Archive for QOTW

Quote of the week

Fox News, says the Z Man, could have ridden out the Bill O’Reilly kerfuffle, but why would they bother?

It’s tempting to assume that Fox is stuffed to the rafters with right-wing ideologues, but that’s not the case. Fox is just as Prog infested as every other media company. This could very well be part of an effort to make the channel more Prog friendly. It could also be the dream-child of someone in management, to remake the network to appeal to younger, gayer viewers.

But even if it isn’t, what difference does it make?

CNN has the same economics as Fox News. They can fully engage in whatever politics they choose, because they get paid even if no one bothers watching. They are tax farmers, relying on an oligopoly to enforce their right to skim a buck a month from your cable bill. It’s why cable bills are over $100 per month and it is also why cord cutting is the new thing. If people could pick the channels they buy through their cable subscription, all of the cable news guys would go away.

Besides, Fox News is still affected by Robert Conquest’s second law: “Any organization not explicitly right-wing sooner or later becomes left-wing.” An example from the past:

[A] good lesson to recall in all of this is the story of Time Magazine. Henry Luce founded the magazine, as well as Life, Sports Illustrated and other famous publications. He was also involved in radio, newsreels and eventually television. His company was the first multimedia corporation. In his heyday, he was considered the most influential private citizen in the country. The reason for that is his publications reached almost every American. He was an arbiter of the news.

Luce was also rabidly anti-communist and regularly used his media outlets to do battle with the Progs of his day. He opposed most of what FDR tried to do in office. It was Luce who came to the rescue of Whittaker Chambers, when the the Progs had him at the top of their enemies list. Chambers worked for Luce, not only earning a paycheck, but writing for his publications. Luce helped Bill Buckley get started, thus helping the post-war conservative movement come to life. Henry Luce’s media empire was anti-Left.

It was not, however, explicitly right-wing. After Luce died, his media company was slowly infiltrated by lunatics. By the 60’s it was unrecognizable. By the 70’s it was fully refashioned into a weapon of the Left. Even though its over the top Progressive bias slowly killed its circulation, the people running it did not care. What mattered was promoting the one true faith, even if it destroyed the institution from which it was broadcast.

Gramsci! thou shouldst be living at this hour.

Oh, wait, thou art.

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Quote of the week

From Roberta X’s most recent Geopolitical Update:

It is snicker-worthy watching Uncle Vlad get all huffy about the “violation of international law” in the U. S. sending a missile salvo on a badwill tour of a Syrian air force base. Tell it to the Ukrainians, you scheming weasel, and then yank the veto chain from your comfy seat on the UN Security Council just like all the other Great Powers do after they’ve beat up some two-bit country that doesn’t have that option.

Note: There are exactly five permanent members of the Security Council. I suspect that the only advantage of being one of them is that ability to yank the veto chain, because God knows the Security Council isn’t going to do anything actually useful if it can possibly help it.

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Quote of the week

Andrew Heaton is ready for us to choose a King. Or a Queen, even:

We threw the baby out with the bathwater when we kicked the monarchy out of America, and we ought to bring it back. To be clear, I do not mean the sort of hereditary tyrants who rule North Korea, Saudi Arabia, or the New York Yankees. Rather, I’d like for us to get one of those cute, ornamental throne warmers the Europeans trot around to cut ribbons at events.

In America we’ve combined power and reverence in the office of the presidency, but legal authority and veneration complement each other about as well as Scotch and back-pain medication. It’s safer to ingest them separately.

How we got to this unhappy, um, state:

In America our head of government and head of state both problematically reside in the president. We can see that unholy union in full force during the spasm of pageantry which is the State of the Union address. President Jefferson rightly viewed the whole affair as pompous and monarchical, and sent Congress a letter instead.

Unfortunately the nimbus of deference surrounding the presidency has swelled with time. In 1956 a political scientist named Clinton Rossiter published The American Presidency, a tome sopping wet with sycophantic notions about the Oval Office. He described the commander-in-chief as “a combination of scoutmaster, Delphic oracle, hero of the silver screen, and father of the multitudes.”

Gag me. The president is the top bureaucrat, and there’s nothing more American than despising bureaucrats. The government is basically a giant Human Resources Department with tanks, and the president is in charge of it.

Of course, it would help if once in a great while the Congress would do something according to their job description, which surprisingly is not “trying to get reelected.”

