Archive for the ‘TIK 52’ Category

Thanks For Doing Everything My Way, Now You’re All Dead

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Within the list of guys in world history who got everything done their way, George Soros is my nominee for all-time champion Gloomy Gus.

At Columbia University last Friday, legendary hedge fund manager George Soros shocked his audience, proclaiming …

”We witnessed the collapse of the financial system. It was placed on life support, and it’s still on life support. There’s no sign that we are anywhere near a bottom.“

Soros went on to say that …
The crisis is actually more severe than the Great Depression …

It’s like watching the demise of the Soviet Union, and …

There is no prospect of a recovery any time soon.

Kind of reminds me of Eric Holder’s speech…you know, the “Thanks for electing a President of color who appointed an Attorney General of color, and by the way, you’re all cowards.”

Why are people so adamant about having everything done their way, and then just sit around and squawk that things are so bad, once it happens?

More on Soros

Regulators are in part to blame because they “abrogated” their responsibilities, Soros, 78, said. The philosophy of “market fundamentalism” was now under question as financial markets have proved to be inefficient and affected by biases rather than driven by all the available information, he said.

“We’re in a crisis, I think, that’s really the most serious since the 1930s and is different from all the other crises we have experienced in our lifetime,” Soros said, adding that the Federal Reserve had created several by lowering interest rates.

I’ve heard all these talking points before. With weaker regulation, people looked after their own selfish interests and ruined things.

Trouble with that is, what are we hoping will revive, exactly? Something called “the economy,” right? Can anyone tell me what an economy is…other than a bunch of people looking after their own selfish interests?

In fact, since these greedy selfish people are just people, and regulators are just people — it’s a little like arguing what color to paint a bomb you’re going to drop on a city, isn’t it? I mean, what exactly is it about regulators that makes them wise and un-greedy?

All I can think of is motivation. Those filthy robber barons are motivated toward a healthy bottom-line. Huh. You know, if what we’re bitching about is unhealthy bottom-lines, I don’t see how their objectives are different from ours. People like Soros have had many chances to explain this to me, and I must be too dense to figure it out because it remains a mystery. Regulators, on the other hand, aren’t really motivated toward any one thing…their job, when you get down to it, is to get in the way when decisions are made too quickly for the benefit of the bottom line. To be a fly in the ointment, a pain in the ass. They represent everything-else. They’re the opposition.

But getting back to the subject of this post. How decisively does an election have to culminate in a triumph for Mr. Soros’ interests, before he stops being such a depressing little gnome? This is a guy who has ruined national economies for his own personal benefit. The more I think of it, the more his lecturing us about greed, seems one and the same as Eric Holder lecturing us about cowardice.

I think this needs to go in the memory file, for the next time we’re presented with an opportunity to do things the way these gentlemen want us to. You know, it’s true throughout all of life, anytime someone demands you do something rather than asking nicely…

Thing I Know #52. Angry people who demand things, don’t stop being angry when their demands are met.

Feminists Outraged: Women Underrepresented in Publication of Stupid Crazy Nonsense

Friday, November 21st, 2008


Writer Jessica Wakeman recently had an interesting study published by media watchdog group Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting on the present number of bylines belonging to women on Huffington Post.

After two months of tracking the number of bylines on the homepage, she found that only 23% of them belong to women:

The Post does seem to be making a conscious effort to include women’s voices; despite the low percentages, the study found at least one female byline on the home page at all times. But if there is indeed such an effort, it stops far short of parity. Of the 89 times bylines were checked during the study, not once did the number of women’s bylines equal those belonging to men. Only eight times did women account for more than a third of all bylines. And Arianna Huffington, appearing 57 times, accounted for more than a fifth of all women’s bylines; 45 of those occupied the most visible top post. Only once, in fact, did a woman other than Arianna Huffington get her byline in the most visible top slot–Post editor-at-large Nora Ephron (8/26/08).

I’d like to see a larger study around this; too many of us feel that women bloggers are undervalued in the progressive blogosphere, but hard evidence is always helpful.Thoughts?

Yeah here’s a thought, you whiner: A utopian’s work is never done. There’s always a scintilla of unfairness left lying around. Utopianism, therefore, whether it’s feminism, “civil rights,” hyper-environmentalism or general left-wing thuggery, will always be the packaging of extremism behind a veil of phony compromise.

Thing I Know #52. Angry people who demand things, don’t stop being angry when their demands are met..

Here’s another.

When I think of a hybrid construct of all the HuffPo bloggers of whom I’ve read, be they male or female — and I probably speak for quite a few who have dabbled in that corner, here — the general picture that emerges, closely resembles a stereotype of women that might be tossed out by careless piggish men, right before feminists like you start waving around their patented theatrical outrage.

Products of lifetimes spent getting attention, and not trying to accomplish too much else.

Thoughtless. Spoiled. Snarky.

Cute to the point of irritating.

Thinking well of themselves, while never straying too far from, or reigning in too tightly, a streak of viciousness.

Unhappy if everyone in the room isn’t watching them every second.

Full of punchlines, with absolutely no solutions to the problems of which they like to complain so much, showing absolutely no effort to find any.

And so it occurs to me that you’re caught up in a cyclical protest here, feminists: You’ve been spending all these years demanding people think of women as rationally thinking, strong, reliable and capable beings — and that women take this to heart as much as anyone else. Maybe, just maybe, when women started to comply, that’s when the female-authored posts to HuffPo took a tumble.

Let’s face it. You really don’t have to wait that long for a post written by a woman to emerge from the depths of the cistern that is Huffington Post. And if I want to think more positively of women and the contributions they can make to our society, I have a lot of other things I can look at besides that. No, the real flesh-and-blood women I know, inspire much more confidence in me about what they can do, and cause me to look forward much more positively to the next time I’m called on to work on something with a female, compared to the average female-written contribution to HP.

Or to Feministing, for that matter, now that I give it another think or three.

On Strong Female Characters

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

Via Miss Cellania we learn that now, after decades of cardboard-flat Strong Willed Woman (SWW) characters having been pumped out in cinema to placate the anger of our feminists who demanded them, and we’ve gone so many revolutions on that silly merry-go-’round that it’s long ago become a parody of itself…it turns out the feminists wanted something completely different. Or want something completely different now. Or something.

I think the major problem here is that women were clamoring for “strong female characters,” and male writers misunderstood. They thought the feminists meant [Strong Female] Characters. The feminists meant [Strong Characters], Female.

So the feminists shouldn’t have said “we want more strong female characters.” They should have said “we want more WEAK female characters.” Not “weak” meaning “Damsel in Distress.” “Weak” meaning “flawed.”

Mmm, hmm. I think I get it. Methinks the problem might not have been so much with the goal, as with the tactic. Write the characters this way…otherwise, we shall become very angry, and boycott your movie. Sticks instead of carrots.

Punishment-over-reward doesn’t work too well when your objective has something to do with precision. It works for ball-park stuff. Puppy should be housebroken, but isn’t, so he gets a whack. The point is, once the trainee puts some effort into meeting expectations, the punishment has to stop, because if it doesn’t the feeling of futility sets in right away. So does a feeling of confusion. A flawed female character? Like a female version of William Macy’s character in Fargo? Yeah. Find me a woman who likes that, I’ll find you two that hate it. Probably more than that. Literature already gives us MacBeth’s wife. Where are all the feminists slobbering all over this, wondering wistfully why she can’t appear in modern film? So I call bull doots on this.

Good luck on it though.

Meanwhile, anybody who wants to get extra-jaded on this whole “we have strong women because feminists demanded them” thing can just go watch an old Superman episode, and feast their eyes on what sort of Lois Lane Superman was saving. Thought that “tough enough to make it in a man’s world” storyline started with Teri Hatcher, didntcha? Nope, not even. Women who know their stuff, who are capable of making their own decisions, have been intoxicating — to both sexes — for a very long time now. An extraordinarily long time. It’s the way we’re built. Men don’t make all the decisions; they make all the decisions in some settings, women make all the decisions in others. Men do things that haven’t been done before. It’s quite silly to say “hold my beer and watch this” just before you do something someone else already did. Women, on the other hand, establish, maintain and enforce protocol.

That’s why feminism doesn’t work. It’s a mutation of womens’ instincts to establish, maintain and enforce protocol — but it deals with a protocol that experiments with relegating men to complete uselessness. And women, with very few exceptions, don’t want that. And, it promises to make things unpleasant for people if they don’t meet certain conditions; but promises nothing about the unpleasantness coming to an end, if & when the conditions are met.

Thing I Know #52. Angry people who demand things, don’t stop being angry when their demands are met.


Friday, July 11th, 2008

Wow, talk about link spaghetti. Let’s try to keep it all straight.

Male privilege came first — compiled by, among others, Amp at Alas who explains:

In 1990, Wellesley College professor Peggy McIntosh wrote an essay called “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”. McIntosh observes that whites in the U.S. are “taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group.” To illustrate these invisible systems, McIntosh wrote a list of 26 invisible privileges whites benefit from.

As McIntosh points out, men also tend to be unaware of their own privileges as men. In the spirit of McIntosh’s essay, I thought I’d compile a list similar to McIntosh’s, focusing on the invisible privileges benefiting men.

Due to my own limitations, this list is unavoidably U.S. centric. I hope that writers from other cultures will create new lists, or modify this one, to reflect their own experiences.

Since I first compiled it, the list has been posted many times on internet discussion groups. Very helpfully, many people have suggested additions to the checklist. More commonly, of course, critics (usually, but not exclusively, male) have pointed out men have disadvantages too – being drafted into the army, being expected to suppress emotions, and so on. These are indeed bad things – but I never claimed that life for men is all ice cream sundaes.

And so the list of male privileges commences, and what a Pandoras’ Box it has become.

Some folks like me will tactfully suggest that there, lies a lesson for us all. Anyway, here are the first five:

The Male Privilege Checklist

1. My odds of being hired for a job, when competing against female applicants, are probably skewed in my favor. The more prestigious the job, the larger the odds are skewed.

2. I can be confident that my co-workers won’t think I got my job because of my sex – even though that might be true.

3. If I am never promoted, it’s not because of my sex.

4. If I fail in my job or career, I can feel sure this won’t be seen as a black mark against my entire sex’s capabilities.

5. I am far less likely to face sexual harassment at work than my female co-workers are.

ballgame at Feminist Critics points to a creative destruction, and then responds with more than a few articles of Female Privilege.

His first five…

As a woman …

1. I have a much lower chance of being murdered than a man.
2. I have a much lower chance of being driven to successfully commit suicide than a man.
3. I have a lower chance of being a victim of a violent assault than a man.
4. I have probably been taught that it is acceptable to cry.
5. I will probably live longer than the average man.

This is then cited and linked by David Thompson, who points to a couple more interesting tidbits. An unbelievable article linking violence with maleness; yet another feminist take on male privilege; and, a hodge-podge of more bullet points for the female-privilege list:

Brandon Berg offers a few further points to mull, including:

If I marry, there is a very good chance that I will be given the option to quit my job and live off my husband’s income without having my femininity questioned.

If I become pregnant, I and I alone choose whether to terminate the pregnancy or have the baby. As a result, I can be reasonably certain that I will never be held financially responsible for a child I didn’t want to have, and that I will never have my unborn child aborted without my consent.

Because I am not expected to be my family’s primary breadwinner, I have the luxury of prioritising factors other than salary when choosing a career path.

Although I am every bit as likely as a man to allow my sex drive to compromise my judgment, I will never be accused of thinking with my clitoris.

Sweating Through Fog also shares some checklist possibilities:

I’m entitled to the benefits of a safe, orderly society, but no one expects me to risk my personal safety to maintain it.

When I find myself with others in a terrifying, life-threatening situation, I have the right to be evacuated first, once the children are safe. Others can wait.

If I see someone else being attacked, I’m not expected to risk my own safety to defend them. It’s okay for me to wait for others to intervene, and it’s also okay for me to criticise others if they don’t.

And this is linked by Ace, who is then linked by Maggie’s Farm, where I found it.

As an intellectual exercise, each side of this list-building is only useful to me insofar as it helps to peg down how much jealousy and resentment there is out there. That, and once again the feminist movement has been nailed the same way it usually is: It organizes for the purpose of calling attention to what females are supposedly missing, never once pausing to contemplate the surpluses that are packaged with those deficits. The unmistakable moral, which I ordinarily would not deign to repeat, is the one from John Badham’s War Games (2003) — but since that’s from twenty-five years ago I suppose I should go ahead and pop it up.

Joshua: A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?

The one from Teddy Roosevelt seems even more relevant…

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

Magazine Editor Vandalizes Signs

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

Oh and, uh, as an afterthought, the city is spending craploads of money to get those signs customized exactly the way this one citizen of Atlanta wants them…because she’s an uppity, complaining pain-in-the-neck woman with a politically correct cause.

In the battle of the sexes, women’s magazine editor Cynthia Good said this was a skirmish she had to fight.

Across Atlanta they stood, orange signs with black letters that read “Men At Work” or “Men Working Ahead.” Sometimes, the signs stood next to women working alongside the men.

Good demanded Atlanta officials remove the signs and last week, Atlanta Public Works Commissioner Joe Basista agreed. Score one for gender equality, Good said Wednesday. “They get it,” Good said about the city in a telephone interview.

Womens' JobPublic Works officials are replacing 50 “Men Working” with signs that say “Workers Ahead.” It will cost $22 to cover over some of the old signs and $144 to buy new signs, said Public Works spokeswoman Valerie Bell-Smith said.

But, as I said, the editor vandalized the signs. And it seems that is the case, based on the tenth & eleventh paragraphs of this fifteen paragraph story. Three sentences long altogether, they are…

Good pressed the issue after Atlanta police came to her office last month on a complaint that she spray painted “wo” onto a “Men At Work” sign. Did she do it? Good replied by complaining about the signs.

Okay! So, she broke the law, and apparently got the city to do business exactly the way she wanted them to; got away with vandalizing taxpayer property twice, you might reasonably say.

But hey. At least she’s a rational, logical, thinking individual is she not?

Eh…well, no…skipping back up to paragraphs eight and nine we see…

Good, founding editor of Atlanta-based PINK Magazine, a publication that focuses on professional women, said she’s not stopping with Atlanta.

“We’re calling on the rest of the nation to follow suit and make a statement that we will not accept these subtle forms of discrimination,” said Good, 48.

You know — I’m not entirely sure I follow how the way the city of Atlanta puts letters on it’s signs (or other cities in “the rest of the nation”), reflects what PINK Magazine will & will not accept.

I await Good’s explanation. With eager anticipation. Meantime…and oh I do hesitate to say this, for I may lose my ample blogger pension…Ms. Good can shut her cake hole and go make me a samrich.

And someone do let me know what is to become of her, for vandalizing those signs.

Thing I Know #52. Angry people who demand things, don’t stop being angry when their demands are met.

Update: Some would say I’m not treating the matter with kid gloves like I should, throwing around such reckless terms as “uppity” and telling the uppity complaining woman to go make me a samrich. Kind of pushing the envelope, huh?

Well, fair enough. Maybe I should issue an apology. Before I do so, let’s take a look at the tolerant, diverse, balanced and multi-culturally-reflective panel of PINK people to whom I’d be apologizing. As you can plainly see, it’s an accurate and representative cross-section of everyone in America.

Fourteen people, two of whom are men. Huh. These are the people who want gender-neutral signs.


Apology withheld. I’m waiting for her to make me that samrich.

TV News Cameras Were Rolling

Wednesday, July 9th, 2008

Rottweiler brings us a link to a story that ought to be truly amazing and depressing…but, on the plus side, as he points out it looks like we can declare racism officially dead.

A special meeting about Dallas County traffic tickets turned tense and bizarre this afternoon.

County commissioners were discussing problems with the central collections office that is used to process traffic ticket payments and handle other paperwork normally done by the JP Courts.

Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield, who is white, said it seemed that central collections “has become a black hole” because paperwork reportedly has become lost in the office.

Commissioner John Wiley Price, who is black, interrupted him with a loud “Excuse me!” He then corrected his colleague, saying the office has become a “white hole.”

And I’ll bet you thought you had to have an education to become a county commissioner. Mr. Price was then advised that Mr. Mayfield had not yielded the floor, and could he please allow his fellow commissioner to continue with his comments.

Oh wait, no, that’s not what happened at all.

That prompted Judge Thomas Jones, who is black, to demand an apology from Mayfield for his racially insensitive analogy.

When I think back to my professional career in network security, how we’d go back and forth debating the merits of a “black list” of network ports or web URLs versus a “white list”…oh, mercy me. Glad I wasn’t working in the DFW area, I guess.

As the story continues, it looks like we have a clue as to what might have set things off here, and what needs to be fixed to make everything all white again:

Mayfield shot back that it was a figure of speech and a science term. A black hole, according to Webster’s, is perhaps “the invisible remains of a collapsed star, with an intense gravitational field from which neither light nor matter can escape.”

Other county officials quickly interceded to break it up and get the meeting back on track. TV news cameras were rolling, after all. [emphasis mine]

Evidently, the panel of esteemed county commissioners aren’t quite grown-up enough to handle that just yet. Without having met Commissioner Price, I can’t really guarantee the meeting would stay “on track” if you closeted those cameras, perhaps putting a courtroom sketch artist in their place. But it’s something worth trying…and I think I can promise if the cameras do stay, he’ll become outraged at quite a few other things. Whether his future outbursts will make more sense than this one, is anybody’s guess.

Thing I Know #52. Angry people who demand things, don’t stop being angry when their demands are met.


Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Big Peace SignThe kollege kids in Ithaca, NY want a Guiness representative to validate their claim to the largest human peace sign.

The previous largest human peace sign was made by 2,500 people at the University of Michigan. Ithaca is now waiting for Guinness to sanction its new record of 5,814 people.

Organizer Trevor Dougherty, a high school sophomore, says the effort was a show of support for world peace, not just an attempt at a record.

Yay. Yes, the world could use some more peace. We could start with our left-wingers pledging to work more closely with our right-wingers. Compromise a bit more often. Heh…funny how that one item seems to be left out.

You know, it occurs to me that “peace” stands alone as having it’s own simplistic, easily-reproduced sign. It is the one intangible noun that defies a solid definition. Next to “greed” and “hate crime.” “Racism” seems to have slipped a few teeth in the cogs as well; it used to mean a personal belief in the inherent superiority of one race over another, and lately I’m seeing a lot of things that don’t incorporate that being called “racist.”

But I digress.

You show people a peace sign…everyone understands it refers to the word “peace” but we have so little collaboration about what that really means. Stop fighting? Ban guns? Sign a non-proliferation treaty, and just hope the other guys are demolishing their munitions when they say they are? Does it mean start inspections, or call a halt to them? Does it have something to do with Marxism? Why or why not?

I can think of a few other things that could use a simple, internationally-recognized pictogram, to make it easier to promote them. These are things much more worthy of such promotion than the same-ol’, tired old war protest.

Graphics artists, your submissions are solicited. Make ’em simple as possible, and preferably fitting in a circular border. Who knows, maybe one or two of ’em will have ten thousand able-bodied supporters, and before the summer is out we can break the record.

1. Skepticism about global warming. I doubt you can save the planet by unplugging your toaster.
2. Critical thinking, in general. We used to have some. Let’s bring it back.
3. The Wolfowitz Doctrine.
4. The willingness to provide others who are weaker with a terrible, deadly defense. (The U.S. Marines have a nice logo that says exactly this, to some.)
5. The idea that maybe we should keep putting violent criminals in jail until there’s nobody around to commit violent crime anymore. That’s what the “peace symbol” means to me, but that’s open to individual interpretation.
6. Hooray for capitalism.
7. You can have my gun when you pry it out of my cold, dead hands.
8. Say no to crack: Pull up those pants!
9. Hooters girls, on the other hand, are awesome.
10. So is cold beer.
11. So are buffalo wings.
12. I wish cars were still built so we could tear ’em apart and put them back together again.
13. Commies leave. This country isn’t for you.
14. Nerds are cool.
15. Any country that is our ally only until we take steps to defend ourselves, is an ally we don’t want or need.
16. Thing I Know #70. Courage has very little to do with being outspoken.
17. Drill here now. Sign Newt’s petition.
18. Peer pressure sucks.
19. Canada, shame on you for your Human Rights Commission!
20. Keith Olbermann, go away.
21. Guilt is a useless and nonsensical human emotion.
22. It’s a futile endeavor to try to be better than everyone else when you’re also trying to be exactly like everyone else.
23. Let’s make it easy for young people to find work. There’s nothing wrong with a seventh-grader mowing lawns for money.
24. Rule For Living With Me #2. Show how mature you are. All things do not necessarily have to be said.
25. Go away, Oprah.
26. Thing I Don’t Get #24. Men shouldn’t get piercings in their junk and I don’t know why they’d want to.
27. Teach your child how to drive a stick-shift!
28. Same-sex marriage: It isn’t a human rights story, it’s a human-interest story.
29. Getting your news out of The Daily Show is a bad, bad idea.
30. Thing I Know #52. Angry people who demand things, don’t stop being angry when their demands are met.

Stan Fields: What is the one most important thing our society needs?
Gracie Hart: That would be… harsher punishment for parole violators, Stan.
[crowd is silent]
Gracie Hart: And world peace!
[crowd cheers ecstatically]

Update 6/24/08: Phil submits the following for #17. One down, twenty-nine to go.

Angry Black Women

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Myself, and others, have noticed something that is more-or-less a constant in left-wing talking points. Said talking points have a proclivity for going through the motions of edifying and elucidating, providing information where it did not previously exist, but when you take them apart factually it emerges that the talking points are just instructions to people to think certain things, with veiled and emotionally-charged scoldings directed at those who are not willing to so think. With little or no factual foundation whatsoever.

In response to that, the left-wing intelligentsia has worked overtime to answer this to charge, and little by little, refute it.

Whoops, no, waitaminnit. No they haven’t, and no they aren’t.

Cal Thomas, call your office. You’re in t-r-o-u-b-l-e…………

…wait until you read Thomas’ response to a comment by Jane Hall. Here, she notes that republicans will try to take down Obama by portraying Michelle as an angry black woman.

JANE HALL, AMERICAN UNIVERSITY: I think one way that people who are going to try to defeat Obama is to somehow prove he’s other — he’s not one of us. If they can’t prove he’s a Muslim, then let’s prove his wife is an angry black woman. I think it’s going to get ugly. I don’t think John McCain will sanction it. I think McCain — it’s my opinion he will generally try…

Even though Hall wasn’t suggesting that people ought to portray Michelle as an angry black woman, Cal Thomas seemed to take Jane Hall’s statement as an endorsement of sorts, and here was his utterly reprehensible sexist and racist response to Hall:

THOMAS: I want to pick up on something that Jane said about the angry black woman. Look at the image of angry black women on television. Politically you have Maxine Waters of California, liberal Democrat. She’s always angry every time she gets on television. Cynthia McKinney, another angry black woman. And who are the black women you see on the local news at night in cities all over the country. They’re usually angry about something. They’ve had a son who has been shot in a drive-by shooting. They are angry at Bush. So you don’t really have a profile of non-angry black women.

So now Thomas[,] in addition to smearing Obama, Hillary, and Michelle, smeared all black women as “angry black women,” including such notable angry black women as Maxine Waters, who is “always angry every time she gets on television,” and Cynthia McKinney, who is “just another angry black woman.

Apparently not satisfied with offending just those women, he goes on to smear black newscasters on local news broadcasts as angry black women who “are usually angry about something”; he smears angry black women whose sons have been killed in drive-by shootings; and then he notes matter of factly that black women “are angry at Bush.” Since most black women are democrats, Thomas has just smeared millions of black women as “angry black women.”

So in the parlance of hardcore leftists who write for DailyKOS, “notice” is a verb enjoying synonymous equivalence with “smear.”

You know, I hadn’t…er…noticed it before Cal Thomas pointed it out. But I do have recollections of black women who aren’t angry, and each and every single one of them is a person I know from talking face-to-face. Electronic media is a very different thing, because in that forum there are powerful nameless faceless people who get to decide what I’m ready to see. And for reasons I don’t quite understand — or maybe I do, and that’s a loathsome thought by itself — these nameless faceless people seem to think the black woman I’m ready to see has to be angry, or else I have little interest in seeing her.

So you KOSsacks are upset with Cal Thomas for pointing it out, huh. That’s about as clear a case as can be imagined of killing the messenger. It seems to me your beef ought to be with whoever’s made the decision that such currency is involved in the stereotype of the Angry Black Woman (ABW). Why does this image travel so fast and so far? In fact, does it? Are we really that ready to digest it, or is this a stereotype that’s being foisted onto us?

You know how I see this…dialog…for lack of a better word? It might surprise you how you come across, KOSsacks. Here, you seem to be pretty enthused at times about viewing things from the perspective of other people, let’s show you how it looks from mine.

WATERS, MCKINNEY, M. OBAMA, et al: Grrrrrr!!!!

THOMAS: Huh. Seems whenever someone wants to show me a picture of a black woman, it’s always an angry one.

DAILYKOS: We’ll show you! Grrrrrr!!!!

I mean, that pretty much captures it. Face it — other than thundering away with your well-practiced theatrical indignation, you’re not proving anything here whatsoever.

Unless it’s something like — you don’t have to be black and female to be angry? Is that the point? Or is it the same ol’ same ol’ purely-populist mob-rule “I find this deplorable and can I get an Amen here?”

Frankly, if there’s some other sentiment you’re wishing to trot out into the public venue to have evaluated by others, obsequious rage seems to have fallen away as the preferred vehicle for conveying it. Yeah it’s pretty tough to bust loose from that after half a century of brandishing it as the only tool worth using in your chest. But using one tool in the chest, is a sign of intellectual laziness. Mr. Thomas is indicted, here, by you, for the a crime that is the essence of the exact opposite, which is intellectual vigor; he noticed a pattern, took in some more data, found the pattern to be substantiated, and noted his observations publicly.

So are you deliberately promoting an atmosphere of intellectual laziness and discouraging one of intellectual vigor? Or are you doing it by accident? Either way, it’s rather telling that you could have challenged what he noticed, and instead like a cowardly prairie dog, have chosen to disappear into that mob-rule-hole of “that’s icky, all in favor say aye.”

From where I sit, women of color are counting on someone to engage in an exercise more forensically taxing…and it seems Cal Thomas is the only one who has delivered. I’m not a black woman, angry or otherwise — but I am a white guy and you know what? We have some ugly stereotypes of our own. We can’t jump, we’re klutzy, we don’t know what’s going on and we don’t care, our wives have to do everything for us from vacuuming the carpet to changing the oil in the car, our kids talk back to us and call us by our first names, we’re such spineless cowards that we let ’em…we never admit it when we’re lost…

Believe me. If a nationally televised commentator like Cal Thomas takes the time to point out “look at the image of the klutzy white man” the last thing I’m going to do is be insulted. I’ll probably search my archives to see if he plagiarized some of the things I’ve had to say, and if I found in the affirmative, better than even odds I’d donate the material to the public domain retroactively and write up a brand new post giving him a big gushy thank-you.

Update: Broadband-and-TV company is doing some work on our connection which yesterday went in the crapper. Things seem to be ship-shape with our home equipment, but the equipment just beyond our doorstep is either overworked or failing. It’s the switching equipment that services about ten or twenty customers in our area, of whom about half a dozen of us have reported problems.

Anyway, during the ten minutes or so I had to halt the blogging and let the planet spin onward without the benefit of my perpetually injected blogger wisdom, I started doing some chores, which included helping my gal out of the shower & drying her off, since one of her arms is out of commission. Surgery last week. Long story.

And of course the bedroom television set was frozen because the equipment was down. Guess what it was frozen on. Michelle Obama. Giving a speech. She looked very, very upset and angry.

That’s a randomly selected frame. Interesting.

KOSsacks, I hope you’re not holding your breath waiting for that Cal Thomas apology.

The Worst Double-Standard

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

Jessica Valenti, owner chief operating officer cook & bottle-washer of, got an interview and thirty-nine seconds therein she said something I thought was amazing:

Given her opportunity to pick out “the worst double-standard” between geese and ganders, she chooses “the one on the cover” of her book. And that would be He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut.


Not that spellbinding until you think of all the other answers lovely Jessica could’ve provided as the worst double-standard.

There’s the draft. If we do have one, it’ll apply to the guys and not the gals. Jessica could’ve unleashed her righteous fury upon that one.

Family court, by tradition, presumes that children are “better off with the mother” and it takes phenomenal circumstances — you don’t want to ask what — to get those in charge to even consider slacking off on that particular double-standard.

A guy is kind of normal, more-or-less, if he downloads an exciting application and then starts fiddling with it day and night, to the point where his paramour sees very little of him for days at a time apart from the back of his head. We put a tremendous pressure on our gals that they shouldn’t behave that way; they’re encouraged to be precocious little gab-goblins, at all hours of the day, even if they don’t feel like it.

There’s the pay gap. I’m still told, often, that that’s supposed to be important especially to people who call themselves “feminists.” Apparently that’s not quite accurate.

Mothers waltz into doctor’s offices and order up diagnoses for learning disabilities — for their sons. When they don’t understand how the sons are supposed to mature into men. And why should they? They’re women. Fathers, no less confused about how girls become women, don’t do that with their daughters. Huh, there’s a double-standard.

You can easily round up a hundred prime-time television commercials for headache medicine that have little or nothing to do with each other…each one of which involves a married (apparently) couple. The husband will be using — all hundred times out of a hundred — Brand X. The wifey will be using the correct product, and in so doing, be availed of a coveted opportunity to correct him. All hundred times. That looks like a double-standard to me.

How about the television shows that are justified by those advertisements? Family show. Father, mother, kids. She is a gorgeous, albeit weary, central character and he’s just a stupid chuckle-head who lucked out the day he met her. He spends his days making messes and nervously trying to figure out how not to tick her off (worse). She spends hers trying to keep him from burning the house down.

Movies for families, are no better. The Mom’s role is to lend a soft shoulder to the teary-faced sad little moppet, after he kicks the winning goal in the soccer game and glances up into the stands to see — horrors! — Daddy isn’t there! That unreliable Dad broke his promise…it’s a constant father-child predicament that bubbles up…and you know why. Because he spends too much time at his job. No issues with Mommy spending too much time at work. No issues with Mommy breaking promises. There’s a double-standard.

With all that, Jessica’s idea of a truly deplorable double-standard is that the sluts aren’t given props for screwing around. They jump so many bones, end up pregnant and don’t know who the father is…and they can’t get their applause from the rest of us. They aren’t elevated to a pedestal, like us pimps, for creating ruined lives and paternity suits.

Except — they are.

There’s more than enough shared and individual blame to go around. Miranda repeatedly acts like an idiot, catalyzing the catastrophic meltdown of Mr. Big that sets the plot (such as it is) in motion. Charlotte abets Miranda by helping her cover up her misdeed. And even relatively sensible Carrie withholds her disapproval of how Miranda treats her amazing, if imperfect, husband, Steve. This movie makes you wonder whether unconditional love is a good thing. It also makes you wonder what men see in these damaged, egotistical and judgmental dames.

The main characters and actors, so amusing as semi-stylized, semi-real vessels of contradictory urges and appetites on TV, look stranded or, worse, terminally self-absorbed here. You start looking forward to Cattrall’s Samantha, who at least retains her snap. With her id wasting away in Los Angeles while she serves as manager and homemaker to her adoring yet work-occupied beau, she grows obsessed with the stud next door – and brings more comic heat to her throttled desire than the others bring to their Cinderella-like or Murphy Brown-esque fantasies. (Candice Bergen does a disposable cameo as a Vogue editor.)

