get sick of being right sometimes.
TAKING IT TO THE STREETS. I wish my conservative brethren well with the street action thing. 150 people on a Federal holiday to protest the Generational Theft Act is a good start. Granted, back in 2003, at the dawn of what many leftists also considered, as today's Seattle protesters consider the stimulus, a tyrannical government intervention, a similar protest drew 50,000 people in Seattle. But the discrepancy may be explained in a number of ways:
For the past 8 years, you never saw a liberal organize a protest against spending by the Bush administration. They protested just about everything and anything, but never specifically government spending - unless it was directed at cutting military spending - the ‘slow bleed‘ campaign. Quite telling about the character of today’s liberal.
So you could say today's gathering was smaller, or that it was more discriminating.

I would attribute the modest turnout to other factors -- most charitably, that for Republicans activism usually means yelling on the internet or, at its most obstreperous, stopping a recount. It will take time, even if they're serious, to get the hey-hey, ho-ho thing going. Maybe Newt Gingrich can teach them about Twitter and revive flash mobs. Maybe they'll do better when the comrades have been centralized and made used to exposure to the elements in government work camps.

Or maybe they'll just do these things from time to time, compliment each other on their signs, and bitch about how the media didn't cover them. That would be too bad; I was looking forward to the riots, especially in the shopping districts.

Monday, February 16, 2009

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the right's celebration of President Obama's shameful defeat on the stimulus bill. Ha ha, yes, that's just the teaser. Plenty of them are aware that the thing actually passed, and are entertainingly mad about it.

Being a suspicious sort, I am in some sympathy with their claims of a lack of transparency in the bill. But I figure, if it's really that much of an outrage, we can always impeach him, right?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

STILL MORE LEDEEN OMG FASCISM ETC. Michael Ledeen has published a second installment of his claim that the bailouts and stimulus mean "We Are All Fascists Now." First, a recap from part one:
What is happening now... is an expansion of the state's role, an increase in public/private joint ventures and partnerships, and much more state regulation of business. Yes, it's very 'European,' and some of the Europeans even call it 'social democracy,' but it isn't. It's fascism...

When Roosevelt was elected in 1932, in fact, Mussolini personally reviewed his book, Looking Forward, and the Duce’s bottom line was, “this guy is one of us.”
And then he wrote:
It is no accident that the campaign to drive religion out of American public life began in the 1940s, when the government was consolidating its unprecedented expansion during the Depression and the Second World War...
There's a lot of yap in there about Tocqueville, but we can summarize that FDR => smoking bans => stimulus => Hitler. There, I saved you ten or fifteen minutes.

The Wolverines howl in comments, and Ledeen feels obliged to step in:
I quite explicitly said that America is not on the road to fascism; it’s just that the economic porkulus that just passed is not, as Newsweek said, a socialist bill, but a fascist one.

Fascist economics, not politics. Not all tyrants are fascists, you know.
This fine distinction does not stop the baying, nor, I think, was it meant to -- it's just a little plausible deniability to keep him from being officially demoted to the lunatic fringe.

The blue-seaters are not dissuaded. Another brother cries, "We may be forced into a sort of Confederacy of opposition against this tyranny between now and a point of no return to save America," and Riehl World View says that failing the reelection of the Republicans, "nothing but an eventual collapse and near re-invention of American government offers conservatives much hope."

The Age of Obama seems to encourage this Jonah Goldberg schtick of imputing fascism right up front, then claiming as the chairs are being thrown that you really meant something else. It would be disturbing if the chairs were not virtual. While it's possible that some yokels might take it up a notch, at present it seems that for possibly the first time in his life Chris Muir may be onto something: the nerdoisie would rather let their avatars fight the New Revolution. Though, as I've pointed out, political blog posts share some resemblance with the Journals-Affiche, if their present-day authors had to go out in the night and paste them to walls, few would ever be seen.

