Tuesday, May 31, 2011

PAST IS PROLOGUE. The Michelle Obama "Whitey" Tape was one of the more absurd frauds of the 2008 election season. The alleged bombshell was never produced, and over time most of us -- aside from Larry Johnson and Rick-Rollers -- forgot about it.

Now (h/t Media Matters) a World Net Daily column by Mychal Massie gives the Whitey Tape a revival:
A tape that was reportedly filmed in 2004 during the Rainbow/Push Coalition Conference at Jeremiah Wright's Trinity United Church has mysteriously disappeared from public view. The tape allegedly showed Michelle Obama hysterically ranting about "Whiteys" and savagely attacking Bill Clinton as responsible for African genocide. The wife of Louis Farrakhan was one of the honored guests.
This is the cream of the "Questions Remain" jest -- every bit of bullshit you've ever heard from these guys, no matter how loony, remains in their armory, and occasionally they'll even try to use it. After a while even those of us with trusting natures grow jaded. So if you wonder why people are skeptical of their claims about Weiner, think about Whitey.
THE TV IS SENDING HIM SECRET MESSAGES. Ben Shapiro has a book out about how TV is trying to turn you Red:
Look at Friends. Great show. Well-written. Well-acted. Funny. Bet you didn’t think it was political per se. But not only did the show feature a lesbian wedding during its first season, an out-of-wedlock pregnancy, and on-screen fights over condoms, the show promoted the substitution of friends for family as moral guides and sources of responsibility. Marta Kauffman told me that she was trying to use the show as a vehicle for acting out “that time in your life … when your friends are your family.” Kauffman actually got nastier than that...
Also, a producer allegedly refused to accept Shapiro's spec script because "he would never work with someone of my political persuasion." If only Aaron Spelling were still alive!

Shapiro's making author rounds and told the New York Post that Sesame Street is a communist plot.
'Sesame Street' tried to tackle divorce, tackle 'peaceful conflict resolution' in the aftermath of 9/11, and had Neil Patrick Harris [a gay actor] on the show, playing the subtly named "fairy shoeperson."
He also complains about a 2007 Sesame Street episode that made fun of Fox News (and other news networks without the same elaborately constructed victim status). I like to think Post reporter Cynthia R. Fagen was having a bit of fun with this button:
And Shapiro said one of the "Happy Days" writers admitted to him that the show "had a whole subtext" of attacking the Vietnam War.

"If you really look for it, you can find it," the writer says.
I wonder if there's anything in there about how Wide World of Sports was propaganda for the U.N. Or if Shapiro interviewed Mark McLeod.

UPDATE. Comments are delightful, and remind me to remind you of Shapiro's other adventures in the Lively Arts: In 2009 he told us that "Since 1948, Israeli film has been heavily focused on undermining Israelis’ patriotism – and Israelis have bought into it," which explains the persistence of Bibi Netanyahu, and compared Wanda Sykes' performance at the White House Correspondents Dinner to "Richard Pryor speaking at a White House Correspondents Dinner for JFK and failing to mention the civil rights movement."

Shapiro's analytical skills really shine, recalls Substance McGravitas, in his list of the 10 most overrated directors, topped by Alfred Hitchcock. His premise is, "[Hitchcock] was the Stephen King of the silver screen: he made films with great premises, but he never knew where to go from there"; he defends this mostly with adjectives.

A few readers note that Shapiro is a member of the board of Declaration Entertainment, which was considered here last July and has so far produced no features but lots of Bill Whittle videos.

Monday, May 30, 2011

WANK SQUAD. In my previous Weiner/Twitter post, I referred to the brethren's morbid interest in Gennette Cordova as a Monica Lewinsky dream-object. Speaking of which, Robert Stacy McCain:
Why didn’t I have any qualms about naming Ms. Cordova? First of all, her identity was never really “secret” to anyone who knew how to use Google. She was already being named at other blogs, and by people on Twitter.

Second, Ms. Cordova had obviously basked in the reflected glory of her online connection to the famous congressman, so that in April, after she Tweeted out that Weiner was her “boyfriend,” her friends teased her about her “crush” on him. Having welcomed such publicity in April, why should she shun publicity in May?
"Reflected glory"? Lots of us have internet crushes. For a particularly ripe example, see Ace O'Spades on Christina Hendricks:
I'd hit that with the berserker fury of a dozen Norsemen. I'd hit that so hard she'd sing the aaa-aaa chorus of The Immigrant Song.

I'd hit that I like I turned a Bag of Holding inside-out and dropped it into a Portable Hole.

Hitting that would fill me with such transcendental bliss...
Ugh, let's stop there. Spades has taken to calling Cordova "The Comely Coed" and mooning over her tits.

Elsewhere the brethren refer to Cordova as a "Swirly Young Thing" (?), "Femme Fatale," "buxom and willing to be interviewed Seattle woman," "busty Seattle co-ed," "DEMOCOMMIE SCUMBAG JOURALISM STUDENT IN THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF SEATTLE" (that's for those who like rough talk), etc.

"Gennette was not alone," Jim Hoft reveals, "Weiner’s Twitter Friends Include Pages of Young Lucious Fans." Some of his followers are attractive women, apparently; guy's a regular Bluebeard. Others are in a state of Questions Remain because Weiner has a teenage Twitter correspondent. McCain is following the teenager and calling her "Little Miss Potty-Mouth." Wonder how they'd react if Weiner and a bunch of other Democrats met one of his teenage fans face to face? ("'He came up to me, grabbed my hand, and shook it,' said Joe the Plumber. 'If I didn't know any better I would say he was 30 years old.'" Yeah, that's what they all say.)

In the realm of deep analysis, The American Jingoist* tells us Weiner's marriage is all a front:
As for Weiner, I was not fooled by his recent marriage to Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s alleged paramour. I always thought it was a backdoor Democrat deal. The rumor mill was rife for years. Huma and Hillary were closerthanthis. Everybody knew.
You'll be hearing a lot more of this sort of thing as the boys remain hard on the case.

*UPDATE. Just realized that sham marriage story was only repurposed by The American Jingoist -- it originated with Atlas Pam.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the rightblogger reaction to the NY-26 special election -- doubling down, basically, on the Coupons for Codgers Welfare plan, and nominating its author, Paul Ryan, for President. There's something wonderfully daffy about that. It's as if the French Socialist Party decided to run Dominique Strauss-Kahn anyway.

