“White People Problems“ is a loaded term that combines a facetious reference to white privilege with the accusation that we”re all pampered ingrates. Never mind that about half of America’s poor are white. Well, I”m not even remotely poor but I am white and I have problems, too. I”m overweight. I drink too much and like all white people, I”m constantly outraged. Seeing a school bus go through a red light or catching someone not picking up their dog shit can ruin my whole day. I actually have a lot of white people problems. For example…
1. I CAN”T GET MY GOLF SWING STRAIGHT
I have no problem hitting a ball 200 yards, but it always veers to the right at the last second. This means I”m in the trees every second hole and spend half my game trying to find the ball. I”ve tried correcting it with different stances, but a curve is a curve and the only thing that seems to straighten it is switching to one of those gigantic women’s drivers that looks like a salad bowl. It feels like cheating to use a club like that and I can”t enjoy my game if I feel like I”m cheating.
2. TURKEYS ARE DESTROYING MY LAWN
I hate these fuckers with a passion and every Thanksgiving I give thanks we”re about to eat a dead one. Turkeys get into my beautifully manicured lawn and uproot big clumps looking for grubs until it looks like I”ve been practicing my terrible swing all over it. I”m hoping a few months of snow will even it out, but I have a bad feeling I”m going to spend the majority of the spring patching holes again.
3. I FIND RAP MUSIC OFFENSIVE
My generation grew up with lyrics such as, “The peas are mushed/And the chicken tastes like wood,” but I just put on the new DJ Khaled and there’s an African American gentleman on there claiming, “It’s like a full-time job not to kill niggas.” Really? What’s your business card say””Not a Killa of Niggas?” This is a surprisingly common sentiment among modern rappers, but with 93% of blacks killed by other blacks, it appears there are still a lot of openings. I think I”ll avoid explaining all this to the kids and put on some Jason Aldean instead.
4. THESE MONTHLY COSTS ARE KILLING ME
Being gainfully employed since I was 14 means I have accrued some cool stuff over the years, but these bills are killing me. I”ve got the maintenance fees at our Brooklyn apartment, plus all the bills maintaining our country house upstate, then there’s the caretaker at our place in Costa Rica, as well as life insurance, car insurance, E-ZPass, parking, the kids” schools, the family health plan, the kids” college fund, lawyers, brokers, cable, gas, nannies, babysitters, maids, groceries, taxes, charity….Nearly all of my substantial yearly income goes to outstretched palms, but the government has determined this doesn”t trickle down enough, so they hit me with a tax bill every year that would make your hair turn white. It’s like a full-time job just paying these bills.
The gossip is that the Washington Post is in bad trouble and losing money like only Tina Brown can. Not that Brown has anything to do with the Post. Tina wastes zillions of dollars for Barry Diller, who loses ten million greenbacks yearly at The Daily Beast and is closing the thirty-million-per-annum loser Newsweek. It’s not even Diller’s money, it’s that of those who invest with him.
If I’m confusing you, don’t blame me. I actually pay all my bills and also my writers, unlike that other Greek, Arianna Stassinopoulos Huffington, who dropped the Greek part of her name just as the Greeks let go of the drachma and went for the euro. If it’s all Greek to you, don’t worry. It gets messier.
Tina Brown is a Brit who became famous early on by romancing Martin Amis and Auberon Waugh, not the best-looking men but fodder for gossip-mongers because of the bitchiness of their pens. I am proud to say that I’ve never read a word Amis wrote and I aim to keep it that way, but I knew Waugh and read him in the Spectator, although I wouldn’t say we were bosom buddies.
But back to Brown and the Greek who now sounds like an American.
I first met Arianna when she was president of the Cambridge Union. She agreed to write a foreword to my book on the Greek colonels, a little deal arranged by my wonderful publisher and friend Tom Stacey. Arianna was ecstatic to do it. She considered me on a par with Aristophanes, Thucydides, and Herodotus, or so she is thought to have said to Tom. Then the Greek colonels collapsed, Taki became a nonperson in Greece for having served them, and Arianna decided to stick closer to someone such as the great Bernard Levin rather than the dirty little Nazi Taki.
Having left me behind, Arianna went from strength to strength. She wrote a book on Callas that was reportedly edited too much by Levin, a man who had forgotten more about music than she ever was to learn. Under the advice of Lord Weidenfeld, another suitor, she moved to America and befriended people such as Barbara Walters, probably the dumbest white woman to ever appear on television. (I note that she’s white because there is a very dumb black woman on South African TV that is apparently dumber.)
