Saturday, February 27, 2010

HONORS ARE EASY. The study purporting to show that Liberals R Smarter is disputed by PZ Myers and that's good enough for me. (Myers is also referred by a blind link from -- and has chunks of his writing taken without attribution by -- No Sheeples Here, who probably doesn't want his readers to know he's relying on liberals to dispute liberal superiority.)

In general I take these things no more seriously than I take Charles Murray's insistences that black people are stupid -- or similar claims that conservatives R smarter, or happier, and such like.

This may in part be due to my utter ignorance of the cognitive sciences, but it also has to do with my experience of actual human beings, whom I have found fascinatingly varied in their abilities whatever their respective races, ideologies, etc.

Sometimes I talk as if I think conservatives are stupid or crazy or both, but I know from experience they aren't all like that. Many of the ones I write about seem to be, but maybe they're just putting it on for the public -- I notice that such behavior often gets them a lot of traffic.

And that might not even say anything about their readers, either; I don't think people who go to horror movies are necessarily monsters or serial killers.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

A FULL DAY. The Corner has been full of gems today. On the matter of the health care summit, its authors go passive-aggressive, either declaring that they don't care about it (Ramesh Ponnuru even going so far as to say he'd read a book instead!) to rustling up "reader" emails that declared Paul Ryan the big "winner."

Yuval Levin says Obama looked bad because "he doesn’t seem like the President of the United States -- more like a slightly cranky committee chairman or a patronizing professor who thinks that saying something is 'a legitimate argument' is a way to avoid having an argument." Maybe some of the 0.013 percent of the electorate who watched will agree with Levin; more likely the younger of them will be mystified by the spectacle of a President able to maintain, in complete sentences, a discussion with experts.

Levin later responds to Obama, who mischievously asked if the health care benefits government employees received, and which he proposes to give to all Americans, are "socialism": "Well sure they aren’t, but isn’t treating all Americans as though they were employees of the federal government a bit like socialism?" Now your boss has a new excuse when you ask for Martin Luther King Day off.

But this circus is just meant to distract you from the real crime, says Andy McCarthy -- that is, the Cruel, Inhuman And Degrading Interrogations Prohibition Act, which seeks to make some forms of torture expressly illegal -- or, as McCarthy puts it, "Democrats are saying they would prefer to see tens of thousands of Americans die than to see a KSM subjected to sleep-deprivation or to have his 'phobias exploited.'" (The Act was later pulled, in a great victory for Andy McCarthy and children who like to pull the wings off flies and wish to be assured of government jobs when they grow up.)

Ponnuru, tired of reading, emerges to provide an object lesson in Republican health care strategy:
Mickey Kaus argues that passing Obamacare is the only way the Democrats can disprove the Republican charges against it. "For months, both GOP and Fox hosts have been talking about socialized medicine and death panels and vicious Medicare cuts and the government coming between you and your doctor, etc. If Democrats pass the bill and none of this happens, Republican opponents will be more than defeated. They'll be discredited." Maybe. But if taxes and premiums rise and people don't see benefits from this big expensive comprehensive bill, maybe not. . . . Do Democrats really believe not only that this legislation is going to have positive effects but that its transition rules have been so well-designed that its short-term effects will quickly be seen as positive?
Translation: OK, we won't be able to get away with that bullshit anymore, but maybe the plan will take time to work. Then we can get started on our next line of bullshit!

And there's Jay Nordlinger, strewing aperçus like rose petals ("Calvin and Hobbes, Bloom County, The Far Side — where do they go? [That was merely rhetorical.]") He devotes a few paragraphs to the japes of panhandlers he and others have encountered:
I also mention, in my column, the most charming thing I ever heard a panhandler say: “Would you like to contribute to the United Negro Pizza Fund?” I did. That man was in Washington, D.C., I believe. A reader writes to say that he knew such a man in Albany, N.Y. — a man who used that line regularly. “I wonder who is training beggars to use that clever approach.”