We’ve got all the slut-worship a twenty-something know-it-all could ever want. Like their male counterparts — the sluts sleep around, in truth and in fiction, breaking hearts, earning the condemnation of some and the sick hero-worship of others. It’s about as symmetrical as a “double-standard” can get.

I do remember about the time Ms. Valenti would have been born, when there was a double standard. I was taught to think of it as elevating women to a higher pedestal, and in hindsight, it seems to me that’s exactly what it was. Girls were thought to be more disciplined and cultured — guardians of our society’s decency. But the previous generation of Jessica Valentis sounded the alarm.

They fought for the “rights” of women to pick up all the worst habits of the dudes. Mission accomplished. Now we have a postmodern culture filled to the brim with sluts. It seems to be the one double-standard we worked the hardest at equalizing, and Jessica Valenti is still unhappy about it because she wants our women to screw around some more.

I don’t see how this helps the feminist movement.

Think about those other double standards. If you wanted to more even-handed treatment of men and women in family court, you could rally for reform in…our family court system. Valenti’s slut-double-standard, on the other hand, can only meet “reform” through some method of policing the thoughts private citizens have in their hearts and minds.

I’ve never understood this about feminism. Throughout my life, some among us have harbored suspicions about it, thinking of it as perhaps unbecoming to a free society in which private citizens have a sacred right to the thoughts and emotions between their own ears. Feminists, throughout that time, have screeched at us that no it’s not about that — it’s about equal pay for equal worth.

But then when it’s time for feminists to assign priorities, their hunger is to encroach on the private thoughts. Reforming articles in the public domain, such as public statutes, public jurisprudence, draft policies, and the like…that doesn’t seem to fascinate them much, even if such articles show demonstrable, destructive, gender-based bias. Every time I see the movement crusading for change, it’s crusading for that change in a private dominion — transgressing on thoughts and value systems that rightfully belong to individuals.

So it’s interesting to me that Ms. Valenti is given the opportunity to name one especially odious double-standard, and she names that one — the one that has traditionally looked on women, and seen some shred of nobility that the more primitive dudes might not have. This is the one she’d like to eradicate before all others.

With apologies to Arsenio…that’s a real Thing That Makes You Go Hmmm, right there.

Update 6/18/08: Without rushing out to buy the book, it seems one of the most complete summary listings of double standards listed therein, that may be acquired, would be this preamble posted at Google Books:

Double standards are nothing new. Women deal with them every day. Take the common truism that women who sleep around are sluts while men are studs. Why is it that men grow distinguished and sexily gray as they age while women just get saggy and haggard? Have you ever wondered how a young woman is supposed to both virginal and provocatively enticing at the same time? Isn’t it unfair that working moms are labeled “bad” for focusing on their careers while we shake our heads in disbelief when we hear about the occasional stay-at-home dad? In 50 Double Standards Every Woman Should Know, Jessica Valenti, author of Full Frontal Feminism, calls out the double standards that affect every woman. Whether Jessica is pointing out the wage earning discrepancies between men and women or revealing all of the places that women still aren’t equal to their male counterparts—be it in the workplace, courtroom, bedroom, or home—she maintains her signature wittily sarcastic tone. With sass, humor, and in-your-face facts, this book informs and equips women with the tools they need to combat sexist comments, topple ridiculous stereotypes (girls aren’t good at math?), and end the promotion of lame double standards. [emphasis mine]

I have to admit my curiosity is aroused; I suppose you could scold people into replicating your feminist beliefs about women deserving equality in the workplace, courtroom, bedroom or home, but I have no idea how you’d force people to grow into middle age the way you want them to.

Waitaminnit — courtroom??? Women don’t have enough equality in the courtroom yet?

What inequality do women suffer in the courtroom? Really. Too much eagerness to keep ’em “in the lifestyle and manner to which they have become accustomed”? Too easy to gain custody of the kids?

Are they being denied justice somehow? And if that’s the case, how is that less important than the double-standard that confers a stigma for sleeping around indiscriminately, on oversexed little tarts who sleep around indiscriminately?

Ah…I’m going to have to zip on out and pick this puppy up. It takes some real balls for feminists to insist women are suffering inequality in the courtroom. I gotta see this.

Update: Thing I Know #52 was scribbled down, in haste, in a coffee shop early in the morning a couple years ago, on my Treo smart phone, along with about five or six other things I know. It has turned out to be a prominent and important Thing I Know that describes much of what goes on in the sphere of human endeavor today…and a great deal, out of that, that fails.

I have never been pleased with the way it’s been worded…

Thing I Know #52. When angry people make demands, the ensuing fulfillment never seems to bring a stop to their anger.

Just the way the nouns, verbs and adverbs stack up against each other, which ones are strong, which ones are weak. “Ensuing” is wrong. As a single sentence, it’s hard to read. That would be alright if it was conveying an idea of great complexity. But it isn’t.

And so in honor of Ms. Valenti I am re-wording a Thing I Know, for the first time — Thing I Know #52, the Valenti Thing I Know. This Thing I Know deserves another polishing, another sanding, another cleaning and another coat o’paint. It is critically important. It has had it’s own category here. Something that becomes pertinent to our discourse so often, should be polished down a whole lot better.

As Yul Brynner would say — thus it shall be written; thus it shall be done.

Thing I Know #52. Angry people who demand things, don’t stop being angry when their demands are met.

D’JEver Notice? V

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

Anger I've SeenFrom time to time I hear about “angry white males.” It occurs to me that simply requesting some evidence to substantiate this theoretical phenomenon, observed first-hand, is to deal it a devastating blow, especially since probably ninety percent or more of the times I’ve heard this phrase have been since the 1994 elections.

Other than my father and my brother and my son getting mad at me for various reasons…why…thinking back on it, I’d have to say the last angry white male I’ve ever seen was Archie Bunker. Oh, and my fifth grade teacher Mr. Vanderpool got really upset with something one of the other kids did.

These are interesting musings on which to think in 2008. This year is five-twelfths of the way over. And I’ve seen so very much anger — so very, very much anger. The term “angry white male” seems to me to be misplaced right now. I thought it was misplaced in ’94. But it seems even more misplaced now.

What holds my fascination even more than the various directions from which it comes, is where it is sent. Anger I have seen this year is a very pragmatic type of anger. Most of it, one way or another, is connected with the primary victim selection process going on within the democrat party. Who’s the whiniest victim among us? Who should run everything? That the weakest, whelpiest sniveling whine-job should make all the critical decisions, is something on which they’re all agreed…they disagree vehemently on who that is going to be. Black guy. Woman. Black guy. Woman. Back and forth it goes…

Where is all that anger directed? It is pointed at whoever, it seems, is about to win the chief-whiny-democrat sweepstakes, to the annoyance of those showing off the anger. This year, it’s just the same old story over and over again.

And from that, I daresay I’ve seen enough anger over the last five months, to put a big dent in all the anger I’ve seen in all my days previous to that.

Angry white males? Maybe it’s time for a lot of other folks to ask, in unison with me: Where, exactly?

Stuff White People Like #101: Being Offended

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Comedy gold, and I’ve come to expect nothing less. Naturally, I’ve highlighted the especially good parts:

To be offended is usually a rather unpleasant experience, one that can expose a person to intolerance, cultural misunderstandings, and even evoke the scars of the past. This is such an unpleasant experience that many people develop a thick skin and try to only be offended in the most egregious and awful situations. In many circumstances, they can allow smaller offenses to slip by as fighting them is a waste of time and energy. But white people, blessed with both time and energy, are not these kind of people. In fact there are few things white people love more than being offended.

Naturally, white people do not get offended by statements directed at white people. In fact, they don’t even have a problem making offensive statements about other white people (ask a white person about “flyover states”). As a rule, white people strongly prefer to get offended on behalf of other people.

What comes next…even better still. Read the whole thing.


Saturday, May 17th, 2008

It’s interesting how real life conjures up the same themes as the news, coincidentally, at any given time. I just got off the e-mail console, where I had to get a little bit philosophical with extended family over travel & trip plans. I saw us going into that thing…you know…with reliable people and unreliable people. I guess there are arrangements to be made insofar as kids from broken homes, stuff has to be coordinated and everybody has to be part of the coordination. Have you been noticing what I’ve been noticing about this? We dutifully take down what the unreliable people have in mind for things…as best we can, since they’re, y’know, unreliable…and then we refine it into instructions about what the reliable people should be doing. Usually, the reliable people do what they’re told, since they’re so reliable and all, and then they find out it all goes to hell because the unreliable people changed their minds, and so now it falls to the reliable people to revise things as expediently as can be managed, and keep watching for the next time the unreliable people change course.

The unreliable people don’t get bothered with any of this. Not a request for another visitation window, even several months down the road. What would be the point? And not a chastisement for changing plans at the last minute inconveniencing everybody else. What would be the point of that? And so all the burden, the inconvenience, falls to those who’ve earned the reputation of treating others with decent standards of respect and consideration.

The kids grow up to be buttholes. The grown-ups end up wondering why. They should be asking, why not? How could you expect the kids to grow up any other way? They see that when you live life for yourself, you get everything you want and nobody bugs you. When you do some planning and show considerations to others your life becomes one big headache; when you don’t, it becomes one big party. I’d have to worry about the kid who didn’t learn a lesson or two from that.

And now, fresh off my arguing about that…we see…via Sound Politics, via Little Green Footballs, via Ace of Spade HQ, via Cassy…some of these butthole kids have grown up and started writing editorials in the Seattle Times. Said editorials making about as much sense as you’d expect. Like fer example — how about the notion that Hitler’s demands weren’t entirely unreasonable? Bruce Ramsey is here to tell you exactly that.

Democrats are rebuking President Bush for saying in his speech to the Knesset, here, that to “negotiate with terrorists and radicals” is “appeasement.” The Democrats took it as a slap at Barack Obama. What bothers me is the continual reference to Hitler and his National Socialists, particularly the British and French accommodation at the Munich Conference of 1938.

The narrative we’re given about Munich is entirely in hindsight. We know what kind of man Hitler was, and that he started World War II in Europe. But in 1938 people knew a lot less. What Hitler was demanding at Munich was not unreasonable as a national claim (though he was making it in a last-minute, unreasonable way.) Germany’s claim was that the areas of Europe that spoke German and thought of themselves as German be under German authority. In September 1938 the principal remaining area was the Sudetenland. [emphasis mine]

Editorialist Ramsey’s column here rises to the level of absurdity in which — if you launch into it determined to deal it some argumentative damage, you can do some, but if you take a friendly posture to it and take it seriously you can do even more damage to it.

I mean, let’s try to extrapolate his argument. It’s a response to President Bush’s point that, you know, our history books already tell us about a time when we tried to negotiate with scumbags. Ramsey tries to turn us the other way by walking through the factual background in a little bit greater detail…Hitler wanted them to do X…they went ahead and did it…the rest is history. Okay, so as far as the backdrop of fact, Ramsey agrees with President Bush. The effect the appeasement of Hitler had on ensuing events, it seems if he disagrees with President Bush there, he doesn’t come out and say it. One would think he would so comment. So we can presume that he further agrees about the cause and effect.

In the end, the Bush-Ramsey point of disagreement, is what we are all to think about this, and/or how we are to behave next time we are presented with an opportunity to appease a tyrant. Ramsey says we should boil up the tea, butter the crumpets, and let the talks begin. Well, why? He just admitted President Bush summarized the events of seventy years ago accurately — his only reservation is that such a summation bothers him.

He provides a defense of the appeasers of the 1930’s that, essentially, their actions were understandable in the wake of what came before. What he seems incapable of comprehending, is that future scholars would not be able to afford such a spirited defense of our generation, should we elect to take the Obama route. They would quite naturally ask “your folks knew all about Hitler, and if you forgot, your President reminded you — what in the hell were you thinking?”

There’s one other thing going on here, and it really has me curious. Ramsey, far from being alone in saying this, intones “In order to get anywhere, each side has to listen to the other.” This is a hot, controversial issue, with each side intent on convincing the other how correct they are. Why, then, do these mint-tea-and-crumpet talkers never seem to furnish me with any details that would inspire me to see the correctness of their point of view? What’s going on in these “talks”? All I see is a bunch of compromises from the reasonable people, while the unreasonable people just do whatever they want. If the unreasonable people do make compromises, they just violate them later. Just like the extended-family visit-trip plans.

Another thing I see is that when these “talks” result in an agreement, somewhere down the road it turns into a big ol’ crap-fest. Yes, the mint-tea-and-crumpet talkers have their moment in the sun. They get to prance off planes with signed papers in hand that they can brandish before the cameras, and say like little kids, “Lookee What I Did!” just like Neville Chamberlin himself.

But without exception, it seems the longer a “talk” takes to turn into a crap-fest, the bigger the crap-fest it becomes. Ramsey’s point, the only one he’s managed to convincingly make, is a valid one: It’s an easy mistake to make, if it’s your first time making it. But that’s no justification for going back, Jack, and doin’ it again, decades later.

If I thought it was a good idea to make John McCain the next President, I’d say let’s go ahead and give the democrats that issue. Let’s make this election all about appeasement. Make it a mint tea and crumpets election year. You think we need to do more talking to the butt-wipes, vote for democrats, if you’ve learned your lesson then vote Republican. I’ll bet most voters have paid enough attention to agree with me. I’ll bet most of them have shared my experiences planning vacations & trips with extended family, to understand the principle that is at work here. McCain would bollux up the message, for sure, making it a “conservative” doctrine to go ahead and drink the tea — otherwise, though, we’d have a rout just like in 1994. I think most people are smart enough to get this. There’s people you do your negotiating and compromising with, and there’s other people who aren’t up to it. And people who aren’t up to it, always put up the appearance that they are. It’s what they figure they should do, in order to get what they want.

Memo For File LVIII

Thursday, April 17th, 2008

I barely have the time this morning to deal with all of what’s busted in whiny, insipid, counterproductive, self-serving snotty immature screeds like this one…although I’m sure if I take a passing glance to it later, I’ll spot even more. The subject under discussion is why, oh why, aren’t there more female bloggers and how come the ones that are out there, don’t get more attention?

I asked around and heard a lot of different answers. Some say it’s because the men got a head start. Jen Moseley, the politics editor at Feministing says, “I think there are a lot of female political bloggers out there. But since most of the ‘old guard’ big political blogs (funny that something 4-5 years old can be considered old now), were started by men, so they’re still looked at as the only ones that matter.”

Amy Richards, an author and one of the co-founders of Third Wave, thinks that the amount of attention focused on the boys might be more than just their first-mover status—it’s an artifact of their historical control of the media. Richards claims that “Political punditry has always been dominated by men and thus blogging is likely to follow that pattern.” Richards agrees that women aren’t becoming blogospheric stars as quickly as some of their male colleagues. She says, “I know that women are jumping into this debate with their opinions and perspectives, but because they are doing so in spaces more likely to attract women—they aren’t being legitimized.”

Ezra Klein agreed with Amy about the ghettoization of female voices, noting that while male political bloggers are known as “political” bloggers, women are more often known as “feminist” bloggers. “There’s this rich and broad feminist blogosphere, which is heavily female and very political, but considered a different sort of animal. Is Jill Filipovic a political blogger? Ann Friedman?” he says. Male bloggers are seen as talking about politics with a universal point of view, but when we women bring our perspective to the field, it’s seen as as a minority opinion.

But does it have to be that way? Blogs are supposed to be populist and thus it would seem like women could more easily level the playing field here than in other media. Red State’s Mike Krempasky says, “You’d think the internet would be the great equalizer or the ultimate meritocracy. ‘far from it.”

What a festering, rotting open sore of microbial, infectious, stupid ideas. What a fetid, bubbling stewpot of poppycock.

