Sunday, March 27, 2022


Regulars will know that I have a childhood love of the dumb old Academy Awards and have been running my own annual predix for years, usually not very successfully but sometimes beating the spread in the Best Picture and Best Actor and other categories. Even if you don’t want the betting advice, you can just share my appreciation of the excellent nominees and the fun of the guessing game.

This year I’ve seen all the nominated films, and you can see my reviews at these links --Don’t Look Up, Drive My Car, Licorice Pizza, West Side Story, Nightmare Alley, CODA, King Richard, Belfast, The Power of the Dog, and Dune

I’ve also seen all the nominated performances and nearly all of the other major nominees -- which in my experience is actually not helpful for predicting, because I can be swayed by quality and pure enthusiasm into error. But I did my best, and included second-guesses. Onward! 

L Best Picture: The Power of the Dog. I don’t see any way around it. I keep hearing intelligent people -- including the New York TimesKyle Buchanan -- say that CODA will win Best Picture. But, quite apart from it being the absolute worst film of the batch, CODA doesn’t have the traditional profile of the five previous No Best Director Nominee Best Pictures (Green Book, Argo, Driving Miss Daisy, Grand Hotel and Wings). Some of those films are sentimental in some way, as is CODA, but they also have at least one established star or, at the very least, a grizzled old-timer lead or two. (Sorry, Marlee Matlin!) With its teen lead and funny-horny parents, CODA would be a run-of-the-mill YA picture but for the deaf angle, and I don’t think that’s enough, especially since the Academy has elected art films the past two years in row -- could they backslide into feel-good goo-goo-ga-ga for such an unworthy product? Not out of the question, but to me at best CODA’s more like Breaking Away -- a scrappy also-ran. 

The other real serious contender (though I wouldn't completely count out the sentimental-but-actually-good Belfast) is Dune, an impressive chunk of movie- and money-making. But this is the same Academy that hasn’t put up any Star Wars films for any serious awards since 1978. Since the days of five nominees, at least one Best Picture slot has usually been dedicated to a big, sleek Cadillac of a movie that shows lots of flash -- but these only win when you can take them to heart, and Dune is just too freakish for that. (You could say the same for The Shape of Water, a Cadillac/art film hybrid, but that was also a love story.) Plus, The Power of the Dog is just really, really good. [If not: Dune.]

W Best Actor: Will Smith, King Richard. I really liked his performance; that it was delivered under the hagiographic pressure of Richard Williams’ still-living and powerful daughters makes the achievement even more remarkable. This is a rich field but Will Smith is a beloved figure in Hollywood and these guys really want to give it to him. [If not: Benedict Cumberbatch, The Power of the Dog.]

L Best Actress: Olivia Colman, The Lost Daughter. This is a tough one. Penelope Cruz is fantastic in Parallel Mothers but even with her moments of maternal horror it’s simply too subtle a performance for the Academy. Nicole Kidman did a creditable Lucille Ball, right down to Ball’s control freakishness -- which deprives her of the big emotional scene(s) that might have advanced her nomination. Spencer is a weird movie and Kristin Stewart’s Diana meets its challenge perfectly, but I think the eccentricity of the project cuts against her. 

That leaves Colman and Jessica Chastain, who in The Eyes of Tammy Faye really kills it; her and the other actors’ playing style is broad but rich in emotional truth, and she makes a woman who’s mainly remembered as a figure of fun into a sympathetic and even, ultimately, heroic figure. (Who didn’t feel that last parallel clip of Chastain and the real Tammy Faye deep in their gut?) The only question is whether the Academy will reward that kind of bravura loser story; it didn’t with Margot Robbie and I, Tonya

Colman’s performance, like Cruz’s, is subtle, but the character is not just experiencing shocks but also having an extended breakdown that’s brilliantly delineated by Maggie Gyllenhaal’s script and direction (and Jessie Buckley’s eerie flashback performance). And Colman approaches it with the guts of a cat burglar -- I was at several points shocked by how ugly and blinkered she allowed her character to be, yet I always saw where she was coming from (if only in retrospect) and was rooting for her all the way. Also the Academy has shown with Hilary Swank and Frances McDormand (and Luise Rainer and Katharine Hepburn) that it doesn’t mind giving Best Actress to the same woman within the same decade. [If not: Chastain.]