Finally, a different reader writes, “You’ve reminded me of a sign I saw in San Francisco. The man said he wanted money for ‘alcoholism research.’” That’s the spirit! (No pun intended.)
Next week, he'll tell us that he saw some Mexicans on the subway singing "Guantanamero," and marvel that they had strayed so far from their homeland.

Inevitably, there is Goldberg. Challenged by a Ron Paul fan who imagines Goldberg has insulted him, he dances around, saying the Paulites don't really have anything ("If/when the Fed does get audited, it will be a lot like the search for WMDs in Iraq"), but "I'm with where Ron Paul where it matters" -- that is, he thinks his stupid Fed audit should be done even though it's useless. That's how Goldberg makes friends when he doesn't have a spare bag of Cheetos. And along the way he gives us one of the better Goldbergisms:
I also think it's funny how so many people (on the left and right) love to dismiss stuff from the MSM when it contradicts their ideological positions, but cling to it as God's proof they're right when it seems to confirm their position.
It's like he missed the entire internet, not to mention his own career.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

DON'T HATE THE PLAYER, HATE THE GAME. Maggie Gallagher has seen the Tiger Woods show trial confession, and admits "we cannot help but wonder how much of it is sincere and how much of it is image management." Nonetheless she imagines an alternate scenario, in which Woods said something like:
"Yes, I'm sorry. I'm sorry that I misled you and the American public into imagining that I was some kind of role model. Elin and I will be divorcing and I wish her well and will support our children. But right now both my image and my marriage need to be brought in line with reality. I'm not a role model. I'm just a man who's really really good at hitting golf balls into holes. I look forward to returning to the golf course to win back the title of greatest golfer in the world. In the future, I won't comment on my private life. I will let my golfing do the talking from here on out."

And it would work. As Pig Woods, Tiger can be rich, famous, successful and lie with and to models and Perkins waitresses to his heart's content -- and nobody will care.
It's as if Woods didn't lose significant market value, or lose a boatload of endorsement deals over his peccadilloes. And it was only going to get worse: As a celebrity endorsement expert said, "When celebrities do things that negatively affect a corporate deal, the legal terms typically end up more in the corporation’s favor the next time."

Tiger Woods is not just a man -- he's an industry. And industries don't get to say, fuck it, who needs those extra millions, we're going to do as we please. A lot of salaries are riding on good image management.

But in the culture wars, it's always yesterday: The days of Charles Barkley and Dennis Rodman, when general weariness with moral uplift briefly opened a market niche for bad boy sports stars. The market has adjusted meanwhile, and only a very small amount of "edge" is permitted to major players. If you don't believe it, scan gossipy sports sites like With Leather, and see how few hell-yeah-I'm-a-horndog sportsmen they're able to find; most of the scandalicious bits have to do with sports stars who got caught despite themselves -- like Tiger Woods. You're more likely to find a baller profusely apologizing for his nude photos than one bragging on them.

And that's because of something culture warriors never worry about: money. The pros are making ridiculous money. If it enables their fantasy fulfillment, as Woods said in his press conference ("[I felt] that I deserved to enjoy all the temptations around me... thanks to money and fame, I didn't have to go far to find them"), dollars demand that they keep that well under wraps lest a whiff of scandal discourage some major advertiser.

If Woods thought he would get caught, or was trying to get caught, as his behavior suggests, his handlers would consider that a psychological rather than a moral issue. And judging from the Soviet nature of his self-denunciation, it appears the "therapy" recommended to him is taking hold.

"He really wants to be the Tiger we once thought we knew and loved," says Gallagher. "And you have to love a guy -- at least a little -- for that." If Gallagher thinks what animates Woods' fans' purchases of anything with his name on it is "love," she's got more problems than I ever imagined.

Monday, February 22, 2010

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about CPAC and the Ron Paul straw poll victory. The brethren seem mostly dismissive of the result, though they continue to talk up CPAC as a meaningful event. The smarter play is to dismiss Paul but claim, as Patrick Ruffini does, that Paul's victory shows the new vigor of the conservative movement:
In terms of grassroots organization, Paul supporters are some of the best -- if not the best -- that we have. The iconography of the tea party movement is heavily libertarian (think the Gadsden Flag) and that's no coincidence. If you broke down the organizers and even those in attendance, you'd find more than your fair share of Ron Paul supporters...

