Tuesday, May 18, 2021


As I have mentioned, Rod Dreher is in Budapest, ostensibly as a visiting fellow at the rightwing Danube Institute but, it would seem from his own accounts, to be turned and lathed by Viktor Orbán's agents for the international fascist movement. Among his many self-embarrassments that I have recorded has been his defense of the Red Chinese vs. the terminally "woke" West ("There’s an argument to be made that a country would be better off with ChiCom College than with the University of Baizuo [the Chinese term of derision for 'white leftists']"). Kinda makes sense -- the American conservative movement and the GOP have been turning hard against democracy; Rod's handlers are just getting him out in front. 

Well, after a month in Viktor's Orbit, Dreher has made great progress, emitting such fash aphorisms as "You cannot have a society in which people feel free to live however they like, and expect that society to thrive," and, as ever, raging against black and gay and trans people. He even turned over an entire blog post -- defending the new Chinese college Orbán brought in to replace the liberal arts college he drove out of the country -- to a more exprienced Orbánist operative to write, in prose even more clunkily propagandistic than his own, which must have really been tough for the logorrheic Dreher to sit for. Still, if he's going to play for the team, he's gotta learn when to warm the bench. 

One of the more bizarre tropes of Dreher's residency has been his obsession with a statue -- a replica of the Statue of Liberty back home in the corrupt West, painted in rainbow colors with "Black Lives Matter" on her plaque. He's mentioned it no fewer than five times - starting with this:

I spoke to a Hungarian man about that recently, and he said, “This is why I stand by Orbán, even though I don’t like some things he’s doing. We can see that our Left is trying to bring the same things here. Did you know that there was a Black Lives Matter statue here in Budapest? The far right tore it down, but it was there for a day, and had Lady Liberty in a rainbow flag. What is that doing in Budapest? We don’t have any black people here, but the Left is trying to import American issues.”

Of course. It’s a globalist left-wing ideology: gender fluidity, racial consciousness, soft totalitarianism. And it’s all being pushed by elites in the media and in institutions...

Then again ("Another Hungarian today brought up in conversation the recent construction of a Black Lives Matter/LGBT Statue of Liberty") and again ("the fact, though, that the left-wing Budapest city government erected a Black Lives Matter/LGBT Statue of Liberty as a protest against the Orbán government is not a good sign") and again ("Did you know that there was a Black Lives Matter statue here in Budapest?") and again ("as I wrote last week, the anti-Orbán Left recently erected a mock-up of the Statue of Liberty").   

You have to wonder why the thing eats at him so much. Maybe it's like Giuliani when he was Mayor and the "Sensations" show at the Brooklyn Museum drove him to sputtering rage back in 1999 -- only, unlike Giuliani, Dreher has no complaisant press (well, besides his high-profile buddies like David Brooks and so far they haven't gone for this one) to amplify his crusade stateside, so he signals madly like a castaway at a distant ship. Or maybe the Orbán agents who keep coming up to him and saying shit like "pardon me, stranger, I'm just a poor shopkeeper who wants everybody to live in peace but the decadent West must be purified by cleansing fire" see some percentage in working him up to mentioning it every week.

BTW, here's an article with some background on that statue from German media outlet Deutsche Welle (h/t @David_Jorgonson at Twitter). Highlights:

As a non-partisan mayor [of Budapest district Ferencváros] supported by the opposition, [Krisztina] Baranyi says she's used to being condemned by the pro-government media. But now she is being insulted on all channels and threatened with rape and acid attacks, she told DW. "All we wanted was to give young Hungarian artists a chance to show their art in public," the district mayor said.

Yeah, that tracks. Also:

Commentators on Hungarian television contributed to fueling the controversy. One of them compared the artwork to erecting a statue for Adolf Hitler. Origo, the largest government-related online news site, described the sculpture as the beginning of "incitement and hatred against whites and Christians" in Hungary. Zsolt Bayer, a notorious right-wing media figure and co-founder of Orban's Fidesz party, even threatened to destroy it.

There was also criticism of the sculpture from the government itself. Minister at the Prime Minister's Office, Gergely Gulyas, called the Black Lives Matter movement "fundamentally racist" because it does not see white people as equals. "So it's not the ones who oppose a statue to BLM that are racist but the ones erecting it," Gulyas declared in December. [emphasis added

You're The Real Racists, aka Routine 9! I don't know why the boys in the bund bothered with Dreher -- it looks like he and they were already reading from the same playbook.  

Friday, May 14, 2021


The Hall of Fame fucks left out the Dolls, phooey! 
Here's a song I thought for years was a Dolls original, Good either way.

•   I said last week I was scaling back on the freebies from Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, aka the only Substack that's not just some mope crying cancelculture (plus it has laffs!). But I can't help it, mine is a generous nature -- this week I offer two out of this week's five (5) issues, which is what I give paying customers every week (How does he do it! How long can he last!). The first shows a conference between Bari Weiss and the Kentucky Derby guy who said he was cancelcultured (i.e. caught doping his horse); the second is today's installment, about how, while the Never Trumpers have receded, the Just-The-Tip Trumpers have emerged as the Republican Party's dominant faction, led by Crazy Jesus Lady Peggy Noonan. 

•   Speaking of logrolling, I seldom do the hat-tips that were once the bread and butter of blogdom because no one gives a shit about blogs anymore (even Tubby can't get the rubes stiff with his). But I must mention that Ellis Weiner, an old National Lampoon hand, has a food blog called Learning from Linguine that anyone will appreciate who has gazed in mute horror at the increasingly atrocioius atrocities with which foodies try to wring clicks 'n' cachet out of the ancient art of cookery. This, for example, is from Weiner's response to Eleven Madison Park going meatless:

1. Learning from Linguine will, from today on, not publish any recipes using beef unless they’re really good. That will eliminate some of the beef-based recipes we have already developed and have otherwise intended to publish, which aren’t so great.

2. As for other forms of meat, we will only publish recipes which employ meats from animals that only eat plants. We will immediately shut down our research program investigating the feasibility of employing plants that eat meat, such as the Venus Fly-Trap (Dionaea muscipula)...

Mighty good copy for the pennies it costs. (Actually it's free -- even better!) 

•   Last week I documented the new rightwing craze of denouncing people who wear masks as The Real Virus-Spreaders. Now that the CDC says the vaccinated can go commando, these people are getting completely out of hand, as we can see from the cocaine-encrusted Don Junior's ravings:

Ben Shapiro does something similar ("we have known this for months"), albeit with less gums-rubbing and sniffling. Nearly as bad are the allegedly respectable rightwing outlets like TownHall:

For weeks, everyone knew you didn’t need to wear a mask after you were vaccinated. You also didn’t spread the virus when you got the shot as well; that was atrocious science fiction that Dr. Anthony Fauci and his crew peddled...

Well, it turns [out] Rand [Paul] and the rest of us who knew that mask-wearing after vaccination was idiocy were right. The experts don’t know anything. Well, first, they’re not really experts. They’re DC bureaucrats who are giving their so-called advice while also hoping to get more funding for next year’s budget so ulterior motives abound...

This is sort of a post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, only dumber: Because scientists have now decided it's safe for the vaccinated to do without masks, rightwingers think it proves masks were never necessary and WHAT ELSE WERE THEY LYING TO US ABOUT!

Myself, I have a few days of mask-wearing left because my wife's vaccination is not yet fully cooked and I care what happens to people who are not me -- which is not a universal trait in this country, alas, so even after this, I'll be selective about masklessness -- like, definitely masking on buses and trains when that becomes optional, because I know the psychos who spent a year rampaging through stores without masks screaming about their rights will now just sit quietly and contentedly diffusing COVID. 

