Archive for April, 2015
Well, they don’t see anything to be gained from not being afraid. Or they don’t see how being afraid, costs them. Rachel Burger, writing at Rare:
Millennials, unlike Xers, were far more likely to grow up in stable homes. They were greeted into this world with “Baby on Board” signs, ushered by a careful parent from school to soccer practice to piano lessons to home, and taught to avoid “stranger danger.” When they were children, their physical safety was always a priority — a trend that has continued with recent health care reform.
And physical safety isn’t the only way Xers have taught Millennials to protect themselves. Millennials are the most educated generation in this country’s history — college is now considered a safe bet for most careers. And for Millennials who don’t find a job straight after college, many Xer and Boomer parents are happy to let their kids come home until they do.
Psychology Today writes, “52 percent of people ages 18 to 25 phone, email, or text their parents daily. Their parents return the gestures.” Just as their parents once protected these young adults, they now are protecting themselves.
The fallout on college campuses is just another example. Millennials have insisted on safe spaces and trigger warnings. They’ve demanded that their universities ban speakers who might offend them. They are doing as they have been taught: protecting themselves from a potential threat.
Burger finishes strong, with something that can’t possibly turn out well for anybody:
…for many students, college is a safe step toward securing a career and not necessarily a place where one goes to learn.
Related (4/30/15): Yes, The Onion, I’d say you’ve managed to pick up on the gist of the problem.
College Encourages Lively Exchange Of Idea
Students, Faculty Invited To Freely Express Single Viewpoint
…“As an institution of higher learning, we recognize that it’s inevitable that certain contentious topics will come up from time to time, and when they do, we want to create an atmosphere where both students and faculty feel comfortable voicing a single homogeneous opinion”…
Lois Lerner, now retired and enjoying a six-figure income courtesy of taxpayers, has plenty of time to wonder which of her emails are now in the hands of congressional investigators. Bernie Becker of The Hill reports:
An inspector general investigating the IRS’s improper scrutiny of Tea Party groups has found thousands of emails from Lois Lerner, the agency official at the center of that controversy, according to committees involved in the probe.
Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration (TIGTA) said it found roughly 6,400 emails either to or from Lerner from between 2004 and 2013 that it didn’t think the IRS had turned over to lawmakers, the congressional committees said. The committees have yet to examine the emails, aides on Capitol Hill said.
That’s only about 4 emails per workday for the period in question, but they might be the incriminating ones, since other emails were already turned over, while these were the ones that were destroyed (we are supposed to believe that this was inadvertent according to IRS commissioner Koskinen). How many other emails remain lost? I have no idea.
How long can it take to review the recovered emails? We’ll see what the committee staffs do, and how this plays out. The longer it takes, the closer we get to the 2016 election.
Meanwhile, Lois Lerner has got to be wondering what will be found. She knows what she wrote, and she knew enough to take the Fifth Amendment.
Tick, tick, tick, tick.
Yes, I saw someone else making this point. Something along the lines of “Whatever’s there, must look a lot worse than this (confusion, obfuscation, concealment), and this looks pretty bad.” Was that about this Lerner-hard-drive clusterfuck? Or, more likely, something to do with Hillary’s e-mail server (video behind link auto-plays)?
It seems this is slowly but surely becoming the way Washington works, now, so I’m having a bit of difficulty keeping track of it all. Hey, how about a transparent government? Did we all really need to wait for me to come along & have that idea?
Clayton M. Christensen, with a hat-tip to the Brother-In-Law.
If the phrase “moral reasoning” means anything at all, it has to have something to do with the capacity to say: “I personally do not like this prohibition or requirement, but I shall abide by it anyway.” The secular types insist that morality doesn’t require religion. They’re right, but their version of morality falls short of the functionality, it’s skeletal, doesn’t include the reasoning aspect. It is purely “make it up as I go along,” it’s right if I say it’s right, each subscriber to the moral code is his own final arbiter. “Yes, of course that’s right!” “That seems wrong!”
How else could it be decided?
They miss out on the true issue, fail to distinguish between want of a straight-edge and want of the pen. Yeah sure kids, you can draw lines. But where? And consistent with what?
The controversy over scholar Christina Hoff Sommers’ lecture at Georgetown University last week is not over.
Lauren Gagliardi, the school’s assistant director for the center for student engagement, emailed two members of the College Republicans to request they edit the video to remove students who did not agree to be videotaped.
In the email, provided to the Washington Examiner, Gagliardi tells the students that the “edited version needs to be released without students who did not give permission to be taped.” She also says that if the Clare Boothe Luce Policy Institute, which sponsored the event, is “unwilling or unresponsive to the request, Georgetown will need to step in.”
The video that has Gagliardi so upset features feminist activists holding up signs accusing Hoff Sommers of being an anti-feminist or deny rape.
My opinion of their “protest” doesn’t even enter into it: I just can’t wrap my mind around “we demand the right to be seen & heard” this way, and “how dare you (accurately) show us to people” that way. I guess the closest correlation I can make to it, would involve the strumpets stepping out in public baring their pins, cleavages and rumps, and then discovering to their shock and horror that their supple appendages were visible to & appreciated by not only the muscular, sinewy, square-jawed prime-specimen men who might meet with their genetic-judging approval, but also the slovenly, rounder, older or more socially-awkward guys who might not make the cut. And then it’s all, How Dare They! Cosplay Is Not Consent! Like, somebody’s momma never taught ’em what “public view” means.
Is it like that? It seems to be. The more recent generations seem to have problems distinguishing between sending messages, versus dictating the finer constraints and details about how they are to be received. At the end of the day, everyone else gets to have opinions too. You don’t get to play “puppet master” and dictate; that is a purely mythical objective. You only get to send. Your control ends at the sending. Not only that, but the word “public” means you don’t get to choose your audience.
When my childhood years were winding down to a close, commercialized forces sought to revitalize my boyhood hometown. There were those who said this would be good for the local economy, the benefits were bound to outweigh whatever costs, and perhaps they were right. Dad was aghast, and so we attended town meetings. That was an education. Lots of people had lots of passionate things to say, on both sides of the issue, and so they had their chance to stand up and be heard. First words out of their mouths were: “My name is [blank], I live in [such-and-such a neighborhood]…”
It was just common courtesy. I don’t recall how obligatory it was, exactly; it didn’t matter much. That’s kind of the point, people just did it. You have an opinion that has you all agitated into action, a little bit anxious, interested enough to come down here, and you want your opinion to prevail knowing it’s going to impact lots and lots of people you don’t know, some of whom would prefer something else. But you want to win anyway. Say who the heck you are. It’s like paying for the spot you take when you park downtown. No, it’s more sacred than that, it’s more like taking the book back to the library. It’s owed.
Or, Bruce Jenner’s Other Coming-Out…Rush tells it like it is.
Now, he made a mistake in the interview with Diane Sawyer. Well, I don’t know if it’s a mistake, but he announced that he’s a Republican. So whatever good vibe he was gonna get from coming out, he just destroyed. You ought to see what happened to him on Twitter. You ought see the Twitterverse after Jenner announced that he’s a Republican. Love went to instant diabolical hate and rejection. People who previously applauded him for his bravery, hell, the sports Drive-Bys, they’re so orgasmic about this they can’t contain themselves, until he said he was a Republican.
That cost him some love and affection within certain people out there on Twitter and so forth. And, by the way, that is its own lesson. You have these — what do I call them? I don’t want to call them conditions. You have these lifestyle choices. Some of them are automatically assumed to be liberal. Single mother, single parent, gay, automatic Democrat, right? Automatic liberal. Transgender, automatic liberal. Bruce Jenner comes out as a Republican, ah, ah, ah, ah. “We now don’t care that you’re transgender, because the fact that you’re a Republican is yuk. How could you dare? You can’t be a legitimate transgender and be a Republican.”