In terms of organizing, conservatives can learn a lot from libertarians. Online, the moneybomb concept originally pioneered during the Ron Paul campaign has started to work for more conventional Republicans like Scott Brown.
In other words, hate the messenger, but love the marketing; get some of that flavor on mainstream stiffs, and victory is assured. He compares the Paulites to the Christian fundamentalists the Republicans got on board years ago, and who have only lately begun to suspect that they've been played. It remains to be seen how long it would take for the Paul people to catch on if Mitt Romney started wearing rEVOLution t-shirts.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

BUCKLEY, WAKE UP, THEY HAVE GONE MAD. People have been talking about the return of the John Birch Society at CPAC, and about Ron Paul's victory in the CPAC straw poll, but I was more interested in Glenn Beck's assertion that Herbert Hoover was a liberal who single-handedly caused the depression through his outrageous government spending.

That Beck was not struck dead by a lightning bolt proves there is no God.

Friday, February 19, 2010

What’s Olbermann’s evidence that Tea Parties are overwhelmingly racist? Apparently, that there are no “people of color” at these rallies. That is so blatantly false as to induce uncontrollable laughter.
I'm all about uncontrollable laughter, so I watched his video clip, which offers in evidence no fewer than 21 black people at Tea Party rallies. Total Tea Party attendance, as we have been tirelessly reminded, numbers somewhere around 50 kabillion.

The correct answer to diversity concerns about popular movements is, of course, "so what?" Yet even the explicitly racist British BNP feels compelled to recruit people of color these days. They aren't making right-wingers like they used to, except in one respect: However feeble their effort, they insist on getting top marks for it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

LOW CHURCH. Mike Potemra's opening is a thing of beauty all by itself:
The question has been raised, Was it appropriate for a Catholic TV network to provide a platform for a torture advocate? In my view, the answer is yes.
You can stop there. But I can't! 'Cause this baby has everything. It has the Appeal to Widespread Belief:
Furthermore, if the polls are to be trusted, he speaks not only for the majority of Americans but for the majority of American Catholics.
Mirabile dictu, the cafeteria is now open! Then, the argument, popular in these precincts since Larry Craig's arrest, that hypocrisy in the defense of hypocrisy is no vice:
I think torture is a great evil, and that the resort to it in the past decade is a black spot on America’s record. But I am not in a stone-throwing mood against people like Marc, because I realize that the accusation that someone is not living to up to his or her religious creed is one of the lowest and least helpful arguments imaginable.
I should have just stayed in the Church; Catholicism seems to have gotten very easy. Now they love the sinner and the sin. It's as if Jesus followed up "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" with "Right -- carry on being taken in adultery."

But though the Church is greatly changed, some old habits of mind die hard:
Say it’s 1942, and the Nazis, having conquered England and the U.S. eastern seaboard, have developed an H-bomb and plan to use it against St. Louis to bring the rest of the U.S. into submission. American forces in St. Louis have in custody a Nazi agent with knowledge of the specifics that would enable them to foil the attack and turn the tide of the war. The Nazi agent is being uncooperative. I concede that it would be morally wrong to torture him – but I also admit that I would more than likely sacrifice that principle.
I would bet that Potemra is not unacquainted with the fantasy of criminals forcing him at peril of his family's lives to have sex with Megan Fox.

In the last ditch, Potemra goes for that hoary chestnut, the Argument From a Liberal Was Mean to Me. He describes attending a "meeting at a liberal Catholic parish here in New York" about torture, where he starts comparing it to abortion. This is met with "eye-rolling, dark mutterings, and dirty looks." "I’m not so na├»ve as to have thought there would be no pro-choicers there," says Potemra, "but I think I know now what it feels like to have someone read you out of a moral community, even when you’re acting in good faith."