It’s like an invasion of scavengers hitting your farm all at once. Coyotes, hyenas…buzzards…what have you. Craven. Cowardly. Seeking to survive on the merits of others. There is so much wrong with this, it’s like a big herd of such scavengers descending in unison, each scavenger blissfully unaware the others are there.

A fine buckshot approach to this invasion is to simply withhold my own fire and rely on a non-whiny female blogger like Cassy Fiano, who was responsible for me finding out about this in the first place. And Cassy lays out the hot lead in such a way that most of the scavenger-herd is…addressed…leaving few stragglers.

Whenever I read these kinds of articles, I just want to smack the author in the face. Here’s what they seem to be completely incapable of understanding: if you think you’re a victim, that’s all you’ll ever be.

First of all, is Arianna Huffington really the best example of a female blogger she could come up with? I can think of several right off the top of my head: Michelle Malkin (duh!), Pamela Geller, Em Zanotti, LaShawn Barber, Mary Katharine Ham, Rachel Lucas, Melissa Clouthier… the list goes on and on, and these are just conservative female bloggers.

Right Wing News even did two pieces on female conservative bloggers, and most of them looked at being a female blogger as an asset.

I’ve never had one single person tell me my opinion had less merit because I’m a woman, or that I wasn’t as good as the guy bloggers out there. I’ve seen no evidence of a “boy’s club” in the blogosphere; in fact, every single male blogger I have had any kind of communication with whatsoever has been gracious, helpful, and more than willing to assist me in building my blogging career.

And good grief, the “ghettoization” of female voices?! What the hell planet is this Megan Carpentier writing from? Because there are more male bloggers than female, female voices are being “silenced” and “ghettoized”?!

Uh, sorry, honey. Not quite. Maybe if you live in Saudi Arabia you could have a point. But here, the only thing keeping female bloggers back is… female bloggers.

Why, then, are there more male bloggers than female? The answer is simple, and it’s feminism’s favorite catch phrase: choice. Men, in general, are more interested in politics than women are. Sure, women are interested, but I don’t think that there are as many women who are diehard political junkies like there are men. Go ahead, feminists, rip my skin off for stating That Which Must Never Be Said: that women do not have the same interests as men do. Anyways, if you want proof, look at blogosphere readership. Most people reading politics blogs are men, so it stands to reason that most political bloggers would be men as well. This also means being a female blogger is more of an asset, and not just because it gives all your male readers something to ogle at (although that’s a plus, too). It means you stand out more, your blog stands out more. And that’s a good thing.

Women also tend to be more thin-skinned. The insults female bloggers get are very personal, and very hurtful. They very often have nothing whatsoever to do with what you’re actually writing about, unless of course you’re talking about how ugly you are or perverted sexual tendencies. A lot of women just cannot take that kind of thing. It’s like an arrow to the heart for them. After so much of that, a lot of them quit, because it isn’t worth the stress and heartache for them.

And why does the internet — the political blogosphere, specifically — need to be “the great equalizer”? Why does it matter how many female vs. male bloggers there are out there? There is not one blog I read because of the gender of the author. I read them because of the content in the blogs, what the blogger has to say. I could give two shits whether it’s a man or a women writing behind the computer screen. Putting the emphasis on something as shallow as gender accomplishes what? Instead of focusing on the skin-deep, why doesn’t this lady focus on the ideas different bloggers put forth?

I don’t know where feminists got this idea that all male-dominated careers were unfair to women unless there are an exactly equal number of women participating in these careers, but it’s ridiculous. They need to get over the bean-counting. Living in a state of perpetual outrage or victimhood will get you nowhere.

One blast. All farm scavengers tremble in fear before the fury of Cassy’s 12-gauge.

But some wounded furballs are still limping around. For example, Cassy’s retort to the “ghettoization” remark is limited to chastising Carpentier for her lack of perspective in identifying what might be amiss in the status quo. She did a fine job of dealing with that, but I’m more concerned with what thoughts were percolating away in what passes for Carpentier’s cranium before she jotted down her whiny bromide. If I want to “ghettoize” someone, or a class of someones, in the blogosphere — how do I go about doing this? What are my goals, exactly? Assuming the solution would resemble the problem, it must be up to the reader to fill that in because Carpentier admits ignorance in understanding how to fix it.

Megan Carpentier is kind of like Luke Skywalker wandering into the dark cave; she found in there what she brought in with her. Her point is “these blogs that I’m looking at are mostly male” but she could have looked at some other blogs. Prominence is measured, on the blogosphere, mostly in the eye of the beholder. What Carpentier has done, is confess — without even realizing she’s so confessing — that she comes from a weird, surreal universe in which that is not the case. She’s used to living in a place where some central kiosk tells everyone what to watch.

But it must be a two-way street, in some way, or else there’d be no point in Carpentier whining away. She must be an example of what I’ve noticed about most people who can’t cope without a central authority telling them what to do: Now and then, such complainers want to have a voice in telling the central authority what to tell others to do. So there’s a pecking order to this. Sniveling whiny complainer supplies instructions to the central kiosk; central kiosk radiates the instructions to the unwashed masses within line-of-sight.

I’ve never had any respect for people like this. I’ve always thought of them not only as tedious, thin-skinned banshees, but as shallow thinkers. They do their shrieking selectively. They only complain about the things we decide for ourselves, that have come to their attention at any given time, remaining agnostic and unconcerned about our choices of: Ice cream flavor, color of socks to wear today, stick shift or automatic, plain-cake or chocolate-with-sprinkles, the list goes on and on. One can’t help but nurture a fantasy that has to do with calling their attention to all these things at once, and kicking off some kind of carping-bitching-overload chain reaction. Like Captain Kirk and Mister Spock talking some ancient alien computer into a sparkling, smoky mess of paper mache and dry ice on the stage of Desilu.

We live as free men, deciding for ourselves and living with the consequences. Too many who pretend to walk among us are left unsatisfied by this state of affairs. Let posterity forget they were our countrymen, as the saying goes.

Cassy has been distracted by the great umbrage she’s taken — rightfully so — to the low pain threshold of Screechy Megan. What her criticism has allowed to walk away mostly unscathed is Megan’s mindset. The mindset of insects. Except insects, so far as I know, don’t bitch when the queen tells them to go someplace not to their liking.

I think my afterthought-comment over at Cassy’s place might address what’s left…

I was doing some more thinking about this. It seems we have some “dry rot” in the blogosphere, people who are blogging, and for the sake of their own sanity probably should not be.

How do we change that? How loud do women have to shout?

The ‘sphere promotes equality by failing to embrace it. Let’s say some left-wing pinhead says something on TV and it rubs Michelle Malkin the wrong way. Cassy Fiano is also piqued about the same thing. Malkin writes it up with something original; Fiano also writes it up with something original.

I like what Michelle said and I also like what Cassy said. Neither one linked or referenced the other, and they both said essentially the same thing. Linking both of them is pointless. I have a finite amount of time to blog and my readers have a finite amount of time to read.

So I must choose…

…and I’m going to link Malkin because she gets more traffic. And so, male or female, a blog “hits a groove.” It gets to the point where it is hit more because it does not need the traffic. It’s like a society with the ultimate regressive tax system — we all get together to help out whoever doesn’t need it.

The system works, because it achieves a blend of group-think and individuality. We’re all looking at the same stuff…kinda. But we’re also looking at our own stuff and forming our own ideas.

The exasperated inquiry “how loud do we have to shout” betrays an immature mindset, one that is accustomed to an all-powerful centralized authority. A “mommy” figure. But a weak mommy figure; one that panders to whichever “child” does the most bitching.

Not that I mean to imply Ms. Carpenter [sic] grew up that way. But if I had to bet some money, I’d bet it on the affirmative, and that would go for a random selection among her regular readership as well. The notion that some adequate amount of carping and bellyaching will change the universe to the liking of whoever’s doing it, is hideously offensive to me…to most men…and I would add to all “real” women as well. It’s a decidedly out-of-date 1960’s mindset, one that pays lip service to “choice” but only honors the choices made by certain, deserving people, and insists that everyone else has to follow along whether they like it or not.

How do you make more bloggers female? Might as well make more cars on the road listen to country music on their radios. It’s up to the dude/dudette behind the steering wheel, and it seems Ms. Carpenter [sic] just can’t handle that.

The Dark Age

Saturday, April 5th, 2008

In our relatively recent memory, there is a micro-era just 76 months long that shook the world. That this tiny epoch exists in our past, says a great deal about how we live with each other, how we’re slaves to fad and fashion, and how we’re not nearly as independent as we like to think we are.

My son’s been having this interest in cultural events that immediately preceded his birth, which was in ’97. This could be a sign of genius, if he knows what he’s doing…something that is always open to question. It could be hereditary. In my case, back in my childhood I had an interest in what was going on in the sixties and seventies, barely conscious of the fact that “big things” were going on, and I didn’t quite understand what they were. But they were bigger than me. My similar interest was decidedly a case of not knowing what I was doing. If I had my childhood to live all over again, knowing back then what I know now about post-modern feminism and the effect it’s had on our culture and on our public policy, I would have read every single newspaper I possibly could have gotten my hands on.

There are cycles, waves, and other such patterns involved in the way we value things across time. We’ve always had this tendency to elevate one demographic onto a pedestal, and bury another one shoulders-deep into the ground for a vicious virtual-stoning. We take turns doing this, and throughout it all we have this self-deceptive way of telling ourselves we’re treating everyone “equally” when we all know it isn’t true. It’s a delicious and intriguing piece of human hypocrisy, something woven deeply into us inseparable from our body chemistries.

Maybe we picked it up when we bit that damned apple. Who knows.

And we exercise it as individuals. In a couple of years, my son will be a teenager and the “My Dad Knows Everything” phase will come to a bitter end. I’ll be the clueless dolt who doesn’t know a damn thing.

James BondIn the meantime, my son likes James Bond movies. He seems to be in search of the elusive James Bond question that his father can’t answer. And always, always, we keep coming back to the above-mentioned chapter. He’s figured out that the history of the movie franchise is inseparable from the history of modern America…double-oh seven’s adopted parental country. How it is connected, he’s not quite completely sure. But he understands there is a connection.

Always, we come back to the elephant in the room. The one thing about the superspy that cannot be ignored…but defies explanation because it defies definition. The one things in Bond’s timeline that is absolutely intermingled with and inseparable from ours. I’ve made several casual references to it, but have never thoroughly explored it before in these pages.

The Dark Age.

The time when the Knight of the Cold War underwent a timeless and decidedly female fantasy — the story of Persephone, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White. He was taken away. He slept. The world tried, and arguably failed, to get along without him.

This has been an educational experience for me; the one facet to this Dark Age that fascinates me, above all else, is that it is a classic case of the few dictating the tastes of the many. We recall it — when we do — as a grassroots event, a natural consequence of the everyday folks getting fed up with an over-saturation of machismo. It simply isn’t true. It wasn’t bottom-up; it was top-down. Our elders decided they knew what was best for us, and they decided we were tired of James Bond. It was part of a much larger thing. Manhood was out of style. Masculinity, it was thought…although nobody came out and said straight-out, for it made far too little sense…was something that enshrouded us in the age of warfare, and now that the Cold War was over manhood no longer had a home. Anywhere. It was time for it to go away.

And so it became obligatory for the Lords and Vicounts and High Priests to instruct the peasants not to like James Bond. Or cigars, or martinis, or…well…anything you might’ve seen your “daddy” doing, be it Yankee or Anglican.

Working on cars on a summer day in an old greasy tee shirt. Drinking beer. Knowing best. Peeing on a tree. Opening jars for the wife. Telling dirty jokes. Growing facial hair. We were “above” all that, as we explored this new chapter in which 007 would be 86’d.

James Bond’s long slumber, the span between the sixteenth and seventeenth film installments, neatly bookends a small era in which we wanted none of these things…because we were told we should want no such things. And this year, as my son teeters on the brink of teenagerhood and is about to lose his curiosity about the Dark Age, and as Senator Hillary Clinton repeatedly struggles and fails to bring the Dark Age back again, perhaps it would be fruitful to re-inspect exactly what happened to us.

Supposedly, what happened was that Ian Fleming’s creation stalled out with the always-crescendoing legal troubles that arose from ownership disputes. There is certainly some truth to this; the evidence seems to suggest, on the question of Fleming taking indecent liberties with Kevin McClory’s contribution of the storyline in Thunderball, that Fleming is actually guilty. But it doesn’t really matter, does it. The very thing that makes this explanation plausible, is the thing that makes this explanation all bollywonkers and gunnybags. James Bond, at least in film form, has always been in legal trouble over this McClory issue. It is the reason there were two James Bonds in 1983. It is the reason that, in For Your Eyes Only two years previous, there was that surreal “Blofeld” appearance nobody can explain completely — the one with the smokestack, the wheelchair, the helicopter, and the delicatessen in stainless steel. Yeah, that.

Personally, I’ve never completely bought into this line that James Bond went away because of legal problems. He went away because he was out of style. Our feminists didn’t want us watching him. They told us what to do, and we obeyed our feminists. Starting with Hollywood, which made the regrettable decision — and today, looking back, the most ludicrous one — that the most profitable years of double-oh seven were in the past.

When one inspects what James Bond really is, one can easily see why our feminists have always hated him so much. He isn’t really a British spy, you know. He is the very apex of male fantasy. Let’s face it, international espionage doesn’t really have a great deal to do with saving the world from a madman with a laser orbiting the planet. It certainly doesn’t have to do with Aston-Martin automobiles, or sleeping with a lot of women. Or wearing a two thousand dollar suit and a three thousand dollar watch, when a couple hundred bucks divided among the two of those acquisitions will do quite nicely.

No, what those things have in common is that they typify male fantasy. They define manhood. Being entrusted with an important job, going about it, noticing something is about to happen that will injure millions of people you don’t even want to ever meet, preventing an enormous disaster and then retreating back into the shadows to go about your more mundane daily duties. Huh. I’ve just described the typical Superman episode. I’ve also just described a day in the life of any knight sitting at King Arthur’s round table. This is male fantasy that goes back a good stretch before Ian Fleming’s parents ever met.

And as frosting on the cake of feminist hatred toward the British superspy…once these male fantasies solidify into a newest James Bond movie installment, and the knuckledragging males like myself move heaven and earth to go see it…we don’t go alone. No, we bring our women along. Yes, women following men into the theater to watch a man’s movie. And we don’t jam our “honey do jars” full of bits of paper promising to do this or that pain-in-the-ass thing in compromise. We don’t have to. Our women want to go. Our women want to see the next James Bond movie more than we do.

This is what earns James Bond a fatwa from the feminist movement. He reminds us that men are noble creatures, and that women are complicated. Our feminists tend to hunger for the exact opposite, you know…they like men to be disposable and they like women to be simple. But with not a single sign of Meg Ryan crying, or Hugh Grant acting like a dork, the simple woman isn’t supposed to be having any fun. And she wouldn’t be. Yet the latest Bond flick comes out, and our women are practically jumping in the car, warming up the engine for us, offering to buy the popcorn.

James Bond is a sign that feminists may have more to learn about women, than anybody else.

And so, during the Dark Age, they killed him. They did what feminists desire to do: Shape our culture and define the values we exercise therein. Glittering recruiting-buzzwords like “power” and “freedom” and “choice” really have very little to do with any of it.

But…when angry women want us to do things, we find it hard to tell them no.

For the two thousand three hundred and thirteen days that began in the summer of 1989, James Bond slept.

The world went un-saved.

And when the experiment was over, it turned out — maybe the world doesn’t need saving after all — but it certainly does need James Bond. That male fantasy that he’s really all about. We depend on it; that’s just the way it is, and the feminists can get as grouchy about that as they want to get, but it’s true and will always remain such.

