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

Friday, April 01, 2022


 Sure, insistent bass and jangly guitars, why not, still cool 

Here’s a freebie from Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, about the new thing on the right wing, which is GROOMERS -- that is, yelling it at people who oppose anti-gay laws like the Don’t Say Gay mess in Florida, or at Disney for having cartoons with gay characters. 

If you’re a normal person you understand this to be an accusation that the person or company is trying to get children to have sex with adults. This is a very serious charge indeed, and one that normal people would be unlikely to believe without substantial proof -- that is, something considerably more than registration in the Democratic Party and a belief that gay people are normal and what’s actually perverse is acting like their very existence is a threat to children. In fact, normal people would probably find making such charges absent proof to be a repulsive act, and wonder what the hell is wrong with the accuser. 

If, however, you are a QAnon type, as about a quarter of Republicans are, you believe all Democrats are part of the Spirit Cooking Pizzagate Sex Perv Conspiracy, and these accusations will excite you to vote and march and perhaps commit violent crimes

This is why you’ve seen conservatives spreading the accusation in weird stories like the Fox News testimonial of one Kristan Hawkins -- a concerned mom and, coincidentally, president of Students for Life of America -- that the cartoon Turning Red, with its symbolic allusion to a girl’s first period and its tween crushes (it's rated PG, for parental guidance), “grooms children for abortions and sexual promiscuity… Disney leadership is actively pushing children out of Neverland and directly into an adult’s sexualized world, where they can be groomed for others enjoyment.”

As you might imagine, Rod Dreher is totally out of control on this -- here are some of his allusions to grooming from just the past week:

Mickey Mouse is a groomer...

Most people are uncomfortable with gender ideology now, but a generation or two raised on woke Disney, and all of woke Disney’s allies in the Cathedral, will likely have been tamed, co-opted, and groomed...

Most Americans do not want their little kids groomed by woke classroom ideologues to embrace a queer identity...

Americans are broadly tolerant of trans people, but they correctly draw the line at grooming children. I hope that the suits at the Walt Disney Company, the leading corporate groomer of children, are soiling their pants over these poll numbers...

If we as a country and as a society cannot protect our children from having their minds colonized by these groomers, what use are we?...

UPDATE: Groomers. They are all groomers...

Etc. Perhaps the most rancid thing about this is the way the slur-throwers insist they’re not really saying what they’re clearly saying and hoping their loony followers will believe -- Dreher, again, in his story (I’m not even kidding) “Democrats: Party of Groomers”:

About the term “groomers”: it’s usually used to describe pedophiles who are preparing innocent kids for sexual exploitation. I think it is coming to have a somewhat broader meaning: an adult who wants to separate children from a normative sexual and gender identity, to inspire confusion in them, and to turn them against their parents and all the normative traditions and institutions in society. It may not specifically be to groom them for sexual activity, but it is certainly to groom them to take on a sexual/gender identity at odds with the norm. And it’s working…

The passive locution “it is coming to have a somewhat broader meaning” suggests Dreher believes he has Humpty Dumpty power over the general understanding of common English words, which given his ineptitude as a wordsmith is rich. But you don’t have to be particularly skilled to throw shit, though it does help if you can keep people from noticing that your hands are covered with it. 

Friday, March 25, 2022


Mike Watt on bass so you already know, right?

•   I’ve done it, I cry with a hearty mad-scientist laugh -- I’ve seen all the 2022 Best Picture Oscar nominees! This makes me feel swell and, along with the other category nominees I’ve seen, it makes me feel qualified to make predictions, as I do every year, usually without great success (though sometimes with!). If you return here Sunday afternoon I will have those predictions for you, for entertainment purposes only. 

Meantime I have unlocked all the reviews of the 10 nominated films I did at Roy Edroso Breaks It Down -- here are links: Don’t Look Up, Drive My Car, Licorice Pizza, West Side Story, Nightmare Alley, CODA, King Richard, Belfast, The Power of the Dog, and Dune

•   This is a good week for REBID releases -- the SCOTUS hearings one and the convoy update are also open. Don’t expect much of this for a while, though -- I need more paid subscriptions and here I am giving it away like a good-hearted farm girl in the big city. 

If things don’t pick up I may have to become a cancelculture crybaby -- that’s how you make the really big money on Substack! Speaking of which, I notice that racket has gone international big-time:

This really sums up something about our current shit discourse -- not only that cancelculture is such bullshit that anyone, no matter how obviously evil, depraved, and criminal, can pick it up and go boo hoo hoo look how unfair my enemies are! In fact, Putin has the two key characteristics of a cancelculture crybaby: He’s an aggressor against a weaker enemy whom he seeks to portray as the Real Bully, and Rod Dreher loves him

•   I will add that, like everyone else in America, I know no one will do anything about Clarence Thomas’ wife being a total QAnon lunatic who colluded with insurrectionists to overturn the 2020 election and Thomas refusing to recuse himself in a case that would reveal that. And that’s why these bastards keep doing it, and won’t stop until they’ve fucked this country up beyond redemption. 

Friday, March 11, 2022


This motherfucker rocked the Apollo

•   Another busy damn week! Time and tide and all that. You saw the Emma Camp installment of Roy Edroso Breaks It Down I comped you all in on a few days back. Hope you liked it and if you haven't seen it, it's news to you -- go look, it's still open. 

Now here's another, sort of an alt-history joint: If present-day conservatives were around at the start of WWII. It's amazing to me, as someone who knew the Iraq war was bullshit from jump, to see a lot of the brethren -- many of whom were hollering for war in 2003 -- telling us that maybe Zelensky is faking it and how about we give Putin the benefit of the doubt. I mean, back in W Days we had grainy photos at the U.N. and solemn assurances and that was good enough for them, but now the Russians invade right in front of our eyes and a lot of conservatives are like, this is clearly the Democrats trying to suck us into war to distract from Hunter Biden. Their stories are getting loonier -- that America is covering up for Fauci's bioweapons in Ukraine (Glenn Greenwald, Tucker Carlson) and that the Ukrainians tricked Russia into bombing an empty hospital for the clicks (Rod Dreher). 