Meantime let us savor what may be the apotheosis of this nonsense -- Matt Taibbi claiming Biden only kept wearing a mask (until yesterday, that is) because he's a tyrant:

I’d be the last person to ever suggest an unvaccinated person go without a mask — I wore one everywhere since this thing started — but the symbolism of, say, a vaccinated Joe Biden still wearing a mask outdoors in defiance of CDC guidelines, or Kamala Harris releasing pictures of herself wearing a mask for a Zoom call, is increasingly obvious. For a politician, the mask is a symbol of the authority he or she has borrowed from science, and removing one is a symbol that the fear justifying emergency power has subsided. It’s hardly surprising to see a reluctance to take masks off, even when scientists say it’s fine to do so.

That Taibbi stuck this on yet another cancelculture blubberfest is just the shit icing on the crapcake. 

UPDATE on the above -- This is rich: At HotAir, Ed Morrissey is mad at Nancy Pelosi because... she wants all House members to keep wearing masks because the Republican members refuse to get vaccinated.

And … so? As someone who was masking when the CDC advised against it, I’m in better position than most to say that the risk should be transferred to those who refuse to vaccinate. I might still choose to mask up in certain situations, in large part to protect my immune-suppressed wife, but that will be my choice. There is no need to mandate me as a vaccinated person to mask up on the basis that people choose not to vaccinate, a standard that would in essence become a permanent mask mandate and put the burden of irresponsibility on responsible citizens.

Where precisely is the risk here anyway? It’s on those who choose not to get vaccinated. As the CDC finally admitted yesterday and the science has shown for months...

(Funny, I didn't know Morrissey was an epidemiologist as well as a propagandist.)

...the vaccinated have such a surpassingly microscopic risk of symptomatic infection and contagious status that no further protection is necessary. If the unvaccinated feel at risk over unmasked vaccinated people, they can either (a) mask up themselves, or (b) get vaccinated, as the vaccines are now ubiquitously available, especially for members of Congress.

If the Republicans and staffers who choose not to get vaccinated end up with an acute case of COVID-19, that’s on them.

So, even though Morrissey is still masking himself because he has an immunocompromised loved one, he's less angry at the GOP assholes who ain't gonna take no goldurned vaccine than he is at the Democrats who will mask in session to mitigate the risk their maskless colleagues willfully present. 

As I've pointed out, these assholes were bitching a few weeks ago that by staying masked Democrats were discouraging vaccination.  Now we have a perfect closed study of conservatives who won't mask no matter what, and Morrissey is bitching that Democrats are staying masked because...they're being too accommodating toward their more vulnerable colleagues, I guess, which is bad because it's mollycoddling and Republicans are ruff-tuff creampuffs

I expect next Morrissey will start yelling at grocery stores that continue to require masks-- c'mon, the responsible customers are safe, and to hell with the rest of them! And don't talk to me about "variants," I'm a conservative and I know the science was settled months ago in my favor.

Friday, May 07, 2021


James Chance plays James Brown.

•   There are a few unlocked Roy Edroso Breaks It Down stories on the site, but I warn you, I'll be scaling way back on these in the future in order to keep the flow of Soup For My Family going. So subscribe, ya cheap bastards! Meantime here's the newest: An announcement we may expect at any moment from the latest vacant rightwing celebrity candidate, Caitlyn Jenner. I note most of the rightwing news coverage of her absurd candidacy has been heavy on embarrassed silence -- even Rod Dreher, who's been pitching a full-body fit about trans people for years, has yet to weigh in. I see tradcath National Review writer Michael Brendan Dougherty has a paywalled thing up dek'd thus: "Caitlyn Jenner’s campaign has an undeniable, if corrupting, allure that leaves viewers — ahem, voters — wondering what will happen next." You know who else had undeniable if corrupting allure! I won't sully my conscience with a subscription, but if someone sent me the text I'd indulge my morbid curiosity. 

UPDATE -- Ugh I got to see Dougherty's first graf:
When Caitlyn Jenner said to Sean Hannity, “I love California,” I totally bought it. Despite my reservations and curled lip. The words were breathy, nostalgic, and weird, especially in that nerdy voice coming from behind that dishy hairdo. But I believed it in a way I’ve never believed anything that Sean Hannity has said. And if the Wheaties-box-Olympian-turned-reality-TV-star is going to upend California politics — a prospect about which I have my doubts and dreads — it is because, unlike the normal Republican pols, there is a real emotion behind the artificial appearance.
Or to paraphrase the old joke about Moses:  You know it's bullshit, I know it's bullshit, but business is business! NR cuts it off there, but I was actually able to hear the rest via audio version. It's too stupid to call for a thorough, diligent transcription, but here's the "best" line: "With Jenner, the organs may have been misplaced, but the glands are still pumping hormones in there somewhere." Otherwise it's the usual snarls against liberal Cali -- there's "human excrement in the street," plus, Dougherty complains, the houses cost too much! -- and ends with a half-hearted nag about gender activism, but in general he approves because lol, owned much libs. Wait'll he and the rest of them find out Jerry Brown isn't immortal and can't be called back to rebalance the books after Jenner fucks it all up. 

•   One of the most infuriating things I've seen from the alleged "Party of the Working Class" GOP is the draconian measures employed by some of its governors (more on the way, I'm sure) to force their unemployed to fill the shit-paying jobs that have gone begging pronto or get kicked into the street. Apparently the many assholes blubbering that you just can't get a good dishwasher for pocket change anymore have jerked the Republicans' chains and they in turn are putting the whip to their less-fortunate citizens.  

South Carolina governor Henry McMaster and Montana governor Greg Gianforte are actually going to deny their people the extra federal unemployment benefits they've been getting, and Florida's Ron DeSantis -- or as I like to call him, Chunky Scott Walker -- says he's re-instituting work-search documentation requirements for Floridians on the dole, so if they can't prove they hit all the fast-food joints in town looking for a sub-living-wage, they're cut off. 

I'm sure these assholes are also against the $15 federal minimum wage. And all of them sing the same refrain from the wingnut donor-class hymnal: "Employers can't find workers."  The right of their citizens to a decent job doesn't exist, but the right of their donors to an involuntary cheap labor force does.  

Naturally scumbags like Paul Mirengoff at Power Line ("ANOTHER SENSIBLE DECISION FROM RON DESANTIS") are all in favor. I can hardly think of more to say about it, except that if Dante's underworld actually existed they'd need several more circles to handle all the traffic. 

Wednesday, May 05, 2021


You could go to Tubby's "new" "social media" site, which Fox News finds very exciting, or you could look at it through the protective glass of my own lens. To each their own. 

As for the ravings of the brethren over Facebook's decision not to let the insurrectionist deposed leader back onto their platform, it is as you expect: Lots of blubbering that Tubby has been "censored," as if he were the Man In The Iron Muzzle trapped in a liberal prison, rather than a vicious blowhard who treated the site's Terms of Service like he treats all other rules and, in a refreshing change of pace, paid for it. 

Among those who believe there's a constitutional right to a Facebook account is Ian Haworth at the Daily Wire, who though pleased that Tubby has (as he always had!) alternative means of reaching his yahoos online, nonetheless laments that "the Left’s 'iron curtain' of speech" prevents him from forcing his ravings onto the social media brand of his choosing:

However, in the long-term it accepts the Left’s premise that conservative voices do not belong in the online public square. By accepting this premise, and shifting to conservative alternatives rather than fighting for our right to participate, we risk effectively endorsing an internet-based form of ideological segregation.

And in this form of ideological segregation, once the systems are in place, it’ll be very hard to reintegrate again.

In other words, without Twitter and Facebook Trump is nothing more than another loudmouth, and most of us will not take the few extra online steps to go to wherever he's still welcome and listen to his bullshit. He (and, by implication, any conservative voice) needs to be parked in the middle of the busiest lanes on the internet or people won't voluntarily pay attention. 

This follows the longstanding theory that without the click-hungry media training their mics and cameras on him -- and even, you'll remember, on empty podiums marked "Trump" waiting for him to arrive -- this grotesque con artist would never have ascended to the highest office in the land. And now that voters have shown this to be a grievous error, some of his enablers are backing off. Well, better late than never, I guess, though I expect once the coast is clear they'll elevate Honey Boo-Boo or some other has-been. In the meantime let us savor the blessed silence.

