Archive for QOTW
Gerard Van der Leun on Advent, a season today’s putative intelligentsia must feel dishonor-bound to scorn:
If it is true that the sleep of reason breeds monsters, can it not also be true that the constant wakefulness of Reason breeds its own peculiar hallucinations; its walking horrors?
We depend on Reason when we flip a switch, step on a brake, or seat ourselves in pressurized thin metal tubes that hover 40,000 feet above the earth and move at 500 miles an hour. This power would seem to argue that Reason should be trusted in all things, that the intelligence that runs up and down the synapses of our brains in an endless flickering web of electo-chemical space-time events is the ultimate arbiter, the final judge, the self-obsessed lodestone of our lives.
And yet … and yet …
And yet, hovering outside of Reason, we still somehow sense Immanence; we sense there is something more going on here, something vaster unfolding all about us, no matter how sternly Reason rules.
We sense Immanence, no matter how many times we are told the opposite; we sense that myth, legend, soul, magic, miracle and mystery still hold us, and that
The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze decor,
The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches.
The bird’s fire-fangled feathers dangle down.
As we now move more deeply into Advent, we move — in our long sweeping orbit about our home star — closer to the moments when that which is most deeply our gift and most certainly our curse is made manifest in the music of our being in a manner beyond all reason. And no matter what our faith — even if that faith is that there is no faith to be had — this turn of the year, this Advent, will inexorably bring us once again to the memory of the miracle made manifest all about us in every moment if we could but pause to see the forever present revelation.
Matthew 11:15: “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” And those who wish not to see, perhaps they will be granted their wish.
When was the last time you heard any of these contemptible cretins referred to as a “statesman”? The very idea of comparing any of the villainous poltroons currently in Congress to, say, James Madison, James Monroe, or, for that matter, Peter Muhlenberg of the first Federal Congress is risible on its face. The kind of people drawn these days to “serve” in Congress couldn’t be trusted to walk your damned dog. You certainly wouldn’t dream of hiring them to babysit your daughter, even for five minutes.
The profligate treachery and self-serving arrogance of John McCain; the addled witlessness of Maxine Waters; the complete mendacity and dishonesty of Nancy Pelosi; the smug double-dealing of Harry Reid; the slimy disingenuousness of Mitch “Yertle” McTurtle — these aren’t exactly ringing endorsements of the caliber of people in charge of government in the modern era. Some of them — most, probably — might be vain and presumptuous enough to think they’d fare well in a comparison to the true statesmen of an earlier age. But that only adds “delusional” to the litany of their inadequacy.
The character traits of those attracted to national elective office effectively guarantee that they’ll be the very type of person we wouldn’t want there. An overblown sense of self-importance; a desire to lord it over others, and an unswerving belief in their competence to do so; a monstrously and unjustly inflated ego; a mania for attention and affirmation; a near-sociopathic lack of interest in the needs or desires of other people; dishonesty and shamelessness; short-sightedness and disinterest in long-term consequences; basic fiscal greed — these pathologies, crippling disqualifications in just about any other field, are now requirements for success as an American career politician.
Nor are these traits reserved solely to persons named on ballots; the last few administrations have had an unerring knack for finding underlings at commensurate levels of fatuity. Deluged by smears and countersmears, those of us who have better things to do than play Fantasy Despots all week have a tendency to lose interest — which, of course, makes life easier for those who would rule us.
(Linked to this.)
Quinn Cummings, then eleven, was nominated for an Academy Award for her supporting role in The Goodbye Girl. Now fifty, she remembers the studio cads of yesterday, and she’ll tell you that things have hardly changed:
For decades, these men tore through women with perverse immunity, proffering carnal quid pro quo, threatening women’s livelihoods or, in the case of Bill Cosby, allegedly straight-up rendering them unconscious before taking advantage of them.
But the whispers don’t stop with these obvious, public examples. The same women who spoke among themselves about Harvey [Weinstein], about Terry [Richardson], also speak about well-known actors who are not quite the loving family men their publicists would have you believe. Instead of a bathrobe, it’s a private meeting. Instead of a clumsy grope, it’s a “helpful” lingering brush of your breast. Instead of a disgusting proposition, it’s a greasy little implication that a few minutes together could lead to something better down the road.
