Showing posts sorted by relevance for query hanson. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query hanson. Sort by date Show all posts

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


From "The Real Fat Cats" by Victor Davis Hanson, December 13, 2012:
Who exactly were the rich who, as the president said, were not “paying their fair share”? The rapper Jay-Z (net worth: nearly $500 million)? The actor Johnny Depp (2011 income: $50 million)? Neither seems to have heard the president’s earlier warning that “at a certain point you’ve made enough money.”
From "Conservative Populism" by Victor Davis Hanson, December 18, 2012:
The truth is that everyone from the college president who gets his taxes paid by his university to Jay-Z is a beneficiary of Republican advocacies that he damns.
From "The New Affirmative Action" by Victor Davis Hanson, March 14, 2013:
Will the children of multimillionaire Tiger Woods — or of Jay-Z and Beyoncé — qualify for special consideration on the theory that their racial pedigrees or statistical underrepresentation in some fields will make their lives more challenging than the lives of poor white children in rural Pennsylvania or second-generation Arab-Americans in Dearborn, Mich.?
From "The War against the Young" by Victor Davis Hanson, April 9, 2013:
The administration seems aware of the potential paradoxes in this reverse “What’s the matter with Kansas?” syndrome of young people voting against their economic interests. Thus follows the constant courting of the hip and cool Beyoncé, Jay-Z, Lena Dunham, Occupy Wall Streeters, and others who blend pop culture, sex, youth, energy, and fad...
From "Our Postmodern Angst," by Victor Davis Hanson, August 13, 2013:
Today, obesity, not malnutrition, is America’s epidemic. Our youth’s education is hindered by too many cell phones, not access to too few books. Misogynistic and obscene lyrics may have enriched Jay-Z, but they reflect the sort of values that lead millions to remain in poverty, rather than becoming disciplined cadres organizing for social justice.
From "An American Satyricon," by Victor Davis Hanson, August 27, 2013:
Civil rights once meant an existential struggle between the oppressed and villains like Bull Connor with his dogs and fire hoses. Now Oprah is miffed over being treating rudely while eyeing a $38,000 purse in Switzerland... near-billionaire rapper Jay-Z warns that the have-nots may riot...
From "Miley Cyrus and Ugly Sex" by Victor Davis Hanson, September 3, 2013:
Where is the elemental inspiration, the existential need to tap popular anguish and turn it into revolutionary artistic expression?
If multimillionaire rapper Jay-Z performs at the White House, where is to be found the font of resistance? In short — resistance to what?
From "Medieval Liberals" by Victor Davis Hanson, October 8, 2013:
As recompense, [the Medieval Liberal] is not just liberal, but liberally hip and cool... in his 50s he listens to Jay-Z and Beyoncé as well as Springsteen and the Dead.
From "Progressive Insurance" by Victor Davis Hanson, April 15, 2014:
Certainly racial venom is not a career ender for the fully insured. Jay-Z, a frequent White House guest, is not shy about wearing a Five-Percent Nation medallion, which reflects an ideology that considers whites inferior devils...
From "The End of Affirmative Action" by Victor Davis Hanson, May 1, 2014:
Class divisions are mostly ignored in admissions and hiring criteria, but in today’s diverse society, they often pose greater obstacles than race. The children of one-percenters such as Beyoncé and Jay-Z will have doors opened to them that are not open to those in Pennsylvania who, according to President Obama, “cling to guns or religion.”
From "Egalitarian Grandees" by Victor Davis Hanson, May 27, 2014:
Being liberal in the abstract also provides psychological penance for enjoying the good life in the concrete. A Johnny Depp or a Jay-Z is cool and therefore free to enjoy compensation based entirely on what the free market will bear.
I feel bad for the kids, who have this instead of Biggie and Tupac.

UPDATE. In comments (always worth visiting! No trip to alicublog is complete without the comments!) D Johnston observes, "Everything [VDH] writes about politics is just a random assortment of talking points, creaky old bugaboos and Mark Steyn-brand simulated humor, all tied together with the pseudo-scholarly pablum of a bright but seriously self-obsessed high school senior." Johnston does us the further favor of identifying the paragraph subjects in Hanson's latest column: "Para 1 - Elizabeth Warren, Al Gore; Para 2 - Michelle Obama; Para 3 - 'Silicon Valley to Chevy Chase'; Para 4 - Paul Krugman, Joseph Stiglitz; Para 5 - The Steyer brothers and 'the media'..."

You get the idea. The basic Hanson is that rich liberals are hypocrites because all liberals are supposed to live in rags and filth like their best friends The Poor -- I think that was in Herodotus -- and because they made their money in the arts and sciences they are morally inferior to people who made their money buying property with oil under it (whom Hanson takes care to associate with hard-bitten sons of toil, usually by adjacent description).

Also, Hanson's most recent column actually contains a reference to Pajama Boy. Is this what they mean when they call Hanson a classicist?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


We do make fun of Victor Davis Hanson, Professor Emeritus of Stolen Messican Chainsaw Studies at National Review, for his addiction to ancient rightwing tropes. But it's hard not to. I mean, talk about long memories -- Obama made a crack about the Special Olympics in March 2009, and Hanson was still going on about it as recently as February 2016. Hanson can to this day be counted on to summon the ghosts of slur-campaigns past such as Jeremiah Wright's "God Damn America" as if they were still in the first bloom of youth. But today he outdoes himself:
The Pajama Boy White House
Honest to God, Pajama Boy -- that object of butched-up wingnut rage from three years ago! Long shitfit short, Professor Hanson associates the Obama Administration with sundry unmanly phenomena -- "prolonged adolescence," "the disappearance of physical chores and muscular labor," "the shift in collective values and status from production, agriculture, and manufacturing to government, law, finance, and media," etc. -- which, to the extent they have anything at all to do with objective reality, go back decades, not to 2009; the decline of real-man occupations like manufacturing, for example, really kicked into high gear during the Reagan Administration.

But no matter -- there was an OFA employee named Ethan Krupp who appeared in an Obamacare ad in his pajamas, and hadn't the decency to feel ashamed about it! Professor Hanson coldly intones:
 Most men in Dayton or Huntsville do not lounge around in the morning in their pajamas...
Dayton or Huntsville are butch places, see -- the masculine signifiers "Hunt" and "Ton" appear in their very names.
...with or without built-in footpads, drinking hot chocolate and scanning health-insurance policies. That our elites either think they do, or think the few that matter do, explains why a nation $20 trillion in debt envisions the battle over transgender restrooms as if it were Pearl Harbor.
Then, killing Japs; now, trans-chick craps! Vanitas, vanitas, moans Professor Hanson with the back of his wrist pressed to his forehead, but in a manly way. As he further contemplates the unapologetic cocoa-sipping sissy, he works himself up to a fine, Dr. Smith in Lost in Space lather:
In a case of life imitating art, Ethan Krupp, the Organizing for Action employee who posed for the ad, offered a self-portrait of himself that confirmed the photo image. He is a self-described “liberal f***.” “A liberal f*** is not a Democrat, but rather someone who combines political data and theory, extreme leftist views, and sarcasm to win any argument while making the opponents feel terrible about themselves,” he explains. “I won every argument but one.” I suspect that when Krupp boasts about “making opponents feel terrible about themselves,” he is referring to people of his own kind rather than trying such verbal intimidation on the local mechanic or electrician.
Professor Hanson bets that electrician would whale the tar out of Pajama Boy! Hanson has the card of an electrician in his Rolodex! That man is a fine specimen, and Professor Hanson could tell by the cruel way he once balled up a napkin and forcefully threw it in the trash that he'd beat up Pajama Boy, and perhaps let Professor Hanson hold him while he did it! (Pajama Boy, he means.)
Krupp is emblematic of an entire class of young smart-asses found in Silicon Valley, on campuses across the nation, and in Hollywood, and now ensconced at the highest levels of American government and journalism. Do we remember Jonathan Gruber...
Gruber -- ooh, I see we're headed back down Memory Lane, and Professor Hanson has thousands of words left; he keeps mashing Ethan Krupp into Obama, going "See that guy? That's what you look like!" ("​Pajama Boy arrested-development references? 'I’m LeBron, baby'... Pajama Boy ignorance? If you forget that the politically correct version of the Falklands’ name is 'Malvinas,' then just plug in 'Maldives'..."), before collapsing into a Euripides quote, a goblet of Opimian wine, and perhaps, to keep from having to live in this rotten effeminate world, a knife to his own guts -- but ha, mater facit, as if! In Professor Hanson's fantasies, it's always someone else who gets it, just around the corner.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

BLACK PRESIDENT DONE STOLE MAH CHAINSAW. All Victor Davis Hanson's National Review posts are pretty much the same stew ladled from different parts of the pot -- e.g., Anthony Weiner blah blah John Edwards blah blah RobertByrdJosefStalinSaddamHussein blah narcissists Versailles Washington. Or: Boeing blah blah Petraeus-Bush blah Van Jones blah Geithner Defense of Marriage.