This isn't prudence or even contrarianism -- it's just holy shit, the guy our Führer worships is making us look like chumps, we better double down! Like the lady said, when they tell you who they are the first time, believe them. 

•   Oh, and if you were wondering, the People's Freedom Convoy of Rush Hour Reenactors are still in Hagerstown, Maryland shaking their fists at us DC commies and driving in circles. They got Ted Cruz to ride with them the other day, which may have perked up some spirits, but the end grows nigh for their grift and DC drivers flipping them off seems to be getting to them:

Looks like when you live in a closed universe of delusions of grandeur, and come to believe your butch cosplay and rightwing money supply makes you the Boss of America, any little slight will blow your trip and drive you to lash out. 

Well, they've won the admiration of Matt Taibbi, anyway. He tells a tale of mean MSM elitists who made fun of the convoy for blowing their initial State of the Union deadline, but who came roaring back to show everybody who's boss by camping out in Maryland and doing loops on the Beltway and telling interviewers how much they hate Joe Biden (which, face it, is really what lights up Taibbi about this travesty). “We are right now on the precipice of losing our collective asses," one Tribune of the People tells Taibbi's crew. "You cannot run a truck on six dollars a gallon.” Good thing they have donors so they can still afford driving in circles without ever delivering loads of anything except bullshit. 

Friday, March 04, 2022


Hope Fat Tuesday was good to ya.

•   Yesterday I released the Roy Edroso Breaks It Down issue about the Freedom Convoy fantasy and the credulous reporting that makes it look like a military invasion of the capital. There is little evidence that such a display of might is actually pending, however. Here’s a fun clip Patriot Takes found on Twitter of some Indiana insurrectionists looking at some trucks -- not big rigs, mind you, but pick-up trucks and some SUVs -- and declaring that the feds don’t stand a chance. 

Bottom-feeder websites like The Patriot Chronicles (warning: site is pop-up-spam-riddled) make similar claims:

Liberals must be losing their minds. We already know that the Biden administration has been afraid of this day—Just look at the fence they built around the Capitol, but the time has come. 

I think the reporter, “Daphne Moon” (guess this one’s not going in anyone’s clip file!), is talking about the fence that went up for the State of the Union address and has already been taken down -- but forget it, she’s rolling:

[Another website] observed the convoy in Missouri Monday, using the state’s traffic cameras. We estimated at least 500 participating vehicles, although it was hard to distinguish non-convoy trucks and other vehicles from those with drivers participating in the convoy… 

So, in other words, they saw a bunch of trucks on the highway. But here’s the main thing:

Online, the convoy’s following has grown. Aniano said the convoy’s followings on various social media platforms have moved from the hundreds to the thousands in the past few days…

Online -- that’s where I’m a Viking! They’ll keep this up until such fools as try it are hauled away, and then they’ll come up with another Army of Butch Stereotypes that will take over the government -- perhaps multiple editions of Joe the Plumber (remember him?) to clog the sewer pipes of the Swamp.  Got to have a dream/ If you don’t have a dream/ How you gonna make a dream come true? 

•   Oh, I also freed one of my REBID vaudeville sketches, this one about a Russian spam farm hit hard by economic sanctions. Of course, the joke's on us because Putin has plenty of spammers in the U.S., though I don’t know how much they’re getting paid. As you may have seen from my Twitter feed, Rod Dreher’s been very helpful to the subject of his famous 2016 “Putin: Our Tsar-Protector?” column. His current shtick is to cry UNDERSTAND, I AM VERY SORRY RUSSIA IS DOING THIS! at intervals while defending Russia. For example:

I can’t see where the West had any choice other than to have imposed harsh sanctions on the Russian government, but Westerners delighted by the punishment we are inflicting on the Russian people (as opposed to seeing it as a tragic necessity) are fools. We are in the process of immiserating an entire nation, and turning its people against us for a generation or more. 

We’re immiserating a nation! Boy, wait’ll Dreher finds out what Russia's doing to Ukranians! 

We are driving that nation, which we needed to help the West contain China, right into China’s arms. There may well have been no alternative here — at this point, I can’t think of one — but this has been a massive strategic defeat for us. 

I wonder who’s responsible for this massive strategic defeat? Maybe it’s the transsexuals Dreher’s always on the warpath against. Next Dreher approvingly quotes John Mearsheimer’s Ukraine Got What It Asked For POV and, as if he sees the Springtime For Hitler shock on his readers’ faces, rushes to explain:

I know, I know: we aren’t supposed to say these things. We are supposed to stay focused on the evilness of the Putin regime. 

Just like we’re not supposed to say the N-word! And we're supposed to say Orange Man Bad! It’s all soft totalitarianism, see.

Any introduction of complexity into the narrative cuts the purity of moral clarity. But facts don’t disappear because they are inconvenient to the story we want to believe. I’ve seen tweets in the past day or two from people saying that yes, the Ghost of Kyiv legend wasn’t true, nor are some of the other heroic pro-Ukrainian myths passed around this past week … but so what (they say): what’s important is keeping up Ukrainian morale.

To openly prefer a manipulative lie to the complicated truth is corrupt.

One million Ukranians have been made refugees by the Russian invasion. Dreher doesn’t dare call that a lie, yet, so he paints the corners. 

I’m taking some criticism in the comments section for spending more time talking about the way we in the West are responding to Russia’s aggression than I am talking about the aggression itself.

LOL no comment.

