Archive for May, 2009

IT Guys and Marriage

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

Dr. Helen has found something that gets her thinking, and me too.

Eleven men and one woman were asked about what they wished their spouse knew about their job. This is what the men said:

Most of the 11 other respondents’ answers to my question expressed some frustration with their jobs or with their marriages, or both. (The one woman who responded to my question wrote about the guilt-trips her kids lay on her for having to work long hours.) Their responses boiled down to the following five themes:

1. I don’t want to discuss the details of my workday when I get home.

2. Don’t call me at work unless it’s an emergency.

3. If I don’t return your phone call, it’s not because I’m mad at you/don’t love you. It’s because I’m busy.

4. IT management is not a 9-to-5 job. It’s complicated, demanding and stressful.

5. I’m not a tech support person, and I can’t fix all of the family’s home technology problems, especially when I’m at work. I spend my time on strategic issues and networking with other C-level executives.

The men in the article are seen as the “bad guys,” that is, they are seen as uncommunicative and insensitive to their wives–and blamed for their shortcomings. The summary of the piece makes this clear: “your answers spoke more about your communication mistakes at home than they did about your spouse’s shortcomings. Read on for advice on how to fix this before a nasty crash.”

Perhaps these IT men are a bit uncommunicative or perhaps they do have stressful jobs. But can you imagine if the same author interviewed women who were raising five kids and having a stressful time of it? Say the husband was calling home for some spousal care on the phone in the middle of three of the kids having a temper tantrum. Do you think anyone would be sympathetic to his plight and blame the wife for her communication mistakes? I rather doubt it.

I’ve spent very little of my lifetime being a married IT guy…which is a little odd, since I’ve spent all of it being a married-or-not IT guy. Marriage wasn’t happy in my case. I can’t clue you in on very many of the details, because I don’t have memories of them. Going back to anytime before my marriage was officially dissolved, some seventeen or eighteen years ago, it’s mostly just a big blur. A nugget or two from childhood, maybe. But anything before November of 1991, even though it’s my life, recalling something from it is like reading from a blackboard with several thick sheets of dirty plastic stretched across it. Some form of PTSD, I guess.

One thing I do remember: I had some depressed feelings about the yawning chasm between my wife’s interest in my paychecks, and in what I had been doing to earn them. She had such insatiable curiosity about one of those things, and little-to-none about the other. It’s a sad, sad thing, when you pledge your life to somebody and wake up one day to realize they aren’t smart enough to feed the goose that lays the golden eggs.

Back to what Dr. Helen is talking about: It is, of course, an assault upon masculinity; but it’s a rather complex one. What’s happened is that masculinity has been re-defined. A man’s ability to chop wood is worthless, his ability to defend the home from an intruder is worthless, his ability to open pickle jars and kill spiders is worthless. Worthless, as in, a lady who genuinely appreciates these skills, is going to be stigmatized and ostracized by other “ladies.” And on Planet Female, social ostracism has a profound effect that men can’t quite fully appreciate. Instead, women are to value men for: Communication. That’s it, and that’s all. Spending time with the family, being expressive, listening, listening and more listening. Empathy. Chatter. Agreement-over-clarity. Observing, over such a sustained timeframe and to such an intense level, that the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is actuated, and it becomes unclear who is doing the observing and who is being observed. What Robert Heinlein called “grokking.”

This is not to say that men are valued for their ability to grok. That would call for the fashion-set to show some positive feelings for men, here and there. That cannot be the case. No, the ability to grok, is simply dangled in front of the gentlemen, as a carrot before a donkey. As a prize not to be won yet. As in “I wish you would do X more.” You don’t notice a man who does it well, except in the capacity of someone/something you cannot have. Wives who desire to be accepted by other wives, audibly inform their husbands “I wish you could be more like him.”

The IT guy, by his chosen life-work, routinely commits what today is the great sin: He places his attention on something that is not his woman, and sweats the details — over there. There is no penance for this sin. Off the clock, he may worship the ground upon which his lady walks, but hours before he demonstrated his readiness, willingness and ability to pay attention to something that is not her. This is a stain that cannot be washed away.

And so, in our modern society, after all this “progress” we have been making…the male who actually comes up with something someone can use someday, has to go through life apologizing for the way he lives it. This does a disservice and measurable damage to a lot more people than just him.

Liberals Acting Just Like Archie Bunker

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

When Sonia Sotomayor made her comments about white guys, she was simply displaying what nowadays passes for mainstream dedicated-lefty thinking…which means it passes for mainstream thinking on behalf of us all.

Justice O’Connor has often been cited as saying that a wise old man and wise old woman will reach the same conclusion in deciding cases,” she declared. “I am…not so sure that I agree with the statement. First…there can never be a universal definition of wise. Second, I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life. [emphasis mine]

Better to have this thing done by that ethnic group than a bunch of white males, better to have that thing over there done by this group over here than a bunch of white males…et cetera. It’s not the same reverse-discrimination I remember from years ago, which sought to make the point it was someone else’s “turn” and left things at that. The message had to do with fairness and equality. Nowadays it has more to do with suitability. And differences. We like to talk about how little sense it ever made, to allow the white males to do anything. We w.a.s.p.’s have weaknesses other groups don’t have. Weaknesses, vices, phobias, we’re ignorant, we’re greedy, we’re cowardly…we lack empathy.

The next step after that is when someone calls you on your racist bullshit, you backpedal like crazy. So we’ve seen this stuff Before Sonia, and we’ll see it long after she’s confirmed. Or withdraws. Whatever.

James Taranto, writing in Best of the Web, notices something even more skewed. And I don’t know how you can top this. Today’s liberals behave exactly the way Archie Bunker used to behave…for laughs.

It reminds us of an exchange on an early episode of “All in the Family,” which we caught as part of a retrospective aired earlier this week on the TV Land cable network. Archie Bunker and the Meathead are arguing over a brochure advertising a slate of candidates for local office:

Archie: What’s the matter with this? I call this representative government. You’ve got Salvatori, Feldman, O’Reilly, Nelson–that’s an Italian, a Jew, an Irishman and a regular American there. That’s what I call a balanced ticket.

Meathead: Why do you always have to label people by nationality?

Archie: ‘Cause, how else are you going to get the right man for the right job? For instance, take Feldman there. He’s up for treasurer. Well, that’s perfect. All them people know how to handle money. Know what I mean?

Meathead: No, I don’t.

Archie: Well, then you got Salvatori running for D.A. He can keep an eye on Feldman. You know, I want to tell you something about the Italians. When you do get an honest one, you really got something there.

Meathead: Aw, c’mon, Arch.

Archie: Well, then here you got O’Reilly, the mick. He can see that the graft is equally spread around, you know. You got Nelson, the American guy. He’s good for TV appearances, to make the rest of them look respectable.

Like Sotomayor, Archie is not propounding a theory of racial or ethnic supremacy but describing the world in terms of culturally contingent stereotypes. He is engaging in identity politics.
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Today, you can easily imagine a conservative uttering the Meathead’s earnest query: “Why do you always have to label people by nationality?” But somewhere along the line, liberalism lost its ideals and adopted Archie Bunker’s theory of representative government.

There was an elegantly veiled undertone of preaching in this show, for those who are too young to recall. The message was always crystal-clear: Only a cigar-chomping rube from Queens would stoop so low as to think ethnic groups have characteristics that separate them from other ethnic groups. It doesn’t matter if you hold one group to be superior to another (which, pointedly, Bunker doesn’t do in the exchange above). Simply believing in such differentials is enough. Because we’re all the same.

