Sunday, September 21, 2014

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about the Rice and Peterson NFL scandals, and how conservatives have turned the relevant issues from corporal punishment and domestic violence to femmie liberals versus butch real Americans.  These celebrity controversies are not very good teaching tools and, as I've said before, I'm sick of these guys attributing decisions made by risk-averse corporations to liberalism, but at least this time the psychological twists kept it amusing.

Friday, September 19, 2014

FRIDAY ROUND-THE-HORN.

•   Kevin D. Williamson has another in his series of columns on why his current abode, New York, sucks, apparently pitched at gomers who can't understand why anyone would want to live in one of them itty-bitty apartments surrounded by blahs when they could have a nice spread in Butte. In this case Williamson focuses on that "inequality" you stupid hippies pretend to be concerned about, which he attributes not to the lack of jobs suitable to a middle class such as manufacturing once provided, nor to the rich outsiders who increasingly buy up the properties, but to "progressive policies" such as rent stabilization (which mainly helps poorer New Yorkers, which may be why people like Williamson hate it so much) and, natch, high taxes. "When it comes time to pay for college or to leave behind a bequest for children or grandchildren -- an important means of building wealth within families -- you’re almost certainly better off in San Antonio or Provo than in New York or San Francisco," hmmphs Williamson. His beef seems to be that a Bible salesman's family of eight can't afford a house on Fifth Avenue. Well, that's capitalism, comrade, take it up with the Invisible Hand. Also, I have to ask, as I do of all city-dwelling city-haters: If that's the way you feel about your progressive hellhole, why don't you move to Provo? The American Enterprise Institute says telecommuters are happier!

•   Hey look, here's the new #Benghazi -- whoops, I mean the new Journolist (tired today, can't keep my ginned-up controversies straight): This time, we are told by he-man woman-hater Milo Yiannopoulos, America is being assaulted not by Dave Weigel and his combine of communist journalists, but by "high-profile editors, reporters, and reviewers from heavyweight gaming news sites" -- i.e., nerds -- who are "engaging in activism on behalf of their reporting subjects" -- i.e., talking shop -- which is "disturbing to many in the industry, who have long suspected a persistent bias and unusual levels of co-operation and co-ordination from senior journalists" -- i.e., bros who enjoy harassing women. "It’s basically Journolist for people who didn’t go to Harvard," says Ole Perfesser Glenn Reynolds (Yale Law 1985), proving its pedigree as bullshit. On a similar note, PJ Media's J. Christian Adams has his own shocking expose on the campaign software Catalist, which is used by Democrats, for which reason Adams tries to make this legal product sound somehow worse than, say, the data mining tools used by every damn corporation, though his real complaint shines out halfway down the page:
Unfortunately, Republicans have no functioning counterpart data tool to Catalist. They have multiple and competing shells of Catalist, but they have nothing on the collaborative scale as Catalist, largely due to the fact that Republicans won’t collaborate and are fiercely territorial of their competing data sets.
That Adams doesn't realize how funny this is just makes it better, don't you think? You can go there and gather mangoes yourself, but let me leave you with this choice tantrum-fragment:
Leftist players sacrifice their egos for the larger messianic call of destroying Republicans, obliterating conservatives, and ultimately gutting the Constitution.
No fair -- socialism is winning!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

SCOTS WOO HOO.

I know less about British politics than [George Costanza pause] anyone in the world, but ignorance has never stopped me before, so I hereby declare myself in favor of Scottish independence, mainly because the worst people on earth are against it. For example, David Frum, whose "five important ways" in which "a vote in favor of Scottish independence would hurt Americans" are so poorly cobbled together that they actually reduce my opinion of him, which I never thought possible. Get a load of this:
Second, a ‘Yes’ vote would lead to a longer-term decline in Britain’s contribution to global security. The Scottish separatists have a 30-year history of hostility toward NATO. They abruptly reversed their position on the military alliance in 2012 to reassure wavering middle-of-the-road voters. But the sincerity of this referendum-eve conversion is doubtful. Even if it was authentic, the SNP’s continuing insistence on a nuclear weapons-free policy would lock U.S. and U.K. forces out of Scotland’s naval bases.
What if ISIS attacks the Isle of Man while the UK's moving its rockets to Berwick-Upon-Tweed?
The SNP’s instincts are often anti-American and pro-anybody-on-the-other-side of any quarrel with the United States, from Vladimir Putin to Hamas.
Gasp! The Union of Scottish Socialist Republics will become the Anglosphere's Cuba, or at least its Berkeley! They may have to set up a blockade. (I think these guys are up for the job.)

