Monday, May 21, 2018


Sometimes I just want to get these things in the record in case some of our survivors are intelligent and want to know where it all went wrong:

You may think the editors made it look worse than it is, but uh uh: National Review's Clay Routledge does in fact think we lavish too much affection on animals. He quotes pet insurance statistics and marvels that "there are now even dog spas and resorts" -- not like in the old days, when Grandpa cut open Ole Blue so he could climb inside and get warm during a blizzard!

You may be wondering why Routledge gives a shit, considering that many of National Review's donors probably spend more on yacht maintenance and monkey-gland infusions than us peons spend on pets. The reason is revealed when he gets to the now-traditional Attack on Avocado-Toast-Munching Millennials:
A 2017 survey found that 33 percent of first-time home-buying Millennials say that finding a better space or yard for their dogs influenced their decision to buy a home, while only 25 percent cited marriage or plans for marriage and only 19 percent cited the birth or expected birth of child.
Routledge is clearly trying to engender panic among his geezer subscribers over the decline of white baby births. The young'uns are all crazy about fur-children, like frustrated spinsters in old movies, and it ain't nachurul! And why?
I’d like to focus on two specific possibilities, both of which implicate the individualistic nature of contemporary American culture.
Individualism -- that cursed legacy of the godless Enlightenment!
In our individualistic culture, we often privilege self-esteem over characteristics such as responsibility, loyalty, duty, and sacrifice. We also coddle children and teens to protect them from the social risks and emotional pains of life. But doing so is not without its costs. By teaching our kids to focus primarily on their own happiness, we may be failing to convey that life’s most meaning-providing and socially-fulfilling goals are often stressful, can make us temporarily unhappy, and require concession.
So if you're nice to your dog, and maybe prefer his company to, say, Clay Routledge's, it means you're an emotional cripple -- unable to bond with humans. This is, on its face, horseshit -- I know many people who love their pets and are also good with people, and I bet you do too. But if you're a conservative peddling Our Fallen World narratives, the usual go-to outrages like Rap and Socialism get wearisome and one has to find new things to bitch about.

Also, there's just something so natural about conservatives attacking people for showing unconditional kindness and compassion toward other living creatures.

(P.S. Believe it or not, this isn't the first article like this I've discovered: See my consideration of the Federalist essay, "Having Pets Instead Of Kids Should Be Considered A Psychiatric Disorder." That one's a little long on blood-'n'-soil, as Federalist essays tend to be.)


...about conservative reactions to the Santa Fe shooting, which to my practiced eye betray a falling-off in commitment; it's as if you can see, like a palimpsest over each Second Amendment love letter, the faint inscription, "Look, you know it's bullshit, I know it's bullshit, but business is business."

There's plenty of stupid to go around, but among the outtakes I give extra credit to Hot Air’s Karen Townsend, who not only defended Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick's door-blaming ("He’s right – two or three guards can’t be at all doors at all times"), but also offered her readers this silver lining in the cloud of blood:
Though some of the usual voices came forward to politicize this tragedy, it should be noted that the aftermath of the Santa Fe High School shooting unfolded differently than the one in Parkland, Florida. None of these students were coming forward to be used as the new spokespeople for the gun-grabbing left.
Ten dead, but at least they didn't make a fuss about taking one for the team.

Thursday, May 17, 2018


Sometimes it's just good to shut out all the jibber-jabber and look at the situation as if we were all still normal people.

Trump's at one of his stupid events and some sheriff mentions MS-13; Trump, doing the usual stream-of-semiconsciousness slurring he does whenever foreigners of a certain hue are mentioned, says something absurdly offensive. Times being what they are, I have to reproduce the relevant section -- not for the Trumpkins who are deaf to evidence, but just to remind you and me what actually happened:
SHERIFF MIMS: Thank you. There could be an MS-13 member I know about — if they don’t reach a certain threshold, I cannot tell ICE about it. 
THE PRESIDENT: We have people coming into the country, or trying to come in — and we’re stopping a lot of them — but we’re taking people out of the country. You wouldn’t believe how bad these people are. These aren’t people. These are animals. And we’re taking them out of the country at a level and at a rate that’s never happened before. And because of the weak laws, they come in fast, we get them, we release them, we get them again, we bring them out. It’s crazy.
The meaning is not really in dispute. We can't even say that it would be different if someone other than Trump said it, because if someone other than Trump said it and it were pointed out to that person what it sounded like, unless that person were a Nazi or the near equivalent, he or she would attempt to explain themselves and probably be slightly embarrassed that he or she had allowed themselves to be so disgracefully misapprehended.