But we may reexamine this if it comes to breadlines. Ledeen, Goldberg et alia have no stomach to fight the oncoming depression, but they are keenly interested in winning the spin on it once it's here.
THEY DON'T MAKE 'EM LIKE THEY USED TO. National Review's latest list of "conservative movies" reminds me of their first such adventure in 1994. Back then the magazine still employed respectable arts correspondents like D. Keith Mano and John Simon, and was less inclined than now toward identifying works of art by politics to brace up casual conservative consumers of culture.

But we had a hint of where National Review was going in 1993, when James Bowman proclaimed Rush Limbaugh "The Leader of the Opposition" in a cover story. "To a surprising number of conservatives," wrote Bowman, "there is a solemn appropriateness about Reagan's passing the torch to the 42-year-old former disc jockey and college dropout." Just so. After their long Reagan-Bush summer, the unthinkable ascendancy of Bill Clinton shocked right-wingers into recognizing that they hadn't destroyed their enemies with tax cuts and sunny patriotism, and they needed new ways to get the punters back on their side.

So they began to heed Pat Buchanan's call to "take back our culture" -- though, unlike Buchanan, they didn't expect to do it with National Guardsmen, but by appropriating existing cultural artifacts in their cause. At the writing of the 1994 list, the Gingrich uprising was still fresh, conservative populism was in season, and some of the brethren may have felt as if the tide could be turned back in their favor if they could just make conservatism look cool by associating with works of pop art.

We see what National Review has come to since then: you certainly don't look to it for serious arts criticism, but for essays on how Adam Sandler movies promote family values it's your best bet. In between imputations of liberal fascism, Jonah Goldberg yammers about the relationship of "Battlestar Galactica" to the War on Terror. Junior operatives are sent hunting after conservative messages in other TV shows.

And though the new NR list is graced by contributions from heavy thinkers as well as hacks, it's remarkably dumbed-down from the original. The 1994 list of 100 movies included films by John Ford and Wajda, Cavalier's Therese, There Was a Crooked Man, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, etc. These were in most cases woefully misapprehended by the editors, but at least they showed some interest in film history. The oldest films on the current list are 1984's Red Dawn and Ghostbusters. The Lives of Others, a favorite of William F. Buckley, is the lone art-house entry. Most of the honorees were originally released after right-wingers started mining movies for affirmation and have already been through the conservetkult's cultural appropriation mill, e.g. The Dark Knight, United 93, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, A Simple Plan, etc.

I don't blame laziness so much as a weary awareness, after all these years of similar work, that they are no longer breaking new ground. Real critics would be excited by any opportunity to reexamine film culture, but propagandists are more easily bored. As culture-war detail is only a part-time job for most of them, why re-invent the wheel? So they grabbed what was handy and did a quick, web-friendly Top Whatever list. Later on they'll get someone to write about the supply-side economic message in Confessions of a Shopaholic, and if it plays they can use it again later.

I notice that National Review is again calling Limbaugh the Leader of the Opposition. This suggests a switch on the old saying: If the first time was farce, what does that make the second time?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

F-BOMB (UPDATED). I see Victor Davis Hanson Michael Ledeen* has, in short and long forms, called the Obama Administration fascist. He takes off from Newsweek's declaration that Obama is the latest in a line of enablers bringing the country toward French-style socialism, which is just a mildly provocative observation based on apparent facts. Hanson's Ledeen's stuff, on the other hand, is based on Jonah Goldberg's hysterical revisionism, in which any government activism beyond mustering troops and delivering the mail (maybe) can be evidence of fascism, if the author finds it politically expedient to say so.

(*Update: In first writing this post I confused Ledeen with Victor Davis Hanson, an understandable mistake, as they both employ the same woe-unto-you-scribes-and-pharisees schtick that adds pomp, or at least pomposity, to Pajamas Media and National Review. I followed on with comparisons to Hanson's previous writings on the Wall Street bailouts, which don't apply to Ledeen, so I've removed them and will save them for a rainy day. Ledeen, a War on Terror obsessive, doesn't write much about the economy, so we assume his fascist comparison comes fresh from the crazy lab.)