But here's the convincer:


I mean, come on, wouldn't it be worth it just to see their faces the morning after? Tell me I'm wrong in comments.

UPDATE. Or tell me jokes! keta tells a good one in comments. I'm not sure this one I heard Tom Conti tell in Whose Life Is It, Anyway? is supposed to be about Scots, but what the hell: Two Scots are in Vatican City, thirsty. They go into a trattoria, order two pints of ale. They are informed there's no ale, no lager either. "Well," says one, "what's yer Pope drink?" Benedictine, he is told. "Right," says the other Scot, "two pints of Benedictine." In short order the two men are legless. "So this is what yer Pope drinks?" says one; "Christ, no wonder they're always carryin' him about in a fookin' chair then."

UPDATE 2. A commenter notes that Dave Brockington of Lawyers Guns & Money has made what he or she reads as a fair argument for Better Together. I see it as more mixed, but Brockington does make the good point if Scotland leaves it will make the rest of the UK  totally nuts politically (or as Socialist Cubone puts it, "UKIP with nukes").

We've also taken on more jokes in comments, and I appreciate Muriel Volestrangler hooking us up with Billy Connolly's version of the Vatican joke, which is terrific.

Oh by the way, no exit polls, so we'll just have to wait for a result. I expect to be disappointed, as usual.

UPDATE 3. Ah bollocks. Catalunya, you're my only hope!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

OGLING WHILE MUSLIM.

So David Solway of PJ Media went to the swimming hole the other day and these guys tried to peep between the towels he was holding up as his wife changed out of her bathing suit, "mesmerized by the partially hidden lure of a woman in semi-undress."

This is not just gross behavior, Solway will have you know, because these people are not like, say, Florida assistant state attorney William Richard Ezzell, recently accused of trying to film a woman in her underwear at a tanning salon, or any of the other white peeping-toms and molesters you'll read about in the news; no, these were Muslims, and "dark-clad" Muslims at that. What's more, they were also seen "conspicuously observing the traditions of their native culture" -- that is, praying. And some people had to drive around them as they bowed toward Mecca.

Solway's inevitable conclusion: We Westerners are all mesmerized by the "sedatives and platitudes of multiculturalism" into ignoring our creeping dhimmitude:
Such behavior is patently different from the Muslim-inspired havoc and thuggery erupting in Canadian cities like Calgary, Toronto and Montreal, or in the municipal war zones of many European cities with sizeable Muslim populations. But it was nevertheless a visible presumption of specialness and of indifference to the conventions of ordinary civility.
And "the spirit of natural entitlement that goes hand in hand with Islam," and they're all "enjoined to conquer, enslave, tax and slay the kafir, or infidel," etc. etc. -- all the standard anti-Muslim yak, weaponized for the Age of ISIS.

I'll grant him this: Religion does make men fucked up about women -- remember when the Israeli Hasidim used to attack women who had the affrontery to pray at the wailing wall? I think the American answer is to give religious maniacs pluralism good and hard -- which is why we're making Jesus freaks bake all the gay wedding cakes. Enjoy your re-education, assholes!

UPDATE. In comments, FlipYrWhig: "If this habit of attempting to look surreptitiously at women undressing happens to take root among Westerners, it's going to make for a very naughty 30,000 years of unrecorded and recorded history."

mortimer2000 directs us to Solway's personal page, where "The Bard," as he refers to himself, discourses on several topics, including country music:
Country music loves America and cares about those Americans in ‘fly-over country’ whom sophisticated New Yorkers and CBC listeners love to hate: the farmers, ranchers, truck drivers, waitresses and cowboys who still work the land, go to church, and fight the wars that keep other Americans safe (at least for now).
As a sophisticated former New Yorker who loves his Country I take exception, particularly to being thus lectured by a guy who was first brought to the music by Brooks & Fucking Dunn.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

ANNALS OF THE CULTURE WAR, PART NEGATIVE GAZILLION.