But instead wingnuts screamed that Trump meant only MS-13, for what else could a sensible person like Trump mean, and in fact the Real Outrage is that liberals are supporting MS-13. The first proposition is asserted by replacement-level douchebags like this --

-- and the even further-out secondary proposition is asserted by Times-endorsed "cool kid philosophers" and Intellectual Dark Websters (you know, morons) like this --

In response the mainsteam media falls all over itself to appease and agree, yes, the President could not possibly have meant what it sounded like he said; and Trump lopes a hammy arm around the neck of the mainstream media and says oh, yeah, right, I meant that other thing.

I'm never a fan of the 11-dimension-chess POV where natural reactions are treated like Machiavellian gambits, notwithstanding this has become everyone's default POV in the Age of This Is Why Trump Won. And in this case, in which you have a million wingnuts screaming not only that Trump would never slander immigrants (when that is self-evidently most of his shtick and his appeal) but also that liberals are in favor of MS-13, I think it makes even more sense to step back and try to imagine: What would a normal person -- of which we have millions more in the country than political obsessives, thank God -- think about this? Would he or she really look at Trump, who's been what he's been, and the Democrats, who've been what they've been, and think: You're right, Trump's just being fair and the Democrats are openly supporting Latin American drug gangs?

If you first reaction is to say that's exactly what they think, that's an understandable mistake -- the mainsteam media is so far up Trump's ass that it daily, unthinkingly disseminates the impression that Trump is normal and all America is one big Trump rally. But neither the vote totals nor the poll numbers support this -- and neither does my, nor your, experience of ordinary people -- and I don't just mean (though I certainly don't exclude) academics and intellectuals and public union employees, but also carpenters and crossing guards and waitresses and landscapers, and other folks who are not included among the caricatures of American voters we read about in the major newspapers that tell us the Real Americans spend all days siting in Pennsyltucky diners telling New York Times reporters how Obama let the Ordinary Diner-Sitting American down -- notwithstanding that Democrats have been flipping dozens of Congressional seats since Trump got in.

In other words, the American People may not agree with you on everything, but that doesn't make them dumb -- and certainly not as dumb as wingnut crackpots want you to believe they are. So don't you believe it. Hold fast, have faith, tell the truth, and shame the devil.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


That lady who called the cops on that black-people picnic in Oakland, got embarrassed, and cried, was pretty funny/sad, as have been the associated photoshops. But a man of God has asked that we spare a thought for the lady who called the cops -- the internet can be cruel, he says, and she must be suffering from all the negative attention, so let us HA J/K IT'S ROD DREHER so of course his brief pretense of Christian charity is really just a gimmick to get you to listen to how scared of black people he is:
Here’s a story: We lived in an apartment complex not too long ago. There were three young unmarried guys living in the flat above ours. They would get loud on the weekend. We decided that being good neighbors meant that we should put up with the banging and hooting until 10pm, but not after that, because that was bedtime. The first few occasions we went up to ask them to knock it off, they were nice about it. But then they got obnoxious, usually after they had been drinking. Finally one night, after multiple attempts to ask them to stop, we had to call the apartment security people. We didn’t want to be those neighbors, but they left us no choice.

The difference is that those bad neighbors were causing actual harm, yelling and banging on the floor and playing loud music until late in the night. The people grilling in the park were not harming Barbecue Griper one bit. Still, had the jerks upstairs been three young black guys, not white guys, I wonder if I would have said anything to them at all, for fear of them turning it into a racial confrontation. If I had called apartment security on them, like I eventually did with the white guys, after they ignored our repeated requests to stop banging on the floor, etc., would they have confronted me in the parking lot with a smartphone camera, calling me a racist, and distributing it to social media, and turning me into a racist pariah?
Too bad about that lady, but the real victim is Brother Rod who is persecuted in his fantasies by race-card-wielding black revelers who are much worse than the actual white people who gave him a hard time.