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Quote of the week

Calling yourself “The Resistance,” are you? You flatter yourselves:

Resistance is fleeing from North Korea’s monstrous regime (buy this book!); resistance is a Tuareg man in Gao, Mali boldly going on television to demand that his clan, his people put down their guns; resistance is dousing yourself in gasoline as a final desperate act of violence in protest at a seemingly endless dictatorship, not because you want to die but because the police just seized your entire livelihood and you don’t know what else to do; resistance is joining a pro-bono law firm, running around behind the tens, hundreds of people arrested by Venezuela’s totalitarian regime, trying futilely to bend the regime to the law through the force your will and your righteousness alone — and sometimes even paying the ultimate prize.

No, sorry, you aren’t a resistance, because USA is not a dictatorship. Nobody is persecuting you; none of your rights are being violated; no illegal purges enacted; no tortures and disappearances. You didn’t like the results of an election — and want to pretend it is illegitimate, because you don’t want to do the hard work of rebuilding a constituency alienated, “Because you thought correcting people’s attitudes was more important than finding them jobs. Because you turned ‘white man’ from a description into an insult (…) Because you cried when someone mocked the Koran but laughed when they mocked the Bible. (…) Because you kept telling people, ‘You can’t think that, you can’t say that, you can’t do that’,” as Brendan O’Neill has said. Alas, the only people losing their legitimacy are you; who wear little pink hats and take off all your clothes and wander through public spaces offending friend and foe alike; who vandalize coffee shops and write little slogans misspelled on cardboard. No, you aren’t a resistance, and you don’t get to have that word.

On a scale of 1 to the daycare center burning down, how likely is it that, say, a sloppy solipsist like Keith Olbermann would burst into tears if he were ever subjected to any real injustice?

(Via American Digest.)

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Quote of the week

Jack Baruth, after noticing the contradictions inherent in the nation’s abortion laws, gets down to the underlying issue:

As a society, we’ve placed the pleasure of sex above the safety or security of children. And it’s going to get worse before it gets better. The nice people at Salon made a push for a while to “normalize” pedophilia. Eventually they backed off under strong pressure, but you can consider it a test balloon. We worship youth, beauty, and sexuality in this society. These urges are too strong, and the potential supply of teenaged and tween-aged sex objects too tempting, to be forever denied to the adults in power. Come back to the website in the year 2057, when I’m long dead, and see if I was right. The “age of consent” is going to be dropped to where it was in medieval times, which is to say it will be dropped to puberty.

In other words, we are back to using children for adult purposes. It was a nice little holiday for kids there, and a short one too. Let’s mark it down as 1950-2000, in certain parts of the Western World only, and unevenly distributed within those borders. But the holiday is over. Time to get to work. If you’re lucky, it will be the maquiladora. If you’re unlucky, it will be after school in your teacher’s office. (Yes, that happens all the time, too.)

About the only redeeming social value in any of this is that the loudest, most vehement feminists are relatively unlikely to reproduce: why do you think they work so hard at recruiting students?

Meanwhile, Third World hellholes continue apace at the task of becoming the literal bulk of humanity, and some of those hellholes are controlled by people whose attitude toward children is even more inexplicable than ours.

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Quote of the week

Whomever you choose to take the blame for our Parlous Times, you’re sort of missing the point:

You know what the reality is? Every one of those guys — even the sneakiest, cleverest, richest of the lot, pick your choice, is floundering. Oh, they may stumble a little less than we do, and get a little more light shed in one corner or another, but they, like you or me, are doing good to keep up. It’s 2017 and a goatherd barely out of the Stone Age armed with a can of gasoline can, for a short while, speak just as loudly and influentially as the greasiest éminence grise. Those fellows who look so confident, generals and zillionaires, Congressthings and shady wheeler-dealers? It’s a front; they’ve got their refuges and boltholes and they hope their ride will wait, but they have no better handle on the future than you do and their only real plan is to see the next sunrise with their skin intact. They rely on custom and habit and the dull goodwill of their fellow humans every bit as much as you do.

Which explains the current state of things:

In January, we saw one of the great civil miracles of modern civilization: the peaceful transfer of power of a major nation going off without a hitch in a ceremony that’s been performed every four years since the end of April, 1789, and you know what people did? They went after trivia. After speculative nonsense. And it has only become worse every day since.

If you’re heavily emotionally invested in contemporary politics, you’re wasting the best part of your life.

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Quote of the week

Why the election came out the way it did, by Francis W. Porretto:

Americans have long cherished a view of political institutions as servants: agents charged with providing us certain services, rather than masters to which we are obligated regardless of any contrary inclination. The Left, of course, and much of the Establishment Right dislike that premise; they would prefer that we concede our subjugation to the State, that we might be more efficiently “managed.”

The 2016 election makes plain that a substantial fraction — probably a majority — of the people of this nation are unwilling to be managed. We defied the luminaries, the pundits, the bien-pensants, and in many cases our friends, relatives, and colleagues to elevate a Queens real-estate mogul to the highest executive office in the land … and it’s driving those aforementioned luminaries, pundits, bien-pensants, friends, relatives, and colleagues completely batshit.