Actually I should have taken holy orders. When my outraged parishioners inevitably caught me in flagrante, I could have answered that they were all being pretty judgmental for a bunch of sinners who probably cheated on their income tax.

Though I can't be sure that this sort of thing works anywhere but on rightwing websites.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

KILLING JOKE. This post by Jonah Goldberg got me thinking more seriously about his case than usual. He starts out okay:
A bunch of people have sent me this story (via Drudge) revealing that the University of Alabama shooter was a leftwinger. A few, at times contradictory, reactions: First: So what? It's hard to figure out how her political attitudes figure into her motives for murdering these people.
Then, in what appears to be an attempt at logical jiu-jitsu:
But one of the things I take away from this is that there are a lot of crazy people in academia. There's something about the tolerant atmosphere of campus life, plus the way really, really, odd or dysfunctional people can get by, that makes them havens for the maladjusted. Obviously, the vast, vast majority of these oddballs are harmless and decent people. But the few dangerous ones don't stick out as much as they might elsewhere.
Someone protests that he's dissing academics. You might imagine he'd fart his way out of it, as in his dogs-rule posts, but instead he thrashes:
I think the reader is misreading me. I didn't say that all or most academics are crazy, merely that academia tolerates weirdness in ways most other sphere don't (government bureaucracies come close). I've had this conversation with a lot of professional academics, and I've never met one who really disagrees with me. Walk through through the stacks in a college library sometime, some of those carrels are homes to some truly Tolkienesque creatures.
It becomes increasingly obvious that Goldberg was writing a joke post, based on the cultural assumptions of which such things are made (by me too) -- but he didn't know it was a joke. And it strikes me that he probably feels the same way about the silly dogs-vs.-cats stuff, and everything else he writes.

Suddenly I'm beginning to see what Liberal Fascism was really about.

(The Steven Hayward post Goldberg finds "more persuasive" is totally insane, btw.)
IT'S THE LITTLE RED BOOK THAT MAKES EVERYTHING WORK. John Fund's Journal editorial has a promising title -- "Why Bayh Is Quitting the Senate." It quotes Bayh, too -- 48 words' worth. It quotes 64 words by Ronald Reagan. Some of these are from Reagan's version of a John Dryden poem, but Fund also includes a 28-word quote from Larry Kudlow paraphrasing Reagan.

Reagan has sort of become like Confucius to these people -- everything they need to know about anything is in the Analects.

Monday, February 15, 2010

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the calls for the impeachment of Captain America after he said some mean things about the tea parties in a freaking comic book. I liked the culture war better when it had sex instead of superheroes.

I noticed along the way that The Falcon's claim that the crowds look awfully white drew counterclaims that there are, too, black people at tea parties. Instapundit always seems to find such African-Americans as there are at these shindigs, and to take their picture for posterity. So far I think he has maybe a couple dozen. Mudville Gazette explains that perhaps black people are scared they'll get beat up by liberals like Kenneth Gladney was and that's why they're not making the scene. With a little better security, I'm sure these events would look more like old Benetton ads. (I think Conservative Blog Watch is on surer ground: "How many black people are in Boise Idaho in the first place?")

Friday, February 12, 2010

SHORTER RIEHL WORLD VIEW: You say a guy who's in an anti-government organization was stockpiling weapons to use against the government? What makes you think it had anything to do with that venerable organization? I'd be looking at his wife, who tipped the police off to him and has filed a restraining order. Bitches will drive you nuts!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

SPIN CITY. It's not my way, you know, to just link something and go "read the whole thing." But I'll make an exception for John Cole on how a speculative, decent bill may become anathema, first on the fringe, then in the what-liberal media, and then for opportunistic purposes by wet Democratic legislators:
Somewhere around this time, Randy Scheuenemann and Meg Stapleton would post a bunch of nonsense on Palin’s facebook page, maybe declaring that Americorps is just like Hitler Youth Corps. This would get picked up by the Weekly Standard’s resident Palin fluffer, Matt Continetti, repeated by the increasingly loathesome Michael Goldfarb, and mainstreamed into CNN by Stephen Hayes in one of his typical fact-free appearances. Bill Kristol would pick up the ball and run with it, and before you know it, Fred Hiatt’s fishwrap would have 20 editorials railing against Americorps.