You should see some of these tweets…
Certain older family relative denied — absolutely, steadfastly, denied — that anyone would ever choose the lifestyle, given that it’s so miserable. But she sees people choosing to flaunt the lifestyle every week. There is social and political currency in it, in membership of any designated-oppressed-person class, one has to deny reality to pretend it isn’t there. And the liberals flock to it like crazed backyard birds to a feeder, not to reform society & rid our social code of any vestige of intolerance, but to exploit this currency.
Biggest lie in the world is the liberals are opposed to intolerance. Second-biggest lie is that their opposition is dedicated to preserving or furthering such intolerance.
Speaking of relatives, a certain younger one called to discuss his career plans, wanting to know if he had my support even though he knew I disagreed with his choices. The answer was, of course he does. That’s exactly what the LGBT movement — that’s what it is, a “movement,” not a community — will not, and perhaps cannot, do with Bruce Jenner; that’s the test. A political movement is not likely to tolerate someone supporting another political movement that is laboring toward an oppositional goal. In fact, as a political movement, it is quite reasonable for it to withhold this support. But, it is not reasonable to say something like “Our big thing is that women should be better represented in the hallways of power” and then do your darnedest to smear, slander, make punchlines about, and destroy the influence of Sarah Palin.
This is one of the great paradoxes of our times. The “loud crowd” likes to make a big deal out of “tolerance.” Our tendency has been to listen to them, because they make so much noise. But we don’t do a very good job of defining what it is, and we tend to do an abysmally poor job of testing it. Our tendency of late has been to define it, and test it, with something of a third-grade mentality. It’s as if “tolerance” has something to do with “pretend I’m not here while I work very hard to annoy you.” And, maybe destroy you. An effort to support and promote real tolerance would not rely so much on annoyance, mockery, obstruction, destruction. Real tolerance wouldn’t rely so much on politics. After a few years, such an effort would culminate in a situation in which we find it easier to live with one another. That is not what is happening here, because that’s not what this has been. There’s been way too much “You can’t be a [blank] and also a [blank]” going on here. That’s because what we’ve been seeing, for the last fifty years or more, has really been all about making it easier to elect democrats. Not about tolerance.
It seems like, from reading this, the judge immediately recognized what he did wrong and apologized. I didn’t see that in the video I was watching, but I’ll just assume that’s correct. If so, there was nothing mean-spirited going on here. Just another case of poor judgment on the part of someone speaking in public.
Well, it’s a bit more than that though. Tom Bergeron nailed it. People in show business shouldn’t ridicule other people in show business for being in show business. Also, anti-bullying activists shouldn’t bully people.
I was bullied when I was a kid. The teachers wouldn’t help; they all said I should pay closer attention to whatever behaviors I might be showing to attract the bullying. That was actually pretty good advice. Did it work? No. Like a lot of kids in sixth & seventh grades, I didn’t have the maturity to self-correct on that level. Eventually, I hit back one time, then twice, and that pretty much stopped the bullying.
Gay people I can take. Gay people who complain about bullying, have my sympathy. Flamboyantly gay people, like Tonioli, I can “tolerate.” I do have a problem one with guy doing all three of those things though. Because my teachers back then, while failing the standards imposed nowadays, were correct in what they said and at some point people have to take responsibility for their behavior and how it might be altering their experiences with other people. Yeah maybe that statement seems retrograde and a bit harsh, but don’t judge it until you’ve watched this guy in action. Come to think of it, isn’t school supposed to be mostly about exactly that? Learning to socialize with each other? That you can’t just behave any ol’ way and then complain? Supposedly that’s the big advantage public school has over home-schooling, kids are supposed to learn how to “socially mature.” In my world, that means connecting actions with results, refining behavior, and I grant credit to anyone who does it purely pragmatically, to achieve their own goals. It takes time. We do the designated-oppressed-person-classes no favors by essentially telling them, “act however you want to act, and if people treat you in a way not to your liking, it’s always the other person’s problem (unless they happen to be in a more highly favored oppressed-person-class).”
But anyway. To then to go from there, and start bullying someone else, suggests some rather ugly ulterior motives. It suggests there’s something in anti-bullying activism that isn’t concerned quite so much with opposing bullying, but rather with controlling who gets to do the bullying and who should be on the receiving end. It’s something that’s becoming a pattern. I really wouldn’t care much whether they kick him off the show or not. But, my wife watches it, so if he quietly retires over this I won’t be shedding any tears for him. It’s not because he’s gay or because I think he’s a bad person or anything, he may very well have some decent things about him. And heck, maybe Ms. McKinney is a bad person and really had it coming. I dunno. But he’s loud and distracting. Many a time I’ve noticed, I’d be able to fall asleep and get some decent shut-eye while she watches the latest episode right next to me, if only it weren’t for that loud over-acting judge, over on the right. So to find out at this late date that some of this loudness is going toward creating new and innovative ways to insult people, who are really doing nothing more or less than being guests on the show, doesn’t offer me much motivation to start appreciating him any more than I did before.
…but…then again, when I use that particular phrase, it can only be about one thing. My most trivial problem. But, at times, surely among the most frustrating, that continues to dog me as if guided by a malevolent supernatural consciousness.
This particular brand of lager…
Notice that it has a pretty girl. It has to have one, it’s like, right in the name. So the brand has been re-designed, the models rotated out over the years more times than in the Tomb Raider franchise. And for those who are interested in dressing up as the next candidate, you can do that…
But you see, there is a problem. We’re in Northern California. Women here are a bit on the catty side, a little bit jealous. They’re into low effort. They look hot enough when they’re young, but then of course they’re not going to want to have anything to do with you unless you’re into their kind of music and pop culture. Once you snag one of them, though, it’s off with the make-up, on with the extra eighty pounds. Tee shirts and jogging pants all day every day. Which means, you’ll notice, anything associated with the image of a pretty girl, tends to disappear. This is a consumer bloc of no-makeup “all-done-tryin'” types, who don’t want competition and they can flex some muscle.
We also have people going extra-slow in the passing lane on the freeway. See, the attitude is everywhere. “Don’t wanna lead, don’t wanna follow, sure as hell not going to get out of the way.”
Now, I’d prefer this beer even if it had some bum’s ass cheeks on the label instead of a pretty girl. To me, the pleasing imagery is just a plus. I’m too old for the sweet sticky “kid’s beer,” not into the peach-flavored oatmeal stout with the wooden spoon to clean up the lumps on the bottom, no thankyew. And we’ve had this crisis, uh, “brewing” since Friday when I’d allowed my reserves to go dry. A dry Friday was not in the cards, the week had been tough. So I stopped by the drugstore that had repeatedly reassured me they’d never run out of the stuff, because it was way too popular in this neighborhood.
They were out of it. Picked over pretty clean, actually, for a Friday. As if the beer guy took pride in his job, but didn’t know anything about days-of-week, nothing more than a barnyard pig. I headed home with one box of Moosehead. Yech.
Just out of curiosity, I asked them what day they stocked. Tuesday. Hmmm, interesting. Yes, if there’s one day a week I think about beer, it’s Tuesday.
Well I drained off the Moosehead by Monday, as it happened. So I headed back in Tuesday to find…nothing…changed. It’s as if nobody bothered to stock a single box, or to buy one. So I grabbed some of that awful stuff, the German stuff that tastes alright but the paper label never quite peels off the way it should.
Today I ducked into my tried-and-true warehouse, that always has the brand I want. Well again, it’s got a pretty girl on the label so…no. It was well hidden. After a few minutes of searching from aisle to aisle, I was browsing the glass-front cold storage room, and I saw it peeking out at me. So I ducked into the cold storage room and pried out the box. Looked for a second & third one…no dice. I seemed to have been snagging their very last box.
