Tuesday, September 16, 2014

ANNALS OF THE CULTURE WAR, PART NEGATIVE GAZILLION.

In his Morning Jolt email, Jim Geraghty engages A.O. Scott's thumbsucker on the lack of adulthood in sitcoms, and for a couple of seconds sounds non-crazy ("Not all popular culture needs to hold a mirror up to us" -- boy, where's that synapse been all these years?); but then, alas --
It's not that America doesn't have any grown-ups or non-loser dads left. We dads didn't go anywhere; it's just that television networks don't make as many shows about us, and when they do, the kind of people who review film and television for the New York Times aren't as interested...

Remember a moment ago when I described "communities dominated by underemployed urban quasi-professionals, unmarried, without kids, without mortgages, without a career path or plan"? How large a portion of the communities of our creative classes fits that description? Or perhaps more specifically, how many people in our creative classes percolated for years in that sort of extended-adolescence Bohemian urban environment? There's nothing inherently wrong with that environment -- for a while, at least — but it's light years away from being universal. Our national storytellers may be quite convinced that they're holding a mirror up to society — but they're only reflecting their own limited personal experience.
They're elitists, is what they are, these arty-farties who live in (spit) cities and don't know how to change a diaper. Not like the shirtsleeves, shot-and-a-beer kind of pundit-dads you see hand-lathing shelves at the National Review woodshop in Skunk Hollow, Ala.!
This sort of "You Hollywood types are too insular" complaint usually gets dismissed as whining when it comes from a conservative...
Come on little synapse!
...but maybe it sounds more valid coming from a Latino or Asian-American, when they note how few movies at the Cineplex or shows on the dial reflect the stories and experiences of their communities.
Is Linda Chavez still alive? Our nagging needs minority cover. Get her busy on a piece demanding the return of The George Lopez Show.

Believe it or don't, there's even worse at NR today: Kevin D. Williamson considers Hamlet and Sons of Anarchy together because, he says, they both address "maternal guilt" -- wait, don't run screaming yet, because here comes the sheet-enseaming shot:
“Hamlet and His Problems” was published in 1921. Seven years shy of a century later, Sons of Anarchy presents the question: Is the theme of maternal guilt still “an almost intolerable motive for drama” [as J.M. Robertson said]? 
The model of motherhood that prevails in 2014 is fundamentally different from the model of 1921, so different in fact as to be an almost entirely distinct moral and social phenomenon. This begins with the world-changing fact that the progress from conception to birth is today optional. The millions of acts of violence that have been committed in utero since January 1973 inevitably have shaped our views of motherhood...
I ain't even kidding. There follows a catalogue of post-Roe horrors -- "feminist doublespeak, which regards the developing person as morally indistinguishable from a tumor," "the 117-minute meditation on sundry pregnancy horrors that is Ridley Scott’s 1979 film Alien," etc. -- meant to convey that as compared to the delicate, Jainistic Elizabethan era, we moderns wade through cord-blood in a global charnel-house where
meditations upon maternal guilt are hardly intolerable; they are, rather, inevitable... we have a different sort of problem than Hamlet had: His drama had to do with the degradation of his mother; ours has to do with the degradation of motherhood categorically. Dragging that into the sunlight is an unpleasant business, and a necessary one.
I wonder what his readers think this means; probably "See, Sons of Anarchy is conservative, just like choc-o-mut ice creams and everything else I like."  Me, I want to be generous to Williamson, in return for all the laughs he's given me: Maybe his is a stealth mission to discredit modern liberal arts education by his example.

145 comments:

  1. Believe it or don't, there's even worse at NR today:

    NOOO!

    http://welovecatsandkittens.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Cat-With-A-Feather-Duster.jpg
    ~

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  2. how many people in our creative classes
    percolated for years in that sort of extended-adolescence Bohemian urban
    environment? There's nothing inherently wrong with that environment --
    for a while, at leastClean out your desk, Geraghty, and leave your Sarah Palin Fan Club pass with security on your way out.
    This begins with the world-changing fact that the progress from conception to birth is today optional.Yeah, abortions and miscarriages occur, unlike back in 1921, before they were invented by liberals.

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  3. sharculese11:36 AM

    Yo Jim Geragty if you want you can borrow my time machine and hop back to 1995 when your screed about how Seinfeld and Friends are reshaping the sitcom landscape might still be halfway relevant.


    Also, Roy, how the fuck did you leave out the thundering doltishness of "Pauline Kaelism." The mind, it glurgs.

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  4. How bizarre a reading of SOA is that?

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  5. sharculese11:38 AM

    The Hamlet part or the abortion part. The latter is nutty, but Kurt Sutter can't make it through an interview without hammering on the former.

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  6. Helmut Monotreme11:39 AM

    I suppose it's a step in the right direction to admit that acts of violence degrade us. but, for the sake of argument, I'd like to gently turn his attention away from the "acts of violence" that hypothetically might be considered to have been occurred if we grant that 'lump of cells that might have the potential to become human' is morally equal to an actual living breathing human person, which I don't.

    Now I'd like to refocus that attention onto for example the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed in our ongoing imperialist field trip in the middle east. Do their violent deaths degrade us? What about the 30,000 Americans killed by firearms every year in the US, do their violent deaths degrade us? What about the people who die every year for lack of affordable medical care, do their deaths degrade us? If not is it because their deaths aren't violent enough?

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  7. sharculese11:39 AM

    I supsect that Kevin Williamson, in writing about the motorcycles show, had to exercise superhuman restraint not to mention how all these problems trace back to letting women wear bloomers to ride their bikes.