“How could they have done this?” they wail. “We thought they understood!”

That’s their problem, you see. We did understand. We grasped, in sufficient numbers adequately distributed, what was being done to us. We decided we didn’t like it, wouldn’t have it, and reached for the sole available alternative. That alternative will be inaugurated this coming Friday.

I admit that it’s a lot of fun, watching our would-be overseers drowning in their own guanophenia. Unfortunately, they aren’t going to crawl into a hole and die, so they will have to be carefully watched for the next four years.

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Quote of the week

On Saturday, Meh.com sold this Bluetooth speaker for $18 — unless you bought it in pink, in which case it was only $15. Explanation:

People don’t want pink electronics. It’s not just that pink’s too bold: red is typically the best-selling gadget color after black, white, and maybe silver, and we never have too much trouble with yellow, either. No, the problem with pink is that it can’t be a “serious” color because it’s for little girls. Everybody knows that, right?

It’s funny, then, to read this excerpt from a June 1918 article in Earnshaw’s Infants Department, a trade magazine for baby product retailers:

“The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.”

According to Smithsonian Magazine, Filene’s and Marshall Field’s recommended the same to their customers. Other experts at the time said pink was suitable for any brunette child, or any baby with brown eyes. It isn’t until the late 1940s that apparel catalogs start consistently showing pink clothes for girls and blue for boys — influenced, perhaps, by the navy blue of Navy blues worn in World War II.

Think about it a minute. What about pink is inherently feminine, anyway? Rosy cheeks and pink baby fingers and toes don’t discriminate by gender. Yeah, there are pink flowers, but there are also lots of orange and yellow and red and white flowers, too.

And maybe this little lecture worked: four colors were offered, but pink garnered nearly half the sales.

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Quote of the week

What the hell is wrong with Europe these days? A lack of adult supervision, says the Z Man:

For close to fifty years, Western Europe was America’s daycare center. Americans did all the heavy lifting with regard to the defense of Western Civilization both militarily and economically. European elites were allowed to play dress up and pretend to be in charge, but everyone knew the Americans were in charge. If something broke, America fixed it. If someone got an ouchy, America would salve their boo-boo. The Pax Americana allowed the West to remain in a state of perpetual adolescence.

The result was at least one generation of leaders lacking any training in responsible government. They dress up like proper rulers, but they have no idea what it means to defend their people. In fact, they don’t even think about the hoi polloi as their people. They are just the great unwashed, an undifferentiated mass of greedy mouths and grasping hands. They were free to evolve this way because the Americans were always there to make sure nothing bad happened. As the protective bubble is removed, all of this being exposed.

At some point, people get tired of being murdered. The young German with a taste for politics is going to start to question why he is loyal to people, who show more concern for foreigners than they do for him. A lesson of the French Revolution is that once people begin to question the legitimacy of the system, everything is soon up for grabs. The reckless disregard for their duties, by people like Merkel, is planting the seeds for something much worse than the monthly Exploding Mohamed we see in the news.

What he doesn’t say, but probably doesn’t have to, is that the Americans don’t even bother with overseeing America these days; they’re busy with their tedious little cultural proscriptions and other trivia.

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Quote of the week

Severian reads Michel Foucault so you don’t have to, and believe me, you don’t have to:

Like every harebrained idea the ivory tower has farted out in the last half-century, Foucault’s “power / resistance” stuff is trivially true. If you have something I want, you have “power” over me — you can set the terms of the exchange. If I pay your price, I “submit.” But if the price is too high, I will search for other ways to get it — I will “resist.” Of course, all this talk of “price” and “exchange” makes the whole deal look a lot like capitalism …

… because it IS capitalism, squeezed into gimp-suit jargon. I was a bit too young for the singles’ bar scene, but this is exactly how the world’s Kate Milletts described dating back in the Disco Era: commodity exchange, and isn’t it just awful how men expect sex after shelling out a week’s paycheck on dinner and drinks? That they got this notion from a guy who’d give Andrew Sullivan’s RawMuscleGlutes a vigorous spanking tells you everything you need to know about Second-Wave Feminism, but that’s irrelevant. The point is that only a Cheeto-dusted basement dweller would read this stuff and think yes, this is a deep and meaningful way of describing human interaction. Which is why it took academia by storm.

And once you start looking at the world this way, it gets harder and harder to stop. Foucault didn’t; he went full retard, arguing that modern penitentiaries, like modern medical centers, trick us into participating in our own slavery. We don’t draw-and-quarter people anymore, says Foucault, because early modern governments so arranged the “technologies of power” that we internalize the ruling elite’s expectations for us, making gaudy public torture unnecessary.