From the outtakes, some guy at RedState:
Democrats only come into power when they are successful at persuading people through tools of anger, envy, jealousy, bitterness, and the GOP doesn't fight back because they are afraid to and won't stand and fight for what they believe in. These tactics are exploitative of course but only serve to keep them in power and in the ultimate end, make our country something it was never intended to be: A Marxist state.
In the midst of a fight that is supposedly about how best to maintain a giant entitlement program, accusing the opposition of Marxism is a bit rich. Still, I wonder: why don't the Democrats try it? Just for grins, have Harry Reid come out one day and denounce Paul Ryan's Big Government share-the-wealth Welfare plan. It makes no sense, but that hasn't stopped anyone before, and maybe it'll make the bastards nervous.
PUMP IT UP UNTIL YOU CAN FEEL IT. I'll be interested to see what comes out of the Anthony Weiner case. (There's just no way of referring to it that doesn't sound suggestive, is there?) True, it's a motley crew that's after him -- including not only Breitbart but also Lee Stranahan, one of those Left-left-me types who thanks to Shirley Sherrod is outraged by Weinergate.

But they can't be wrong all the time. Take the National Enquirer -- they had John Edwards dead to rights, and their recent claim that Arnold Schwarzenegger used highway patrolmen to bring him girls seems to have been taken seriously by the state attorney general*, though I haven't heard any wingnuts applauding their Pulitzer-worthy reporting in this case. (The Enquirer may also be right about Seth Meyers dating Martha Stewart. That's another one the Lame Stream Media won't touch.)

So if Weiner did in fact send some girl a picture of his bulging underwear, that'll be weeks of hot copy and Republicans deluding themselves that they can grab his Congressional seat. (Wait'll the folks in Rockaway Beach hear about Paul Ryan's Coupons for Codgers Welfare program! They'll rise up against their Democratic plantation masters!)

And if Weiner did no such thing, we'll get a few days of can-you-prove-that-I-was-intentionally-misleading-you? and then on to the next bullshit. In other words, the usual.

UPDATE. From Datechguy:
So since Stacy is giving reporting lessons I took the liberty of calling congressman Weiner’s office, the recorded messaged referred me to a press number to call after hours. I called the number and the gentleman named Joe who answered claimed I had the wrong number so I called back the congressman’s office to confirm the number in question (it was correct) and called the press number again. It now goes directly to voice mail. I left my name and home and cell numbers at both locations, and I’ll let you know if anything pans out, but I found that reaction…interesting.
Yes, it's interesting that on Memorial Day weekend no one at Weiner's office was available to call back someone who calls himself Datechguy.

*UPDATE 2. In comments M. Bouffant informs me that the Cali AG isn't going after Schwarzenegger after all. I hope this doesn't sully the Enquirer's hard-won reputation.

UPDATE 3. From Stef at Daily Kos, the best summary of the case that this is all bullshit. Actually, maybe only the second-best, as the continued spinning by Robert Stacy McCain is pretty damning too, as it consists of the sort of thing you expect from these guys whenever they're cock-blocked: Irrelevant hair-splitting, and the desire to get Ms. Lewinsky (or whatever she's called in the latest dream-incarnation) alone in a room and really get to the bottom of this:
She is not — not — describing someone who “hacked” Weiner’s Twitter account, a subject about which she expresses no special knowledge.

Also, this: “There have never been any inappropriate exchanges between Anthony Weiner and myself.”

All righty then: Define “inappropriate,” Ms. Cordova.

By your own admission, you publicly described a married congressman as your “boyfriend,” which some people might consider inappropriate.
I advise Cordova to pick up some pepper spray.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

GIL SCOTT-HERON, 1949-2011. Alec Wilkinson's New Yorker article on him from last year is well worth your time; so's Heron's Vibe interview from 1994. That Heron could be, to say the least, difficult is not surprising; what's surprising is that, in this world, more of us aren't. I never complain when a great artist produces less over time, or stops, because it's a miracle that we get art at all, let alone genius.

Last night I pored over a bunch of Heron's stuff and was struck by the great seriousness of it; he had, God knows, a sense of humor, but he didn't clown, and he certainly didn't front. He seems not just to have considered his subjects, but also to have inspected them, carefully and over a lifetime, and his insights are of a very high order. If his introspection was less successful than his inspection, that's just how it goes sometimes, a lot of the time.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

HELLO, CRUNCHY, WELL HELLO, CRUNCHY, IT'S SO NICE TO HAVE YOU BACK WHERE YOU BELONG. I have lamented the low profile Rod Dreher's been keeping, but today National Review had him speak on the important subject of... well, let him tell it:
Despite the truly admirable, even inspiring, rags-to-riches story Oprah Winfrey can tell, and despite having done some important and moving shows in her time, I count her influence as a net negative on American culture.
He's still got it!
Take the show she broadcast on Islam three weeks after 9/11. I wrote about it on NRO at the time, criticizing Oprah harshly for her propagandistic whitewashing of unpleasant realities in contemporary Islam. She encouraged viewers not to think about what Islam stood for, but rather to feel positive towards Islam, and therefore to deny anything that countered this preferred narrative.
Which was a big mistake, as all the other daytime shows were addressing Islamic theology. Remember the All My Children Sayyid Qutb storyline? I believe he was played by Al Freeman Jr.

Actually Brother Rod's been getting out more -- here's him at Real Clear Politics on the Rapture. I give him great credit for admitting that he worried about the Apocalypse as an adolescent, and more for admitting that "the radical prospect of rebirth through total catastrophe still tempts me in less culturally embarrassing ways." However:
Living in New York City in the aftermath of 9/11 was, I confess, one of the happiest times in my life. It was also the most sorrowful and anxious, and I would not relive it again for anything. But the truth is that that localized apocalypse gave me a newfound sense of purpose and meaning. After that, I knew who I was, what was happening in the world, and what I was to do.
I guess Crunchy Conservatism is something else we can blame on 9/11. Now I'm really glad we killed Bin Laden.
VISUAL AID. I'm going to start using this in posts. Lord knows there'll be plenty of times when it's appropriate. Thanks, Gawker!

UPDATE. This too. How come nobody told me about gifsoup.com before?
VIDEO REVIEW. Perhaps spooked by the impending Republican defeat in NY-26, Paul Ryan put together an anti-Mediscare video which the brethren are now rushing out. "Another nifty floating charts video," raves Andrew Stiles at National Review and no, he's not kidding. "I think the GOP needs to get this video out there prominently," says QandO.

The laughs comes early when we are told "Washington has not been honest with you" by Ryan, who has been in Congress since 1999 and has only recently become Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. But never mind. His jacket's off and his sleeves semi-loosened. He means business!

Though the music is properly swirly-sinister in the first part and on-hold-music-optimistic in the second, I must say Ryan misses some opportunities with his iconography:

A little "Patient" figurine receives caduceuses ("health care services") from a hospital ("Provider"), which sends little blue bills to a Federal building ("Medicare"), which sends little blue dollars to the Provider. "Medicare reimburses the doctor with your tax dollars and borrowed money, no questions asked," explains Ryan, and several figurines labeled "Taxpayers" are shown to feed Medicare with their own blue dollars. Thus, "the patient is very disconnected from the cost."

