Friday, October 22, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



If I’m honest, I think this is the greatest American song, and this is its best version.

•   OK cowboys and cowgirls, I’m giving you not one but TWO free samples from Roy Edroso Breaks It Down this week. Feast your eyes:

1. The one about how, though you hear pundits talking about “civil war” as if both sides are choking for it, civil war is really a rightwing thing -- for reasons both political (they know most people won’t vote for them so they celebrate other means of holding power) and psychological (they’re nuts).

2. The one about the rightwing ladies’ magazine I was talking about here yesterday, and how its development mirrors that of other culture-warrior attempts to promote a “conservative” version of something popular: After an initial attempt to “pass,” they give up and become yet another industrial-strength propaganda pump.

Think how great it would be to receive such treasures in your inbox five days a week, with a subscription! But meantime, enjoy.

•   It’s not like me to recommend other people’s essays because I’m selfish, but I encourage wide dissemination of Michael Hobbes’ “The Methods of Moral Panic Journalism” in which, after a quick and apt comparison to the “tort lawsuits out of control” bullshit stories of years past, he rips the bark off the whole Cancel Culture Woke PC blubber brigade. You all know how I feel about this subject, but Hobbes takes a bit of time to pin down some malefactors and it’s glorious, e.g.:

A surprisingly large percentage of “illiberal left” articles pull this same rhetorical trick. In 2019, Laurie Sheck, a New School professor, was investigated by her employer for saying the n-word in class. For weeks, centrist and conservative media outlets sputtered to her defense: The word appeared in a quote from James Baldwin! She was leading a class discussion about racial slurs! Invoking epithets wasn’t even prohibited in any school policies. The case became a totemic example of Wokeness Gone Mad that still pops up in anecdote-parade feature stories two years later.

But that version of the story leaves out an important epilogue. The university cleared Scheck without any punishment. The pundits were right: She hadn’t violated any school policies.

Scheck’s case, as soon as you tell it in full, turns out to be an example of a university that isn’t captured by leftist ideology. Only a single (white) student complained about Sheck’s use of the n-word. Like most universities, the New School has a grievance mechanism that allows students to file complaints and obligates administrators to take them seriously. The term “investigation” conjures up comparisons to Orwell and Kafka, but in this case it appears administrators interviewed Sheck and the student, reviewed their policies and moved on. Perhaps you wish the student had never filed a complaint in the first place, but this is the story of a system working as intended, not breaking down.

And so on. There’s plenty else to say about this popular rightwing propaganda technique -- I’m reminded of the endless skein of Rod Dreher “reader” “mail” in which anonymous alleged correspondents claim they’ve been cancelcultured -- and we have to keep telling the truth about it, notwithstanding that bullshit is at present more popular, in the hope that it'll eventually sink in. 

Thursday, October 21, 2021

A NEW DISCOVERY.

Some of you may remember what fun I used to have with a little number called Acculturated, a rightwing ladymag apparently created to propagandize readers of the Seven Sisters and fashion books. They delivered some lulus, including columns by Boof Kavanaugh buddy Mark Gauvreau Judge and the deathless coochphrase “skin bus to Tuna Town,” before giving up the ghost at the end of 2017.

But wait! There is another, apparently: Something called Evie, which has apparently been operating under the radar since last year. It offers a premium print version, the covers of which appear to emulate the design of Elle, but mostly it’s online. 

I’m probably going to more fully scan the rack, as it were, for Roy Edroso Breaks It Down tomorrow, but for now I want to call your attention to this honey from August, “Man-Hating Feminism Is Turning Us Into Narcissists,” by staff writer Meghan Dillon. It’s all about how, while the good feminists of yore were about “equality and suffrage,” the kind you whores practice is about “sexual empowerment, man-hating, and bashing women who disagree with them.” Dillon also tells us that though stupid feminists think “there would be no more wars if women ruled the world” (“I even heard this sentiment echoed from history professors when I was in college”), she counters that “women can be just as cruel as men” and cites Margaret Thatcher as an example. (I’m not sure she thought that one through.) 