He goes a little further in this essay, about some recent robberies in his neck of the woods. One guy snatched Hanson's chainsaw. ("Mind you there was only a 5-minute hiatus in between my cutting.") Another pulled copper wire out of his pump. And a house down the way was relieved of its major appliances. Hanson is in California farm country, and I must say his sad tale made me happier than usual to be living in Harlem, where such offenses are not so bunched up.

Hanson has been inspired by these misfortunes to generalize:
I think the public would react in two different ways to the above occurrences — and such a dichotomy explains a lot why the nation has never been more divided.
(I never did figure out what the second way to which he alluded was; maybe one of you can explain it to me.) A majority of his fellow citizens, Hanson says, will know that the robbers wanted money for "drugs, excitement, or to buy things like an iPhone or DVD" rather than food. Which may well be, though as he later complains of California's rotten economy, I'm not sure how he knows this -- oh, wait, Mexifornia blah blah gangbanger blah blah La Raza; I see what he's getting at.
After all, Hollywood, pop music, the court system, and the government itself sympathize with, even romanticize those forced to take a chainsaw, not the old middle-class bore who bought it.

The remedy to address theft would be not more government help — public assistance, social welfare, counseling — but far less, given that human nature rises to the occasion when forced to work and sinks when leisured and exempt. I don’t believe my thieves have worked much; instead, they figured a day’s theft beats tile setting or concrete work beginning at 5 AM.
Here we see the casual connection between these three robberies and Hollywood, which spurred them on, his link suggests, with Bonnie and Clyde. (I'd be stunned if the crooks knew anything about this 44-year-old movie; I guess Hanson felt a reference to rap music would give the game away.)

Also, illegal immigrants are using up Hanson's emergency room services.
The taxpayer cannot indefinitely fund the emergency room treatment for the shooter and his victim on Saturday night if society cannot put a tool down for five minutes without a likely theft, or a farmer cannot turn on a 50-year old pump without expecting its electrical connections to have been ripped out. Civilization simply cannot function that way for either the productive citizen or the parasite, who still needs a live host.
Yes, the producer and the parasite -- the basis of all the Going Galt stuff though, as Hanson is here in full victim mode, we are not getting the traditional threats that he will actually leave, alas.
The same is true of unions, pensions, and compensation…

…if everyone is on food stamps (actually computerized government plastic credit cards designed to avoid the old stigma of pulling out a coupon), are there still food stamps?…

This liberal notion of being careful of what you wish for extends to energy…
If you're an aficionado of this sort of thing, you can see what's coming next:
Watching the tastes, the behavior, the rhetoric, the appointments, and the policy of this administration suggests to me that it is not really serious in radically altering the existing order, which it counts on despite itself. Its real goal is a sort of parasitism that assumes the survivability of the enfeebled host.
blah blah cap and trade blah blah Guantanamo blah blah solar panels. You'd hardly know that the Democratic governor of Hanson's home state is actually battling the Democrats in his legislature to scale the budget back, using the traditional tool of the veto rather than putting on a tricorner and raging in the town square. But Jerry Brown is prosaically trying to fix California's budget, whereas Hanson is -- I would say poetically, were it not an insult to poetry; might I say doggerelly? -- trying to exponentiate race and class resentments which may be useful in future elections.

We've lately seen others among the brethren use minority crime stories to rile their readers against the black President, but Hanson goes to much greater lengths than they have to conceal his purpose. Is it possible that he's embarrassed?

UPDATE. Commenter MikeJ breaks down VicDave "300" Jo's POV: "He's just upset that we don't allow the hoplite farmer class to keep slaves around to guard the chainsaw from the persians."

Saturday, May 03, 2008

IMMANENTIZING THE ESCHATON. Victor Davis Hanson's had a good run with Reverend Wright, but he seems ready (or medically advised, perhaps) to pack it in, as shown by his "Wright Postmortem."

Hanson assumes that his own extremely unflattering interpretation of events is shared by Obama supporters, but believes they "have invested too much in Obama and have come too far to accept anything that might end his candidacy," and "privately they acknowledge" (by what evidence he doesn't say) that their man "made a devil’s bargain with a racist," is "inured to de rigueur anti-American speech" and is "hardly a new politician, but instead a very gifted and charismatic actor."

Despite their presumed agreement with Hanson's dire characterization, he predicts they will stick with Obama because he "offers them symbolic capital, making them liked abroad and free of guilt at home... I think he will weather the current storm and get the nomination. Obama evokes pure emotion and raw politics now, and logic, honesty, and accountability have little to do with his nomination bid."

You may wonder why so committed an Obama enemy as Hanson has come to so downcast a conclusion. Obama has indeed taken a hit, and though it is not fatal it has given Republicans some valuable provender and target practice for the general election should Obama be nominated.

One possible explanation is that Hanson had big hopes for the Wright affair, and is bitterly disappointed that it didn't destroy his nemesis outright. Back in March, Hanson was sufficiently optimistic to actually question "seven or eight random (Asian, Mexican-American, and working-class white) Americans in southern California" -- possibly employees on his farm -- on Obama's big post-Wright speech, and was buoyed that "the answers, without exception, were essentially: 'Forget the speech. I would never vote for Obama after listening to Wright.'" His conclusion: "Now it’s too late. Like Hillary’s tear, one only gets a single chance at mea culpa and staged vulnerability — and he blew it."

Most Republican operatives probably saw the full-court-press on Wright as part of the patient wearing-down of opponent support that has been their great strength since the days of Lee Atwater. But Hanson is a true believer who expected this bucket of slop would cause Obama to melt like the Wicked Witch of the West, and is genuinely stunned to see him still on track for the nomination. It puts me in mind of the early days of the Lewinsky scandal, when conservatives were giddy at the impending demise of Bill Clinton, convinced that the truth had come out and the people would come round. When their victory was less than total -- when it provided some ammunition for future campaigns, but not the removal of their sworn enemy -- many of them were devastated, and some never got over it.

Similarly, Hanson views his half-empty glass with despair. "I don’t think I’ve heard or read more white cynicism in my entire lifetime," he claims -- again without sourcing, and probably speaking for himself. "And it is a sort of 'I’m tired' attitude, in which, after what Obama has said and done, the white middling class no longer cares all that much about minority angst, since it senses that minority leadership is hypocritical and shows a hatred of whites as voiced by Wright and euphemized by Obama. We owe all that to our first trans-racial candidate."

Anyone who looks at a mildly liberal black Democrat and sees hatred of whites, however "euphemized," is not going to be satisfied with political solutions. Whatever horrors the campaign has in store for the rest of us, it will be hell itself for Hanson.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Victor Davis Hanson's crying "Vanitas!" again. Since Obama was elected, you can't deport Mexicans anymore, they're letting women serve in combat, and worst of all, some people of whom Hanson does not approve might not die broke in a rooming-house:
Does it really make all that much difference whether you are a doctor at 70 who religiously put away $1,000 a month for thirty years, compounded at the old interest, and planned to retire on the interest income, or a cashless state employee with a defined benefit pension plan? The one might have over $1 million in his savings account, but the other a bigger and less risky monthly payout. Suddenly the old adult advice to our children — “Save and put your money in the bank to receive interest” — is what? “Spend it now or borrow as much as you can at cheap interest”?
That guy got off easy, idling away his days as a highway patrolman or a garbageman, then being rewarded with a comfortable old age. What kind of message is this sending our youth? (The bit about cheap interest is what the classicists call a non sequitur.)