At this time, we would have tea partiers packing guns to town hall events, terrified of a socialist takeover of, well, something, carrying racist signs and chanting “Keep Government out of Americorps!,” and the rest of the MSM can start their coverage. Sensing an opportunity, shitheels like Ben Nelson and Blanche Lincoln and Mary Landrieu sense the bill is in trouble, and would start to pack the goodies into it for their home state...
This would have piqued my interest even if David Broder hadn't gone on about what a great populist Sarah Palin is at precisely the moment when a new WashPo-ABC poll showed that Palin has never been less popular. I still think Palin can adapt and improve her way to the Republican Presidential nomination, and that her trifling with fools -- which may currently disappoint ordinary Americans who, after all, are not that fond of complainers -- may pay off in the long run; that's partly because she knows the nervous "mainstream" types who don't wish to be exposed to big winds whichever way they blow will carry her water in the meantime, no matter what.

It's an unavoidable problem, I fear, of democracy in an age of mass communications and dwindling dollars. To the honorable old question, why oh why can't we have a better press corps? I can only answer: No money in it. The Kremlinology of the press, citizen and otherwise, can be extremely subtle, but the basic state of play is that those with little power are desperate and those with much power are scared.

In the positivist view, this constant tension is supposed to create a better state of affairs, with the bustling marketplace of ideas yielding a better product. Maybe the positive thinkers think that better product is a higher degree of truth. But from what I've seen, it's more like the progress of junk food: from an agreeable, consistent, and convenient substitute for the real thing, to something everyone eats and nobody remembers is junk.
SHORTER MAGGIE GALLAGHER. Pre-teens weighing over 200 pounds may or may not be a bad thing -- I'm no denialist, though the "science" of that doesn't convince me -- but when are we going to do something about teenagers having sex?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

THAT EXPLAINS A LOT. John J. Miller at National Review:
My favorite blog of the moment is Grognardia, which is dedicated to old-school RPGs. (If you don't know what RPGs are, then stop reading this and continue your day.) Today's post is on Twilight: 2000, a Red Dawn-ish RPG published in 1984 and set in what was then the future, and specifically in Poland following a U.S.-Soviet nuke exchange. I never played the game, though I loved the concept and bought a copy of the rules when they were brand new. Twilight: 2000 engaged my imagination and is at least partly responsible for igniting my interest in what was at stake during the Cold War.
I suspect he also learned about economics from Richie Rich comics.

Monday, February 08, 2010

WINNING ISN'T EVERYTHING, IT'S THE ONLY THING. I've said in the past that politics is everything to the nuts who comprise my subject matter, and the Super Bowl supplied plenty of wearying examples.

Like a lot of us, President Obama has a soft spot for the underdog Saints, but figured the Colts would win. The delightful surprise of the Saints' victory also pleased the Obama Fail Blog, which said, "Sure, most of America picked the Colts - that's why they were a five point favorite. But it is really amazing how everything Obama touches turns to poop." "Did Obama curse Super Bowl's Colts?" asked Frugal Cafe.

There were a lot of posts like these, but American Thinker's Troy Nelson only heard the part about Obama being sympathetic to the Saints, which had him supporting the Colts, as he found the notion of rooting for the underdog emblematic of "this generation's elevation of 'victimology' and symbology above all else."
What happened to the days of pulling for organizations, teams, and players whom best demonstrate the virtues of team work and heart and will power? Who overcome the challenges of a determined opponent on the level playing field of competition? Of blood, sweat, and tears? I guess in our coddled, emasculated, socialist society any overt demonstration or celebration of these qualities is offensive, too Darwinian, too Randian, too capitalistic.
This guy probably felt cheated when Cinderalla scored against the wicked stepsisters.

