Monday, January 21, 2019

THE ANNUAL CONSERVATIVES DO MLK DAY OBSERVANCE.

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, guys. As I did in 2004, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, and 2017, I have taken a tour of the conservative sites celebrating this year's edition.

At National Review, Congressional Liberty Caucus troll Mike Lee:
Toward the end of his life, Martin Luther King Jr. turned his attention from an exclusive focus on racial justice to unequal opportunity more generally. The United States was “a nation gorged on money,” he wrote, “while millions of its citizens are denied a good education, adequate health services, decent housing, meaningful employment, and even respect, and are then told to be responsible.” He specifically blamed federal policymakers for “subsidies of the rich and unemployment and underemployment of the poor.”
This may put you and I in mind of King's proposed guaranteed income plan, but Lee is all about the Constitutional right to starve (in both the transitive and the intransitive sense), and so celebrates Martin Luther King by comparing him to one of his Fox News heroes:
King’s indictment against the status quo of his time, and against the political and economic elite responsible for it, could be leveled almost word for word today. Indeed, some people — and not just liberals — are still making that indictment today. 
In the wake of Tucker Carlson’s viral populist manifesto earlier this month, populist- and libertarian-leaning conservatives have been debating the same point King raised over 50 years ago. Does economic inequality depend on individuals’ good and bad choices, or on the social circumstances in which individuals make those decisions?
In case you missed it, Carlson's speech -- widely heralded in the rightwing intellectual Kingdom of the Blind -- mainly complained that capitalism wasn't doing enough for poor white people. Lee is also worried about whitey, but spares a thought for black folk, who suffer from the bitter legacy of slavery -- not because of continued racism by whites, but because slavery discouraged marriage ("Husbands and fathers were prohibited from exercising the authority that men at the time were supposed to wield") and, as we all know, marriage makes you rich, so we can show our solidarity with our black brothers and sisters by nagging them into wedlock and cutting food stamps.

Elsewhere, the Daily Signal talks with King's anti-abortion crackpot daughter Alveda ("the baby’s not her body. Where’s the lawyer for the baby?"). At Liberty Unyielding Mark Angelides does the traditional wingnut yak about how while King's "clarion call to look past race, color, and creed... has been distorted by the left and become nothing more than a hierarchical structure based on characteristics rather than character." Shorter: You're the real racist! Angelides -- who, "hailing from the UK... specializes in EU politics and provides a conservative/libertarian voice on all things from across the pond" -- then goes further, blaming the media for "its overvaluing of content based on protected characteristics" of the sort found in civil rights legislation, which is presumably the real racism. The argument of a British Brexit operative should count just as much as that of your local blackamoors!

And God help us, Jeff Jacoby:
As MLK Foresaw, Racism in America Has Been Largely Overcome 
“I have no despair about the future,” wrote the Rev. Martin Luther King in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” in April 1963. “I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham…. We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom.” 
He was right.
Thus Jacoby reduces King from a civil rights leader to a crystal-ball gazer, like Criswell. He was the real Negrodamus! Racism is "only a minor problem now," says Jacoby, "one that has grown steadily less toxic and less entrenched." The polls all say so! If you're still complaining, you're just a Gloomy Gus, because like V-E Day and V-J Day, MLK Day is about celebrating the end of something bad.

And John Hinderaker at Power Line pretends to be puzzled that a basketball team from a predominantly black high school refused to play a rural white team whose fans displayed a Trump banner at their game on MLK Day. To anyone with half a brain the situation is obvious, but Hinderaker plays dumb -- "I don’t think it is particularly appropriate, but why does Walker think the fact that his team is predominantly black is somehow relevant? President Trump has done a great deal more for black Americans than Barack Obama ever did" -- and then throws up his hands: "Oh, please. 'People of color in the U.S.' are among the most privileged people on the planet." By the way, in case you were wondering why people think the Covington students' defense by other prominent conservatives is bullshit, this is why.

Friday, January 18, 2019

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



Gone too soon!

I have to say I'm pleased by the synchronicity of it all. I was just talking about the Washington Examiner's attempt to fuck up Muslim-Jewish relations with sensational, groundless charges against Congresswomen Ohar Ilhan and Rashida Tlaib. The rightwing rag is also mentioned in a similar context in my latest newsletter issue, which I am releasing to the general population for free (think about subscribing!), for its execrable Tiana Lowe story, "Democrats don’t want to hear Rashida Tlaib’s anti-Semitic dog whistle." And now they're getting attention because Trump has tweeted the gist of their bullshit border-menace story, which includes allegations that "prayer rugs" (hint Mooslim hint) -- a routine the paper apparently ran in 2014 as well. You may recall the Examiner is where rightwing investors re-sluiced the funds that were keeping the Weekly Standard alive, and it was generally felt that they did so because they wanted less anti-Trump talk and more pro-Trump rock. It appears the Examiner editorial staff got the message. Don't get me wrong, they've always sucked -- as my archives indicate -- but lately they seem to be really stepping up. Inept strongman leader, regular explosions of racism, an increasingly forced-into-line propaganda press -- all signs of a healthy political movement!

+ + +

Oh, and don't sleep on the Washington Times, either -- dig this "news alert" I got on Suborn Perjury Day:


Soon every one of their rags, from the New York Post on down to the pennysavers, will just be Adams, James Woods, Kevin Sorbo et alia interpreting current events. And Benghazi!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

A NEW LOW, PART 1,254,090.

Charles Two Middle Initials Cooke at the conservative flagship magazine National Review:

I’ve greatly enjoyed reading the many responses to Tucker Carlson’s now-famous monologue. We’ve had contributions from David French, Kyle Smith, Kevin Williamson, Yuval Levin, David Bahnsen, Michael Brendan Dougherty, Mike Lee, Ben Shapiro, Mona Charen, Jonah Goldberg, David French again, Kevin Williamson again, David Bahnsen again, Jonah Goldberg again, and more. And that’s just on the website. The question has also been discussed at length on many of NR’s podcasts, and, of course, on Twitter....
Forget the rest of Cooke's post; forget anything else written about Carlson's allegedly inspirational speech -- except what I wrote about it in my newsletter (Subscribe! Cheap!) and quoted in a previous alicublog post. Instead contemplate that Cooke has cited the deep thoughts of no fewer than 11 major conservative thinkers on a dumb TV speech by a racist Fox News bowtie buffoon.