I brought it up to the cashier. “I seem to have relieved you of the last box…” Pregnant pause. “In town,” I added, hopefully not too irritably. This aroused a frantic search on the computerized inventory system, which confirmed I must have been in error. There were at least two boxes left. A friendly customer service person raced to the back with all due haste while I loitered.
And loitered some more. After the five-to-ten minutes, the answer came back: Customer right, computer wrong.
That’s when I looked up to the liquor aisle, on the end cap there was a promotion that said “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter!!!,” three exclamation points, featuring this guy:
I really don’t know what the Harlequin Romance Novel guy has to do with butter, or not-butter, or what not-butter has to do with liquor. But I’m pretty sure that if the artwork on the beer I wanted looked like that, I’d have no trouble finding it; everyone would be carrying it. Right out in front, prominently featured. No, more than “pretty sure.” Absolutely positive.
Man’s world, my ass.
Nonsensical Complaint #1: A grievance, from or on behalf of some designated-oppressed-group, and something passive-voice. Women are “seen” in such-and-such a way, gay people are “seen” like this or black people are “seen” like that. Or, men and women are expected to be such-and-such a way by “society.”
Question that cannot be answered: If this complaint were restated in active-voice, what would be the subject? Who’s doing the seeing? Who’s doing this expecting?
Why we don’t get an answer: Because then the mission of reform would become finite rather than infinite. The subject would become an object. The mission of reform would also become testable, because the reform would have to do with changing the state of an object, and it would have to do with actually fixing a problem, like catching the shark in Jaws. And, it would be practical to ask bothersome questions like “Do you, or do you not, have it done?”
That’s a non-starter. These are people who are into wearing nice suits and giving impressive speeches; not meeting any actual responsibilities, particularly involving measurable achievements. Objective assessments against predefined goals are for riff-raff, they’re for peons.
Nonsensical Complaint #2: Material wealth inequality. “Haves” versus “Have-nots.” Particularly complaints about how, once people get rich, they get to make the rules. Or, their expenses are reduced as they accumulate greater wealth. “The rich get richer, the poor get poorer.”
Question that cannot be answered: What is it, specifically, about these rich people that makes them rich? What puts them on the road to a destiny so remarkably different from everybody else?
Why we don’t get an answer: It would reveal that all these people, the rich and the not-rich, chose their own fates in some way. That the differential came about not because of birth station, race gender or class, but because of priorities, actions and inactions.
Nonsensical Complaint #3: That their political opposition won’t do what’s necessary to “grow the economy” — raising taxes. Or, that the economy is being hurt, because the taxes are being cut.
Question that cannot be answered: If I “tax” you while you are running up a hill, that would be something like grabbing onto your pants so you can’t move, or maybe weighing you down so that you make less progress after investing more effort. A “tax cut” would be the partial removal of such a burden. Does an economy not work exactly the same way? Isn’t that why we use the word “tax” (as a verb)?
Why we don’t get an answer: It would show that our friends, the liberals, are once again living in “Opposite Land.” There is only one reason to go through the exercise of pretending that “taxing” something is the first step to growing it or making it stronger: To disguise, as a process of creation, what is really a process of destruction.
Nonsensical Complaint #4: Womens’ swimsuits are too skimpy! We need to make them cover up so the men stop acting like louts! Or: I don’t want my fifteen-year-old son to see that, I want him to grow up to be a gentleman!
Question that cannot be answered: What does female swimming attire have to do with men minding their manners? Isn’t it a lasting tenet of modern liberalism that women should be free to wear whatever they want, and this has no bearing at all on how men are expected to behave? How to reconcile this glaring contradiction?
And how is it that anybody thinks this can possibly work? “Omigosh, it’s been three years since I’ve seen tits. I’m going to use my napkin, offer my bus seat to an old woman, and tip the waiter!” Like that?
Why we don’t get an answer: It’s really just like all the others, it would show liberals aren’t into actual problem-solving. Declaring war on skimpy bikinis holds the appeal of “Hit the men where they live,” just like tax increases hold the appeal of “Hit the rich people where they live.” So they’re into identifying target classes, and then hitting ’em where they live. This doesn’t make anything better anywhere. The rest of us aren’t allowed to notice that.
Nonsensical Complaint #5: We desperately need to “shore up” the middle class!
Question that cannot be answered: “Shore up,” whether by design or not, is unworkably vague. What is it about the middle class, exactly, that we need to change?
Why we don’t get an answer: Think through this one, there are three possibilities. 1) People in the middle class should make more money. 2) People in the middle class should be allowed to keep more of their money after paying taxes. 3) The middle class has to include more people. The first doesn’t work because it’s a contradiction; if you make above a certain amount of money, you’re no longer in the middle class. The second makes more sense, but it would be a confession that liberals will never stop short of complete control over everybody, by way punishing some classes and rewarding others, through the tax system. (For the economically literate, it would also reveal that their economic policies are absolutely unsustainable.) And the third, which also makes a lot of sense, would be a confession that liberals really don’t help anyone at all — they require an expansion of the dependency class, not necessarily the “middle” class, in order to win elections. Need more poor people. In sum, it would be a confession of what everybody knows already if they spend any time thinking about this: Liberals won’t do anything at all with what we call the “American Dream,” except hinder it, because if too many people successfully pursue it then the liberals aren’t going to win elections.
I noticed a lot of the people commenting seemed to be missing the point entirely. To raise a child to become a productive adult, you have to raise him to take walks in other people’s shoes, to react to things, respond, plan ahead, prevent bad things from happening, take responsibility…but while he’s a baby, all that stuff has to wait. Sometime ahead, though, it will have to come back. There will have to be transformations.
Too many parents are incapable of this transformation. They remain stuck in “Bring the baby what he needs” mode. Then, they make the wrong-headed decision that parenting must be all about affirmation; impressing on Precious that all the choices he makes, big and small, are as right and as wonderful as could be. But life, of course, doesn’t give a shit about affirming anybody’s decisions…
Well…say what you will about it, it’s good writing.
From 23 Writers With Messages For Straight White Male Publishing, off the Twitter feed of Andrea Castillo, by way of Instapundit. I can only hope the “authors” of the placards — what do we call these, the “Write something on a placard, pose with it looking grouchy and put it on the Internet” placards? — take as much pride in their actual writing, as in, stuff they’ve at least tried to have published by this predominantly-straight-white-male industry. I’d hate to think this was nothing more than the latest in “Just reject the right people, everything will turn out okay.”
But actually, “Read Less Straight White Men” is a close contender.
And this one might even come out on top. From the comments: “Replace straight white men with Jews, and boom. Instant Hitler.”
A fascinating comment stream took root & started growing over at American Digest after Gerard linked to the Polymath Archives article about the Inappropriately Excluded. I thought I should weigh in on the talks because, to me, it’s a matter of first-hand experience that you do not need to be a genius to experience these problems. My I.Q. has been nailed down somewhere around 128 to 135, never more than that, and if this is to be believed then it puts me in the middle bracket. Top-end of the middle tier, maybe, but not in the 140+ genius bucket.
But I’ve been watching this happen pretty much every hour of every day. Yes, it’s a sad way to live and a sad thing to see, and it isn’t just me…
The exclusion really begins in primary school with the failure of the educational process to provide an appropriate learning environment. The grading process, which should be a reliable assessment of knowledge learned and skills acquired, becomes nothing more than a measure of the child’s willingness to bend to the will of the teachers’ demand that he or she acquiesce to a profoundly inappropriate curriculum and learning process.