W Best Director: Jane Campion, The Power of the Dog. [If not: Kenneth Branagh, Belfast.]
W Best Supporting Actor: Troy Kotsur, CODA. [If not: Ciarán Hinds, Belfast.]
W Best Supporting Actress: Ariana DeBose, West Side Story. [If not: Kirsten Dunst, The Power of the Dog.]

These are the kind of sucker bets I usually miss, but not this year! I’m sticking with the conventional wisdom. (Here’s my demurrer, though: If some older voters felt themselves giving short shrift to CODA and the gooey sentiment it represents, maybe Branagh has an outside shot.)

W Best Cinematography: Greig Fraser, Dune. All five movies are beautifully shot but Dune, The Tragedy of Macbeth, and Nightmare Alley are the least imaginable without their distinctive look. I would tip it toward Bruno Delbonnel, but the Academy may feel black and white is cheating. And Dune is the Cadillac of the bunch. [If not: Delbonnel, The Tragedy of Macbeth.

W Best Screenplay (Adapted): Siân Heder, CODA. It’s ludicrous, but if the news of a CODA groundswell is at all true, this will get past The Power of the Dog. (A spasm of insight would shift it to Gyllenhaal’s structurally brilliant script.) [If not: Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Lost Daughter.]

L Best Screenplay (Original): Adam McKay and David Sirota, Don’t Look Up. I was sure the backlash this film got from liberal know-betters would redound in the film industry, but this actually won the Writers Guild of America Award, among others. I guess it’s because Adam McKay does writing that really feels written -- almost as much as Aaron Sorkin, but he’s not up this year. [If not: Kenneth Branagh, Belfast.] 

L Best Film Editing: Myron Kerstein and Andrew Weisblum, tick, tick… BOOM! As the year’s big-movie nominee, Dune should tend to prevail in craft awards unless wildly outclassed, and I frankly admire that Joe Walker and Denis Villeneuve made sense of a convoluted story and kept the battle scenes intelligible. But the underdog rumblings for tick, tick… BOOM!, unlike the rumblings for CODA, make sense to me: It’s such a brilliant assemblage of a messy story (with a first-time director), and it catches the rhythm of both the music and the lead’s hyperactivity. [If not: Walker, Dune.]

W Best Original Score: Hans Zimmer, Dune. As important as the unified visual style of Dune is, I can’t imagine it without the score -- it’s mixed way loud whenever no one is talking and with its blend of noises and actual music it really carries the far-outness of the thing -- it's practically an athletic composing performance.  [If not: Jonny Greenwood, The Power of the Dog]

L Best Art Direction: Tamara Deverell and Shane Vieau, Nightmare Alley. Dune has a great unified vision but so do all the contenders, and -- well, the nearly-expressionistic Nightmare Alley sets are just too good. Also, in this category, the past trumps the future. [If not: Adam Stockhausen and Rena DeAngelo, West Side Story.]

W Best Make-Up: The Eyes of Tammy Faye. [If not: House of Gucci.]

W Best Song: "No Time to Die," No Time to Die, Billie Eilish and Finneas O’Connell. [If not: “Sometimes You Do,” Four Good Days, Diane Warren.]

W Best Sound: Dune. [If not: West Side Story.]

W Best Visual Effects: Dune. [If not: Oh who are we kidding.]

W Best Costume Design: Cruella. [If not: Cyrano.]

These I am really, really just guessing at:

L Best Animated Feature: Flee.
W Best Documentary Feature: Summer of Soul*.
W Best International Film: Drive My Car.
L Best Live Action Short: On My Mind.
W Best Documentary Short: The Queen of Basketball.
W Best Animated Short: The Windshield Wiper.