The usual suspects are praising Hanson's Ledeen's courage. Ed Driscoll offers an interesting twist, claiming that Newsweek was afraid to admit that Obama is a fascist, and praising Hanson Ledeen for seeing through their cowardice.

It'll be interesting to see how many of them will take the bait. Obama's been President for less than a month. If they're already calling him a fascist, what's left for them? Maybe by spring they'll be comparing him to Satan, and after that they'll be making up fables about unimaginable evils in alternate universes to accommodate the ever-escalating scale of their accusations: e.g., Once upon a time in the Deruvian galaxy, there was an evil tyrant named Obamanous... Maybe this will lead to the conservative aesthetic renaissance that we have been promised for so many years. It's an ill wind that blows no one some good!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

DARWIN FISH. The Washington Times celebrates Darwin's birthday with an essay by Jonathan Wells. His theme:
For most people, science means testing hypotheses by comparing them with the evidence. For Darwin and his followers, however, "science" became the search for natural explanations...

Actually, Darwinism has always been more philosophy than science. Darwin called "The Origin of Species" "one long argument," and it took the following form: The features of living things are "inexplicable on the theory of creation" but fully explicable as products of unguided natural forces. Darwin lacked sufficient evidence for the latter, however, so he ruled out the former by simply declaring that only natural explanations are "scientific."
The difference between science and "science" is apparently that the latter, for willfully evil reasons, does not accept supernatural explanations, as they did in the dear old days before "scientists" started messing around in labs, observatories, and nature preserves.

Wells also tells us that "once in power Darwinism (like Marxism) tolerates no dissent" -- a hedge planted, as it were, so that if opponents mention that Wells is a zealous adherent of the Unification Church, whose messiah, Sun Myung Moon, also founded the Washington Times, they are just Marxistically trying to assassinate his character ("scientists and teachers who criticize Darwinism risk ostracism, character assassination and termination of their employment"). But some of my favorite people, and not a few evolutionists, have sky-gods and, being a generous soul, I am glad for Wells that he has a creed that helps him understand his place in the world, and a publisher/prophet who helps him get there.

The connection is more interesting for what it says about culture-war issues, such as Darwin has become, within the current conservative universe. These days you'll rarely find the more upper-class conservatives arguing that God didn't make them from no monkeys. Full-throated Darwin denialism is largely left to populist crackpots like Ann Coulter and fringe figures of the sort described by Alternative Tulsa. More thoughtful conservatives will try to explain to their backward brethren that Darwin is OK for conservatives, and often via the gambit that evolution is rationalist and therefore part of the Way of the West patriots must defend, or by the old dog-medicine-in-Alpo trick of telling them that Darwin is actually conservative.

You'll see a lot of this sort of thing tomorrow, as the Darwin birthday bandwagon rolls. Back when the first Bush bank bailout came, a lot of conservatives demurely dropped their free-market principles; now that the stimulus (philosophically consonant, alas, with the bailouts) has been adopted by Obama, you see them mouthing some of the old platitudes, but only as an obstructionist stunt. No one believes it, but it has to be done. As tools to rescue the economy, these things are clusterfucks, but as cultural totems they are only good or bad depending on what trench you happen to be fighting from.

Just so with Darwin. In their politically degenerate phase, conservatives can loosen up about him -- there's not much powder or provender there in the Age of Obama; no need to play dumb. When a stimulus moment arrives, they'll have the option of putting the masks back on, and you'll see Jonathan Wells and Ben Stein and all those guys riding on the top of the float again. It's sort of like the routine done at Big Hollywood and in other such conservative movie games -- denouncing film as a liberal plot at one end of the mood swing, declaring film a conservative phenomenon at the other -- but played out much more slowly over a longer period of time, as befits the evolutionary model.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD. Rod Dreher contemplates a challenge to write a pro-God bus ad:
Hmm. Mine would probably have to do with a conversation I was having with a friend this past weekend. I told him that I thought so much atheism -- not all of it, mind you, just a lot of it -- was built on an unconscious fear that God really does exist. If God exists, then we are not free to do what we want to do. The attempt to murder God is really the attempt to murder a sense of moral guilt.
I think someone has already designed his ad. Has to be made more horizontal, though.