Sotomayor went further than Archie Bunker, though, since her comment made it quite clear that she holds white males to be inferior. Sure her primary point was that the white males have missed out on some kind of experience(s), not that they would be white, or male. But the whiteness-and-maleness was somehow worth mentioning.

The whiteness-and-maleness accentuates the inexperience…or it is more of a hindrance to rendering a reasonable decision than the inexperience. Does it matter which one? Either way, the whiteness-and-maleness, in her mind, is obviously some kind of liability.

So go ahead and confirm her. Just bear in mind, though, that she represents exactly the mindset that, in a day long gone, “everyone” was so eager to leave behind. Since, y’know, when you’re walking in circles, it’s important to at least recognize that’s what you are doing.

Blogsister Cassy Speaks

Saturday, May 30th, 2009

She explains, and exemplifies, what is good about America. The camera loves her.

If you agree with those and wish to tell her so, you can do that over here.

Pretty scary stuff, huh Janeane?

What Lies Ahead of Us, in Picture Form

Friday, May 29th, 2009

I guess the central question that arises to confront us from all these waves of turmoil ahead is: Is “I inherited all this stuff” a valid excuse for coming up with the wrong solution to a problem?

It took us just one meeting to discover that we had become beggars – rotten, whining, sniveling beggars, all of us, because no man could claim his pay as his rightful earning, he had no rights and no earnings, his work didn’t belong to him, it belonged to ‘the family,’ and they owed him nothing in return, and the only claim he had on them was his ‘need’ – so he had to beg in public for relief from his needs, like any lousy moocher, listing all his troubles and miseries, down to his patched drawers and his wife’s head colds, hoping that ‘the family’ would throw him the alms.

The mural is put together by our blogger friend Gerard, who’s making it day to day up in our old stomping grounds of Seattle. That’s right, Seattle. Like Sacramento, it is yet another “Can’t Blame Republicans, There Aren’t Any” megalopolis — in deep trouble, barely treading water.

So goes the country. Well, maybe now that hyper-postmodern-liberalism has engulfed us all, the entire nation’s fate will be different from Seattle’s…and Sacramento’s…and Los Angeles’…and San Francisco’s…and California’s…and Chicago’s…and Detroit’s…and Baltimore’s…and Washington DC’s…and Washington State’s…and…and…and…

…we try out these hyper-liberal ideas enough times, sooner or later they have to lead to total bliss. Or something like it. Eventually, right?

Straw Man Argument From Talking Points Memo

Friday, May 29th, 2009

And the “straw man” is the conservative

Earlier today, our diligent front page editor Justin Elliott picked up on a curious article in The Hill about conservative critics of Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor.

As you may have noticed, those critics have repeatedly cited a speech she delivered in 2001 at U.C. Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law, in which she said, “I would hope that a wise Latina woman with the richness of her experiences would more often than not reach a better conclusion than a white male who hasn’t lived that life.”

The right is, of course, outraged. In the same speech, though, she also got a bit more personal: “For me, a very special part of my being Latina is the mucho platos de arroz, gandoles y pernir – rice, beans and pork – that I have eaten at countless family holidays and special events,” she said.

My Latina identity also includes, because of my particularly adventurous taste buds, morcilla, — pig intestines, patitas de cerdo con garbanzo — pigs’ feet with beans, and la lengua y orejas de cuchifrito, pigs’ tongue and ears.

Good lighthearted fun, right? Wrong.

According to Hill reporter Alexander Bolton, “This has prompted some Republicans to muse privately about whether Sotomayor is suggesting that distinctive Puerto Rican cuisine such as patitas de cerdo con garbanzo — pigs’ tongue and ears — would somehow, in some small way influence her verdicts from the bench.”

Curt Levey, the executive director of the Committee for Justice, a conservative-leaning advocacy group, said he wasn’t certain whether Sotomayor had claimed her palate would color her view of legal facts but he said that President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee clearly touts her subjective approach to the law.

Slightly gobsmacked, I called Bolton earlier today and asked him whether this was for real–whether any conservatives were genuinely raising this issue. He confirmed, saying, “a source I spoke to said people were discussing that her [speech] had brought attention…she intimates that what she eats somehow helps her decide cases better.”

Bolton said the source was drawing, “a deductive link,” between Sotomayor’s thoughts on Puerto Rican food and her other statements. And I guess the chain goes something like this: 1). Sotomayor implied that her Latina identity informs her jurisprudence, 2). She also implied that Puerto Rican cuisine is a crucial part of her Latina identity, 3). Ergo, her gastronomical proclivities will be a non-negligible factor for her when she’s considering cases before the Supreme Court.

Got it? Good. This is the conservative opposition to Sotomayor.

I’m “slightly gobsmacked” myself. Wouldn’t it be just as reasonable, in fact far more so, to simply cite the Sotomayor quote about reaching better conclusions than white males…and then say “Got it? Good. This is the argument for confirming Sotomayor.”

Is it possible to make liberal ideas look good, without misrepresenting something?

Nanny State Wants More Smoke-Free Movies

Friday, May 29th, 2009

CNN:

Smoking in youth-rated movies has not declined despite a pledge two years ago by Hollywood studios to encourage producers to show less “gratuitous smoking,” according to an anti-smoking group.

The American Medical Association Alliance, pointing to research that big-screen smoking leads teens to pick up the tobacco habit, called for an R rating for any movie with smoking scenes.

The head of the group that gives U.S. movies their ratings, however, said the smoke has been clearing from youth-rated movies, a result of the film industry’s sensitivity to the issue.

The alliance, the medical association’s advocacy arm, launched a summer campaign this week aimed at publicly shaming studios into making smoke-free films.

“Research has shown that one-third to one-half of all young smokers in the United States can be attributed to smoking these youth see in movies,” said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, head of the Los Angeles County Public Health Department.

Fielding cited another study that he said “found that adolescents whose favorite movie stars smoked on screen are significantly more likely to be smokers themselves and to have a more accepting attitude toward smoking.”

The Motion Picture Association of America, the industry group that issues ratings and parental guidance for U.S. films, added smoking scenes as a factor in ratings two years ago, but Fielding said it has not made a difference.

“In all, 56 percent of the top box office movies with smoking released between May 2007 and May 2009 were youth-rated films — G, PG or PG-13,” he said.

Joan Graves, who chairs the Motion Picture Association’s movie rating committee, offered her own statistics, based on all of the 900 films rated each year, not just the top movies included in Fielding’s numbers.

The association has given no G ratings in the past two years to a movie with smoking, Graves said.

Overall, 55 percent of the movies rated in the past two years showed some smoking, but 75 percent of those with smoking scenes were given R ratings, Graves said. Twenty-one percent were rated PG-13 and the remaining 5 percent were PG, she said.

A G movie is deemed suitable for all audiences, while a PG rating is a signal to parents that a film may include some material they might consider inappropriate for children. PG-13 indicates a stronger warning that some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

No one under 17 can be admitted to see an R movie without a parent or guardian.

American Medical Association Alliance President Sandi Frost used as her chief example of a movie with “gratuitous smoking” this month’s blockbuster “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” which was rated PG-13 “for intense sequences of action and violence, and some partial nudity.”