Also, some of the people Hanson doesn't like have even gotten rich:
There are not just the rich and poor any more, but now the “good rich” (e.g., athletes, rappers, Hollywood stars, Silicon Valley grandees, Democratic senators, liberal philanthropists, etc.) and the “bad rich” (e.g., oil companies, CEOs, doctors, the Koch brothers, etc.). The correct-thinking nomenklatura and the dutiful apparat versus the kulaks and enemies of the people.
Both the "apparat" and the "kulaks" seem pretty flush to me. But the former get their asses kissed by fancy magazines, and the latter by Victor Davis Hanson, so I can see why they'd feel hard done by.

After decades of philosophizing, Hanson has suddenly discovered class warfare. And he wants in -- but he knows the priests at the temple of Mammon frown on that. So he's devised a dispensation for himself: He'll only rag on the undeserving rich. And while others would draw a distinction between those whose wealth is earned and those whose wealth is unearned, Hanson knows what really makes a man worthy of Fortune's smile: the right politics. These days, this is what passes for conservative populism.

Friday, April 10, 2020


We had Perry Henzel's No Place Like Home on 
and this cover came up in a club scene:
In a million years I would not have guessed it was Etta James.

•  This fucking guy:

I think we underestimate how much of Trump's bullshit is based on his public speaking style, which is basically cribbed from Home Shopping Network pitchmen and old-fashioned carney barkers, and demands that one never stop talking and never stop pitching, no matter what. There's also his favored "people say" locution, which means he saw it, or maybe something like it, or maybe the opposite of what he's saying it said, or maybe he's just making it up on the spot but the main thing is you can't pin it on him it's what PEOPLE SAY. These days we're very focused on his criminal neglect and cynical manipulation of the crisis and the deaths attributable to it, but another long-term effect will be that if we ever get a coherent president again (Biden doesn't count, unless they lace him up with The Formula), people won't be able to follow what he or she is saying because formal sentence structure will have become an arcane mystery.

•  Speaking of pitchmen, rather than send you to my newsletter Roy Edroso Breaks It Down I'm going to just pull a relevant section from a recent issue, about David Harsanyi's weird National Review article "The Left’s Ugly Reaction to Hydroxychloroquine," and paste it here:

Harsanyi is talking about liberals noticing that Trump has a small financial interest in the drug — which of course he does, as he has made clear from the beginning that he doesn’t intend to avoid conflicts of interest of any size.

Now, Trump’s direct pharma interest is not the big problem with his hucksterism — which is that MAGA people may be making a run on the stuff, creating a shortage that’s keeping it from the lupus sufferers and others for whom the drug has actually been approved and who need it. In fact some hospitals have been “hoarding” the drug for fear of such a shortage.

But even though big-time MSM outlets such as the Washington Post have been saying that “Trump’s promotion of hydroxychloroquine is almost certainly about politics, not profits,” Harsanyi pretends to be mortally offended not only that liberals would even consider that Trump may have a venal interest, but also that they would question his devotion to the welfare of his subjects:
For one thing, and I realize this might be difficult for some people to comprehend, it’s plausible, even likely, that Trump advocates for chloroquine because he is legitimately optimistic that a therapeutic answer might help Americans. Even if you feel he’s being reckless when speaking about the drug, you can accept that his intentions are good.
I have to admit: the weird weevils of the wingnut demimonde have a lot of crazy ideas, but I doubt any of them seriously believes that the Boss ever does anything out of fellow-feeling.

The funny/saddest thing in Harsanyi’s essay is its conclusion:
You don’t need to send me angry emails detailing all the downsides of championing potential drugs already in use for other diseases. One of my children takes hydroxychloroquine to help mitigate a dangerous autoimmune condition. I’ve already had to work hard to track down hydroxychloroquine because we live in a world with unethical hospitals and doctors who hoard it. Believe it or not, they’d still be doing it if the president hadn’t ever mentioned it, because they believe it holds promise.
See? Despite what you might think, chloroquine is not being hoarded by Trump fans because their God-Emperor has been hawking it like the ShamWow guy at press briefings — it’s because those damn hospitals and doctors have been hoarding it for their so-called patients, just like Trump says states are hoarding the ventilators!

And Harsanyi’s got a kid who needs the stuff. Greater love hath no man! Maybe if the Boss notices how much he’s willing to sacrifice to show fealty to him, he’ll share some his stash with him.

•  Update! Longtime readers especially will appreciate this Victor Davis Maximus Super Hanson sighting, by Muriel Volestrangler (not her real name) in comments:
You'll like this, Roy: after an article about a Stanford medical team doing coronavirus antibody testing, Victor Davis Hanson saw it, thought "Stanford - that's me!!!", and found a gullible reporter to whom he became a "Stanford researcher", and fed his "California got the virus last fall!!!" hallucination. 
This was then picked up by media outlets who ought to know better, such as SFGate - but who have since withdrawn it, realising it's an old man with an ancient Greek fixation trying to pass himself off as a researcher in some vaguely relevant discipline.
The SF Gate story has indeed been withdrawn though the Wayback Machine retains a copy. ("'Something is going on that we haven't quite found out yet,' said Victor Davis Hanson a senior fellow with Stanford's Hoover Institute," LOL). There's a more thorough examination by Jane Hu at Slate:
Hanson’s recent work, published in National Review, suggests he is eager to reopen the American economy. It would be quite convenient, then, to claim that the virus has already torn through the U.S. and granted us immunity. (In that article, Hanson also claims that “much of the virus modeling is nearly worthless” and refers to it as “science,” in scare quotes.) 
Hanson also (incorrectly) suggests that the virus’s spread in California came from “Chinese nationals” visiting California. Looking more closely at his recent work reveals a potential political motive for that claim; in a recent op-ed for Fox News, he argues that we already have too many Chinese nationals visiting, studying, or collaborating in the U.S., and that post-coronavirus America should “wake up” and make changes.
Hanson's Fox story is headlined, "After coronavirus — will America be a roaring giant or crying baby?" so you see he hasn't lost his sense of style. And he's spreading racist bullshit at a higher level than ever! Maybe Trump sent him a big enough reward to replace the chainsaw the Messicans stole from him.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


Victor Davis Hanson has delivered his most incoherent column yet, starting with the title, "White versus White America." It's just buzzwords and catchphrases floating in rage. Analysis is impossible, so let's just ladle out some specimens:

"Does a Kim Kardashian suddenly stop flashing her boobs on YouTube in worry over what others might think?" (Reference to Trump, elitism; not sure why she can't worry while flashing, but okay; also, first recorded Hanson use of "boobs")

"...convicted child-assaulter Jeffrey Epstein..." (Reference to Clintons as font of all evil; only such reference that is not about them being rich, which suggests someone pointed out the irony to Hanson)

"For an angry Arizonan, ridiculing 'low energy' Jeb is not as crude as Jeb’s own crude 'act of love' description of illegal immigration. An act of love for exactly whom?" (First time I've heard that Bush bit called "crude" -- maybe Hanson imagines an explicitly sexual meaning, which sort of makes sense if you hear it in a Will Ferrell as Roger Klarvin voice)

"Our popular culture is one of Pajama Boy, Mattress Girl, and the whiny, nasal-toned young metrosexual with high-water pants above his ankles and horn-rimmed glasses who 'analyzes' on cable news." (Reference to depraved youngs, unmanly/unwomanly as case may be but still fornicating on Hanson's lawn)