Medicare recipients and would-be recipients probably like this arrangement just fine and hope that, despite the ongoing Depression, it can be sustained long enough that they won't have to die of peritonitis in an unheated rooming house. Couldn't the Medicare building have been made into a house of horrors, with lightning bolts and Joe Stalin climbing on the roof like King Kong? Also, while it's good that the "panel of 15 unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats" Obama wants to "set the price" are all RED, couldn't they also have big cigars and perhaps dookie ropes that say PLAYA? (It's nice that, at the end, the bureaucrats sprout briefcases, but these should spring open to reveal taxpayer dollars, condoms, and hypodermic needles.)

Also, when Ryan tells us that under the Obama plan "many doctors will stop seeing Medicare patients altogether," which will lead to "waiting lists and denied care," and the figurines multiply to reflect this, couldn't they be shown lying in their own filth on cheap gurneys labeled "PROPERTY OF UNITED STATES OF SOCIALIST REPUBLICS"?

Some segments need only a gentle tweak. In the Path to Prosperity section, the red "bureaucrat panel" is swept away and the patient figurine grows large, dwarfing the Medicare building; this should please Tea Party patriots. As Ryan explains that Path to P "provides financial support" (i.e. coupons) to recipients, a moving dotted line issues from the full-grown patient toward Medicare; a small adjustment would make this more obviously a stream of urine, expressing the patient's contempt for Big Government.

I would also suggest Ryan remove phrases like "best care at the lowest cost" and "the high quality we expect at a price we can afford," which sound like advertising grifts for a cut-rate product. Also, while "freedom of choice" is a tested marketing concept, the hospital icons do not alter appreciably after the Path to Prosperity transformation; maybe they should be brightly and distinctively colored, and have water slides and other attractive add-ons.

I like the distinct choice at the end: "A government monopoly and a panel of bureaucrats in Washington, D.C." versus "You." Except the voter looking forward to his end-of-life care probably doesn't like to imagine himself all alone. I realize this conflicts somewhat with the libertarian dream of total autonomy; perhaps some imagery can be devised that suggests the company of other rationally self-interested people who will be in the same boat as You, but will refrain from offering You any demeaning help. Maybe the cast of "Seinfeld"?

Final note: Lose the bit about getting the same kind of care members of Congress get. No one believes that.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

TEA STAINED. Jack Davis underperformed but it looks like Kathy Hochul has pulled it out in NY-26 against Jane Corwin. I haven't followed this race as closely as I did the Scozzafava-Hoffman-Owens NY-23 election in 2009, but on balance I'd say sending John Boehner out there to remind folks that the GOP wants to turn Medicare into a voucher program was probably a bad idea. (So was focusing on beating up Davis as a fake Tea Party candidate -- they seem to have pulled him back from the 12 percent he had in late polls to about 9 percent, but that didn't do the trick.)

The rapid response team would have us think otherwise. "Republicans suck in New York. Period. End of Story," growls Erick Erickson. "...it will be a stretch to say that it means that the people of suburban Buffalo are telling the country to reject the GOP’s budget plans," assures Jonathan S. Tobin at Commentary. "The complete irrelevance of NY-26," insists Conn Carroll of the Washington Examiner. Etc.

Really? The Chris Lee scandal that led to the special election can't have been helpful. But since the Republicans first gained this seat in 1857, they've held the 26th for all but 17 years. In 2010 Lee got 73.6 percent of the vote. With the flawed vessel removed, you'll think they could have held onto such an advantage.

The Tea Party dream of bathtub-drown'd gummint was a boon to the GOP in 2010, when they did pretty well in western New York. But the Ryan plan and its fallout suggests that, now that the loons the movement brought to Washington are threatening to actually do something about it, it's costing them in a constituency they shouldn't have to worry about: Registered Republicans.

Think they'll get the message?

UPDATE. A beautiful silver lining from DrewM at Ace O'Spades:
On the upside, the GOP got a look at the Democrats playbook on attacking the Ryan plan. We should be better prepared moving forward. Yeah, we shouldn't have been surprised this time but some lessons have to be learned anew.
He's got a point: There is no evidence that Corwin called her opponent a socialist.
SCENES FROM THE COMING HONKYCAUST. A bunch of kids rampaged in a Dunkin' Donuts on Christopher Street last week. I was wondering when the brethren would get on it with their expected interpretation. Apparently Drudge caught up with the story and the sluice-gates are opened. Jim Hoft at Gateway Pundit:
Apparently, it’s racist to note that all of the youths involved in the attack were black just like the flashmob that attacked the Milwaukee Mayfair Mall in January, the mob that attacked a Dupont Circle store in Washington DC in April, and the flashmob that ransacked a Las Vegas convenience store in early May.

Apparently, if you notice these things you’re just being a hateful racist.
Urban Grounds:
...I knew before I saw the video “who” those rioting punks were going to be. And so did you. And…yep…they’re a bunch of black kids, acting like animals and criminals while terrorizing the public...

That’s because in Black Run America, there are no rules of civility or decency. Only a “gonna get mine” attitude born from generation-after-generation of blacks in America being given handouts after handouts. So really, it’s not their fault that they have this entitlement mentality where they believe they can destroy and take anything they want...
Some of the boys just stick the word "black" into the news reports to show what the Lieberal Media won't. Haw haw, jes' sayin'! For some of them, the word "black" just doesn't go far enough.

This charming display of tell-it-like-it-is got me to scanning the news for recent reports of folks in trouble with the law on charges of running and in some cases blowing up meth labs.

This fellow was recently found guilty of running a meth lab in Florida.

The Knoxville (TN) News-Sentinel caught this pale guy being escorted to a ambulance. "Man injured in suspected meth-related blast" is the headline; he and a buddy are up on charges.

Here are a few more photos of recently-suspected meth chefs.

In fairness, most of these people are only suspects and may have fallen prey to the pernicious profiling of white people common in Black-Run America. Jes' sayin', hoss.

Anyway, everyone knows the proper criminal use of a Dunkin' Donuts is for Republican legislators to threaten to shoot people in the parking lot.

Monday, May 23, 2011

BEANBAG. The President is raising lots of money for his reelection, which may persuade some Republicans not to get into the 2012 race against him. Jonah Goldberg, kicking and spraying Cheetos crumbs, cries No Fair:
I think everybody in the mainstream press knows that this is the case. But nobody wants to blame Obama for it.
It is simply understood by reporters at the New York Times or NBC that Republicans “fight dirty.” And so their coverage reflects that even before anything dirty has happened. Well, whatever the merits of that assumption...
Yeah, it's debatable that Republicans fight dirty.
...it’s also true that Democrats fight dirty — and that goes for Obama, too.
No citations, alas.
And yet how much grief does Obama get for it? Remember, he’s the guy who said his chief opponent in 2008 was “cynicism.”
We're supposed to be outraged that Obama is raising money? What does Goldberg expect him to do, take 2012 easy? Why? Out of a spirit of fair play? Maybe he should attend the 2012 Presidential debates in a gorilla mask, too, or put marbles in his mouth.