It seems like for the past week every conservative bigwig in the country has weighed in on what is essentially standard-issue You Snobs Care About Foreigners Well What About The Poor Hillbillies on Opioids gush as restated by the heir to the Swanson TV Dinners fortune. I knew Trump had gutted their movement, but this is like an Evelyn Waugh parody, like a sub-basement of a nadir of intellectual decay -- it's as if Cooke had an even lower opinion of his own karass than I do, and set out to make conservatism look stupid. It's too bad we can't have a reliable accounting of who finances this crap, because I really suspect it's mostly supported by rich wastrels as a joke to see how many among the dummies who still support this movement will catch on.

Friday, January 11, 2019

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



See, I do so like new(ish) music.

I should like to extend my remarks on a subject I treated briefly in the newsletter, the sudden elevation of Tucker Carlson from rightwing TV rageclown to serious conservative intellectual. (Before I go on, PLUG FOR MY NEWSLETTER: It's called Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, it comes out five days a week, it's absurdly cheap and the money goes to support a good cause i.e. the continued shabby-genteel survival of me and the missus.) The Carlson speech over which many wingnut dummies have swooned is, to quote from myself,
...the usual Tucker Carlson bullshit, but with Big Ideas substituted for the usual dogwhistles. 
For example, Carlson wants to know, after people like him are gone, “What kind of country will be it be then? How do we want our grandchildren to live? These are the only questions that matter." Normally this is where he starts foaming about the dusky hordes, but on this occasion he lashes out instead at... materialism. “Does anyone still believe that cheaper iPhones, or more Amazon deliveries of plastic garbage from China are going to make us happy?” he cries. 
As longtime followers of conservative intelligentsia will have figured out, here Carlson is doing a Values thing; the bad conservatives only care about the market, but noble Tucker cares about the poor — now that authors like J.D. Vance have hipped him that a lot of those poor are white and living in red states...
Carlson’s yak is not any kind of an argument, it’s just shtick — leaning toward one group of rightwing intellectuals (the Values Klan) against another (the Free-Market Country Club). It may be very important to pencil-necks who imagine their debates and flame wars are deeply meaningful — like the “Reformicons” who pretended they had a hand in Republican policy just before Trump came in and blew them away with one of his farts — but to the conservative hoi polloi it means less than nothing...
If you're wondering why one of the leading conservative racists is trying to class up his act (and, say this for him, he sure knew how to get the suckers to bite), I suggest it's because he sees that, while white supremacy sells pretty good now, November's blue wave suggests limited growth opportunities for his franchise -- he's not going to break out of the Fox News ghetto into which Jon Stewart more or less shoved him by going on and on about dirty Messicans. Hence, the grand manner: He adopts an anti-crony-capitalist angle, and suddenly he's not just another shitbird, he's a Big Thinker, and when Trump implodes he'll be well-positioned to climb as a Voice of the Respectable Right.

Others among the brethren are sensing that a shift is necessary -- that's why they're all of a sudden running away from their old buddy Steve King, whose recent comments made his white nationalism too obvious to ignore. But they're not as smart about it as Carlson. At The Daily Beast, Matt Lewis tries to get "The Left" with a bank shot and winds up sending the cueball crashing through the poolroom window:
How Steve King’s Idiotic and Odious Words Help the Left Destroy Western Civilization
In his comments to the Times, King equated Western civilization, which belongs to all of us, with white people only. And that’s just what the hard left wants people to think.
Oh, you say authors don't write their own heds and subheds? Okay, from the body copy:
Men like Steve King see whiteness as a fundamental ingredient of Western civilization and, ultimately, of the United States of America. This is, by definition, a “racist” view. Moreover, it puts King is on the same level with radical leftists who agree that “Western civ” is a dog whistle for racism.
The racists and the people who notice they're racists -- both part of the same pathology!

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

NO, I DIDN'T WATCH IT.

This is as much as I needed to see:
"In California, an Air Force veteran was raped, murdered, and beaten to death with a hammer by an illegal alien with a long criminal history," Trump said in his first-ever Oval Office address to the American people.
This is not a "come, let us reason together" address. It's just more Trump porno. It's not meant to convince waverers; it's meant to keep his rubes riled. Anyone who isn't already completely invested in his 24/7 fear-and-rage fest will just look at it and say, he's back on his bullshit.

I'd like to think Trump also meant to embarrass the classy wingnuts who support him and will have to explain why this is the new Gettysburg Address, but I don't think his sense of humor is that advanced. Also I'm not sure any of them can be embarrassed anymore.

Not to pick corns out of shit but here are a few choice bits:
The border wall would very quickly pay for itself. The cost of illegal drugs exceeds $500 billion a year. Vastly more than the $5.7 billion we have requested from Congress. The wall will always be paid for indirectly by the great new trade deal we have made with Mexico.
In addition to illegal drugs and our great new trade deal, the wall will also be paid for by a perpetual-wall-paying-for machine my friend Elon Musk has just invented. (Musk, his head floating up out of a pillow of cocaine: "The fuck?")
Some have suggested a barrier is immoral. Then why do wealthy politicians build walls, fences and gates around their homes? They don’t build walls because they hate the people on the outside, but because they love the people on the inside.
I thought they built walls because they wanted to keep the wind out and passers-by from watching them fuck or take a piss. I hate to give advice to a guy everyone insists is a political genius, but Trump really shouldn't try to be poetic. What was it Mario Cuomo said: Campaign in puke, govern in shit.

UPDATE. Byron York fluffs the hell out of Trump, and gets in this choice quote from VP Pence:
"Things really have gotten a lot worse in the last year," Pence said. "They got better right after the election, frankly probably because of the thundering voice of our new president. His thundering voice probably diminished the enthusiasm of people south of the border to try..."
Why don't they just put loudspeakers at the border with his thundering voice, then? Seems cheaper.

Friday, January 04, 2019

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


I'm on a Fela binge, feel free to join me.

I'm unlocking an issue from my newsletter Roy Edroso Breaks It Down -- to which you should subscribe, it's simply super -- containing a more honest version of Mitt Romney's Washington Post "attack' on Donald Trump. It's amazing how easily Romney is conning the dummies with this. He hasn't opposed a single policy Trump has proposed or effected -- in fact Romney even endorses the freaking Wall! -- yet here we have rightwing resistance buffoon Rick Wilson kvelling, "Yes, we’ve seen a handful of truth-tellers in the Senate, but they rarely hit so keenly as today’s Romney nuke strike." All because Romney, while backing every Trump policy, pointed out that Trump is rude -- which is what his followers like about him.