Monday, February 09, 2009

FEELING THE LOVE. Nothing gladdens the heart like a Valentine's Day discussion at Dr. Mrs. Ole Perfesser's! The tone of DMOP's post is surprisingly mild. She does quote an apparent lunatic who sees men on Valentine's Day "wringing their hands, dreading this day... women using sex as a weapon; men living in fear..." Sounds like this cowboy's confusing the Feast of St. Valentine with Sadie Hawkins Day. But happily, DMOP is not herself going John Galt on the Perfesser this February 14: "I just try to go out and find a nice gift that my husband will like and I think he tries to do the same." Maybe she's just baiting the poor souls who hang around there, which raises her in my estimation.

"I like to give gifts," says By The Sword. "But I think V-day is just something that the greeting-card industry and florists use to make more money. If I give a gift it will be on my own terms." He must be fun at Christmas.

"Valentines day is a creation of selfish individualistic liberal culture and free market, which aids in commodification of romantic love," quoth qwerty. All these years in the struggle, and I never heard about this part of the liberal action plan. I must ask my man-hating feminist comrades about it.

"You mean that relic of chivalry still exists?" asks Rob Fedders. "What day do they celebrate it on?" I imagine Rob only acknowledges holidays mentioned in the World of Gor.

"Valentine's day is a trap for Beta males who have no grasp of a woman's psychology," huffs kmg. "The problem is, the woman has the power of the STATE behind her bullying." Wait 'til he gets a load of the upcoming Valentine's Stimulus, with its chocolate mandates!

Many of Dr. Mrs.' commenters are actually normal and appear to be in good relationships. But even some of the unenraged feel the need to declare their independence ("I refuse to kowtow to any person, male or female") as if it were under threat from the greeting-card industry. "And even if that's not what most women think," says Cavedog, "it's definitely what a lot of men think that women think. So there's pressure there anyway, and it's societal pressure, not relationship pressure." The crushing power of conformism is trying to make him buy some roses. Can he summon the Randian fortitude to resist?

This session has been a tonic. I came in thinking I was troubled by societal pressure, and came away feeling that my burden is light compared to others'. If I weren't such a parasite, I'd send her a fee.
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP about the extraordinary message discipline among conservative bloggers in their portrayal of Obama's rush to stimulus as a "fear" campaign. As you know I'm not a stimulus enthusiast and hardly equipped to speculate on its chances of success or failure. Neither are most rightbloggers, but they display a fierce certainty about the issue that is fascinating in an Angriest Dog in the World sort of way. On those rare occasions when they talk about alternative strategies, the fascination quickly turns to horror.

While it's probably for the best that genuine intellectuals don't run the show, in times of real peril the benefits of democracy are sometimes very difficult to see.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

THE NEW MICHAEL MOORE. The latest target of the Kulture Kops is Will Ferrell, who is having a very successful run on Broadway in a one-man George Bush show. At the New York Post Kyle Smith says, "Is it too much to ask for Hollywood's leading comic actor not to use the deaths of our troops in combat for a giggle?"

What Smith means by this bizarre accusation is: there's a moment in the show where Ferrell, as Bush, asks for a moment of silence for the troops, which is interrupted by the ringing of a telephone, previously announced to be a non-working prop. "Bush" later says he was afraid God was calling him. "The problem is," Smith says, "during what turned out to be merely a pause to set up the punchline, I actually was thinking about our war dead, and so were a lot of others." No audience interviews, unfortunately, are included to confirm this.

Smith judges that "Here, Hollywood is letting its mask slip." On Broadway, yet. Maybe Smith originally blamed this treason on the Hollywood/Broadway/Off-Broadway/Off-Off-Broadway/TV/musician/mime/sidewalk sketch artist conspiracy, but it was cut for space.