I await the first of these geniuses to suggest campaign finance reform.

UPDATE. In comments, referring to Goldberg and his quoted source John Podhoretz, whetstone: "Only two wingnut-welfare scions who have, to my knowledge, never had the need to actually be good at anything, could possibly feign shock at this." I'm embarrassed that whet saw before I did the irony of legacy pledge Goldberg complaining about other people's unfair advantages.

Also in comments, Roger Ailes (the good one) shows me the New York Post's story, confirmed only by nameless sources (said to include "Top Dems"!), that Obama is doing oppo research on Chris Christie. So if these Top Dems indeed exist and are telling the truth, the thug Obama is assaulting the defenseless Christie with research! This time he's gone too far. Why, the next thing you know, he may print palmcards and flyers. Nothing's beyond him!
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the latest doings among Republican Presidential candidates -- Mitch Daniels out, Herman Cain on his way to a landslide victory.

I prepared a sidebar about Newt Gingrich's latest adventures, but had no room for it, so I will share it here with you, the real people:
Gingrich took a rightblogger beatdown last week for calling the Paul Ryan Medicare plan "right-wing social engineering," and went to great lengths to redeem himself for it, even calling Rush Limbaugh to explain. Rightbloggers didn't give him much credit for that, though, continuing to call him a RINO, a pinhead, and, most damningly, "the new John McCain."

DrewM at Ace of Spades described a better way for GOP candidates to approach Ryan's politically risky plan: "My advice would be… punt with a twist." That is, they should make "right respectful statements" about it, and then "honestly talk about reform in broad strokes and make it clear some sort of reform will happen," but refrain from producing "a thousand page draft bill in the name of 'specifics'" which Democrats will demand just so they can "have something to club the candidate over the head with… We should give our primary candidates some room for plausible deniability."

Pete Spiliakos at No Left Turns agreed: "If the Republican nominee is running on an unmodified [Ryan Plan]," he said, "they will be worthy of respect, but they will have missed an opportunity to give themselves the best chance to win and implement the change we need."

That's the ticket -- support the plan, but keep it on the down-low. And last weekend, Gingrich was allowed back on the Sunday talk shows to do just that.
Aaaand... scene. Do give the Voice column a look, though; there's plenty funsies in it, particularly having to do with Daniels' wife (that bitch!) and Cain, who must have Ross Perot wondering where all this pro-businessman support was when he was running for President.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

NERD ALERT. At Discover, Kyle Munkittrick tells us about the subversive message in Pixar films. They show animals and machines with human characteristics. And it's not like this is Bulgakov or Kipling we're talking about -- these are popular movies seen by impressionable children.
You can see where I’m going here. Particularly in WALL•E, Ratatouille and Up! there is no ambiguity about the reality of intelligence in the non-human characters...

Non-humans are sentient beings. That is the central difference between Pixar’s universe and our current reality.

That idea alone would suffice to show that Pixar films are all but propaganda for the concept of non-human personhood. But that is where the hidden message begins.

What makes these films so astonishing and the message so powerful is the story arc of the Human as Partner narrative...
Munkittrick concludes: "By watching our favorite films, we have been taught that being human is not the same as being a person. We have been shown that new persons and forms of personhood can come from anywhere. Through Pixar, we have opened ourselves to a better future."

Those of us who grew up with Bugs Bunny outsmarting Elmer Fudd, and whose nerd alarms were blazing from the start of this article, may take it with varying quantities of salt. But Futurepundit grasps the nettle: These Pixar films may dispose us kindly toward robots, and they can't be trusted:
At least biological life forms that are social creatures will very likely have some instinct toward reciprocity. But machine intelligences could manage to escape the ethical programming that humans will try to give them. Since machine intelligences are most likely to be the non-human intelligences that we will encounter in the next 50 years we should be worried about whether we will be able to keep them friendly toward us.
I hope the GOP is paying attention, because this suggests a new opening for Republican Presidential candidates: Instead of yapping about the threat represented by Muslims, unions, and homosexuals, they should ask in tones of thunder what Obama is doing to protect America from the coming robot menace.

They can also take a tip from Ole Perfesser Reynolds, who comments on Pixar's will-sapping pro-robot propaganda:
Movies are poor sources of moral guidance. Just look at the people who make them.
I expect he'll change his tune once his consciousness is uploaded.
CLEARLY Herman Cain scared off Mitch Daniels. Imagine blaming his withdrawal on his wife and daughters, and in the dead of night! Clearly not Presidential timber.

My money remains on Sarah Palin. She's out there in the arena, taking bold stands on important issues:
In a recent interview with Fox Business, Sarah Palin gave her thoughts on the current Arnold Schwarzenegger scandal in which Schwarzenegger fathered a child with a member of the household staff member beyond his marriage to Maria Shriver ten years ago. "It is irresponsible and pretty disgusting things that he did to deny that he had a child for 10 years," said Palin, who also mentioned that the actions of the former Governor of California showed "bad character".
Oh, to be a fly on the wall when Reince Preibus meets with Rupert Murdoch to buy out Palin's contract.

Friday, May 20, 2011

SHORTER NANCY FRENCH: Ladies, don't complain when men expect you to wait on them hand and foot. They deserve it because they invented appliances.

UPDATE. Some of my delightful commenters point out that French is merely putting a gender-based spin on Megan McArdle's idea that we shouldn't worry about declining incomes because we all have iPods, which did not exist in the '70s. Of course McArdle came up with that before Obama became president, so who knows what she thinks now.
THIS TIME FOR SURE. Talk radio host John Phillips tells L.A. Times readers "How Chris Christie will be drafted to run for president." He explains that L.A. once had a mayor who was popular and black, but when the L.A. Riots made him look like a chump, voters put in a white guy. "Tom Bradley was the Barack Obama, before Barack Obama," Phillips says, and the riots currently raging in America's streets show he too is doomed to be replaced by a white guy. This obviously leads to Chris Christie, because the L.A. white guy mayor likes him:
I asked former Mayor Riordan if he sees any of himself in the New Jersey governor. But before I could get the words out of my mouth, Riordan jumped in, “Absolutely! I just wish I had his personality. I like him. He really tells it like it is... Obama has totally disappointed me.”
The punchline: Phillips' archive at the bottom of the article:
Also by John Phillips:

For Republicans in '12, it's Sarah Palin or another big, fat L.
His reasoning then: "If Obama blows it, the GOP can splurge. This is the Republican Party's best shot at sneaking in an actual true blue authentic conservative... The man for that job is Sarah Palin."