The feminist edict that James Bond should go away, began the way all cultural impulses do: With a tailwind, and on a downward slope. It caught on because resistance was at a low ebb. Certain external events created a climate in which it was handy and convenient to suggest a retirement from MI6 and from Hollywood. The AIDS crisis had reached a plateau, and some would say it was still on a sharp upswing. The baby boom generation, always numerous, always powerful, and always hostile to anything that might have been identified with the generation previous to them, had reached middle age and they started to occupy positions that were powerful, positions in which “real” decisions were made about things. And with Russia’s troubles, anything even remotely connected to a “cold war” seemed naturally headed to the trash heap.

It was Timothy Dalton’s second venture in this role. It is sometimes said that his style, notable in fidelity to the book version of Agent 007, grated on the movie audiences and there may be some truth to this as well. But another thing about Dalton that doesn’t get a lot of mention is that he was the first “Fountain of Youth” James Bond. Fans were expected to believe this was the same guy who outwitted Dr. No in 1962 and wrecked that railroad car on the Orient Express with Red Grant the following year; here he was, maybe seventy years old, wrestling control of an airplane in mid-flight after waterskiing behind it in his bare feet. The storyline was original enough, involving Bond’s defection from the British Secret Service and carrying out a personal vendetta on behalf of his friend Felix Leiter. And Robert Davi had all kinds of things going for him as the bad guy. He was dark, sinister, bloodthirsty, cruel and charming.

But — and looking back on it, this was probably the nail in the coffin — the bad guy was also a drug lord. In the previous film, The Living Daylights, it turned out that bad guy was also a drug lord. James Bond fighting the war on drugs. Nothing says “past the prime” quite like that.

The only sense of continuity was that Dalton had signed up to do three movies, and this was the second. Other than that, there was no momentum at all.

The death knell also came from bad returns, and the bad returns undoubtedly resulted from bad promotion. The film competed with Batman; Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade; Lethal Weapon 2 and many others. Bond had been a summer phenomenon with every film appearance since The Spy Who Loved Me, but evidently the time had come to re-think that, and perhaps it was re-thought a bit too late.

When the thumping came from the dismal revenues, feminists, and others invested against Bond’s success, trumpeted that we were tired of men saving the world from disaster, conveniently ignoring the success of Die Hard just a year ago. The talking point stuck. They talked it up and talked it up. Meanwhile, MGM/UA sued Danjaq, the parent holding company of Bond-related trademarks and copyrights…another outgrowth of the McClory mess.

That winter, in a dark omen about the times in which we were about to live, carefully sanitized of any male heroism or derring-do or respect for same, Marc Lepine murdered 14 women at the University of Montreal. The Montreal Massacre has come to epitomize what’s wrong with feminism, why it is the very last mindset that should have anything, whatsoever, with the formation of public policy.

Let us summarize it here: Feminists talked down male heroism. They opposed it at every turn. They poured vast sums of money and energy into sneering at it, indoctrinating entire generations of people to the idea that the Real Man is a myth, and if he is indeed real he serves no purpose, in fact is something toxic and ugly. And Mark Steyn, quoting himself after the Virginia Tech shooting, fills us in on what happened next:

Yet the defining image of contemporary Canadian maleness is not M Lepine/Gharbi but the professors and the men in that classroom, who, ordered to leave by the lone gunman, meekly did so, and abandoned their female classmates to their fate — an act of abdication that would have been unthinkable in almost any other culture throughout human history. The “men” stood outside in the corridor and, even as they heard the first shots, they did nothing. And, when it was over and Gharbi walked out of the room and past them, they still did nothing. Whatever its other defects, Canadian manhood does not suffer from an excess of testosterone.

The conclusion is inescapable. Masculinity was killed, and soon after it the real women it had been defending.

Well, Mark Steyn has his opinion about what it all means, but the prevailing viewpoint has another take on it…

Since the attack, Canadians have debated various interpretations of the events, their significance, and Lépine’s motives. Many feminist groups and public officials have characterized the massacre as an anti-feminist attack that is representative of wider societal violence against women. Consequently, the anniversary of the massacre has since been commemorated as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. Other interpretations emphasize Lépine’s abuse as a child or suggest that the massacre was simply the isolated act of a madman, unrelated to larger social issues. Still other commentators have blamed violence in the media and increasing poverty, isolation, and alienation in society, particularly in immigrant communities.
The massacre was a major spur for the Canadian gun control movement. One of the survivors, Heidi Rathjen, who was in one of the classrooms Lépine did not enter during the shooting, organized the Coalition for Gun Control with Wendy Cukier. Susan and Jim Edwards, the parents of one of the victims, were also deeply involved. Their activities, along with others, led to the passage of Bill C-68, or the Firearms Act, in 1995, ushering in stricter gun control regulations. These new regulations included new requirements on the training of gun owners, screening of firearm applicants, new rules concerning gun and ammunition storage and the registration of all firearms. The gun registry in particular has been a controversial and partisan issue, with critics charging that it was a political move by the Liberal government of Jean Chrétien that has been expensive and impractical to enforce.

Who’s right? Form whatever opinion you wish to form; I’ve formed mine. This culture conflict between male-friendly and male-hostile forces had been going on for awhile, and ultimately it culminated in the death of James Bond, the greatest family-friendly male fantasy material ever put to the big screen. And then the Montreal Massacre showed us the horrific consequences in store for us if we eradicate masculinity…and in response to that…our neighbors to the North, in their infinite wisdom, eradicated masculinity some more. Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women — as if deranged gunmen pay attention to such things, before making the fateful decision to go charging through a college campus shooting people.

Little things began to happen in popular culture about this time, poisoning the well just a little bit further. The Simpsons premiered — the madcap adventures of a little poorly-drawn cartoon boy named Bart. It turned out his doofus dad Homer had special resonance with our now thoroughly-vaginized audience, and in the years to come the family patriarch would steal center stage. Homer Simpson, in this way, continued the trend set by Al Bundy in Married…With Children — albeit as a less sympathetic character — and the Age of the Doofus Dad began in earnest.

On the big screen and the little screen, things started popping up “geared toward” girls and women…which means deliberately excluding men. The studios discovered women were feeling a special attraction toward things that not only entertained them, but were assured to provide little-to-no entertainment for anybody else. They called it “tailoring” or “customizing” or “specially targeted” or whatever. The meaning was all the same: Men wouldn’t like it.

Makes sense. Guys, when you take your sweeties to the movies, it should hurt. Makes as much sense as that ring that should cost a lot. Sacrifice is the point.

So we were buried in an avalanche of things men wouldn’t like. The Little Mermaid marked the beginning of what became an annual pilgrimage — Disney would market the hell out of their next big feature cartoon, full of strange people and animals with eyes the size of dinner plates, with obscene volumes of merchandising tie-ins. Next year, they’d go back, Jack, and do it again. All of it “tailored.” Cleansed of anything that might be interpreted as even residual masculine appeal. All of it calculated to make Dad barf.

Steel Magnolias. That spring, Pretty Woman. Ghost. Feelings, feelings, feelings…bits of fluff to make you cry, tossed up there for the purpose of pulling in the little gold statues of the man who has no face.

Ryan White died of AIDS. Such poignant deaths tugged at our heartstrings, and helped to remind us that the era of feelings could not have crested out just yet. It was just getting started. After all, if you resolved to confront the AIDS crisis with your brain instead of with your heart, what in the world would you do? There was nothing to do in the Realm of Thought except throw a little bit more money at the disease. And then a lot more money. Well, when people can’t form a plan that seems complete, they like to feel their way through things so with every AIDS-related news event we did some more feeling.

Manhood being coupled with stoic, rational thinking, it was buried a little further in the ground as we continued to bury our brains. We had to be more sensitive. People were dying of AIDS. Nobody ever explained how being more sensitive would stop AIDS deaths, but that’s the beauty of feeling your way through things — no explanation necessary. Just think happy thoughts. Or sad ones. Whatever fits the occasion. Just be compatible. Doing constructive things, that was out of style now.

The era of James Bond continued to slip into the past. In August of 1990, movie producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli parted company with screenwriter Richard Maibaum, and John Glen, director of the previous five films. Half a year after this unfortunate event, Maibaum would be dead.

The environment took center stage, now that we were being extra-feminized and sensitive. We had a new Earth Day, to commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the 1970 event, and that summer Captain Planet and the Planeteers premiered on TBS.

Men were understood to be inherently bad and women were understood to be inherently good. We began an endless fascination in women doing those heroic male things, like catching the bad guy. This is the year in which Clarice Starling became famous, as portrayed by Jodie Foster in Silence of the Lambs. And then there was Thelma and Louise. Of course, the Tailhook scandal helped out a lot. Women were heroes — and hero status was incomplete if it was even suggested that maybe, just maybe, there might be some things men could do that women could not…that wouldn’t do. We pretended otherwise. And if anybody dared to get tired of it, we’d simply explore how women were victims — and that would return them to “hero” status.

The dysfunction that took hold in our society, wasn’t so much that we saw good things in women. The most “patriarchal” societies, contrary to popular belief, have it in common that they have seen women as innately good and worthy of protection — hence the necessity of strong men. No, in the 76 months of this Dark Age, the real damage was irony. Things seemed, to us, to be the opposite of what they really were…starting with strength and weakness. Weakness was now the new strength. In the news as well as in fiction, people were shown to be strong through a ritual of showcasing their frailties. Rodney King was worthy of our attention because he got beaten up. The beating was worth talking about. His leading the police on a high speed chase through a densely populated suburban neighborhood…wasn’t worth talking about, because this didn’t service the goal of portraying King as a victim. Starling was strong because she was a victim. Thelma and Louise were strong because they were victims. The Tailhook ladies were strong because they were victims.

Strong didn’t have anything to do with being ready, willing or able to defend someone in need of a defense. That would be too patriarchal.

In July of 1991, Patricia Ireland succeeded Molly Yard as the head of the National Organization of Women. This was a pivotal event because it was a generational hand-off; Ireland is a baby-boomer, and Yard came from the generation previous. Three months after this, Susan Faludi published her book, Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women. Strength-through-victimhood continued.

Feminists, during this time, could be as nasty as they wanted to be. If anyone called it out they’d just call it a “backlash” and do some more complaining about dark and sinister undercurrents in our society, working against them. Meanwhile, James Bond was dead…along with countless other “patriarchal” trinkets, involving far less meaning to us item-by-item than they meant collectively. The feminists were being exactly what they called others. Rodney King’s famous query was “can’t we all just get along?” The irony was, those who worked day and night to make sure everybody heard the question, also labored with equal gusto to make sure the answer was a resounding “Hell, no!”

Jeffry Dahmer was arrested. For eating people. The police got in trouble when it was discovered Dahmer fooled them into returning a bleeding, naked little boy to his care…who he later had for dinner. He ate lots of other people, but the police got in trouble because of this one boy. Don’t worry about Dahmer, he’s probably the last cannibal we’ll see for awhile, but we’d better fix the police because they’re feeding little boys to cannibals!

So the pattern continued. Those who did harm, were presented to us as nothing more than a curiosity…maybe even something deserving of our sympathy. Those whose job it is to protect us from the harm, are presented as part of the real problem. Ostensibly, this is done to make sure our protection is worth something. But every crime needs a protagonist, doesn’t it? If I’m a cop I can’t very well feed someone to a cannibal if there’s no cannibal around, can I? The police were a danger, the protagonist was not.

In November, Freddy Mercury died of AIDS. The feeling-over-thought continued. Bohemian Rhamsody, that winter, blared from every loudspeaker on every radio and every television.

Disorder was the new order. Justice was dispensed, not from the courtroom in which Stacy Koon and his colleagues were acquitted for the Rodney King incident, but in the riots that followed in downtown LA. Again…it was all about solving problems with feeling instead of with thought. Justice becomes a myth when you do that; just a glorified system of might-makes-right. More irony: People who want to disclaim masculinity, manhood, “patriarchal oppression” and so forth claim that as their goal — to elevate themselves and society above an anarchy in which might-makes-right. But that’s exactly what they cause to happen.

Meanwhile, nobody noticed that the Maastricht Treaty had been signed. This was the beginning of the European Union. Just like any other union, it was constructed to “level the playing field” against someone who had an “unfair advantage” — which means to attack that someone. In this case, it was the United States.

The importance of the Maastricht event cannot be overstated. Sixteen years later, we have been dutifully fed our talking points that the United States is seen by our “allies” as an oppressor. Most people who believe this uncritically, fail to comprehend how intricate and robust is the organization that is really responsible for all this “seeing.” It is an international union formed for the purpose of gaining more power…against the United States. With a little bit of a longer memory, one can see there is more to that story than just President George W. Bush. The hostility against America has roots in it, that go all the way back to this event. This quiet event.

Then came the Year of the Woman. It was part of a global fashion trend. That year, Betty Boothroyd had been elected as the first woman Speaker of the House of Commons in the United Kingdom, and Stella Rimington became the first woman head of MI5, the domestic counterpart to Agent 007’s MI6 international espionage branch. The movie industry continued to assault us with their feeling-over-thought anti-man pap: A League of Their Own; Lorenzo’s Oil; Prelude to a Kiss.

Dan Quayle, technically correct, perhaps even prophetic, but hopelessly tone-deaf, gave a speech on the harm Murphy Brown was doing to our society. It was something we needed to have pointed out, but we weren’t ready for it at the time. Our sense of direction was utterly destroyed by now. Chaos looked like order, women looked like men, cops looked like robbers and robbers looked like cops. When cowardliness led to piles of womens’ dead bodies, we thought the best way to protect our women was to embrace more cowardliness. Murphy Brown’s dysfunction? It looked like function.

As Quayle’s boss faced re-election that fall, the worst debate-question ever was asked by pony-tail guy at the debate in Richmond, VA: “How can we, as symbolically the children of the future president, expect the two of you—the three of you—to meet our needs?” Rush Limbaugh provided more context for the quote here (link requires registration with Rush 24/7):

RUSH: Shall we go back to March 30th, 1993, from my Television Show, I played this sound bite from October 15th of 1992. This was the presidential debate, Perot, Clinton and Bush 41 in Richmond, Virginia.

THE PONYTAILED GUY: The focus of my work is domestic mediation, is meeting the needs of the children that I work with by way of their parents and not the wants of their parents, and I ask the three of you, how can we as symbolically the children of the future president expect the two of you, the three of you to meet our needs?

RUSH: That’s the famous Ponytail Guy from the Richmond debate in 1992. These presidential candidates are our fathers, the president’s going to be our father, and what can we expect from our father, you, to meet our needs?

The irony continued. Dependence was independence.

As the Danjaq/MGM case wound its way through the courts, The Crying Game was released…continuing the irony, women were men. Superman, the defender of Truth, Justice, The American Way, died. Just as well. We had some significant questions about what exactly all three of those were…and at the time we didn’t even realize we had those questions. But Superman just plum ran out of ways to save the day — without offending insecure women with his masculine oppression and what-not. So down he went.

Clinton appointed a whole bunch of women to his cabinet. Had he been seeking the best and the brightest for these important positions, he might have accidentally picked some pretty ones, and that would have been threatening. So he made sure they were all physically unappealing. Reno. Shalala. Albright would come later…and of course later that year Ruth Bader Ginsburg would be nominated and confirmed to the Supreme Court. I don’t wish to be unkind, but these ladies are homely. To doubt that there was an agenda in place to select them that way, is to doubt the evidence of our senses. If you sent me out to find some that look like this, I’d be out there all day long…probably finding none at all, or no more than one. In one of his first acts of office, not quite content with his retroactive tax increase, he passed the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA.

Because as anybody knows, the first step to making the economy stronger is to make it godawful expensive to hire people. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Country music didn’t escape the Age of Dysfunction either. Eilleen Regina Edwards, better known as Shania Twain, released her debut CD. Country Music purists became apoplectic, and the schism helped to channel this seemingly limitless supply of anti-tradition anti-male energy into lifting the nascent career of the gorgeous Shania…whom, apart from that, had no shortage of assets appealing to the male psyche. There was little or no animosity involved in her lyrics, but a darker culture arose to consume her. No bitter, angry single-mom was complete without a cheap little CD player belting out one Shania Twain cut after another. It was all just so fresh…which sounds deceptively positive. Under the roots of it all, was a underlayer of raw, naked animosity toward anything that was traditional, and/or not yet quite as feminized as it might possibly be.