This is no longer black and white. It’s gray. And people dont like gray, especially when it comes to sexual assault, which they really don’t want to be thinking about at all. They like their sexual assault clear, recognizable, and not committed by men who are America’s marital hall pass. Should these stories come out, the public’s response to the victims might not be nearly as supportive. But the fact remains, you can like someone very much and they can still be capable of terrible things. Unless Hollywood reconciles itself to the fact that not all sex criminals look like ogres, the question we should ask ourselves is what solidarity hashtag we’ll be using a year from now when nothing has changed.
And you should also follow her on Twitter, where she has one of the tartest tongues around.
It was thirty years ago today,
when the markets were in disarray.
Every trader had a certain style,
but Black Monday took away their smiles.
So may I introduce to you,
the act you’ve known for all these years:
Sgt. Bloomberg’s Lonely Hedge Fund Band.
(Linked to this.)
God, using His Donald Sensing persona, refutes the notion that He should have prevented the carnage in Las Vegas, or any of several million other misfortunes:
Oh, believe me, I was at Las Vegas. It was a bitter night for me. But I was there.
There were a man and a woman listening to the concert when the shooting started. They did not know one another. They dived under a table. He was hit, yet he lay across the woman, shielding her with his wounded body.
A young man led 30 people to safety. He was shot doing so. There are many, many other examples. And thousands of people waited for hours on end to give blood.
Oh, you say, that’s just human nature. We do not know whether those heroes and heroines even believe in a God. So? Where do you think human nature comes from? Why do you think my grace cannot operate preveniently even in the hearts of those who know me not? I am always leading every event of the world toward the good. But there are many other influences, too, such as the hardness of your hearts and the will to evil, the imperfection of your understanding, the finitude of possibilities in a world of limited resources and capabilities. Yet my will wins through more often than you think.
But why does Las Vegas prove my dereliction? Funny how no one accuses me of indifference over the murder toll in Chicago. But even that is not necessary. Just one child dying of hunger in any remote corner of the world serves just as well. (Although I might argue that it proves your dereliction more than mine.)
An example on a smaller scale:
Not long ago a young man atop a tourist center in the Alps was walking and texting. He walked right off the side of the mountain, fell 250 meters and of course did not survive. Could I have intervened? I suppose so; I could have suspended gravity and floated him gently through the air back to the platform. Or I could have made him just bounce at the bottom with no ill effect. Or I could have made it impossible for human beings to walk while texting. One or the other, never both. Or I could have just made sure that smart phones were never invented to begin with.
Here’s the thing: You do not get to choose. You are not God. You have no power for miracles so you don’t get to tell me how to work them or when or how.
And after all, who is to blame for the nitwit tied to his smartphone? Not God, and not Samsung either.
This whole medical insurance debate is complete and utter horseshit. (Heh, my new catch phrase.) What we need is real information, but we’re not getting it. It might be out there, but digging it out would be a lot of work, and why bother? Nobody in power is listening, they are all listening to each other trying to score political points by telling bullshit stories.
Our healthcare system is built on a fantasy, a fantasy that is carefully nurtured by everyone with a financial interest, like doctors, lawyers, insurance executives and media moguls. This fantasy has doctors curing all diseases, patients recovering fully and leading happy, productive lives. Oh, that happens occasionally, and for common afflictions that are well understood, it might even be the norm. But the more people you have, the more variation you have and the more obscure, inscrutable diseases show up. Life is a terminal disease. People spend their lives trying to be happy. They should spend their time getting ready to die.
Health care is a trillion dollar business in this country. All those people who are engaged in the debate over insurance are just trying to influence the trajectory of that money so that more of the random spray that emanates from such a powerful stream will land on them and make them rich. Because even a single droplet from that trillion dollar stream is worth a million bucks.
I take issue with that “getting ready to die” business; I mean, with the death rate seemingly frozen at 100 percent, everyone’s going to go through that routine at least once, if only for a few seconds, and there are enough differences among us to insure that a Standard Preparation Routine would fall under the general heading of “one size fits none.”