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  8. ours has to do with the degradation of motherhood categoricallySays the guy whose side relentlessly attacks single mothers, WIC funding, SNAP funding, Head Start funding, equal pay legislation, paid maternity leave, nursing in public, affordable health insurance for pregnant women, etc., etc., goddamned fucking etc.
    Dragging that into the sunlight is an unpleasant business, and a necessary one.Hey, Kevin, I agree. See above. It's high time we shone a bright light on your team's morally monstrous "Squeal about zygotes while putting the boot to the sluts and their parasitic offspring" pile of pigshit.

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  9. sharculese11:58 AM

    ...but maybe it sounds more valid coming from a Latino or Asian-American, when they note how few movies at the Cineplex or shows on the dial reflect the stories and experiences of their communities.


    Divorced from the 'wingnuts are a persecuted minority' huff he almost has a point here. Of course, being a putz, Geragty can't help but come up with this brilliant and original argument the year ABC bets big on the untapped potential for non-white faces on television.

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  10. edroso11:58 AM

    They've been willfully misunderstanding Kael's joke for so long now that it's like pushing back on the use of "literally" anymore.

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  11. J Neo Marvin12:03 PM

    What sort of clueless dolt demands positive role models in comedy, anyway? (Putting aside these pundits' questionable notions of positivity for the moment) It's the all-too-human flaws in comic characters that make them funny in the first place. Would Seinfeld have been a funny show if the four main characters weren't such horrible people? I doubt it.

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  12. sharculese12:17 PM

    People who think comedy should reinforce their position at the top of the dog pile at the expense of everyone else. Dudes who watched All in the Family so they could cheer for Archie.


    The only real difference between Scott's piece and Geragty's is that Scott is at somewhat okay with tv blowing up the idea of the all-powerful, all-wise (white) patriarch, while Geragty wants tv to lie and tell him the good times are never gonna end.

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  13. J Neo Marvin12:18 PM

    Whoa. Now that I've read the whole thing...the horror...the horror...

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  14. Okay, we're supposed to be mocking Geraghty here, and he certainly deserves it. But to be fair, that A.O. Scott piece? Really fucking stupid. It's an overlong nightmare of a barely coherent argument, rich with Scott's fixation on finding patterns where they really don't exist. It's a heady blend of pseudo-scholarly overanalysis with spice notes of clickbait-y contrarianism, and they don't exactly blend to make perfume. He can't even stick to one fucking thesis - half of it is about feminism, the other half is about how adults are like big kids these days, amirite? Honestly, this shit is good enough for the New York Times?

    Much as it pains me to say it, there may well be a point buried somewhere in Geraghty's mess. In some quarters, there is an obsession with the auteur which is bad - not, as Geraghty suggests, because they don't reflect "real" American culture, but because it makes for uninteresting art. We've all had a good laugh at the kulturkampf fixation with "Girls," but why is Scott so obsessed with Dunham? He keeps bringing her up as though she's a really significant figure. I've still never seen one episode of "Girls," but I did watch Dunham's other big project, Tiny Furniture, and you know what? Not a good movie. At all. Dunham plays herself arguing with her family for an hour and a half, and it is just as scintillating as it sounds. There's no real insight, it's just an act of stunning self-indulgence - but it's an act of self-indulgence that was artificially bolstered by people like A.O. Scott.

    You'll have to excuse me here, I've recently discovered the library's graphic novel section and I've been trying to figure out the style. If I have to read one more accolade-studded collection of talking heads produced by some thirtysomething New York artist who thinks his/her boring-ass life is just fascinating, I'm going to snap and kill an art critic.

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  15. Jay B.12:29 PM

    The model of motherhood that prevails in 2014 is fundamentally different from the model of 1921, so different in fact as to be an almost entirely distinct moral and social phenomenon. This begins with the world-changing fact that the progress from conception to birth is today optional. The millions of acts of violence that have been committed in utero since January 1973 inevitably have shaped our views of motherhood...


    Does anyone ever stop to think that since 1921, we've increased the number of people on this planet by something like 4 billion? And that the number of people living in this country has increased by something like 190 million? Regardless of the desirability of having billions and billions more people on this planet, it's obvious that most people, even people who have the 'option' are choosing to have children. What, again, is the problem? We're undercrowded?

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  16. sharculese12:32 PM

    The Scott piece is legit terrible. My big takeaway was that someone told him he had to be less nakedly condescending to the female interns if he didn't want a hostile work environment suit on his hands.

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  17. redoubtagain12:42 PM

    The model of motherhood that prevails in 2014 is fundamentally different from the model of 1921, so different in fact as to be an almost entirely distinct moral and social phenomenon.

    Are you sure you want to go there?

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  18. I'm going out on a limb here, but I suspect that when Hollywood makes a film about the true-to-life story of a young Latino professional who gets arrested by the feds and dumped into an INS processing center because his parents snuck into the US when he was six months old, it's not going to get a thumbs up from Geragty.

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  19. Gromet12:53 PM

    The millions of acts of violence that have been committed in utero since January 1973 inevitably have shaped our views of motherhood…

    So we see our actual moms differently now? Or the elastic, vague concept "motherhood"? I got out of the boat because I was curious how he sees his own mother and wife and whoever; I wanted to learn how he thinks he would see his mother differently had be been born 100 years earlier. But it's all just TV and a law he doesn't like. No actual lives in there. What an abortion.

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  20. sharculese1:00 PM

    Because I've been putting way too much thought into this: I almost went back and said that to be fair, there's been a renaissance and fading away of family sitcoms since then, except it's clear in context that no really, he's still ranting about Seinfeld/Friends.

    ""communities dominated by underemployed urban quasi-professionals, unmarried, without kids, without mortgages, without a career path or plan" does not describe any show currently on television except maybe New Girl (I don't watch New Girl so I don't know what they do for a living). Hell, most of the shows Geragty is presumably raging about are workplace sitcoms. This only makes sense as a condemnation of a style of sitcom they stopped making last century.