Thursday, February 24, 2022


Back after 9/11, when America itself was attacked, conservatives demanded we invade a country that had nothing to do with it and called those of us who said “hey, wait a minute” traitors

This memory adds piquancy to the roll call of prominent conservatives who, in the wake of his unconscionable invasion of Ukraine, are loving up Vladimir Putin. Tucker Carlson:

Tulsi Gabbard:

Glenn Greenwald:

Steve Bannon:

And the leader of the opposition:

A former president praising a foreign dictator's invasion. Well, you get old enough, you live to see it all. 

And this is just a partial list. Some of it's based on the longstanding Putinphilia of the American Right, but there's even weirder stuff behind it. Rod Dreher, "mainstream" conservatism's favorite religious maniac, has utterly flipped; while dropping in "I don't approve" every so often (his primitive idea of ass-covering), Dreher explains Putin's invasion

So, when I read these days that much-quoted line Vladimir Putin uttered some years back, in which he lamented the tragedy of the USSR’s demise, I think of Trianon and the Hungarians. Though he was a KGB man, I don’t think Putin is a nostalgist for Bolshevism. He’s a nostalgist for Greater Russia — a Russia that was bigger, more powerful, and prouder on the world stage. If I had not come to Hungary last year and learned about Trianon, I am sure I would not have been able to grasp what this means to people whose countries have been dismantled or disempowered by war and historical fate.

Similarly, it has helped me to understand why so many Southerners feel so bitter about the Civil War and its latest iteration — the demonization of Confederate monuments and Southern culture.

So, see, this invasion isn't just imperialism or psychosis -- like Dreher's hero Viktor Orban, Putin just wants a return to the Old Order, which when you think about it is true conservatism. More than that, it reminds Dreher of the nostalgia for the Confederacy in his neck of the woods. Talk about bringing it all back home!

Another aspect of today’s news that we Americans should consider, but rarely do: the role of Ukraine, especially Kiev, in the Russian religious imagination. We simply have nothing to compare it to.

It's religious, people. And we have to stretch our concept of "freedom" and "right and wrong" to accommodate it, because as we all know religion can't have any bad consequences. 

As has also become his habit, Dreher reminds us that the West is rotten and Putin at least has Christian values (i.e., persecutes minorities):

But what about the Western empire today? To my eyes, we are decadent, and ruled by an elite that despises our own history, traditions, and the unwoke deplorables among us. We are ruled by an elite who think of many of us as savages: racist, transphobic bigots who must be brought to heel...

Putin is an authoritarian who uses Western decadence in the same way the Soviet regime did: to justify its own repression. Nevertheless, that decadence really is there!

 I'll only add this bit from a post Dreher put up the night before:

Now, if you think the US can funnel military supplies to the Ukraine resistance without suffering any consequences from Russia, you are being a fool. Russia’s cyberwarriors would devastate American institutions. We are not nearly as strong as we think.

When, as I said, conservatives (including Dreher) were denouncing those of us who opposed America's invasion of another country as un-American, if any citizen had talked about how the United States had better not tangle with Saddam Hussein because we were sure to be "devastated," that person would probably have been spirited away to a black site. Things sure have changed. 

Now she's blaming it on Hunter Biden. Jesus. I can imagine if she were starving or her family were in danger, but otherwise there's really no excuse for sinking this low except an absolute lack of human decency. 

UPDATE 2. This cannot be an exhaustive list but just wanted to get this fuckface in here:

Friday, February 18, 2022


As fresh as when he cut it 96 years ago.

Busy week! I must be brief. Got two Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebies for you: First, today’s edition on the current high tide in conservative victim-claiming. Sadly this came out before I could include Brother Rod’s latest:

I wonder how many people wander over to Dreher’s tent show, having heard from The New Yorker and David Brooks about how he’s one of America’s real intellectual conservatives, get a load of this kind of thing and do a Duck Tracy Meets Mouseman (“Go… back… in again…”). The latest evidence that liberals are going to tyrannize your godly Republican family is Canada finally clearing the Parking Convoy off the streets of Ottawa, which Dreher describes as “the government crushing dissent under the guise of keeping Canada ‘safe’ from haters and deplorables” and “a prelude of what’s to come here.” When the Liberal Fascists take over you won’t be able to block city streets for days on end! Of course, when protestors were “spilling into the street and blocking traffic” to denounce Donald Trump, Dreher felt very differently about it: “That deranged Latino mob in San Jose just convinced a hell of a lot of people to buy tickets to the Trump train,” he snarled.  And when some red states made it legal to run over protestors when they block traffic -- which was clearly aimed at Black Lives Matter protests -- Dreher never made a peep. Like I say in the REBID item: Their whole identity is victimhood now. 

Second, and relatedly: An analysis of the Canadian Parking Convoy situation by a couple of experts! 

Friday, January 28, 2022


It's good, and sort of new!

•  Got a hot-off-the-press Roy Edroso Breaks It Down issue inspired by the McMinn County Board of Ed pulling Art Spiegelman’s Maus from its schools on the grounds that the rudeness of its depictions of the Holocaust and its fallout are unsuitable to its students. 

Yair Rosenberg, who is the author of one of the dumbest essays on film and TV criticism ever written, takes a look-on-the-bright-side angle on the Maus controversy: surveys suggest Americans know more about the Holocaust than they do about their own democratic processes! For obvious reasons, that’s certainly not unmixed good news; also, just because students know the Holocaust happened and who the major players were doesn’t mean they’ve grasped its full significance, and the rise and spread of eliminationist rhetoric in the United States as directed toward other minorities -- for example, the Latino immigrants whom Fox News sturmers call “poison” -- suggests that not enough of them do. It may be that, as the kids have been encouraged to think of racism as something that's over and done with (because to suggest otherwise is critical race double-plus-ungood), so they consider genocide something that was knocked out when the camps were liberated. 