After a brilliant marriage to a very rich Texan oilman who preferred boys to girls, Arianna got divorced, kept custody of her two semi-Texan heiresses, and started The Huffington Post. After a while she sold it for 315 million smackers. I tried to commit suicide when I read about it but was prevented from doing so by my daughter, who runs Taki’s Mag and has promised to sell it one day for 316 million greenbacks.
“When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another …”
So begins the Declaration of Independence of the 13 colonies from the king and country to which they had given allegiance since the settlers first came to Jamestown and Plymouth Rock.
The declaration was signed by 56 angry old white guys who had had enough of what the Cousins were doing to them. In seceding from the mother country, these patriots put their lives, fortunes and honor on the line.
Four score and five years later, 11 states invoked the same right “to dissolve the political bands” of the Union and form a new nation. After 620,000 had perished, the issue of a state’s right to secede was settled at Appomattox. If that right had existed, it no longer did.
What are we to make, then, of petitions from 25,000 citizens of each of seven Southern states—116,000 from Texas alone—to secede?
While no one takes this movement as seriously as men took secession in 1861, the sentiments behind it ought not to be minimized. For they bespeak a bristling hostility to the federal government and a dislike bordering on detestation of some Americans for other Americans, as deep as it was on the day Beauregard’s guns fired on Fort Sumter.
Our Pledge of Allegiance still speaks of “one nation under God, indivisible,” but that is far from the reality in the America of 2012.
The social, cultural, moral and political revolutions of the 1960s, against which Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan inveighed to win their 49-state triumphs, have now captured half of the country.
One America believes our history is a catalog of crimes against people of color, that women have an inviolable right to abortions, that condoms should be handed out to sexually active teens in schools where Darwinism should be taught as revealed truth, while Bibles, prayers and religious symbols should be permanently expelled.
The other America sees all this as unpatriotic, godless and decadent.
One America believes in equality of rights; the other demands equality of results brought about through the redistribution of income and wealth, affirmative action, racial and gender set-asides, and quotas.
One America believes in gun control; the other in gun rights.
OK, three months are up. Time for another potpourri of unconnected items.
I can’t claim any thematic thread this time. Like the universe in current cosmological models, my output is tending toward perfect entropy, pure randomness. (Before reaching that blessed state, most of the matter in the universe will disappear into black holes. Whether my output is trending toward that ultimate outcome, I leave to the judgment of others.)
Imprimis. The more elections I sit through”this latest one, counting only presidential (US) and general (UK), was my 13th”the more they seem like all form and not much substance. If politics were painting, these big elections would be abstract, not representational. If politics were stage performances, they would be ballet, not drama. If…oh, you get the idea.
I mean, does anyone actually give a fig about the issues? Does anyone ever?
You’ve seen the exit-poll numbers: In Mississippi, 89 percent of whites voted for Romney, while in Vermont only 33 percent did. Married women went 53-46 for Romney, while unmarried women went 68-30 for Obama. Black women aged 18-29 voted for Obama at a North Korean level: 98 percent.
Amnesty for illegals is supposed to be a big selling point with the Hispanic vote, yet as every numerate pundit has noted, Hispanics were less inclined to vote Republican after Ronald Reagan’s 1986 amnesty than they were before.
And how about that Asian-American vote”three to one for Obama? Aren’t Asian-Americans entrepreneurial bourgeois types? Shouldn’t they be going for the low-tax, small-government stuff? Razib says it’s religion. He may be right.
I went to a meeting addressed by Norman Podhoretz when his 2010 book Why Are Jews Liberals? was released. Wasn’t it just because they don’t like Christianity? I asked him. Norman stared at me blankly for five seconds, then asked for the next question.
See what I mean? It’s not issues, it’s race and religion. All those acres of print, all those months of TV time given over to talk about taxation, education, protecting small business, protecting Social Security, America’s role in the world, a path to citizenship, opportunities for women, deficits and debt, unemployment, abortion, fracking, gay marriage…nobody gives a rat’s ass about any of that”nobody but a tiny and ignorable minority on each topic. People vote based on vague, generalized images of the parties”on gestalten.