The Supreme Court decided Wisconsin v. Mitchell, signaling the readiness of our modern culture to consider hate-crime legislation. Who exactly is ready for it, nobody is willing to say; for a judicial-branch decision to drive what the legislative-branch is supposed to do, isn’t quite the way things are supposed to work. But work that way it did, as the Supreme Court decided states have latitude in considering motive for a crime in enhancing the penalties for it.

What’s been mostly forgotten is that the Wisconsin decision concerned an assault on a white fourteen-year-old boy, Gregory Reddick, by a gang of black individuals in Kenosha, who had just seen Mississippi Burning. Todd Mitchell asked the group “Do you all feel hyped up to move on some white people?” — Reddick was in the wrong place at the wrong time, and the rest is history.

Todd Mitchell’s penalty was enhanced due to thoughts in his head. The Wisconsin Supreme Court had determined there was something wrong with that, that such an enhancement would have a “chilling effect” on free speech. The Supreme Court overruled, finding “no merit in this contention.” Those are unfortunate words. Penalty enhancements due to thoughts-in-the-head may, with a little bit of trickery, be shoehorned into some functional compatibility with the spirit of our Constitution, or at least with the letter. But “no merit” is a little on the strong side. To say penalties can be enhanced because of free speech exercised, might have a chilling effect on free speech…it does, at the very least, have some merit.

In an act that symbolized exactly what was going on, Lorena Bobbit cut off her husband’s penis and flung it at a stop sign, to fall into a field where it was later retrieved and reattached. Good thing she picked the summer of 1993 as the best time to do it. She was hailed as a feminist hero. The jury found her not guilty by reason of insanity, and after a court-ordered 45-day psychiatric evaluation, she was released.

She got away with it.

And the feminists said she was exactly what they wanted to be. Good for them. I wonder if, in 2008, they have the decency to be embarrassed by that. But it might be a good idea for the rest of us to remember what exactly “feminism” meant fifteen years ago: Cutting off dicks, or wishing you had the guts to do it.

Kim Campbell was sworn in as the first female Prime Minister of Canada.

President Clinton passed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, then went out to the Rose Garden for a photo op as Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin shook hands in a sham peace ceremony. The age of fakery, of built-in irony, of feeling-over-thought, of pretending things weren’t what the cognitive lobes understood them to be…staggered on. Meanwhile, John Wayne Bobbit flirted with porn. It seems he was restored to his potency much more quickly than we were restored to ours.

Sleepless in Seattle assailed our senses, followed closely afterward by the premiere of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Jocelyn Elders was confirmed as our Surgeon General, and the Maastricht Treaty came into effect, forming the European Union.

As Madonna slipped into her Dominatrix outfit, Clinton signed the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act into law, then sent his wife down Pennsylvania Avenue to babble some kind of nonsense at Congress about socialized medicine.

On November 13, Star Trek: The Next Generation had an episode called Force of Nature that nearly killed Star Trek. It was about environmentalism. It turns out, when you take a starship above Warp 5 you do some incremental damage to the fabric of the space-time continuum. At the conclusion of this episode, Starfleet, in its infinite wisdom, imposed a galactic speed limit on all starships, bringing the fictitious age of exploring the “final frontier” to a virtual end.

Another metaphorical event of profound poignancy: Ripping apart the fabric of a space-time continuum, was exactly what was taking place in real life. With manhood, our spirit of exploration was dying. And with that, our fastening to logic and truth. We wanted Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. We wanted the thoughts in our heads to be regulated, while we were told no such thing was happening. With all the exploring done, we just wanted things extra safe…we wanted our Hillarycare universal health plan.

Lani Guinier, the “quota queen,” was nominated as the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights.

Colin Ferguson, accused of killing six passengers and wounding nineteen on the Long Island railroad, employed the black rage defense. His attorneys tried their best to retroactively declare open season on people, but to no avail. He received six life terms. Hey, at least they tried.

Black rage was first proposed by black psychologists William Grier and Price Cobbs in their book Black Rage (ISBN 1579103499). Grier and Cobbs argue that black people living in a racist, white supremacist society are psychologically damaged by the effects of racist oppression. This damage causes black people to act abnormally in certain situations.

Irony continues. The victim has strength, and is to be respected. Inequality is equality.

Since everybody was instantly good and wonderful if they would just let women do things they previously couldn’t, the Church of England began to ordain female priests. Hugh Grant typified his perpetual role as the hapless clumsy “git” in Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Timothy Dalton went on record, announcing his official abdication from the role of James Bond.

Michael Jackson married Lisa Marie Presley. The World Series was canceled, and the FIFA World Cup began in the United States. Enter soccer, exit baseball. But the real insult to the United States was just around the corner: Michael Fay used his American origin as an excuse for spray painting cars in Singapore. You see, we Americans are meek and mild and we’re just not tough enough for that caning punishment they have over there. The skin on our buttocks is especially thin, I suppose. So, you should just let us get away with it. I have a social disease, Officer Krupke! Grasping for the chance to show that chaos is really order and strength is really weakness, President Clinton intervened and bargained the ritual six strokes of the cane down to four.

With our national identity confused, lost, given away, we went through our summer ritual of being buried in annoying, glurgy, anti-male, feeling-over-thought movies. When A Man Loves A Woman. Natural Born Killers. Bad Girls. Blue Sky. Exit to Eden.

Woodstock ’94 commemorated the twenty-fifth anniversary of something that wasn’t really worth the trouble. Hippies smoking dope listening to music having sex in the mud. It was kind of a bust. The hippies had grown up, gotten jobs, mortgages, heads full of gray hair…and some nice suits that couldn’t get muddy.

ER premiered.

Hillarycare was quietly abandoned. We just weren’t going for it…yet.

A new Star Trek movie came out in which Kirk and Picard would appear together. This started lots of Kirk/Picard comparisons…wonderfully entertaining, all of them…but again, metaphorical toward the confusion and dysfunction we felt during these 76 months. The overall trend was that Kirk was more dependable and effective when confronted with a crisis, but Picard was more desirable…for reasons left unstated, or stated only vaguely. His propensity to surrender was thought to be an asset. Again, weakness is strength.

Disclosure came out, asking us to imagine an event in which a woman is guilty of sexual harassment (including an unfortunately ludicrous and silly scene in which Michael Douglas is given a blow job against his will).

We showed some signs of an early bloom in this 330-week winter. We voted in a Republican Congress, and Dr. Elders was finally forced to resign. Peter Jennings said we were having a “temper tantrum.”

When the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City was blown up, they blamed talk radio and angry white men.

Bryant Gumbel, then co-host on the NBC News Today show, reported that “The bombing in Oklahoma City has focused renewed attention on the rhetoric that’s been coming from the right and those who cater to angry white men. While no one’s suggesting right-wing radio jocks approve of violence, the extent to which their approach fosters violence is being questioned by many observers, including the president…”

We were being told what to think and what not to think. But dependence was independence.

Women continued to take on male roles in fiction. One expensive production after another failed, either in the short term or over the long haul, but the producers insisted on believing women could look appealing just by doing manly things. Real entertainment is expensive, after all. And so Hercules had an episode called “The Warrior Princess” which spun off into its own show; “Star Trek: Voyager” premiered. Of the latter, the only draw was that the Captain of the vessel was a woman. Who acted a lot like a man. It was rather painful and boring to watch, but it did endure for seven seasons, the Warrior Princess for six.

In those early days, success was sure to be had so long as the personalities showcased were not straight, white and male. And so 1995 brought in the now-ritual summer of glurgy anti-male-ness and anti-family-ness and anti-thought-ness…Babe, Pocahontas, Boys on the Side, Bridges of Madison County. Copycat, Scarlet Letter. And, let us not forget the Macarena being released. Looking silly is serious business.

Sandra Bullock, in the first movie appearance since she lit up the screen in Speed, embarked on a new rejuvenated career dedicated to chick flicks — with While You Were Sleeping. Funny. Thirteen years later, I have yet to remain awake all the way through that movie.

Nearly three years after Barbara Boxer began her vendetta against him, Sen. Bob Packwood was forced to resign. A few years later, she’d circle the wagons around President Clinton for doing something much worse…I guess inconsistency is consistency. But with Packwood gone, we could talk about women being victims again, especially with Shannon Faulker’s adventures at The Citadel. Victims are strong because weakness is strength.

On November 13, 1995, the 2,313 day winter was finally brought to a thaw as Goldeneye was released. It received two BAFTA nominations and earned $26 million during its opening, the most successful Bond movie since Moonraker.


It should be obvious by now. We had been starved. We had been denied what we, men and women, really want: That old story, the knight-of-the-round-table story. Disaster prevented. Good thing that strong smart resourceful guy was where he was.

Women, somewhere, may be capable of doing what men can do. But there is no fantasy there. Nor do we have any inner lust toward this phony irony, wherein victimhood is strength, femininity is masculinity, unfairness is justice, thought control is freedom, chaos is order, dependence is independence. We know, deep down, all of us, that that’s all crap — we can only snack on it for so long before we get sick of it. Three hundred thirty weeks…it’s far too much to ask of us. Can’t keep it up.

Eventually, we have to return to our programming and our programming has to do with truth, logic, and order. That is what our programming is all about, for our programming has to be consistent with nature. If it were not, we would not be here. And so we like to see a strong masculine figure preventing disaster, for the benefit of people he has never met and never will meet. A man…defusing a bomb. A man…lifting a concrete slab off a baby who is miraculously unharmed. A man…fishing a kitten out of a tree…or shooting a terrorist who was about to wear a dynamite belt to a pizzeria. Men see that, and they feel better about themselves because they want to be that guy; women see that, and they feel better because they understand someone somewhere believes they are worth defending.

What was this long winter, the Dark Age in which James Bond slumbered away, really about?

It was about abjuring reason…for the sole purpose of feeling good…and failing. Once it was over, we felt better than we’d ever felt since it began. Let that be a lesson to us: To plagiarize Franklin, those who disclaim logic, reason and masculine symbiosis for a good feeling and “self esteem,” deserve none of these things and shall ultimately have none of these things.

Men Pay More

Saturday, November 10th, 2007

How the National Organization of Women (NOW) gets total strangers pissed off brings attention to the issue of pay inequity:

Imagine going to McDonald’s and hearing that, because you’re a white male, you pay full price for a Big Mac. Meanwhile, the girl behind you pays three-quarters of the total amount for the same thing.

NOW (National Organization for Women) @ SDSU brought that reality to San Diego State yesterday at the Aztec Center by holding a pay equity bake sale. The prices for cookies reflected the difference of pay between genders and races.

“It’s just to raise awareness,” NOW @ SDSU Co-President Amanda Whitehead said. “A lot of people don’t realize that white women make 75 percent of every dollar a white man makes or Hispanic women make 50 percent. It’s pretty ridiculous. When they actually have to buy the cookies, it puts it into perspective.”

White men, of whom NOW @ SDSU says make the most money of any demographic, were charged a dollar for the same cookie a Hispanic woman would pay 50 cents for. The group broke down the prices for white, Hispanic, black and Asian men and women, using pay scale statistics from NOW and

“It’s a more unique way of showing the differences without just showing the statistics all the time,” NOW @ SDSU Co-President Ashley Frazier said.

Jeanne Sahad of CNN Money, on why the statistic measurements and the ensuing crankiness don’t really work with reality:

Unequal doesn’t always mean unfair. Much depends on the reasons for disparity. And, Hartmann notes, “parsing out (the reasons for the gap) is difficult to do.”

Factors may include: more women choose lower-paying professions than men; they move in and out of the workforce more frequently; and they work fewer paid hours on average.

Why that’s the case may have to do in part with the fact that women are still society’s primary caregivers, that some higher-paying professions require either too much time away from home or are still less hospitable to women than they should be.
But maybe there can never be absolute parity because often there are many non-discriminatory variables that cause a differential in pay. What determines someone’s pay isn’t just a title and job description, but also performance, tenure and market forces — e.g., what it takes to get a desirable job candidate to accept a position.

And then there are situations in which a company may do well by a female employee but still be vulnerable to charges of discrimination and reverse discrimination.

In an article, Warren Farrell, author of “Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap — and What Women Can Do About It,” tells of a company that promoted good women employees faster than men. But consequently the women moving into the higher positions often were paid less than men in the same position because the men had greater tenure at the company.

Bill Maher’s comments on women feeling abused and mistreated by our society…take what you like, leave the rest.

Maher is so sad. His central thesis is not only, as they say, “politically incorrect” but it makes good sense as well. He simply inspects what we’ve been culturally discouraged from inspecting, and he finds, lo and behold, truth. Women are upset at not being treated fairly, they make noise, after a third of a century our society values everything according to the female mindset — women still think they’re being treated unfairly. It’s a great point. But being a whack-a-doodle, he has to tun over some more rocks until he can find something to blame on George W. Bush. It’s like a rule with him. By the time he’s six minutes in, he’s envisioning Clinton’s impeachment trial and the 2000 election as the watershed events — the eye of this hurricane, if you will.

I suppose people could say I’m selectively choosing when to agree with Maher and when not to, based on whether his commentary comports with my prejudices. There would be a kernel of truth in that, but also a kernel of insanity; the first step on the way to it, in fact. Remember — subjective and objective. Maher’s slippage from “political incorrectness for sake of truth,” into “political incorrectness for sake of lunacy,” does not rest on my opinion.

It is measurable.

Bill Clinton stayed in office. Because of the female vote. And mostly because of that, the feminist movement on January 20, 2001, was a shadow of it’s former self on January 20, 1993. And furthermore…struggle as I might to recall year-2000 campaign commercials for George Bush following the theme he’s described, I’m coming up empty. I don’t think they occurred. These are historical events open to no interpretation at all, or very little. And they gut the last two minutes of Maher’s rant like a big sharp Gerber knife gutting a fish.

Other than that, great rant.

The most successful lie arrives bundled in with a kernel of truth. That’s what makes ungrateful women so dangerous and toxic in our society. We do discriminate against women. Everybody does. It’s unavoidable — they aren’t men.

And the truth is, nobody wants it to stop. Women who say they want discrimination to stop, only want to bring an end to discrimination that doesn’t benefit women. All the other stuff, they want to keep in place forever.

And now that the Clinton impeachment thing is behind us, society at large simply isn’t willing to tolerate that. The pay “discrimination” is actually a perfect example of this. It is linked to the role women still enjoy in our society, as primary caregiver of our children. Once it’s recognized that the best way to equalize the pay scales across the gender barrier, is to remove women from that cultural role, to tear down that status symbol — will that be a popular effort? Nobody in their right mind is going to think so.

So what we really have going on here, is an effort to make sure women are more important than men in the office, in the sitcom, and in the real-life home. That’s wildly unrealistic, but on top of that if it starts to succeed, a lot of ladies are going to feel even more overworked than they do right now.

And then you’ll see even more stuff like this:

Last year, a team of researchers added a novel twist to something known as a time-use survey. Instead of simply asking people what they had done over the course of their day, as pollsters have been doing since the 1960s, the researchers also asked how people felt during each activity. Were they happy? Interested? Tired? Stressed?

Not surprisingly, men and women often gave similar answers about what they liked to do (hanging out with friends) and didn’t like (paying bills). But there are also a number of activities that produce very different reactions from the two sexes, and one of these activities stands out: Men apparently enjoy being with their parents, while women find time with their mom and dad to be slightly less pleasant than doing laundry.