Smith demands Ferrell excise the bit, thereby flexing the muscle of the New York Post arts section, and Macsmind makes a meme of it:
Which is why, as the leader of a South Florida Veterans organization we will create boycotts of any endeavor that Will Ferrell participates in from here on out. Mock the President all you want. Mock Christ if you dare, but spit on the graves of our fallen comrades and will we kick your lanky ass. Since doing it physically is illegal, we will do it monetarily.
At this very moment, Talladega Nights II is being reimagined as a vehicle for Johnny Knoxville.

Even worse, the show includes an alleged photograph of the former President's penis, which enrages Freedom Eden: "They're obviously giving New York libs exactly what they want," she says. Well, yes, that would be the target market. Studies show that rightwing bloggers tend to eschew Broadway satires of George Bush, so there was no need to accommodate their tender sensibilities. I thought conservatives were supposed to understand the free market.

Nonetheless Say Anything avails the customary what-if: "Can you imagine a comedian’s effort to mock Barack Obama’s penis getting any sort of attention from a publication like the New York Times?" Doubtless it would get attention of some kind -- but say, what a great idea for an alternative entertainment for the rightblogger market! They could do it at Branson.

Theatre critic Wizbang says, "What a farse [sic]." Also, "It's so bad I really believe he'd portray Hitler in a better light." The critic does not say whether he or she has actually been to the show, but as we know they don't have to see these things to have strong opinions about them.

"Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of Manhattan people," chortles Don Surber over at the general store before moseying over to the flat-footin'; also, them city folks lives all on top o' one another, and they cain't skin a muskrat nohow.

Please, nobody tell them that the new show with Angela Lansbury in it was written by a homosexual.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

My Latest Safari into American Pop Culture [Mike Potemra]

I just learned, from a magazine in the drugstore checkout line, that Jessica Simpson is now considered too fat. (I found a link here.) You read that right: Jessica Freakin’ Simpson. The worst part is, American women buy into this crap.

UPDATE: A friend e-mails me that President Obama made an ungallant reference to her weight. Shame on him! It’s almost enough to convince me not to vote for him next time.

FURTHER UPDATE: A reader makes the persuasive case that President Obama was not mocking Jessica Simpson’s weight at all, but merely reading out the headline from a magazine that claimed she was in a weight battle. (I didn’t watch the video, I just read accounts of it.)

02/05 05:23 PM
Just to see what would happen, I am sorely tempted to tell Potemra that Border Angels is fighting for eagle rights.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

A CAP IN THEIR ASS. Obama's half-million-dollar salary cap is, as they say in the old joke about 5000 dead lawyers, a good start. It does inspire a childish hope that a lovable deadbeat dad played by Kevin Costner can be employed to manage Citigroup as effectively as Vikrim Pandit at a fraction of the cost. As to its actual effectiveness, we can also hope that it does to these geniuses what it has already done to Nicole Gelinas who, clearly shell-shocked, suggests that Treasury is trying to get "these companies to sell off their salvageable assets to new private owners as quickly as practicable, even at fire-sale prices." That is probably not Treasury's idea, nor the best idea, but if the attention of CEO-humpers like Gelinas can be so quickly and powerfully concentrated by the salary cap, there is some hope it will do the same for CEOs, too.

As I noticed over at the big house, rightblogger reaction shows some confusion. It's as if their Morning Memo simply read, "Sorry, folks, you're on your own." Some of the more rabid among them have at this writing played the news very low-key. I'm guessing they don't want to buck the populist tide too much.

Of course it's more fun when just let it all hang out.

There are some straight-up shouters ("Executive Pay Capped at $500,000: Liberty Just Died in America"), but I prefer the ones who think they have a clever response, like Hindrocket at Power Line. He says the cap is unfair because "a number of banks were forced by the federal government to accept TARP funds that they didn't want." Likewise, they were forced to take FDIC insurance; government nannies are always making these brave rebels follow their stupid rules. Then he quotes a "reader" who says why don't they put a salary cap on PBS, hmm? There's a lot of this sort of thing going around as conservatives try to redefine "bailout" as "any government spending we don't like." I half hope it catches on, so I may suggest that the government stop bailing out churches, faith-based organizations, the military, etc.