Romney's just doing what a growing number of Republicans are doing -- covering their asses for when the Trump dirigible erupts in flames. It costs them nothing but a few unkind words from Trump and his sycophants, who can't do shit to them anyway and will soon be in even less of a position to do so, and buys them all kinds of goodwill within that depressingly large section of the commentariat that believes moderation (i.e., wingnuts with good manners) will save us.

Interestingly, one rightwing straddler whom the Romney op-ed has pushed into being more obvious about his Trumpkinism is Rod Dreher. Followers are certainly familiar with Dreher's "I'm no Trump supporter but"/ "I'm no Trump fan but"/ "I didn't vote for Trump but" shtick, and he does a little of that kind of defensive crouching here, but overall he's all-in: "Trump has certainly damaged US leadership in some serious ways, but is returning to the liberal-internationalist status quo what we want, or need? No... I say this as a conservative who is sick and tired of Donald Trump’s big mouth, corruption" blah blah blah blah "But if it means going back to the Republican Party as it existed before Trump, no sale." Dreher's so excited by the international fascist revival that he's forgetting to put his fig leaf on anymore.


I also wrote in the newsletter (though I'm not unlocking that issue -- gotta leave some premium content for the subscribers!) about the insane mishegas over that Breakfast Club/Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez dance video. You should read this thread about the interesting background on the video, which ties into fair-use copyright issues, but for me the really interesting thing is all the wingnuts who raced to assure the world that they weren't one of those cubular conservatives who thought it was bad, man. But many of them, like Allahpundit and these other creeps, have rushed to add that there is still at least one Democrat bitch they do hate. Ben Shapiro:


It's obvious that Shapiro and his mostly male colleagues prefer AOC because she's young and hot, whereas Warren has aged out of their wank ordnance category. I predict that as AOC gains traction, they'll start to notice that she's gained a little weight.

PS, if you want to see the distaff version of this bullshit, check out Kathryn Blackhurst at LifeZette comparing Warren unfavorably not only to AOC but also to... Brett Kavanaugh. I shit you not: "Although many Democrats vehemently opposed to Kavanaugh rebuked him for admitting to liking beer, Warren had no qualms about championing her supposed love of beer to her targeted audience." Conservatives are weird.

UPDATE. Holy shit:
Lord knows I'm not one to kinkshame but dude....

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

2018: THE YEAR IN BULLSHIT, PART 3.

[See also Part 1 and Part 2.]


2. The Republican Trump protection racket. Normal people perceive the Mueller investigation to be a sober, workmanlike pursuit and analysis of leads to determine how the 2016 election became a Russian propaganda operation. Yet conservatives kept trying to discredit the investigation and its sources in the FBI and elsewhere.

California Republican Congressman Devin Nunes and his GOP buddies kept hinting that there was something in a House Intelligence Committee memo that would expose criminal or at least unseemly overreach in the FBI's investigations of Trump -- but when released the memo proved to be a put-up job meant to shield the President, of the sort in which Republican committees seem to specialize anymore.

Republican periodically waved messages between anti-Trump FBI lovebirds Peter Strzok and Lisa Page as if their private political opinions invalidated whatever intelligence the agency might have turned up on Trump. Wisconsin GOP senator Ron Johnson even claimed "he had an ‘informant’ corroborate reports concerning the existence of an FBI ‘secret society’ working to undermine President Trump," reported the Washington Examiner.

This went on all year and probably reached its apotheosis in the loony accusations by rightwing grifters Jacob Wohl and Jack Burkman that Mueller, despite evidence removing him from the alleged scene of the crime, committed sexual assault. And indeed the part played in this protection racket by pundits has been huge -- and ongoing: See the New Year's Eve post by David Brooks, in which he suggests that, notwithstanding Trump's probable crimes, if Democrats don't say Simon Says when they go after him -- if they don't act like "modern versions of Archibald Cox, Elliot Richardson and Judge John Sirica... then the roughly 40 percent of Americans who support Trump will see serious evidence that he committed felonies, but they won’t care! They’ll conclude that this is not about law or integrity. It’s just a political show trial." Totally ignoring, of course, that the quietly industrious Mueller is the most Cox-Richardson-Sirica-like Republican since -- well, since Cox, Richardson, and Sirica, yet Republicans already act as if it's just a "show trial."

But even weirder than the paid propagandists running interference -- which we could expect -- is the dedication of what were once unironically called public servants to defense of Individual 1 -- with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell repeatedly propping the door open for Trump to shut the investigation down. I gotta admit, when I focus even for a moment on that, I get that old feeling of outrage we used to get whenever prominent politicians acted like low-level mob goons. And Mitch and the boys don't have too much time left to wear us down and get us accustomed to that level of criminality.


1. Conservatives versus kids. I understand why they take public stands against immigrants, minorities, and even women -- it's the same evil they've been doing for years, and it still works for them, if less over time. But it strikes me as a bad political move for them to side so strongly against the survival of children. Americans don't even approve of Trump's conscious and deliberate immiseration (and in some cases killing) of refugee kids -- and they're not even white! Also, sending administration lie generator Kellyanne Conway out to accuse Democrats of using the dead children as "political pawns" is, under the circumstances, like a rapist complaining that the prosecutor is ruining the girl's reputation by revealing that she isn't a virgin.

But the real headscratcher is their continued devotion to the NRA in the face of all the school shootings -- and, more importantly (because face it, they've been stonewalling school shootings for years), in the face of strong public awareness and activism against their reign of terror, particularly since Parkland and the media-savvy survivors that came out of it -- not to mention the boycotts.

Apart from the usual only-outlaws-will-have-guns bullshit, their outreach seems faulty, too -- mostly these-kids-today seethings from guys like Rod Dreher ("They’re already celebrating the intersectionality of [Emma] Gonzalez, a self-defined bisexual who has shaved her head") and Dinesh D'Souza ("Worst news since their parents told them to get summer jobs"). It's almost as if they don't care if they lose -- that they just want to reassure one another of their own righteousness as Americans get pissed off enough to finally turn on them. I'd like to think it's a neurosis born of guilt, but I must say I'm having a hard time giving them the benefit of the doubt anymore, even on that.

Monday, December 31, 2018

2018: THE YEAR IN BULLSHIT, PART 2.

[See Part 1 here and Part 3 here.]