Later in the column Dreher yells at Ta-Nahisi Coates, as one does, then gives us one of his patented "Reader" "Letters" in which some guy says that first, "This lady is NOT white. It is clear to me from her facial features and body type that her racial and ethnic background is mixed " -- trust him, he's spent a lot of time on these things! -- and barbecues in Oakland are a fire hazard ("Oakland Hills fire of 1991 anyone? Google images. I survived it") and "people regularly, openly and brazenly break the law in Oakland and asking them 'nicely' to desist DOES NOT WORK" -- you Rod Dreher readers all know what he means and if you don't, he inevitably makes it clear:
Oakland, especially the area around Lake Merritt, is in a state of complete lawlessness. And no one cares. In fact, the lawlessness is celebrated as a kind of teenage, immature, passive aggressive rebelliousness. You can’t tell me what to do! Especially if you’re white – because that’s, you know, intrinsically racist. Their sad battle cry…..
It's the old story: I'm a white guy who has lived among the savages, and Breitbart says liberals all live in white places, so take it from me, they're sub-human. It's only a matter of time before Dreher moves his blog to Stormfront.

Monday, May 14, 2018


...about Bari Weiss' Intemallectual Dork Web, and all the wingnuts rushing to tell us that if we don't see how cross-partisan and free-thinking this passel of cranks and crackpots was, we're  intolerant and This Is Why Trump Won etc.

That Weiss column shook loose an avalanche of bullshit, for which I had not nearly room enough in the column, but I must make special mention of the New York Times' follow-ups -- first, Michelle Goldberg defending Weiss from a really unique perspective: Goldberg reveals she was “red-pilled” by seeing Israelis persecuting Palestinians in Hebron, and considers her “transformation not unlike the one my colleague Bari Weiss described in her recent article on what’s been called the ‘Intellectual Dark Web'...” Surprisingly, the Dark Web guys haven't rushed to thank her for this, and poor Goldberg now has to worry about being snubbed at the  good parties by Eli "Check The Ratio" Lake.

Worse still is Gerard Alexander's "Liberals, You’re Not as Smart as You Think" rewrite of his 2010 Washington Post essay. It's every whining cliche about mean liberals turning poor, mush-brained Republicans into Trump monsters, but what's most annoying is the sloppiness of his accusations: First he claims liberals have "a lot of power to express values, confer credibility and celebrity and start national conversations that others really can’t ignore" -- which doesn't sound like "power" so much as that they're the kind of "chattering class" conservatives normally like to deride as irrelevant  -- then says "but this makes liberals feel more powerful than they are," which maybe he measured with a Liberal Feelsmeter but forgot to share the data with his readers. It's like a little Strawman Punch and Judy show.

Speaking of shit that would be unrecognizable to people who live in the real world, Matthew Continetti hops fully aboard the Cultural-Marxism nutwagon:
A renascent Marxism competes with, and to a large extent has been subsumed by, the ideology of multiculturalism and its attendant identity politics. 
It is this ideology and politics that have captured America's most prestigious intellectual, cultural, and media institutions. The university, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and increasingly formerly "neutral" and "objective" platforms such as the New York Times and the Atlantic have come under the sway of racial and sexual dogmas and attitudes that brook no disagreement.
Republicans literally control the federal and most state governments, but in Continetti's Kampfire story liberals actually run everything through movies and college. If Continetti were circulating this conspiracy theory about real people, he'd have been involuntarily committed by now. (N.B. No, this is not a threat made from my exalted position as a big wheel in America's most prestigious intellectual, cultural, and media institutions.)