Leta Hollingworth noted that, if mainstreamed, children with R16IQs over 150 (D15IQ 141) check out and do not excel. Miraca Gross has done a long-term longitudinal study of 60, 160+ D15IQ Australian children. 17 of the children were radically accelerated, 10 were accelerated one or two years and the remaining 33 were mainstreamed. The results were astonishing with every radically accelerated student reported as educationally and professionally successful and emotionally and socially satisfied. The group that was not accelerated she characterizes as follows: ‘With few exceptions, they have very jaded views of their education. Two dropped out of high school and a number have dropped out of university. Several more have had ongoing difficulties at university, not because of a lack of ability but because they have found it difficult to commit to undergraduate study that is less than stimulating’. These children have IQs similar to Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, etc., so the loss from unrealized potential is enormous.
I think what’s really happening is people of all IQ levels, are being disciplined to act as if their IQ is more toward 100. As we make more “progress” with this, we’re defining-downward the level of above-average intelligence that is to be subjected to this shoehorning. We’re becoming more militant about what this acceptable-behavior is supposed to be. And we’re applying the force to more and more walks-of-life, telling more and more people “Take your admirable initiative, your plucky resolve and boundless resourcefulness and take them somewhere else.” Point is, it’s a continual process. The attitude I saw of “This educational experience is not for you, and we don’t care” is exactly what a child would have encountered forty years earlier, with an IQ of, say, thirty points higher. Conversely, today’s kids might do a much better job of fitting in than I managed to do — their quotients may be fifteen points lower — and would not have been subjected to this sort of treatment in my day. But here it is, now and not then, so they have to be medicated. So it’s institutionalized tall-poppy syndrome, and what is happening is the cutting line is getting lower.
A few people said some things that made my jaw drop just a bit, obviously assuming everyone with an I.Q. over 140 must be acting like Sheldon Cooper and all of the time. Then Rob De Witt pointed out,
Like I said, “Learning how to dumb yourself down for acceptability sometimes seems useful as a way to fly below the radar.”
For example, look at the unmitigated envy and projection displayed in this comment stream. A kid with the poor judgement to be born smart is gonna eat this crap for breakfast every fuckin day of his life.
There’s a certain annoyance factor to being subjected to this exclusion; the excludee cannot help but wondering is maybe this is a good thing that just happened, if he can sever the links with some degree of finality (which is not possible with grade school) maybe things are actually gonna start getting better now, some suffering will now have entered the final chapter. Maybe? You look back at those doing the excluding and you wonder about the calibration between their immediate ambitions, and the long-range objectives of the mission. You know the gap is there, because the gap created the situation that culminated in this outcome — for you. It hasn’t impacted anyone else. Or maybe it has. Or maybe it never will. And yes, it’s possible that now that they’ve gotten rid of you, everything is going to go swimmingly. But not only is it tough to see that, the pattern doesn’t seem to hold up anywhere.
Schools, for example. Now that they’ve got the out-of-the-norm kids all diagnosed with phony disorders and properly medicated, are they humming along? Operating efficiently? Inspiring public confidence?
I’ve noticed it before…don’t recall when or where…and I continue to notice it, can’t help noticing it. The word “bureaucracy, whether we want to admit it or not, is a pejorative word. Nobody ever says “I want to build a great bureaucracy, that is a shining example to all other bureaucracies.” No one wants to do that. The bureaucracy is not the machinery that performs a vital function, it is the rust upon it. And we all know it. It’s woven into our lexicon, people don’t really disagree about it, they just refuse to acknowledge it.
What is alarming is not that this is happening, since there is evidence it has always been happening. It’s human nature. What is alarming is that it’s getting worse. The Sheldon Cooper of the 1960’s was Spock, Science Officer of the Enterprise. Well, Spock was occasionally funny to watch, but much more often he was responsible for saving the Enterprise. That’s important. Not that high intellect doesn’t have these trade-offs, the original Star Trek series even had an episode about how you don’t really want Spock to be in command of too much, or too often. It’s not one of my favorite episodes.
In fact, people like to make a big deal about how the womens’ movement back then did not succeed in creating aspiring female engineers, and we still have some work to do on that now. A few moments of honestly recalling the old character of Spock, and the public’s reaction to him, sheds some light on why this is. Boys watched Spock, and took notes about how to apply logic to solve a problem. Girls watched him and became fascinated in the human-interest drama arising from a half-human half-Vulcan encountering and dealing with prejudice, and finding a way to make peace while straddling the divide between two worlds. If they took notes, the notes were about how Spock felt. The male half of the audience really didn’t give a rip what Spock felt, any more than they might have cared what one of John Wayne’s characters felt.
But we have become more feminized in the meantime. Now we have to worry about, once the cat is let out of the bag that “Those with high I.Q.’s are being inappropriately excluded,” if that message can be proliferated then the common reaction will be something like “Awww…how does that make them feel?” But read the article again. The real consequences of this exclusion are on everybody else. It’s a waste of human resource. It may be okay to fall prey to the impulse, since it’s part of the human condition and it’s a story that didn’t just begin yesterday. It isn’t okay to continue the practice. And it certainly isn’t okay to make it worse & worse with the progression of time.
I don’t know this Britt McHenry person, or know of her (language warning). But, I did learn early on that you really need to pay attention to how the fairer sex treats the hired help. Also (later on), that people who work for the Fourth Branch deal with public power and public trust. They carry influence and weight. When they abuse that trust, by result or by intent…they’re scum, just like the people in the first three branches who abuse that trust.
I realize something may have happened before this to provoke the outburst, something more than & worse than just having the car towed, and without me piling on she’s already getting a beat-down. I get all that. Say what you will about concealed-camera footage though, there’s a reason why it packs a whallop. There’s something candid about the candid-camera.
There’s also a reason why people look bad when they do this. This business of “I went to college and you didn’t,” and “I’m on the news, don’t you know who I am.” It’s vile, awful. Mothers, don’t let your babies grow up like this.
Whoever writes the headline for The Huffington Post, thinks the issue was “fat shaming.” Uh, no. Not even. That’s not even the start of what’s wrong.
I have no idea where it is, although it’s somewhere around here. And I know this makes me sound like an old fart, maybe it should, but I had to cut this lawn before I could earn the money to go see The Empire Strikes Back. That’s how we did it back then. Even though the Mount Baker Theater charged somewhere around $2.50 or so…today, you wouldn’t have to cut someone’s grass to pull that in, you’d scrounge around in your couch cushions to “harvest” that without bothering to help anybody. In my day, at age 14 I had to run a “business” of sorts. I had a piggy bank that was a super-size replica of a Tootsie Roll, with dollar bills and coins in it, along with a piece of ledger paper that tracked where all the money went. Gasoline, lawnmower repairs, etc., that was my “lawn care business” and that is how I saw Star Wars Episode V. On some May day in 1980, someone paid me — I don’t even know. $20. Maybe $10. Or $5.
I envy you young puppies who were born sometime in the 1990’s. I try to show proper respect, restrain myself as my instincts compel me to launch into some lecture, or tirade, about appreciating legacies and so forth. You do know something about Han Solo being frozen, his fate uncertain, some 14 years before you were born. I try to remind myself that that’s like me knowing what’s going on with the real-life Hank Williams Sr. freezing to death in his car. I therefore have to remind myself that your generation, against all odds, is actually more conscientious than my generation.
It was actually well-known far & wide that Han Solo’s uncertain fate at the conclusion of “Episode Five” was reflective of Harrison Ford’s uncertain future with the movie franchise. I look back on my own personal opinions about this as among what might be called the “most-wrong”: My opinion back then, back when I was cutting someone’s grass and scooping it into a big bag, to earn my twenty or ten bones so I could see the first true sequel, was: Harrison Ford is Han Solo, and he doesn’t appreciate or understand this, and he’s a fool. That afternoon and evening, as I absorbed Han Solo’s fate and came to realize what was being tossed into the Realm Of The Uncertain And As Yet Not Quite Settled, my level of disgust multiplied upon itself.