He wrote that in March. By this summer, it'll be, I dunno, Jeb Bush? Paul Ryan? Certainly someone who isn't running. As Daniel Henninger demonstrated, modern technology has made those people the only viable candidates.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

SHORTER DANIEL HENNINGER: The more people see of Republican Presidential candidates, the more they hate them. I blame technology.
SHORTER NANCY FRENCH: Regarding Schwarzenegger's illegitimate child, it is, on balance, a positive thing that we've stopped using it but O how I love the word "bastard"! Bastard, bastard, bastard, bastard, bastard!

UPDATE. In comments, ha ha Jay B: "I prefer 'Heir to the Last Action Hero Residuals.'"

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

JUST A HIPPIE DREAM. Some of you may remember the South Park Republican craze of the '00s, which posited that young people were going right-wing ("Some agree with every plank in the party's platform, in spite of having a nose ring and purple mohawk"). It had its roots in the conservative meme that liberals were the Anti-Fun, as described by Merry Prankster George F. Will: "Some Americans (let us avoid the term "liberals") hate fun, such as cheeseburgers, talk radio, guns, Las Vegas and cars that are larger than roller skates..."

This kind of talk gives some comfort to the old-school wingers, and every once in a while another contender shows up to tell us things like "the current youth ethos embodied by internet subculture is fundamentally conservative in character, even if its denizens have not yet caught on to that fact."

Tom Tomorrow tips me to the latest edition, by Matt Barber at the Washington Times. Barber tells us about an old hippie whose son went right-wing. The hippie "once discovered magazines hidden under the boy’s mattress. He was shocked to find his son looking at such smut: National Review."

Haw haw! This speaks to Barber's point that while "hippies once were the counterculture," today they are "the establishment machine," and "today’s counterculture is rejecting the tired progressive policies pushed by this president and his secular-socialist sycophants," which will have the hippies "writhing in their Birkenstocks."

Some readers will notice that the hippie dad is 70 years old and his son is in his forties. Still more will wonder why we're talking about hippies at all, as they have as much relevance to our day and age as flappers writhing in their Symington Side Lacers.

Barber cites "a 2010 Marist Institute for Public Opinion poll" which "determined that nearly 60 percent of millennials believe abortion is 'morally wrong,' a nearly 10-point increase over the more progressive baby-boomer generation," and declares, "The tide is turning." UPI confirms the abortion figure, but the Marist Institute's own report says the kids nonetheless gave Obama a 60 percent job approval rating. Maybe they don't know who he is, despite Barber's educational outreach.

Barber also refers to "a recent survey from Harvard University’s Institute of Politics [which] found that millennials are worried sick about their futures." Since he doesn't specify the Institute of Politics poll, nor quote figures from it, we wonder if he means this one from March, the release for which is headlined, "Obama Approval Ratings On the Rise Among Millennials, Especially on College Campuses, Harvard Poll Finds."

It turns out that even though the hippies have shuffled off to rest homes, the groovy Republican revolution is not in full swing, according to Barber, but merely anticipated: As "President Hopey Changey and Democrats in Congress continue to play back-alley dice with their lives," he asks, "do you think these kids won’t rebel as the clouds quickly darken?"

Humorous as that is, the real punchline is that Barber is vice president of Liberty Counsel Action, an organization known mostly for fighting gay marriage, Planned Parenthood, and the ACLU however it can -- and going to extraordinary lengths to do so.

Maybe in the follow-up Barber will tell us how the kids' opinions on gay marriage, contraception, and civil liberties are central to his point. At least I hope he'll update his human interest angle, and tell us about some aging punk rocker whose kid has a picture of Maggie Gallagher on his bedroom wall.
THE DREAM IS OVER. Jonah Goldberg on the Tea Party, 2010:
But how, then, to explain the relative right-wing quiescence on Bush's watch and fiscal Puritanism on Obama's? No doubt partisanship plays a role. But partisanship only explains so much given that the tea partiers are clearly sincere about limited government and often quite fond of Republican-bashing. So here's an alternative explanation: Conservatives don't want to be fooled again....

Restoration and destruction are hardly synonymous terms or desires. And maybe that’s a better label for the tea parties: a political restoration movement, one that reflects our Constitution and the precepts of limited government...

Meanwhile, maybe [Brink] Lindsey is right that the language of conservatism needs to be reinvigorated with libertarianism, but it seems to me that’s exactly what the Tea Partiers he so disdains are busy doing...
Today Goldberg catches flak for dissing Ron Paul, responds:
But I never got the sense that, generally speaking, the tea partiers were definitive Ron Paul followers or fans. Among other things, I think the [Tea Party] folks I’ve met were generally more in favor of the military, the war on terror, and mainstream conservative foreign policy than anything that could be described as Paul-ism...
That Don't-Tread-On-Me stuff was fine for the midterms, but in the run-up to 2012 I guess the Tea Party is about electing Republicans and endless wars. Reset your bullshit detector accordingly.
A TRIP DOWN MEMORY LANE. My long-term readers may wonder what has become of some of my former favorite figures of fun in whose grills I am less up than once I was. Sometimes I wonder the same thing.

When I heard the Catholic Church has decided that the 60s made their priests fuck little boys, I was put in mind of that early adopter of the POV, Rod Dreher. He's brought me great joy over the years. For several months, though, Dreher hasn't been blogging much, apparently on the orders of his employers at the Templeton Foundation. He is still authorized to spread the Good News in major media, as with this Washington Post op-ed, in which he tells again how he removed his family from Catholicism and the "loosey-goosey moral teaching in Roman parishes" to the Orthodox Church, with its "seriousness about sin... the long liturgies, the frequent prayers, the intense fasts... Men love a challenge, and that’s exactly what Orthodoxy gives them."

This sounds like something from an artisanal tour of the World's Finest Religions, which suggests to me that Dreher is still the Crunchy connoisseur, judging morals by mouth-feel -- as does his slam on the "dreary parish life" found "often among the ethnically-oriented older parishes that see themselves as little more than the tribe at prayer." The locals don't know what they've got, it seems, and that's why they need professional converts like Dreher to curate the icons and bring in celebrity guest cantors.

So I wandered out to see what's been doing with Old Crunchy. I see he is on Twitter, addressing the sacred ("Progressives tear down taboos around sex, and are shocked when men turn into beasts") and the mundane ("I've been off sugar & starch for a month now -- never felt better").

He appears also to have become embroiled in a controversy over pseudonymous postings at an Orthodox site, which activity, it is suggested, runs afoul of his Templeton strictures. If there's anything to this -- and I'm not about to take the word of religious maniacs on anything -- I am in sympathy with Dreher here, not only because he's already been savaged on this account by the likes of Robert Stacy McCain and Dan Riehl, who hate him for his deviation from traditional wingnut doctrine. Dreher's inability to stop talking is to me his most charming feature, though (perhaps because) it leads him into buffoonery. And if his problem is that he couldn't refrain from blogging even after his masters cautioned him, that just endears him to me all the more.