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  21. sharculese1:02 PM

    Sure, since everyone knows eugenics was invented by Margaret Sanger.

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  22. What sort of clueless dolt demands positive role models in comedy, anyway?Hey, now. He's just being traditionalist. Positive role models in comedy were the default before liberals took over Hollywood. I defy you to find even one example of a haplessly buffoonish character in a Shakespeare comedy, or a negative portrayal of authority figures in The Canterbury Tales. You can't do it, my friends.

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  23. mgmonklewis1:24 PM

    Also, Molière was just keepin' it real in Tartuffe.

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  24. mgmonklewis1:27 PM

    Did you see the scads of comments at the NYT fawning over Scott's piece? If that's not the biggest gathering of thumb-sucking navel-gazers in history, it's got to be in the top 10.

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  25. I find it difficult to watch re-runs of Golden Girls now, what with the death panels and all.

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  26. runsinbackground1:44 PM

    Oh god dude, don't read those "confessional comix" because the critics rave; they're for deviants like me who enjoy that sort of thing. The most I can say for, exempli gratia, Joe Matt is that he makes it clear that he hates himself at least as much as you hate him. If you feel you must putter about in the Drawn & Quarterly back catalogue I suggest Jason, since he at least has the decency to write narrative fiction, or Yoshihiro Tatsumi, who founded the graphic novel movement in 1960s Japan.

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  27. Bitter Scribe1:47 PM

    Everyone knows that motherhood is worthless unless it's forced on unwilling women.

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  28. runsinbackground1:47 PM

    Yeah, and a "meditation on sundry pregnancy horrors" would have been totally incomprehensible to the public of Shakespeare's time. Wotta maroon.

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  29. Spaghetti Lee1:48 PM

    I don't disagree with the argument that there's a certain clique of writers who are detached from reality as most people live it: it's not Hemingway coming back from WWI and writing In Our Time, that's for sure. That sort of environment fosters self-obsession and a belief that one's own life is the most interesting thing ever.



    Also, it's still hanging on in higher culture that 'true artists' need to be solipsists (the nasty way to say 'auteur', I guess) and that genre fiction still isn't on the same level as literary fiction.



    When you're done with those talking-head comics, I've got a lovely collection of short stories about middle-aged men committing adultery and twenty-somethings going to Europe and finding self-actualization.

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  30. Spaghetti Lee2:03 PM

    This sort of "You Hollywood types are too insular" complaint usually
    gets dismissed as whining when it comes from a conservative...



    I know they just play the hits over at NR, but you think they would at least acknowledge that Heaven Is For Real made almost $100 million, and God's Not Dead and Son of God (aka "We Love You, Sexy Jesus") made 60 mil a piece. Those are the sorts of movies that conservatives talk about when they wish there was more conservatism in Hollywood (i.e. movies that are pretty much explicitly about how awesome Christian conservative values are).



    Now, a cynical person might suggest that this is Hollywood hitting upon a new audience that will watch pretty much anything Jesus-y enough, but shouldn't the Geraghtys and Williamsons of the world seize upon this moment in the sun and use it to spread the gospel further, and maybe make Christian or conservative movies that are about more than just preaching to the already-converted and actually 'engage with pop culture' like they're always talking about?


    Or will they just keep complaining that they don't get no respect and the liberals are out to get them? Stay tuned.

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  31. I was rushing off to my other job of facilitating a new mom's group and was so busy wrestling the knives from the hands of these so called "moms" who decided to post-birth abort their babies that I didn't have time to respond. Of course the Hamlet part is obviously obvious but the plot of the show is basically mother love gone wrong--too much mother love not too little. Too passionately all about mothers and their desire to reproduce and control their babies, not too much about consequence free sex.

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  32. Far, far better is the extended-adolescence nepotism bubble of the right-wing opinion sites. Now can someone finish this comment while I seek out someone who'll walk my dog?

    ***farrrrt***

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  33. Gromet2:46 PM

    Pay no attention to facts and reality. Obscure concepts are at stake, sir!

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  34. Gawrsh.


    So women only figured out how to terminate a pregnancy in 1972. Who knew?


    And I made the mistake of clicking through the first link - saw both the NR's "Kick it Old School" ad and Andrew McCarthy's assertion that the Muslim Brotherhood are "moderates" hah hah ISLAMOFASCISM BITCHES and had to retreat mangoless.

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  35. sharculese2:51 PM

    Ah, okay. I've seen a random sampling of SOA, but never really watched it.

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  36. If I have to read one more accolade-studded collection of talking heads
    produced by some thirtysomething New York artist who thinks his/her
    boring-ass life is just fascinating, I'm going to snap and kill an art critic.


    I made the mistake picking up Why I Hate Saturn thinking it was going to be at least interesting and FUCK was I wrong.

    Thank you, I'll be sticking with los Bros Hernandez now on for my non-supers entertainment.

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  37. Remember a moment ago when I described "communities dominated by underemployed urban quasi-professionals, unmarried, without kids, without mortgages, without a career path or plan"?



    speaking as an underemployed urban quasi-professional--without kids, without mortgages, with a career plan--it may come as a surprise that the structure of american society celebrated geraghty was, is, time and again, largely the result of politics: i could work all day in mitt romney's money suit mine, but i will still have outlandish student loans, which make the prospect of raising a family difficult. i could work all day at a telemarketing firm, but the rents in my neighborhood--never mind the home prices--will still be astronomically high because of the techie boom here in denver (there is, alas, not an app for everything. but for most stupid things), lured here by giveaways via the conservative dems that pass for progressives here in colorado.


    i know it's pointless to belabor this to the brethren--i mean, i fervently subscribe to the marxist notion of employee-employer relations shaping art, ideology, and everyday life; and of course, i'm a statistic because i've read foucault and all of that masturbation to the suicide girls tumblr--but a good fact, or a galaxy of them, never got in the way of a good blogpost rant, particularly at a publication that can't pay it's own bills and historically has hated the niggers.