And then, Mr. Ford compounded the “error.” The following year, he kicked off a movie franchise about an archeology professor in the 1930’s or something. I remember watching the trailers and thinking…uh, no. No. Very bad idea. Awful, terrible. DON’T DO THIS.
Fast-forward to today. I’m closing in, now, on my fiftieth birthday, in fifteen months or something? People at work call me “Obi-Wan.” And this awful, terrible idea of a movie back in 1981, I dunno…I was so disgusted with it when the previews came out telling us we should all go see it. All I was thinking was, “Dude, you stopped being Han Solo for this crap?” I thought of it like Sean Connery, Indian Jones’ Dad, stopping his James Bond career to be the Zardoz guy.
Suppose I dropped dead tonight because my heart stopped beating. And suppose my funeral-mourners had 500 years, or a thousand years, or ten thousand years, to figure out what one single movie out of Hollywood might have inspired me to make whatever positive influences on other people that I might have made, with whatever years, months and days the Lord had granted me. Well…if my opinion means anything at all, yes I do think it’s more important than Han Shot First. That, after all, is about next-to-nothing; it’s about shooting first.
Well we don’t need Han Solo for that, we learned that eleven years later.
Here it is, later still. A whole bunch of years. And I’ve heard it said, if my friends are in a hotel, friends who agree with me on a whole lot of political stuff and disagree with Bill Clinton on exactly that same stuff…but former President Clinton is on that hotel, in that bar, getting smashed…they’ll flock to him. And who can blame them? A celebrity is a celebrity.
But I figure Harrison Ford, whose political opinions are not that distant from Mr. Clinton’s, would somehow be at the opposite end of the bar, getting neglected. Would I join Indiana Jones? Maybe buy him a round? And the answer is, Hell yes. I’d have to do it. Even if the lefty-communist Hollywood actor wouldn’t understand why, and he likely wouldn’t. In fact, I’m sure he wouldn’t. But I look at all these people on my resume…they don’t like me personally, in fact some of them despise me, for what reasons I can’t figure. Or, maybe I can. But some of them would HAVE to hire me back again. Or at least, be strongly compelled to do this. There’s something important going on here. There’s a split. Some of us try to remain gainfully employed by being likable, being part of a “family” or some such, some of us go to work to get a job done.
And I may hate to admit it, maybe they’d hate to admit it too…but you know why that is? It’s because, if it was my job to steal the Ark of the Covenant back from the Nazis and use a bull-whip to wind my way underneath a five-ton truck and make sure the mission got accomplished — I’d fucking do it. Or at least, some stuff like that. That’s actually worth something. Probably worth more to me than to anybody else.
And, maybe movies have nothing to do with this at all, with men being worth more than what the men were as boys. With maturity. But you know…I don’t think so. It’s not that I like admitting to it. I don’t. I think, in adulthood, us men have women and children, sometimes children of us, sometimes children of other men — they count on us to get stuff done. And I think, when people are counting on us to get stuff done, we draw on a bank of resources, which we had been assembling since long before we were men. I think movies do have something to do with this. In a great variety of situations, movies impact us this way, they follow us from boyhood into manhood.
I mean, c’mon, admit it: Shane isn’t really that fun of a movie. It’s not that entertaining. Why then is it so important as a facet of our modern culture? Is it because Shane’s daughter-in-law looked like this…
…I don’t think so. Remember that Shane kicked off, rather than concluded, the era of the Western. It took place roughly around the same time as High Noon. This was not about cattle-rustling. It was about a Great Contrast, straight out of Lord of the Rings, between good and evil.
I think, in this way, movies are still important. They may not teach us about how the world actually works. They can’t. But they do teach us about what’s good, and what is not good. Because they teach us about that, they teach us about why we’re here.
And because of that, if I was trapped in a hotel late at night, with both lefty-lib Bill Clinton and lefty-lib Harrison Ford…I’d make it a point to spend my time around Mr. Ford. Even though he may not appreciate why. I figure I owe him. Just like your Father, stretched out on his deathbed riddled with dementia, unable to recognize you. Maybe Mr. Ford doesn’t understand what sort of a message he sent to an entire generation, or what sort of ramification it had. What does it matter? Bartender! Another round, for me and my dear, dear friend.
It’s not just him. It’s anybody who had anything to say, or to show, about resourcefulness. For real, or for theater. It’s an important concept, an irreplaceable concept. The idea that when the battle ends and it isn’t in your favor, there are always more chapters to be unfolded in the great war — that it’s always worth waking up the next morning to a new day.
This may very well be the world’s oldest problem: How do the elders, lacking the vitality to last indeterminably into the succeeding generations, send their positive messages? Not the negative ones. Negativity is easy. It always has been easy. How do we recharge the batteries? How do we let the younger generation know that, even though the U-boat has vanished with the Ark of the Covenant in its hold, it’s still possible to stow-away? To stage yet another confrontation? Even when all seems lost…
Update: Was thinking some more of the fond memories I have of the years surrounding Ford’s earliest & biggest films. There is a recollection of the summer when I had just finished up middle school, I was out camping with my Boy Scout troop and when we were supposed to be getting to sleep, we were coping with this new idea of “Star Wars” having a sequel. “I heard,” one of the kids said, “By the year Two Thousand you’ll be able to go the movies, drop TWENTY DOLLARS, and see all nine Star Wars movies, one after the other.” Heh…oh boy, so much to revisit with that prediction, where to begin. The twenty-dollar part of it has certainly come true.
Monday on CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” chief national correspondent John King said despite any message redo, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is no Bill, because when she went to Chipotle, she spoke to none of the average Americans she is hoping to champion.
King said a CNN contributor called the Chipotle manager, who seemed surprised the former secretary of state had graced his establishment, saying, “The manager of the Chipotle in Ohio had to look at the security video to prove it was Hillary Clinton who stopped in at Chipotle today. She went to Chipotle, she got lunch apparently, and she didn’t talk to anybody. Ohio’s kind of important in presidential politics….”
H/T: Chicks on the Right.
Is Hillary any good at this whole campaigning-thing?
The defense of the Clinton scandals follows a predictable path: cheerleaders angrily blame some “Vast Right Wing Conspiracy,” or they pretend to respond but really ignore the question, or they lie.
Is there any honest doubt that Hillary is even duller than Gore and even more puffed up than Kerry? Is there any question in anyone’s mind that if she were not Mrs. William Jefferson Clinton, this boorish old woman would not seriously be considered as a candidate for president at all?
Well…maybe not, but there’s a lot of question about whether she’s a failed candidate. More question about that, in fact, than there is about whether she’s still Little Miss Inevitable.
If Hillary is indeed the 2016 Democratic nominee, all she has to do to win the necessary 270 electoral votes is sustain the historic equation outlined in my November National Review piece “Breaking the Blue Barrier.” That equation is: 1992 + 1988 + Florida = a Democrat in the White House.
That first number represents the ten states with a total of 152 electoral votes that have been won by every Democratic presidential nominee since 1992. The second number represents the nine states with a total of 90 electoral votes that have been won by every Democratic presidential nominee since 1988. Together, those states command 242 electoral votes. Thus, if Hillary follows the Electoral College precedent that has held since 1992 and also wins Florida, with its 29 electoral votes (or any combination of states yielding 28 votes), Bill Clinton would be elected First Dude. (Mothers, hide your daughters!)
…anything can happen, and much will, between now and November 8, 2016. However, these five factors will likely form the foundation of Hillary Clinton’s victory. In addition, many low-information voters will pull the Clinton lever because they have been led to believe that a Republican alternative is far more dangerous than letting Bill and Hill back in the White House. Now, friends, please don’t shoot the messenger. Just tell me why I am wrong.
Maybe this “Chiplote” thing is the answer to that. When you get right down to it, there really is no campaign slogan that fits Hillary besides “Vote for me, I’m better than you are.”