Actually, a Presidential-election campaign meets my definition of “gaudy public torture,” and God knows it’s unnecessary.

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Fark blurb of the week

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Quote of the week

Gagdad Bob on influence-peddling:

[P]erhaps the central purpose of the founders was to create a political system in which government would have less power and influence. It is certainly not something we would put our hope in, except insofar as we hope it leaves us the hell alone.

As they say, the less things politicians control, the less it matters who controls the politicians. But the hundreds of millions raked in by the Clinton Foundation is simply a measure of just how much it matters who controls the politicians. The value of a 20 minute talk by Hillary Clinton has plummeted from $200-300,000 to negative territory, in that you’d have to pay people to listen to her now. What happened? What is the nature of the thing that has gone from being so valuable to being less than valueless?

“Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what I can persuade your country to do for you. Oh, and be sure to sign the check.”

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Quote of the week

From a friend on Facebook (a species different from “a Facebook friend”) on the dustup when Mike Pence went to see Hamilton:

**Disclaimer: Stop reading now if you’re easily offended. Though ironically, you need to.

To see that not only was Pence booed entering, during, and exiting “Hamilton” on Broadway, but was seriously lectured to by the CAST, and the play PAUSED at certain lines because the audience had to vociferously boo him, is something I’ve personally had enough of.

I’ve personally now lost all respect for anyone who feels it’s a persons right to destroy an up to $1000 ticket performance for ALL present because you don’t agree with who attends the performance and I’ve lost all respect for anyone who agrees with this display. I cannot believe a Broadway cast actually LECTURED. I am literally stunned. And if you believe in this kind of “progressive” behavior then we truly will be seeing the start of a chaotic revolution the likes we have not seen for 240 years.

Protesting peacefully is MOST assuredly a right. I have been about as tolerant of opposing viewpoints as I can possibly be throughout this entire fiasco. But I think what’s going on now is a wonderful representation of how not getting your own way is defining our culture. This has been the most outrageous, most self-serving display of hypocrisy of those who claim to be “tolerant and accepting of all views.”

And I will STOP hiding in the shadows for fear of expressing an opinion different from The New Culture.

Note: NOT a political endorsement. It’s an endorsement for social civility.

Civility, alas, cannot exist without a certain amount of humility, and there is a shortage of humility at every point of the social compass.

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Quote of the week

Smitty, never exactly in the Trump camp, reports on what he thought he saw:

Possibly I’m over-reading all this, but I think that a lot of the Trumpology in circulation is still mis-underestimating something. Part of my early disdain for Trump was rooted in the fact that, when the Tea Party uprising occurred in 2009/10, he was not marching with the Tea Party. It seemed a crass appropriation of sincere patriotism to have this Yankee with a Tribble on his head demand my support.

Looking over the 2015/16 sequence of events, one wonders if he had not been, rather, taking notes. Plotting. Biding his time. Seeing Romney’s high-mindedness amount to a fart in a thunderstorm in 2012. Possibly even having a verbal agreement with Clinton to throw the match though Bill denies it. Whatever.

As time pulls these details into focus, and heals the wounds, it seems clear that Tribble-head’s whole loose-cannon thing is substantially disinformatzya. This Administration promises not to be boring.

And if you need drama for now, just watch the opposition, which will probably stop crying some time in mid-January. Maybe.

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Quote of the week

The Russians have always had a funny way about elections:

Russia promises nuclear war if Hillary Clinton is elected. And that’s from NBC, “America’s Network Of (broken) Record,” so you know it must be true — or at least as true [as] any of Brian Williams’s tales of derring-do in dire and desperate, er, derpumstances.

Bite me, Russian government. I decided on Gary Johnson early, when neither party had anything even close to an acceptable candidate and that has not changed. Point an H-bomb at me? You did that already! Naval Avionics has been in Indianapolis since before the Cold War and the Army has been writing paychecks for every soldier in this town for almost as long: I’m already a casualty of WW III. I was born dead. Every town I have ever lived in was a target.

So this response is perfectly understandable:

Bring it, Vlad. Let’s make the rubble bounce and we’ll see which side bred the best cockroaches afterwards. Are you so stupid that you really think we have any reason not to?

Putin is counting on American, um, flexibility.

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Quote of the week

Severian says it’s a learning process:

You know, this election has taught me a lot. For instance, I believe that women are just people, no better or worse than anyone else. That makes me a “sexist.”

I believe that people should be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin. That makes me a “racist.”

I believe that governments exist to protect their citizens against foreigners. That makes me a “fascist.”