Place your bets [not with me, I’m unlicensed] and see you tonight! (Oh BTW, cutting eight categories from the telecast including Editing, Score, and Production Design is straight-up bullshit.)

*UPDATE: One hour since posting, I have already copped out on the Documentary Feature category -- I figure if they give Flee Best Animated Feature they'll feel they've done their bit, while Summer of Soul is a blast of joy that people really want in their lives. OK, I'll stop fiddling with it! 

UPDATE 2, 7:20 pm: Just letting you true vipers know they've started giving out the pre-ceremony Oscars and I'm doing great: Got Best Sound, Best Doc Short, and Best Animated Short right!  They gave Best Live Action Short to Riz Ahmed's anti-racist anti-fascist The Long Goodbye, which I thought was too pushy-prop but apparently they liked it. (I did like the rap, though.) So I'm three for four so far, hooray! 

UPDATE 3, 7:45 pm: But now I'm fading! Dune took Best Editing and Best Production Design. But it also won Best Score and The Eyes of Tammy Faye won the makeup award. It's not too late for me to pull it out.

UPDATE 4. Three hosts is [said with a rich lady gangsta lilt] attrition by addition [dance move]. 

UPDATE 5. That's just a matter of timing. Look, by herself Schumer is a stitch, especially making fun of Leonardo DiCaprio and young girls. The Steve Martin gag still works! 

UPDATE 6. After Ariana DeBose's speech I feel like a little theater kid sitting on the floor in front of the TV sniffling. Brava! 

UPDATE 7. I'm doing great but am mainly commenting on Twitter -- to the extent possible, because I want to relax and enjoy these. But you know me -- I'm a kibbitzer. 

UPDATE 8. Someone should have told Will Smith that Frank Sinatra never smacked people around when the cameras were rolling.  

UPDATE 9. Well. I still think CODA is a drag, but one of the venerable Oscar traditions is bitching about how Oscar doesn't know what it's talking about, and my 73% score is not so bad. So, really, we're all winners! From Hollywood for Ugly People, Good Night! 

Friday, March 25, 2022


Mike Watt on bass so you already know, right?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, March 24, 2022


I have released today’s Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, which manages to convey all the thrills and much of the bullshit of the Ketanji Jackson Brown hearings in just a few minutes. 

As I mentioned earlier on Twitter, Republicans have brought culture war gibberish to SCOTUS confirmation hearings before, but the level of it in these hearings is off the charts, and I know why: Because if conservatives revealed in these hearings what they really want out of the Court, normal Americans would recoil in horror. (In fact, outside the chambers, Republican Senator Mike Braun denounced Loving v Virginia and Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn denounced Griswold v Connecticut; it was as if they compelled to expose themselves -- or to test the waters.)

Thus they wave children’s books and quiz the judge on female anatomy to distract from their malicious judicial agenda. Their rubes, instead of complaining that their Senators didn’t stop this black lady from furthering darkening the Court, will feel satisfied that they made a big stink against Wokemob Cancelculture, and (they hope) ordinary people will only notice that the usual dull yammering noise about the usual stupid topics is going on, and ignore their more sinister purpose.

Friday, March 18, 2022


As often, I feel like something spare and angular!

•  If you missed it yesterday, here's the first Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebie of the week, a report on the truckers and their grifts (as Jan Němec might have put it). No longer content to drive in circles on the beltway, some of the Rush-Hour Reenactors have invaded the area are going into town and honking their horns to general bemusement and middle fingers. Here's what the brain trust has planned for today:

Real Braveheart material there. Wonder how long before they realize their leaders have pocketed most of the donations

•  And for funsies, and as I am in the giving vein, a fanciful look at Fox News' attempt to damage-control Tucker Carlson's Putinphilia. It's hilarious, to me anyway, that the Russians are running Carlson's broadcasts as propaganda -- which, come to think of it, is what Fox has been doing, but the context really makes it obvious. And he's not the only one -- here's a good thread on Brexit conman Nigel Farage's Putin advocacy. Remember how Kevin McCarthy, before he was brought to heel, said he thought there were two people Putin paid, Dana Rohrabacher and Trump? He was really lowballing it. 