Then again, that’s not good enough to sink a candidate who happens to be a democrat. In fact, are you ready for something really depressing?
Since 1984, there is an almost perfect correlation between whether democrat candidates for the White House, are ready to show their belief in the better-than-anybody-else axiom, and whether they win. Yes Bill Clinton would have made some chit-chat at the restaurant, but as a celebrity and not as an equal. The democrats who would have practiced the fine art of “everyman” campaigning were Michael Dukakis and Walter Mondale. The only ones who break the pattern were John Kerry and Al Gore, and Al Gore doesn’t count because…well, you’ve heard it so many times before, haven’t you? He did win the popular vote & everything…
The point is, although Hillary is as politically clumsy as a Monday is long, this doesn’t provide much reassurance. It isn’t reasonable to expect democrat candidates to pay a penalty for a handicap like that, when they show no pattern of being so penalized.
If I were a Republican strategist, struggling to figure out what to do in the wake of Hillary winning the democrat nomination, I would try to get in the heads of royalists — those who must work toward her defeat, must labor not toward showing her to be a bad American President or a bad American Politician, but a bad member of a royal household. That really is the issue. Like it or not, we have a large portion of the electorate that is lusting for a peerage, wanting to live vicariously through the experiences of some first-among-mortals immediate-family that is above everyone.
It stinks on ice, but given that background and what her supporters want to see in her, she didn’t even do that “bad” of a job campaigning here. She may even have some sagely advice being offered to her behind closed doors, that stopping to talk to the riff-raff would have been a mistake.
Of course, it must be said there is some blowback involved in this strategy…(link auto-plays)
One of my Hello-Kitty-of-Blogging friends, knowing of my family’s struggles with the “fAuxtism Spectrum” racket, tagged me yesterday afternoon with this most-excellent video and I couldn’t “like” it hard enough…
But with things working all screwy for some reason, I couldn’t find the e-mail notifying me of it when I got home from work. It wasn’t showing up on my wall, I only knew there was this person and she tagged me with something. So I had to scroll through her own wall to find it. Where I came across something else I liked even more:
If you are a freakin’ Communist, get off my friend list. You are vile, disgusting and evil. Yes, I said it. Yes, I mean it. Go.
Apparently, that had already been done, because there was quite a conversation that ensued and it didn’t have any of the usual rot about “There’s no such thing as communism today because nobody today meets the dictionary definition, which is blah blah blah means of production blah blah blah.” Which, if there are any communists around to interject, that’s usually the first boring-bromide to be tossed into the conversation about communism. Followed shortly by “But it is nothing more than the elimination of classes! You’re not for the preservation of classism, are you?” Those are the two go-tos for communists who’ve been called out for being communists now: There’s no such thing as a communist, and each of us is obliged to be one.
Well, what do you expect from an economic model & political ideology that has to eliminate definitions in order to make itself look good.
Instead, what we saw here, was an enlightening collection of interesting observations. Although nobody outdid this person:
Yesterday, a few of us got together for bible study, and someone mentioned that a friend of theirs said to them that at this person’s church, they all get together and sew outfits for everyone in the church – the exact same outfit for everyone with only size variants – and this person said that they do it seasonally there, so that every season, they have a new assigned clothing item, and that’s what everyone there has to wear to church. This person in our group was talking about how great they thought this was, because then no one looked down on anyone else and they had this apparent unity, this, that, and the other thing, and no one was jealous of anyone else. And my pastor (God, bless him!) just says, “Yeah, that’s wrong. That’s really wrong.” And she was saying, “Well, yeah, but…” And he just kept with it, “But you can see how that would be dangerous? You understand what’s so wrong with that, right? You need to understand…” And he just ripped into it. He said such a thing causes love to be found in jealousy, and true love to run cold. He said a society or social structure which finds its foundation in jealousy encourages jealously, reaps corruption, and causes love to run cold. He said that was one of the most fundamental flaws of communism – that is left no place for genuine love. He got kind of fired up about it and went on for awhile about how communism destroyed the uniqueness, talents, insights, skills, and giftings which our Lord gives to each individual person. He said that it left no room for love, but cast it out for fear of jealousy, really only favoring increased jealousy and ungodliness. He said we have to love people as the people God made them to be and value their uniqueness rather than envying them and despising them and being jealous over what they have that we don’t and getting caught up in materialism. He went into how completely opposite Christianity and the Christian mindset communism is, and said how much the whole thing just repulsed him. He was just really getting worked up about it.
Someone else came up with a good question: What about moderate-communists? “Sane, mild-mannered communists”? And is there such a thing? Can there be? The time stamps say that this person was kicking off the “early shift” of sorts, the hubbub had died down for the night some six hours earlier as the night-owls finally retired for the evening.
So it was left to me to field that one.
Let’s think through on that, presuming charitably that there can be such a thing as a mild communist. The “Aunt Petunia democrat” does not want to control everybody else, doesn’t want communism to overrun the globe, doesn’t know that much about politics but has some opinions in which the intensity of her passions expand past the breadth of her knowledge. She has no jealousies, she thinks, but worries herself into a state of agitation about all the poor people, and how we aren’t doing enough for them.
“The rich get richer, the poor get poorer,” she says. OOPS. Already, it’s no longer about the poor people not having enough; she’s managed to transform it into a whole new issue, of the rich having too much! I guess crusading for the poor people having a better life gets boring after awhile…always more fun to crusade for stealing loot from the people who have it, playing “Robin Hood.” What did she forget before she got tired of helping the poor people? If you actually KNOW some people who are, or have been, desperately poor, you know “not having enough cash” was not the root of the problem. Someone in their family had a temporary but catastrophic physical illness. Or, a more permanent and mental one. Or they did. Or they lived beyond their means. Or maybe the heartless conservatives were right in this case, they, or someone in the household, didn’t respect the value of hard work. In all these cases, it isn’t accurate to say they’re poor because they don’t have enough cash. The cash comes from the work. And you can skimp when you spend it. Events can disrupt this, but aside from the catastrophic health crises, in three to five years those events are just memories. That’s how “let’s get the government involved in health care” was sold to us, the catastrophic health issues have the potential to disrupt the American dream like nothing else does.
So the bottom line is, there is no, or very little, reason for anybody in America to say to himself “The reason I’m poor, or that that other person is poor, is because that guy over there is rich; we don’t have enough because he has too much.” There is only ONE reason for anybody to say something like that: However long they’ve been trying to make anything better, for anybody, their patience with the effort has been exceeded, they”re tired & bored of doing it, and now they’re into destroying because it’s so much quicker, more gratifying, more fun. That’s the simple truth of it.
Four words explain most of the “unsolvable” mysteries we see in America today: “McCarthy was not wrong.”
Of course, there is a shorter answer: We already know from history that communism cannot tolerate a world, or any sort of geographic region, filled with a disparate assortment of nations that are & are not on-board with communism. It’s an all-or-nothing proposition. You have Country A that is communist and Country B that is non-communist, if there is a point of contact between the two then there is going to have to be a wall. Not to keep people out, but to keep people from leaving.
As the technology that birthed communism forces the world to shrink, such walls become ineffectual, so communism has two choices: Cease to exist, or take over the world.
Also, it’s based on an unworkable contradiction because it’s supposed to get rid of “Keeping Up With The Joneses.” Think about how the Pastor walked through all this. The jealousies are not going away just because you think you eradicated clothes, or whatever else inspired the jealousies. They will not disappear, or even recede a little bit, after they become the fabric from which your new society is woven, or the bricks from which it is mortared. Nothing that important can ever retreat. To the contrary, the jealousies will intensify, engulf, as everybody starts to tattle on everybody else. It’s quite unavoidable.