Friday, April 30, 2021


Ah, that's the stuff. I miss noise.
(Can you believe they did this in 2003? The ex-kids are alright!) 

•   Biden's speech appears to have gone down a treat among normal people -- naturally, as it was delivered by an avuncular old man who already did a good job of delivering COVID vaccinations and is now promising to similarly fix other fucked-up shit. The brethren are furiously spinning it. Ham-faced pundit Erick Erickson first tried "Republicans Should Be Encouraged By The Biden Speech," on the grounds that it was "a desperate grab for control" that's "going to cause more inflation and that's going to hurt Biden" (Gasp! Not inflation! Someone get out the old WIN pins!) and anyway "the Democrats are headed into disarray... Joe Biden's days are numbered and he knows it."

Erickson must have looked at the polls, because the next day he was claiming "two days after Joe Biden’s first address to Congress, more people are talking about Tim Scott’s response than Joe Biden’s speech." If this were true, since Erickson thinks Biden's speech was a dog I don't see how that's supposed to be bad for Democrats; also, to the extent people are talking about Scott, it's certainly attributable to fascination that there's still a black Republican in Congress, and that he claims liberals called him the n-word. (Didn't say who, though! Maybe he's saving it for his autobiography.) This routine is catnip to Erickson, who praises Scott for "exposing how must [sic] the progressive wokes really hate this country" and "reminding Americans how out of touch the elite tastemakers and opinion setters are." Candace Owens, Sheriff David Clark, and Ali Alexander must be pissed, all their dreams of joining Ron DeSantis on a You're The Real Racist GOP Unity Ticket having crumbled. (I wonder whether Scott's speech moved the 47% of Republicans who think Derek Chauvin is innocent.)

Peggy Noonan does her bit, and it's a chef's casserole of rightwing received opinion. Being smarter than Erickson she knows she'd better acknowledge that Biden seems nice, but then it's Coffee Break Over Everyone Back On Their Heads: After the snottiness that has become the new GOP SOP on Biden's social distancing and masking ("playacting Pandemic Theatre" -- guess she thinks gin kills the germs before they can get to her lungs), and some How Will You Pay for It posturing, it's time to Reacharound Across The Aisle:

The president said again he is eager to negotiate with Republicans. There isn’t much evidence of this, but here are the reasons he should be treating them with respect and as equal partners. It would be good for the country to see the Senate actually working—negotiating, making deals, representing constituencies. It would be good for the Democrats to show they’re not just playing steamroller and flattening the Republicans; they’re reasoning because they’re reasonable. Also they need Republicans to co-own legislative outcomes because whatever they are they’ll be very liberal. Negotiation and compromise...

I'm seriously asking: Does anyone believe this shit anymore? After Tubby paid off Republican donors with his trillion-dollar-plus Tax and Jobs Act, and all the pandemic spending, people have started losing their fear of deficit spending; also, they know economically things are fucked up and bullshit and even Republican voters want a higher minimum wage -- but the Republican Party is still blubbering about deficits and bootstraps, preaching Reaganism to generations who weren't around to be bamboozled by it and who probably look upon the artifacts of the Age of Alex P. Keaton with horror and disgust. How are Democrats supposed to negotiate with that?

Noonan alludes to this shift in the vaguest way possible  -- she sees "a deep reconsideration" and Americans "questioning that oldest American tradition: ambition" and seeking "something new, less driven, more communal." That could mean what the left is proposing with anti-racism and mutual aid -- or it could be evangelical home-school Bible rule. I think she sees a replay of the 1970s, when social and political upheavals led to the Reagan reactionary wave on which she built her career. But it's interesting that she won't say out loud where it will go; a true careerist always leaves the door open for a heel-turn. 

•   This week's Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebies include this one about the stupid Biden Bans Red Meat thing that conservatives were spreading a week ago but you know what? Better you should just go in the front door and look at all the stories that don't have locks next to their descriptors. And then subscribe! I know some of you can afford it. 

Thursday, April 29, 2021


Maybe some of you can explain this to me. You'll recall that when last we left Rod Dreher, he had removed to Budapest to study crypto-fascism under Viktor Orbán and John O’Sullivan. Since then he has been frequenting a coffee shop named after Roger Scruton, so maybe he's being surreptitiously microdosed, because some of his effusions have spun even further out of the Dreher Belt than usual. 


I hope, at the end of the 20th century, when the Chinese masters of the globe write the history of the West’s decline and fall, they note that it was a suicide. Seriously, yesterday I was having a beer with a Hungarian journalist, and mentioned to him that it troubled me that the Hungarian government is going to welcome a Budapest campus of Fudan University, the first foreign outpost of the Shanghai college. Fudan U. is one of the best in China, and best in the world. My Hungarian interlocutor observed that “there won’t be any wokeness at Fudan.” As much as I recoil at the idea of Communist China establishing a beachhead in Hungary, on second thought, it would not be obvious to me that it’s more dangerous to do an academic deal with the Chinese devil than with the Western devil. As we see daily, wokeness is destroying the West. If this insanity takes hold in Hungary, it’s going to tear Hungary to bits. There’s an argument to be made that a country would be better off with ChiCom College than with the University of Baizuo (the Chinese term of derision for “white leftists”). [Emphasis added

I ask my readers who are more tuned into rightwing esoterica: What the fuck? I'm aware that conservatives would rather be ruled by Putin than by Democrats. But the Red Chinese? 

Wednesday, April 28, 2021


Tucker Carlson's bizarre rant, calling for his followers to report parents whose children wear masks outdoors to call child protective services, has been widely noted. But Carlson is only pushing the current conservative line. For a long while the more prominent conservatives were cowed out of bitching too loudly about social distancing and other rudimentary public health measures because their hero Trump had so disastrously (and, for hundreds of thousands of Americans, fatally) bungled the pandemic, and Biden's return to sane policy and practice was clearing it up quickly: The drop from Jan. 11, when there were over a quarter million new COVID-19 cases, to yesterday, when there were 47,430, has been spectacular.

But paradoxically, that progress is emboldening rightwingers to yell that they're being oppressed by Biden, Fauci, and all you liberal mask-wearers. 

Among other things, Biden has been doing what a leader should be doing, and what Trump most egregiously did not: modeling responsible behavior by wearing a mask in a public. Today the Washington Examiner editorializes "Ditch the mask, Mr. President." You can see with what good faith this is offered in the very first line:

It’s a tough call as to which time President Joe Biden looked more foolish in a mask.

Was it the picture of Biden alone in the middle of Arlington National Cemetery, vaccinated, outdoors, and physically distanced to the extent that nobody else appeared in the intentionally crafted shots showing hundreds of gravestones?

Or was it the Zoom meeting?...

You might think it better that Biden overdo it than, as his predecessor did, summon hordes of bugchasers to mob up maskless at rallies and at the White House, spreading contagion. But the Examiner argues -- well, it's not really an argument at all; merely a line of bullshit that a maskless, virus-insouciant Biden would encourage vaccination by "showing the hesitant that vaccination has benefits would help the cause of ending this pandemic." 

Ha! No one on God's green earth believes that. Surveys show most of the vaccine avoiders are Republicans who probably think Biden is Satan and who would take him dropping the mask as Liberal Elitist Hypocrisy Cuomo Newsome Think Yer Too Big To Wear a Mask Well I Ain't A-Gonna Do Nothin' Bleargh. 

Herd immunity is widely considered to be achieved at 70% vaccination/infection (though there are arguments that this may not be sufficient). The most recent partly-or-wholly vaccinated American number is 141.8 million;  32.2 Americans have been infected, and if we remove the 573,000 unfortunates who died of COVID-19, that leaves about 172.6 million. The population of the United States is 328.2 million. Figure it out. We're closing in but we're not there yet. 

So it's really great the CDC has approved masklessness in uncrowded outdoor settings, but the Examiner editors, like all these guys, have no interest in beating the pandemic or even sensibly sliding out of lockdown, and will merely use it as a further excuse to bitch and moan because they're not getting their way.