“Millions of children have been exposed to the main star of the film, Hugh Jackman, with a cigar in his mouth in various scenes,” Frost said. “I’m willing to bet that not one child would have enjoyed that movie or Mr. Jackman’s performance any less if he hadn’t been smoking.”

Interesting times. Back when I was a kid, people were worried we’d grow up to be racists and bigots, and this was thought of as a consequence of things we did not do…things we did not see. And so it was thought to be desirable to make us cultured. The result was a big push to get kids to socialize with other kids. Which was kinda stupid, because, being kids, we were all like “yeah he’s my friend anyway.” We didn’t see the race. The grown-ups were the ones bringing it up.

Now the push is on to make sure kids don’t experience things. The principle is the same, but now we’re thinking bigotry is desirable, if it’s bigotry against the right things. If we keep kids thinking of these vices as being alien, they’ll tap into their human instincts to think of those things as deplorable, and this will encourage them to grow up to be Good People.

Here’s where it gets interesting. The first paragraph indicates that movie content does not have a bearing on how much kids smoke. The second paragraph indicates that movie content does have this effect…based on “research.” How come, when we engage in these massive nanny-state efforts to change human behavior, and we fail, that isn’t thought of as “research” just as valid as what comes off the whiteboards of the pocket-protector Theory Boys? See, we’re valuing ideas from the egghead set over & above actual experience. This is how we get on these endless treadmills. We don’t pay attention to actual experience.

My suggestion: Stop stigmatizing smoking, drinking, et cetera. Just stop it. Yes it’s bad when kids do these things — but these are symptoms, not causes. Instead, stigmatize idleness. If there are laws on the books saying kids can’t work more than xx hours in a week if they’re under xx years old, then repeal them. Every single one. What’re we afraid of? Some Tammany Hall guy is gonna come by in the dark of some terrible night, abduct a couple hundred of our doe-eyed little waifs, and put them to work eighteen hours a day putting sweatshirts and sneakers together for Kathy Lee? Our goo-gooder liberals are supposed to have ended that problem in this country, about a hundred years ago. So if the problem is ended, let’s act like it’s ended. Let the kids do some work. Some work.

There are too many laws on the books designed to make absolutely, positively sure that nobody ever experiences — certain things. A “no” answer from a bank evaluating a home loan application. Creepy guys at work that like to stare at beautiful women. A movie with a guy riding a motorcycle with no helmet on his head. When I say “too many” laws, what I really mean is “some.”

There shouldn’t be any laws like this. Humans are much more resilient than this.

That Would Be Sufficient Reason

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

More wisdom posted by me, at your Sotomayor News Update Center…a place formerly known as FARK. It’s a generic comment that couldn’ve been placed under any one of the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of links that have gone up over the last few days.

On her qualifications, I don’t have much of an opinion one way or the other. She seems decidedly average and ordinary, by design, like if there was something too truly remarkable about her judicial & logical reasoning ability she would’ve been eliminated.

But it’s a HUGE red flag to me that the very people who want her seated, like, NOW, this week, this afternoon would be better — are the same ones submitting a FARK link about Sotomayor twenty times an hour around the clock. Very few things in life scream Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain louder than that.

On the “Latina” thing: I can just see the man-and-God conversation:

Man: All these centuries rolling on by. When are you going to bless us with harmony and equality and banish the tension from our racial/gender differences to the ash heap of history once and for all?

God: When you stop bringing those differences up, stupid!

Anyone who thinks the Supreme Court should include a black seat, a woman-seat, a Hispanic-seat, a Jewish seat and/or a disabled-seat…should really just stay home and watch reruns on election day. They’re placing the responsibilities of special agendized advocacy groups, onto the arbiters in the middle. Judges and justices aren’t supposed to be advocates. As things sit now, I don’t see a reason to vote against Sotomayor, but if she’s coupled-up with an agenda of turning neutral arbiters into advocates, then that would be sufficient reason.

Article was already “red-lit” before I made my comment…which I’m positive will be subjected to respectful and thoughtful treatment by the intellectual giants there. “Red-lit” means it was un-approved for publication to the general public, so you need to have a TOTALFARK subscription just to see the thread. You can get one here.

I have no idea if that one idea of mine is going to sit out there by its lonesome, or if it will kick off a huge thread-post melee that will stretch on for miles and days. I really don’t know. I really don’t care.

No. I really don’t care. I’m pretty much just sounding off, on this one.

Beam Me Up, Hottie!

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Kinda dumb, but it had me giggling.

Liberated and Unhappy

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

New York Times op-ed:

American women are wealthier, healthier and better educated than they were 30 years ago. They’re more likely to work outside the home, and more likely to earn salaries comparable to men’s when they do. They can leave abusive marriages and sue sexist employers. They enjoy unprecedented control over their own fertility. On some fronts — graduation rates, life expectancy and even job security — men look increasingly like the second sex.

But all the achievements of the feminist era may have delivered women to greater unhappiness. In the 1960s, when Betty Friedan diagnosed her fellow wives and daughters as the victims of “the problem with no name,” American women reported themselves happier, on average, than did men. Today, that gender gap has reversed. Male happiness has inched up, and female happiness has dropped. In postfeminist America, men are happier than women.

This is “The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness,” the subject of a provocative paper from the economists Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers. The paper is fascinating not only because of what it shows, but because the authors deliberately avoid floating an easy explanation for their data.
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…[P]erhaps the problem is political — maybe women prefer egalitarian, low-risk societies, and the cowboy capitalism of the Reagan era had an anxiety-inducing effect on the American female. But even in the warm, nurturing, egalitarian European Union, female happiness has fallen relative to men’s across the last three decades.

Draw your own conclusions, I guess.

Priscila Saravalli

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Best Sentence LXII

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

The sixty-second Best Sentence I’ve Heard Or Read Lately (BSIHORL) award had to be split. Both awards go to FrankJ at IMAO. And both of the best-sentences have to do with former Joint Chiefs Chairman and Secretary of State Colin Powell, and this tear he’s been on lately…you know the one…conservative opinions bad, Powell opinions about conservative opinions good:

Powell can give advice to the GOP, but he should be humble enough to realize he’s basically a pedophile giving advice on child rearing.

What is Powell’s message? “The GOP needs moderates even squishier than McCain to succeed!”

Heh.

The Chair Scene

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Duality. That’s the key. If a movie scene only gives you one thing to watch, it can never be truly great. This one is great because of 1) ah, JoBeth…what a treat for the eyes you are…and 2) How in the blue f**k did they do that anyway??

This Vaccine Against Scrutiny

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

The Daily Gut, issuing what I’m afraid is going to be the final word on the Sotomayor nomination for quite some time. Really. There’s really nothing more to be said.

So far, every single headline I’ve seen mentions the woman’s race – which, as you know, is by design. It’s a terrific strategy, this vaccine against scrutiny. Simply make sure you nominate anyone who is the “first” of anything and you create an impenetrable cone of immunity around the nominee (protecting mainly against the media, and of course, conservatives). You could say this strategy worked with great success during the last presidential election – that if Barack wasn’t black, he would have just been another white policy wonk – a less persuasive version of John Edwards, without the wayward weenie.
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The bottom line is, when a person’s “story” is the story, it’s purely a diversionary tactic to take you off the ideological ball. It’s a clue to everyone – especially the media – that this time you should do more than order the commemorative plates.