They even found political import in the Super Bowl commercials. "SUPER BOWL COMMERICALS PUTS LEFTARDS IN THEIR ABSURD PLACE," said The Freedom Fighter's Journal, referring to Audi's funny "Green Police" ad. NewsReal was actually worried about it: "We’d like to say that this commercial is harmless... But let’s face it -- you can get more people to accept something with a laugh, a wink, and a smile that you can with an order handed down from on high. It would be funny if there weren’t too many environmentalists that really do think like this. It would be funny if it weren’t entirely too possible." It would funny if the stick up their asses didn't make it impossible for them to laugh.

National Review's John J. Miller yelled at kgb for being called kgb. "For some folks, the Cold War may be way back in history times," he said. "You will know them by their Che t-shirts. By my lights, it seems a little premature to forget that the henchmen of Communism were a force for evil in the modern world."

Don't they even get sick of being politically correct?
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about coverage of the recent Tea Party Convention. The stuff about Sarah Palin's palm notes is amusing (and has led to the sort of goofy support gestures we've come to expect from these people), but beside the point. The Tea Partiers have gotten a bit of press by holding rallies, some of them quite large, but lifted their coverage and profile exponentially by holding a small convention with celebrities in a hotel. Whatever the impact or import of the local events, the Tea Party is becoming a brand name that sustains itself with traditional PR gestures, of which sympathetic bloggers take advantage by making grand claims -- a Third Great Awakening? -- while they have the punters' attention. That's how populism works these days: as a guerrilla advertising advance campaign for traditional marketers. Their products, though, are hardly revolutionary.

Friday, February 05, 2010

ICWUDT. I usually find myself having to play catch-up on the issues of the day before I can talk about them, so it's kind of a shock to see something like Gerard Alexander's "Why Are Liberals So Condescending?" which discusses something I already know a little about, and find it completely at odds with what I've observed.

He talks about concerns with boob-baiting tactics as if such concerns had no cause but the vain wish of an intellectual cadre to feel good about themselves by feeling bad about someone else. This could be an interesting philosophical premise -- this is a republic, after all, and maybe baiting boobs is the only game in town. And complaints such as those I make, with increasing weariness, on these pages are on such grounds irrelevant, like going to a dance club and complaining about the loud music. It's an argument I'd be willing to entertain, especially on bad days.

But he also thinks one political group specializes in it to the exclusion of its opponents:
Every political community includes some members who insist that their side has all the answers and that their adversaries are idiots. But American liberals, to a degree far surpassing conservatives, appear committed to the proposition that their views are correct, self-evident, and based on fact and reason, while conservative positions are not just wrong but illegitimate, ideological and unworthy of serious consideration.
He also says liberals believe "the thinkers, politicians and citizens who advance conservative ideas must be dupes, quacks or hired guns selling stories they know to be a sham," and also believe "conservatives are driven purely by emotion and anxiety -- including fear of change -- whereas liberals have the harder task of appealing to evidence and logic."

This, I have to say, threw me. Has he never seen a conservative blog? Has he never noticed them explaining to black people that they're stupid and ungrateful to vote for Democrats? Or their belief that the media is hypnotizing the American people, and their threatening to take vengeance on it while simultaneously whining that it is all-powerful? Or Jonah Goldberg's insistence that his opponents are not just wrong, nor even just "driven purely by emotion and anxiety," but fascists?

It's almost too much to believe that such a person is arguing in good faith -- which, whoops, makes me one of those liberal elitists. Well, that's how it goes.