•  I could not let the day pass without observing the latest high-profile cancelculture crybabies -- and this time it's not just one of the New York Times' several rightwing symps, present or past, but the entire Times editorial board itself:
For all the tolerance and enlightenment that modern society claims, Americans are losing hold of a fundamental right as citizens of a free country: the right to speak their minds and voice their opinions in public without fear of being shamed or shunned.

This social silencing...
Time out. What's the shaming and shunning? Someone talked back? People stopped hanging out with you?

Also, the Times has a poll that shows most Americans have been cancelcultured:
Consider this finding from our poll: 55 percent of respondents said that they had personally held their tongue over the past year because they were concerned about retaliation or harsh criticism.
I know how they feel. More than once I've had a strong urge to say, "You don't know what you're talking about, you stupid fucking asshole," or "Jesus Christ, that is one ugly bitch," and held my tongue. I'm a victim too! And if it's like that for me, a prominent Substack author, imagine how it is for racists and neo-Nazis! 

The thing's full of lulus like this:
Roy Block, 76, from San Antonio, described himself as conservative and said he has been alarmed by scenes of parents being silenced at school board meetings over the past year. 
Parents being silenced? I thought the big thing was parents raging at school board meetings and loudly demanding schools ban teaching the history of racism. I wonder whether the Times asked Block for a citation. But maybe that would be cancelculture too. 
“I think it’s mostly conservatives that are being silenced,” he said.

You do, huh. 

“But regardless, I think it should be a two-way street. Everybody should have an opportunity to speak and especially in open gathering and open forum.”  
I'd really like to know what open gatherings and forums are preventing him or anyone else from speaking. Maybe the Times could have asked... but there I go again, suppressing speech by asking impertinent questions.  

I broke down this shit a long time ago. "Cancel culture" is a propaganda ploy, and the working people whose speech is actually suppressed by economic need and at-will employment will gain nothing by the proposed remedy -- which, as near as I can tell from every single goddamn article these people put out about it, is to kiss the asses of blowhards who never stopped talking in the first place.

Thursday, March 17, 2022


Today’s Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebie (and there’s plenty more where it came from, and cheap, so subscribe today!) is an update on the Freedom Convoy that’s become a minor nuisance in the city of Washington but major fantasy object for wingnut crackpots across America. 

The convoy is, as I’ve mentioned previously, political cosplay on the order of the Hard Hats, the Tea Party, Duck Dynasty, and Joe the Plumber, meant to make a bunch of well-funded political operatives look like the Voice of the People -- or, rather, of people who are more salt-of-the-earth than you because they dress like Sons of Anarchy extras. 

Normal people don’t seem to be going for it, though, which has led some of the brethren to claim the Deep State killed their spotlight by making Russia invade Ukraine, like this bluecheck clown with 18.5K followers:

This delusional level of self-regard is, as you'll see in the report, general among convoy participants and supporters alike.

It just gets more surreal: In its latest report, the Washington Post talks to a convoy guy who came into town to stroll around the Mall with his granddaughter, who was wearing a Let’s Go Brandon shirt to “spread the word.” That's doing your part, citizen! (The Post mentions that this cowboy "drives a F-150 four-wheel-drive pickup truck" -- you may have missed that the majority of the convoyers are not big rigs at all.)

The Post also had this from the nightly peroration from one of the Head Cosplayers In Charge:

At the group’s evening rally Tuesday night, co-organizer Mike Landis referenced Washington residents in saying the group will “keep going back every day and just annoying the crap out of them.” 

The convoy people really think their hatred of “Washington” as a synecdoche for Big Gummint gives them cause and the right to play “I’m Not Touching You” with normal people going to work and living their lives. If a bunch of art directors camped out in Alabama and went into Mobile every day to “annoy the crap” out of the residents, of course, you’d hear the screams of outrage in Antarctica.  