In his Morning Jolt email, Jim Geraghty engages A.O. Scott's thumbsucker on the lack of adulthood in sitcoms, and for a couple of seconds sounds non-crazy ("Not all popular culture needs to hold a mirror up to us" -- boy, where's that synapse been all these years?); but then, alas --
It's not that America doesn't have any grown-ups or non-loser dads left. We dads didn't go anywhere; it's just that television networks don't make as many shows about us, and when they do, the kind of people who review film and television for the New York Times aren't as interested...

Remember a moment ago when I described "communities dominated by underemployed urban quasi-professionals, unmarried, without kids, without mortgages, without a career path or plan"? How large a portion of the communities of our creative classes fits that description? Or perhaps more specifically, how many people in our creative classes percolated for years in that sort of extended-adolescence Bohemian urban environment? There's nothing inherently wrong with that environment -- for a while, at least — but it's light years away from being universal. Our national storytellers may be quite convinced that they're holding a mirror up to society — but they're only reflecting their own limited personal experience.
They're elitists, is what they are, these arty-farties who live in (spit) cities and don't know how to change a diaper. Not like the shirtsleeves, shot-and-a-beer kind of pundit-dads you see hand-lathing shelves at the National Review woodshop in Skunk Hollow, Ala.!
This sort of "You Hollywood types are too insular" complaint usually gets dismissed as whining when it comes from a conservative...
Come on little synapse!
...but maybe it sounds more valid coming from a Latino or Asian-American, when they note how few movies at the Cineplex or shows on the dial reflect the stories and experiences of their communities.
Is Linda Chavez still alive? Our nagging needs minority cover. Get her busy on a piece demanding the return of The George Lopez Show.

Believe it or don't, there's even worse at NR today: Kevin D. Williamson considers Hamlet and Sons of Anarchy together because, he says, they both address "maternal guilt" -- wait, don't run screaming yet, because here comes the sheet-enseaming shot:
“Hamlet and His Problems” was published in 1921. Seven years shy of a century later, Sons of Anarchy presents the question: Is the theme of maternal guilt still “an almost intolerable motive for drama” [as J.M. Robertson said]? 
The model of motherhood that prevails in 2014 is fundamentally different from the model of 1921, so different in fact as to be an almost entirely distinct moral and social phenomenon. This begins with the world-changing fact that the progress from conception to birth is today optional. The millions of acts of violence that have been committed in utero since January 1973 inevitably have shaped our views of motherhood...
I ain't even kidding. There follows a catalogue of post-Roe horrors -- "feminist doublespeak, which regards the developing person as morally indistinguishable from a tumor," "the 117-minute meditation on sundry pregnancy horrors that is Ridley Scott’s 1979 film Alien," etc. -- meant to convey that as compared to the delicate, Jainistic Elizabethan era, we moderns wade through cord-blood in a global charnel-house where
meditations upon maternal guilt are hardly intolerable; they are, rather, inevitable... we have a different sort of problem than Hamlet had: His drama had to do with the degradation of his mother; ours has to do with the degradation of motherhood categorically. Dragging that into the sunlight is an unpleasant business, and a necessary one.
I wonder what his readers think this means; probably "See, Sons of Anarchy is conservative, just like choc-o-mut ice creams and everything else I like."  Me, I want to be generous to Williamson, in return for all the laughs he's given me: Maybe his is a stealth mission to discredit modern liberal arts education by his example.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about Obama's ISIS speech and the brethren's reaction, which was outraged that it didn't contain enough hatred, especially of Muslims, because come on, they can't talk smack about blacks, they can't talk smack about gays or Hispanics, you gotta give them something or it's, like, persecution.

UPDATE. Adding to the anti-Muslim ooga-booga at National Review is Theodore Dalrymple, who asks, "why there should be proportionally more jihadis from Britain than, say, from France" in ISIS, and "why they should be more brutal." Considering that ISIS is overwhelming native-based, this is a ridiculous line of inquiry (not made less so by Dalrymple's admission that "the premises of the questions themselves are somewhat speculative") unless your goal is to try and tar a whole people with the actions of some weirdos, and this is what Dalrymple is up to: The Muslims in Britain, apparently, aren't performing as well economically as the Sikhs or the Hindus, and so the Brit Muslim  male is a "failure," and his "resentment is all the stronger because of the additional element of personal responsibility for that failure, actual or anticipated," leading to his savagery.