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  38. BigHank533:09 PM

    Some time ago I saw a reproduction of a Victorian-era advertisement for an infant's boarding hospital, which specifically stated they specialized in sickly infants not expected to survive, and mentioned their particularly low rates. People have been getting rid of inconvenient sprogs by one means or another as long as there have been sprogs, and to assume 1973 as some date of original sin is not only arbitrary but actively stupid.

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  39. BigHank533:18 PM

    Well, let's take a closer look at that ideal conservative family, shall we? We've got a gainfully employed dad who makes enough money to support his family, all the members of which he loves. He's faithful to his wife, helps take care of the kids, goes to church, is a contributing member of the community, and so forth. We can argue about how much of a unicorn this guy is--I'm pretty sure there are plenty of people like this, but a lot more of them are black or hispanic or gay or women than Geraghaty would care to concede--but let's examine him from the perspective of a sitcom writer.

    What the fuck is funnyabout this guy?

    Geraghaty could have asked himself that question, but then he'd have to write a column that required actual thought.

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  40. HankP3:33 PM

    A writer is complaining about "underemployed urban quasi-professionals"? Satire really is dead.

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  41. Socialist Cubone3:36 PM

    Why would they have to choose?
    If there's anything that's been proven by this blog it's that wing nuts are masters of claiming to be both always triumphant and always persecuted.

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  42. I've watched the whole thing so far. Its sometimes better than you think its going to be and definitely better than Kurt Sutter seems capable of writing. Its totes Hamlet in California. I think if he'd had ab etter editor or more critical help it could have been a truly amazing show. But it has many good things about it, nevertheless. However the one thing you can't say is that the violence or the contempt for human life has anything to do with the pill or abortion. The men are pretty horrendous people in their own right and most of the women are devoted to the idea of the patriarchy--attaching themselves to the most powerful man in their social circle, having kids, being utterly conventional even if they may get their start unconventionally or detour through a period of free love.

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  43. TGuerrant3:50 PM

    There is nothing funny about that guy. His role is to sagely refrain from mocking his goofy wife and silly kids for all those madcap hijinks in the household.

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  44. The biggest gathering of thumb sucking navel gazers in history...since Jonah Goldberg dined alone.

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  45. When did "every child a wanted child" start to seem like a bad idea? Because I'm thinking: never.

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  46. MRC2104:03 PM

    My great-grandmother was a nurse who worked in a rural district from 1905 to 1913. People were born and died in their homes and that's where she nursed them. When babies were born, dad was pacing the floor downstairs while she and the doctor were upstairs alone with the mother and baby. If the baby was born with obvious deformities, the doctor used a cloth dipped in ether. Instant euthanasia.

    When she told these stories to my grandmother and mother, my great-gran didn't pass judgment, she just told it as it happened. Life was tough enough for able-bodied people in that place and time. People did what they thought was best.

    I think of these stories every time I hear someone rhapsodize about how wonderful the good old days were when abortion was illegal and therefore, of course, never happened and everyone stoicly accepted whatever burdens fate sent them. When was that again?

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  47. satch4:27 PM

    "The millions of acts of violence that have been committed in utero
    since January 1973 inevitably have shaped our views of motherhood…"

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  48. satch4:38 PM

    "What sort of clueless dolt demands positive role models in comedy, anyway?"


    Believe it or not, back in the day, "Leave It To Beaver" was considered comedy, and not just because it had "Beaver" in the title, IYKWIM.

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  49. When my great-grandmother was born in 19th Century TX, she was so small that her arm fit through her mothers' wedding ring. Her father rejected the suggestion of the doctor to put her out on the porch in the winter weather, put her in a shoebox, feeding her with an eyedropper. It could've easily gone the other way, out on a farm in North TX.

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  50. Mr. Wonderful4:55 PM

    And "Cleaver" as the Beeve's last name. Oy.

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  51. Well, you can't feed the little darlings opium anymore, so what's there to do?

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  52. Regardless of the desirability of having billions and billions more people on this planet, it's obvious that most people, even people who have the 'option' are choosing to have children. What, again, is the problem? We're undercrowded?


    I believe that the movers and shakers prefer to call it "Operating at a deficit of vital human capital exacerbated by economic shortfalls in production sectors."

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  53. Gromet5:00 PM

    This story and Chutney's are amazing.


    So much of what conservatives believe was right about the past is just the window-dressing of it. And so much of what they detest about the present is just that we are more honest now.


    Maybe it is not that babies are killed now and never were then -- maybe it is that now we are "shoving it down their throats," a.k.a. acknowledging it. Same with racism and so on. They long not so much for a better world as they do for one that's just willing to be more secretive about its messes.

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  54. Mr. Wonderful5:01 PM

    "the 117-minute meditation on sundry pregnancy horrors that is Ridley Scott’s 1979 film Alien,"


    Um, no. The only "pregnancy horror" in that one was the thingie (spoiler alert) bursting out of John Hurt's chest. Presumably he means, not even the sequel, but Alien 3. Somebody tell Williamson that the first rule of Righteous Indignation and High Dudgeon Club is, "get your movies right."

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  55. the delicate, Jainistic Elizabethan era

    Back when, you know, you could get put to death for breathing wrong.

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  56. mgmonklewis5:19 PM

    Tonight's Comic Plot Point: Glenda Goodwife serves roast chicken instead of pot roast. Hilarity ensues.

    Even the laugh track would need cyanide capsules for "comedy" like that. It's not even comedy in the classic sense, in that there's no real conflict to be resolved happily at the end.

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  57. Don't get me started on Gilligan's Island! Those people didn't have kids at all and showed no signs of being willing to get married and settle down.