In defense of her thesis Dillon cites authorities like “podcast host Suzanne Venker” and Jessa Crispin, which brings me to my favorite part:

Crispin argues that this attitude leads to a sense of grandiose self-importance, making some modern feminists think they’re more important simply because they’re women. This sense of self-importance (and lack of empathy for others) leads to narcissism, as Crispin writes, “It is a failure of empathy to identify yourself only with those who resemble you. That is as narcissistic as working exclusively in your own self-interest.”

I can’t think of a more relevant example for this phenomenon than what Bachelorette fans witnessed during the season 17 finale.

Very promising! More tomorrow at REBID

UPDATE. My fuller consideration of Evie is up now

Friday, October 15, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



Pure charm.

•   Maybe sometime I’ll see that new Dave Chappelle special but the last one he did in 2019, as I wrote at the time, was more interesting as a social phenomenon than it was enjoyable as a comedy show. And I gotta say this bit from Rod Dreher, just before he begins to blubber about how the mean journalists and Twitter posters are “cancelling” a comedian who is richer and more famous than all of them put together, is not propitious:

Have you seen the new Dave Chappelle special on Netflix yet? It’s not bad — not great, but not bad. It has some some laugh-out-loud lines, but mostly it’s pedestrian. Chappelle’s great, but this isn’t his best stuff.

Dreher’s such a lousy writer he’s always dropping tells, and doesn’t he sound here like someone who wants you to show support for some entertainment product on ideological grounds -- like he’s trying to muscle you to attend a fundraising concert -- but he also wants to tip you off that the product isn’t so hot so, when you see it and find that out, you won’t think he has shitty taste? There’s a bunch of Ernst Lubitsch on the Criterion Channel I haven’t seen yet, so who needs it. 

•   OK, here’s the freebie from this week’s Roy Edroso Breaks It Down for you guys who haven’t subscribed. It’s the one about a lightly disguised football coach who was canned for his slurs. I already told you about it here on Wednesday, though. Maybe you feel deprived, even cheated. Well, here’s an idea: Why not subscribe? $7/month for five-day-a-week delivery (less if you go annual-plan) is value for money even in Substack World, plus you get a pass to read everything in the archives -- three years’ worth of quality political commentary, humor, criticism, and even some artistic hooey, plus you get to comment. Think what an impression you’ll make at your next fancy society party when someone brings up, say, Andrew Yang, and you smoothly interject, “I subscribe to Roy Edroso’s Substack, and he says Andrew Yang -- well, I can’t quite remember what, but the gist was Andrew Yang is a piece of shit.” “Why,” your interlocutors will say, “I never thought of it that way. Roy Edroso, you say? I thought he died a long time ago. Suicide.” “No,” you will rejoin, “you’re thinking of Yukio Mishima, whom he closely resembles artistically.” They’ll look at you differently thereafter, I assure you, and a subscription costs less all other means of making such an impression, e.g. new clothes, a spectacular haircut, or bail after you trash the place.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

FREE SPEECH DEFECT.

Here’s a rare midweek release of a Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebie to the non-members among you, about one conservative’s (and every one’s, really) response to the firing of an NFL coach for years of offensive messages. It is, as they say in the promos, inspired by true events

As I always say whenever the cancelculture crybabies rush to defend some big name like Coach Gruden who will almost certainly die rich of old age in his bed despite his “cancellation,” I would happily accept laws that kept such people from being fired, suspended, or otherwise punished for speech so long as the law also applied to the non-rich, such as the trans Netflix employee who, so far as I know, is the only person who has actually suffered for what they've said about the Dave Chapelle special (notwithstanding the fantasies of rightwingers who go “I bet my buddies will get fired for writing a good review of The Closer I bet I bet” -- bitch, show me one!). But conservatives never accept that deal, for some reason. 

Though Erick Erickson is not my model for the REBID item (when he is, I take greater care to ape his awfulness specifically), his own essay on the subject was inspirational. It’s full of nuggets like these:

Gruden said in private what other people might say, including referring to Joe Biden in 2012 as a “nervous clueless pussy.” Whether you like it or not, these conversations happen among friends who sometimes use coarse language.