Also, Maus is not the only book yahoos are currently banning or looking to ban, thanks to the CRT scare and related pathologies -- see here and here just for starters. Conservatives have been freaks about culture war for decades, but the Trump metastasis has upped the ante; once they were content to snarl every once in a while about Tinky Winky or some shit, but now they’re rampaging through reading lists and erasing anything that might give their kids a different way of looking at the world than what they try to beat into them. And heads up, because they never stop at schoolbooks.  

•  Actually there’s a bumper crop of freebies at REBID, including this one about Joe Biden calling that stupid son of a bitch a stupid son of a bitch, so go look around and, if the spirit moves you, subscribe so you can get it all on an ongoing basis. It’s cheap!

•  Rod Dreher, prestige media’s favorite religious maniac, just gets better and better. Here’s the header on my favorite Dreher post of the week:

Mouthy darkskin pussy-hat GRRRRR splurt! But what’s this about “some of her generation are choosing sterilization, because of wokeness”? Turns out this refers to a single alleged instance in the Dreher “Reader” “Mail” that constitutes most of the post, the author of which Dreher has thoughtfully anonymized lest the Woke Mob come after him, sure that’s it wink wink. 

Author’s assistant “Annie” moonlights as a bus driver, see, and she says she knows a family with three college-age girls, one of whom “graduated third in her class of thirteen hundred and was given a scholarship to attend an Ivy League university.” If you’ve ever read a rightwing column, I bet you can already hear the sinister background music! Sure enough:

The other day, Annie told me that there was a family argument because the daughter was going to schedule an appointment at the gynecologist to get her tubes tied. She is twenty-two years old! Her rationale was that the world is too awful and that no more children should be brought into this hellhole.

[Organ sting!]

I have known her daughter since she was eight years old, and for the past fourteen years her mother has told me about her increasingly radical, Leftist views. Starting in high school, the cause was environmentalism, and then being at that Ivy League university, especially during these last two years, the cause has also grown to include the usual diversity, equity, inclusion, social justice and destroy-Western-Civilization bullshit.

Wow -- if she goes to grad school, I reckon she’ll kill herself for Gaia! But wait, there’s more psychosexual just-so storytelling:

Last year, the same daughter made an appointment at Planned Parenthood to have an IUD implanted. Her mother threw a fit, as they have good health insurance; she lamented to me that if she wanted an IUD she could go to any gynecologist in the suburbs for a more hygienic and safer procedure. 

You know how dirty those Planned Parenthoods are, on account of the abortion germs. 

And what’s even more troubling is that the daughter isn’t even sexually active according to her mother (knowing the mother and the daughter, I believe it). Therefore, it wasn’t even for preventing pregnancy but rather for making a statement of solidarity with her “Black” and “Brown” sisters.

We’ve all been to the marches and seen the “PESSARY SOLIDARITY” banners, haven’t we? (I would love to hear this cowboy explain why "Black" and "Brown" are in quotes, too.)

Two years ago, none of the three daughters wished their mother a Happy Mother’s Day, as they considered it an antiquated custom. 

Wow, if only I’d thought of that one whenever I forgot to mail a card! “Sorry I missed your birthday, but you know how I feel about annualism.”

These kids are becoming evil. At least one consolation is that if the daughter gets her tubes tied, that’s the end of that bloodline.

“They’ll know we are Christians by our love.” ‘member that joke?

Now on a more optimistic note, I have attached a Christmas photo from one of my neighbors. The father is the pastor of a local Mennonite church. They have eleven children (they had twelve, but one died shortly after childbirth). They have all been homeschooled, and they are all very sweet and pleasant…

WHICH WAY, WESTERN MAN? Will it be the false god of IUD, or Daddy’s Little Brood Sow? If these clowns ever Benedict Opt out of the internet, I have to say I’ll miss the laughs.

Thursday, January 20, 2022


I see Patron Pseud of Anti-Wokeism Jordan Peterson has pulled a BariWeiss -- that is, not having succeeded by obnoxious behavior in getting himself martyred by defenestration, he has quit his academic sinecure while blubbering over the unfairness with which he has been treated, hoping for the same effect. At the Ezra Levant Post the professor explains

First, my qualified and supremely trained heterosexual white male graduate students (and I’ve had many others, by the way) face a negligible chance of being offered university research positions, despite stellar scientific dossiers. This is partly because of Diversity, Inclusivity and Equity mandates (my preferred acronym: DIE). These have been imposed universally in academia, despite the fact that university hiring committees had already done everything reasonable for all the years of my career, and then some, to ensure that no qualified “minority” candidates were ever overlooked. My students are also partly unacceptable precisely because they are my students. I am academic persona non grata, because of my unacceptable philosophical positions....

By "unacceptable philosophical positions" Peterson seems to mean "status as a public laughing stock." The rest of his lament resembles your average Rod Dreher column: Lots of sweeping and hysterical claims with thin or non-existent documentary evidence, e.g. "there simply is not enough qualified BIPOC people in the pipeline to meet diversity targets quickly enough... This has been common knowledge among any remotely truthful academic who has served on a hiring committee for the last three decades." Peterson also says his colleagues "all lie (excepting the minority of true believers) and they teach their students to do the same," which ought to really set the tone for his U of Toronto going-away party (and excite his future Substack readers!). I especially liked this bit denouncing a well-known implicit-bias test, about which I am fully prepared to entertain doubts if they are expressed via coherent analysis, as opposed to whatever this is: 

The much-vaunted IAT, which purports to objectively diagnose implicit bias (that’s automatic racism and the like) is by no means powerful enough — valid and reliable enough — to do what it purports to do. Two of the original designers of that test, Anthony Greenwald and Brian Nosek, have said as much, publicly. [Cite please - Ed.] The third, Professor Mahzarin Banaji of Harvard, remains recalcitrant. Much of this can be attributed to her overtly leftist political agenda, as well as to her embeddedness within a sub-discipline of psychology, social psychology, so corrupt that it denied the existence of left-wing authoritarianism for six decades after World War II....