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  58. Gin was mother's milk to her.--Eliza Doolittle.

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  59. The rhetoric used by pro-lifers suggest that what they want is for all those sluts to carry their slut-babies to term and then give them up for adoption (to good heterosexual Christian families only, please). Problem is that if you want these women to do that, there are at least two policies that are absolutely non-negotiable - pre- and neo-natal health care and opposition to workplace pregnancy discrimination. But most conservatives are adamantly opposed to the former and they only bring up the latter to make fun of it.


    American natalism is a weird mutant. Absent any actual plan to encourage population growth, they just hope that they can persuade every woman in the country to leave the workforce and pop out a half-dozen kids. Good luck, lads.

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  60. That's really the last rule, and one not frequently followed.

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  61. mnemosyne5:25 PM

    Yes, abortions didn't exist until after Roe v. Wade, which is why there's an anti-abortion silent film from 1916:

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0007558/?ref_=nm_flmg_dr_38


    What a moran Williamson is.

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  62. Waffle_Man5:25 PM

    Boy, that A.O. Scott piece was tiresome.


    Largely because he seems to prove decisively that adulthood died sometime in the 19th century, which makes his nostalgia for it seem a little bit farcical and, well... childish. Nostalgia for things you never actually experienced strikes me as a deeply childish emotion.


    In any case, Louie strikes me as a really weird example of a man-child; I haven't seen every episode, but the ones I've seen all involve Louie's concerns about how to raise his children, how to keep his career going, how to form lasting, meaningful relationships with women, and how to be responsible and moral in the world. This is not a character who spends his time playing video games and watching cartoons.


    I, personally, would tend to argue that Louie seems hapless because well-adjusted, confident people who solve problems easily and without fuss aren't very funny.

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  63. calling all toasters5:37 PM

    To be fair, anyone with a job at Nat Rev is overemployed.

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  64. The flies in Jonah's office are overemployed.

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  65. Abortion was invented in 1973? I'm not entirely sure about that

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  66. Howlin Wolfe5:45 PM

    In the Kulturkamfers' minds, the comic heroes would be Randian supermen (and a token woman, maybe) who generate comedy by punching down on the character-flawed figures provided by the conservatoid script writers. Like all conservatoid humor, it is devoid of self-deprecation, empathy, and full of self aggrandizement and tribalism. It is also pretty much devoid of humor itself.

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  67. Adrian5:45 PM

    I identify most with Mary Shelley's take on parenthood.

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  68. I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.

    from the Hippocratic oath, 5th Century BC.

    Mr. Kevin really needs to learn him some better journalisming.

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  69. Suppose you are a clueless dolt.

    Suppose you write for National Review.

    But, I repeat myself.

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  70. The millions of acts of violence that have been committed in utero since January 1973 inevitably have shaped our views of motherhood…


    Not motherhood, but a dominant pro-choice perspective has certainly shaped our views of women…from powerless walking wombs who are handy to have around to clean things and give blowjobs to actual human beings.


    But, I suppose that is pretty much what Williamson is bitching about.

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  71. Also, you need lots of heterosexual couples lined up to take on this (x2, 3, or whatever) lifetime responsibility; since Gay Couples Need Not Apply.


    I suppose these generous hearts are living in the same magical place all the christian charities and mega-billionaire social philanthropists are camping out, just waiting for The Man to take his gigantic Tax Boot off their suffering necks so they can get to work helping all those people who are currently oppressed by socialist welfare.

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  72. I wonder what his readers think this means; probably "See, Sons of Anarchy is conservative, just like choc-o-mut ice creams and everything else I like." Me, I want to be generous to Williamson, in return for all the laughs he's given me: Maybe his is a stealth mission to discredit modern liberal arts education by his example.

    My theory is that he's never watched the show, so he thinks that "sons of anarchy" refers to minarchy and anarcho-capitalism.

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  73. I can't be assed to visit anywhere Williamson is published, much less read anything posted there, so I have to ask, "is there some significance to the date 1921, besides the date of publication for a random essay on a 400-year-old play?"


    Cause if not, what the fuck?

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  74. Must be the same place all those master Job Creators are waiting to create all them jobs they should be creating since they're so much fucking richer than they were.

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  75. Waffle_Man6:11 PM

    Speaking of Hemmingway, I just read The Sun Also Rises for the first time, and the characters in that book are bigger man-children than a lot of the sitcom characters Scott writes about.

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  76. swkellogg6:15 PM

    Children were wanted in 1921.


    If not by their mothers then by sweatshops, mills, and mines.


    How some people miss the good old days that never were.

    ReplyDelete
  77. The Howells were married. And I'm pretty sure either Ginger or MaryAnne would have married the professor in an instant if he hadn't been asexual. And the relationship between Gilligan and the Skipper may as well have been a marriage.


    And all of them were settled down all right. Clearly they were content with their living arrangement or they'd have fixed the fucking boat.


    And why not? No jobs, no mortgages, no kids, just hang with your friends on a tropical island forever. Extended adolescence indeed. Livin' the dream.

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  78. "And the Union workhouses?" demanded Scrooge. "Are they still in operation?"

    "They are. Still," returned the gentleman, "I wish I
    could say they were not."

    "The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour,
    then?" said Scrooge.

    ReplyDelete
  79. Seven years shy of a century later

    It was evidently so important, he couldn't wait for the actual anniversary.

    ReplyDelete
  80. Spaghetti Lee6:39 PM

    Actually, I believe there was a fetus made out of coconuts until the professor aborted it (also with coconuts).

    ReplyDelete
  81. Yep, all this. One of the things that bugs me about biker culture tradition is that you never see women riding except as passengers. Go buy your own bikes, ladies. It's way more fun to drive the thing yourself.