I believe that my fellow citizens have the right to want what they want, and like what they like, whether or not it’s “good for them,” as defined by idiots who racked up $100,000 in student loan debt getting a Gender Studies degree. That makes me a “populist.”

I believe that people are unique individuals, not interchangeable widgets or cells on a spreadsheet. That makes me … I don’t even know what anymore, but it sure isn’t a “conservative,” the definition of which now appears to be “trying to beggar myself and my children so that GOP donors can have cheap Mexican labor on their fourth yacht.”

The political culture values labels far more than it values performance, ideas, or for that matter voters.

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Quote of the week

Inasmuch as this election boils down to Your Lizard versus Their Lizard, Roberta X is here to address your reptilian brain:

[I]f you genuinely believe It’s All Over if the wrong lizard wins this go-round, why are you even on the computer instead of your rooftop — or an airplane bound for Elsewhere? Seriously, it’s been over; the knee of the curve from “republic” to “empire” was, in my opinion, around 1913. Empires generally last a long time; it’s a smooth, gradual slide and crossing the Rubicon is really barely a bobble. Short-term, things will waver between “kinda good” and “kinda bad”; long term, there are centuries before wolves and barbarians (but I repeat myself) go howling through the empty streets of the Capitol. Preachings of Imminent Doom are risible. Small-scale doom, especially if you happen to live in the wrong neighborhood? Count on it. But it’s been happening; you just didn’t notice as you drove past.

The thing is, you can’t always be sure if your neighborhood is one of the wrong ones, until something doom(ish) actually happens. Hence this prescription:

Put on your big-boy pants and go wave Hi to the neighbors. They vote for the wrong lizard, they have no idea of the right hues to paint a house and their groundskeeping is, frankly, inept; but they are indeed your neighbors, breathing the same air, and you’re going to have to get along or move out. Standing there on the sidewalk with your thumbs in your ears going “Nyah-nyah!” isn’t a useful move.

It is, however, a popular one.

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Quote of the week

The national pastime, says Mike Hendrix, continues to endure:

[G]iven the reverence baseball has for its own traditions, it has proved nicely resistant to so much of what has made popular culture so damned rotten, so degrading and demeaning and sordid. I’ve always said that every time some player trots onto the football field with a yard of disgusting dreadlocks hanging out from under his helmet, the grave-rotisserie Johnny Unitas is on by now cranks on another 100 RPMs of speed. Meanwhile, I’d bet a goodly portion of the people who casually watch football have no idea who Johnny Unitas is in the first place. But you can be dead certain that everyone who watches baseball even occasionally can tell you at least a little about Ted Williams or Joe DiMaggio.

Baseball history is never more than the next pitch away, and it still has the power to amaze. I remember looking up something on Los Angeles Dodgers play-by-play man Vin Scully, who retires after this season, and up to that point it had never occurred to me that Vin was calling Dodgers games while the Dodgers were still in Brooklyn.

Yes, there are always going to be Unfortunate Events:

Of course, there’s always villainous, crusty old Ty Cobb to consider, too. And the Black Sox.

But there’s poetry in baseball still, and plenty of it. The rhythm and pace of a baseball game hearkens back to an earlier, better time. It’s casual, relaxed, and unforced. And the beauty of it is, there are no dodges: fiddle and fidget around on the mound all he likes, scratch and spit and adjust his cap by way of stalling, sooner or later, the pitcher has to throw the ball. And the batter has to either hit it or not. Ain’t no running out the clock. Sooner or later, the game will be played, and one team will win, and one … won’t.

When you sense your own clock might be running out, this means even more.

I am grateful for the fact that no team is ever going to go 162-0. With a week and a half to go this season, only one club — the Chicago Cubs, yet — is playing better than .600 ball. Get one hit out of every three at-bats and you’ll at least be considered for Cooperstown. And there’s always a smile when I consider that the Arizona Diamondbacks started playing in 1998 with one uniform number already retired: 42, for Jackie Robinson.

But maybe more important, in the grand scheme of things, is the sheer ubiquity of baseball: below the majors, there are several levels of minors, and they play by basically the same rules. (One anomaly: in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, a double-header consists of two seven-inning games — except when it doesn’t, as has happened a couple of times this year when one of the games went into overtime extra innings.) You can be in the nation’s capital, or you can be way up in Hagerstown, Maryland — where the Washington Nationals have a class-A affiliate — and if the Nats play a hair better, the hot dogs cost less in the South Atlantic League.