Over at the Heritage Foundation, Andrew Grossman asks, "$500,000 per year, while a large amount, is hardly extravagant. Think: Is someone like Steve Jobs at Apple worth that much? The market seems to think he’s worth billions to the company." Indeed it does, but probably because Jobs isn't running his company into the ground, which is more than we can say for the TARP babies. "And," adds Grossman, "even if the brilliant types stay on at lower pay, they may not put their all into their work. After all, once you’ve maxed out compensation for the year, why bother putting in 12-hour days and working weekends?" Why indeed? They were doing that all the way up to collapse; clearly a radically different approach is needed, one that might involve spending time with their loved ones. Let bankers' hours be bankers' hours! Then maybe we can all work less, like the French.

Finally, Grossman worries about
the end of job-exit as a signal. In economics, 'signaling' is how individuals convey information to others, often through their actions... On Wall Street, talent walking out the door signals that your firm is in big trouble. But with pay caps, there’s little reason to exit so swiftly.
First, it's a little fucking late for "signaling," and second, they don't need pay caps as a reason to stick to their jobs when there's a looming depression already in place --which happens to have been largely caused by these bright boys -- to convince them not to take their chances on what's left of the open market.

Always a good pick to close out a Rule of Three post is The Anchoress, who photoshops (or perhaps MacPaints) an "OBAMA TO NY: DROP DEAD" newspaper cover. Normally The Anchoress shows much less affection for our godless Sodom, but pretends concern now because a newsreader told her the cap "Could Seriously Hurt New York" -- though, the newsreader admits further down, a precisely opposite impression "dominated among those CBS 2 randomly spoke with on city streets," and pretty much everyone else she spoke to except for a flak from Partnership for New York, "a membership organization comprised of a select group of two hundred CEOs ('Partners') from New York City’s top corporate, investment and entrepreneurial firms." (Among the member organizations of this club are Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Yankee Stadium, HSBC, and other fans of government largesse for the right kind of people.) The Anchoress clearly believes Jesus didn't mean for her to read beyond the second graf, and to trust to Him that no one else would, either.

Then The Anchoress descends, as is her custom, from ignorance to paranoia: "We all know that once the government learns they CAN get away with doing this, they’ll try to expand it to include others, not just the bailout recipients." Yeah, that's the word on the streets -- first they came for the TARP recipients but I was not a TARP recipient -- Attica! Attica! In the muddle that follows, she suggests that Obama "should hire someone like me, a real person," to advise him on financial matters. Among her real-person advice:
"What? You wanna do what? Don’t you realize you’re just exacerbating the problem when you mandate something that lowers tax receipts and blows the mind of an already half-psychotic market? The market has a psychology and so does the populace..."
I have to tell you, I've never heard a real person talk like, and I know some real windbags. Maybe she's thinking of characters in Kevin Smith movies.

Though, as I've said, I have doubts about the effectiveness of the salary cap, I encourage Obama to pull more populist bullshit just to get a rise out of these people.
THE CONSERVATIVE RESURGENCE PROCEEDS APACE. Mona Charen does an article about Nadya Suleman's octuplets and how awful it is that she had them. Actually she thinks it's awful that anyone has them or, it seems, any multiple births promoted by "fertility drugs," but never mind that. The real problem for Charen is that Suleman is unmarried and thus had the babies as "a kind of self-expression." Aside from backwoodsmen who raise young'uns expressly to chop firewood and continue their feuds unto the next generation, "self-expression" might describe, however uncharitably, most people's procreative impulse, that being a mystery most of us choose to portray more poetically, particularly this soon after the Miracle of Childbirth. But most of us are not rightwing harpies looking for potential welfare queens to cluck over.

I do agree with Charen that, though I wish Suleman all the best (actually that's not our point of agreement -- nowhere does Charen express it), she would have done better to arrange for adequate support before increasing her brood to 14. So we might expect that Charen's next test case -- Linda Sanchez, a presumably well-fixed U.S. Representative from California who is having a child out of wedlock -- would receive her approbation. Or we might if we didn't know who we were dealing with. Charen responds to Sanchez' modest assertion, "I don't know how it'll be received," thus:
Yes, well, she needn’t have worried. Everyone was totally understanding. No marriage yet either.