Alan Krueger – a Princeton economist working with four psychologists on the time-use research team – figures that there is a simple explanation for the difference. For a woman, time with her parents often resembles work, whether it’s helping them pay bills or plan a family gathering. “For men, it tends to be sitting on the sofa and watching football with their dad,” said Krueger, who, when not crunching data, happens to enjoy watching the New York Giants with his father. This intriguing – if unsettling – finding is part of a larger story: there appears to be a growing happiness gap between men and women.

Are women being victimized? Hell yes they are. Their interests are being represented to society-at-large, by a small coterie of loud angry self-appointed spokespersons, people who can’t ever be made happy.

Thing I Know #52. When angry people make demands, the ensuing fulfillment never seems to bring a stop to their anger.

On The Slang Term “Neocon”

Saturday, October 13th, 2007

There is this word I’m hearing used a whole lot lately. It’s subjected to a gallon of repetitive use, and a half-pint of definition; and, maybe a teaspoon or two of inquiry and inspection when people are willing to admit they’d like to know more about what it means, which from what I can see, is something that hardly ever happens. In short, it seems everybody’s using this word, nobody really has a meaning in mind for it, nor is anyone insisting on one when it’s used. Which is often.

It’s a pejorative term. But it’s a jealous term. It is applied to people who are doin’ good, and due for a come-uppins. It is to be applied to people who have too much to say about how things work, and shouldn’t be able to decide what they’re able to decide.

The White House, and all departments in the executive branch, is supposed to be chock full of people who fit this term that no one’s willing to define.

The term is neoconservative. The slang, shorter version is “neocon.”

I have been wondering about this before; can’t remember when. But as is my typical remedy, I resolved to go to Wikipedia and believe without question every word I find there. Well, the last time I went through this exercise I remember seeing a bunch of antisemitist drivel, or at least, lots of NPOV (Neutral Point-Of-View) description of antisemitist drivel. It seemed to be powered off an association between Norman Podhoretz and the “neoconservative movement.”

I remember thinking how disturbing this continuation was. Antisemites have been receptive to the notion, for centuries, that the Jews are a bunch of dirty so-and-sos who run everything and are due to be taken down a peg. They pop up every generation or so with a new way to make this message appealing…and here in the early 21st century we’ve got some nameless faceless yokels running around calling people “neocons,” with an insinuation that neocons are dirty so-and-sos due to be taken down a peg. So can I look into the term without Godwinning myself? I have doubts now.

It does seem that sympathy for Israel is a defining characteristic of the “neocon.” Nobody has stepped forward and insisted that being a neocon has something to do with being a Jew. But that does seem to be the case. If you’re a neocon, you have to first-and-foremost be a warmonger, but secondly you have to side with Israel against Palestine. Or there’s an expectation you will do this.

Let’s put it this way: If you really are a warmonger but your sympathies are against Israel — let’s say you want to see Hamas drive Israel into the sea — you’ve got quite a long time to wait before anyone calls you a “neocon.” Odds are it won’t happen.

The Urban Dictionary ended up being more helpful than I thought, although I had to read down a little bit to get to the meat of things. And there were a few surprises in store. The first handful of definitions did exactly what the U.D. is supposed to do: Describe what people are intending when they actually use the word out on the street, textbook definitions be damned.

1. neocon

Morally idealistic conservatatives. neocon is short for neo-conservative. Neocons separate themselves from Republicans that are traditionally fiscal conservative.

Slang – Crusading republican.
Slang – Neocons exist separated into two very distinct groups. The largest, group one, are the people below the 99th income percentile. They are religous and/or war-mongering blowhard lemmings who follow the second group; The second group is made up of the top one percent. They cut taxes for themselves, borrow trillions (second term pending), and their behavior is largely the subject of this blog. Of necessity, they pay Rove to pipe tabloid for the Rats. Lemmings rather. Whichever, they both work.
Vlugar – White bible thumping trash.

The draft-dodging neocons running the white house are threatening our future as a great nation.

2. Neocon

Neoconservative. Criminally insane spenders that believe in killing brown people for the new world order. Huge Orwellian government, unfathomable amounts of spending, bomb tens of thousands of people to death to rearrange the globe. Take the worst aspects of the liberal and conservative positions and combine them into one and you would have a NeoCon.

Neocons are the greatest threat to life, liberty and property this country has ever known.

3. neocon

Neoconservative. Originally used to describe left-wingers who crossed the floor, neocons are on the authoritarian right, rather than the traditionally conservative libertarian right. They tend to be very pro-war and adopt the mentality of “We’re better than you and we know it.”

Some more vulgar people call them Neocunts.

“I don’t really like Kerry, but I’d rather see him in power than those horrendous neocons who currently run things!”

I really think I might like definition #6, sub-definition #3 the best…

6. neocon
3: Complete and utter dirtbags of pure, unrefined trash that only look out for their own wealth and contribute nothing to the betterment of man kind.
Worthless. Malignant. Junk.

In an act characteristic of the Nazis, the neocons are now proposing that all people who make less than $50,000 a year be exterminated in concentration camps along with the gays, ethnic peoples and atheists.

So you see, it’s not just a simple pejorative. There is hate locked up in this word. I’m still uncertain about what it’s supposed to say…just as uncertain as I was before, maybe even moreso. The word clearly has racial connotations, targeting people who are white, and insinuating that the persons so targeted are the ones with a racist problem.

And I’m starting to doubt this because whatever agendas are bottled up and being subtly referenced here, they seem to be carried aloft by the people using the term, not so much by the people referenced by the term. “…unrefined trash that only look out for their own wealth and contribute nothing to the betterment of man kind [sic].” That kind of sounds like someone approached the “neocon” with a proposition that involved separating him from his money, and the neocon had the audacity to say no.

I have reasons for wanting to know this. I get called a “neocon” quite often, because…well, as a rational, reasonable and logical freedom-loving American, I want terrorists dead. The more the better. Roll the smoking carcasses on in, get ’em counted and roll in some more. It makes me smile, seeing them dead like that. But I’m willing to be reasonable; if a terrorist should be allowed to live because we might get information out of him that leads to more dead terrorists, I’m all for letting him live. Until we get that information. And verify it. THEN kill him. I dream of the day we’re told, “we just can’t produce any more dead terrorist bodies, because it seems we’ve run out of terrorists.” That would be ideal.

Conventional wisdom says this won’t happen because when you kill a hundred terrorists, you make two hundred more. My response is let’s put that to the test. I’ll bet there’s a point where you run out. Hell, the same people who doubt this about terrorists, are the very same ones saying exactly that about penguins, polar bears, snail darters, trees…etc. etc. etc. We’re constantly accusing ourselves of making things extinct. Let’s be guilty of it in this one case. Find out what’s possible.

This is supposed to make me a “neocon” but…go back and read those definitions again. I’m supposed to want to spend more money. I’m supposed to hate brown people. I don’t care about brownness…white terrorists, green terrorists, purple terrorists. Kill ’em all. And another thing, I’m cheap. Lots of ex-wives & girlfriends will confirm that. I drive an eighteen-year-old car. When it comes to killing terrorists, even, I hope they do it as cheaply as possible. That way they can kill more terrorists.

This doesn’t seem to fit the description. Sometimes I think when people call me this, it doesn’t have to do with my appreciation for mile-high stacks of terrorist carcasses at all. Sometimes it seems to have something to do with my surname. Freeberg. You know the secret here? It’s not a jewish name. It doesn’t even really exist. Watch the first act of The Godfather, Part II, and you’ll see how my grandfather got this name. This was very commonplace at that time. My grandfather went through exactly that office. Albin J. Freeberg and Vito Corleone might very well have been bumping into each other.

So I’m not Jewish, I’m not wild about spending money. But I do love reading about terrorists getting killed. I honestly don’t know if this word applies to me. I need to get it defined to figure out if that’s so.

So getting back to it, you know, this is a very strange word. There is giving information to someone, and there is inviting someone to hop onto a bandwagon. This n-word seems to have a lot more to do with the bandwagon than with the offering of information. It says more about the person using the term than the person described by it. Let’s sit down with what we’ve gathered so far, and try to form a picture about the user and see if we get further. Such a person has utopian tendencies because he resents the “neocons” for “contributing nothing to the betterment.” This suggests anti-capitalist leanings. Powerful ones, albeit timid ones. He doesn’t want to admit what he is. He’s probably a “Pie Person” — someone who believes if one guy got a bigger piece of pie, someone else must have gotten a smaller one. He’s not too crazy about President Bush. For all the diverse viewpoints about what the term means, nobody seems to doubt the President is one — even though the President, himself, is not thought to be Jewish — and that the current administration is crammed full of’em. The user of this term, it seems clear to me, likes non-white people better than white people, to what degree I’m not sure. He’s a pacifist, certainly; of all the traits that are supposed to be criticized when you call someone a “neocon,” the willingness to make war is foremost.

I’m gathering the poor fellow has delusions that something is about to happen. There’s this massive takedown of the neocons looming on the horizon. The word is almost always used to describe people who are in a position of power, and are about to not be anymore. There is this none-too-subtle suggestion that we are living in some kind of Age of Neoconservatism, have been for two or three decades, and are now seeing it’s final days.

Wow, I’m almost describing that stringy-haired homeless guy in all the movies with the sandwich board that says “THE END IS NEAR.”

Beyond that, it starts to get a little tough to shed more light on it. But Definition #15 helped a lot.

15. neocon

A combination of “Neo”(new) and “Con”(conservative).

“Neocon” is the term for both a new and old (reborn) form of Conservativism. A break from the Reublican party and return to more traditional Conservative values. This represents a fracturing of the Right. Neocons tend to be young, idealistic, and even dogmatic activists. They tend to have above-average intelligence and education. They are very similar to the movements of the 1960s, but with different core values. They are both pessimistic about the current system, and optimistic about the difference they can make.

It is difficult to lock Neocons down to a specific set of values, because they come from a wide variety of backgrounds (including minorities and gays) and have a wide variance in their ideals. Overall, Neocons are pro-life and support the death penalty. Many neocons are religious or “spiritual” in one way or another. They are not necessarily Christian, although that is the religion to which most of them subscribe. Neocons preach tolerance and coexistence without political correctness. They tend to strongly support both the First and Second Amendments of the Constitution. Neocons support Capitalism, but view being beholden to corporate interests with great distaste. And while compromise is a necessary evil in politics, when in doubt, neocons will stick to their guns. Too much compromise is the hallmark of selling out. They believe that the current political process has become so corrupt that no politician can get anywhere without selling out to various interests.

Neocons view the increasingly centrist philosophy of Republican politicians with the same distaste that their radically Liberal opponents feel for the Democrats. Both of the Big Two parties have been migrating towards the center for some time now, leaving behind many on either side. This is manifested by the power wielded by third-party candidates, which was decisive in determining the outcomes of the 1992, 2000 and 2004 Presidential elections. (And resulting in much backbiting on either the Left or the Right afterwards)

This is a new age in American politics. The rise of neoconservativism was one of the more unforseen and underestimated political developments in the last two decades. With similar fracturing on the Liberal side of the political divide, the power-hold of the Big Two parties (Republican and Democrat) is being shaken, and voting for a third-party candidate no longer means you are just “throwing your vote away.” The future may be a very interesting time for all of us, Liberal or Conservative.

“The neo-conservatism of the 1980s is a replay of the New Conservatism of the 1950s, which was itself a replay of the New Era philosophy of the 1920s” (Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.).

As for accuracy, I’m inclined to go with a couple morsels scribbled hastily under #17: “Any person who is winning an argument with a liberal,” and “Catch all term used by liberals when they think they’ve been using Nazi too much.”

But let’s get back to Wikipedia, because it seems pretty clear if we can find a textbook definition, that won’t do us very much good compared to a history of how the term came to be. U.D. Def. #15 makes it clear there is a rich legacy to this word.

The language about Norman Podhoretz had been diminished considerably from what I had last seen, but I did find this, and at first I thought it might be a big help:

As a term, neoconservative first was used derisively by democratic socialist Michael Harrington to identify a group of people (who thought they were liberals) as newly simulated conservative ex-liberals. The term stuck because neoconservatives were confused with true conservative.[4]

Now, that’s interesting. One click took me to the Harrington article which explained the following:

…Harrington wrote The Other America: Poverty in the United States, a book that had an impact on the Kennedy administration, and on Lyndon B. Johnson’s subsequent War on Poverty. Harrington became a widely read intellectual and political writer. He would frequently debate noted conservatives but would also clash with the younger radicals in the New Left movements. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Sr. referred to Harrington as the “only responsible radical” in America, a somewhat dubious distinction among those on the political left. His high profile landed him on the master list of Nixon political opponents.[3]

By early 1970s [Trotskyist leader Max] Shachtman’s anti-Communism had become a hawkish Cold War liberalism. Shachtman and the governing faction of the Socialist Party effectively supported the Vietnam War and changed the organization’s name to Social Democrats, USA. In protest Harrington led a number of Norman Thomas-era Socialists, younger activists and ex-Shachtmanites into the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee. A smaller faction associated with peace activist David McReynolds formed the Socialist Party USA.

In the early 1980s The Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee merged with the New American Movement, an organization of New Left veterans, forming Democratic Socialists of America. This organization remains the principal U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International, which includes socialist parties as diverse as the Swedish and German Social Democrats, Nicaragua’s FSLN, and the British Labour Party.[4]

Harrington was appointed a professor of political science at Queens College in 1972; he was designated a distinguished professor in 1988. Harrington died in 1989 of cancer. He was the most well-known socialist in the United States during his lifetime.[5]

So some wild-eyed socialist got us to throw away trillions of dollars on the Great Society program, and came up with this derogatory term for anyone who wasn’t along for the ride. That’s pretty much it. I mean, the history part of it.

But I found out a little more. I’ve got this weird habit with Wikipedia that comes from not quite believing anything I read a hundred percent…I keep clicking on the “Talk” tab. I find it interesting. Harrington’s talk-page had an item of additional interest in it.

An anon editor removed the quote from William F. Buckley to the effect that being the most prominent Socialist is America is akin to being “the tallest building in Topeka Kansas.” I found this kind of an endearing quote and am inclined to restore it. Any discussion?

And I was thinking, that’s Buckley at his finest right there. But say…I wonder…what does the discussion page behind “Neoconservative” look like? Maybe I’ve been going about this all wrong. Maybe that will tell me everything I need to know.

All Those Archives!Well, Good Lord. No wonder the article itself used to have all these interesting things that I can’t find anymore.

“It is simply discourteous to the other editors to make very significant edits without any edit summaries at all to let others know what you are doing with the article…”

“Please dont be so condescending that I have to “learn” to use certain mechanisms…”

“I’m frankly disappointed that you would proceed immediately to re-introduce disputed material without having responded to any of the editors over the past week during which the page was protected.”

“Please stop the nasty personal attacks. Please refer to me–as is basic simple courtesy for any Wiki editor–by my user name. Thanks.”

“God, your awfully thin skinned for someone who styles himself as such a major enemy of “the right”. You really are just a classic cliche of a bully who constantly name-calls whoever you don’t like and is totally emasculated when the tables are turned.”

“Have you tried Viagra? It might make you a more secure editor. Projection indeed! LOL!”

“Why do you so have your panties in a bunch about this Chip?”

“This is just harrassment pure and simple, which is all you know how to do, and yes, I repeat, you are a totalitarian!!!”

“I’m going to request mediation. This article seems desperately to need it.”

And so it goes. As to the actual claim that Harrington originated the term, I was able to pin down that citation and find it online with Google Books…here (chap. 2, pg. 55)…it’s E.J. Dionne opining about things, and to my disappointment there’s no reference or supporting evidence to this. There isn’t even a citation to any specific Harrington work. For all I know, Dionne may be simply opining about Harrington’s authorship itself.

While the New Left was rebelling at liberalism’s left flank, a group of intellectuals who shared some of the New Left’s skepticism began a revolt on liberalism’s right. The revolt of the neoconservatives was far more successful, and they continue to have a powerful impact on American politics.