This was clearly an orchestrated effort to punish Gruden for past comments and drive him out of the NFL. We can speculate on who did it. But we should really focus on the problem here that keeps happening.

There’s so much ugly-stupid in there, but for me the suggestion that Gruden was targeted by the NFL because he said something bad about Joe Biden once, plausibly-deniable chickenshit though it is, doesn’t approach the cowardliness of the “Gruden said in private what other people might say” argument. Erickson can’t even go all the way with the logic of his essay: that it’s so common and understandable to use racist, misogynist, and homophobic slurs on a regular basis that anyone, including himself, might do it. 

I’m not saying Erickson spews like Gruden did; obviously he’s too weaselly to expose himself like that. But if he were more forthright about his assertion, he might be forced to explain why, in his experience, “conversations” that “happen among friends who sometimes use coarse language” (not his friends, surely!) so frequently include these slurs. Or would that be a “critical race theory” question to ask, since it implies American bigotry didn’t die at Appomattox?

Can’t resist adding this bit from Erickson’s essay after this one, about how mandatory vaccination against pandemic viruses is liberal tyranny:

When my father-in-law went for an antibody infusion the other day, the nurse told him the infusions were in short supply. According to the nurse, the Biden Administration was punishing Georgia, Florida, and other states that had no mask or vaccine mandates by withholding antibody infusion doses. Whether that is true or not is beside the point. The point is the nurse believed it and is relaying that to patients. That will have an effect and, in fact, the Biden Administration is withholding antibody doses for reasons that remain nebulous. [Italics added]

I mean, the anonymous authority with an outlandish accusation that the author disseminates is standard procedure with, for example, Rod Dreher, but I don’t think even Dreher would just admit up front that it may be bullshit. 

Friday, October 08, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Weird to see them show-bizzin' it up here-- I always imagined them
all serious, even pained, in a church. Shows what I know!

•  I've been asked more than once this week what I think about Rod Dreher getting greater-than-usual dissemination in the mainstream press for his recent bizarre reminiscence about being in third grade and ogling his black classmate's "primitive root wiener when we were at the urinal during recess, because it was monstrous." But I have followed Dreher for many years and frankly this doesn't even make my Top Ten wacko Dreher moments, such as his friend's wife's exorcism ("his wife’s face contorts into expressions that he has never seen in her, despite their nearly two decades of marriage"). Besides, as far as racism goes, the Mandingo root weiner may be funny, but I've seen so much of the guy's less-funny racism, such as his suggestion that if airlines hire more black pilots, airplanes will "start falling out of the sky" (because, come on, black people flying planes!), that it has lost it charm for me. Meanwhile Dreher's still dropping gibberish like this on the regular:

A reader who grew up in communist Czechoslovakia said the letter from the National School Board Association to President Biden, asking for the feds to move in to protect school boards from angry parents, reminds him of this August 1968 letter that the Communist leadership of his native country sent to Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev, fraternally requesting an invasion to protect them from the Czech people...

But while this comparison of a DOJ investigation into violent threats by rightwing freaks against school board members for purposes of intimidation to the crushing of the Prague Spring is clinically insane, it's well within the range of mainstream conservative opinion, so we can count on the prestige press to continue to fluff Dreher the way they have Hugh Hewitt and other such ogres as fascinating contrarians. 

•  I have cleared only one Roy Edroso Breaks It Down entry for readers who are not paying subscribers -- the latest in a series of conservative columns about how you liberals are just silly to worry about another attempted Trump coup (bringing to mind the old Tom Lehrer lyric: "Once all the Germans were warlike and mean/ But that couldn't happen again/ We taught them a lesson in 1918/ And they've hardly bothered us since then"). It's been such an action-packed week that you should really consider subscribing. I mean, take today's entry on the new political party/grift created by Andrew Yang. (Here's a free column of mine from 2019 about how I knew Yang was no good. Sometimes the gift of prophecy is a curse!) That alone is worth the $7 monthly subscription rate -- and it's just one of the twenty (20) issues you get for that price! It's almost wasteful not to subscribe! 

Friday, October 01, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Crossing the streams.