"Is it any wonder that millions sympathized with the heroism of Benghazi’s middle-class defenders rather than with the contortions of the far better-educated, smoother, more sensitive, and wealthier Rhodes scholar Susan Rice, novelist Ben Rhodes, or former First Lady Hillary Clinton?" (Reference to God knows what; no poll results linked to demonstrate relative popularity of Hillary's peeps vs. "Benghazi’s middle-class defenders," which sounds like an abandoned PR trope found in a shredder with "Benghazi's ruggedly handsome defenders" and "Trey Gowdy, watch him bite the head off a chicken")

"Whom do these sometimes incoherent Trump supporters likely despise? I would wager anyone who has never been sideswiped in a hit-and-run by an illegal-alien driver but lectures others on why 'illegal alien' is a racist term... anyone who freely uses the word 'white' in a way and context that he would never use 'black' or 'Latino'..." (Fight the real enemy, fellow honkeys! Full paragraph goes on to characterize Trump's anathema as rich liberals, as if Trumpkins don't worship all rich guys except Judge Smalls from Caddyshack)

"In an age of La Raza ('The Race') and (only) Black Lives Matter, how exactly did the Republican establishment think the white working classes would eventually react to the new hyphenated America? With a week’s escape to Provincetown or commiseration at a B-list D.C. party? Tribalism for thee, but not for me?" (Cabbages, knickers, it's not got a beak!)

"There are two characteristics common to popular uses of the term 'white': It is almost always used pejoratively, and it is mostly voiced by elites of all backgrounds..." (Mostly voiced by elites? Ol' Vic doesn't get around much)

"As is true of most revolutionary movements, the aggrieved are not as angry at their perceived opponents as they are contemptuous at the enablers of them." (Holy shit my metaphor makes no sense and I've already written a thousand words, better "explain" it with a mangled sentence that might throw them off the scent, and hope no one asks me what "enablers" the American Revolutionaries were angrier at than the British -- you think they'll buy "the Dutch East India Company"?)

Hanson's closing:
Given his cruelty, obnoxiousness, and buffoonery, Trump should have been a three-month flash in the pan, exactly as most of his critics had prophesied and dreamed. I hope he will still fade, as he should. But the fact that he has persisted this long may be because the hatred our elites so passionately claimed was aimed at the Other was actually directed at themselves.
To sum up, The Elites, a gang made up of rich liberals and Darkskins,  bamboozled the white working class into hating themselves, but Trump (while still objectionable! This is National Review!) taught them better, and now the scales have fallen from their eyes and they'll vote for Ted Cruz as soon as we gank this convention. Good night!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

F-BOMB (UPDATED). I see Victor Davis Hanson Michael Ledeen* has, in short and long forms, called the Obama Administration fascist. He takes off from Newsweek's declaration that Obama is the latest in a line of enablers bringing the country toward French-style socialism, which is just a mildly provocative observation based on apparent facts. Hanson's Ledeen's stuff, on the other hand, is based on Jonah Goldberg's hysterical revisionism, in which any government activism beyond mustering troops and delivering the mail (maybe) can be evidence of fascism, if the author finds it politically expedient to say so.

(*Update: In first writing this post I confused Ledeen with Victor Davis Hanson, an understandable mistake, as they both employ the same woe-unto-you-scribes-and-pharisees schtick that adds pomp, or at least pomposity, to Pajamas Media and National Review. I followed on with comparisons to Hanson's previous writings on the Wall Street bailouts, which don't apply to Ledeen, so I've removed them and will save them for a rainy day. Ledeen, a War on Terror obsessive, doesn't write much about the economy, so we assume his fascist comparison comes fresh from the crazy lab.)

The usual suspects are praising Hanson's Ledeen's courage. Ed Driscoll offers an interesting twist, claiming that Newsweek was afraid to admit that Obama is a fascist, and praising Hanson Ledeen for seeing through their cowardice.

It'll be interesting to see how many of them will take the bait. Obama's been President for less than a month. If they're already calling him a fascist, what's left for them? Maybe by spring they'll be comparing him to Satan, and after that they'll be making up fables about unimaginable evils in alternate universes to accommodate the ever-escalating scale of their accusations: e.g., Once upon a time in the Deruvian galaxy, there was an evil tyrant named Obamanous... Maybe this will lead to the conservative aesthetic renaissance that we have been promised for so many years. It's an ill wind that blows no one some good!

Friday, July 26, 2013


Victor Davis Hanson explains that he is not as racist as John Derbyshire. This is his very first proof-point:
1) [The New Yorker's Kelefa] Sanneh writes, “Evidently this [Hanson’s] advice, the wisdom of generations, can be summarized in a single sentence: ‘When you go to San Francisco, be careful if a group of black youths approaches you.’” 
I should add that the sentence is not Sanneh's invention, but exactly what Hanson reported his father said to him ("I think that experience [a mugging] — and others — is why [my father] once advised me, 'When you go to San Francisco, be careful if a group of black youths approaches you'").  Still, Hanson protests that this was taken out of context:
That is entirely untrue, and the disingenuous Sanneh knows it. His phrase “summarized in a single sentence” does not characterize what I wrote, which was as follows: “In my case, the sermon — aside from constant reminders to judge a man on his merits, not on his class or race — was very precise. . . . Note what he did not say to me. He did not employ language like ‘typical black person.’ He did not advise extra caution about black women, the elderly, or the very young — or about young Asian, Punjabi, or Native American males. In other words, the advice was not about race per se, but instead about the tendency of males of one particular age and race to commit an inordinate amount of violent crime.” 
All that is a single sentence?
To be fair, maybe Sanneh should have added to his summary sentence, "...and make sure when you tell this story years later you add a bunch of not-all-of-them-are-that-way boilerplate; it doesn't change anything, but some people will be fooled."

Later Hanson tries the Old Reliable about how liberals think people who get mugged had it coming, and yells about Obama. This should save him from Derbyshire treatment by the National Review editorial board; Derbyshire's racism is pure and apparently heartfelt, whereas it's easy to believe Hanson is as full of shit on this subject as he is on everything else, and merely uses it as a signaling device to let National Review's core readership know he's on their side.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015


Some people are dealing with the age of BlackLivesMatter worse than others. At City Journal, which usually disparages cities only insofar as they allow black people to walk around free, our old friend Victor Davis Hanson of the Mexican-Stolen Chainsaw is allowed to disparage cities in toto because they are filled with sissy liberals, whereas the country, where he lives part-time, is filled with chesty men of noble purpose:
Rural living historically has encouraged independence—and it still does, even in the globalized and wired twenty-first century. Other people aren’t always around to ensure that water gets delivered (and drained), sewage disappears, and snow is removed. For the vast majority of Americans, these and other concerns are the jobs of government bureaucracy and its unionized public workforce. Not so in rural areas, where autonomy and autarky—not narrow specialization—are necessary and fueled by an understanding that machines and tools must be mastered to keep nature in its proper place. Such constant preparedness nurtures skeptical views about the role and size of government, in which the good citizen is defined as someone who can take care of himself.
That's how Jonah Goldberg got so conservative -- harvesting Cheetos in the noonday sun! Hanson seems to hope his message will spread far and wide and reverse a trend, which he notes with alarm, of Americans moving away from red-state garden spots like Fritters, Alabama and into the debauched Democratic cities. But, as Steve Allen altered the old song years ago, how you gonna keep 'em down on the farm after they've seen the farm? And Hanson doesn't have a lot of tools for the job, alas (perhaps because they were stolen by Mexicans): he is dependent as usual on hoary wingnut tropes, in this case Sandra Fluke, The Life of Julia, and even that most risible of reactionary tropes Pajama Boy to get his story across:
Pajama Boy’s smirk and his message of arrested development and dependence, even if a con, offered a damning portrayal of what millions of urbanites now see as cool: getting up late, staying undressed, and sipping childhood drinks. America’s Marlboro Man he wasn’t.
No childhood drinks for VDH! And apparently no socialistic public water service either -- only pure well water replenishes his precious bodily fluids: "At my house, I worry constantly about whether the well will go dry," he tells us. "I lock the driveway gate at night, and if someone knocks after 10 PM, I go to the door armed." Guess Mexicans must be after his water, too.