Friday, March 11, 2022


This motherfucker rocked the Apollo

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, March 08, 2022


 I have unlocked today's Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, recording a meeting of the University of Northern Virginia at Condo Corners First Amendment Therapy Group. 

I'm going to flip over all the cards, as they used to say on "What's My Line," and tell you that the episode is partly inspired by the latest cancelculture atrocity: A guest essay in the New York Times by one Emma Camp, a senior at the University of Virginia and a Reason magazine contributor, who tells us that she and all the UVA kids are horribly cancelcultured -- that is to say, they are sometimes criticized by other students, or else they get a vibe that they're being disagreed with, and so they "self-censor," which apparently differs from other-censorship in that it sometimes leads to guest essays in the New York Times. The solutions she offers are so amorphous ("encourage professors to reward intellectual diversity and nonconformism in classroom discussions") that I assume in practice they would amount to treating rightwing white kids as a protected class (just like they did in the old days!). 

As we saw with Jane Kitchen back in January, the Cancelcultured Student Essay is by now a familiar grift, and Camp's is no exception. But its defenders have learned a new trick! When people made fun of Camp's essay, pointing out, reasonably, that having an essay published in the Times is the opposite of censorship, self- or otherwise, her defenders cried how dare you, can't you see she's just a lit-tle girl

I seem to remember rightwingers beating the shit out of David Hogg and X née Emma González, survivors of an actual violent attack at their school, when they became gun control advocates. But in the land of IOKIYAR, I guess it's only conservative columnists who get the Kids Fly Free treatment. I can't wait until they publish a seven-year-old's "How Come They Can Say the N-Word and I Can't" and denounce its critics as child-haters (or pedophile groomers, as seems to be their latest shtick). 

Sunday, March 06, 2022


That COVID Convoy that was supposed to invade Washington during the Statue of the Union (but didn't) and then on Saturday (but didn't) came up with a cunning plan on Sunday: They would do two loops around the Beltway to "show them how large we are." ("Them" being the rest of us who think they're idiots, I guess.)

Afternoon reports indicate they're not doing so hot

Pig Pen and the Rubber Duck now say they'll circle the Beltway every day until their demands are met. This inflated self of self-importance is fairly typical of rightwing "grassroots" movements: No one voted for them, few of us support their cause (which near as I can figure is to lift some non-existent "mandates"), but they act like a mighty sovereign power treating with the enemy. 

I suppose the plan is to get as many donations via their many pledge pages as they can, then split with the proceeds. (That seems to be the MO of at least one of the leaders.) If they can make a nuisance of themselves before collapsing, so much the better -- because being a pain in the ass in the heart of conservatism anymore. 

Friday, March 04, 2022


Hope Fat Tuesday was good to ya.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LOL no comment.

Thursday, March 03, 2022


I have un-paywalled an issue of Roy Edroso Breaks It Down about two aspects of the Freedom Convoy thing: 1.) How the press has been talking up their alleged truck invasion of Washington, D.C. for weeks, but only a few alleged Freedom Convoyeurs have as yet visited our nation's capital, and 2.) the fondness of conservatives for protest movement that are basically cosplay -- the Tea Party, the Hardhats, the Bundys, etc. (The dress-up is always hyper-masculine, though they make occasional exceptions such as the Brooks Brothers Riot.)

At this writing the Washington Post, which has been flogging the thing at least as much as any other media outlet, reports that 

Despite organizers touting numbers in the thousands, Indiana State Police spokesman Captain Ron Galaviz said the convoy amounted to fewer than 300 vehicles when it was in Indiana this week, and a majority were passenger vehicles, not large trucks.

Now, as a normal American, you might look at that and think the thing is not so much brave Pigpen and the Rubber Duck running a Breaker 1-9 Braveheart juggernaut of big rigs to smash through the toll gate into the DC Swamp and kick some libtard ass, and more like convoy of campers coming to act like assholes for a few hours and take in the Air & Space Museum. 