Ragged Old Flag

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Funny Picdump

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

More, if you click the pic…

Doug Elfman vs. Miss Cali

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Miss CaliThis actually took place last month but I just found it. Entertainment columnist calls beauty contestant stupid — because she has an opinion about gay marriage that’s different from his.

Hahaha. Miss California Sister Carrie Prejean, who lost the Miss USA pageant here in Las Vegas on Sunday because she’s dumb, says God was testing her faith when He placed Perez Hilton along her Path to Glory — a path also lined by her swimsuit, fake-white teeth and boob glue. God works in mysterious ways.

I guess it’s all that God talk that got him down.

Anyway, that charming gem of a post netted twenty comments.

Four of them agreed with him.

The other sixteen handed him his own ass.

I like that. Times like these, sometimes I wish I was a blond female sexpot who looked amazing in a skimpy bikini, rather than a pudgy middle-aged straight white guy. That way I could come to know this extra special visceral hatred these anti-traditional-marriage anti-life anti-God types have for those who disagree with them, and happen to be gorgeous women. It must be quite a feeling.

I’m an ordinary dude. I only get the ordinary anger.

What is it, anyway? Is it resentment over the courtship rituals of studly guys and attractive females? Belief in God? It’s like a chemical combustion process; if all the ingredients are there, the incendiary reaction is greater than whatever takes place with only a few of them. It must be the beginning of a healthy household that does it. He knows what he wants out of life, she’s gorgeous and knows he’s the man she wants, they both benefit from a strong, stable belief system. That, it would seem, is the flammable triangle. That’s when our secular post-modern liberals start to make real asses out of themselves.

It must be — they’re watching others do, what they know they could’ve done, if they chose to. But they picked a different path and chose to celebrate ugliness, uncertainty, weakness, arrogance-over-principle, and the phony adulation of those in proximity, prioritized over what’s known to be right. For those who aren’t quite up on what’s been going on: The beauty queen didn’t bring up the subject of gay marriage. Perez Hilton did. She ad-libbed on the spot, did a better-than-average job doing it, and didn’t quite deliver the answer Hilton and the other anti-prop-8 folks wanted. That’s why all the fecal matter is flying her way.

What a bunch of craven cowards.

And they think they’re compassionate, and tolerant of diverse points of view. Really something. I don’t think they’re sane; I really don’t.

Kate Gosselin

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Christ on a cracker (as Rachel would say). I just learned about this harridan.

I know this kind of woman well. Not currently…and I never will again. I’ve had my fill.

She hates men and boys, and isn’t willing to admit it.

She hates men and boys, and isn’t willing to admit it.

She hates men and boys, and isn’t willing to admit it.

Get the impression I can’t get this repeated enough? That’s because it defines her very existence. Listen to these poison words she has for her own sons, the poor little guys. And her husband stands around, when she’s got stuff to do, with his hands in his pockets. On that point, I actually have some empathy for her. Been there, done that…yes, it is truly aggravating. But guess what? You’re making it happen, beeyotch! He takes the initiative to do X, it’s wrong — he takes the initiative to do Y, it’s wrong. Of course, there will not be a Z. He won’t try. If he tried, and there was a Z, there’d be something wrong with him. Why f*cking bother after awhile?

Yech. How many kids is this, six or eight? What kind of child support would be involved in that? Thinking persons cannot escape entertaining the possibility there is a crude economy involved in this. If he’s semi-screwed in the event we split up…I can act like a halfway-nagging-bitch…if he’s completely screwed, then I can go full-tilt.

My advice?

Pick a woman who cares about making you happy. I know that’s out of style. But there’s a funny truth to be reckoned with here: Lack of middle ground. Women, by and large, are concerned with making their men happy, or with making their men miserable — no-in-betweensies. Ms. Gosselin seems to be from the second of those two camps…poor Jon. So start with a good hand, or else it doesn’t very much matter how you play it.

Hey Princess! Bring Me A Beer!Even good women have that “off-night.” You did this wrong. You did that wrong. You did some other damn silly thing wrong. I have a technique for dealing with that, too. “Sorry, dear, that’s the second thing you caught me doing wrong today.” “Sorry, that’s three things you found about what I did wrong today.” “Sorry, that’s four things I did wrong today.” By the time you get up to seven or eight, she’s wild about you.

Maybe not wild in a good way, but still wild.

The point is, you aren’t willing to put up with it. And that’s the thing you really have to get across. That’s the paradox about women; so many of them seem to be on a quest to acquire “permission” to make their men miserable. But it’s the kind of permission that, once they get it, they become very unhappy to have it. It’s like a test you have to go through, from time to time, to prove you’re a “real” man — one who thinks highly enough of himself not to become a whipping-boy.

There’s something way down deep in the primal layers of the female psyche, on this stuff — something that doesn’t seem to be entirely within their knowledge, or under their control. It’s like they’re hard-wired, down in the BIOS, with the software having nothing to say about it at all. They’re programmed to test their men, to make sure those men are real men. But with these substandard specimens, there is something else. The genesis of discord seems to take place as Kate Gosselin figures out such-and-such has to get done. How does she figure that out? She figures it out on her lonesome. Hubby Jon doesn’t seem to be up to the task of anticipating what she’s going to want to have done…and maybe he shouldn’t see himself that way. Kate’s accustomed to working in a bubble. It’s just Kate’s plan. If it’s just Kate’s plan, then of course Jon won’t know what’s coming. He’ll be waiting around to be told what to do.

Many a red-blooded man is familiar with the search for the “generic” task — that thing she doesn’t have time to do, that definitely needs to be done, regardless of what her plan is. See, after a little bit of experience with the fairer sex we figure out you’re better of predicting which way a football will bounce, than to figure out what your wife or girlfriend is planning to do. So we look at what’s guaranteed, or almost-guaranteed, to be harmless. Running the dishes through the dishwasher, maybe. A load of laundry.

And if we get that going, and end up chastised as a result for having done it wrong — babe, it’s all over. Fingertips…pocket liners…say hello.

My God, I would face the wrath of a woman who didn’t like the way I asked her to get me a beer, over and over and over again, before I could spend one precious minute of my remaining lifespan with a shrew like Ms. Gosselin. That’s why about the time my thirties came to a close, I stopped trying to be helpful and concentrated my energies on telling them what kind of beer I liked. They can insist on a “please”; they can insist on a “thank you.” That’s all fair, since Mrs. Freeberg didn’t raise any barnyard animals. But in my household, it is not unheard-of for the Lady to bring the Lord of the Manor a damn beer once in awhile. No E-Girls Allowed, period. Since then, my woman-situation has vastly improved. Now way back when, in my early twenties, during my “starter marriage” and in the years before then…heh…don’t even ask, m’kay?

Hmmm, a beer would taste pretty good right about now.

Update: Hah! That’s awesome, Rob. Thanks.

My Two Questions About the Feud

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Or rather, to be precise about it, this story about the feud. And all the other stories about the feud.

In the latest round of the increasingly heated intra-GOP feud, former Secretary of State Colin Powell Sunday defended his Republican credentials and fired back at radio host Rush Limbaugh and former Vice President Dick Cheney, saying the party had to expand beyond its conservative base.

“Rush will not get his wish and Mr. Cheney was misinformed – I am still a Republican,” Powell said in a much-anticipated interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation” two weeks after Cheney suggested on the same show that the retired general had left the party by endorsing Barack Obama last fall.
:
Powell suggested that there were a number of moderates in the party who shared his concerns but were hesitant to speak out “because if you are vocal you’re going to get your voice mail filled up and get lots of e-mails like I did.”