Is this guy still on the all-meat-coma diet? He seems to have missed a few OS patches.

You can see how this is meant to work: the casual reader may see the length of the thing and catch some keywords, but be put off by the poor writing and painfully aggrieved tone from reading too much of it, and think, "Well, he has a long list of complaints, some of them must be justified." That's how the whole cancelculture/CRT scam gets over; when it wears out, they'll move on to the next grift. 

Friday, January 07, 2022


Boy, that must have been some party.

I noticed a bunch of liberals objecting on Twitter to this John F. Harris/Politico story, “We Are In a New Civil War … About What Exactly?” Sample:

If this is a 21st century version of 19th century disunion, shouldn’t it be more obvious what the war, at bottom, is all about?...

Only in recent years have we seen foundation-shaking political conflict — both sides believing the other would turn the United States into something unrecognizable — with no obvious and easily summarized root cause. What is the fundamental question that hangs in the balance between the people who hate Trump and what he stands for and the people who love Trump and hate those who hate him? This is less an ideological conflict than a psychological one.

Now, this is Politico so I guess one has to be sensitive to its bothsidesing agenda (“the Trump phenomenon defies explanation,” Harris says -- ha, yeah, if your first acquaintance with the GOP was Romney 2012!) But I take his point to this extent: that all the yap about civil war -- and despite all claims to the contrary, including Harris’, as I have written before “civil war” really is overwhelmingly a rightwing thing -- it’s just ridiculous. 

And I’m not calling it ridiculous because I don’t think these guys wouldn’t do it if they could -- on the contrary, as polling and experience show, conservatives are now extremely comfortable with violence against liberals. I call it ridiculous because they have no actual complaint even remotely worth having a civil war over. Here’s the top of an email I got from one of the many rightwing mailing lists to which I subscribe:

Now, I ask you: What normal American would read something like that without wondering: What the fuck is this guy talking about, America is a "dystopian, tyrannical state"? 

It’s like when Rod Dreher goes on about “soft totalitarianism” and constantly invokes non-soft totalitarianism when talking about it (e.g., “There is no Stalin of the Social Justice Warriors, but that in no way means they are not dangerous”), but when someone (someone who’s not a mark, I mean) takes him to mean what he seems to mean, he weasels, “do I say that the libs are ‘just like’ the Bolsheviks? No, not at all,” and then explains that the liberalism “seeks domination and conformity not by imposing pain and terror on people, but rather by manipulating their access to status and comfort.” Which sounds like a pretty weak kind of “totalitarianism” in the first place, and when explicated it  turns out to mean a bunch of just-so stories about how everyone’s too scared to say trans women are men because they might lose their jobs -- which is 99 44/100% Pure Bullshit -- or that a racist getting kicked off a social media platform for flouting its terms of service is the Coming of the Camps.

The next time one of these nuts tells you about the intolerable tyranny under which Americans live, ask him what he means, specifically. Watch his hands, though. 

Want a Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebie? This week, along with the January 6 anniversary one I mentioned yesterday, there’s also Amy Wax’s talk radio audition. That leaves three very fine issues you could have read with a subscription, and more where that came from. Sign up and treat yourself

Thursday, October 28, 2021


 Hold out your candy-bags, kids -- here's another freebie from Roy Edroso Breaks It Down. And in a rare double-up, like the last freebie this one features Rod Dreher. But he's just one of a bunch of rightwingers who've gone ballistic over a charming Twix Halloween ad, in which a boy who likes to wear dresses gets a nanny with heavy goth-witch vibes who confronts his bullies and proceeds to blow them off (in one case, literally).

The rampage against this ad is not limited to Dreher (who brings his unique "woke capitalism" brainworms to it) but extends to conservative outlets such as the Media Research Center ("Twix Halloween Ad Features Zero Candy and Plenty of Trans Propaganda for Kids"), Gateway Pundit ("Twix Releases Halloween Ad About a Boy Wearing Dresses With His Witch Nanny — Forgets to Mention Candy," hey thanks for the tip, Rosser Reeves), Russia Today ("The Witch & the Wardrobe change: Twix blasted for ‘woke’ Halloween ad with boy wearing princess dress, but no holiday… or candy"), et alia.

One particularly dumb idea in their coverage is that, when the witch-nanny sends off one bully with a gust of wind, the commercial actually, in the words of Ben Shapiro's Daily Wire, "Suggests Violence Against Those Who Disagree Acceptable." Quite apart from the characterization of bullies as "those who disagree" -- there's a whole academic paper on rightwing victim-status-claiming in that -- I wonder if, when these guys saw Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and Augustus Gloop drowned in the Chocolate River and Violet Beauregarde turned into a blueberry, they stormed the box office claiming it was a pedophiliac snuff film. 

But my essay's not so much about that as why people like these hate fantasies in which the marginalized and bullied vanquish their tormentors, but love fantasies about overthrowing the government and raping and lynching their real-life opponents. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2021


I’m unlocking today’s Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, about Rod Dreher’s review of Ross Douthat’s Lyme Disease book. As you might expect, it’s a popular subject among rightwingers as Douthat is one of their made men. But since the book apparently talks about Douthat’s Lyme being chronic, Megan McArdle’s review talks mostly about how she once had what looked like a chronic disease but it turned out to be poor medication reconciliation, tee hee, and (so?) she’s dubious about Douthat’s chronic Lyme claim; Freddie DeBoer, while lavishing praise on Douthat’s prose (I know, suspicious already, right?), argues that chronic Lyme doesn’t exist.  