Friday, May 11, 2018


Everyone's crazy for the latest member of the Intellectual Dark Web, napping black-woman monitor Sarah Braasch!
The woman who called 911 to report that a Yale University student was taking a nap in a graduate student dorm has a history of making racially charged statements, and had also previously called police on another African American graduate student in the same building... 
According to Braasch’s Yale biography, she is currently pursuing her fifth degree, an MA in philosophy, to “address the sub-human legal status of the world’s women at the source.” However, a trawl through some of her previous writings reveals some troubling examples of racist dogma. In a 2010 post for the blog Humanist, Braasch brags about how she won a middle school debate on the pros and cons of slavery — while on the side advocating it.
“I led our team to victory,” she wrote. “The pro-slavery contingent defeated the abolitionists because, in a democracy, in the land of the free, who are we to tell people that they can’t be slaves if they want to be?” Braasch goes on to mention that she is a “vehement opponent of hate crime legislation.”
I know what you're thinking -- someone has to take the bad side in debate club, and even though the members who get a liiiitttle too excited about defending slavery tend to be, um, of a certain personality type, there's no reason to assume that --
Be Careful What You Wish For (Why I Hate Hate Crimes Legislation, But I Love Hate Speech)
Never mind. More from Braasch's 2011 Pantheos posting:
I saw a woman in niqab on the UC Berkeley campus the other week. I was shocked. I didn’t approach her. I didn’t speak to her. She was with two other women in hijab, on the opposite side of a wide walkway. 
But, I was shocked. And, appalled. Here was a woman (or, at least, I assume she was a woman), in the heart of what is arguably the most politically liberal university campus and city in the US, a fount for civil rights and 60’s hippie culture, engaging in a brazen act of gender segregation and slavery in the egalitarian public space of a secular, liberal, constitutional, democratic republic...
Yeah, that's what I think when I see a Catholic nun in a habit. "You're as guilty as your oppressor!" I think, and I want to rip the slave cowl from her head, revealing the luxuriant hair underneath. I've never had the guts to do it but, like this brave free speech warrior, I can share my brilliance with you on the Intellectual Dark Web (or would if the New York Times, Washington Post et alia would publish me), which is what really counts.
For the rest of my life, if I should ever get into any kind of a dispute or altercation with anyone who claims to be Muslim, I could conceivably be prosecuted for a hate crime. My vehement anti-religion, and especially anti-Islam, ramblings on facebook, my personal blog, the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s website, and Daylight Atheism could be used against me in a court of law.
Well, one can always hope. Then she'd really be in solid with the Dork Web! Up next: A Twitter goon who likes to tell Democrats they're the real racists -- while calling himself Stonewall Jackson! The woods are full of free-speech warriors -- Bari Weiss will never want for copy!

Thursday, May 10, 2018


I'm an old fart and in many ways think like one; I am pleased, for example, when Pedro Martinez bitches about pitchers who save their pwecious widdle arms with short starts. Sure, the world and the game have both changed, but I'm an old fart, dammit, and there's not much left for me except the prospect of withering death, Gold Bond Medicated Powder, and the right to complain!

But I tell you, boys and girls: While I at first found the prospect of music and movie stars doing the Vatican drag at the Met Gala a tiny bit embarrassing -- not so much for the Church, though I am ex-Cath, as for the Met (since it's charging the little people more money to get in, I feel it shouldn't be glamming so hard) -- I was talked out of it pretty quick by all the wingnuts screaming sacrilege. Of course no one was more protective of the Mother Church than religion-hopper Rod Dreher, who starts by suggesting that one reason he became Catholic was the stink-eye he got from an old priest when he tried to touch him up for some old vestments for Halloween; the priest's "visibly shocked" refusal was "teaching me something about sacredness," says Dreher -- no doubt that it's a powerful weapon to use against the psychologically crippled.

And now we have rappers wearing mitres! Look, says Dreher, here are some dirty lyrics from a dirty, dirty Rihanna song: "Sticks and stones may break my bones/But chains and whips excite me." Gasp! Normally one only finds such disgusting sentiments on greeting cardsaprons and coffee mugs.