One such Republican did seem to take Powell’s side of the fight today, as Former Homeland Security Secretary and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge also joined in the criticism of Limbaugh Sunday.

“I think Rush articulates his point of view in ways that offend very many,” Ridge said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

First question: How many times in this story, can you find, in which a reference is made to how many people find a thought appealing…how many people find a thought revolting…how many people are accepted…how many people are excluded.

I don’t know about you, but if I’m going in for brain surgery and there is some feud taking place among the doctors about how to slice up my lobes — I do not want it subjected to a vote.

Second question: How many times in this story, or in any other similar story, do you see a reference to which ideas are & are not right.

It seems relevant when things like this are being discussed –

Ridge also split with Cheney on the vice president’s claim that Obama’s policies were making Americans less safe. “I do not” agree with that, Ridge plainly told CNN’s John King, adding, “Yeah, I disagree with Dick Cheney.”

Gee, Tom. You seem to think it’s an important consideration when an idea is offered, how many people it ticks off. You seem to be putting that ahead of whether the idea is correct or not, in terms of priority.

So what does it matter that you disagree with the idea Obama’s made the country less safe? What does your disagreement say about anything? I mean, it could very well be true, couldn’t it — and you’d be exactly the kind of guy to disagree with it, just to make the folks in power happy.

In an appearance on “Fox News Sunday,” Karl Rove dismissed the dust-up between Cheney and Powell, since “neither one of those two are candidates,” and deemed the fight “a false debate that Washington loves.”

Asked if he agreed with Cheney’s contention that Limbaugh was better for the Republican Party than Powell, Rove said: “Yes, if I had to pick between the two.”

Mr. Rove is mostly correct here. On the false-debate-Washington-loves, I agree with him fifty percent. Washington really does the little puppet show, fer sure.

False debate? Not hardly. This is, I think, the Achilles’ Heel of those who took charge of Washington earlier this year. It’s the debate between what’s popular and what’s right. We saw, last fall, people will vituperatively oppose the eleventh-hour cosmetics — the thin veneer held aloft by those who know they are right, but can sense that what’s right has grown unpopular, and will try at the last minute to become “moderate.” It’s kind of like the high school nerd who tries to learn all about football and rock music halfway through his senior year. (Well nowadays I guess we’re talking rap, and who knows what else…what can I say, I’m an old guy.) It doesn’t work, of course. People understand you’re a nerd down to the marrow of your bones, trying to pretend to be something else, and for that you earn surplus, and well-deserved, scorn.

And you should. If it’s about right-and-wrong, you shouldn’t be moderating; this is widely understood, though not often discussed. “Extremism” is the attribute of those who see the issue linked to the well-being of people, and care about it. If we’re talking about whether it’s good to put sugar in a gas tank, we know you don’t have anyone’s welfare at heart when you’re advocating four ounces of sugar over the opposition’s quart-and-a-half. The sugar is bad, or else it isn’t. Period.

By Politico standards, this is just a horrible, horrible article. There are no specifics anywhere. I mean, about the offensive words spoken by those who ostensibly offend — or by their statements and deeds, ostensibly seek a tinier, more exclusive party. I mean, that is the story. That is the focus. That’s the point. And yet it is left up to me to fuzzily infer that they’re talking about Rush’s “I Hope He [President Obama] Fails” statement. It’s become famous and talked-about enough…but still. Why is the guesswork left in? The question is about whether the truth remains valuable if & when it offends people. Shouldn’t it be explicitly stated, then, exactly what caused the offense?

Leaving aside the other critique I have. That those who were offended, likewise, are similarly unmentioned. And that’s just as relevant, if not even more relevant. Who are these people who get ticked off, when it’s pointed out that harmful things are indeed harmful? What are their Republican credentials exactly? In fact, do these nameless-faceless-anonymous-stranger people even have hopes for the country’s long-term prosperity at heart?

What’s at stake here is nothing less than the intellectual ability of every man, woman and child in this supposedly free country to truly debate things. And the democrat party should be ashamed of itself that debate-about-debating has to take place entirely within the party of their opposition. It’s pretty damned simple: When half of us are afraid to face unpleasant truths, do the other half of us then labor under some kind of obligation to pretend true things are false, and false things are true, just to avoid honking off others? Some folks would say, yes we do. Okay then. Where’s it written that they should be allowed to call themselves Republicans?

As for General Powell, he should be thoroughly ashamed of himself. It’s quite a legitimate opinion to have, that last year’s ticket was a bad one. Even a disaster. I disagree with that, but there are valid reasons to think so. And there are even some valid reasons to think the ticket was so bad, that a person of Powell’s stature could endorse the opposition and still retain his existing Republican credentials. But to marginalize the opinions of those who cross off his name when he endorsed Barack Obama, is nothing but putrid propaganda. I mean, seriously. A party’s tent can be just so big — but does it have to be so big, that one of the party’s positions is that the other guy should win the general election? If that’s one of the accepted platforms, what’s the point of having the party at all?

Powell isn’t arguing for a big-tent. He’s arguing for no-tent. That’s the long and the short of it.

Memorial Day 2009: Roundup

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Just a sloppy hodge-podge of things that really should be pointed out, tossed in a stew with some truly amazing stories.

Musket Balls: Memorial Day Proclamation from Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.

Locutisprime at Brutally Honest: If We Build It, Will They Come?

American Digest: The cemetary at the end of Gerard’s street. Also, if you aren’t reading The Name in the Stone every single year at this time and again on Veteran’s day — you should. Make the time.

Right Wing News: John Hawkins’ conversation with a 101st Airborne vet.

Cassy Fiano: Frank Buckles, the Last WWI Veteran.

Pundit and Pundette: Obama meets with Rolling Thunder.

Exile in Portales: Arlington.

Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: A Lump in Your Throat. Some stories behind the names.

Blackfive: Remembering my Uncle James.

Neptunus Lex: What happened in the winter of 1943.

Mudville Gazette: Lance Cpl. Brady Gustafson receives the Navy Cross.

CDR Salamander: Remembering Lt. Peter Russell.

Flopping Aces: God must have a special place for soldiers. (The picture above, of Maj. Zembiec’s widow, is from this one.)

Map The Fallen Project.

Atlas Shrugs: Pamela Gellar has some burial plots she would like our President to see before he gets too carried away apologizing to Germany for things World War II-related.

Watch the Whole Thing

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

…especially before forming a hasty opinion, lest you become exactly what you call others. And, in there somewhere, is a lesson for us all.

Hat tip to Duffy.

Rhythm of Life

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

I might have posted this before. I dunno. I don’t think so.

It is truly a contender for best beer commercial of all time.

Grocery Store Wars

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

This clip was uploaded a long time ago, on an IP address far, far away.

But it never really gets old.

Pictures: Truth or Lie?

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

You might be surprised about some of these, particularly with the pictures you’ve already seen. And perhaps forwarded on to others without checking ‘em out first…shame, shame.

Incidentally, I happen to know from prior knowledge that the lady in the skimpy wedding dress is a bellydancer and bellydancing instructor, not a stripper. That’s worth pointing out because, I happen to know from other prior personal knowledge, that in Bellydancer-Stripper-land things are different. There is a deep and yawning schism between the two professions, rather like between Liliput and Blefescu, and visceral reactions that result from outlanders’ careless intermingling of the two.