I forebear to judge, noting that many reputable doctors treat Lyme patients’ symptoms for years. And I wouldn’t judge Douthat’s book either, since I have not and will not read it; life’s way too short. But I note that when Douthat’s rightwing reviewers address his apparently alt-medical opinions, they hasten to tell us that they are certainly not against skepticism toward traditional medicine. De Boer:

I stress that I know how he feels; the paternalistic and arbitrary behavior of doctors is a ubiquitous aspect of mental health treatment, and the unique feeling of helplessness that doctors can inspire is something I have lived with many times in my life. But as some point the ruminations on the failings of the medical system start to feel rote, and Douthat’s objections remind me uncomfortably of myself. Because I spent nearly ten years denying my mental illness entirely and another half-decade refusing medication, and thus far have only spent four accepting both the diagnosis and the treatment. All along, my denial and obstinacy were fed by a set of complaints about the medical system that were visceral, justified, and true. But they were also, undeniably, an excuse to look at everything involved in my mental health but myself. [italics mine]

DeBoer seems to be saying, “Yeah, I thought medical science was a con and didn’t even consider that I had a mental illness, let alone take pills for it; now, guess what, I know I’m mentally ill and I took the pills, but I still think medical science is a con that just happened to be right.” McArdle, without totally buying Douthat’s diagnosis, nonetheless defends his skepticism (“I, like Douthat, also know the peril of deferring to doctors who want to treat only what they can measure”) and ends with some rather weak woo:

That does not, of course, prove that chronic Lyme is real. But neither does the absence of clear evidence provide evidence of absence. Given the uncertainties, it seems to me far better to risk false hope than to too meekly accept a counsel of despair.

Or, the sun’ll come up tomorrow, bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow there’ll be sun.

As addressed in the newsletter, Dreher is more ferociously anti-medical-establishment, raving about ivermectin and “how blind science can be” and even working in a Lyme Disease version of the COVID Lab Leak story (Lyme Leak?). 

What all these guys appear to have in common is a vested interest in the kind of “skepticism” beloved of the anti-vaxx community, crystal healers, and such specifically rightwing alt-med-grifters as Stella “Demon Sperm” Immanuel. This is becoming, as we can see from the people screaming at nurses outside hospitals and the cops marching against vaccination requirements, an important constituency for the new Republican coalition. And it mirrors the whole conservative project to destroy any faith in once-respected authorities such as government, schools, and medical science, so that it may be more easily transferred to Trump and similar goons. 

Oh, also of note: Last month a Texas court threw out a suit against the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA), brought by a Lyme sufferer and associates who claim the organization, which publishes standards for Lyme treatment, "engaged in a decades-long conspiracy to deny the existence and prevent treatment of chronic Lyme disease." Now that they've lost, maybe they'll just track the scientists down and assault them, like their co-loons do at hospitals. And do look at the comments at the Roy Edroso Breaks It Down story, especially those of people who've had Lyme Disease and have their own opinions about Dreher's angle. 


Friday, October 22, 2021


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. 

Friday, October 15, 2021


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


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


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, August 06, 2021


Shit is wild.

•   Busy today (Ha! Every day! And this is the thanks I get!) but will try to stick on some commentary later. Meantime enjoy freebies from Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, the Only Substack That Matters: Today’s is the script for a trailer inspired by the latest film in which 90-year-old Clint Eastwood stars. Now, I love the guy, too – I even liked American Sniper – but you gotta admit, that’s funny; it’s up there with late Bob Hope romantic comedies. If it’s politics you crave, here’s the earlier one about Biden doing that dumb Obama thing where he has a bunch of conservative columnists over for lunch

•   Jamelle Bouie notes, in his consideration of rightwingers’ recent Orbanmania – which has been amplified by Tucker Carlson, ably assisted by favorite alicublog Figure of Fun Rod Dreher --  that conservatives really do have a soft spot for dictatorship as long as it’s not communist. He even pulls up some examples like William F. Buckley’s qualified (or mealy-mouthed, depending on how you look at it) praise for South African apartheid in 1963:

They may be wrong, as we may be: but we should try at least to understand what it is they are trying to do, and deny ourselves that unearned smugness that the bigot shows. I cannot say, “I approve of Apartheid” — its ways are alien to my temperament. But I know now it is a sincere people’s effort to fashion the land of peace they want so badly.

This is very similar to Dreher’s similarly circuitous apologies for Orban’s “illiberal” rule, as in this most recent example

OK, so what do we US conservatives have to learn from Hungary? Let’s stipulate that Hungary is a very different country from America. It is ethnically homogeneous, has a very different history, and a very different constitutional system. Some of what Orban’s government has done is legal here, but not under the US Constitution (e.g., the recent law prohibiting pro-LGBT propaganda to children and minors). My enthusiasm for Hungary has more to do with Orban’s ideals. As I see it, Orban grasps the nature of the fight in front of us much more clearly than most of his US counterparts.

One would have to be willfully blind to miss that, for all the hand-waving, if Orban or someone exactly like him could be installed as our own leader via the vote-rigging methods he has perfected (far in advance of Tubby’s), Dreher and his pals would be thrilled. 

But this is nothing new. Here’s a National Review celebration of the life and career of Augusto Pinochet on the occasion of his death in 2006. The following is from the contribution of Roger W. Fontaine, “a National Security Council staff officer in the Reagan administration”:

…Human rights did suffer under Pinochet. And Chile spent years under Pinochet recovering from his predecessor Salvador Allende’s mad dash to a Soviet style command economy. It has also lately been shown he was personally corrupt. Finally, at least for Americans, there was the small matter of the caudillo’s secret services committing murder on the streets of Washington, D.C.

But Pinochet will also be remembered as leaving the country better off than he found it. It was Pinochet who obeyed his own electorate by stepping down from power after he lost a national referendum. And unlike his fellow Latin American generals, he let market-oriented civilians lay the basis for Chile’s economy — the most productive in the region. Can his fellow caudillo in Cuba — soon to be among the departed as well — say the same?