And very unfair of me too, after Alexander has gone to the trouble to almost admit the vague possibility of something resembling the Republican Southern Strategy:
Race doubtless played a significant role in the shift of Deep South whites to the Republican Party during and after the 1960s. But the liberal narrative has gone essentially unchanged since then...
This is like saying violence played a role in the impalement of the victim on my client's knife, but the prosecution insists on taking this thing to trial.
SPOILER ALERT. Culture warriors are starting early on the Oscar-related denunciations. There's Brent Bozell, telling us that liberal elitists want The Blind Side to lose. But he is heartened by the presence of blockbusters among the Best Picture nominees. "Even if this were simply a ploy for ratings," says Bozell, "Hollywood is sending a message that it doesn't hate and dismiss its audience as the ignorant masses." Whereas the collected works of Brent Bozell (see for example "Hollywood's Four-Letter Word: God") show that Hollywood does hate and dismiss its audience as the ignorant masses. I marvel he doesn't castigate Tinseltown for its duplicity.

But who cares about him when we have Jonah Goldberg to pick on? He announces at the start, "the Oscars are one of the most overhyped events in American life," so he chooses to discourse on "what [the movies] say about American life." What they say is what Goldberg already believes. That's why they call it the Dream Factory.

Goldberg says, sensibly, that "filmmakers aren’t always aware of their inspirations and that sometimes the best way to articulate a larger message is to not try." Then, perhaps remembering who he's writing for, he tells his readers what actually inspires moviemakers is hatred of America.
Since the end of the Cold War, Hollywood has been in desperate pursuit of enemies. You’d have thought that 9/11 would have provided a great opportunity for Hollywood to find a worthy enemy. But it turned out that moviemakers were more comfortable depicting jihadi terrorists before 9/11 than after (rent The Siege and Executive Decision if you don’t believe me). They’ve tried (and retried) aliens, drug kingpins, bad weather, and the always-enjoyable zombies. But, with a few exceptions, Hollywood is still most comfortable with the idea that the enemy is really us.
It's hard to tell from the way this is written whether the zombies, eco-cataclysms, etc. are supposed to be stand-ins for America in the treasonous parables of Hollywood, or what Hollywood settles on when it is frustrated in its attempts to destroy the country. What's clear is that Hollywood is against us, which is why no one ever goes to the movies, except when they do, which only happens when these America-haters accidentally make movies that people will like for sound ideological reasons: For example,
The Kingdom, another War on Terror movie, was a hit despite the best intentions of director Peter Berg, who wanted it to be a parable about the cycle of violence. It succeeded because it was a good action movie that depicted Americans as heroes.
Considering that Hollywood has made billions on movies that were supposed to advance their anti-American agenda but failed, I wonder why conservatives are so concerned about them. Maybe the bit about Hollywood needing an enemy is just projection.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

IDIOT. The whole business of demanding Rahm Emanuel apologize or even resign for calling a bunch of liberals "fucking retarded" is ridiculous, but at least in Sarah Palin's case it's clearly fake and opportunistic. I have no doubt that Hadley Arkes is sincere when he complains that Emanuel was allowed to apologize to the head of the Special Olympics -- "to a Kennedy," he adds with a palpable shiver -- rather than submitting to an inquisition of Arkes' own devising. Hell, he even thinks Sarah Palin wasn't hard enough on Emanuel:
...she too seems to have missed the deeper issue: Emanuel’s comment reflects the understanding, widely held among the “bioethicists” attached to this administration — including his own brother, working in the White House — that people with Down’s syndrome do not enjoy a high “quality of life"...

Would Emanuel think it permissible to end the lives of people walking around, well out of the womb, who happen to have Down’s syndrome?...

Emanuel’s embarrassment involves more than just a slip of the tongue — it involves a deeply planted moral understanding.
Presumably if Emanuel had called the liberals "a bunch of dildos" Arkes would assume he meant that they should be used as sexual devices, and that Emanuel should be asked whether he supports human trafficking.

When your babble provokes such as Mark Krikorian -- of all people -- to complain about "grievance-mongering," you know you've sailed off the edge of the earth.

What a douche, by which I do not mean a feminine hygiene product.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

POSITIVELY THE WORST SALINGER TRIBUTE YET. When J.D. Salinger passed a lot was said about him, some of it affecting, some idiotic. As he was not in any way an overtly political figure, there wasn't a handle conservative bloggers could easily grasp. And some of them were actually gracious -- even including Gerard Vanderleun, if you can imagine it.