Sunday, April 25, 2021


Longtime readers know what pleasure I get from this annual Oscar thing, notwithstanding my poor track record. (Mind, I was one of the few who called Green Book in 2019.) So indulge me, please. I reviewed seven of the eight Best Picture nominees at Roy Edroso Breaks It Down; the seventh and the links to the previous six are here, and if you can't access them it's because you haven't subscribed so now's a good time to fix that.  

I just saw my last Best Picture nominee, Minari, and I will say that it's beautiful, warm, and everything people who love it say about it. It's also not my sort of thing. I recall sitting through Olmi's The Tree of Wooden Clogs at its premiere New York engagement at Cinema Studio 1 in 1979 -- by myself, because none of my friends would go -- and thinking: okay, no more three-and-a-half-hour movies about shoemakers for me. To be fair, I was very young and itchy then, and in the decades since have learned more patience with slow movies about families scratching out a living. And though not as long or deliberate as the Olmi (comparatively it zips along), Minari is great at getting the viewer to fall into the rhythms of farm life -- not the "ring the dinner bell, Betty Lou" farm life of old Hollywood, but the mobile-home-on-a-cheap-plot farm life that's Korean emigrant Jacob Yi's gamble for a better future for his family. Material success and failure reveal themselves slowly, seasonally; meanwhile Jacob must succeed not only as an "eldest son" striver but also as a family man, keeping everyone happy and whole -- and it's even less clear that he'll succeed at that. The burden of Jacob's dream wears on his wife Monica, and by bringing over her mother to make her feel more at home and watch the kids, Jacob doesn't solve it -- in fact the mother's presence, for all its charm (she's a fun blend of TV addict and back-country philosopher), actually exacerbates the problem, and finally tests Jacob's ability to succeed not only as a farmer but also as paterfamilias. My synopsis makes it sound like a sitcom, but if it were it would be one directed by Terrence Malick. Thanks in part to stunning photography and music by Lachlan Milneou and Emile Mosseri, you can feel time and nature having their effect. Steven Yeun is leading-man great, and Yuh-Jung Youn as the grandmother brings both humor and something like mystery into the story. I think the fact that people aren't equally celebrating Yeri Han's performance as Monica -- with all its shadings of disgust at this "hillbilly" life, love for her family, perseverence and duty and, finally, finding the end of them -- suggests what's maybe out of balance in the movie, and something besides its genre that bugged me. 

Okay, predictions! Here I stand: 

Best Picture: Nomadland. My folly and glory in the past has been not to follow conventional wisdom. (Last year, I bucked the critics who thought 1917 had it in the bag, but also assumed the Academy would never dare laurel Parasite.)  Well, my feet are flat and I'm tired of running.  Everyone says Nomadland and so say I. Part of me thinks that, as with Roma in 2019, it's a little too much like museum-grade performance art to truly enchant the Academy, but maybe the pandemic year makes this spooky neo-Beckettian slice of life in the bluffs and Badlands the picture of the year.  [My choice: The Father.]

Best Director: Chloé Zhao, Nomadland. I mean they pushed her hard enough, with a zillion publicity photos of her and America's Sweetheart Frances McDormand, and Nomadland is not a "written" movie so much as a directed one. She really painted this canvas, and made the silence sing, give her that. Also, aren't the "nomads" a bit like the "witnesses" in Warren Beatty's Reds? That won him an Oscar too. [My choice: Thomas Vinterberg, Another Round.]

Best Actor: Anthony Hopkins, The Father. Everyone says Chadwick Boseman, and man was he good -- every bit as young, dumb, and full of cum as he had to be to make that tragedy work. Also, he's dead! But Hopkins reminds me of something Thom Jones said about what one's writing needs to be if it is to succeed: "so good they can't reject it." No one who knows the first thing about acting can deny what Hopkins accomplishes here -- totally in the moment, undeniably believable, but also crafted to the sharpest detail. You can't say no to it. And maybe nearly-dead is good enough. [My choice: Hopkins.]

Best Actress: Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holliday. Speaking of so good they can't reject it. I like Diana Ross in Lady Sings The Blues okay, but Day not only has Ross' star power, she's also a completely  believable Billie Holliday -- diva, junkie, street rat -- from jump. (When she asks Jenkins in jail, "what's your game, man," I thought: No one with a star on her dressing room door could possibly look or sound so real saying that. But she does.) Even better, the more you learn about Holliday (admittedly the movie makes it hard to keep track), the more sense her characterization makes. [My choice: Day.]

Best Supporting Actor: Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah. Looking back at what I recall and wrote about this performance, I notice the contradictions: a committed radical with an awkward teenage gait, a great public speaker who's shy with the ladies, a Man of the People who's really of the people. That's a 3-D performance, and the character's end makes it especially poignant. [My choice: Paul Raci, Sound of Metal.]

Best Supporting Actress: Yuh-Jung Youn, Minari. She's super cute, for one thing, but also when she talks semi-mystical shit like why minari is a good thing to plant and she and her grandson make up a song about it, I buy it, and there's no reason on earth why I should except world-class acting.  [My choice: Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm: Delivery of Prodigious Bribe to American Regime for Make Benefit Once Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.]

Best Original Screenplay:  Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman. [My choice: Fennell.]

Best Adapted Screenplay: Christopher Hampton and Florian Zeller, The Father. [My choice: Hampton and Zeller.]

Best Cinematography: Joshua James Richards, Nomadland. [My choice: Sean Bobbitt, Judas and the Black Messiah.]

Best Original Score: Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross and Jon Batiste, Soul.  [My choice: Emile Mosseri, Minari.]

Best Film Editing: Mikkel Nielsen, Sound of Metal. [My choice: Yorgos Lamprinos, The Father.]

Best Costume Design: Alexandra Byrne, Emma. [My choice: Byrne.]

Best Production Design: Donald Graham Burt and Jan Pascale, Mank. [My choice: Peter Francis and Cathy Featherstone, The Father.]

Best Makeup and Hairstyling: Eryn Krueger Mekash, Matthew Mungle and Patricia Dehaney, Hillbilly Elegy. [My choice: Sergio Lopez-Rivera, Mia Neal and Jamika Wilson, Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.]

Best Song: "Husavik," Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. [My choice: "Husavik."]

Best Sound: Nicolas Becker, Jaime Baksht, Michellee Couttolenc, Carlos Cortés and Phillip Bladh, Sound of Metal. [My choice: Sound of Metal.]

The rest, ha ha fuck, I'm just guessing:

Best International Film: Another Round.

Best Visual Effects: Tenet.

Best Animated Feature: Soul.

Best Documentary Feature: Collective.

Best Documentary Short: Hunger Ward.

Best Animated Short: If Anything Happens I Love You.

Best Live Action Short: The Letter Room.

Whew! Wanna put money on it? Kidding, I don't have any money. Watch this space and my Twitter Sunday night for my Oscar show regrets! 

Friday, April 23, 2021


Longtime favorite.

•   I have one free Roy Edroso Breaks It Down item for you this week -- the one on the Chauvin verdict. I recommend a subscription (cheap!) so you get this stuff fresh five days a week. But if you won't spend money on me, and even if you will, maybe throw a few bucks to the family of Lance Mannion, the great internet writer who passed on unexpectedly the other day. Lance (real name David Reilly) was writing at such a high level for so long that I tended to take him for granted, though some of his essays -- like this one unsentimentally explaining Asperger's Syndrome from the perspective of a parent -- have stuck in my memory for years. But it was always a good idea to look in on him, because he was a serious thinker whose considerations of a wide range of topics were just what I would have wished for my own -- attentive, perceptive, and generous. It's terrible to lose a voice like that, and it comes at a disastrously bad time for his family. So, you know, if you can.

•   No conservative I've seen so far has had the grace to say yes, the people have spoken and the Chauvin verdict seems just, and leave it at that, the way smart conservatives used to do. Many take the Tucker Carlson position that Chauvin was railroaded by a Woke Mob, notwithstanding the extraordinary video evidence of his crime. Some, like Andrew C. McCarthy, try to have it both ways but essentially take the same position. 