One wonders why he spends half his time in the urban wastelands at all  -- perhaps, like many of the sissies he disparages, for the money? Or maybe it's a psychological issue. Attend this plaintive passage:
Half the week, when I live in downtown Palo Alto, I have no idea who else lives in the high-rise apartments—and no interest in finding out. I could be a felon or a saint and no one on the street knows or cares. That the rest of the time I live in the same house on the same farm where my great-great-grandparents lived is of no interest. I could dye my hair green and pierce my nose and the reaction would be “so what”—not “Old Victor Hanson out there on Mountain View Avenue finally went crazy.”
You can imagine Hanson walking the streets of Palo Alto, the heedless sea of humanity coursing around him, and thinking, "I could dye my hair green, pierce my nose -- no one would say a word!" Who knows what else he could do! That saloon he just passed is full of harlots, with only liberal sissies to keep them company. And in the alley, bums who would not be missed if they wound up in the river. If he can just get to the lamppost and back without succumbing...

Hanson also has one up at National Review inspired by that study of white working-class people in trouble. Of course he blames the "'hands up, don’t shoot,' Jorge Ramos, Sandra Fluke, Lena Dunham set," and takes care to let us know that black people get all the breaks:
As a professor at California State University, Fresno, over some 21 years, I had hundreds of conversations with working-class white kids from Merced to Bakersfield, who had stellar academic records in the humanities and who wished to go to top law schools or Ph.D. programs. I ended up offering them roughly the following caveat: “I’m afraid the chances of you as a white male from Fresno State being admitted to a top program are almost nil.” I was being neither alarmist nor nihilist, but simply reflecting the experience of my own lobbying efforts for brilliant students to gain admittance to top-ranked graduate programs.
Which is why university faculties and corporate boardrooms are chock-full of black people, while whitey must earn his living by the sweat of his brow. Unless he has a sweet half-the-week-in-the-city gig.

Friday, July 21, 2017


Jim Fourniadis -- genius behind Rats of Unusual Size,
and producer of the first Reverb Motherfuckers album
(how's that for HOF credentials?) -- 
did this and I think it's great.

  I’ve only listened to a little Chapo Traphouse — podcasts still strike me as just a slower way of reading, and I don’t have the time. But I like Chapo Traphouse; they’re like Firesign Theater meets Negativland meets Alan Berg; I think it’s hilarious that, given their arcane references and not-terrible politics, they’re so popular. So it’s actually mystifying to me that the very smart Jeet Heer, among others, is giving them a hard time about being mean. I know his argument is technically more sweeping than “they’re mean” but isn’t that what it comes down to? Heer accuses them of “dominance politics” because of the bend-the-knee stuff, but how can he miss that the experience they provide is mainly aesthetic? Saying “Chapo is fighting a two-front war, one against the Republicans and another against moderate Democrats” is like saying “The Marx Brothers are fighting a two-front war, one against Sig Ruman as a stuffy opera impresario and another against Margaret Dumont.”

Jonathan Chait, of all people, is so close to getting this — “a podcast does not have to abide the logic of political coalition-building” — but then he starts talking about cross-checking your content for bias blah blah blah. Guys, this shit is funny, and humor (real humor that you can actually laugh at, not crude apparatchiks emulating the form) is not an insidious delivery system for propaganda, it’s a timeless source of human pleasure. He who feels it knows it. I hate to be dramatic (though I do have a BFA) but this is a step in the direction of treating everything as politics. Which, as this website daily shows, makes you ridiculous, and not in a laughing-with-you way.

  The insufferable Victor Davis Maximus Super Hanson, whose insufferability was revisited here only Wednesday, has a new offense at City Journal. In brief, it’s a yowl over how nobody (that is, nobody Hanson approves of) does physical labor anymore. VDMSH himself, a part-time gentleman farmer, reveals himself acquainted with toil, at least in an overseer capacity, which makes him superior to the sissies who push paper and then go to the gym.

As someone who waited tables for years before entering office life, I could say that I know something of what he’s talking about. It’s good to know worlds beyond the knowledge-worker one, especially now that so many middle-class kids are shunted into that world from the cradle. But Hanson gotta Hanson: eventually he is forced to admit (perhaps by an editor, though the article otherwise seems not to have been submitted to editorial attention) that people who have been made to labor for their wages would not miss the experience. That’s about when Hanson dodges to a new tack: “diminished cultural awareness about those who work physically” is the trouble with all those “privileged Yale students shouting down” their professors and other Hansonian bugbears. Blah. Here in northeast D.C., I have seen a lot of middle-class working-class people — cooks, day laborers, security guards — who hobble home from the bus. One might say they’re had too much of what Hanson counts a good thing. They might have had less, or more ease from the travails, were someone in authority and power paying more attention to them. But the Hansons of the world never agitate for them to have that kind of attention — they only want to turn the eyes of whippersnappers toward them to shame them, while feeling no shame themselves.

  Oh and: If you get tired of reading me on Rod Dreher, or even if not, why not give Andrew Johnston a try? Here he makes some good points, including this:
[Dreher's] is an extensive list of criticisms against this modern, nightmarish world of choice. That's the watchword, the real problem. Seven hundred years ago, there was no choice - you did as you were told or else you ended up flogged, exiled or broken on the wheel. Bit by bit, this changed as the Western world acquired the political and economic means to exercise choice as well as the knowledge to recognize that those choices existed… 
Dreher doesn't like the fact that people around him have the freedom not to believe in God, or to believe in a different god, or even to worship his God in a manner different from him. What he longs for in this book is enforced homogeny.
Dreher's a buffoon, but never forget that all his blubbering about homos forcing him to bake cakes is massive projection and the sheep's clothing on a threat. He and all the wormy theocons are just itching to get medieval on your ass.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

LET'S PLAY POPULIST! In today's New York Post (no link) Victor Davis Hanson suggests a few right-wing victories in the culture wars -- pretty thin gruel, including the opposition of some flight attendants to the hit movie Flightplan, though it is very hard to tell why he considers this a victory -- and explains how they came to be:
On the one side of all these controversies seem to be architects, curators, academics, CEOs, journalists, script writers, actors, lawyers, and judges. Their utopian view of what their fellow Americans should see, think, and feel are at odds with those of grieving families, police, firefighters, flight attendants and soldiers.

Those on museum boards, in Hollywood studios, and in the coutroom seek to fashion the intellectual landscape, in which those who put out fires, arrest criminals, serve food and shoot terrorists are to operate. The latter fight back...
Before he became America's delineator of the noble struggle of waitresses against architects, Hanson had many jobs. He was a cowpuncher in Abilene, a stevedore in Red Hook, and a roustabout in Cincinnati. He worked the oil rigs till the Doc said he'd lose his leg if he kept it up, so her startin' writin' these here columns.

Of course I'm teasing. Here's the guy's bio. Before a long academic career, Hanson was a "full time farmer," we're told, so maybe he gets his feel for The People from workin' the land. I wonder how much picking and plowing he did. Himself, I mean.*

I suppose one can have a sense of life without ever having worked a regular job. I just wonder where these eggheads get the moxie to describe the heroic fight of people who, if any of them ever got onto his "tree and vine farm," would have the dogs with bees in their mouths loosed upon them, versus the detestable elites of which they are obviously members.

UPDATE. Upon further review, I do realize this could be said about nearly every public intellectual. (Not me! I have done many common things, some remunerative, some just common.) It is interesting, though, how the populist dodge has been adopted, apparently with success, by conservative pencil-pushers versus the other kind. It's not like the salt of the earth are running from town to town in knee-breeches clutching the latest handbill by VDH, the People's Friend. Maybe this sort of thing is just an in-joke among the commentariat.

*UPDATE 2. Hanson describes a hardscrabble early life. I won't dispute it. Better, as always, to criticize the text than the man.