© 2016 XOXO Festival used under a Creative Commons license
6. White people persecution hits all-time high-larious. Being an old man, I don't project myself into the future much -- when prospective employers ask me where I see myself in ten years, I tell them I have a nice plot picked out at Forest Lawn -- but I do expect that before long people will find it unbelievable that so many white people bitched about non-white people making fun of them. Sweet Allah! I hear them saying. These honkies ran everything, and fucked it up so badly, yet they pretended to be offended that a Korean-American tech columnist called them names? Guess it's a good thing we exterminated them! As I reported on the Sarah Jeong controversy at the time:
"At one point, Jeong tweeted a crude graph claiming that as whiteness increased so did awful,” said Fox News’ Tucker Carlson on Thursday. “Later she said that white people smell like dogs.” Carlson suggested Jeong’s tweets could lead to a Nazi purge of white people — a honkycaust, if you will...
The blanco-conservative panic on Jeong has more or less subsided, though there have been recent columns about her by their of-color adjuncts like Michelle Malkin ("Silicon Valley sharia — Laura Loomer versus Sarah Jeong") and Walter Williams ("Acceptable racism is racist, too") -- maybe their white friends made them write these to prove their loyalty. But white woe-is-me is a hardy perennial, and as long as there's a Reddit it will, like cabbage rolls (lol cuz white people eat them get it I'm being reverse racist), keep repeating on us.


5. Women's Marches scare the menfolk. Lately conservatives have been accusing Women's March organizer Linda Sarsour of at least crypto-anti-semitism -- here's a typical headline at PJ Media: "Women's Rights Activist: Linda Sarsour Is 'Empowering' Radical Islamic 'Torture, Terror, Rape.'" (To give you some idea, the "Women's Rights Activist" is Rabia Kazan, president of the Middle Eastern Women's Coalition, which has endorsed Donald Trump for president in the 2020 election.) If that's not convincing, Sarsour has also been denounced by international policy expert Courtney Love.

The controversy seems to be having a negative effect on the March's leadership, though it remains to be seen whether the brethren can use it to tar all anti-Trump activists as rabid Jew-haters, or make them scared to be seen as such, as seems to be the play here.

But their efforts may be too late in any case; the Marches probably achieved their intended effect in 2017 and 2018 by establishing the abnormality of the Trump administration -- an impression that administration has since proven capable of maintaining and even highlighting all by itself.

From the big Women's March in January to the anti-Kavanaugh demos in October, ladies holding signs in the streets appeared to rattle the Right. Andrew Sullivan sputtered under a picture of protesters that all this menstrual energy was harshing his testosterone buzz. No, I'm not kidding -- Sullivan referred to man-shots he took for medical reasons, and how "the visceral experience opened my eyes to the sheer and immense natural difference between being a man and being a woman," and lamented that discussing this idea was (like all Sullivan's crackpot ideas) now "taboo" because of liberals, and "young men in this environment, will begin to ask questions about why they are now routinely seen as a 'problem,' and why their sex lives are now fair game for any journalist..." Maybe Sullivan figured since Milo flamed out, the incels needed a new gay best friend.

And the obstreperous female Kavanaugh protests, which led to hundreds of arrests, panicked wingnuts like Jay Cost, who at National Review decried the "rude, crude, and abusive" ladies' "Bullying Anti-Kavanaugh Tactics" against poor, defenseless Republican Senators and declared they "Threaten Our Republic." Some tried to posit a pro-sexual-abuser-judge female movement -- "Dems face backlash from ‘mama bears’ angered by Kavanaugh hearings," reported Mary Kay Linge for the New York Post; boy, haven't heard much from them lately, huh? -- but the main message was that women were being scary and playing rough and could they please stop. They may regret driving women out of the streets now that they're turning up in large numbers in Congress.

© 2016 FreeConcordRaw under a Creative Commons license
4. The evolution of Kevin D. Williamson. Once upon a time there was a National Review columnist who amused himself and his fellow conservatives with japes about how women who have abortions should be hanged by the neck until dead. He also said a lot of other obnoxious shit ("it should be noted that being shot in the head by a lunatic does not give one any special grace to pronounce upon public-policy questions," he once said of liberal snowflake Gabby Giffords), but when he got hired by The Atlantic, it was outrage around his abortion crack that got him unhired, leading to a mass conservative outcry that Williamson had been unfairly deprived of his Constitutional right to a job at The Atlantic.

Some, like David French of National Review, reasoned that just as he welcomed Williamson's contribution to the abortion debate despite his own more "moderate" view that "only the abortionist (and not the mother) should face murder charges," liberals should meet him halfway, too, and pay him six figures to express his valuable point of view.

Williamson himself got some mileage out of the event, railing in the Wall Street Journal about the "Twitter mob" that "came for me." Then he returned to National Review, where he has been trollier than ever. As I wrote in my newsletter:
Check out, for example, [Williamson's] rage-thrash against “craven, abject, brain-dead partisan” Democrats who were, in his imagining, trying to steal the midterms; keyslurs include “nobody really believes that Hillary Rodham Clinton is just some dotty old bat who doesn’t know how email works” and “even if Brenda Snipes were simply a wildly incompetent dope…” Also Williamson, whom The Atlantic canned for insisting that women who have abortions should be executed, suggests Snipes be criminally prosecuted because “it is time to make an example.”
During the holidays, perhaps on the advice of editors or a therapist, Williamson has regaled his readers with hymns to capitalism, but I expect before long the bile under his byline will again flow thick and dark. It'll be fun to see what happens when it clogs!


3. The year of yelling at Republicans. When the Trump Administration decided it was good politics to cage refugee children, some folks decided to let members of that administration know what they thought about it in person. Sarah Huckabee Sanders got thrown out of a restaurant, Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen got heckled in another, as did Ted Cruz months later.

It was like the French Revolution, said conservatives. "The increasing personal nastiness toward people who work for President Trump reflects the left’s understanding that they are losing. Nastiness reflects desperation not strength," tweeted that noted advocate for civil discourse, Newt Gingrich.

Rod Dreher, as is his wont, claimed that he had "three friends — two Democrats, and one anti-Republican independent — who have written to express profound concern about this political moment, and the behavior of the liberal mob. One of the Democrats — no fan of Trump or Kavanaugh — told me that her party has lost her over all this..."

