Friday, March 29, 2019


Been on an early Waylon kick lately; here's one I got off my mama's old radio.

I'm unlocking yet another issue of the newsletter (Subscribe! Cheap!) that's just for funsies, albeit the grim modern political kind, in which the White House gets a couple of special dinner guests. Enjoy!

• I get after Rod Dreher a lot, but he's such a perfect amalgam of nearly every terrible conservative trait that he's sort of irresistible. Take this one in which he riffs on a Michigan Live story, "Teen who traded tennis for video games says more pressure playing virtual sports." The kid, Ben Stoeber, is interested in robotics and says he was drawn to tennis "because of the social aspect of it" and expresses no other feeling for it, so I guess it makes sense he'd switch and who cares, but Brother Rod howls "Decline and fall... So this kid left his body, and now lives inside his head. What a tragedy this is!" and goes on about how "doing work with your body (or playing games with your body)" is imporant because "When we remove ourselves from the physical world and retreat into our heads — as these young people are doing — we habituate ourselves to a false narrative about who we are, and what we are. We also become weaker, more subject to authoritarian rule."

That seems weird coming from a guy who doesn't look like he's done much heavy lifting himself, and is so exquisitely sensitive that he can't clean up after his dog without puking. Maybe he figured other readers would make this connection, too, and so rambles about how when he was growing up his old man was always trying to push him to do sports, but young Rod wasn't into it:
I honestly can’t say to what extent my resisting his attempts to get me into the world beyond my head was about a character flaw within me, or it was about him pushing too hard for me to do something that went against my nature. Had my dad not been so pushy about it, or if he had tried more gently to introduce me into nature, or if he had ever shown interest in the books and ideas that captivated me as a child, maybe I would have been different.
This reminds me so much of one of Albert Brooks' narration bits in Real Life: "I’m an entertainer but, quite frankly, if I’d studied harder -- or been graded more fairly -- I would have been a doctor or a scientist."

Anyway, just because Rod Dreher can't snap an emery board doesn't mean anyone else can get away with ignoring the physical world. (Plus, he reveals, his own son has taken up bicycling -- see, Dad, maybe if you weren't such a hothead we'd be a sports dynasty now!) "Please, Ben Stoeber, pick your tennis racket back up!" Dreher cries. "You don’t have to quit playing video games, but make them secondary to your life. Watch Wall-E and think about the choice you’re making..."

At no point does Dreher seem aware that Stoeber's leisure-activity choice may be reasonable and in any case need not be made with any consideration for the False Narrative of Modern Man; nor that his own lack of athleticism is something he might, after years of adulthood, take responsibility for himself instead of laying it on his now-dead father.

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