Of the four examples of plebian uprising Hanson describes, the best known is the fate of the WTC Freedom Center -- a struggle in which the principle combatants were politicians and newspapers (including the Post, which slammed the IFC for its "potential anti-Americanism"), with some 9/11 widows brought in as a secret weapon. Flightplan is primarily perceived by the public at large, if we go by the box office receipts, as a good way to spend an evening. The two Abu Ghraib citations -- one concerning the press, the other the release of photographs -- may well have outraged some soldiers, but I don't see any evidence that the American public is mobbing up to defend its fighting men and women from the exposure of an isolated torture case.

Whether Hanson bales his own wire or not, this is the sort of thing that gives populism a bad name. The only bright side is that maybe, as this sort of rhetoric moves perceptibly further from reality, people will stop buying it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

THE POWERLESSNESS OF SUGGESTION. In zipping through the political nonsense last week I noticed a Victor Davis Hanson article asking, "Why are so many Americans so depressed about things these days?" and providing a long list of reasons -- mostly Obama with a little o-tempora-o-mores thrown in for the seniors.

Depressed? I thought. Who says Americans are depressed? Hanson's article offered no citation, and I could find no concordance among the relevant political and medical news.

Hanson also asked, "Why are Americans hesitant, bewildered after the arrival of the Messiah?" without telling us where he heard about that, either.

Then Power Line's Scott Whatshisname said, "Victor Davis Hanson asks why so many Americans are depressed," and, without questioning the premise, offered reasons why he was depressed ("the fellow in the Oval Office who combines infantile leftism and adolescent grandiosity in roughly equal measures," "the mullahs love the weakness and stupidity that President Obama transmits," etc).

Bruce Kesler of Maggie's Farm also accepted and even confirmed out of his ass the uncorroborated premise ("Both Johnson and Hanson, in effect, point at frustration at both external events and at our own behaviors. They are correct") but insisted he, perhaps alone among men, was not depressed, because "Forty-eight percent did not vote for Obama" and because "Ordinary Americans" -- though depressed -- "are buckling down in their personal affairs and continuing to achieve for themselves, society, and our futures."

Then the shrinks were brought in. Dr. Sanity agreed with someone else's assertion that polls showed Obama's policies are "showing signs of not going over very well" -- one hell of a qualified statement -- and took from this that "it is not only Republicans and conservative Democrats who are utterly aghast, but a large majority of the population." Also, "Those who innocently voted for him are beginning to sicken on the bitterness of their regret and betrayal." Still no numbers, nor even the testimony of an irate cab-driver.

ShrinkWrapped seconded -- "We now see the spread of despair to the Center and Left" -- and finally offered some anecdotal evidence at least: the demurrers of those tribunes of the common man, Paul Krugman and Thomas P.M. Barnett. (Good ol' Moe Lane was convinced -- but he wasn't depressed, no sir! He liked his odds in 2010!)

And so on. I can't be absolutely sure where they got it from. Maybe Fox News is still putting out the Morning Memo. They might have been channeling the March 13 Peggy Noonan WSJ column, in which the Crazy Jesus Lady, as is her wont, saw the face of America in her drinks tray ("People sense something slipping away, a world receding, not only an economic one but a world of old structures...") and even gave credence to the lunatic ravings of an apocalyptic preacher in support of her vision.

But I can guess at the spirit behind it. These people have been dealt out of the conversation. Day after day they smack their lips and predict the impending downfall of the Democrats. But even if Obama were caught sniffing coke off Bin Laden's ass, they'd still have many hard months left before they could do anything with it. Nor do they have a plan to offer voters they expect to convince except their own moral superiority, tax cuts for the rich, and persecution of homosexuals.

Politics is everything to them, but they don't respond to it like politicians -- they respond like spurned lovers. They have been in stark shock since the November election, and even then could not admit that they had been rejected by the country they thought was theirs for the pandering. One day they'll see, they mutter into their tear-stained pillows. And in their exile they comfort one other with stories that America isn't doing so well, she pines, she sighs -- she is depressed.

I had thought there was some kind of strategic meaning to their Tea Parties, but now I suspect they're just pity parties: ways of huddling together to fill their aching void.

Thursday, December 12, 2013


I know, another day, another Victor Davis Hanson you-helots-get-off-my-lawn essay. But sometimes he rises from senescence to insanity, as in this one's skein about how Obama brought racism back.

Once, soothsays Hanson, you could criticize Colin Powell, Condi Rice and Alberto Gonzalez without being accused of racism. You might think this was because they were self-evident monsters and buffoons, but Hanson thinks it was because of the Bush golden age of racial tolerance.

But "Obama changed that calculus and equated his own popularity with a referendum on racial harmony," says Hanson, by noticing Trayvon Martin and Henry Louis Gates. "The result is a creeping racial polarization that we have not seen in fifty years."

Even more horrible -- Obama spurred black celebrities to race war on his own behalf, thereby costing them their popularity with unnamed, uncounted white people:
Before Obama, the billionaire Oprah Winfrey was a national icon. Morgan Freeman had transcended race and resented identity politics. A Kanye West or Chris Rock made millions of dollars by appealing to suburbanites. All have lost their broad appeal, largely due to some of the most polarizing racial rhetoric in memory...
If only there were some way to back up this assertion. Maybe a time-based analysis of magazine covers at the supermarket check-out?
A Jamie Foxx or Chris Rock casually derogates “white people”; does that mean either wishes them not to go to their movies or shows?...

The net result of the new racialism is an impossible situation of establishing one’s racial fides only by permanent support for Barack Obama — and because it is impossible, more are resenting those who imposed it.
Neither is this "more" identified or quantified, but maybe they're the real reason Yeezus sales dropped in the second week; it took the downtrodden whites several days to figure out Kanye was one of those black racists. If African American showfolk don't start mending their ways, Victor Davis Hanson and his cousins won't let them have any more People's Choice Awards.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Jonah Goldberg:
I haven’t read the whole New York Times profile of Sarah Palin... in part because I have some more pressing things on my calendar (clean out the drier lint, stare vacantly into space) and in part because I resent the transparent effort to make Sarah Palin into an intriguing or compelling personality. It’s all so manufactured, like they have a checklist she’s got to work through before she can be one of Barbara Walters’ “Most Fascinating People,” despite losing an election. I give it 50-50 she has a daytime syndicated talk show by the end of the decade.
Oops, sorry, I have misquoted Goldberg here -- please substitute "Wendy Davis" for "Sarah Palin" in every instance, and add "farrrrrrt" randomly throughout the passage.

UPDATE. The whole NRO Corner is especially nuts today. There's another Goldberg essay, about some book he hasn't read, that is literally incomprehensible. Can one of you tell me what that rap about "America, or liberals, or Jews — or all three!" is about?  Also, here's increasingly mad torture enthusiast Andrew C. McCarthy's money shot for the day:
So now Obama, like a standard-issue leftist dictator, is complementing lawlessness with socialist irrationality.
For embarrassing-to-conservatives-in-retrospect-and-to-everyone-else-right-now, this is almost at an "Is Shirley Temple a Communist?" level. Also, assuming Obama evades arrest by the Freedom Commandos and continues to serve as President without actually declaring martial law, where can McCarthy go rhetorically from here? "Obama, like his dark lord Satan...." "In emulation of his best friend and spiritual twin Adolph Hitler..." "Commissar Obama... " Whoa, actually the National Review editorial board already got there in 2008. Maybe I only imagined they weren't always this bad.

UPDATE 2. Commenters, commenters, I'm only one man! I can't possibly address all the National Review crazitude (though if someone wants to pay me to do that, I'm all ears) but I do appreciate it being brought to my attention -- for example, Victor Davis Hanson's ode to Vladimir Putin, which coozledad encapsulates as "shirtless Putin is more honest than metrosexual golfer Obama," which is fair though it does miss some of the rhapsodic nuances of Hanson's prose; for example, Hanson finds "value" (Greek for "schwing," I guess) in Putin's "confidence in his unabashedly thuggish means," like how he kills dogs and does other lovable-dictator stuff, and though Hanson tee-hees that Putin is "what we should not be," his eyes say yes, we should! Balloon Juice captures it best: "Victor Davis Hanson channels his inner bottom."