Neoconservatives initially rebelled against the label neoconservative. They didn’t even invent it; the late Michael Harrington, a democratic socialist, did. Harrington’s intent was to make clear that a group including many who called themselves liberal was in fact a movement of newly conservative ex-liberals. The label eventually stuck because it was so apt — and because over time, so many of the neoconservatives came to accept that they were conservatives after all. By the 1980s, in any event, the term conservative was anything but an insult. Irving Kristol, often described as the movement’s “godfather,” was one of the first to accept the label. He described himslf as “the only living and self-confessed neoconservative, at large or in captivity.” Conceding that political labeling was more a leftist than a conservative craft, Kristol said that conservatives sometims had to live with the handiwork of their foes. “The sensible course, therefore, is to take your label, claim it as your own, and run with it,” Kristol declared. He and his comrades did just that.

Neoconservatism has received so much attention because it was one of the clearest signs of a realignment in American politics. Neoconservatism represented the defection of an important and highly articulate group of liberals to the other side. Precisely because they knew liberalism from the inside, the neoconservatives were often more effective than the old conservatives at explaining what was wrong with the liberal creed. And on many issues, the neoconservatives were right or partly right — and usually interesting even when they were wrong.

Okay, so the word describes Irving Kristol, albeit with his own consent and even with his own participation. The hatred and resentment against those evil Jooooooooos pops up yet again. Well there are other things popping up yet again. As I noted before, neocons have some voice in our policy, a voice thought now to be in the winter of it’s existence. They are Jewish, they are affluent, and what I find to be most telling is that they used to be democrats. Usage of the term says more about the person using it than the person being described by it, so the spirit cloaked under the term is one of loathing, probably resentment over the switchover.

It’s kind of like how Clarence Thomas is loathed much more than Antonin Scalia even though, as far as the persons doing the loathing are concerned, the two justices rule the same way. Thomas is black. He’s thought to be guilty of some kind of betrayal that doesn’t apply to the Italian-American justice. So I guess the only way the Jews can be tolerated by the hard-left democrats, is if the Jews vote the way they’re supposed to…if they “know their place,” you might say.

Once they slither under the barbed wire, peel off that yellow star, and go voting where they aren’t supposed to be voting…they get called “neocons.”

Interestingly, it sounds like a portmanteau involving “neo-Nazi.” If Nazi tendencies have anything to do with this term, they underly the usage of it. It’s a classic case of projection.

There are individuals in mind for this term, and that’s what makes it really unique. It was used specifically to refer to Irving Kristol, as Dionne pointed out; to the extent I can do any of what’s called “research,” it seems formulated more to refer to Podhoretz, at least in the written sources I find. Out on the street, meanwhile, it looks like a reference to Paul Wolfowitz.

In context of the 2008 elections, it is a challenge to the Wolfowitz Doctrine. It invites a debate on this…which would be worthwhile…but it doesn’t really invite debate at all. It smears, it slanders, it gives people instructions about what to think.

It is a word-weapon brandished by socialists. It is a machinery deployed to rope the peacenik hippies, the stoners, the antisemites and the reverse-racists into the big tent of socialism.

These are interesting times, aren’t they?

You call someone a “socialist” and you can take it to the bank, someone’s going to insist on a long, drawn-out debate about the precise meaning of what you just called them, even though it’s unnecessary because it’s pretty well-established what a socialist is. You call someone a “neocon,” and we aren’t supposed to discuss that at all, even though there’s next-to-no agreement about what that word means.

Simply Reprehensible

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

I will not be covering the specimens of democrat ugliness in the days ahead. There is no point. They’re going to be placing impressive quantities of energy on the objective of out-doing each other, seeing who can say the ugliest things about Gen. Petreaus, knowing full well that the second-place winner carries home no prize.

There are people out there blogging so that they have something to do; there are people out there blogging for a living. This ass-race is going to have to be closely tracked, so let them do it. My only contribution, should I choose to undertake such an effort, will be to find something that once-upon-a-time strikes me as particularly odious, highlight it, and then within a matter of hours see that specimen knocked out of the “Ass Hall of Fame” by something much worse.

I will take one lap around that track, though.

Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez, D-California, hat tip to Hugh Hewitt…video behind the link…

Not to be outdone on the outrage scale by her South Florida colleague, Bob Wexler, Orange County, California’s Sanchez, the very last person in the House of Representatives that you would expect to be invited to a gathering of Mensa, concluded the Joint House hearing with General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker.

Of all the things she could focus on, she asked a question about the facts on the ground versus an ABC News/BBC poll that better supports the Democrats’ view that there is nothing good to be found in Iraq as long as George Bush has anything to do with it.

Note that after she finally gets around to her question, she directs the poll question to Ambassador Crocker, who cites the statistics he knows. Sanchez interrupts and drops the insinuation that General Petraeus is manipulating the numbers in Iraq, essentially lying in his report, he numbers in his report, saying “and General Petraues will know what I mean by that.”

Later in her presentation, dripping with condescension, she slags the entire Iraqi population as saying we are the only good thing happening in their economy.

She is an idiot. And it is pretty well known even in the House of Representatives that she is an idiot. And idiots being able to prosper and rise to the level of being able to ask questions of four-star generals in time of war is one of the things that is truly remarkable about this country. But no one likes a condescending idiot. It may be fair to say that when compared to the 160,000 men and women under General Petraeus’ command, Congresswoman Sanchez may rank in the 2nd percentile in intelligence.

But make no mistake, Sanchez, like Bob Wexler, like, like the Code Pink protestors, like the Democrats in the Senate who were silent today when they should have been renouncing the New York Times ad today, does not hold the military in anything but contempt.

So that’s your baseline. Just dis-gus-ting…and it’s going to get worse from there.

I’m not the first to say this and I won’t be the last. There are not enough hours in the week for me to fulfill my civic duty by providing all the scrutiny I should be providing, toward these legislative houses. From what I can see, I do not have what it takes to serve there, or to be in one of the chambers for five minutes. That is NOT a compliment.

Every time I see one of these clips, ever since the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, my confidence in government sags. House…Senate…it makes no difference. I wouldn’t be able to adapt to this in any way, and anybody who can, I don’t want them running so much as a hot dog stand. Let alone a country.

The democrats are supposed to represent the people. That is supposed to be their schtick. Demos…Greek…”people.” From what I can see, Congress is in this downward spiral because of opinions being advanced without fact — opinions manufactured to appeal to certain advocacy groups, and not to the people. Opinions woven together, not for the purpose of logically engaging other opinions, but to bully and intimidate and cudgel anyone who might advance a different opinion.

That is not representing The People. That is representing advocacy groups. When the democrats do this, they defeat the only deliverable they can promise to us when they try to win elections. They’re supposed to pull us out of military theaters prematurely and let Al Qaeda take the place over, tax the snot out of us and take away our guns — so that The People can get some representation in government. Yeah. Well try this. Be a “people” and write a letter to your democrat Congresswoman or Senator, telling him or her you really wish that representative’s position on an issue was different, and politely exploring the reasons why.

You get back a form letter.

Whoever disagrees with them about what should be done, doesn’t count. Whoever offers facts confounding theirs, is a liar. Period. End of story. Hellllooooooooo, Republican campaign organizers and ad designers. Your work is being done for you. Next year should be looking like 1994, or else you need to be finding a different line of work. There’s no reason to be losing against these people. None.

Tortured Debate

Monday, August 27th, 2007

Alberto Gonzales has resigned from his post as U.S. Attorney General, as Charles Krauthammer and I thought he should’ve a long time ago.

This makes me think about something:

I was on a thread somewhere and I got into a bit of a dust-up with some rabid left-wingers on the torture thing. I was pointing out something no different from what I had pointed out in other places, before: I’m not completely sold on the idea that this is “wrong,” and I find it deceptive to lump “humiliation” together with the stuff that comes to mind when you use the T-word. Namely, bodily mutilations, fire and steel. I don’t see these as the same thing and I don’t think there are very many people, at all, who see them as the same thing. To pretend these are on the same footing, in any way, is fundamentally dishonest.

And in my assessment of the argument, the “Torture Is Wrong” doctrine depends completely on those two things being the same. Once you acknowledge they’re different, you realize something: This really is all about de-fanging the United States. It’s about making sure we can’t do anything to win the war, besides getting shot at. Just because a lot of “Torture Is Wrong” people aren’t after that, doesn’t mean there’s some other motive behind it. There isn’t. It’s about emboldening one side of this war, by putting the other side — us — on a short leash, and letting them do whatever they want.

Now, this argument doesn’t have much currency. In the dust-up in which I lowered myself to participating, the left-wingers expressed their horror at my different ideas so all the other left-wingers could see them doing it, and that was the end of it…in short, they argued from personal incredulity…

…but my argument doesn’t have currency outside of left-winger-land, either. People, to their credit, are generally very keen on the idea that governments are corrupt and it’s up to the people represented by those governments, to straighten them out and keep them straightened out. This is a noble goal. Of course, the immature mind is selective about this; he is more receptive to this when the party opposed to his, is the one in power. In other words, the dullard falls prey to the “My guy is okay, the other guy is messed up” mindset.

That’s where our left-wingers are coming from right now. The other guy is in power…so now, the government can do bad things. Alert Mode On. Once a “good guy” is in the White House, we can get back to worrying about confiscating guns, images of Moses in courthouses, price-gouging in the kids’ cereal market, not enough blacks on cable TV sitcoms, and are the taxpayers paying enough that Grandma can buy medicine and dog food for her dinner. And naturally, if any of these problems go unsolved — and trust me, all of them will remain essentially unchanged, no matter how much time is spent solving them — it won’t reflect poorly on that “good guy” in charge. He’ll be “trying.” It’ll be like the nineties all over again.

But for those of us who want the United States to win the war, one issue remains. I’m not sure what you can do to get information out of a “detainee,” if 1) Torture is wrong, and 2) Torture includes everything less-than-comfortable. What then? You’d have to just sit around waiting for him to feel talkative, wouldn’t you? I mean, what else is there?

Well, it turns out this was prophetic. Now that a successor will have to be nominated for Gonzo, we’re about to be dragged through the torture debate. The newspapers and the cable television and the alphabet-soup-network commentators have their own ideas — make that “idea” — about the angle on this story. As usual, the bloggers have a more interesting, enlightening, and multi-point perspective on the issue. Simply put, we have a few more questions about it.

I wish to contribute my own questions to the discussion. The question I thought of since the dust-up was:

What if we were to abolish torture, and not tell anybody?

You see, over the years I’ve noticed something about people. When they say “you shouldn’t do X” and the only answer they can provide as to why, is “because X is wrong” — they typically don’t give a rat’s ass whether or not X continues to be done or not. What they really want, is to be seen intoning to someone that X ought not be done because X is wrong. They’re performing. Style over substance. So my question is…what if we were to do exactly what they want, but only on the layer that deals with substance?

What if the world were to continue to believe we were torturing people, and meanwhile, behind the scenes, we didn’t do it? What if someone were to be completely deserving of the credit of making us stop torturing people…but not get any of the credit for stopping us? That would be like going to the golf course alone and getting a hole-in-one with nobody around to see. But if it’s about right-and-wrong, that’d be okay wouldn’t it?

Granted, this would violate the Living With Morgan Rule #1, in which, deploring false accusations, once I’m accused of something I want to be guilty of doing it. But leaving that aside. Suppose the world community is left to conclude we’re waterboarding these guys and subjecting them to the batteries-in-a-pillowcase debriefing sessions. But meanwhile, behind the scenes all we do is wait hand and foot on Ahmed and Muammar like waiters in some five-star restaurant…all day long, and then the next day we do it again. If they want to talk, we listen. If not, we serve up another banana-nut muffin and make sure there’s a good selection between grape jelly and orange marmalade.

Now, would that be okay? I mean, we wouldn’t be doing anything “wrong”; just, a lot of folks would be laboring under the misconception that we are.

I would have to expect, realistically, my plan wouldn’t get a lot of takers. It would, however, have a unifying effect on those who place more importance on reality itself, than the popular perception of that reality. Those on the “right wing” would rightfully conclude I’d be throwing in the towel on the prospect of getting any information out of these guys. They’d say, as a direct result of this, people will die. I don’t have any information that would contradict this; I don’t think anyone else does either. And those on the “left wing” who ought to be celebrating at our government somehow becoming “ethical,” would doubtless find something else that isn’t up to snuff, and start complaining about that.

Of course, for those who are concerned about image, by design the situtation would remain unchanged. I expect they’d go on and on about polls, and disapproval, and international-community this and we are seen that.

I would expect something else, though.

A lot of substance-over-image left-wingers, would hop the turnstyle. They’d start to worry more about image of what’s going on, than about what’s actually going on. I mean, that’s the part of it that would still suck…so they’d simply change what they find important.

At this point, let’s end the mental exercise. It has achieved what it was tossed out to accomplish. The torture debate has nothing to do with what is actually happening; it has to do with the public image of what is happening. It’s all about perceptions. Let me repeat: The debate is ALL about perceptions. It has butkus to do with reality.

When people say “we should not torture because it is wrong,” what they really mean is “we should not torture because it can be presented as being wrong” or “we should not torture because I can get lots of people agitated over the idea that it is wrong.”

Torture really being wrong, has nothing to do with it. That’s why nobody’s going to stick their neck out and sign on to the idea that “if we stop torturing people we will become noble.” Nobody’s saying that, and nobody will say that.

But they’ll sure as hell say the opposite. They’ll say “people despise us because we torture,” even though they’ll never say “people will start liking us if we don’t torture.”

So their argument is lacking in substance, because it isn’t about substance. It isn’t supposed to be. This is why my “solution” wouldn’t be any solution at all. It fixes the substance while leaving the image unchanged…in what is essentially a public-relations issue.

But the P.R. guys don’t have a solution either. Before we started arguing all over the world about torture, we were arguing all over the world about the invasion of Iraq. How many people do you know who have negative feelings toward the United States over this torture issue, who didn’t have negative feelings against the United States about going into Iraq before we started arguing about the torture issue? I mean, count everybody — people you know, public figures, celebrities…can you think of anyone? I can’t think of a single person.

It’s not exactly a hot news item when liberals and democrats rally around an issue that is phony. This one has captured the mainstream, what you might call the “heartland.” It’s easy to understand why, because who wants to be strapped to a waterboard? It doesn’t seem very appealing. But when you dissect this issue, it turns out, surprisingly, to be more phony than most others. The substance-angle is nonexistent, and the style-angle is ineffectual and goes nowhere. It’s just a talking point in circulation among America’s enemies — those who fight us overtly, and those who insist they’re “patriotic” but never seem to have a kind word to say about the country.

Of course it is an effective talking-point, and it is around, posing problems for us, because of our actions. But since bringing a stop to those actions — in style, as well as in substance — wouldn’t make anything any better, I’d like our senators to do a good job explaining to us why they’ll be debating it, before they do so debate it. I’d like to see them do an excellent job justifying this. I have strong doubts they’ll even perform an adequate one.

Mad As Hell

Tuesday, March 13th, 2007

Grrrr!Olby keeps a copy of the monologue from Network on his iPod. Yes, that monologue. Brags about it, even. But you knew that already, didn’t you?

Olbermann’s rants, which he quaintly labels “special comments,” are filled with sound and fury. His wrath is genuine, he says, never simulated.

Still, for inspiration, Olbermann keeps in his iPod a clip of the famous “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore” speech by Peter Finch’s crazed anchorman Howard Beale from the 1976 film Network.

“In madness, Beale was expressing some great truth,” he muses. “It was beautifully written, eloquent, forceful. Anger as a means of expressing truth resonates with me.”

So…what’ll it take to make this guy happy? And if there isn’t anything, then what’s the point of listening to him?

Thing I Know #52. When angry people make demands, the ensuing fulfillment never seems to bring a stop to their anger.