Busy week! And I haven't much left for y'all here. Free from the newsletter for non-subscribers (and what are they waiting for, an invitation?) (If they are, I invite them to subscribe!), I offer one inspired by the weird Stephanie Grisham anecdote about Trump and his "Music Man." Many layers of WTF in that story -- assuming it's true, and I don't, because let's face it, why should anyone trust any ex-Trump officials to tell the truth, especially the ones who were specifically hired to lie? The only way anyone's gonna be interested in her book is if it's got hot parts. If it were a Profiles in Courage treatment of Tubby, I doubt even local Republican chapters would spring for bestseller-list-goosing bulk-rate boxes of I’ll Take Your Questions Now. But with stories like Trump calling Grisham to defend his penis, they'll get some thrill-seekers at least, probably from both sides of the aisle -- conservatives know as well as we do what a buffoon he is; they just think it's great that we had him as president because, at bottom, they hate this country because they think black people and feminists are taking it over, and so love to see it humiliated. Anyway, enjoy! 

Friday, September 24, 2021

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


I wonder if the younger readers get as much pleasure 
out of these Stan Freberg spots as I do.

•   Only one Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebie this week (though why don’t you visit the archive and look at some of my previous unlocked issues -- yes, they’re topical, but also deathless): The one about Bari Weiss and yet another of her stupid cancelculture whinges. While I'm at it here’s another Wari Beiss thing from back in May; boy, that one’s still daisy-fresh, too. How do I do it? I trust in the Lord, kids! 

•   Things have changed around here since I used to fill up alicublog with reports on commentators with names like The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler and Ace of Spades. (Yes, they’re still around! Find them yourselves if you think you can stand it.) No need for that, mostly, as the crass stupidity of the old blogging days has advanced to the top ranks of conservatism, either through the direct engagement of rightbloggers (as we used to call them) or by old-school rightwing journalists like Rich Lowry aping the rabble. Among the latter is Peggy Noonan who has preserved all her old, horrible prose crotchets while dropping culture-war hankies in hopes of attracting the regnant rubeoisie. Take her latest:

What Milley Got Right—and Wrong
His preoccupation with his own image points to a larger problem, though his talk with Li was justified.

The nu-style conservatives have been screaming their heads off for Joint Chiefs chair Milley, who was reported to have assured the Chinese that then-lame-duck-president Tubby would not blow up the world, to be fired or tried for treason to expiate this offense to the former guy’s good name. Even assuming the reporting is accurate, this is ridiculous, and as eager to get “with it” as Noonan is, she can’t quite indulge it, but (maybe I should say “so”) she finds something else to score Milley for: First, vanity (LOL, c’mon), and then -- wokeness! 

… While the wars were being fought, did top brass keep the military a step apart from the damaging cultural and political swirls that have swept the nation?

It looks to me as if they have been too eager to prove they have all the right cultural and political predicates, that they want the media and political class to see this. That they’re desperate for them to see it.

Looking for proof of this claim? You don’t know our Peggy -- she's more into implications and buzzwords than evidence.

But the U.S. military is the most respected institution in the country in part because its members aren’t like the country… They are called on to preserve and protect the Constitution. They’ll die for you. They don’t make you swear to that at Oberlin.

???

…The services should be bringing in everybody—women, sexual minorities—gathering all the talent they can, because only our talent will give us the edge in future wars, which will come. Talent comes from all quarters.

But that doesn’t mean adopting the ideologies and assumptions of the leftist cultural regime that reigns in other institutions—Critical Race Theory, wokeness. Don’t let that stuff in. If in your reviews of the past 20 years you determine you have, stop. Your future and ours depend on it.

As mentioned, Noonan offers no citations to back up the implied charge, borrowed from the current rightwing avant-garde, that the military is “woke.” And I think she has some idea of what those guys are trying to communicate about it to their meathead followers (lookit, rainbow dogtags durr hurr!), which is why she coats herself with the Plausible Deniability Concealing Spray of that bit about welcoming “sexual minorities.” She doesn’t want to be held responsible for the slur, but she wants the people who love it to know she hears them, and hopes it will convince them that she’s not just an old Reaganoid priss to be dropped out of the helicopters with the libs.