Regarding the other pictures — I’ve got a few new places to add to my “Locations I Want To See” list. What about you?

Why Political Correctness Must Die

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

I really wish I could remember where I learned about this first. We at The Blog That Nobody Reads try to make sure fellow bloggers get their hat-tips. I remember going through this when it came out, and now that it’s been brought to my attention again, I think it should make it into the scroll.

1. It’s censorship: Point blank, that’s what it is. It’s used mainly by people on the left to attack people on the right, but not the other way around…it’s a thuggish weapon of intimidation.

PC Must Die2. It’s bigotry disguised as manners: You may think all those touchy-feely names they come up with for various special interest groups are more sensitive and empowering than the “mean” names of the past, but most of them are patronizing and they segregating…

3. It’s an attempt at mind control: The goal of PC always has been to segregate people into classes, destroy the family by marginalizing and polarizing people from traditional values and culture…

4. Evil: The textbook definition of evil is that which is willfully and maliciously harmful to others. What else do you call something that is used to commit so much harm against people and a society as a whole…

5. Why should we do what some faceless creeps tell us?: Most of the time we were told what the new term for something is. In the ’60s we were told Negro is not acceptable anymore. We should say black even though Negro is merely the Spanish word for black. Then in the ’70s we were told to use “Afro-American” then later “African-American” even though that term is not only a mouthful it makes no sense. A lot of black Americans are simply Americans, many others are from the Caribbean. Or they are mixed race like our president. Who makes up these lame terms and why should we start saying them?…

6. It has produced disastrous results: The morally and intellectually degenerate media elite used it to manipulate the public into electing president an unqualified left-wing extremist who does not mean this country well.

Two Dozen Coffee Mugs

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

It’s not about pissing off that one guy, actually; it’s about elaborating on that “Humans Matter” point on which I was ruminating two weekends ago. It occurred to me that, if this was undergo a metamorphosis into an effective campaign to revitalize the Republican party, or at least give new life to someone who would oppose the nihilists who are in charge right now…perhaps this could be most effectively communicated as a limited number of specs on that “Humans Matter” point. In other words, maybe it would be beneficial to make the next few campaigns about mattering.

It seems to me this is the catalyst of what all the shouting is about lately. Is it appropriate for humans, for Americans, to do things that actually make a difference? Without apologizing for it? By that I mean, as individual efforts…rather than these things we should “all come together” to do?

Perhaps it is easy to envision ourselves as not-doing-things, and tearing down anybody else who would think of really-doing-things, simply because we are only casually acquainted with the everyday, real-life benefits of doing things. Or the liabilities involved in not doing them.

So my vision is a set of coffee mugs — sold six or twelve at a time, with twenty-four unique designs. Their designs have it in common that the phrase –

Dare To…

…is right up there at the top.

And then the smaller lettering halfway down says one of the following…

1. Decide Where Your Money Goes
2. Drive Your Car
3. Discipline Your Child
4. Breathe
5. Be an American
6. Support the Troops
7. Clean Up Iraq
8. Support Israel
9. Be, or Appreciate, a Wise Strong Resourceful Manly Dude
10. Be, or Appreciate, a Smart Powerful Gorgeous Woman
11. Support Capital Punishment
12. Organize a Tea Party
13. Defend the Unborn
14. Speak Your Mind
15. Own a Gun
16. Eat Meat
17. Drink Beer
18. Want Terrorists Dead
19. Be What You Are
20. Hang on to What You Have
21. Build Things People Use
22. Watch FOX
23. Vote Against Obama
24. Raise a Boy into a Man

These are all things that have been stigmatized over the last forty years. Or twenty, or seven, or two-to-four.

Not a single one of them should be stigmatized, and deep down, I think everyone knows that.

Let’s un-stigmatize them. Nevermind whether it’s possible, in the years ahead, to get someone elected on that or not. Just forget all about that. Un-stigmatize regardless.

Someone Needs to Make a List

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

Someone with a spleen to vent…about The Blog That Nobody Reads…but nevertheless, so far as I know, has never seen fit to comment here.

Blogsister Daphne called out my attention to Eternity Road, where all kinds of derision was being dumped upon us. At first, she simply mentioned it…I assumed there would be a trackback I could follow, somewhere, or at least that I could Google it. But it was not to be. Not enough traffic from those parts. So I had to ask her for a link, to get a better idea of where I was going wrong. And she pointed me to a homepage that eventually led me here. The place is run by one Frances W. Porretto.

I actually agree with Frances’ overall point which is “There’s no substitute for knowing how to argue your case.” Trouble is, he himself doesn’t seem to believe in it. What would I be arguing, exactly? And against what? He doesn’t like that I can recognize these small-l libertarians…not the Large L variety, who believe in limited government, individual freedom, live-and-let-live…but rather the “legalize drugs is all I care about” variety. He doesn’t like me pointing that out. Why exactly? He disagrees with the point about drugs being bad? He thinks they’re good? Or he doesn’t want me to have contempt for things, for which he doesn’t think I should have contempt? If it’s the former, then he is, indeed, a dimwit; and if it’s the latter, then he has renounced his credibility as a “libertarian.” At any rate, we know he likes to jump to conclusions about who can & can’t argue a point, without testing them on it.

It seems he’d prefer to enter is comments into a blog that could lay real claim to being a Blog That Nobody Reads.

Daphne tried to set him straight, pointing out to her, my intended meaning was crystal clear (as the author of the original comments, I can vouch that she hit a bulls-eye). Porretto was having none of it. Faced with truth, versus his interpretation of it, he ricocheted a terse command to our defender that she stop wasting his time. Being a lady of intelligence, class and dignity, she complied.

Comment #3 really impressed me, but probably not in the way he hoped to. What am I saying? He took special care to make sure I’d never see what he had to say:

Mr. Freeberg, in his purple haze blog that he says nobody reads, just likes to make lists. List makers, of course, like loooong lists, and sometimes take poetic license with the elements of their fancy. Freeberg, in fact, often numbers his lists with Roman numerals to add a certain mystique and gravitas to the list itself and the items listed.

Formatting your opinions as lists may not be the best way to promote your position, but it helps you to keep your place in the discussion and creates the impression that you know what you’re talking about. “Here’s my list; what about that, a**h***?”

Santa’s list, enemies lists, shopping lists, potential terrorist lists, things to do lists, no fly lists, sex offender lists, guest lists, gun registration lists, list of crimes on your rap sheet lists, etc. Think about it, Mr. Freeberg will run out of purple long before he runs out of lists.

Run out of purple? Someone please drop something in the comments below, clueing me in on what exactly that is supposed to mean. It’s { red=64 green=32 blue=128} foreground, { red=198 green=198 blue=246 } background; six bytes of the same data, over and over again. How does one “run out”? And there’s something egotistical or sanctimonious about list-making? Just damn.

I’m flabbergasted. Who the hell ever gets anything of any complexity accomplished somewhere, without making a list first?

I think that guy needs to make a few lists himself. Something gives me the general impression he’d really, really like to, and has more than a few ideas about what should go on them.

I hadn’t given it a great deal of thought before, certainly not as much as this fellow seems to think I have. But I guess making lists is just one of those vital yet simple things that some people never learn how to do — which speaks volumes about how little they have attempted to achieve in everyday life. And, as usual, when people cruise through life avoiding doing the simplest and most vital things, whenever they see someone else doing ‘em, sometimes they get a little pissed.