That said, there apparently exists no sum of money so small that someone won’t try to get a piece of it: ask the guy who buys 10,000 shares of Consolidated Veeblefetzer at $37.19 and sells them in three minutes for $37.20.
It is this ahistorical nature of the American Left that is at the root of this incoherent and pointless violence. The Left organized a great PR campaign in response to Charlottesville, but they threw it all away in an orgy of violence over the last week. The reason is they are locked into the moment, a moment bound on all sides by a rage against nature. They can’t think about how today’s action will be viewed tomorrow, because there is no tomorrow for these people. All that matters is the catharsis.
Men have always contemplated their place in the timeline. The Irish used to say that the past is a nightmare from which they never awake. This was, of course, in relation to the Troubles. Faulkner had Quentin Compson, his character in The Sound and the Fury, obsess over his family’s past, which was a stand in for the Old South. The Compson family was the emblem of the old, post Civil War South. Quentin finally smashes his pocket watch, a family heirloom, snapping off the hands, before he drowns himself in the Charles River.
And really, it was worse than that: Quentin was willing to confess to incest with sister Caddy — which didn’t actually happen, Caddy’s pregnancy being the responsibility of a man she would not name — in order to permit the family to keep up a front. But Quentin’s idea got no support from their father, who argued that virginity was severely overrated.
That’s the end for the Cult of Modern Liberalism. What has kept it going for generations was an easy to find collection of devils against which they could rally the true believers in a great cause. They have run out of devils and now they are digging up old graves, in an effort to bring back devils from the past. This rage will end in a great fire onto which they throw the old culture of America. Finally, when they have burned the last of it, they will throw themselves on the pyre, perhaps with some help from the rest of us.
At this point, I’m not sure whether I should bring a bucket of water or a gallon of gasoline.
Are you familiar with Katherine Timpf? I’m not. But the Z Man says he knows the type:
Mx. Timpf is probably a nice person. I only had a vague recollection of her so I looked up some clips of her on YouTube. Here’s a longish one. From the photos on line and her video clips, it appears she figured out that she could work the naughty librarian look into a paying gig in conservative media. Her bio says she is a libertarian, but exactly no one gives a damn about her political views. She’s on TV because she is easy on the eyes and willing to play the sex kitten on these chat shows. That’s how it works.
There’s nothing new about this, but in the past, the women doing the TV bimbo roles knew why they were on TV. In fact, many had made it to television via modeling or beauty pageants. Phyllis George was the winner of the 1971 Miss America pageant and that got her a gig on CBS as a sportscaster in 1974. She provided the legs, while gnarly old dudes like Jimmy the Greek and Brent Musberger talked football. George never carried on like she was an expert on football. She was eye candy and the moderator of the show.
Today, young women like Katherine Timpf are walking around thinking they are where they are because they are important thinkers. The exchange she had with Colin Flaherty was sadly comical. She picked up some libertarian talking points and she repeats them, making “criminal justice reform” her issue. In the old days, the beauty pageant girls would cast about for a talent that they could use in shows. Today, TV bimbos cast about for a social cause they can champion on TV, while showing some leg.
One should not assume, though, that the various male “thinkers” on cable TV are necessarily any brighter: Sean Hannity ain’t exactly Brainiac 5, but he has a scowl that, not unlike Timpf’s gams, goes on for days. Still, the conventional wisdom here is pervasive enough that you’ll probably never see Rachel Maddow in a skirt.
Dystopia. Who predicted it better? As the Gods of Clickbait might say, the answer may surprise you:
It probably says something about us that we accept the dystopian future of Orwell as being to some degree inevitable, despite the fact he has proven to be wrong about most things. He was not wrong about everything. He got communism right in Animal Farm. His critique of writing is timeless and is probably more applicable today than in his era. On the other hand, the future is not “a boot stamping on a human face — forever.” Not even close. The future is a bot making sure you never get your feelings hurt or have a bad day.