Jack Fowler dishing out the institutional self-pity is also mentioned, and I must say his claim that Politico never "called" National Review for its story on them (Rich Lowry was interviewed by email) establishes new frontiers in hackdom. But I am grateful to him for bestowing on NR the slogan I shall associate with it henceforth: "a magazine that has lost money for 58 years."

UPDATE 3. Speaking of ObamaHitler, Bloomberg reports the U.S. Court of Appeals for D.C. has reversed a federal law that would have required tax preparers "pass a certification exam, pay annual fees and complete at least 15 hours of education courses annually." Here's how Charles C.W. Cooke plays it:
Court Slaps Down IRS Power Grab  
More often than not, conversations about the Obama administration’s executive overreach end up with apologists asking, petulantly, “well, what are you going to do about it anyway"...
I bet when his parents give him a hard time, Cooke mutters "Whatever you say, Hitler."

Monday, October 19, 2009

THE FUTURE OF CONSERVATISM. While the joy-poppers are boycotting the NFL, Victor Davis Hanson is boycotting everything:
...I think some of you are in the same boat: Have you stopped reading, listening, watching, and paying attention to most of what now passes for establishment public or popular culture?...

Take Hollywood protocol -- make a big movie, hype it, show it at the mall multiplex. But I went to one movie the last year. Maybe three in the last four years. There is not much choice here -- car crashes, evil white men killing the innocent, some gay or feminist heroes fending off club-bearing white homophobic Mississippians in pick-ups...
I think he's talking about Transporter 2.
Ditto music. I don’t know the name of a single rapper. Don’t follow rock anymore. Don’t want to. I like a Mark Knopfler or Coldplay...

Add in television. I haven’t watched a network newscast in 10 years...

I used to be a big fan of PBS and PR, but no more. The laudable shows are far outweighed by the race/class/gender agendas...

Next confession: I have not watched a single NFL game–including the Super bowl–for more than 10 minutes during the last decade... Ditto the NBA. I have not watched a complete game in 15 years... I watched 2 baseball games on television the last 3 years... Just a dozen selfless players, who keep quiet when they score, give credit to others when they pitch a shut-out, or pass rather than shoot could help things...
Baseball, ruined by hotshot pitchers! Vanitas! Christy Mathewson used to insist the scorers add a run for the opposing team, so people wouldn't think he'd gotten a swelled head.

Being a bit of a crank myself, I generally applaud non-joiners, holdouts, and antiquarians. But to go on for over 2,200 words about all the things he hasn't seen and won't see suggests, despite his insistence to the contrary, that Hanson is proud of it. He's proud as an observantly religious man might be that he scrupulously avoids the near occasion of sin, and has done so long and faithfully enough that he can truly say he's untempted.

The religious guy has a God to which his abstinence brings him closer. What has Hanson? The old things, which are lovely, and this:
...I have tried to remain more engaged than ever in the country’s political and military crises, which are acute and growing. One’s distancing from the popular culture of movies, TV, newspapers, and establishment culture makes one perhaps wish to overcompensate in other directions, from the trivial to the important.
Bear in mind that Hanson also eschews major news media, so we may assume he gets such political information for his "engagement" as he has from his colleagues at Pajamas Media and like-minded souls. Now it's clearer that he's not just avoiding things in which he has no interest, but also things in which he professes a keen interest but finds unaccommodating. He's bragging on the selectivity of the sources from which he draws his conclusions and writes his columns.

And why shouldn't he? When you know, ahead of time and for a fact, what's crap and what isn't, why waste time with the former? All new movies are PC, all new music is noise, all the athletes are thugs, all the prizes go to undeserving minorities, and the MSM lies. Go with what you know: Suetonius and Fox News.

Homer nods but the Ole Perfesser links, and commenters rush to assure Hanson that they, too, have taken leave of the hurly-burly:
When I read reviews of movies, I have no desire to see them. They sound so superficial, politically correct, and narcissistic...

My psychological withdrawal is being matched now by a material need to go Galt...

Just last night I was watching “Paul Blart: Mall Cop” with my grandson, a movie advertised as a “family-friendly laffer (sic).” And even in this moronic 90 minute bore the Hollywood liberal bias was evident...

The American who loves his country is, must be, alienated from American popular culture in the Obama era...

My sentiments exactly. The only exception was the TV show Battlestar Galactica until its third season began when it went off the rails....

I also used to love listening to “Prairie Home Companion”, but not in the last two years, ever since Garrison Keillor became so bitter and deranged...

With my Study of Sparta and the real meaning of a republic, I have since gotten rid of anything dealing with America since it is all a Masonic Kabbalistic lie...
Bonus: A comment by Frank Miller, for those of you so steeped in loathsome pop culture that you know who he is.

This suggests an interesting vision of a future for conservatism. I wonder if David Frum has looked into it?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

ROCK THE CASBAH. Peter Suderman applauds an Iranian antiestablishment rocker -- as do I! (Also I disapprove of shitting on a burning flag, except if it's done tastefully as part of a cutting-edge "reimagining" of Dialogues of the Carmelites or something! There, that'll put an end to those posts!)

Then Suderman goes for the big picture. First there is the expected moment of gibberish:
Where's Williamsburg's sneering hipster outrage when you need it?
Oh, Peter. Williamsburg is played out, man! Greenpoint is where it's happening!

But wait:
Not surprisingly, I tend to think that Islamic totalitarianism—the kind that seeks nukes, denies the Holocaust, and bans indie rock (among other things)—is one of the central challenges the world faces in coming years. I often suspect, however, that a large part of the solution will simply be the passage of time, as the younger generation grows into power and, unwilling to give up Western rock music or cell phone flirting, rejects a lot of the extremism we see now. I suppose it's almost the opposite view of D'Souza, in that I tend to think that Western culture and technology, whatever problems they definitely have, will ultimately be a civilizing, moderating influence on Islam, at least in the next generation.
Ah, we are not so different, you and I. Now can you tell your colleagues to stop praying for war with Iran? I'd much prefer to win the Iranians over with booty calls and The Decemberists.

While my good friend Pete and I wait for our decadent culture to reverse centuries of religious mania (he in Iran, me in America -- just like Stalin and Gus Hall!), some of the brethren are more excited by the dream of using American comic-book movies to excite our citizens into jihad. Victor Davis Hanson diagnoses a "liberal furor over 300" -- and implies that the film's critics would have preferred success for Oliver Stone's Alexander, a film that was fulsomely panned by just about everyone on the planet (including me). Hanson then dissects the merits of 300 as if it were a CIA leaflet dropped from helicopters to sway a populace, citing its relevance to contemporary events and his own classicist daydreams. You would never imagine, reading his analysis, that 300 is an action movie consumed with popcorn and soft drinks by citizens with disposable income and a desire for well-ordered thrills.

Some people will never figure out that American culture does its work in the world not as a propaganda for America's policies, but as food for the world's appetites. You may argue that it is junk food, but it is undeniably tasty, and it comes in a multitude of flavors to suit a multitude of tastes. Soviet teenagers certainly spent more of their black-market kopeks on bootlegs of Exile on Main Street than on The Wealth of Nations. Like George Clinton said, free your ass and your mind will follow.

Still, give Hanson credit for stirring the Ole Perfesser to drop one of his more amusing culture bombs:
Part of it is that the movie industry -- or at least the critic section thereof -- is stuck in the 1970s, when moral ambiguity and angst used to be groundbreaking and novel. Now they're overdone, predictable and boring.
Moral ambiguity and angst haven't been novel since Doctor Faustus, if they were then, though the Perfesser is right to intuit that some of us (though not the lords of the "movie industry," surely) prefer the age of The Godfather and McCabe & Mrs. Miller to the age of The Hills Have Eyes 2. But that is a matter of taste, not a problem of politics.

UPDATE. Premiere critic Glenn Kenney is also on the case, and better. I didn't know before I read Kenney's post that Hanson actually contributed to (and presumably profited from) a piece of 300 ancillary marketing -- because Hanson didn't mention it. Well, when you're intellectually corrupt, I guess the other kinds of corruption just naturally follow along.