Republicans picked up this sure-fire message ("Republicans accuse Democrats of ‘mob’ tactics as midterm races head down to the wire"), which led to their landslide victory just a month later in the midterms. Wait, no, the opposite happened! Americans must not have heard enough about what how mean Democrats are to members of the Trump administration; they should definitely do more complaining about that in 2019.

[Stay tuned for Part 3, soon.]

Sunday, December 30, 2018

2018: THE YEAR IN BULLSHIT, PART 1.

[See Part 2 and Part 3 as well.]

© 2014 Sean P. Anderson used under a Creative Commons license
10. The (Blessed) Silencing of Alex Jones. Remember that brief moment last summer when Alex Jones became the new John Peter Zenger because Facebook and YouTube "censored" him and all the top wingnuts nailed their colors to his escutcheon? You don't? Well, maybe that's because after a brief inital burst of caterwauling they all fucked off and left him to rot in his (still highly visible and lucrative) exile.

Here in December 2018, it's hard to imagine that conservatives were blubbering over Jones' removal from platforms that did not want him aboard. National Review's Theodore Kupfer did the old unintended-consequences thing: "Facebook can’t make Alex Jones go away; banning him might add to his support and further radicalize his fans." Others cried lefty censorship: "This is absolutely the first stage in a coordinated plan to deplatform everyone on the right," declared Instapundit Glenn Reynolds. All agreed Liberals were the Real Fascists.

Reynolds' prediction, alas, has not come true, and there are still rightwing nutcakes all over the damn place -- and while claiming they've been unpersoned or deplatformed has become a rite of passage for them (see Laura Loomer chaining herself to Twitter HQ), even bigtime conservatives have for the most part stopped playing along. You don't see many REMEMBER ALEX JONES memorials on the Right.

It's easy to see why: As it becomes increasingly clear, especially since the midterms, that relying on only the nuttiest Americans to lift them to victory is not a repeatable strategy, conservatives are not as eager as once they were to be represented by crackpots and carny clowns. Speaking of which: keep an eye out because their abandonment of Jones will probably serve as a model for their abandonment of the ever-less-popular Trump.

© 2018 Mark Dillman used under a Creative Commons license
9. OMG AOC! I know the "Fill In The Blank Derangement Syndrome" template has been going since the Dawn of the Clintons, but look: Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez is merely a freshman Congressmember from a safe seat in New York City, yet conservatives have gone ballistic over her. In fact they've been deranged since she beat the stand-pat Democratic incumbent for the nomination in July. Back then they were rattled that she was an unashamed Democratic Socialists of America member -- notwithstanding that a lot of other DSA candidates have been winning elections. (Which may be part of the reason for the syndrome -- a glimmer of awareness on the Right's part that Trump has made conservatism so toxic voters will run further to the left than Hillary Clinton ever dreamed of going.)

But even worse from a rightwing perspective, this socialist is popular: AOC is good on the stump and has fired up thousands of fans, which makes attacking her kind of a "this thing everyone likes is bad" proposition. Here's Virginia Kruter at The Daily Caller -- "YES, ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ ‘INSPIRED’ ME. NO, NOT IN THE WAY SHE THINKS... So, Rep.-elect Ocasio-Cortez, you did inspire me... You inspired me to fight the creep of socialism with everything I have. And you inspired me to raise my children to do the same." That's totally the kind of argument winners make.

Also, AOC is cute, Hispanic, *and* unafraid to clap back at dull-witted wingnuts, which attributes, taken together, probably ring at least a dozen psychosexual bells for conservatives. Did you see how she smacked a Washington Examiner facotum for his "creep shot" analysis of her walking down the halls of Congress in a dress? Imagine being a rightwing player accustomed to treating young women like chattel getting that kind of lip from a young Puertorriqueña with a House seat as thousands cheer.

Not only do liberals talk about how AOC drives conservatives crazy ("Why conservatives love to hate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez" -- Jane Coaston, Vox) --  so do conservatives ("Conservatives Keep Giving Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Exactly What She Wants" -- Jim Geraghty, National Review). It's like they figure there's nothing they can do about it except sluice off some of the clickbait.

My favorite in that genre is Kevin D. Williamson trying to turn it around with his traditional snotty patter -- "Ocasio-Cortez describes herself as a socialist," he quips, "a declaration mitigated somewhat by the fact that she doesn’t seem to know what the word 'socialist' means." There is only one thing worse than being witty, and that is not being witty. But even this notorious troll seems to sense it isn't working and finally goes full corncob, telling his fellow conservatives "if they were smarter, they’d be grateful [that]... this callow dilettante is the best the other side has to offer." That should be some comfort as she continues to kick their sorry asses.


8. The Kavanaugh hearings and the end of the Roe repeal boom. When SCOTUS "swing vote" Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement in July, wingnuts cheered the imminent end of the right to abortion. "The central mandate for the man or woman who will take his seat, and for all the justices," Glory-Hallelujah'd the Washington Examiner, under the unambiguous headline "Repeal Roe v. Wade," "is to wipe away a disgrace that ranks alongside Dred Scott, and overtun [sic] Roe and Casey.”

As Trump replacement Brett Kavanaugh was exposed as a groper and a goon (and, I was shocked to learn, a buddy-pal of longtime alicublog figure of fun Mark Judge), we heard more talk about all the women Kavanaugh didn't rape, and about how it was actually someone else disguised as Kavanaugh who tried to rape that lady, and less about how he was going to make rape victims bear their rape-babies. Theocons like Ross Douthat have kept the faith, but other conservatives have been tucking their hands in their pockets, whistling, and walking away -- and since Kavanaugh appeared to help Planned Parenthood in a recent SCOTUS decision, we're even seeing headlines like "Brett Kavanaugh is not the pro-life savior you're looking for" at the Washington Examiner.

It was fun to dream of damning women to unwanted children in the fall of 2018 -- but with elections and polls showing Republicans becoming even more unpopular, the idea of a sexual batterer repealing Roe v. Wade is suddenly less attractive to them. We don't know what the asshole will do in the clutch, but we do know he's not committed to anything so much as his career -- and probably the goodwill of the assholes who probably let him know they made him and can break him. So in one sense, at least, the Kavanaugh hearings may have done some good.


7. The Rod Dreher "Reader" "Mailbag." This is not a matter of national interest, but of my own desires (which are... unconventional), so give the blogger some: There's so much to enjoy about Benedict Option author/hyper-holy-roller Rod Dreher -- his racism, his gay panic, his love of fascist dictators. But my favorite Dreherism is his use of "mail" from "readers" to back up his points. These missives are often from a Democrat who now hates Democrats, a liberal who now hates liberals, or a Wiccan who now hates Wicca -- all of whom express themselves very clearly in a similar tone of voice.