This is who and what they are and who and what they’ve always been. The difference is they're bolder now about prescribing Pinochet measures, not just for foreigners, but also for their fellow countrymen.

Friday, July 02, 2021


What do you think of the new Garbage album? I like it.

•  OK, OK, here’s some free content from the Roy Edroso Breaks It Down daily newsletter (though really you should subscribe, fresh copy five [5] days a week from America’s most underrated writer for approximately 35 cents an issue is ludicrously cheap): First, some future National Guard deployments we can expect since Kristi Noem rented her troops out to some gazillionaire wingnut to play Border Patrol with -- real fall-of-Rome stuff, but I got some laughs out of it. And here’s a speech from a recently released sex offender! I’d say “trigger warning” but really, these days I’d say a TW is implicit in just about any national news coverage, straight or fanciful, wouldn’t you? 

•  Speaking of triggers, Pride Month has ended, which I hope will reduce some of the intense pressure Rod Dreher seems to have been under. You will recall he’s been in Hungary studying up on how to prepare Orbán fascism for export, and though Big Vik has been banning all the gay he can ban, the persistence of happy homos abroad seemed to bother Dreher all the more – as if living the dream of anti-gay persecution in Hungary made him all the more painfully cognizant of those corners of the globe where homosexuality was not suppressed. It’s been fun, but my favorite Moment of Dreher this past week is more racism-driven, as well as a classic example of his “reader mailbag” shtick:

I had a conference call on Sunday night with two guys back in the US. Both are young conservative Christian friends who worked for the same major American media company (one still does, but the other quit a few months back). They are white males. They reached out to me via a mutual friend after my book Live Not By Lies had an impact on them. They agreed to talk to me for the record if I consented to keeping their details private. What follows is my record of our conversation, revised to honor their concerns. I sent the draft version of this post to them both to make sure I had written down our conversation accurately, and that I had protected them both. The one who still works for this company (I’ll call it ACME) has a family to support, and can’t afford to lose his job.

I will call these men Rick and Charlie. Their real names aren’t even close to this. I hate that I have to write like this, but these are the stakes. People are scared to death for their careers – and they have reason to be.

Reminds me of this:

Anyway, these two Swear To God They’re Real guys had the devil’s own time at ACME, what with all the post-George-Floyd wokeness:

Rick says that in these endless strings of meetings, ACME executives would give black people an opportunity to voice their frustrations and anger, and to talk about their “lived experiences” with racism, or what they perceived to be racism.

“Some of these things really were racism,” says Rick. “Others weren’t specific to race, but were everybody’s lived experience. Everybody gets treated badly in the same way at some point. But you couldn’t say that out loud. I sat through countless hours of that kind of meeting.”

The intended effect is, no doubt, to get readers to envision some strapping young buck bitching that his dented fender was racism, and poor Rick Nothisrealname having to listen to it for hours with his head chained up like the kid in the old Radio Free Europe ads. Anyway ACME decides to hire black people and surprise, they’re a pain in the ass:

There was one case in which the team had the budget to make a hire, and considered taking on a freelancer who had done superb work for them in the past, under budget. The problem: he was a white male.

“Someone present in the hiring meeting said, ‘White people had it good for 400 years – it’s about time they felt the sting,’” says Rick. “None of the people leading the meeting said a word about that.”

I know, you folks in corporate life hear that sort of thing all the time! 

There was another case in which a team was carrying out an expensive shoot in an environment in which a black actor hired for the shoot decided on the set that they didn’t want to subject themself to a minor inconvenience that was part of the contract. After the shoot ended, ACME offices were filled with lamentations over how racially insensitive ACME was to expect a black person to do something they didn’t want to do — even though the request was extremely minor, and the actor had signed on for it. As Rick put it, expecting a black actor to honor a professional commitment was considered intolerably racist by ACME staff.

I guess the buck wanted Van Halen treatment. So touchy, these blahs -- excuse me, those blah-lovers! 

The White Whatstheirnames also suffered from the persecution of not being Free To Be MAGA Me:

Rick is also a conservative, and was a supporter of Donald Trump. “On set, I would hear people dogging Trump supporters and Christians. I didn’t say anything. This made friendships so hollow. You just knew that if these people knew this little thing about you [your politics or religion], they probably wouldn’t want to be friends anymore.”

Think for a minute of actually believing that if the people you spend all day with knew what you were really like, they would hate you. Would you say the problem was them or you? If you said “them,” yewwww miiight be whoever's feeding this stuff to Dreher.

It goes on like that – one Whatshisname quits ACME to stay true to his beliefs, which is a big deal because “his star was on the rise,” claims Dreher – “I looked him up online at the ACME website, and he seems to have been a rising start at the company.” Meaning I guess that his company bio was flattering, as opposed to all the company bios that make their subject look like duds. 

I wonder: Do even Dreher’s loyal readers believe this shit? Or is it all an unspoken conspiracy to keep going along with the gag, in the hope that some poor dopes will wander in and mistake it for the truth? 

Thursday, July 01, 2021


Jim Geraghty is a pretty down-the-middle rightwing propagandist, the unflashy kind of guy that will never get a Fox News or Sinclair spotlight but has done the devil’s work reliably enough to hold his position for decades. But sometimes someone like Geraghty, even more than obvious nutcakes like Rod Dreher and high-profile marquee grifters like Peggy Noonan, will, in the course of his normally tedious work of justifying whatever absurd and inhumane theme the conservative movement has latched onto at any given moment, get creative – perhaps out of boredom, or because he knows he’s good at his job and wants to show off by going the extra mile. Those episodes can be especially revealing. 