People think the old stigma about unwed childbearing was all about sex. It wasn’t. It was about children and what’s best for them. Of course some women want babies the way others crave shoes, but babies are not, or at least shouldn’t be treated as, consumables. Badly done all around.
At The Corner, Charen reveals that Representative Sanchez's communications director had the nerve to remonstrate with her baby shower gift of bile. Charen claims she didn't compare Sanchez with Suleman, which is self-evident bullshit, and tells her that Sanchez and all unwed mothers are "irresponsible to purposely bring a child into the world in those circumstances when you can avoid it."

Then Ramesh Ponnuru and Charen chuckle over the staffer's use of the term "unofficial fiance," and Lisa Schiffren joins them around the cauldron to suggest that the term "will be fully explicated in the upcoming movie, He's Just Not That Into You." Then she gives Bristol Palin a hard time, too (as she has elsewhere) and adds, "I have an uncomfortable sense that the younger ones value the wedding itself -- and the dress, which won't look as good if you're preggers -- more than the fact of the marriage. But that doesn't explain the older, wiser, Sanchez -- whose entire rationale is that, at 40 she is approaching the sell by date for those eggs."

This harshing on new and expectant mothers must be part of some very deep plan to win popular support to the conservative movement. These horrible people keep bitching that they should be allowed to run Hollywood, but what they really need is a gossip magazine.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

A LITTLE CLOSER TO UNDERSTANDING. We've considered the case of General Ralph "Blood 'n' Guts" Peters at length here, yet while we have gotten a full load of his mania, we have not learned much about the man. His peroration in today's New York Post, though, offers clues.
A FUNDAMENTAL reason why our intelligence agencies, military leaders and (above all) Washington pols can't understand Afghanistan is that they don't recognize that we're dealing with alien life-forms.

Oh, the strange-minded aliens in question resemble us physically. We share a few common needs: We and the aliens are oxygen breathers who require food and water at frequent intervals. Our body casings feel heat or cold. We're divided into two sexes (more or less). And we're mortal.

But that's about where the similarities end, analytically speaking.
It will come as no surprise to regular readers that the General finds opposing life-forms inhuman and "more divergent from our behavioral norms than the weirdest crew member of the starship Enterprise." But he also reveals something of where he got this perspective. No, he doesn't mention whippings by his father or his time in that special CIA program where he was broken and rebuilt, but he does tell us this:
I was an effective intelligence officer. Why? In junior high, I matured past the French Existentialists and started reading science fiction. The prose was often ragged, but the speculative frameworks offered a useful approach to analysis.

Begin with the view that all opponents are aliens from another cultural planet. Build your assessment from a blank slate. What do the alien collectives desire or fear? How do they perceive the galaxy? What are their unique weaknesses?
Son of a sea cook! The General's a libertarian!

Monday, February 02, 2009

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the Pajamas Media debacle. Dan Collins of Protein Wisdom has already complained, so I consider it a success. I misread the identity of the specific Protein Wisdom buffoon who updated a post. I hate to do that, because wingnuts are trained to respond to such minor errors as if you had identified Jerry Lewis as the President of France ("Can we request a little bit of accuracy, here, please?... I mean, do you read this stuff, or does what someone actually says matter at all to you?).

Nonetheless I responded as graciously as I could. I should follow more the example of The American Thinker's Rick Moran, who raved astonishingly for several paragraphs that "Google Blocks Conservative Website" ("The potential for this gigantic corporation to game the free flow of information to suit its own ideological ends is frightening") before learning that the 40-minute glitch affected all Google results regardless of ideology. His indignant response when corrected is a thing of beauty:
To all in the comments who are critical of me posting this item, perhaps you care to address the other points in the post about "Google bombs" and the other many, many, many, instances of conservative sites being harassed, put at a disadvantage, or otherwise gamed by Google.

What's that? Cat got your tongues?

Thought so.
Now there's a cowboy who calls his fleshlight "bitch."