    If anything, the violence and contempt for human life on SOA stem directly from the desire/need to make money at all costs, whether running drugs, a brothel, porn, protection rackets, muscle for hire, or their long-time specialty, dealing in illegal firearms. If Gemma can be described as a warped model of motherhood, Clay is the perfect warped model of capitalism and its inherent antihuman violence.

    ReplyDelete
  82. I mean, for all of Jax's dithering about what it all means and what's it all for, SAMCRO is really just another street gang and he knows it.

    ReplyDelete
  83. What the fuck is funnyabout this guy?

    Well, if the guy ignored all the wealth, comfort and trappings of suburban consumerism in his life and pretended he was a rugged frontiersman, you'd have Duck Dynasty.*

    *assuming a) the Robertsons are the paragons they claim to be and b) the show is funny (never watched).

    ReplyDelete
  84. Actually, there have been some shifts in evangelical culture in recent years that have made adopting tons of kids kind of trendy. Unfortunately, this has led to some awful side effects, ranging from evangelicals inadvertently propping up human traffickers who kidnap children to some truly stomach-turning cases of child abuse. The latter is especially problematic among families who adopt lots of special needs kids - they've been known to vent their frustration in extremely cruel ways, sometimes with fatal results. It's hard to know how widespread the problem is, given the number of these kids that are homeschooled. Homeschoolers have access to amazingly good lawyers, you know.


    I'm always a bit uncomfortable talking about stuff like this. You mention anything negative about adoption, and it's only a matter of time before someone from Pound Puppies Legacy shows up. I swear, if I'm ever in a room with one of those cocksuckers there will be an incident.

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  85. ken_lov7:08 PM

    "communities dominated by underemployed urban quasi-professionals, unmarried, without kids, without mortgages, without a career path or plan"



    Until I read on, I thought he was describing the apparently limitless thousands of conservative bloggers who infest 'memorandum' every day.

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  86. vista7:25 PM

    Well, for those people who call themselves abortion survivors their views of motherhood seem to be warped. A lot of them sound like entitled, whiny victims who hate their mothers for choosing to give birth and raise them.

    ReplyDelete
  87. It can not be denied that the Howells (representatives of the ancien regime) were married but they were childless. See my study "Sea-Devant: the hidden history of anti-aristocratic prejudice in Gilligans Island."

    ReplyDelete
  88. dmsilev7:49 PM

    'Beaver Cleaver' sounds like the name of a sword in a porn version of Lord of the Rings.

    ReplyDelete
  89. Absolutely. And the reason why I don't think the show is as great as it could be is that it resolutely refuses to (up until now) admit that Jax is going to go to hell for all the evil he's been a part of.

    ReplyDelete
  90. So: Rome, with a laugh track?

    ReplyDelete
  91. since Jonah Goldberg dined alone.Today the culus dines with the culus.

    ReplyDelete
  92. satch8:53 PM

    Hey... if Kevin can argue by assertion, so can I. Motherhood starts at the birth of the baby.

    ReplyDelete
  93. So ... "illegitimate sons of anarchy," then?

    ReplyDelete
  94. Yes--the evangelical subculture is like a petrie dish for every kind of social pathology and experiment. You put together a bunch of anxious religious nut cases, a threat of hell and a promise of heaven, an authoritarian tendency, and hundreds of potential little mini gods all looking for ways to capture and control their flocks and you have a recipe for disaster. Basically fads can sweep through this group faster than hysteria at a beatles performance and pretty soon people who have no natural inclination to do something like "adopt an orphan from Africa!!!!" are adopting them by the bushelfull, collecting them all like they are trophies and then completely dumbfounded by how difficult this is.

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  95. What about Bertie Wooster? He wasn't exactly a shining example of manliness, if you know what I mean old chap.

    ReplyDelete
  96. If you read Robert Stacy McCain's current outblast on how Janay Rice deserved to be knocked out by Ray Rice you get the same feeling of man in a permanent state of rage at his mother and girls he thinks rejected him.

    ReplyDelete
  97. Sons of Minarchy would be a really, really, dull show.

    ReplyDelete
  98. Fucking hell.

    NO WAY I'm getting off the boat for that.

    "deserved"... FUCK.

    Pardon me while I go buy a shovel so I can dig a Hell for people like that.

    ReplyDelete
  99. *spit* You ain't demeanin' Wodehouse roun' here, are yeh, son?

    *spit* Cause them's fightin' words.

    ReplyDelete
  100. conservative, just like choc-o-mut ice creams and everything else I like

    It causes me no end of amusement to see conservatives, brave inheritors of the banner of opposition to Communism and all other totalitarian worldviews and the staunch opponents of Political Correctness, fretfully vet everything around them for signs of backsliding, fearful lest they let a smidgen of Unacceptable thought through their shields, ready to leap on even a hint of heresy or dissent from The One True Way.

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  101. AGoodQuestion10:56 PM

    To an extent I'm sympathetic to Geraghty. The entertainment industry is self-selecting, and as a result you see a lot of homogeneous product even in indie films and hot-topic cable shows. First world problems, trendy thinkpieces come to life. Ideally I would like to see more people from flyover country represented, not because I think it would make our entertainments more conservative - I really doubt it would make a difference - but just for the sake of a broader conversation.


    On the other hand, does Geraghty see this as a new phenomenon? Hollywood is representative of the kind of people who go to Hollywood, which it's always been. You could equally complain about movies and/or TV representing a small slice of the population in 1984 or 1944. Some of these warnings about people "not like us" running show business have always had a hint or more of "you know, J-E-W-S".

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  102. davdoodles10:56 PM

    "What the fuck is funnyabout this guy?"