Monday, November 25, 2013


If you did not know that Kanye West was the singer of the background music, by the quality of the lyrics and beat, you might think that a fourth grader was spewing rhymed obscenities...
Ah shaddap Gramps -- also known as Victor Davis Hanson, who in his latest essay regales his readership with the kind of kids-today yap that used to pad out middlebrow magazine essays. Only instead of blaming permissive parents or the Bomb, Hanson blames aesthetes:
Once classical canons of artistic, literary, or musical expression were torn down, and once those classically trained rebels who ripped them apart have passed on, we are left with the ruins of trying to shock what is perhaps beyond being shocked...

In other words, once you have rebelled against hexameters, quarter notes, or realistic representation, and after you have rebelled against that rebellion with crucifixes in urine, obscenity-laced rap, and peek-a-boo nudity on stage, what are you left with? The 20th-century rebels who knew what they did not like have been replaced by the anti-rebels who don’t know that there was ever something against which to rebel. Again, we are left with the 21st-century of Lady Gaga giving birth to a blue sphere, Miley Cyrus probing body orifices with a foam oversized finger, and Kanye West humping on a motorcycle while reciting obscene nursery-rhyme ditties.
I think general idea is that the Moderns ruined everything, but it's hard to be sure; the rebellion against "hexameters," for one thing, would seem to mean most poetry after the ancients -- when Shakespeare wrote in iambic pentameter, was Party in the U.S.A. the inevitable result? Also, if culture fell when "realistic representation" ceased to be an aspiration, where does that leave Agamemnon? It's less representational than Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. Maybe everything really went downhill after ring shouts and cave paintings.

I wondered why Hanson was even bothering with this Andy Rooney schtick, and then found to my horror that he thinks it has something to do with Obamacare.
Why would a culture that canonizes a Kanye West, Miley Cyrus, or Lady Gaga have the discrimination to determine whether their chief executive tells the truth or lies? Obamacare is a great program in a way that West, Cyrus, and Gaga are great artists, in a way that more iPads will mean more geniuses.
Well, in a way he's got a point -- would stuff like Hanson's even be tolerated if we hadn't been inured to it by decades of absurdism?

Next week: The curse of Instagramsci!

UPDATE. In comments, Dr. Hunky Jimpjorps: "It's like one of those Oliver Sacks patient histories: classics expert Victor H. has woken up every day since about 1964 to be shocked anew by the existence of pop culture."

Also, for newcomers, here's the referent for the title.

UPDATE. Whetstone, in comments: "Oh, horseshit. Ask someone who actually pays attention to contemporary popular music—rather than just railing about whatever YouTube video happened to pop up on PJ Media—whether there are 'hierarchies.'" It's one of the institutionalized absurdities of the Culture War that guys like Hanson believe pop culture represents some refutation of values. Pop fans actually have much more rigid formal demands than high art fans at this point; in the dimmer ones, they're made even more rigid by sentimentality, and if you don't believe me get a load of this Star Wars dork who's also a National Review writer -- though I warn you, you may throw your action figures away after reading it. Sample: "And why would Disney go to the bother of globe-trotting in search of future celebrities if not to brazenly drum up publicity? If that’s true, it totally worked, with Exhibit A being the article you’re reading right now." Next she'll do a story where she realizes actors don't make up their own lines.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

DO YOU SEE THIS? LOOK ON HER, LOOK, HER LIPS/LOOK THERE, LOOK THERE! Jesus, Victor Davis Hanson is still talking about Obama's bowing:
If multilateralism was the objective, it came out instead as obsequious deference. Whereas Bush's backrubs and Carter's frontal kisses were reflective of American casualness and too much informality, the bowing seems for some reason a far more bothersome gaffe. And as with Obama's apologies, what we thought was a one-time slip turns out to be a systematic pattern that reflects an apparent worldview.
And that's not all. You see how he's lifting his left leg as he walks here? He appears to be mincing, which is a gesture toward the homosexual lobby. Note too that he rubs the White House dog with his left hand, not his right, a coded insult to dog-loving Americans. Consider also the slight lift of his thumbs here, as he points. Try the gesture yourself. Does it not feel more insecure to you than the sturdy, thumbs-clenched pointing done by Republican presidents? Clearly he is worried about the polls. Notice also he is not quick to take a hand offered in friendship, as casual, informal Americans are.

Oh well, at least he's not always thinking about tits, like some people do.

Hanson's interpretations of those details to which he is directed by the Morning Memos, though, I believe are all skewed more or less the same way they would have been if Obama had spent all 10 months of his Presidency doing the robot, if Breitbart were stalking the Southern Poverty Law Center instead of ACORN, and if the unfortunate emails had come from the Brookings Institution instead of the University of East Anglia. He is not working from intuition or inspiration, but from a template.

We are all prone to interpretation, but Hanson has of late made a habit of pushing it very hard -- to wit: "'Punishing KSM' means giving the liberal community a world platform for legal gymnastics designed to repudiate the past administration and demonstrate that community's 'tolerance'" -- without bothering to explain to us why we should share his conclusion. At the same time he insists that "the public has finally caught on that the president's tough rhetoric and soaring oratory don't match reality," "there is a certain roughness and crassness that infuriates the public," etc, justified only by the news that most, rather than an enormous number, of voters approve of his performance during a contentious struggle over health care and a bad economy at the holiday season. And, of course, the indignation of other rightwing bloggers.

The most charitable view is that Hanson is just rehearsing for an actual election season. It would just be sad to imagine he really believes he's seen the tide turn in the first quarter when the opposition is still holding a lead. They all do this, of course, but Hanson's a classicist, and presumably knows about hubris.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

DO NOT BE ALARMED. ALL IS WELL. Victor D. Hanson attempts to explain "What is going on here (Iraq)?" to the American People. "Almost everything," replies Hanson, though what he really means is, Goddamn Democrats, Goddamn allies, etc. Here's a prize passage:
Perhaps the next time a German official starts in on "the German way" or the "Bush as Hitler" metaphor, some dense American from the heartland quietly watching the emperor's parade will go agape at a naked royal and ask, "Excuse me, but why do we have thousands of troops in Germany when we have too few soldiers in Iraq?" In the new world I don't think we are ever going to go back to "Please don't insult us too much so we can continue to stay for another 60 years and spend billions to protect you." And that will be good for both us and the Germans — who, in fact, really are our friends.

I especially like the last bit -- the only proof that anyone, including editors, might have read this shit before it was printed.

Hanson's piece is meant to be reassuring, but since it consists mostly of sneers aimed at the many parties who have not supported our efforts in Iraq, he leaves a rather Nixonian impression of isolation and self-righteous brooding. Not the behavior of a winner at all. After calling Iraq "the greatest and riskiest endeavor in the last 50 years of American foreign policy," Hanson adds this disturbing clause: "Understandably, almost everyone is invested in its failure." Clearly, they're all out to get him/us.

But why would they be? And how came it so? In and among the vituperations, Hanson says something about how the old peace was a sham, because it did not last forever. I can't make head nor tail of it; if you figure it out tell me.

Clear as glass was John F. Burns on the Charlie Rose Show last night. I've long admired Burns, having first read him in a long, pellucid Times series on India some years back. Lately I'd assumed that, as people like Andrew Sullivan are always claiming Burns as one of theirs, that he had hitched, or Hitchensed, his wagon to the war train, and would be a good spokesman for that cause. So it was a shock to see last night how dour and unpromising his view of the situation was. He said he frankly didn't know how it would all come out; that the Coalition military had as much as told him that, yes, as they labored to root out the snipers and truck-bombers there would be civilian casualties, and this wouldn't do the "hearts and minds" part of the operation much good. He also said that he was beginning to see why some people were earlier asking about an exit strategy.

Burns did not, to the best of my recollection, devote any of his comments to clever insults about Germany, France, the Democratic Party, et alia. But, then, he's not trying to reassure anyone.