Others said, yes, okay, maybe Chauvin's guilty but how dare you blacks and liberals question the death of Ma’Khia Bryant, she had a knife, that was a clean kill and proves that You're the Real Racist. The apotheosis of this is Peggy Noonan's column, which starts out congratulating America for the verdict, proceeds as per current rightwing protocol to Bryant, and then swerves into this: 

If you are a cop you know that in the current atmosphere you are going to be assumed by the press and others to be guilty whatever you do, because the police are the Official Foe now. Everyone talks about the blue wall of silence, but do police officers think anyone reliably has their back?

There are people who looked at last summer's protests and saw hundreds of incidents where the cops beat the hell out of people for nothing and wondered if perhaps reform were needed, and others who looked at it as ARGH NEGRO RIOT BURN. Noonan appears to be in the latter camp, and to believe we're all thinking too many bad thoughts about Mr. Policeman.

We aren’t being sufficiently sensitive to the position of the police after decades of being accused of reflexive brutality and racism. We should be concerned about demoralization—about officers who will leave, about young people who could have become great cops never joining the force, about early retirements of good men and women. We should be concerned that more policemen will come to see their only priority as protecting the job, the benefits, the pensions for their family, so they’ll quietly slow down, do nothing when they should do something.

Imagine thinking this isn't happening already, in cities where the cops don't even live in the jurisdictions they police and come to think of their inhabitants as skels and saps. And if you're thinking of defunding the police, Noonan has a comeback:

If I ran the world, we wouldn’t be diverting funds from the police...

[Which we aren't, but it's rightwing protocol to talk as if we were.]

...we’d be spending more to expand and deepen their training—literally lengthen it by a year or two, deepen their patience, their sense of proportion, their knowledge. Because they are so important to us.

A year or two! No doubt she means give them more money and call it "training" or whatever, just so they know whose skulls not to crack when the time comes. Later she trails off into gibberish about how "hypermedia and videogames" have ruined society. It almost makes the more straightforward white supremacist articles feel refreshing for their honesty.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021


I have some observations on the Derek Chauvin/George Floyd verdict reaction at Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, opened to non-subscribers today as a public service. As more rightwing reaction rolls in, it becomes even clearer that the official conservative position is that Chauvin was, if technically guilty in some trivial murdered-a-black-guy sense, nonetheless a lamb sacrificed to the Woke Mob of Ooga Booga. The only conservatives who seem satisfied with the verdict are the never-Trumpy outcasts, while all the official poobahs like Tucker Carlson are convinced a terrible injustice has been done. 

The reliably awful Andrew C. McCarthy at National Review, for example, obviously had a column all written about how Maxine Watters and Joe Biden scared the jury into a guilty verdict (notwithstanding McCarthy finds their judgment "defensible" -- keep that ass covered, Andy). But, rushed by the "stunningly quick verdict," he had no time to smooth it out and just jammed that material into the middle of what National Review published, resulting in a "Chauvin Guilty" bulletin python-bellied with what McCarthy considers evidence that "there is a serious question about whether Derek Chauvin got a fair trial":

As [defense counsel Eric] Nelson predicted, the judge’s denial of sequestration meant the jurors would be marinated for the crucial days right before deliberations in intense publicity, street violence, and unhinged demands that Chauvin be convicted of murder, no matter what.

That was the powder keg into which Waters and, hours before the verdict, President Biden lobbed their rhetorical bombs — though the president’s remarks were made after the jury already began deliberating behind closed doors, unlike Waters’s.

It's a wonder those poor people didn't merely proffer their verdict through a cracked jury-room door with a trembling hand and a white flag! McCarthy is also sore the case wasn't routed out of Hennepin County, where "the defendant plausibly argued from the start that he could not get a fair trial" because, well, you know [pushes in nose].

It's like they know about Jim Crow days and trials rigged against black folks, and think of that, not as a cautionary tale, but as a propaganda template, and are using it to portray Chauvin as their own, white Scottsboro Boy.  I believe among their rabble there are plenty of white supremacists who will go for it -- the same ones for whom Ashli Bobbitt is Horst Wessel. Whether it's enough by itself to sustain the conservative movement as currently constituted is an open question.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021


Rod Dreher has made it to Budapest, where he's a visiting fellow at John O'Sullivan's rightwing prop-shop The Danube Institute. Dreher calls it "my new city" but don't get your hopes up -- when he said earlier that he was "moving to Budapest for the summer," he apparently meant that he was visiting, but not like some icky, ignorant tourist wearing Bermuda shorts -- no, just as Dreher eats cured meats in a "sacramental" way that distinguishes him from the rest of you poor slobs gobbling your gabagool, when he spends a few months abroad it's an authentic, artisanal residency. 

Dreher is warming fast to his new sorta-home: So far the people are friendly and hate the transgendered. 

In my initial exploring of my new city, Budapest, yesterday, I met a man from western Europe. We started talking, and when I told him who I was and what I was doing here, he said he once read an interview with me in one of the French papers. That was a pleasant surprise. He went on to say that he moved to Budapest because his wife is Hungarian, and given his profession, he could work from here too. He said he finds life here to be more agreeable than in the western European city from which they came.

“One great thing about living here,” he said, “is that you don’t have put up with these damn people teaching gender ideology to your kids.”

It's like a Dreher Letter to Repenthouse come to life! But I think the man might actually exist, perhaps as an agent sent to handle Dreher by Viktor Orban. Now, to you and I Orban is a preeminent Eastern European fascist -- an autocrat seizing state power, stripping press freedoms, closing down a school that resists his far-right agenda, etc.  But Dreher loves the old bastard -- he even, on a previous vacation to Budapest (excuse me, brief-living-in-Budapest), got to meet him and was so starstruck he forgot to ask him any questions! (Haha, just kidding -- Dreher says he just wanted to "get a sense of his mind.") 

And now Dreher tells us the greatest thing of all about Orban: He got his government to ban gender studies and "define male and female according to biological sex," and even ban adoption by same-sex couples in the Constitution ("The mother is a woman, the father a man")! Swoon!   

It’s almost like Hungary is defending … reality. Meanwhile, in the United States, even conservative states have difficulty passing far more modest reality-defending legislation, because Woke Capitalism threatens them economically.

If only Republicans would run on depriving gay people of their rights -- or, hell, they don't need to run on it, just do it, it's not like conservatives are doing Consent of the Governed anymore.  

Viktor Orban is not perfect...

(But Franco's dead, so he'll have to do.)

...but tell me, where are the American conservative politicians who do things like this to protect their society from a poisonous, cruel ideology? If Donald Trump had had the intelligence and political skill of Orban, he might have been able to pull it off. But he didn’t, and so now we have to depend on the Senate filibuster to save America from the Equality Act.

If only Trump were smarter, we might have Trannie Concentration Camps now. Ah, what might have been! But Dreher and the Orban op shadowing him can dream of a time when the next coup actually works and he can return in triumph to Handmaid America. 'Till then, Orbanland is Utopia enough. '

UPDATE. Since Chauvin was found guilty, Budapest Rod is doing his best to show sangfroid -- it must help that he's in a very white country, far from the insolent blacks back home. "At least we don’t have to worry about national riots for now," he reasons. But as he did back in August, Dreher tells us he doesn't see what was so wrong with what Chauvin did:

The police had struggled with this large, uncooperative, drugged suspect to get him into the police car, but Floyd would not cooperate. Hear me: this does not justify what Chauvin did with the knee, but it does make it a different story than simply throwing him onto the ground and grinding the knee in his neck for passing a counterfeit bill.

"What Chauvin did with the knee," a jury of his peers found, was murder George Floyd.

Friday, April 16, 2021


Someone reminded me of the Voidoids recently.
The big hits like "Love Comes In Spurts" are cool,
but how often do you hear this?