    Geraghaty has been frightened by all comedy since Mr Pipe-and-a-Sir-Pendleton-shirt-Dad stopped shouting "get off my lawn!" at some tousle-haired kids to a canned laugh-track, and fade to a Light-up-a-Lucky commercial.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyP5EOQr08E
    .

    ReplyDelete
  103. AGoodQuestion11:01 PM

    Also, you need lots of heterosexual couples lined up to take on this (x2, 3, or whatever) lifetime responsibility; since Gay Couples Need Not Apply.
    And while I know that some heterosexual couples are willing and even eager to take someone else's children into their home, whether from Christian charity or Christian boosterism, it's far from a universal thing. Most couples who want kids will still prefer to make them at home the fun way.

    ReplyDelete
  104. AGoodQuestion11:06 PM

    To be fair, pregnancy horrors would tend to give the audience giggles when the mother-to-be was played by a fourteen year old boy. Not sure this is central to Williamson's point, though.

    ReplyDelete
  105. AGoodQuestion11:11 PM

    "Millions of acts of violence committed in utero"? Finally, someone is shining a light on the epidemic of fetuses eating their twins!

    ReplyDelete
  106. AGoodQuestion11:31 PM

    Huh. I haven't gotten around to reading Saturn, though I've heard of it. I like the way Kyle Baker draws, and think he can be a funny writer, but so far I've mostly just seen his superhero work.

    ReplyDelete
  107. AGoodQuestion11:51 PM

    Andrew McCarthy strains manfully to be history's most ignorant and bigoted McCarthy, and he just may make it yet.

    ReplyDelete
  108. AGoodQuestion11:54 PM

    I bow to your canny hybridization of two David Fincher references.

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
  110. DocAmazing12:59 AM

    You have the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics backing you up on that assertion.

    ReplyDelete
  111. KatWillow1:09 AM

    HERE is a good example of RW humor:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/09/15/1329902/-Res-Ipsa-Loquiter-A-Pro-Gun-Bumper-Sticker-Photo-Diary

    ReplyDelete
  112. DocAmazing1:09 AM

    Looks like that might be the point of this season. Sutter seems to have burned the Golden Boy stuff of Jax. Even the somewhat loveable supporting characters like Bobby are starting to look more depraved.

    ReplyDelete
  113. KatWillow1:15 AM

    Sounds like Megan ArgleBarlge's neighborhood.

    ReplyDelete
  114. Wrangler1:45 AM

    I think it's a pretty solid piece, if not because it's especially well thought out then because Scott is a good writer and it's an interesting topic or node of topics.


    But I'm surprised he doesn't get more into a big issue. Yeah, there are a lot of instances, especially in comedy (duh-- the Stooges, the Marx bros, Chaplin, Keaton, Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello to name a few) where adults act like kids; but there are also a ton where kids act like adults.


    Isn't this a huge deal? A lot of attention-- for obvious class reasons-- has been given to the death of childhood among suburban and well off urban children: their meticulously determined lives, their endless engagements, their parents' perpetual adjuration to look to the future. That sucks. But you know what, lower income kids have been dealing with this kind of thing for a really long time. Say you're a 14 y/o with an 8 y/o sibling, and your parent/s work 2-3 jobs. This 14 y/o isn't really a kid then, she's a quasi-parent, an adult. When I student taught in a low income school in Chicago, I noticed this sort of thing was rampant.


    This comment is too long, but I'll just conclude by saying I think it was a really bad idea for Scott to write this whole piece without a word about how capitalism fits into the picture.

    ReplyDelete
  115. Susan of Texas5:42 AM

    We need to copy the conservative argumentation style--lie and deny. They lie about facts and deny they lied.when you give them proof they lied, they tell more lies or tell you to give more proof, and so on.

    Abortion? What abortions? We don't know what they are talking about.

    ReplyDelete
  116. Susan of Texas5:52 AM

    This whole Sons of Anarchy thing pisses me off. Ron Perlman married an African American woman. Conservatives would take one look at his grown kids and reach for their manhood I mean gun. They don't get to claim anything for themselves because everything they touch turns to crap.

    ReplyDelete
  117. Susan of Texas5:58 AM

    What about The Middle? Popular sitcom, set in one of those I states, full of fly-over goodness. But there goes that truth thing again--IOIYAR.

    ReplyDelete
  118. More depraved? Can't wait!

    ReplyDelete
  119. Chyron HR8:40 AM

    Nostalgia for things you never actually experienced strikes me as a deeply childish emotion.

    Screw you guys, I'm going to go listen to Fragile.

    ReplyDelete
  120. Matt Jones8:44 AM

    Definition of the modern conservative: someone sufficiently morally bankrupt that abortion can be an "act of violence" worth fretting about at length while simultaneously, people we've dropped high explosives on from the air are "collateral damage" and counting them is "playing the blame game".

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  121. randomworker8:46 AM

    When I stumble upon one of my old Hamlet essays my face flushes with embarrassment, I crack a wry smile at the "B-" and I carefully put it back in the box from whence it came. Not KDW. He updates them with a little argle bargle SoA and gets them published on NRO. No shame.

    ReplyDelete
  122. (even the Christian Iraqis worship some false Jesus)I see you caught that Ted Cruz appearance, too.

    ReplyDelete
  123. Halloween_Jack9:56 AM

    I'd be interested to know which artists you're putting in that category in your last paragraph.

    ReplyDelete
  124. Halloween_Jack10:11 AM

    I'll give Scott points for at least noticing that rebelling against authority, in not only things such as Huckleberry Finn but even the Founding Fathers (who weren't known by that title anywhere near their own lifetimes, contra to the conservative received truth--accepted by, among others, a depressing number of SCOTUS justices--that they were Strong Dads Whose Wisdom May Not Be Questioned), is part of the basic American fabric, and that the "death of adulthood" may be in large part the death of the patriarchy; unfortunately, he insists that the wimmins are immature, as well; they have "progressed by means of regression." Ugh.