But rightwing sites want you to think it's clobberin' time: "ON THE HIGHWAY, Okla.," datelines the wingnut Epoch Times, "—The largest truck convoy in the United States has grown in size since departing California and is attracting thousands of supporters as it makes its way toward the East Coast." "Liberals thought the U.S Trucker convoy is going nowhere," snarls 2020 Conservative (warning: site is mostly pop-ups), "well, they just got pranked. 'The People’s Convoy' is getting big and the D.C. swamp continues to struggle with their plans to counter the convoy." 

"Struggle with their plans" apparently means "put the National Guard on standby," so if any of these cowboys has been hypnotized by the hype into trying Jan. 6 II they're going to be hilariously disappointed. I expect some light MAGA tourist action and then the usual Great Forgotting -- just like after the "Ride For The Constitution" convoy that wingnuts claimed was going the paralyze the capital during the budget shutdown fight in 2013, and which also turned out to be bullshit. As I reported at the time

Anyway the Ride was breathlessly covered by rightbloggers such as Susan Duclos, who informed readers that “already one report has come out about cops pulling over portions of the convoy” and ran a picture of trucks on a highway as evidence that the protest was in full effect.

The great thing about Ride for the Constitution, Moonbattery said, was that “you don’t have to drive a truck to take part.” This was apparently how the overwhelming majority of supporters chose to participate.

Plus ça change, huh?

Friday, February 25, 2022


Fave Wray.

Rushed again! Just a couple freebies from Roy Edroso Breaks It Down to hand out: 

First, today’s issue, with extra added CPAC sessions. I’m not at the real event, thank God -- others like Laura Jedeed are there and you can follow them if you dare. Jedeed reports on a session in which “several prosecutors [are] discussing the need for solutions that go beyond incarceration and actually rehabilitates people.” Funnily enough, last time I attended, in 2014, they had a session on the subject starring Bernard Kerik. Maybe they do it every year -- wonder why, since sympathy for the incarcerated doesn’t fit the psychological profile of your average CPAC attendee. Maybe focus groups told them to leaven the sadism? Anyway, the real agenda looks nuts enough that my additions should fit right in.

And the second freebie is my backgrounder on American conservatives’ Putin love -- which, as I mentioned yesterday, got an airing when Vlad the Chad invaded Ukraine. Most of them seem to have gotten the message to cool it, but I gotta say, I’m trying to imagine liberals in the Iraq War run-up talking about Saddam Hussein the way conservatives are talking about Putin, and coming up empty.

Thursday, February 24, 2022


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

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

Tulsi Gabbard:

Glenn Greenwald:

Steve Bannon:

And the leader of the opposition:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, February 22, 2022


Unlocked here is today’s Roy Edroso Breaks It Down item on the now-traditional lovefest between American conservatives and Vladmir Putin and how I expect it to inform the Ukraine discourse. And since it came out it looks like I called it:

The first of the high-circulation wingnuts to rise fully to Russia’s defense is Candace Owens (“NATO [under direction from the United States] is violating previous agreements and expanding eastward. WE are at fault”). I expect there will be more. (Charlie Kirk is playing with it.) 

I'd say this is an instinct, if not a legacy. The double backflip will be “Russia is justified and it’s Biden’s fault,” as Donald Trump’s Gotta Hand It To ‘Em remarks suggest.

My position is the same as it was in 2003, when I was no fan of Saddam Hussein but didn’t see a reason for the U.S. to fight him. It would never have occurred to me, though, to defend my position by saying what a great, godly, manly leader Saddam was. 

Friday, February 18, 2022


As fresh as when he cut it 96 years ago.

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

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

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

Friday, February 11, 2022


Made an album, couple of EPs, then stopped (except for a brief reunion).
Gotta respect that.