The MacGuffin in this case is the evergreen rightwing sentiment that the Media Is Always To Blame – indeed the title of Geraghty's latest is “The Media’s Warped Incentive Program.” There is something to the premise, borrowed from a strenuously bothsidery Jamie Kirchick piece at Tablet (which, among other weird stretches, blames Al Sharpton’s 2004 Democratic Presidential run for Trump, notwithstanding that Democrats failed to give Sharpton a single primary win), that the media rewards freakish figures like Trump “as if he were the ‘heel’ in a professional wrestling match” because it inflates their readerships (which, I would note, have dwindled in the Biden era, which suggests that Kirchick’s claim to a liberal equivalency in hysteria is itself inflated).

Geraghty gobbles this up, and goes further: another problem with the political media circus, he says, is it distracts from the menace of ordinary, successful government operations. “The work of government is often boring,” he says, not to mention Byzantine – “the Federal Register churns out pages of new regulations in incomprehensible bureaucratese every day.” And people are missing it because it isn’t sexy:

Boring does not attract attention or scrutiny. Appropriations bills are long and stuffed with all kinds of dubious expenditures because very few people read them. The vast majority of presidential executive orders are ignored by the public, as are almost all of the reports from the Office of Management and Budget, the Congressional Research service, the Defense Department, U.S. State Department, and the various federal inspectors general. Our government generates nearly endless documentation and yet so little accountability.

The more boring something seems to be, the more likely it is that someone is trying to sneak something past you without you noticing.

First, journalists actually do report on the doings of these departments, which are not for the most part opaque (though some have to be aggressively FOIA’d) – here’s a Bloomberg Law story from today, “Visa Backlog at State Department Hinders Biden’s Immigration Goals.” And in fact trade publications, some of which I've done work for, read and analyze federal regs all the time. 

Second, what’s stopping Geraghty and National Review? I realize rightwing media outlets always exempt themselves from their constant media complaints, but obviously these guys have the same wherewithal as any other news org. Yet National Review is much more prone to run stories like (from the current front page) “Wisconsin’s Governor Puts the Public-School Monopoly before Families” and “The Absurdly Misleading Attacks on Anti-CRT Rules" than to investigate federal agencies (unless of course those agencies are helping black people and operatives do the legwork for them).

But the real howler comes next: After warming up the crowd with some obligatory false equivalence between “Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert” and “Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Squad,” Gergahty gets to Jim Walsh, the Washington Republican state rep who went around wearing a yellow Star of David as a protest against vaccine mandates. (“Walsh wrote in [a Facebook] comments section that, ‘[I]t's an echo from history. In the current context, we're all Jews.’”) This is similar to Marjorie Taylor Greene’s COVID-laws-are-The-Holocaust shtick, and like Greene, Walsh has apologized. (One expects the apology has become part of the shtick, to be taken by the punters as something the Deep State forced them to do.)

Here’s what Geraghty thinks about Walsh’s stunt:

We can scoff at Walsh, and we should. But keep in mind, if Walsh had just done his job and stood up for his beliefs in an impassioned and articulate manner and didn’t make ludicrously insane Holocaust comparisons, you and I would never have heard of him. Doing his job the way he’s supposed to do it doesn’t get him any attention. Competence and common sense are rewarded with obscurity and yawns. The social-media and mass-media worlds have created all of the incentives to act like a maniac. This doesn’t make Walsh right. But it does help explain why it seems like you’re always hearing about insane obscure lawmakers.

In other words, Walsh had a "common sense" point – sensible public health measures are fascist – but he was forced to act like a nut, not because he is a nut, but because no one would pay attention to him unless he acted like a nut. And it’s all the media’s fault. 

Now that it looks like we’re getting that House January 6 commission, I look forward to Geraghty’s “An attempted murder of Mike Pence is the voice of the unheard” column. 

Friday, June 04, 2021


Local radio was playing a bunch of power-to-the-people tunes.
I know this one's cheese, but I love it.

•   OK, kids, here are the Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebies for the week -- this scene at Mar-a-Lago, in which Tubby talks turkey with his least favorite in-law; and today's fresh-as-daisies ripped-from-today's-headlines item on how the wingnut handling of the Lab Leak story fits with their Rigged Election fantasy -- and the part played in it by éminence Grey Goose Peggy Noonan. Yes, it's not just the Brown Shirts and the von Papens anymore -- even the little von Hindenburgs are getting into the act now. Exciting times!

Precisely why you should subscribe. I actually withdrew one story that had been made public because I'm through being Mr. Goodbar, people. It's not like I'm making Andrew Sullivan money, because unlike Captain Caliper's Substack mine does not flatter the imaginary grievances of honky douchebags, but tells the hard truth to a uncomprehending and contemptuous world with the satire and exegesis it, alas, is too depraved to know it needs. Get in on the ground floor of my lost cause and subscribe!

•   Couldn't we all use a little good news? Of course, that any one of these gruesome specimens will probably be an Ohio Senator is not good news, but it's nice to see that even Buckeye Republicans can apparently smell the fraudulence of Thiel-backed fascist J.D. Vance:

I've had this guy's number from jump (a Rod Dreher endorsement is usually as much warning as you need). And while I can sort of understand the appeal of some GOP assholes -- I've read enough Nick Fury comics to get why a certain kind of guy would like the insufferable Dan Crenshaw, for example -- so many of the media's favorite rightwing grifters are so obviously repulsive that I can't imagine normal people cottoning to them, whatever their politics. Ron DeSantis, for instance, seems to me a replacement-level 50s B-movie goon whom Lee J. Cobb told to get a manicure and a nice suit and try and look gubernatorial. Mike Pence is a wet sack of nothing and Greg Abbott is a pig-eyed creep. If any of these people tried to sell you an encyclopedia, tell me you wouldn't shut the door in his face! So it's encouraging to know that people see through at least one of these wet noodles.