•   So many wonderful Roy Edroso Breaks It Down issues to choose from this week! (Why not subscribe? It's cheap!) But I can't go giving away the store, so here are two: one on the latest round of police excuses for killing unarmed black men, and another taking you through a day in the life of J.D. Vance, who has been preparing for his Ohio Senate run by becoming more fascist. His most recent goosestep is the punishment by legislation of corporations that don't overtly support rightwing talking points. I mean, get a load of this:

When you're too authoritarian for David French... well, you're mainstream Republican these days, I guess.  

•   At the Washington Post, Alyssa Rosenberg's "The ‘cancel culture’ wars are exhausting and useless. Here are five proposals for a truce" is as doomed to failure as any other proposed truce in this space, notwithstanding we may presume better faith on her part that that of recent trans-truce floater Andrew Sullivan. For one thing, how can I sign a truce that I have no power to effect? Take, for example, her suggestion that "liberals should agree it’s good for troublesome works to be available, while conservatives should accept context and content labels":

Keeping works in print and available in digital libraries would undercut complaints about censorship. A school might decide not to use certain Dr. Seuss books, but parents could still seek them out. 

I already think "it’s good for troublesome works to be available." I'm troublesome as fuck, myself. But Seuss Enterprises doesn't want to put out the books I suppose Rosenberg is talking about, and they own the books. Similarly, National Review doesn't want to publish my columns. That's capitalism, comrade! 

I do approve of her first proposal: "make it harder for skittish employers to fire or blackball people over their political views." But as I keep saying over and over again, you can't do that with attitude and "standards" -- you can only do that by making laws that actually protect employee speech, which probably means no more "at-will" employment. And there's one whole side of this "truce" that won't go for that. 

Thursday, April 15, 2021


Back in 1994 Kristen Clarke, now up for assistant U.S. Attorney General for civil rights, co-wrote a letter to the Harvard Crimson calling out defenders of Charles Murray's The Bell Curve, which famously posits that black people are intellectually inferior to whites using the old It's Just Science routine. Clarke's letter begins

In response to those who defend The Bell Curve ("Defending The Bell Curve," Opinion, Oct. 24, 1994), please use the following theories and observations to assist you in your search for truth regarding the genetic differences between Blacks and whites.

One: Dr. Richard King reveals that at the core of the human brain is the "locus coeruleus" which is a structure that is Black because it contains large amounts of (neuro) melanin which is essential for its operation.

Two: Black infants sit, stand, crawl and walk sooner than whites.

Three: Carol Barnes notes that human mental processes are controlled by melanin--that same chemical which gives Blacks their superior physical and mental abilities.

Four: Some scientists have revealed that most whites are unable to produce melanin because their pineal glands are often calcification or non-functioning. Pineal calcification rates with Africans are five to 15 percent, Asians 15 to 25 percent and Europeans 60 to 80 percent. This is the chemical basis for the cultural differences between Blacks and whites.

Five: Melanin endows Blacks with greater mental, physical and spiritual abilities--something which cannot be measured based on Eurocentric standards.

We can readily admit that an abused child is less likely to achieve academically than a child that has grown up in a supportive atmosphere. Black children, whether rich or poor, grow up with an added abuse which white children never have to face. Imagine the message that misguided information like The Bell Curve would send to a Black child who is trying to find her place in school. It's degrading, belittling and outrageously false....

As someone who can read and understand basic irony, even without reading the original Crimson defenses (but having read plenty such like) I can see that Clarke is pitching Murray's racism back at his defenders so they can see how they like it. It's a classic reversal.

Clarke explained this at her Senate hearing (using the term "satire"; "sarcasm" is probably more like it, but close enough) to the moron Senator John Cornyn, and rightwing soreheads like David Harsanyi sputter that it's all lies because they don't recognize it at satire -- which in their world involves Steven Crowder talking in Ebonics or selling "Socialism is for F*gs" t-shirts -- and claim Clarke is a "liar" and a who's-the-real-"racist"-now. I mean, how can Clarke's letter be satire -- she didn't even use an asterisk! 

The fact that object lessons in American racism are in the headlines every day is driving them nuts and, in addition to trying to ban drawing reasonable educational conclusions from it, they're desperate to portray the problem as black people being racist against whites.  But even people who don't read a lot of Juvenal and Swift can see through that.  

Friday, April 09, 2021


Whattaya think? Kinda Young Marble Giants meet Pylon, right?

I know, Rod Dreher's an easy layup, but I'm feeling lazy. Here's a post availing Dreher's traditional "reader" "mail" device. This alleged tenured professor, after the customary his-masters-would-punish-him-severely shtick ("if you post anything I share, please keep both my name and university confidential, as I am supporting a wife and a large family, and cannot risk getting doxed at my job"), bitches at length about his online diversity training, which Dreher agrees is totalitarian. One fascinating section:

 Look at the first and last bullet points here in particular.  The first: “Call transgender individuals by the name and pronoun that reflects their gender identity.”  I have no issue with the “name” part, but look how they are also forcing us to use their preferred pronoun.  They could have kept the peace by saying “name or pronoun,” as calling somebody by their preferred name would not violate my Christian conscience, but of course there can be no compromise here.  I refuse to use a non-biological gender pronoun, for the exact same reason that I would refuse to call an anorexic person overweight, which makes me wonder how long I will be able to stay here before the issue is forced.  

 First of all, I've wracked my brain and can only guess that the professor is willing to use a trans person's name but not their pronouns because it's easier to express contempt with a proper name ("Give this file to... 'Mary'") than with a pronoun. That's the only way this hairsplitting makes any sense. (Come to think of it, maybe he's got some kind of mind-game going where maybe a guy could be called Mary -- look at Evelyn Waugh and Leslie Nielsen! -- but can't be called "she," because pronouns are of The Lord or some shit.) Also, yeah right, next we're gonna force the guy to call skinny people fat, because respecting trans people is just a wedge-end for our real goal, demonic mastery of REALITY ITSELF mwah hah hah. Yeesh, even Dreher's imaginary characters are nuts.

 Then Dreher comes in and yells a while and does this interesting bit:

His point would seem to be that United is doing affirmative action and any black person thus "socially promoted" to pilot would be so unqualified they couldn't fly a plane. But we'll all pretend they can because PRONOUNS WERE JUST THE BEGINNING. (It occurs to me that it was easier to put this affirmative-action bullshit over when it came to college admissions, because grading is always a little arbitrary and one could imagine unqualified people getting inflated grades -- as rich guys' sons had been getting since forever -- but the idea that recruiting more black and female pilot numbers is a suicide mission because women and black people just naturally can't fly planes and white liberals are willing to die in a fiery wreck just to dispute this elementary fact of life, well, outside Dreherland that's a harder sell.)   

 (Lagniappe: Dreher announces he's summering in Budapest (or as he puts it, "moving to Budapest for the summer" -- maybe he thinks that less touristy and more artisanal). Guess his earlier taste of Viktor Orbán was not enough! Wonder if he'll come back with armbands for the family, if he does come back.

Oh, this week's Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebies -- almost forgot! Here, and here. Have fun! 

Tuesday, April 06, 2021


Caught up in the "woke corporation" contretemps, Erick Erickson suggests that conservative red-state governments should stop kowtowing to out-of-state companies with their crazy ideas like "voter access" and "gay rights":

We must, however, begin now aggressively pushing back on corporations involving themselves in public policy and advocacy. That requires credibility from the right on these issues...

Greg Abbott of Texas has come out swinging saying Texas stands with Georgia and MLB’s All Star Game is unwelcome there. Other Republican Governors should do the same. Then perhaps the GOP should have some counter programming at the Braves Stadium the same night as the All Star Game. Maybe get Donald Trump on stage there and see who gets better ratings.

That'll establish "credibility," all right! I think these states should go further and kick out the major league teams entirely -- I mean, sports leagues been pushing the Overton Window left since the days of Jackie Robinson, enough is enough! Then they could start up their own league with unwoke in-your-face teams like the Selma Sheriff Clarks, the Nebraska Redskins Yeah I Said It, et alia. (I have already established some ground rules for them here.)