One of 2018's great pieces of "reader" "mail" was the one in which the proud daughter of a "Scots-Irish 'clan'" laments that her family is being "torn apart" by an "LGBT bully" -- that is, a gay cousin "who publicly shames family members on Facebook." (Though this woman calls the gay cousin a "terrorist" she didn't say how or why his Facebook posts do so much damage. My guess -- assuming, for the sake of argument, that these people exist -- is that he described some family sleepovers.)

Another is from a "reader" who reports the nice young fellow down at the store was transferred to a distant location as punishment because he said he'd be uncomfortable using "transgender pronouns." I tell ya, it's a gulag out there ("there are some very obvious common threads between what happened in the early Soviet days and what we see today") for folks who want he-shes to know their place!

But here's my 2018 favorite:
I’m certainly not a typical Trump supporter — I believe in climate change and America’s responsibility to take policy steps to reduce our contribution to it, I’m anti-NRA, pro-Obamacare to an extent, and detest the Republican Party generally... 
But leaving the nuclear issue aside, the Left’s behavior in the last year has pushed me steadily more and more in the direction of being willing to vote for a sort of lower-key Trump (someone like Ben Shapiro)...
Soon Brother Rod will notice those Beto-Bernie fights that currently inflame the internet and propose the Virgin Ben as a unity candidate. You read it here first!

Stay tuned for Part 2 and Part 3 over the next few days.

Friday, December 28, 2018

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


One of my favorite tunes, of which I was reminded
by this terrific interview in the Detroit Metro Times.

•  Rod Dreher's talking Spanish Civil War and guess which side he's on:
I didn’t intend to argue about who was right and who was wrong in that war. Personally I believe the better side won … but that there were no good sides.
Translation: Bothsides, but I gotta go with the fascist dictator. Which is no shock if you're seen Dreher moon over the current crop of European fascists such as Marion Maréchal-Le Pen (and her Auntie Marine) and Viktor Orban ("It seems to me that the Orban government correctly understands that the culture war is a war of imperialism and subversion fought by other means by nations and private actors [Soros] who wish to defeat traditionalists"). To make it look good, Dreher does a little hedging, pointing out that Franco Was A Very Bad Man, but inevitably tips toward the Throne and Altar authoritarian because the Civil War was "incredibly brutal on both sides" and Jesus is the tie-breaker.

Keep in mind that mainstream conservatives like David Brooks take this guy seriously and escort him into polite company. Which has been and remains the way with modern conservatism. Get a load of Roger Kimball, the very model of a rightwing intellectual, hoity as well as toity, getting down with wingnut clown Charlie Kirk:

This is why, when people wring their hands and go, "oh William F. Buckley Jr. would never have gone along with this," I just laugh. Like his pal Reagan was any less of a moron.

•  The conservative movement is in love with Blonde Chicks with Big Glasses like S.E. Cupp and Tomi Lahren, so naturally National Review had to have its own: Katherine "Kat" Timpf, whose attempt to promote herself with a victim narrative I covered some weeks back in my newsletter (and I am unlocking that issue for you because that's the sort of Robin Goodfellow I am -- but you should still subscribe!). Her shtick is silly-liberal-snowflake stories -- and here's her latest:
Being Bigger Than the Person You’re Asking Out Deemed Title IX Violation 
A student at the University of Missouri was found to be in violation of Title IX in part because he asked another student out on a date and is physically larger than she is.
If that "in part" made you suspicious, congratulations. Further into the story:
To be fair, the document does report that the male student had also been pestering the female student for dates and wasn’t leaving her alone — which is, obviously, unacceptable — but the fact that his physical size was enough to constitute a violation-worthy power imbalance is absolutely ludicrous.
Pestering? Wasn't leaving her alone? Hmm -- sounds like him being more physically powerful than her isn't the only issue here. Amanda Marcotte and Andrew Fleischman do us the favor of reading a filing by the guy's lawyer: He sent her romantic Facebook messages, she asked him to stop; he switched to paper notes left with her dance teacher, including one containing "apologies and a confession of 'love' for her." This went on for months with no encouragement from her before the poor woman went to the authorities. Timpf's column -- "updated" once, so I can only imagine how bad it was before -- is like an Olympic victim-blaming routine, e.g.:
The way in which this kind of thinking hurts men is obvious: They risk violating a law, and potentially being punished for it, over what every sane person could agree is normal human behavior.
I predict Timpf will serve as U.N. Ambassador in the Honey Boo-Boo administration.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

WE'RE GONNA GET BORN.


Fuck "Baby, It's Cold Outside."


Wassail, motherfuckers! It's been a rough year, but aren't they all? Our national avatar is corrupt and stupid, true, but at least he's so absurdly corrupt and stupid that we can get a few laughs out of him. F'rinstance, here he is spoiling children's Christmases at NORAD. Imagine his other conversations: "Listen, sweetheart, a piece of advice: lose the lisp and the little-girl act. Grownups respect one thing and that's toughness. Now ask me where Santa is like I better tell you or it's my ass... hm, she hung up. Well, if you can't stand the heat..."

Fuck that guy anyway. Hope you all get everything you need and everything you want. And if it's a choice, pick the latter! Whether it's a piece of pumpkin pie or a crack rock, it ain't gonna be there forever and neither are we.

(And if you have gifts left ungiven and feel like a heel, allow me.)

Friday, December 21, 2018

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



Martha Davis, ladies and gentlemen.

  I opened up the newsletter to non-subscribers today so you can all peek in at the President in conference with that guy who's raising money to build his wall. It'll all end in tears and lawsuits, no doubt, but I like my version better.