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Quote of the week

Many of the horrible things that happened to this country in recent years started at the nonexistent 704 Hauser Street in Queens:

For those too young to remember, or too old to remember, Rob Reiner is famous for having played the character “Meathead” on the popular 70’s TV show All In The Family. The show was supposed to mock traditional Americans, particularly blue collar Americans, but the public received it mostly as a celebration of normal people at a time when normals were under assault from liberals, hippies and various other degenerates. Rob Reiner’s character came to represent what had gone wrong with the country.

Meathead was a loudmouth know-it-all boomer, who enjoyed lecturing his father-in-law about the terribleness of America and the men that had made the country. The irony was that Meathead lived off the people he ridiculed. Archie, the patriarch, worked and paid the bills while his daughter and son-in-law lived in his house. It was a perfect metaphor for what was happening in the country. The parasites were determined to kill the host, but in the mean time they were perfectly willing to enjoy the fruits the host had accumulated.

Years ago, the great Paul Gottfried remarked that the country had long been taken over by the Meathead generation and their ethics. The Archie Bunkers were all gone. By that he meant traditional working and middle class America had been lost and the country was now run by fashionable liberals, who occupied the first ruling elite in history to be actively working to destroy the foundation on which it rests. Look around the culture and all the high ground is occupied by degenerate boomers, who carry on as if it is still 1968.

There is, as there almost always is, an upside:

That means if you are a young alt-right trouble maker, you only have another decade or so to put up with degenerates like Rob Reiner. This realization may be at the heart of the hysteria we see in the ruling class. Rasping geezers like Hillary Clinton look around and see their time is just about done. They also see that what is forming up behind them is a giant cultural eraser, ready to rub out any trace of what her cohort leaves behind. Her “Basket of Deplorables” are young dudes and dudettes in hazmat suits, ready for cleanup.

I will, however, insist that Reiner’s magnum opus, This Is Spinal Tap, be preserved for posterity. Nobody, with the possible exception of Paul Ehrlich, is wrong all the time.

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Fark blurb of the week

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Quote of the week

Baton Rouge attorney Heather Cross, in a blistering Open Letter to the media:

First — as previously stated. There was a Noah’s Ark Level Flood. It affected all of us. Black, white, dog, cat, man, woman, child, transsexual.

While it was still raining, a spontaneous, private, and well-meaning navy of ordinary people assembled themselves. They were black, white, Asian and otherwise. They weren’t protesting anything. They got into their own boats, spent their own money, spent their own time, risked their own lives. Black people saved white people. White people saved black people. Nobody asked what color you were before knocking on your door. These are not first responders on some list somewhere. These are a bunch of guys who like to hunt and fish and as a result own flat bottom boats and they assumed that the actual police and other first responders, not to mention their fellow citizens — could use a little help. So they just showed up. Nobody told them to. They wanted to.

Meanwhile, across town, a spontaneous, private and well-meaning army of ordinary people assembled themselves in a 7 warehouse, un-airconditioned sound stage. (And FYI, it’s REALLY hot in August in Louisiana). They found some fans. And they had plenty of room. They gathered canned goods, bottled water, Gatorade, Neosporin, Band-Aids, toothbrushes, deodorant, hairspray, sleeping bags, chairs and pillows. They set up kitchens with their tailgating party supplies. Nobody told them to. They just did it. Why? All because people who just lost everything about a half hour ago, got plucked off of their rooftops in helicopters and this army knew that they needed somewhere to go, and something to eat. Pretty much instinctively.

Meanwhile, across town, people who usually lived as one family unit in well-kept homes slept on air mattresses in friends’ homes watching flood waters threaten every memory, every belonging, every photograph, everything they spent their whole lives building, every spot their child took their first step become over-run with ruin, knowing it would be months, if not years before they clean up the mess. People who lost homes in Katrina, went through the same thing again. People who don’t own much to speak of, have nowhere to return to. All of these people woke up in a place where they have nowhere to send their kids to school. Indefinitely. All of these people I’ve seen, are sad, they are tired — but they are resilient — they are smiling.

I wish I had that level of resilience.

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Quote of the week

Severian sees the problem in a post-scarcity world:

Time was, everybody was fairly “conservative,” as even the richest and most privileged Westerners experienced “tough shit” moments daily. Carriage crashes, polio, no climate control, no running water … unless you actually were the Queen of England, every day you saw some easy, obvious thing that would make your life better, and it was juuuuuuust out of reach … hell, even if you were the Queen — catch Victoria with a toothache, and she’ll make you Viceroy of India for some over-the-counter aspirin.

But now, a level of material comfort that would be literal heaven to 99.9% of the world’s population for 99.99% of human history — and for a great many people even now — is taken for granted. Our “poor” people are fat and have flat screen TVs. I doubt there are more than 1 in 1,000,000 Americans who have ever experienced actual hunger — that is, I need food and have only a very remote possibility of getting any. So why shouldn’t everyone get everything he wants, the second he wants it? It’s no faaaaaair if I don’t!