    But that still puts him way ahead of Geraghty, who wants to let you know where the manly men can still be men: "the local firehouse, police station, military base . . ", plus of course soccer practice. (Has Jimmers never heard of soccer moms?) We haven't heard of firefighters doing anything egregiously bad lately, but that may simply be because the cops (in Ferguson and elsewhere) and soldiers (the ongoing epidemic of sexual abuse in the military) have overshadowed them. It's the usual bullshit of someone who insists that Hollyweird is out of touch with Real 'Murica, while studiously avoiding the news.

    ReplyDelete
  125. PulletSurprise11:20 AM

    The model of motherhood that prevails in 2014 is fundamentally different
    from the model of 1921, so different in fact as to be an almost
    entirely distinct moral and social phenomenon.

    By utterly no coincidence whatsoever, 1921 is the first full calendar year that the wimmenz had the vote.

    ReplyDelete
  126. Jaime Oria11:32 AM

    Would Justified count as a tv show set in "flyover" country? And it happens to be all about the lawnorder and such-like. Or would depictions of lowlife criminality in Kentucky coal country be yet another reason for conservative pearl-clutching?

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  127. StringOnAStick12:11 PM

    The Venn diagram of Abortion Survivors and Evangelicals shows a near perfect overlap. This is because the latter get more Jesus Points for having been such horribly, horribly fallen women before they decided that being born again was such a fun public cathartic demonstration.
    My fundy sister likes the catharsis aspect so much, she tries to get at least one speaking in tongues performance in each week; usually on Sunday and usually in front of the whole congregation, because: more Jesus Points, plus its show time! She doesn't actually hate her mom, she's just pissed she won't join her in the church and add to the weekly performance.

    ReplyDelete
  128. Howlin Wolfe12:17 PM

    Now that you mention it, why, yes!

    ReplyDelete
  129. StringOnAStick12:20 PM

    Williamson seems to confuse the concept of "parasitism" with "pregnancy". I assume he thinks the wasp that plants it's eggs in a caterpillar is just as cozy, ootchie cootchie, and baby-powder-fresh as the newborn Aryans he is so obsessed with.

    ReplyDelete
  130. Howlin Wolfe12:20 PM

    I was in a small Minnesota town visiting my son who is in his first year of college (he wants to transfer out SOON). As we were leaving a restaurant a group of people were coming in. One, a 30-ish white male, had a jacket on that had an 'Murcan flag patch with the caption, "Try burning this, Asshole!"
    My wife later pointed out that this actually calls everyone who reads an asshole. What a guy!

    ReplyDelete
  131. tigrismus12:24 PM

    The model of motherhood that prevails in 2014 is fundamentally different
    from the model of 1921, so different in fact as to be an almost
    entirely distinct moral and social phenomenon.... [Hamlet's] drama had to do with the degradation of his mother; ours has to do with the degradation of motherhood categorically.


    Hmm, I can't tell if I'm less interested in his baseless opinions of history or of motherhood. Either way self-dentistry looks to be more enjoyable and worthwhile.

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  132. StringOnAStick12:27 PM

    He's avoiding the real argument, that the "death of adulthood" has more to do with the collapse of economic opportunity for anyone not already born rich, or with the ability to get that wingnut fellating skill just right.

    ReplyDelete
  133. TomParmenter1:47 PM

    I think 'The Office' showed the workplace sitcom doesn't work in modern times.

    ReplyDelete
  134. TomParmenter1:52 PM

    Hold it! No mortgages?

    ReplyDelete
  135. Professor Fate2:05 PM

    And one must note three years after the end of World War one and the death of millions which just may have a bit of an effect on things 'the lost generation' and all that.

    ReplyDelete
  136. PulletSurprise2:21 PM

    Fair enough, but in the bones of the NR, there lies a beef with the suffragists for complicating everything from motherhood to the tilt of Congressional votes.

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  137. It's all in where you put the emphasis: BEAVER Cleaver vs. Beaver CLEAVER

    ReplyDelete
  138. Wait, I thought the Howells were empty-nesters, taking 3 hour tours in their retirement. And that Thurston Howell III was father to that punk James Dean.

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  139. You put together a bunch of anxious religious nut cases, a threat of hell and a promise of heaven, an authoritarian tendency, and hundreds of potential little mini gods all looking for ways to capture and control their flocks and you have a recipe for disaster.



    Or a successful HBO series. (Just finished binge-watching all of Big Love.)

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  140. Big Love is another show which could have been much more grueling and honest. I would have liked to see Bill eventually end up back at the compound, taking over. But there were brilliant episodes and some fascinating things about the show.

    ReplyDelete
  141. AGoodQuestion11:22 PM

    One day he'll meet a random person with poor impulse control and a can of gasoline who takes it as a dare.

    ReplyDelete
  142. AGoodQuestion11:24 PM

    I imagine it would depend on what was most convenient vis-a-vis that days talking points.

    ReplyDelete
  143. D. Sidhe4:44 PM

    Those would be sharks. I'm pleased to see he's concerned about the ecosystem, though.

    ReplyDelete
  144. Thomas Cleaver1:32 PM

    I find it amusing that "Alien" gets listed like that by this moron. I remember back in 1989, when "The Terror Within," which I pitched to Roger Corman as "Alien post a biological apocalypse" after he called me up and told me he wanted to do a movie with that title that was post-apocalypse "and I'm tired of nuclear war" (weren't we all by then) was released and got serious critical reviews for "the underlying pro-choice message of the film" (i.e., if a monster impregnates you, it's a good idea to get an abortion).

    I certainly enjoy the fact that you guys do the work for me of wallowing in these idiots' word dumps, saving me the effort of having to do anything but laugh. As ignorant as I think they are, they are moreso.

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