  Maybe you've caught up with this headline from The Federalist--
You’re Not Allowed To Knock Trump For Stormy Daniels If You Watch Porn
-- but not bothered to read the story, and who could blame you? (The author bio says only "John Sweeney writes from New Jersey"; I like to think this is some kind of subtle editorial comment.) But if you're imagining a simple, knuckle-headed hypocrisy argument, you're missing the bigger picture; in fact Sweeney never actually gets around to arguing the Trump point.  He's more interested in defining looking at dirty pictures as adultery:
Presumably, thousands of men engage in adulterous behavior with pornographers and strippers every day.
Culturally we may not believe it, but each time a married man watches pornography, he commits an act of adultery.
Your "culture" may not let you admit it, but my God spits on your heathen culture!
...Although it may be difficult to admit, we cannot continue to ignore that watching pornography while in a relationship is tantamount to cheating. I realize that some will assume this is nothing more than a puritanical, prudish screed. But when considered honestly, my conclusion about porn is unavoidable.
If you guessed Sweeney's "if you're honest, you'll admit these scrawls on my cardboard sign are the revealed truth of the Lord" shtick presages some loony-logic, congratulations. (Sweeney does this kind of bullying throughout -- "I find it hard to believe that anyone would honestly justify this," "No issue can be honestly settled without first establishing some common ground," "let’s start with a common-sense assumption regarding infidelity," "I think most know, whether they want to admit it or not," etc. Well, he shares an audience with Mollie Hemingway, so maybe it works on them.)

The basis is, married men feel guilty about looking at porn ("we don’t wait for our wives to leave the house to watch baseball"), and they feel guilty about adultery, therefore porn is adultery. Similarly, if you surreptitiously turn up the heat when the wife's not around even though she asked you not to, it's basically fraud, so who are you to blame Trump for that, either? Sweeney goes up the ladder: Adultery is wrong, right? And so is "engaging in virtual sex with a woman [you] met online," right? Well, then so is simple porn because "the only real difference is that a typical pornographic video is pre-recorded. But adultery does not have to take place in real time."

I wonder: If you beat off without look at porn, are you cheating on your significant other with yourself? And if so, aren't you doubly sinful, because you are committing both adultery and the sin of homosexuality, since you are the same sex as yourself? You must admit my conclusion is unavoidable!


Thursday, December 20, 2018

THE NEVERTRUMP REVIVAL.

Going back to find out what Megan McArdle has been up to is always an unpleasant duty, like checking on an incontinent dog you haven't seen for several hours, and it's exaxctly the shitshow you'd expect. The latest has McArdle, who has opposed Obamacare with hot fury for years and resorted to poignant affirmations to temper her sorrow when the Supreme Court upheld it, now telling Republicans that they better get used to Obamacare. She does not mention that 20 million more Americans are insured since the ACA took effect, but does say it was "fewer people than expected." (Another phrase missing from her column: "pre-existing conditions.")

Apparently McArdle has sniffed the wind and feels she must be part of an imaginary anti-Trump conservative consensus. Hell, some days ago she even worked this angle when writing about the demise of the anti-Trump conservative Weekly Standard, and emitted this concatenation bomb of delusion:
Some of the movement’s stalwarts did turn into Trump boosters, if only half-hearted ones. What was stunning was how many refused, including those at the Weekly Standard.
!
...Another acknowledgment is also due: The past two years have given the lie to many of the nastiest accusations the left levels against conservative intellectuals — that conservative ideas are little more than veils for personal greed, that conservative institutions are nothing but a grift racket, selling self-justification to the richest bidder.
!!
If that were true, there would be no civil war shattering the movement, and there would certainly be no #NeverTrump conservatives holding firm. I’m certainly not suggesting that everyone in the movement has stood fast against the Trump incursion. What’s impressive is how many did.
!!!!! A civil war shattering the movement! Let's get in the Wayback Machine and see what was going on with conservatives all the way back in... October, when Brett Kavanaugh was before the Senate. Didn't see a lot of breakage with Trump, there. It was all hands on dick!

Let's also take a quick look at National Review, flagship pub of the conservative movement, to see how they've abandoned Trump. There's Kevin Williamson saying "there is not going to be a coast-to-coast [border] wall, nor would such a thing be desirable," but that's okay because Trump sent billions to Mexico so they could beef up enforcement on their *southern* border:
It’s fine to sneer at U.S. foreign aid, much of which is simply a money-laundering operation for U.S.-based military contractors and other politically connected businesses. But progress in Mexico and in Central America is of real, immediate, and lasting interest to the United States: economically, politically, and socially.
In other words, like any good wingnut Williamson disapproves of foreign aid -- it's foreign, and even worse it's aid! -- but when Trump does it, it's bound to work. Wonder how he got that past the NeverTrump NR editors!

(Ha, kidding -- EIC Rich Lowry, onetime NeverTrumper and post-election author of "The NeverTrump Delusion," is represented today at Politico by "The Insufferable James Comey," and if you think he speaks on Hillary's behalf you must be new here -- his defense of Flynn and the President against Comey [who he says, get this, "bent over backward to get to the conclusion that President Barack Obama and his Justice department wanted in the Hillary Clinton email investigation"] would get Rudy Giuliani thinking "ugh, what a suck-up." To keep up the Sorry-Charlie affect of independence, though, he does stick in comments like "A lot of people have been diminished by the Trump years," which I like to think is a rueful reference to himself.)

Meanwhile for readers who are not cool with Williamsonian subtext, there's full-on Trumpkin Victor Davis Hanson, who tells us
Sheer numbers have radically changed electoral politics. Take California. One out of every four residents in California is foreign-born. Not since 2006 has any California Republican been elected to statewide office... 
Salad-bowl multiculturalism, growing tribalism and large numbers of unassimilated immigrants added up to politically advantageous demography for Democrats in the long run... 
Latin American governments and Democratic operatives assume that lax border enforcement facilitates the outflow of billions of dollars in remittances sent south of the border and helps flip red states blue.
In other words, the Democrats are importing Messicans to vote for them, and the only way to thwart their race-treason is a wall, which "would radically change the optics of illegal immigration" and "remind the world that undocumented immigrants are not always noble victims but often selfish young adult males..."

These days, with Mueller seeming to close in, one does see prominent conservatives hedging their bets a la McArdle. But all that's meant to accomplish is the possible preservation of their jobs once people start hunting Trumpkins down like dogs: Trump correctly assesses that the actual policy danger of pseudo-outrage from Sorry-Charlie Conservatives With Good Taste is meaningless, which is why he just followed his mood-swing and announced America was leaving Syria. I'm for pulling the U.S. out of everywhere, but I must admit I'm almost as pleased by the resulting homina-homina of dopes like Jeff Flake whose Brave Sir Robin act has been spoiled by this. It's one thing to pretend to want to save citizens' health care, but by God this is the permanent war Trump's fucking with! These people have always been useless, and now everyone knows it -- which it why they're running for cover.