In fact, what is the ultimate consequence of keeping-up-with-Jones in a capitalist society? Everybody does it, everybody does the same thing, and yes sometimes individual pursuits will be discouraged for just a little while…then someone says, yeah but I’m not making enough at my job to make these credit card payments, so they stop. Or, they start a business or invent something. Maybe some combination of all these things. Meanwhile, in the Fatherland of Russia people are still waiting in line for toilet paper. The point is, “Keeping up with Jones” may be a silly activity at times, but one thing you can say for it is that it IS activity. It is effort. You can get rid of it by getting rid of effort, but ultimately that has to involve getting rid of achievement as well, since without effort there can be no achievement.
This is not theory. We’ve seen it play out like this a few times by now, and there isn’t any excuse left for failing to notice.
This absolutely fascinates me. If you imagine liberals thinking about their goals the way normal people do about theirs, beginning with the end in mind and persevering through setbacks large and small — if you imagine them that way — you would have to credit them with optimism beyond the perimeter of sanity, plucky resolve that is just off-the-charts, inhuman. You would have to see them as bursting at the seams with exactly what they do not encourage in others. The attitude of: Don’t worry, you’ll win in the end. This is 180 degrees contrary to their message to everybody else, which essentially is one of: If you’re making $45k a year now, we can guarantee you will never make more than $55k in your whole life. You need social programs. Don’t try. Give up. The rich people have rigged the game. Go on “foostamps.”
Do liberals think about the end game? They have such enthusiasm, in those low trenches following their most disappointing setbacks, I know I’m not capable of matching it in mine. And so I don’t think of them that way, I think of them more like the dog chasing the car. Not a thought in the world about where this is all going, the possible scenarios, the victory, the defeat. There is only the pursuit. That’s why they pound the pavement just as hard when things aren’t going their way, as they do when they are. Just like the dog. I think.
Which brings us to America in 2015. It’s becoming a nation where an elite that is certain of its power and its moral rightness is waging a cultural war on a despised minority. Except it’s not actually a minority – it only seems that way because it is marginalized by the coastal elitist liberals who run the mainstream media.
Today in America, we have a liberal president refuses to recognize the majority sent to Congress as a reaction to his progressive failures, and who uses extra-Constitutional means like executive orders to stifle the voice of his opponents. We have a liberal establishment on a secular jihad against people who dare place their conscience ahead of progressive dogma. And we have two different sets of laws, one for the little people and one for liberals like Lois Lerner, Al Sharpton and Hillary Clinton, who can blatantly commit federal crimes and walk away scot free and smirking.
Today in America, a despised minority that is really no minority is the target of an establishment that considers this minority unworthy of respect, unworthy of rights, and unworthy of having a say in the direction of this country. It’s an establishment that has one law for itself, and another for its enemies. It’s an establishment that inflicts an ever-increasing series of petty humiliations on its opponents and considers this all hilarious.
That’s a recipe for disaster…
Liberals imagine that their president can simply take whatever actions he pleases — including ones he previously admitted were unconstitutional — and that the next Republican president won’t do the same. Except then it will be to negate their cherished policies.
Maybe they just don’t give a rip about the “cherished policies.” Maybe they just enjoy the fight, and the feelings that go with it. The feeling of standing in a park watching a black President-Elect in November of 2008, crying their tears of joy. Watching Bill Clinton lie and get away with it, watching his alleged “wife” all-but-dismiss the Senate panel that was supposed to be grilling her for her incompetence, by hollering “what difference does it make?”
Normal people keep watching them, and making the mistake of anticipating where this is all going, trying to figure out what the liberals are planning. Trying to get in their heads, like this is some sort of a chess game.
It’s not chess. It’s more like break-dancing. Really stupid, pointless, clumsy break-dancing.
1) If it wasn’t intended to offend you, then you shouldn’t be offended.
2) You do not get to decide someone else’s intentions. They do.
3) Being offended is a choice you make. Nobody is responsible for that choice but you.
4) Even if the slight was intended and deliberate, functioning adults understand that they must move on and not dwell over every sideways glance or rude comment.
5) You have to stop doing the trendy internet thing where you write something on a piece of paper and take a picture of yourself holding it up while frowning. It’s just annoying at this point.
One thing that concerns me even more than this excessive sniveling, is the thicker skull that goes with the thin skin. Back in my day, the college liberals would openly brag about being way more “open to new information/ideas” than you; it was part of the shtick. Now they’re being micro-aggressed or something if the information manages to get to them, which adds a new layer of unhealthiness. We most recently saw it with the University of Michigan gag order against American Sniper, a decision which seems to have been thankfully reversed after one coach took action.
But the problem remains. Today’s fragile milquetoast proggies no longer brag about having more information than you, they brag about having the power to keep you from telling them anything. And then they want to use that power, so you can see them using it, again and again and again. This won’t end well, and it certainly is not good for them.
Naomi Schaefer Riley, writing at the New York Post, notices there are an awful lot of loud people running around “raising awareness” about things that don’t have much to do with what actually happened…
The verdict’s in on Rolling Stone. According to no less an authority than the Columbia Journalism Review, the magazine’s last year story of a University of Virginia gang rape was a “journalistic failure [that] encompassed reporting, editing, editorial supervision and fact-checking.”
But as with many other stories that don’t fit into the right narrative, the media will continue to draw the wrong lessons.
As an AP article noted, “Despite its flaws, the article heightened scrutiny of campus sexual assaults amid a campaign by President Barack Obama.”
Despite its flaws? You mean despite the fact that as far as anyone can tell, the story was made up out of whole cloth?
Take the case of Ellen Pao, who filed suit against her former employer, venture-capital group Kleiner Perkins, for gender discrimination.
She was seeking millions of dollars in damages to make up for what she claimed was a pattern of women being excluded from important meetings. They weren’t invited on a ski trip with other partners. Women were forced to sit in the back of the room during a meeting.
Two weeks ago, a jury decided her claims were completely without merit. And yet from the media coverage, you’d think Ellen Pao successfully exposed a Silicon Valley ripe with discrimination.
Here’s Farjad Manjoo in The New York Times: “The trial has nevertheless accomplished something improbable…The case has also come to stand for something bigger than itself. It has blown open a conversation about the status of women in an industry that, for all its talk of transparency and progress, has always been buttoned up about its shortcomings.”
In a Bloomberg article called “Ellen Pao Lost, Women Didn’t,” Katie Benner declared: “The case broke wide open the issue of sexism in a powerful, influential industry.”
Or take the Atlantic, which declared, “Ellen Pao’s claim against top venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins seems to have come up short, but it’s brought heightened attention to gender discrimination in tech.”
Come up short? She lost.
This is not unlike what happened after the Justice Department released its report on the shooting of Michael Brown last summer.
The only “lesson” that could really be drawn from the DOJ report and the grand jury’s non-indictment was that you shouldn’t knock over convenience stores, but if you do and a police officer catches you, it’s probably not a good idea to resist arrest.
But that was not the lesson that others wanted to emphasize. Which is why the Ferguson police now has to try to change the composition of its staff and ticketing policies — though they have no bearing on the case at hand.
Even The Washington Post’s Jonathan Capeheart, whose article “‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’ Was Built on a Lie” offered a kind of mea culpa for rushing to judgment in the case, concluded: “Yet this does not diminish the importance of the real issues unearthed in Ferguson by Brown’s death. Nor does it discredit what has become the larger ‘Black Lives Matter.'”
Actually, yes, it does diminish the importance because it calls into question whether those were real issues at all.
They certainly do love their narratives. From my experience in business, I’ve come to learn of a certain type of executive that is fond of saying “perception is reality.” I’ve also noticed that there doesn’t seem to be any such thing as an exec who casually mutters that now and then; people who say this, make it into a catch-phrase. It’s a bit disturbing because you can’t help wondering how they plan to benefit from the difference between the two. And there has to be such a difference, because if perception really was reality there’d be no need to point it out to anyone. You’d just talk about the reality.