•   I'm just gonna give ya one more Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebie for the week: Trump appointing a Rubber Duck for his Convoy. It was obvious from the start that this Canadian truck fiasco was designed to travel south, and now that Rand Paul, Tucker Carlson and other stateside assholes are pushing it, I’m sure it will -- notwithstanding the cause and the tactics are extremely unpopular among the citizens who are suffering through them. As we’ve seen in Russia, Hungary, and elsewhere, neofascism is an international movement, and the American Bund has been working its chops with the Bundys and other homegrown honky insurgencies for years, knowing they can count on getting away with the kind of shit black and leftwing protestors get beaten and killed for. Like the Bundy’s Marlboro Man shtick, the Manly White Trucker routine will play great on Fox News and inspire legions of dotards to buy more Trump coins. I doubt Merrick Garland has the balls to Koresh these clowns, so get ready for weeks of interstate bullshit before the spring thaw. 

•   As Alex Chilton said, Pretty soon we're all gonna get it/ It's time to buy some stuff on credit. I see a lot of people who should know better saying well, we tried (not really) and going commando on COVID because masks are a drag. I'm used to it from the morons, but the alleged smart guys who are picking it up as a form of popularism -- i.e. the polls show people are getting antsy so abandon ship -- really burn my ass. Steven Thrasher tells 'em off good, but there are too many that need telling, like Yair Rosenberg, who hauls aboard esteemed science historian Steven Shapin to tell us that the Establishment is just not talking the (rightwing) People's language, man, and that's why they love Joe Rogan and think vaccines are poison, so when you think about it this is all the Establishment's fault. Shapin:

It needs a face, it needs PowerPoints, it needs metaphors, it needs analogies. It needs a face of sympathy, and a face that says, “I am caring about you and we are all in this together.” Because America is so divided, it’s very difficult to talk about that. But if you want to ask people to believe something, and to do something based on that belief, you’ve got to show that you care.

Maybe Fauci and those guys should have dressed up like Care Bears or something. I know -- they should have gotten stoned and done a podcast! Jesus Christ. Pretty clearly our Betters have decided there's no hope, and are counting on the high ticket and menu prices of the places they hang out at to protect them from the infected hordes. Oh, well, I've had a full life. 

Tuesday, February 08, 2022


Today’s issue of Roy Edroso Breaks It Down, released to the general public, is inspired by the latest hilarious symptom of prestige media’s accelerating degeneracy: Jonah Goldberg hired by CNN

Longtime readers will know that I have followed The Man They Call Pantload with interest since 2003, or five short years after his mom and a sploogey blue dress bought him a media career, from his early Bad Boy/Moral Scold act through the publication his magnum opus Liberal Fascism or I Know You Are But What Am I, during years of terrible, terrible columns at National Review, occasionally with fart jokes and catchphrases, and into his half-assed apostasy as he realized his South Park Republican shtick had been rendered useless even among conservatives by the mouthbreathing mobs of Trumperdom. 

Over this period I have come to consider Goldberg not merely a bad writer and worse thinker, but also one of my great literary creations -- an overfed momma’s boy who, thrust (still dribbling Cheetos) onto the public stage, tries to charm his audience with horseplay and, failing that, claps a mortarboard on his head and proceeds to launch ludicrous syllogisms, fretfully farting as they range out of control.  Seeing him rise to CNN, I feel a little as I imagine Jaroslav Hašek would have felt seeing his Good Soldier Schweik elected to the Austrian parliament. 

When Goldberg noisily left Fox News I figured he'd join the New York Times' stable of rightwing gasbags; it would be easy to pretend people who know how to read can abide him. Putting his sputtering ass on TV seems like a mistake -- like when 60 Minutes created a pundit bank of P.J. O'Rourke, Molly Ivins, and Stanley Crouch, and viewers begged them to desist.  Well, it's their money! 

Sunday, February 06, 2022


Sometimes I just have to put something here to save it for, I don't know, future generations maybe, or as a reminder for when I get senile as to when America really lost it:

The Wallethub ranking that Bongino inverted is here. (You will notice that, in their eagerness, the Fox News staff mistook Irvine, California for Irving, Texas. Wonder if they'll apologize!)