Thing I Know #246. He who does, is a bigger man than he who does not. He who does not, but thinks out what is done, is better than those who think not. He who does not and thinks not, but respects those who do, is a bigger man than he who respects not.

Does Wonder Woman’s Costume Undermine Her Portrayal as a Strong Female Character?

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

Submitted for discussion some nine or ten months ago.

Does Wonder Woman’s costume undermine her portrayal as one of the DCU’s strongest female characters?

Shouldn’t she be wearing something a bit more practical, after all they changed Catwoman’s costume to make it seem more practical & less glamour. WW has worn better costumes such as her armour, than her traditional look. So is it time fo[r] a permanent change?

Someone please point me to the last superhero who restored his or her “portrayal of a strong character” with a costume change.

I’ll tell you what undermines Wonder Woman’s portrayal as a strong character. It isn’t her female-ness. It’s the opinions of all these sycophants that are brought out of the woodwork by her female-ness. Everyone wants to play the game of “The Womens’ Movement Was About To Be Set Back By A Century Until I Spoke Out And Rescued Everything.” And her suit doesn’t cover much, so that just seems to set it all off.

What very few people seem to understand, is that Wonder Woman’s costume actually makes a great deal of sense. A great deal of sense — more than the costume worn by any superhero who wears a cape. What’s the downside? Why would a superhero not wear a gymnast’s outfit and boots? Let’s see…too many people would notice — doesn’t apply. She’s an ambassador. As a super-heroine, she lacks a secret identity, because of this ambassadorial status. Not modest enough — also doesn’t apply. Wonder Woman comes from a place where women prance around naked all day & all year. The costume was selected in order to show us, in the US of A, respect; as a gesture of goodwill. She thinks she’s dressing up. Leaves her too vulnerable — doesn’t apply. Her bracelets deflect bullets. She might get cold? She’s made out of clay.

Wonder WomanI always thought of her as fitting into the Big Three with perfection. Superman’s got godlike powers; Batman doesn’t have any at all; Wonder Woman’s just someplace in between. She gets into a fight in the middle of the city in midsummer, wearing her trademark bathing-suit-and-boots — it’s easy to think she’s human. The fight is taken into a frozen arctic tundra, now you have a subtle reminder that she’s a super being.

In fact, if you want to look at things that undermine her portrayal as a strong female, that would be a far better place to start. The inconsistency. Can she fly? If she can’t, then can she leap an eighth of a mile like the original Superman? Does she have that stupid invisible jet? I really think, if the movie goes forward, the invisible jet should be included only as a joke. What about invulnerability? What happens if she tries to deflect a bullet with her bracelets, and fails? Is it true that her magic lasso becomes as long as she wants it to be at any given time? (I always thought that was kinda silly.)

Super strength? How much? Can she go toe-to-toe with Superman? Could she win? Can she bear his children if she cares to? How’s that work, exactly?

It’s just a fact: If she’s made weaker than Superman, the rights & privileges of ordinary women will survive just fine.

You know what she really needs, is a makeover just like the one slapped down on Superman back in 1986 by John Byrne. That was awesome. The Man of Steel’s powers were limited; he was and is completely vulnerable to anything magic, including the lightning bolts that transformed Billy Batson into Captain Marvel. The silver-age “planet hurling” Superman, you could forget about. His costume was ordinary fabric, and remained intact in an onslaught of machine gun fire thanks to a narrow field of Kryptonian energy that surrounded Superman’s body, maybe a quarter inch or so. So that did away with the absurd notion of Ma Kent “unweaving” the blue, red and gold Kryptonian fabric in Baby Superman’s birth rocket, and re-weaving it into a costume. Plus, if Superman was in the presence of a bomb, the costume would come away intact but the cape would be shredded, maybe set on fire. Way cool.

That’s how you solidify Wonder Woman’s position as a icon that represents female strength. Confine the re-inventing energies to things that really need re-inventing. WW has more than her share of them.

Women are in sad shape right about now. They’re being defended by people who honestly think of themselves as tireless defenders of womens’ position in society, and of womens’ rights; but those defenders don’t believe women are strong or worthy of respect, if they’re wearing certain things. That pretty much sums it all up, I think.

The Goode Family

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

“Is that what we’re supposed to call them now?”

My other favorite moment was that thing with the toilet paper. Priceless. Setting up the DVR now.

Hat tip: IMAO.

More info here…

Into which of the ten terraces does this family fit?

Looks to me like a raging case of Goodperson Fever.

Best Looking Cheerleaders of TV and Film

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

Terrace Five Remains

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

Blogger friend Buck, along with many other folks I don’t respect quite as much, says Terrace Five should’ve been eliminated from the taxonomy of progressive levels of liberal anti-intellectualism and nastiness:

Morgan: We’re pretty much on the same page, now that you’ve submitted your clarifications. I pretty well know where you’re coming from anyway, based on past “discussions.” You’re entirely correct that drugs are another manifestation of The Culture Wars, and we can agree to disagree on that point. That said… I’d delete Item Five in your taxonomy were I you. It is NOT true in all cases, but I suppose that’s life, eh? There are always exceptions that prove the rule… but in this case I think the exceptions cut the OTHER way.

I can tell this is a good idea, because I already seriously mulled over it. The legalize-drugs brigade, contrary to my crude summary, is anything but atomic. There are several sub-factions within it, and although subdividing within an ideology may or may not be productive, you just can’t have it going on without someone thinking about something.

MarijuanaHowever, the “should we legalize drugs” argument never fails to arouse great passion on both sides. For reasons that, I’m convinced, are wholly lacking in merit. It seems on the pro-legalize side, the emotion spews forth from a wellspring of feeling that a number of our current problems would disappear overnight if only the magic legalization were to take place. These troubles are associated with the criminal element; or, rather, with the criminal element being associated with a transaction that would be taking place regularly anyway, be it legal or not.

There is some truth in this. But the notion that the problems would disappear, over a longer term or more instantaneous one, is entirely unsupported.

As I’ve said before, I see government-sanctioned, or government-sponsored, or government-permitted drug use as on the same level of government-managed lotteries. And the lotteries, in my world, rank high on the list of insidious evils. I blame the state-commissioned lotteries for the acceleration in Steve Allen’s Dumbth over the last quarter century.

The contradiction that weighs us down in these modern times, is that the prevailing mindset, lingering so long under the surface, and now bobbing up to the top in this Year of Obama, is that nothing is really worth anything. And yet, somehow, everything is worth yet another explosive expression of anger. Those greedy corporations. Those narrow-minded conservatives. Those irritating white males. Those dangerous gun nuts. Those, those, those, those, those. It is the anger of people who are passionate about freedom, without understanding what it really is.

This is why I would vote to keep marijuana illegal, if only someone would come asking for me to cast a vote. Marijuana makes people think like liberals. Suddenly, freedom is Orwellian. Freedom is freedom to smoke dope — and has little other meaning. If it’s legal to smoke dope, but you must do so in a shitty apartment surrounded with barbed wire, that you cannot leave, day or night, and surveillance cameras record your ever move even when you’re taking a dump…well then, you are “free” because you are allowed to get high.