The ambiguity has always bugged me too. Does “perception is reality” mean, if senior management is under the impression that a department is over-staffed and doesn’t need any open reqs for this year or the next one, and should be a plum target ripe for layoffs, that everyone should sit down and wonder what might have taken place to make the bosses think that? Alright. Say that, then. Because it comes off sounding like something very much different: Don’t argue, accept your fate. Maybe someone has worked something behind the scenes, slandered you, but it’s too late to do anything about that now. Both interpretations are plausible, so shouldn’t the speaker put a little bit of work into defining which one he means?
I recall reading another recap of narratives that outlived not only their usefulness, but their believability, at the end of last year. There is overlap between that list and the one up above, but only some.
Everyone knows Obamacare is a giant lie. We saw Jonathan Gruber on tape giggling about how the Democrats knew it. But the New York Times didn’t tell you that. The Washington Post didn’t tell you that. It was the citizen journalists who Andrew Breitbart inspired who told you that. If it weren’t for Andrew and his progeny, most American would still not know it. But now they do.
How about the “rape culture” lie of radical liberal feminists desperate for relevance in a world that has passed beyond their bitter whining and fussy psychodramas? Liberal media darling Lena Dunham claimed to be raped — conveniently, for the narrative — by a Republican. That was a lie, a lie revealed by the conservative new media. And it was also the conservative new media that publicized her book’s bizarre passages about her sexually inappropriate conduct with her sister — passages the gushing reviews in liberal stalwarts like the New York Times somehow neglected to mention.
So there are two takeaways here. One, if what you’re accomplishing has something to do with the truth, it’s better to talk about it while just sticking to what’s known to be true. If the movement is an honest one, and the people advancing it are honest people, they’re going to want to do that anyway. Truth is easier; you don’t have to remember what you said, or to whom you said it.
Two, reports of 2014 being the Year Of The Liberal Lie are evidently quite premature. Our friends the liberals, never having had much reason to worry about accountability for their lies, seem to have figured out the accountability thing is just never gonna happen and are now engaged in an effort to see just how profitable serial deception can be. Twenty Fourteen was just a matter of slipping through the first two or three gears, before really red-lining it.
They can say whatever they like, and they know it.
What an innocuous little phrase. Well…I still don’t trust it, and I have my reasons…
The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a federally appointed panel of nutritionists created in 1983, decided for the first time this year to factor in environmental sustainability in its recommendations. They include a finding that a diet lower in animal-based foods is not only healthier, but has less of an environmental impact…
It’s called scope creep. What’s the vision? Giving us the information we need to eat healthier, or protecting the environment from us? It’s an entirely valid question. Although, in theory, it should be possible to find one or two things that would service both objectives, at the same time the ultimate “perfect solution” that would protect the environment from us, would be to make us disappear. So it all comes down to, what are we really trying to do?
From the comments:
The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee…I think we just found another way to slash government spending
By way of Bird Dog at Maggie’s Farm.
Evil Walmart makes a lot of money, right? We hear that all the time even though the retail giant’s profit margin was only 3.12% in the most recent quarter. Interestingly, we never seem to hear as much about the much higher profit margin of Apple, the “darling of the progressives.” In the most recent quarter, the computer behemoth with a market capitalization ($725 billion) that exceeds the value of the entire stock markets of Mexico, Thailand and Russia, had a whopping profit margin of 24.2%. No wonder its market cap is so astronomical.
So why is Walmart so reviled by progressives when its profits (and prices) are so low that it might earn a “profit day” every 31 days, and its main corporate objective is to provide low-cost merchandise to America’s low- and middle-income households? Every day that a Walmart opens its doors for business, it gives everybody in that local community a raise and makes them better off. On the other hand, why do progressives worship Apple so religiously when its extremely pricey products generate such huge profit margins (more than 7 “profit days” every month) that the company’s stock is worth almost as much as the entire Brazilian stock market? Every day that an Apple store opens for business, it stands ready to extract $24.20 in profits for every $100 spent that day, which seems like a huge transfer of wealth from Apple’s loyal customers to Apple’s wealthy shareholders. And yet the progressives worship Apple and revile Walmart – go figure?!
Update: The table above shows another big difference between Apple and Walmart: The workforce of Walmart is much more diverse than Apple’s. Walmart hires twice as many women and more than twice as many blacks as a share of its workforce than does Apple. As Steve Bartin points out on his blog, “We hear with enormous conviction by progressives that it’s important that a workforce looks like America.” Well, the data clearly show that Walmart is doing a much better job than Apple of hiring a workforce that “looks like America.”
Culture takes precedence, because the progressive agenda is first-and-foremost a cultural one, not an economic one. Over and over again we see these examples of certain selected well-heeled individuals and organizations escaping the proggie wrath that is all-but-expected to rain down, like fire from the heavens, upon anybody who makes too much, keeps too much, doesn’t manage to embrace, patronize, contract, employ the correct mix of pigments or sexual preferences. Certain names and certain brands get a pass.
There are two easy ways to get a Republican to roll over and put his paws up in the air: The first is to write him a check, which is the political version of scratching his belly, and the second is to call him a bigot. In both cases, it helps if you have a great deal of money behind you.
Tim Cook, who in his role as chief executive of the world’s most valuable company personifies precisely the sort of oppression to which gay people in America are subjected, led the hunting party when Indiana’s governor Mike Pence signed into law the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, while Walmart, a company that cannot present its hindquarters enthusiastically enough to the progressives who hate it and everything for which it stands, dispatched its CEO, C. Douglas McMillon, to head off a similar effort in Arkansas, where Governor Asa Hutchison rolled over immediately.
There are three problems with rewarding those who use accusations of bigotry as a political cudgel. First, those who seek to protect religious liberties are not bigots, and going along with false accusations that they are makes one a party to a lie. Second, it is an excellent way to lose political contests, since there is almost nothing — up to and including requiring algebra classes — that the Left will not denounce as bigotry. Third, and related, it rewards and encourages those who cynically deploy accusations of bigotry for their own political ends.
An excellent illustration of this dynamic is on display in the recent pronouncements of columnist and gay-rights activist Dan Savage, who, in what seems to be an effort to resurrect every lame stereotype about the shrill, hysterical, theatrical gay man, declaimed that the efforts of those who do not wish to see butchers and bakers and wedding-bouquet makers forced by their government at gunpoint to violate their religious scruples is — you probably have guessed already — nothing less than the consecration of Jim Crow Junior. “Anti-black bigots, racist bigots, during Jim Crow and segregation made the exact same arguments that you’re hearing people make now,” Savage said. Given the dramatic difference in the social and political position of blacks in the time of Bull Connor and gays in the time of Ellen DeGeneres, this is strictly Hitler-was-a-vegetarian stuff, the elevation of trivial formal similarities over dramatic substantial differences. The choices for explaining this are a.) moral illiteracy; b.) intellectual dishonesty; c.) both a and b.
Adlai Stevenson famously offered this definition: “A free society is a society where it is safe to be unpopular.” We do not live in that society.
The war on the private mind, sadly, has casualties in the private mind. “My movement is, or is not, in favor of people being treated the same regardless of class membership” is something that ought to be objective and measurable. It’s even testable. But these crusaders for special protections and special privileges, being adamantly opposed to this idea of treating everyone equally, have managed to uphold themselves as champions of something called “equality,” and have managed to smear their opposition as reactionary zealots who want more discriminating to happen.
As a society, we’re well on our way to recognizing “freedom” as something we have when people face threats of fines and jail terms because of their religious beliefs. With such fundamental definitions being flipped in such a way, pancake-like, is there hope? Time will tell.