There was Jules Crittenden's ridiculous screed, in which Crittenden seemed to confuse Holden Caulfield with his author and blame him for Flaming Youth, but I took that as a bit of willful contrarianism meant to generate traffic, which is a big thing on the internet with or without politics, rather than seriously.

On another order is Tom Bethell's American Spectator piece, which reader Greg Costello pointed out to me. Bethell mentions that librarians censored Catcher in the Rye in the 60s and thereafter -- "censored" in quotes, which is an ominous tipoff.

Bethell alerts us to a coming reversal: "But maybe the librarians knew something that the rest of us have overlooked." Then he recounts the part of the book in which Caulfield's old English teacher tries to get "perverty" with him.
So there you have it. Holden talks about perverts and flits, in a book published by Little Brown in 1951, and reprinted a million times since then. A Back Bay paperback edition reappeared in 2001.

Is it allowed, in the 21st century, to use words like that? Notice that the New Yorker refused to published Catcher in the Rye, but they did publish Salinger's unreadable story "Hapworth 16, 1924." So maybe Harold Ross at the New Yorker was alert to these nuances of political incorrectness long, long ago.
Bethell goes to the trouble to ask someone at Little Brown "if they would allow a book to appear today in which a gay man is called a 'pervert' or a 'flit.'" The guy "laughed openly. 'The question answers itself,' he said." Therefore: "If you haven't read Catcher in the Rye yet, better get a hold of it soon. Because it is likely to disappear from the shelves before you can say flit."

It's a miracle Bruno ever got made. Or that this line was approved for the cable series Party Down: "That is a question for a psychologist -- or as Adam would say, a Jew faggot.” Or that Joe Rogan can do a routine in which a guy tells his dog, "How about you stop chasing your tail, faggot!" Or bloggers can call Lil Wayne a faggot. Or Ann Coulter can call John Edwards one. Or -- 'scuse me, what were we talking about again?

This reminds me of the complaints of National Review contributor Mark Goldblatt, who in the last decade published a novel called Africa Speaks, by which he meant to show the world that "If not for the French... African Americans would currently rank as the most hypocritical, most paranoid, most pretentious group of people on the planet." His book was offered for sale on Amazon -- you can still buy it there -- but he was unsatisfied because he had received "no newspaper or magazine reviews" and "no bookstore shelf space." Though he had been allowed to publish, despite the PC police, he was mad that he couldn't get The Breaks, which he attributed to reverse racism.

When these guys bring up the specter of censorship, they usually mean not that they are denied First Amendment rights, but that many people don't approve what they're saying. This state of affairs, alas, is beyond Constitutional protection. They do have the right, though, to publish their claims of homosexual oppression -- with Catcher in the Rye as evidence, yet -- in whatever publications will accept them, which itself shows that our freedom of the press is exceedingly robust.

UPDATE. In comments Cleter makes what should have been the obvious connection: "The conservatives should LOVE Salinger. He actually went Galt, and stayed Galted for fifty goddamned years." Halloween Jack notes that librarians have actually been fighting to keep allegedly "politically incorrect" books in libraries for years. Hell, Laura Bush could have told them that.

Monday, February 01, 2010

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the rightwing spin on the James O'Keefe arrest. Being a permissive, turn-'em-loose liberal, I approve the use of any legal means to win advantages for the accused. In fact, I doubt that the rightbloggers who are pretending to believe that the coverage of O'Keefe's legal troubles is the real crime here are very concerned with his hide. Hell, if he went to prison, that'd be holy martyrdom, no doubt attributable to the long reach of Eric Holder, and a great way to rally the troops.

If it comes to that, I look forward to FREE O'KEEFE rallies at which earnest young conservatives explain to passersby that justice has not been served. One way or the other it will be a radicalizing event.

UPDATE. The good Roger Ailes tells us in comments that "Ben Stein has started the 'Free James O'Keefe' movement, following on the success of his 'Free Credit Report' movement."