Some other guy being allowed to raise his sons into real men, to fire a rifle in his backyard, to start a business and keep the profits, to use deadly force to defend his wife from being violated, to bellow at her to please get him a beer without being sent to sensitivity training — he isn’t “free” if the whacky terbacky isn’t lawful in his country, or in his part of it. Freedom, suddenly, is trashing your brain. Just as, in the case of the lotteries, “ambition” suddenly means a hope of matching up those six numbers. That and nothing more.

Those who care about nuthin’-but-legalization, I have confessed, are not that commonplace. Here and there, there are people who care passionately and wax lyrically about the soon-to-arrive magic legalization instant, and yet can form a number of well-thought-out positions on a variety of other issues. However, those who can run off the mouth about it, losing track of the importance of other, unrelated things — this is not quite so exclusive a club. And although I cannot prove it, it is my belief that this is errant thinking. My belief is that, if we were to legalize pot, or legalize drugs overall, things would not get better. I do not believe they would become catastrophic…but I do not believe things would stay the same, either. I think things would become slightly worse, the way things generally get worse nowadays. We’d lose something that is hard to notice, and just a few among us would notice the population is becoming overall dumbed-down yet some more. For this, we would be called kooks.

In other words, I think it would have exactly the same effect as the lotteries. The shift is a subtle one. In 1980, you said “I want to take my family on a nice vacation, so I’m going to work just a little bit harder.” By 2000, you said “I want to take my family on a nice vacation, so I hope those numbers line up.” See the little game? Work is regarded differently, and so life is regarded differently. That’s what would happen with drug legalization. We’d all start to look at life a little bit differently. That is the whole point actually using marijuana, is it not? To make you look at life a little bit differently? To make certain efforts look futile, that normally seem worthwhile when your mind is functioning the way it is supposed to?

The unholy triangle with which we are grappling, is between modern liberalism, drugs that take away the “Give-A-Fuck” instinct like marijuana…and…nihilism. New sidebar addition Self Evident Truths (hat tip, Gerard) expounds on the nihilist/liberal connection:

Here is the key to understanding modern liberals and their connection with nihilism. Modern liberalism bases ideals and programs on “a chaos of the instincts or passions.” Such ideals can only drift from one extreme to another as instincts and passions change over time. Hence, modern liberal politics is a politics of feeling, of self, of instinct, of passions with no understanding of the underlying roots of its own behavior, let alone of the nihilism which drives it.

The lack of understanding stems from liberal nihilism infiltrating into the university system. Once adopted, the university system rejected old values in favor of the new valueless system. In an amplifying feedback loop, the next generation of students came out of the universities not realizing that they lacked anything at all in their education. They didn’t even know enough to ask questions about what they might have missed.

There is a consequence to the adoption or acceptance of nihilism with no regard to US founding principles, morals, or religious constraints. Human nature always has a desire to some kind of foundation, some anchor from which to interpret life. By rejecting the foundational principles of the United States – Christianity, moral living, self-evident truths – the nihilist finds other ideologies to take their place – ideologies based on “a chaos of instincts and passions.”

One of the best known historians of religions, Mircea Eliade, had this to say in his seminal book, The Sacred and the Profane:

Nonreligious man has been formed by opposing his predecessor, by attempting to “empty” himself of all religion and all trans-human meaning. He recognizes himself in proportion as he “frees” and “purifies” himself from the “superstitions” of his ancestors….He cannot utterly abolish his past, since he is himself the product of his past (p. 204).

Those who give up religion, morals and foundational principles cannot free themselves from past principles because they are the products of the past and past experiences. Those who consider themselves “liberated” from the past can only respond to it, since without the past, they have absolutely no frame of reference.

Eliade gives this example of the attempt Marxists made to reject past values. Nihilists who buy into Marxism, Socialism, or Communism should note their dependance on Marx’s substitute religion:

We need only to refer to the mythological structure of communism and its eschatological content. Marx takes over and continues one of the great eschatological myths of the Asiatico-Mediterranean world – the redeeming role of the Just (the “chosen,” the “anointed,” the “innocent,” the “messenger”; in our day, the proletariat), whose sufferings are destined to change the ontological status of the world….Marx enriched this venerable myth by a whole Judaeo-Christian messianic ideology (p. 206).

What does this mean in real world terms? If we take, for example, a look at President Obama and his socially and fiscally liberal policies, we can see that most of his policies lack any definable reference to the foundational principles of the US. Instead, they adopt a Marxist version of a messianic ideology – the desire to create a pipe-dream world absolutely free from human problems. The government itself, just as Marxist doctrine taught, becomes the savior figure of the modern world. Obama becomes its chief prophet.

Those who have not adopted nihilism can immediately see the problems inherent in this system. The ideology leads from a false premise to a false conclusion. Government cannot be salvation, since, by its very nature, is composed of people who do not transcend the problems of the modern day.

Nihilists presume to a knowledge of reality, yet it is knowledge based on a faulty system and a false premise. As Bloom states:

However profound that knowledge may be, theirs is only one interpretation; and that we have only been told as much as [the nihilist founders] thought we needed to know. It is an urgent business for one who seeks self-awareness to think through the meaning of the intellectual dependency that has led us to such an impasse (p. 156).

Without understanding the nihilistic impulse, without understanding the philosophical roots of nihilism, without self-awareness of the lack of knowledge of other systems, the modern liberal has no chance of breaking free from the boundaries set for them by ideologues of the past.

And modern liberals will be at the mercy of today’s ideologues.

This, I fear, is what is to become more popular if legalization takes place. This is what concerns me when I call it a cultural issue. I still say it is immoral and contrary to the philosophies of the American experiment, for people in my location to dictate that people somewhere else should keep it illegal. On that subject, I’m more libertarian — let ‘em get stoned outta their gourd, if that’s what they want to do. But on my own patch of ground, I’m voting no.

MarijuanaThe departure from reality people undertake, with marijuana, liberalism and nihilism, is quite profound. Two central themes seem to pop up from out of nowhere. The notion that nothing’s-worth-anything is a central pillar of the nihilism, of course. But then there are all these human rights. A human right to a job, to a house, to food, to a car, to the gas to put in it. Suddenly we’re all Han Solo; hokey religions are no substitute for a blaster at your side, kid. Nobody put us here. Nobody’s determining the outcome of cosmic events. But our skin becomes thinner, and all kinds of different forms of neglect, become violations of our human rights. Human rights. Nobody put us here, but humans have all these rights that other animals don’t have.

That isn’t true of all people who smoke marijuana…bit it is true of most. And this shit stays in your system for a long time. Alcohol, on the other hand, is gone by the next morning. If it isn’t, then there will be a painful reminder to you to show some restraint next time. I keep hearing that marijuana and alcohol are on the same level, or should be. Sorry, I’m just not seeing it. Both can be abused. But with alcohol the abuse comes from excessive use. With marijuana the abuse comes from entering an entire thought culture that surrounds the drug. And the potential is there from the very first puff.

We have far too much dumbth already. We have far too much nihilism, with things the way they are. We don’t need more. And, the idea that there are lots of people who can’t talk about anything besides legalization once the subject comes up…not only remains a sensible recognition on my part, but a proven one. Proven by the very people who want to argue with me about it. I’ve written very few things that have attracted that much comment. And I’ve written nothing, I daresay, that’s attracted that much comment upon such a tiny, tiny subsection within it.

Update: Thanks to blogger friend Gerard, and his superior Google Image Search skills, for the image.