But then Erickson goes even further, and suggests reversing the decades-old Republican policy of offering tax breaks and other perks to corporations (usually paid for with service cuts to their own poorest citizens) to attract them and their jerbs:

The second thing we should do is commit to a ban on corporate welfare to attract Fortune 500 companies to red states. They very clearly are taking the corporate welfare of red states and bringing in their blue state, woke employees. Conservative states should not be engaged in crony capitalism anyway. Employ sound tax policy and fiscal management so companies want to come naturally, instead of through incentive. Promote local businesses and corporations and provide a stable, conservative environment for them to grow.

We don't need your stupid liberal tech and aerospace and retail and all those other companies -- we got what you want naturally: the black people shoved on the other side of the tracks where you won't have to look at 'em, homos and he-shes scared to say boo, the few libraries purged of radical books, and plenty of meth and hookers. Our new slogan: "Bring your business to Bumfuck where we hate you and your employees and our water smells like rotten eggs -- take it or leave it!"

This is a movement that's going places, specifically Germany in the 1930s. 

Friday, April 02, 2021


Two shots in, seems like good late-pandemic music.

•  OK, non-subscribers to Roy Edroso Breaks It Down -- and what's keeping you, it's the only Substack newsletter not crammed with cancelculture crybaby bullshit, plus it's cheap! -- here's a freebie: a scene at The Rectory where our tradcath favorites hang out, drinking benedictine, soiling the antimacassars, and talking the latest moral majority crap. Special guest appearance by an old alicublog favorite! 

•  The main thing about the Matt Gaetz story for me is Dennis Hastert. You'd think an honest-to-God pedophile predator would have thought, at some point in his rapid rise through the ranks of the Republican Party, hmmm maybe I'm flying too close to the sun. But his predecessor in the Speakership was Newt Gingrich, a lying scumbucket of the highest order who brassed out his own scandals during the Clinton impeachment because he realized none of it mattered -- a hearty handshake, a pretense of statesmanship, and above all total, chicken-hypnotizing shamelessness were all it took to mesmerize GOP rubes, and if you could pull that off you could get away with nearly anything. At Hastert found out, fucking children was on the wrong side of "nearly everything." But now, who knows -- the QAnon constituency is busy painting all Democrats as pedophiles, so maybe a Republican Congressman who's actually paying for sex with underage girls can expect his rubes to think, "My Rep a pedo? Unpossible, pedos are Dems!" and walk away blinking. That's what goes through my mind when I see Gaetz's vapid, unbothered face on TV now. Time was you could expect an eventual Dan Crane* shift to egregious contrition, but in the modern GOP the malefactors simply keep going until the jig is truly up, and then vanish entirely to be replaced by new ones. (*I remember Crane's Democrat counterpart in that scandal, gay Provincetown Rep Garry Studds, who acted like he couldn't give a shit and got reelected. Boy, how times have changed!) 

Thursday, April 01, 2021


I've unlocked an issue of Roy Edroso Breaks It Down today about the right's gamification of racism -- that is, the way they confront the overwhelming evidence of systemic racism in our society with whatabout stories of black crime. This is an ancient strategy, really, old enough that I recall it from my childhood when relatives would tell me how those people were animals, always robbing, raping, and stealing; I've talked about the internet-enabled version in my "ooga-booga" essays, which when published in the Voice always drew an avalanche of racist and sometimes threatening reader responses. 

But the show of black electoral power signified by the Biden and Georgia Democratic victories have terrified the brethren into more intense and higher-level reactions. As is obvious to pretty much everyone, the wave of voter disenfranchisement legislation Republicans are rushing shows how they've trying to reverse the effect; but increased conservative chatter about (and attempts to ban) "critical race theory" shows that they're also afraid the increased sensitivity of younger Americans to systemic racism will make this harder for them in the near future. 

Hence the gamesmanship, which increasingly resembles the racist taunts of my youth. For example, here's an article at the Washington Examiner by Eddie Scarry called "Joe Biden is about to lock up a lot of black people." Tee hee, what a fun headline! What's it about? Before citing several cases of black people beating up Asian-Americans, Scarry sets up his gag: 

The New York Times reported that part of Biden's initiative will be "prioritizing prosecution of those who commit hate crimes" against people of Asian descent.

I guess that's a good thing, but what happens when prioritizing the prosecution of anti-Asian hate crimes disproportionately affects the black community?

You can see he's enjoying himself.

It will. Anyone tracking the sporadic incidents of violence against people of Asian descent lately will have noticed a pattern. The attackers are almost exclusively black men...

True, there was the recent violent rampage in Atlanta wherein a young white man killed Asians and a couple of white people at some Asian-run spas, which he said he did because of some weird sex addiction. Lightning strikes every now and then.

But as we've seen, this isn't a matter of white supremacy. It's very much not that.

This is right off the playground -- you libtards care so much about racism, well what about black-on-Asian crime? Undoubtedly in rightwing publications like the Examiner it gives mirth and comfort to conservatives; I wonder what anyone else thinks. 

UPDATE. Thanks to commenter keta for unearthing this story on Scarry's other service to wingnut comedy -- creepshots of butts.  

Friday, March 26, 2021


Sure, I like pop-punk. Even when it's new! Thanks to Alan Scherstuhl for this.

•   OK, for you deadbeats who are not regular subscribers to Roy Edroso Breaks It Down -- and why aren't you? It's cheap, it's superb, and it offers a great opportunity to contribute to the (already in progress!) death of journalism without having to expose yourself to the cancelculture sob-stories of Substack's marquee dweebs  -- here are a couple of freebies: First, my tribute to ham-faced Erick Erickson and his much-remarked-upon plan to solve America's armed mass murder problem by literally giving everyone a gun. And let's not sleep on his prose style! Here's the lede from Erickson's latest atrocity:

Every year, I spend time on Good Friday on radio focusing on that weekend. Regardless of whether one is a believer or not, most academic and secular historians list the death of Jesus of Nazareth as one of the top five most important events in human history. Quite frequently, it is number one on those lists.

Again, regardless of the theology, when we are dealing with a day considered the most important event in human history by people who do not even believe in Christ’s resurrection, we should probably pause and not just explore it, but explore the world around us as it exists right now in relation to that event.

He makes Jonah Goldberg look like Nabokov. Also, enjoy this bagatelle about two old Republican hands confronted by the New Breed. 

•   Speaking of old alicublog recurring characters -- well, first, check out this recent scene from Sesame Street where Elmo asks Russell why his skin is brown and Russell says it's melanin and Russell's dad says, "The color of our skin is an important part of who we are, but we should all know that we all look different... many people call this race, but even though we look different, we're all part of the human race."

Sounds simple enough, even corny -- something you'd think would be non-controversial, right? Well, here's what Rod Dreher thinks, in a post called (I'm not even kidding) "Segregating Sesame Street": 

I hadn’t realized how deeply the new progressive racial obsession bothered me until I saw that clip above, and realized that woke Sesame Street is now setting out to undo all the work that had been accomplished in the generations the show catechized. You know who taught my generation of children to see color? White people who longed for segregation’s return, and black people who lived in fear of white people who longed for segregation’s return.

Now kids can get that from Sesame Street. Good job, progressives; you are the most regressive force in American society today. I guess somebody has to teach the kids why it’s good to have segregated college graduations... 

 If you're thinking, how the fuck did Dreher get that from this video? the obvious answer is he only absorbs outside stimuli after it's bounced off the fascist funhouse mirror in his skull a few times, and he thinks everything would be hunky-dory if only black people would stop making a stink. But I should note also Dreher's alleged love of earlier Sesame Street, back before all the woke-SJW "we're all part of the human race" stuff:

I was born in 1967. Sesame Street was born two years later. I don’t remember a time before Sesame Street. It was my window into a world beyond the rural South. In 1999, when my wife and I moved to brownstone Brooklyn, I remember thinking, “I live on Sesame Street” — this, because the streets there reminded me of what I had grown up with. 