While I was on this memory trip I looked in on James Lileks, another onetime alicublog mainstay. Along with his column and his Bleats, Lileks now contributes to Ricochet, a clearinghouse for high-toned wingnuttery. Lileks' dispatches there are what you would expect: Snarls at liberals, including those reportedly within the Muslim Brotherhood -- "does he believe," Lileks says of James Clapper, "these liberals won’t make common cause with the 'conservative' wing the moment they got their hands on all the levers?" And he's got a point -- isn't that what liberals do in the U.S. Congress?

So he remains politically engaged, but in short bursts. Back at the Bleat, from what I can see, he mostly leaves off national news and contents himself by explaining how "the rot" pervades his day-to-day life, often evinced by the insufficient helpfulness of clerks and laborers. Here's a recent example: A deliveryman wouldn't drag some fabric rolls into a store for some nice ladies.
“What a jerk,” one of them said. “I understand he can’t help for legal reasons, probably, but he was just so unpleasant.”

Stop and think about that: can’t help for legal reasons. The modern assumption: if you do anything outside the tightly defined parameters of your job, and something happens – say, you swing around an enormous roll of fabric and knock over a dressmaker’s dummy, and it’s scuffed – there will be LAW INVOLVED, or at least something in your file that recounts the regrettable consequences of your decision to cast heed to the breeze and help two women drag the stuff from the curb to the store. He couldn’t even take the items off the pallet.
I was waiting for the more specific Big Gummint corollary -- something about labor unions or OSHA, or how customer service has declined since FDR tried to pack the Supreme Court -- but then Lileks mutters:
Or he just didn’t want to. He didn’t have to and he didn’t want to.
Maybe that just makes it worse. This Bleat also contains Part III of Lileks' war with insolent bicycle shop employees: "Nothing like a bike shop to remind you how the economy would look if capitalism was abolished and pot legalized."

Now for the button, thanks to commenter Halloween Jack: A return visit to Annie Jacobsen, not a member of our regular cast past or present but a guest star, who in 2004 freaked out over Arabs on a plane, who turned out to be not terrorists as Jacobsen feared, but musicians. For this misapprehension and the notoriety it brought her, Jacobsen was rewarded with gigs at Pajamas Media and the Los Angeles Times.

Jacobsen is now promulgating a new terror-in-the-skies story, this one having to do with the Roswell UFO incident. Per Time:
What really crashed near Roswell, New Mexico in 1947, was not an alien ship, nor was it a weather balloon as previously speculated by many, according to Jacobsen. In fact, she says, it was a Soviet spy plane. And it was controlled by disfigured adolescents, two of whom survived the crash.
So those photogenic corpses weren't aliens after all -- they were Commies! Even better: They were mutants created by Nazi doctor Josef Mengele on Stalin's orders to look like aliens and thus throw America into turmoil. Son of a gun -- Jonah Goldberg was right!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

NOBODY SAW ANYTHING. The people who pretend they never realized that David Mamet was a conservative are the same people who pretend they never realized that Arnold Schwarzenegger was a douchebag.

Best take, No More Mister Nice Blog's: "Arnold Turned Right-Wingers French."

To celebrate, here's Ahnuld's promo for Milton Friedman's "Free to Choose." H/t Halting Arkansas Liberals With Truth, which doesn't seem to realize how funny it is, and also has the transcript. Schwarzenegger's acting teacher must have told him, "when you talk about capitalism, think about tits."

UPDATE. It is also useful to remember that when conservatives fell in love with Arnoldism back in '03, they suddenly fell out of love with all those California constitutional oddities that help make the state hard to govern.

UPDATE 2. In comments, kia: "It's shocking. But I'm sure it was a lapse in judgment, and certainly a protracted one. I'm disposed to be forgiving, though I myself can't imagine being far enough out of my head to envision that strutting, swaggering dimwitted old plug-ugly as an object of desire."

I admire and am even slightly shamed by kia's Imitation of Christ. Schwarzenegger has escaped my sympathy because he is such a horrible bully, and I can't imagine him giving anyone else a break under similar or indeed any circumstances.

Still, the better angels of our natures deserve a hearing. I was more sympathetic toward Mark Sandford because I hadn't seen him preening for 30+ years. But these are celebrities; who really knows how they are off the screen and in the home, or behind their own closed eyes? Affairs of the heart are subtler than politics, and more interesting.

UPDATE 3. On yet another hand, there's no harm in enjoying this from the L.A. Times:
Parenting: How to talk to kids about Arnold Schwarzenegger's infidelity
I tried and failed to find similar stories about other celebrity cock-ups in their archives -- e.g. "How to explain to kids why the lady with the tatoos has no clothes on" -- but I understand Schwarzenegger is a bigger deal out there than elsewhere.
1. Talk about monogamy and sex: If you believe that monogamy is the key (or at least one key) to a happy relationship, now is the time to talk about what monogamy means, and the importance of honoring the commitments we make to our boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse.
If, however, yours is an open relationship, emphasize the importance of timely disclosure; if polyamorous, explain to the kids that all members of the triad must share housekeeping duties.
BURDEN OF 3-DREAMS. Cave of Forgotten Dreams is for sure a Werner Herzog joint and has much in common with other loopy Herzog non-fiction films from Fata Morgana to Bells from the Deep. But it is also a major 3-D event -- the showing I attended on a drizzly Monday evening was packed -- made in association with Arte France, the French Ministry of Culture, and the History Channel, and documents a world-class cultural treasure: The prehistoric paintings, mostly of animals, in the Chauvet Cave.

I doubt there was any official interference with Herzog's vision, or that he would tolerate any such interference. But the enormity of the subject and the exceptional circumstances of its filming have a definite impact on the movie. To an admirable extent, and in clever ways, Herzog works this into his plan; his narration refers frequently to the importance and rarity of access to the cave, and he often uses this to buy extra attention (as with his references to the difficulty of getting a camera positioned to record a stalactite decorated with a sexual image).

But there is no getting around the fact that the paintings themselves are the stars; they're incredible, not only because they remain in such good condition, but because they're so beautiful. If the film had been made by competent hacks it would still be worth attending just to see them. They're like Chagall, but infinitely simpler and more eloquent. Made when Neanderthals still roamed the earth, they have no trace of mannerism; they are what the painting of centuries built upon, and what the moderns tried to recapture; they are, no exaggeration, the very essence of art. It feels like a privilege just to look at a holographic representation of them.

What can even a master like Herzog do with this? Philosophize, with his camera or his words. This he does pretty well, in the manner we've come to expect. Herzog interviews a number of people associated with Chauvet, and it struck me as I watched that anyone he interviews, whatever the circumstance, inevitably becomes a Herzog character, much as anyone in a Bresson film becomes a Bresson character, natural in a slightly awkward way. Herzog follows a "Master Perfumer" who sniffs rocks for evidence of cave breezes; later we see the perfumer inside the cave, gaping and stretching to take advantage now that he has been put so close to the prize. Even the academics Herzog questions seem at least as interesting as what they have to tell us.