I’m not suggesting we turn the clock back to the Middle Ages — that’s a liberal preoccupation — but I am suggesting that perhaps the greatest gift you can give your children is enrolling them in Little League. Something, anything, that teaches them that no matter how strongly you feeeeel about it, some people are better at some things than others, and sometimes the ball takes a funny hop.

I’d question that hunger “statistic,” but I think it’s pretty obvious that we have the wealthiest poor people in recorded history.

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Quote of the week

Heather Havrilesky, wearing her Ask Polly hat, takes on some of our collective miseries:

[L]et’s reexamine this widely held sentiment that if you’re basically warm and fed and reasonably healthy, any problems you have are automatically trivial. Funny how the phrase first-world problems has a way of creating consensus among those who fancy themselves sophisticated and liberal, filling our minds as it does with images of self-proclaimed artist boys in man buns, nibbling on almond-crusted salmon and moaning about how to get their work noticed, or spoiled white ladies, sipping Champagne and whining about how their designer stilettos give them blisters.

The presumption here is that longing for more when you have a lot is somehow a crime. Daydreams are bad and embarrassing. Noticing that you’re not really that happy is weak. Observing your faulty thought patterns is suspect.

And $DEITY forbid that you should be thought weak:

Weakness is contemptible. This is the driving sentiment behind a big part of our culture, and it speaks to some sick core of “I’ll get mine” American values: The world is split into winners and losers. If you’re a winner, you deserve to win and you shouldn’t concern yourself with anything more than winning and winners. If you’re a loser, you’ll always lose, and why should anyone give you a second thought? Go be a loser somewhere else, or at least shut up about it.

But I’m a firm believer in longing and daydreams. I think when you’re melancholy about your life, it’s not just crucial to notice that, but it’s an enormous waste of a life not to notice it and address it. Are we really going to define the platonic ideal of existence in the first world as keeping your fucking mouth shut about what’s true and real and difficult for you, no matter what?

Stoicism can carry you only so far. And I think it’s leaving me out by the curb.

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Quote of the week

This tale from Jennifer Finney Boylan struck me as just about perfect:

After I left the otolaryngologist’s office with my diagnosis I called my wife on the phone. Mid-call, my throat closed up and I began to weep. “I’m sorry you have to be married to someone like me,” I sobbed.

“Jenny, I stayed with you through the gender thing,” she said. “You think I’d leave you because you have hearing aids?”

It was a beautiful morning in New York. I was surrounded by honking taxis, singing birds, shouting children.

“What?” I said.

Boylan, I have long since learned, has a cheerfully wry sense of humor, and her delivery is vaudeville-quality.

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Quote of the week

Twilight Sparkle, in “Do Princesses Dream of Magic Sheep?” (My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, season five, episode 13):

This is your dream! Anything you can do in your dreams, you can do now!

Now endorsed by the Republican National Committee, kinda sorta.

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Quote of the week

“Vote for a winner,” they say. Better yet, don’t:

Those two big parties notice election results; they listen to their own more-successful upstarts — don’t think Senator Sanders hasn’t sent a shiver down the spine of moneyed Democrat power-brokers — and they pay attention to “third parties” that finish well. If you only give them what they want, if you act as if R or D is your only choice, that’s all you will ever get — and the only change you’ll see from either one is liable to be for the worst.

“Vote for a winner?” If the candidate you’re voting for doesn’t share your values, what, exactly, will you win by voting for them? What’s in it for you, the vague hope of slightly-better Federal appointments? More efficient global police-actions? If either big-party wins, you can count on more drone assassination, and unlike a sniper, the collateral damage is considerable to both bystanders (guilty and innocent alike) and in public opinion. You can count on more addled meddling from On High, by regulators and legislators long out of touch [with] the everyday lives of the ordinary and the unusual citizen alike. As for world affairs, we’d probably do more good if foreign policy was decided by fifty people chosen at random from the Duluth, Minnesota telephone book.

We’ve got idiots in D.C. and few if any realize they’re idiots. With that dread caveat in mind,you should vote for the outcome you want. If you’d be happy with a President Trump or a President Clinton, vote for ’em; if you are only settling for one or the other, if you are going to have to hold your nose to vote, consider the alternatives.

And at least this year in Oklahoma, it’s possible to vote for someone neither D nor R.