Aww, that's nice. Wanna know why Dreher left Brooklyn? As early as 2001 he was lamenting that his young son "won't have taken in the smell of tobacco, bourbon and dried gumbo mud flaking off hunting boots that is my father's aroma," and would instead grow up in "an urban culture dominated--indeed, in my social and professional milieu, overrun--by men without chests" and "a permissive culture that corrodes the moral structure his mother and I will try to build." Guess he found out Sesame Street was populated by he-shes, Black Panthers and moral relativists! Then he wrote at National Review in 2003, after he had split:

...all it takes is riding the NYC subway daily, and having to live with fear and loathing of the violent, profane and altogether anti-social teenagers who make public spaces here their playpens, to understand why middle-class people get fed up and move the hell out of town to raise their kids.

Now Dreher's blubbering that the TV show version of New York he claims he thought he was living in when he briefly career-moved there has been spoiled by a couple of African-American puppets. Yeesh, what a freak. 

Wednesday, March 24, 2021


You may have noticed that, after the the latest gun massacre in newly-assault-weapon-friendly Boulder,  conservatives held to their usual thoughts-and-prayers let's-ride-this-out quietude until they heard reports that the shooter is Muslim, at which point their glee became explosive. Rightwing operative Caleb Hull did a long thread on liberals who presumed, based on the cops taking him alive, that the shooter was white -- haw haw libtards, who's the mass-murder racist now? "The Left Politicized and Racialized the Boulder Shooting, Now Its Racism Is Exposed," gurgled Brandon Morse at RedState; "TWITTER LETS VERIFIED LEFTISTS SPREAD MISINFORMATION ABOUT ‘WHITE MAN’ COMMITTING CO SHOOTING" hollered Breitbart, etc.

This brings up one of the more toxic aspects of modern American conservatism that should be self-evident but apparently needs pointing out: They see racism not as a social problem but as a zero-sum game -- that is, they think if they can just pile up enough points for whiteness, they win. That's why you see so many rightwing essays about the need to defend "Dead White Males" from their imagined assault by liberals ("'White conservative/reactionary crowd'? W.E.B. Du Bois would take exception," lol), and racists both small- and big-time portraying their aim as a defense of "Western Civilization." And why, for all their blubbering over "cancel culture," they approve of laws banning the teaching of critical race theory. They identify whiteness with everything good and vice-versa; when, as with many if not most modern American mass murders, the targeting of out-groups is obvious, they either clam up or (as with Atlanta) try to muddle the issue, not out of shame so much as out of a desire to keep the non-whites from running up the score.  

Speaking of which, Jim Geraghty at National Review:

Senate Democrats’ Short-Lived Opposition to All White Biden Nominees

... [Senator Tammy] Duckworth and her colleague Mazie Hirono of Hawaii told reporters that they intended to vote against any Biden “nominees who aren’t minorities.”

Instead of judging those nominees by their merits, those senators pledged to judge them by the color of their skin. If only we had a word to describe that phenomenon.

In a country where you can see white racism just by walking around with your eyes open, it takes special effort to focus on the alleged racism of members of minority groups. But they apparently find it worth the effort. 

Friday, March 19, 2021


Just in the mood.

•   Weird what whets the wingnuts these days: They're cheering Putin's challenge to Biden, exultant that Biden tripped on some stairs, and their new intellectual excitement is a Republican judge's dissent in a defamation case, in which he says New York Times v. Sullivan (the "absence of malice" case*) and other protections of the freedom of the press should be done away with. From Slate:

[U.S. District Court Judge Laurence] Silberman accused the American media of “bias against the Republican Party,” calling the putative phenomenon “a long-term, secular trend going back at least to the ’70s.” He continued:

Two of the three most influential papers (at least historically), The New York Times and The Washington Post, are virtually Democratic Party broadsheets. And the news section of The Wall Street Journal leans in the same direction. The orientation of these three papers is followed by The Associated Press and most large papers across the country (such as the Los Angeles Times, Miami Herald, and Boston Globe). Nearly all television—network and cable—is a Democratic Party trumpet. Even the government-supported National Public Radio follows along.

Silberman also explicitly condemned “Candy Crowley’s debate moderation” of the second debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney on CNN, which took place nine years ago...

On and on the Reagan-appointee goes, bringing in Hunter Biden's laptop and other such wingnut totems. 

To me the most interesting part of the thing is Silberman's moan over the alleged embattled isolation of the American conservative press in the person of one non-American man:

To be sure, there are a few notable exceptions to Democratic Party ideological control [of the media]: Fox News, The New York Post, and The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page. It should be sobering for those concerned about news bias that these institutions are controlled by a single man and his son. Will a lone holdout remain in what is otherwise a frighteningly orthodox media culture? After all, there are serious efforts to muzzle Fox News. And although upstart (mainly online)] conservative networks have emerged in recent years, their visibility has been decidedly curtailed by Social Media, either by direct bans or content-based censorship...

The woe-is-me blubbering that is now common among the Right aside, this is remarkable in that it suggests that conservative ideas have no intrinsic value that would be recognized and promoted by the American people unless they were propagandized specifically by Rupert Murdoch and his major properties. Silberman claims the "upstart (mainly online) conservative networks" cannot pick up the standard from Murdoch because they're suppressed by "censorship," but that's obvious nonsense -- the almost exclusively conservative makeup of Facebook's weekly top ten stories and the gigantic Twitter followings of people like Dan Bongino and Ben Shapiro are some of the evidence against that claim.  

If we may impute any instinct to Silberman beyond a desire to rile up the rightwing press  -- and he sure has done that, with celebratory coverage seen at Glenn Beck's The Blaze ("In incredible dissent, federal judge launches broadside attack on SCOTUS precedent protecting left-wing press") and the Washington Times ("Judge calls on Supreme Court to revoke news media protections," of which I was informed in an email "news alert") already coming over the transom -- it may be that he realizes the traditional conservative strategy of flooding the media with old-fashioned look-out-here-come-the-minorities boob bait, as practiced for decades by Murdoch, is no longer moving the needle the way it used to, and that the alternative is not to pump the new breed of conservative outlets -- which for some reason ("censorship"? LOL, c'mon) isn't as effective -- but to cry "bias" and call on Republican legislators and the reliably rightwing Supreme Court to fix it for them by silencing the opposition. 

This is, I keep telling you, what's always at the back of their "cancel culture" bullshit: they want the road leveled and paved for themselves, and you under it. 


VIRTUAL EVENT: The Crown Under Fire: Why the Left’s Campaign to Cancel the Monarchy and Undermine a Cornerstone of Western Democracy Will Fail

Please join the Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom and Simon Center for American Studies for an insightful discussion about defending conservative institutions and uniting to preserve the special UK-US Relationship.

Sponsored by the Heritage Foundation! With a link to an article by (I believe the expression is) limey cunt Niles Gardiner, "Meghan Markle Oprah Interview an Insult to the Queen and the British People." which is so entirely royalty-fan gossip ("Alas, the fairy-tale wedding of 2018 in St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle is now a distant memory...") I'm actually embarrassed for them. National Review also carries the message that the ingrate prince and his non-white strumpet are part of a liberal conspiracy to destroy that great American institution, the British Monarchy, in several articles including this one by (I believe the expression is) jammy twat Joseph Loconte

The radical Left has seized upon Oprah Winfrey’s televised spectacle with Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex in a crusade to invalidate one of the most consequential conservative institutions on the world stage.

Accusations of racism within the royal family are not the point. The aim of modern liberalism can be symbolically discerned in William Walcutt’s painting,Pulling Down the Statue of George III at Bowling Green, July 9, 1776. It is to tear down everything the monarchy represents: tradition, authority, virtue, duty, love of country, and biblical religion.

LOL, go drink some tea, bitch.

*Update: Originally had this as the Pentagon Papers case, which was actually New York Times Company v. United States. Duh, me stoopid.