But Ross Douthat manages to top him: The Gala, he muses, is the fault of Vatican II.
It was the church’s own leadership that decided, in the years following the Second Vatican Council, that the attachment to the church as culture had become an impediment to the mission of preaching the gospel in the modern world. It was the leadership that embraced a different approach, in which Catholic Christianity would seek to enter more fully into modern culture, adopting its styles and habits — modernist and even brutalist church architecture, casual dress, guitar music...
And these concrete cathedrals and folk masses took the majesty out of the Magisterium:
The secular culture welcomed the church’s Protestantization and demystification and even secularization, praised the bishops and theologians who pursued it, and then simply pocketed the concessions and ignored the religious ideas those concessions were supposed to advance. Meanwhile, that same secular world maintained a consistent fascination, from “The Exorcist” down to, well, the Met Gala, with all the weirder parts of Catholicism that were supposedly a stumbling block to modernity’s conversion…
See, the plebes still go for that disused liturgy and pomp -- 'member when everybody bought that "Chant" record? And this, Douthat says, shows an opportunity for Churchy wingnuts:
Thus the only plausible approach for Catholicism is to offer itself, not as a chaplaincy within modern liberalism, but as a full alternative culture in its own right — one that reclaims the inheritance on display at the Met, glories in its own weirdness and supernaturalism, and spurns both accommodations and entangling alliances (including the ones that conservative Catholics have forged with libertarian-inflected right-wing political movements).
The future of conservatism: Bells, smells, and incels! I wonder whether Dreher or Douthat or any of the other crabby cons have considered even for a minute that what they're promoting is basically a fetish, and that what they appear to love about the Church has nothing to do with Jesus (the world's first SJW, after all) and everything to do with grandeur and power of a sort promoted by Donald Trump -- he's into all-gold stuff, too.

Tuesday, May 08, 2018


I have been writing for years about the Conservative Mood Swing -- a syndrome whereby conservatives lurch between triumphalism and victimhood: On the one hand, declaring themselves the avatars and theirs the true faith of America -- the current shorthand for this being the paternoster "This is why Trump won," and references to far-right beliefs as "center-right" and moderate-left beliefs as "far left"; on the other, declaring themselves pathetic victims of an all-powerful Left. It's how they manage to simultaneously stroke their yobbo fans, who get pissy and fall off the bandwagon if they're not constantly assured that They Are The Champions, and work the refs in the press with spectacular flops on the pitch.

Speaking of which, here's Bari Weiss at the New York Times about that "Intellectual Dark Web" that all the kids (i.e., none of them) are talking about:
Here are some things that you will hear when you sit down to dinner with the vanguard of the Intellectual Dark Web: There are fundamental biological differences between men and women. Free speech is under siege. Identity politics is a toxic ideology that is tearing American society apart. And we’re in a dangerous place if these ideas are considered “dark.”
Weiss then tells us about "I.D.W." machers like Ben Shapiro and Jordan Peterson who, despite the alleged siege upon their free speech, have enjoyed tons of mainstream attention -- see Shapiro lauded as "the cool kids' philosopher" by yet another Timeswoman, and plenty of Peterson puffery at the Washington Post. The less-well-known, like Christina Hoff Sommers, are equally awful but have yet to find that sure-fire gimmick that will launch them into the stratosphere. (Sommers did work her act in the Milo road show, but that one closed out of town).

Speaking of too-late regrets, near the end of the thing Weiss notes many of these guys actively court the yowling mobs of Alex Jones, Mike Cernovich et alia, and she even seems to dimly perceive that their contrarian shtick is essentially right-wing -- but plays it off as something they probably don't realize they're doing 'cuz it's psychomological:
One risk is what Eric Weinstein has called “audience capture.” Since stories about left-wing-outrage culture — the fact that the University of California, Berkeley, had to spend $600,000 on security for Mr. Shapiro’s speech there, say — take off with their fans, members of the Intellectual Dark Web may have a hard time resisting the urge to deliver that type of story. This probably helps explain why some people in this group talk constantly about the regressive left but far less about the threat from the right.
Sure, that's it -- the crowd liked when I beat up that hippie, so I had to find some more and beat them up too, I'm just givin' 'em what they want. Plus the Dorkwebsters mostly have anti-Trump alibis -- "There are a few people in this network who have gone without saying anything critical about Trump, a person who has assaulted truth more than anyone in human history,” says Sam Harris, in much the same way less refined but similarly duplicitous wingnuts constantly go I'm no Trump voter but [Trump position here].

The whole thing is obviously contrarian cover for bigots who have heretofore been shy about asserting their obnoxious beliefs. But I have to tell them: A dork in a Harry Potter costume is still a dork.