It's kind of a refreshing in a way: For years we've been dealing with their half-truths, bad faith, whataboutism, etc., and sometimes it takes so much effort to explain what they're doing even I lose interest, but when they just plain declare black is white and vice-versa, it makes things clearer and easier.  

Friday, February 04, 2022


Are you mesmerized?

•  I’ve got two Roy Edroso Breaks It Down freebies for those of you who, unaccountably, have yet to subscribe. First is Monday’s item on all the Neil Young/Joe Rogan bullshit. (There’s also a review of Barn in there.) The general inability of rightwing dummies -- and though they often call themselves “libertarians” or “skeptics” or “free thinkers,” upon inspection they always turn out to be rightwing dummies -- to distinguish between “deciding not to do business with a disinformation vendor” and “censorship” continues. Bari Weiss offloaded her cancelculture belly-aching to the ex-banjo player from Mumford & Sons, and it’s a testament to her shitty writing that I thought at first it was her own work. After ominously talking about Soviet repression for three paragraphs, Banjo Guy says, “I’m not suggesting the music scene of the West today, or the creative industries more broadly, resembles this top-down authoritarian dystopia.” Then why bring it up, one might wonder. Then he talks awhile about how Ice-T swore at Tipper Gore -- possibly to stoke the crowd -- until finally: 

But in 2022, the censors are not in charge of governments. Something resembling a bottom-up authoritarianism has become the norm. Or perhaps one could call it lateral censorship. It’s artists shutting down other artists—or trying to.

The absurdity of the phrase “bottom-up authoritarianism,” which makes as much sense as “diet lard,” to one side, Banjo Guy seems to miss that artists do indeed oppose and even refuse to work with other artists all the time. How many theaters have rung with cries of “either he goes or I go” throughout the ages? Yet before our low, mean age, no one thought to pretend it was a First Amendment violation. To use an example from popular music, some players got mad enough at Eric Clapton in the 70s to form Rock Against Racism; I suppose by the standards of Bari Weiss and Banjo Guy, that, too, was censorship. Anyway I can report that the thing never gets any better, but it does contain plenty of gripes like "the producer insisted that the orchestra be racially diverse” and -- notwithstanding the beg-off on Soviet parallels -- a citation of The Gulag Archipelago and an assertion that “maybe a return to Soviet-style censorship is well on the way. Apparently banjo isn’t the only thing this guy knows how to play. 

•  Now where was I? Oh yeah, second freebie, about the rightwing college that other Bari Weiss Special Guest Star went to. I hope America survives, and if it does I wonder what our descendants will think when they look back on this phenomenon of rightwingers pretending to have been leftwingers so they can write about their conversion experience. Going to Hillsdale for "diversity of thought" is like going to Golden Corral for diet options.  

Monday, January 31, 2022


I have released to gen pop my Roy Edroso Breaks It Down essay on the Neil Young/Spotify thing, which controversy has some interesting (and by interesting I mean stupid) political facets but is mainly significant as a reminder that for conservatives “culture war” is actually a war on culture. 

It is something to see rightwingers (and other idiots) attack Young, first on the ridiculous grounds that he is somehow “censoring” Joe Rogan, and then, in the manner of old Superman TV show villains ineffectually emptying their guns on Superman and then throwing the guns at him, claiming he’s a shitty musician. Even worse than the Twitter morons who say he sucks because [citation needed] are wingnut enforcers like Armond White in National Review who claim Young is inferior to, I shit you not, Kid Rock because the latter is more authentically anti-establishment (i.e. worships Trump):

Yes, a brief time between culture wars produced the lovely, singular Americana Are You Passionate? and Greendale, but now it’s disappointingly clear that Young’s facile politics often lacked moral foundation.

“Young’s facile politics often lacked moral foundation” -- barring a few translation issues, Andrei Zhdanov couldn’t have put it better himself. For White music as such doesn't even exist except as a vehicle for appropriate propaganda. In this war I’ll stay on the side of culture, thanks. 

Friday, January 28, 2022


It's good, and sort of new!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Organ sting!]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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