In that regard, Huxley has proven to be the more prescient. Brave New World was much more accurate, especially with regards to the upper classes. Whether or not we will ever be “decanting” humans is questionable, but science may be closer to genetically enhancing people than maybe is proper. Similarly, H. G. Wells understood the arc of humanity was toward a softer end than Orwell imagined. His depiction of the Eloi, and his explanation for why they existed, is being proven out today.
Even so, Orwell is what resonates with us even today, as we drift into the soft authoritarianism of the custodial state. The most likely reason is that at some level, people understand that at the core of every Utopian scheme is a coldness toward humanity that eventually leads to the sort of ugliness we associate with Orwell. Huxley’s future is eerie and disconcerting, but Orwell’s gets right to the heart of it. There is no hope and there is no joy, because in Utopia, those things have been banned.
If you’d asked my high-school class in the late 1960, who studied both these authors, they’d definitely have preferred Huxley’s version of London to Orwell’s Oceania. Then again, not one of them likely imagined being any lower down than Beta-Minus.
Folks, I’ve been shot. I’ve shot other people. I’ve been present at far too many incidents where others were shot. There’s always a human dimension (as there was, for example, in the wartime death of two young Cuban soldiers, about which I wrote here). If you can’t see it, or don’t care about it, then you’ve become less than human yourself. You don’t have to don sackcloth and ashes and make a big, public, wailing exhibition of yourself: but for heaven’s sake, recognize the truth that a tragedy like this is a human tragedy, irrespective of political, social, economic, cultural or any other affiliation. As such, it should — it does — affect all human beings. John Donne was right.
In losing that realization, that perspective, we are all impoverished … and we are all endangered, because if humanity becomes dehumanized, what is left to us? And, if America is so polarized, so divided, that all we can do is rejoice over death or injury to those on the “other side” … what is left to our nation and our society except mutual hatred, contempt and destruction?
Absolutely. And the worst of the lot, if you ask me, are the jokers who offer “justifications” for the shootings. This happened yesterday:
On Friday, a jury here acquitted the Minnesota police officer, Jeronimo Yanez, of all charges in shooting, which happened in July 2016 and left [Philando] Castile dead, raising the national debate over police conduct toward black people. Officer Yanez, an officer for the suburb of St. Anthony, had been charged with second-degree manslaughter and endangering safety by discharging a firearm in the shooting.
I should not have been surprised, I suppose, that in short order my Twitter timeline was darkened, so to speak, by individuals gleefully pointing out that Mr. Castile had had a history of minor traffic infractions, and that Officer Yanez presumably did us all a favor in closing out the man’s permanent record. Mutual hatred and contempt, anyone?
Mr. Grant today lives in Texas, a place that looms large in my own personal history, a place where the tossed-off phrase “Well, he needed killing” is almost universally understood. I just wish some people weren’t so damned enthusiastic about it.
America, for many of us, used to be a place we lived in. Now, for many more, it is simply something to look at in old pictures, an expression of blank incomprehension on their mugs.
He offers the sort of old pictures he means, and continues:
The fact that both groups exist, and the second is inevitably larger than the first, and continually growing, offers an explanation of why America has somehow managed to get one foot in the dustbin of history. The physical framework remains, after a fashion — 57 states, a Congress, a President, and supposedly even a constitution, but all of that is hollowed out these days, filled with millions and millions of laws designed to plague us even as they leach out all the juice from the now-rapidly corpseifying nation I experienced, filled with armies of ideological cockroaches who, never having lusted after a brand new red and white Pontiac convertible, make war on the automobile in general, and children raised not to put on their scuffed leather lace-up shoes and run outside and play, but groomed instead to be good little girls (even the boys), while functioning primarily as logo-billboards for soulless global mega-corporations.
Today, we all live in something called America, but it is a desiccated husk compared to the real thing.
I hope that if someone springs for a headstone for my desiccated husk, it will contain the following phrase: You had to be there.
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.
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.
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.”
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
World Series share for each player on the Chicago Cubs is $369,000. Which is exactly the same amount that would have been earned by putting $2 in a mutual index fund the last time the Cubs won the World Series in 1908.
(Linked to this. Note: I have not attempted to verify the math.)
[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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.