Friday, December 14, 2018

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Some singers, trying to stay on beat, sound like they're rushing this lyric. 
Not her. 25 years old and totally in charge. RIP.

•  The idea of Jared Kushner as a potential Chief of Staff is so hilarious to me that I am moved to release to non-subscribers two of my recent newsletter issues that feature the big cluck in dramatic colloquy with the President:
"Disappointed Office Seeker": From last week, in which Jared is in distress because Dad sent that blond chick with big tits to the U.N. instead of him; 
"A CoS Line": From today! Jared auditions for the newly vacant role.
I'm prejudiced, but I think these little playlets are pretty funny, plus they have swears. (P.S. If you're stuck for Xmas ideas, my newsletter is cheap and easy to gift!)

•  If you're in the business, you're not supposed to cheer when a magazine closes, and I'm not such a prick that I would laugh at the loss of jobs or even the silencing of the Weekly Standard writers whom I unfailingly found to be idiots* -- even though I have to say now-former Standard film critic John Podhoretz makes it hard not to laugh with his j'accuse against the management, which actually contains the line "That sounds pompous, and I hate sounding pompous, but it’s true." Also funny:
This approach was an immediate success. The Standard was the only successful high-end magazine launch of its time and, I believe, the last important print magazine created in America before the Internet began its search-and-destroy mission against those things published on the pulp products of dead trees.
To be sure, it has never made money.
Maybe you have to have spent your entire life in the for-profit capitalist rat race, as I and most Americans have done, to get the joke. Oh, and Podhoretz's l'envoi as a critic is pretty awful too, but provokes more wuts that lolwuts. Sample: "Out of Africa was perhaps the ur-version of The Beautifully Constructed Big-Budget Middlebrow Picture Made by a Major Studio That Takes on Serious Topics." Podhoretz is the only Jewish cinephile who has never heard of Gentleman's Agreement, apparently. The rest is even worse. So I wouldn't say good riddance -- the worst of this lot will certainly be picked up by other wingnut welfare makework projects anyway; I will instead say thanks for the gift of laughter.

*Addendum: I just realized that Terry Teachout wrote for the Standard, too -- so they weren't all idiots. Here's his last piece for the magazine, like everything he writes thoughtful, well-said and worth your time. He still has his regular gig at the Wall Street Journal if you want to keep up with him.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

BITCHFINDER GENERAL.

Ross Douthat is here to run theocon Routine 12 on us -- that you heathens who don't go to his Church are not the free-thinkers you think you are, for you are merely worshiping the Golden Calf of penicillin, soap and toothpaste rather than his True God. At the top he pretends to wonder whether we've all really gone secular rather than alt-religious, and seems to dismiss the idea, because everybody needs a creed:
But the secularization narrative is insufficient, because even with America’s churches in decline, the religious impulse has hardly disappeared. In the early 2000s, over 40 percent of Americans answered with an emphatic “yes” when Gallup asked them if “a profound religious experience or awakening” had redirected their lives; that number had doubled since the 1960s, when institutional religion was more vigorous.
I have not been to an Ivy, but feel nonetheless I can explain: "when institutional religion was more vigorous" you didn't talk about having “a profound religious experience or awakening” because people would think you'd gone nuts. But once Americans started to take more drugs, travel more by camper van, and generally loosen up their sphincters, you had people describing their acid trips or bungee jumps as religious rather than sensual experiences. That did not mean they now considered rubber ropes or purple barrel to be sacraments of a New Church -- they merely had no better language to describe their experiences.  I mean if these hippie effusions were actually religious, Burning Man would have catacombs by now.

Still, Douthat thinks that at least some of the unchurched have drifted into a new pagan religions, and you will know them by their eccentric behaviors:
...ritual and observance, augury and prayer, that do promise that in some form gods or spirits really might exist and might offer succor or help if appropriately invoked. I have in mind the countless New Age practices that promise health and well-being and good fortune, the psychics and mediums who promise communication with the spirit world, and also the world of explicit neo-paganism, Wiccan and otherwise. 
Sounds like someone just got back from the Ren Faire, or Santa Fe! But why should he, I, or anyone care if some sliver of the godless go in for Tarot and Enya? Ahh, but danger and darkness for us all lie in these heresies! Hear Douthat say the sooth:
To get a fully revived paganism in contemporary America... the philosophers of pantheism and civil religion would need to build a religious bridge to the New Agers and neo-pagans, and together they would need to create a more fully realized cult of the immanent divine, an actual way to worship, not just to appreciate, the pantheistic order they discern.
It seems like we’re some distance from that happening — from the intellectuals whom [Steven D.] Smith describes as pagan actually donning druidic robes, or from Jeff Bezos playing pontifex maximus for a post-Christian civic cult. 
You assume, or at least hope, that Douthat finds these images as ridiculous as you do -- but then:
The 1970s, when a D.C. establishment figure like Sally Quinn was hexing her enemies, were a high-water mark for those kinds of experiments among elites. 
Maybe they don't have editors at the Times anymore -- I shouldn't wonder -- but why didn't anyone ask Douthat what evidence he had that Sally Quinn's voodoo dolls were not just proof that Sally Quinn is a daffy as hell old rich lady, but also part of real Satanic activity among the elites? Who else was working the Ouija boards and magic wands? And has it only gotten worse? Maybe after a couple of queries Douthat would have cracked and cried out PIZZAGATE IS REAL!
Now, occasional experiments in woke witchcraft and astrology notwithstanding, there’s a more elite embarrassment about the popular side of post-Christian spirituality. 
That embarrassment may not last forever; perhaps a prophet of a new harmonized paganism is waiting in the wings. 
SOOOOOOROOOOOOOS
Until then, those of us who still believe in a divine that made the universe rather than just pervading it — and who have a certain fear of what more immanent spirits have to offer us — should be able to recognize the outlines of a possible successor to our world-picture, while taking comfort that it is not yet fully formed.
The words "certain fear" link to a story about exorcism. Wait -- now I get it -- Douthat finally saw The Exorcist! And he knows that poor little girl wasn't randomly chosen by Pazuzu -- he was guided to her by Sally Quinn and her Georgetown coven! Who knows what other black mischief these harpies have summoned -- why, theirs may be the force that invaded and ruined the Republican Party, causing it to reject Douthat's neo-communitarian ideas and turn into the Trump mob! Finally, an explanation that makes sense!

If you see Douthat outside Comet Ping Pong with a long parcel, call the cops.