Herzog talks quite a bit about the mystery of the paintings, their creation, circumstances, preservation, and possible meanings. Sometimes it sticks and sometimes it doesn't. The subject is bigger than God's Angry Man, or even Timothy Treadwell, and tends to dwarf Herzog's observations. He gets a chance in the end to add a gloss by visiting a bizarre nature preserve enabled by the warm runoff waters of a nuclear power plant near the cave; there, albino alligators flourish. Herzog puts us eye level with these alligators -- inscrutable freaks, like the smoking monkey in Echoes of a Somber Empire -- and invites us to imagine them confronting the Chauvet paintings, and one another as "doppelganger mirrors." It's ludicrous and poetic, a pleasantly puzzling exhibit on our way out of the cave. But in the main: Come for the auteur, stay for the awesome.

Monday, May 16, 2011

HEAL THYSELF. December 2010: Psychotherapist and American Thinker columnist Robin of Berkeley says, "Just this week, I've been dealing with people undermining me whom I thought I could trust... With the sabotage going on in my life, last night I couldn't sleep a wink. I lay in bed disturbed, thinking of these people who want to harm me." These people remind her of America's "Enemies Within."

April 2011: Robin of Berkeley, who had been avoiding Facebook because "incessant Facebooking was turning many minds to mush (not to mention inciting riots and insurrection)," finally takes the plunge and (it appears) inadvertently turns on the Find Friends feature. This shows her people she isn't speaking to anymore ("We had an email fight about Obama, and I never heard from her again"), which gives her the "horrifying thought" that "at this very moment, dozens of people were learning that I was now on Facebook... the idea of all these humans flooding my life was more than I could bear."

Earlier this month: Robin of Berkeley tells us, "I've had contact with sociopaths, malignant narcissists, and felons. And yet I've rarely beheld anyone as slippery as Obama." The President reminds her of a doctor she once knew whose five children, she claims, all tried to kill themselves; "in some horrifyingly sadistic way, he seemed to enjoy his children's collapse."

There's a new Robin of Berkeley column. Here's the opening:
I'm pretty certain that a neighbor, Bill, stole something from me.
Her friend Kim assures her Bill isn't that kind (i.e., she "lashed out at me"). But Robin of Berkeley knows better. "Like Kim, I was fooled by Bill too at first," she tells us. "But then I noticed cracks in his shiny facade; I started realizing that while his outside looked good, there was nothing inside but trouble."

Robin of Berkeley doesn't tell us whether she ever found out for sure who stole the strawberries, but Bill reminds her of a doctor she met who also "seemed like a decent fellow" but has since, aha, been "arrested for sexual misconduct with male patients."
But did his colleagues miss some of the telltale signs that something was amiss? I can't say for sure, but my best guess would be yes.

Because in these situations, there are usually indicators that something isn't right, that someone isn't who he appears to be.

It's like those times when the police arrest a man who committed a heinous crime. When the neighbors are interviewed, they often comment that they had a sense that something was wrong, but couldn't put their finger on it: "There was just something about the man that I didn't trust."

It's a sixth sense, a gut reaction. It may take the form of queasiness when we're around the person or a sensation of being creeped out.
You see? Kim doesn't believe that Bill stole the strawberries. And Robin of Berkeley can't prove it. But her gut tells Robin of Berkeley she's right. And you know who Bill and the patient-abusing doctor remind her of? Barack Obama!

I can hardly wait to hear what happens next.
NEW VOICE COLUMN UP, about the activity in the GOP Presidential race last week, and how it's all good news for the next President of the United States, Herman Cain. One can see why that old operative Hugh Hewitt is feverishly trying to get Cain, as well as Ron Paul and Gary Johnson, out of future debates -- though guys like Hewitt were big fans of the Tea Party when it offered a brand refreshment that got the voters buying Republican again, they're not really into decentralization of power:
The seriousness of the fiscal crisis requires the GOP and its candidates to act seriously, and allowing marginal candidates to eat up time and distract from the enormous problems facing the country is not serious...

...Chairman Preibus should intervene to avoid more such non-events which trivialize the times in which we live by mistaking enthusiasm for seriousness.
Time to hand to reins back to the Very Serious People! The punters don't seem to be going for it, though, and now the VSPs find their stacked deck getting reshuffled. Tampa 2012 may look like an operatic production of Family Feud.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

THE FIX IS IN. David Mamet has a new book, The Secret Knowledge: On the Dismantling of American Culture, which Andrew Ferguson at the Weekly Standard says "marks the terminal point of a years-long conversion from left to right that Mamet-watchers (there are quite a few of these) have long suspected but hadn’t quite confirmed." Hadn't quite confirmed? Mamet's "Why I Am No Longer a 'Brain-Dead Liberal'" appeared in the Village Voice in 2008.

But that essay "was much milder than its title," insists Ferguson. "It was the work of a man in mid-conversion." (Mamet merely said, "I took the liberal view for many decades, but I believe I have changed my mind," called Thomas Sowell "our greatest contemporary philosopher," etc.) So never mind the high-level notice previously taken of Mamet's political journey; wait'll the libs find out he's really conservative now. Bet they'll be mad!

A hint of how this earth-shattering news might go down is seen in Ferguson's portrayal of Mamet's speech at Stanford, though it occurred "a couple of years ago." The speech contained denunciations of political correctness and "a full-throated defense of capitalism." Nonetheless, instead of ripping up the seats, "the students in Memorial Hall seemed mostly unperturbed," reports Ferguson. "The ripples of dissatisfaction issued from the older members of the crowd." Ripples of dissatisfaction! Also, some of the oldsters -- "the wives were in wraparound skirts and had hair shorter than their husbands’" -- walked out.

Boy, Mamet's in trouble now.
After reading The Secret Knowledge in galleys, the Fox News host and writer Greg Gutfeld invented the David Mamet Attack Countdown Clock, which “monitors the days until a once-glorified liberal artist is dismissed as an untalented buffoon.” Tick tock.
Concurring is Mark Steyn, who quotes himself on the topic; from Steyn's 2008 essay:
In The Village Voice the other week, the playwright David Mamet recently outed himself as a liberal apostate and revealed that he's begun reading conservative types like Milton Friedman and Paul Johnson. If he's wondering what he's in for a year or two down the line, here's how Newsweek's Jonathan Tepperman began his review this week of another literary leftie who wandered off the reservation...
Long story short, the political writer Tepperman gave Martin Amis' political book, The Second Plane, a negative review. There can be no possible explanation for this except payback for Amis' apostasy, just as there will be no other possible explanation for whatever brickbats Mamet may get after his book comes out.

Steyn's "year or two" timeline is a little off -- Mamet has since "'Brain-Dead'" had the star-studded Race on Broadway, which received mixed reviews, the slightly better-received film Redbelt, and some prominent revivals (including one of Boston Marriage which the New York Times recently puffed -- ah, if they only knew!). But we may expect someone to object to The Secret Knowledge, and this will be proof that the David Mamet Attack Countdown Clock has gone off.