Dalrymple does offer an alternative environmental cause for those who prefer their Muslim-bashing with a chaser of kids-today yak: "contemporary British culture... is the crudest, most aggressive, and most lacking in refinement of any of the Western cultures," says Dalrymple, and the Brit jihadis are basically lager louts gone tea-total for Allah, which goes to show how "partially British" they are. Wouldn't it be easier to just blame the malign influence of Henrik Ibsen?

Friday, September 12, 2014

THE STUPIDEST THING EVER WRITTEN UNTIL JONAH GOLDBERG WRITES SOMETHING ELSE, PART INFINITY.

Obama says ISIS is neither Islamic nor a state; about the second bit, Jonah Goldberg says [squish of foot landing in bucket, crash of head striking cabinet and dishes falling out]:
...reasonable people can quibble. The terrorist army that calls itself the Islamic State is certainly trying to build a state — and not just a state but a super state, or caliphate. They’re not there yet; their delivery of social services seems spotty at best, though they do collect taxes and uphold the law (in a fashion). 
More relevant, it doesn’t really matter if it’s a state. Morally, this weed stinks just as much whether you call it a state or a soccer league that rapes, tortures, and murders people on the side. And legally, statehood would matter — and not very much — only if the U.N. and other bodies agreed to recognize the fledgling caliphate’s legitimacy. That’s not going to happen even if the Islamic State opens up post offices and DMVs on every corner.
So, ISIS is not a state. Moving along: about the Islamic part, Jonah Goldberg says [clunk of bucket-footed running, kee-rash of body tumbling down cellar steps]:
As for its not being Islamic, that’s at best unclear, if not just clearly wrong. And the fact that the majority of its victims are Muslim is irrelevant. Lenin and Stalin killed thousands of Communists and socialists...
Yeah, and what about those altar boys those priests raped? I suppose those priests suddenly turned Protestant! Not that I blame the church, it's rilly holy.
The president faces the same dilemma that bedeviled George W. Bush, and I sympathize with him. It is not in our interest for the Muslim world to think we are at war with Islam, not just because it is untrue...
Remember that thing I said about "clearly wrong"? You don't? Good.
....but more specifically because we desperately need the cooperation of Muslim nations. That’s why Bush constantly proclaimed “Islam means peace.”
But...
(You might want to soak your head in ice awhile before reading the rest of this.)
...it also seems flatly wrong for an American president to be declaring what is or is not Islamic — or Christian or Jewish.
Yeah, if we can't say America is a Christian nation (butitisdon'tworryFundieswejusthavetosaythat) I guess we can't say it isn't a Christian nation either. Fair's fair.
Given the First Amendment alone, there’s something un-American in any government official simply declaring what is or is not a religion.
Well, you can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.
Bush’s formulation in his September 20, 2001, address to Congress was better: “The terrorists practice a fringe form of Islamic extremism that has been rejected by Muslim scholars and the vast majority of Muslim clerics; a fringe movement that perverts the peaceful teachings of Islam.”
And it's better because (TK) (Sorry KLO lunch went a little long and the intern went back to prison).
Regardless, I’m not the kind of purist who would object to Obama’s version — if it worked. Aeschylus first noted more than 2,400 years ago that the first casualty of war is the truth.
Remember that "not just because it is untrue" thing I said before? Oh shit, you do remember? Farrrrrt.
And if saying that the Islamic State is guilty of religious false advertising makes it easier to win a war, that’s fine by me. 
But does it work?
QUESTIONS REMAIN
...In fact, maybe it’s a mistake to concede the point up front? Instead of Americans trying to persuade Muslims of the world that terrorism is un-Islamic, why shouldn’t Muslims be working harder to convince us?
I don't see Mo-hammed or whatever his name is over there doing anything to convince Jonah Goldberg he's not a terrorist. I just see him making Jonah Goldberg's sandwich. Extra bacon, please. [(whispers) You can tell how big a jihadi they are by their reaction.]
Think about it. Whenever a tiny minority of bad actors hurts the reputation of its ethnicity, faith, or cause by doing terrible things in the name of its ethnicity, faith, or cause, the responsible thing is for the moderate, decent majority to cry “Not in our name!” or “They don’t speak for us!”
How about a #NotAllMuslims hashtag? Thank you, good night, more September-October 2011 retro bullshit to come.