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Quote of the week

Dale Ahlquist, President of the American Chesterton Society, in an historical piece for the Society’s Gilbert Magazine, May-June 2016:

It is commonly thought that [G. K.] Chesterton was fired from the Daily News for raising his voice against the Liberal Party, but the fact is he quit, and his leaving the Daily News was itself news. But even before he quit, we can see a change in tone during the last months of his tenure there, especially when he devotes one of this columns to an open letter to the Liberal Party. In it, he confesses that for the first time since he started writing for the paper, he is not enjoying himself. He admits that he has been a Liberal “since shortly before I was born” because the party represented freedom and democracy. He could see, however, that it was clearly acting in the direct opposite of those ideals. Before the straw that breaks the camel’s back, there is a penultimate straw that does severe spinal damage. For Chesterton it is the compulsory Insurance Act [1911], and the fact that the paper calls someone who opposes the act an “anarchist.” Chesterton has already spoken out against the problems posed by compulsory health insurance: the rise in the power of the medical establishment joined at the hip with government, the looming threat of eugenics and, with it, infanticide, the messing with marriage, the manipulation of the working class, and above all, the helplessness of the citizen to do anything about it: “The broad, brutal fact about the capitalist State in which we live is in two parts: First, that we are all servants; second, that we know less and less whom we are serving.” And: “It used to be the weak things that hid themselves, now it is the strong things that hide.”

Historical notes: Chesterton’s last piece for the Daily News was in February 1913. The paper itself was merged into the News Chronicle in 1930, which in turn was absorbed by the Daily Mail in 1960.

Britain’s Liberal Party and Social Democratic Party merged in 1988 to form the current Liberal Democratic Party; a new Liberal Party rose the next year, but holds no seats in Parliament at this time.

The National Insurance Act, never really as “national” as it was billed to be, was eventually repealed; however, many of its ideas would rematerialize with the founding of the National Health Service in 1948.

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Fark blurb of the week

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Quote of the week

Roberta X notices the Senate wasting some time — specifically, a resolution to commemorate the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 — and suggests an upside to such waste:

The positive side is that every second the Senate spends — and I’ll be back to that word in a moment, “spends” — on frivolity of this sort, National Gardenia-Scent Aftershave Day, Hug A Scorpion Day, whatever, is one less second spent misappropriating funds and sodomizing pages. If, like me, you figure the fed.gov has all the laws they could possibly need for the next hundred years or more, such wheel-spinners do keep the empty suits from making it more illegal to serve guests milk from your own cow or making lists of approved pronouns (better write your Senator now, you frelks and throons!).

Which does not mean there isn’t a price to be paid for this wankery:

On the other hand, they’ve got the lights on and the air-conditioning running, coffeemakers gurgling and the vast presses of the Federal Register humming, world-famous Senatorial bean soup* glooping gently in the stewpots and filling every task, even the ones usually automated elsewhere, well-paid workers, hardworking (or heavy-sleeping, but I didn’t pay for a first-class flight of fancy ticket just to judge some low-level functionary) and ready to fulfill just about every whim … of the people in the big, fancy room, orating grandiloquently on the anniversary of an automobile race a third of a continent away: they’re spending my tax money at a nearly moonshot rate to perform self-important nonsense.

Mandatory footnote:

* Coals to Newcastle, beans to the legislatively flatulent. And nary a block of government cheese in sight!

And truth be told, some of those fart-ridden geezers couldn’t tell the Indy 500 from a Roman chariot race.

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Quote of the week

The stuff gathering dust in my trunk, or on some USB stick, isn’t this heavy, but it suffers from the same issues:

Writing was not the problem, finishing was. Works in progress with titles like Mr. Ne’er-Do-Well (536 pages). Wherever There Are Two (660 pages of an outline), Death by Now (1,171 pages weighing over 12 points), or Miss Subways (402 pages and counting). All that would never see the light of day outside of Ted’s Bronx one-bedroom walk-up tenement apartment. Maybe today he would stumble upon a thought that would unleash the true word horde, that would unlock a puzzle, that would unblock him from himself, from his inability to compete and complete.

He remembered Coleridge, in the Vale of Chamouni, had written, “Hast thou a charm to stay the morning star…?” And that seemed to him to be the truest, saddest line in all of literature. Can you, man, find the poetry to keep the sun from rising, like a mountain, blocking its inevitable ascent for a few more moments? Can you, who call yourself a writer, find the words that will have an actual influence on the real and natural world? Magic passwords — shazam, open sesame, scoddy waddy doo dah — warriors lurking in the Trojan horse of words. The implicit answer to Coleridge’s question was: Hell, no. If the answer were yes, he would never have asked the question. The writer will never make something happen in the world. In fact, the act of writing may be in itself the final admission that one is powerless in reality.

David Duchovny, from his novel Bucky F*cking Dent (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016).

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