Meanwhile Tony Kushner, the most obviously leftist playwright this side of Dario Fo, has just debuted a new play at the Public. This is from the review in (cue sinister music) the Times:
...few of these revelations feel surprising or particularly necessary. “Angels in America” established that Mr. Kushner is a great playwright. In “Guide” he registers mainly as a great conversationalist who keeps talking well after he has made his essential points.
Kushner got even worse at the Voice ("a high-mettled, frolicsome, intellectually challenging mess, certainly self-indulgent, but never drab" -- now there's a pull-quote!) and elsewhere.

What reason can there be for the liberal intelligentsia turning on their fair-haired boy? They must be laying the groundwork for the attack on Mamet; by denouncing Kushner, they're making it look as if their critics review works based on their merits, rather than on the orders of the liberal High Command!

Once you adopt the view that everything on God's green earth is about politics, so much becomes obvious.

UPDATE. Much discussion of Mamet's work in comments. Don't misunderstand: I'm a fan. And I've known since I saw and admired the first New York production, years ago, of Oleanna with Bill Macy and Rebecca Pidgeon that he ain't exactly Dalton Trumbo, as would anyone else who was paying attention. And yet he wasn't blackballed by the nobs then. The first London production of Oleanna was directed by Harold fucking Pinter! The notion that a man of Mamet's attainments suffers, or could suffer, appreciably from liberal persecution is beyond ridiculous.

Friday, May 13, 2011

SHORTER DENNIS PRAGER: This guy whose sister died on 9/11 pleads, in her name, for America to reach out and build better relations with Arab nations. I blame this reprehensible attitude on liberalism.
WELL, THAT WAS A LOT OF WORK just to scrub my last post! I don't see why they made the rest of you suffer as well. I mean, they told me I was endangering my loved ones with my meddlesome japes, but I never thought they'd take it this far.

I didn't keep a copy and the cache isn't showing up in Google, so I guess I'll just have to wait and see if the Google/Blogger guys actually restore the posts that disappeared during their fuck-up. If they don't, just remember: Conservatives bad, rap and graffiti good.

I must say, the outage had a much greater impact on my life than any bunch of crybaby millionaires threatening to go live in the desert until we kiss their asses. Maybe henceforth they should call it "Going Google."

UPDATE. Speaking of which, I have tried in the past to move this blog to WordPress, but their CMS won't accept my entire archive. I've tried to talk to them about it, but their customer service sucks dog dick. Why, it's almost as if they don't want my non-paying business! (*I take it back; see Update 2.)

*UPDATE 2. I have to apologize to WordPress; my issue seems to have been fixed. Now I gotta think about using it for real.

Oh, and Blogger came up too -- the deleted post is back, just below this one. And to all my friends who worried, whether seriously or in jest, that their brilliant comments had been memory-holed, you can see them here.

UPDATE 3. Ann Althouse's blog has been restored, but emptied of posts; at her alternate address she suggests conspiracy:
You know, I'm beginning to suspect that there's some behind-the-scenes campaign to report my blog as abusive. People who hate/fear the Althouse blog could make a loud noise to Google.

Back in 2004, 98% of Google employees gave money to Democrats.
Donald Douglas concurs -- though his own rightwing site, which is also on Blogger, is still up. Maybe the Google liberal hit-squad thought they'd just take out the ringleader and her followers would scatter and run.

I hope her full site is back soon. I could use the material.

UPDATE 4. Matthew Hoy tracks down a Google rep who was rude to Althouse. "Nitecruzr—whoever he is—has all the makings of a little thug," he writes, and links to a profile for nitecruzr@gmail.com, who represents himself as a computer enthusiast who likes Heinlein and Tom Clancy. Or is that just a front?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

DEATH WISH, PART INFINITY. Heather Mac Donald was so pissed last month about the graffiti show at the Museum of Contemporary Art in L.A. that she wrote over 9000 words against it, distributed between a news article and something she described as a review but which did not address the actual art. Her schtick was mainly catching fatuous artists and dealers being fatuous, and museum personnel preventing her from tagging the exhibit ("'You can’t write on the wall,' another guard told me"); her point was that graffiti is destructive and illegal and linked to gang activity, and thus should not be celebrated in a museum.
At the press preview, guest curator Aaron Rose announced pompously: “This is history. This moment will go down in history as one of the most important moments in the 21st century.” Rose is probably wrong about that. But Art in the Streets will be remembered as a moment when Los Angeles’s constant and heroic battle against graffiti vandalism took a hard blow to the head.
There's also a lot of Broken Windows stuff about how graffiti causes crime, much in the way that marriage causes prosperity.

Though the exhibit seems to have drawn some graffiti to the museum's own neighborhood, it is hard to imagine that the city's criminal element will read about the show in Artforum and be inspired to redouble their tagging efforts. And Mac Donald admits that New York has massively rolled back graffiti despite affectionate, nostalgic tributes to the form that one now sees even in the local tabloids. Hell, we've had museum shows about graffiti, too, which were not followed by crime waves; I saw the 2005 "East Village USA" show at the New Museum, which had a graffiti component, and that didn't spur an uptick in urban hieroglyphics. Not everybody who likes Wild Style goes out defacing property as a result.

I mention this in relation to the complaints about Common performing at the White House. The McGuffin has been some of Common's lyrics, but I get the feeling the real wellspring of their outrage is that the Obamas know some rappers. This has been a popular schtick among the brethren going back to the 2008 campaign, and the inspiration for some of their iconography.

How about that: In 2011 we still have people flipping out about rap stars and old graffiti as if they have anything to do with anything. It makes about as much sense as complaining about punk rockers and slam dancing.

When Soundscan revealed just how massive hip-hop was with different kinds of people -- including both white and black consumers -- you'd think that game would have ended; many, many Americans enjoy this brand of entertainment, and if you think that's an indictment of our age, you're really obliged to go beyond the issue of rap's ghetto-crime-drug background and think about why those fantasies are popular with people of all races who hold down jobs and have families.

Similarly, if you think graffiti is such a menace that museums should avoid it lest they unleash an 80s urban hellscape revival, you ought to ask yourself why you think merely looking at graffiti with pleasure is so dangerous -- do you really believe it's like a virus that corrupts our morality with bright colors and balloon lettering? Or that citizens will leave the show thinking, "You know, I really feel like bombing a train, let's go steal some paint"?

To even consider the racial implications of the thing is just too depressing, so I'll just go with the slightly-less-depressing observation that conservatives seem to think that Escape from New York is still in theaters, Ice-T is still on the charts, and the word "culture" exists only as a prefix to the word "war."

UPDATE. Blogger's recent crisis broke the comments link -- you can see the original comments here.