When I tried out this thesis on a very knowledgeable and worldly acquaintance, a political journalist of some prominence, he said: “Yeah, it was a cultural election.”
But aren’t they all? Eisenhower got 38 percent of the Catholic vote in 1952 and even more in 1956. But in 1960, according to William Shannon, three out of five Catholics who had voted for Eisenhower switched parties and voted for Kennedy. Why did they do that? Worried about the missile gap? Keen on civil rights? Put off by Nixon’s five-o’clock shadow? Mmmm….
A cultural election, right. If “culture” means “race and religion,” that’s sure enough what it was. And here we are yet again with Mr. Lee.
In the United States the Powerball lottery has topped $550 million. Far too often unexpected wealth of such magnitude has been witness to tragedy. Thus here are some useful tips concerning the more common mistakes to avoid becoming another lottery-winner calamity.
Shortly after the good news of your win, there will be some very bad news and it is best to brace yourself now”you didn”t actually win $500+ million dollars. You are merely a joint champion along with Powerball officials and the taxman. Estimates vary, but typically one should be advised to expect less than half the total. No, it isn”t fair. Then again, you just won the average lifetime earnings of 192 men with only a high-school education or 68 lifetime wages of the best lawyers and physicians. So stop complaining.
All right, now here you are with roughly $250 million. What to do? Better put, what shouldn”t you do?
Starting with the first press conference, do not say you will “give to charity” and especially do not say how much you might give. This presents various problems: the very real possibility of it being legally binding if you are too specific; the fact that every other charity on Earth will hound you the moment you step off the dais; and the mistake of thinking this act makes you look as if you”re beneficent rather than an ass.
Real charity isn”t done for grandstanding. It’s nameless and you don”t tell anyone once you”ve done it. If in need of some perspective, visit the local cemetery; it’s crowded with self-aggrandizing monuments to people of whom you”ve never heard. You want to be truly magnanimous? Shut your darn mouth as you write the check.
Moreover, think long and hard about where your wealth is going. Everyone reading this knows at least a half-dozen people wanting for money. More woes in this world are borne by those desperate for $100 than the ones needing $1 million. A gift to the local hospital is great, but give a thought to older folks who would benefit just as surely for the price of a nice Christmas fruit basket.
All the landlords, secretaries, bankers, lawyers, doctors, taxi drivers, and assorted other 99.9% of jerks in your everyday life will suddenly undergo a profound spiritual awakening. Each will cultivate a newfound love of their fellow man and desire to obsequiously serve him. That “fellow man" would be you, sucker. So watch out because they all want something.
As for yourself, try to be humble. Money (especially your kind) is going to get you out of a lot of jams. But you”ll soon forget how lucky you are unless you live a sizeable proportion of your lifestyle strictly middle-class. If so you”ll stay sane and retain a good insight on whom to help and whom to hinder.
Unless you are married or were in a prior serious relationship before the jackpot, try and remain celibate for at least three months. That isn”t very long in the scheme of things.
Nate Silver is most famous for steadily predicting Barack Obama’s reelection (which, as you may have heard, happened). Yet his new bestseller The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail”But Some Don”t is a fine all-around introduction to the science and art of forecasting, with interesting examples drawn from many fields.
For example: You know those ten-day weather forecasts? Predicting the first week has gotten quite good, but the ninth and tenth days, Silver reports, are useless. They may even be negatively correlated with what actually transpires.
The Signal and the Noise starts weakly with the oft-told cautionary tale of how credit-rating agencies such as Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s missed the subprime mortgage bubble. Fortunately, it improves as the author turns to topics with which he has more personal experience such as sports, gambling, and sports gambling.
Indeed, The Signal and the Noise is one of the better Frequent Flyer books of recent years. Men don”t read books much anymore, but the one place you can find a fair number of guys with three-digit IQs and time on their hands is the airport. Hence, a relatively distinct genre has emerged in this century: nonfiction books that aren”t about business per se but imply they will familiarize you with conceptual techniques that could conceivably be applied to making money. Frequent Flyer classics include Malcolm Gladwell’s books; Freakonomics; Moneyball; and Thinking, Fast and Slow.
Silver’s entry into the Frequent Flyer genre shares many of the virtues of these books, such as a lucid and unobtrusive prose style. More impressively, Silver avoids their typical weakness: a lack of reality checking.
Gladwell has finally become notorious for seldom knowing what he’s talking about, but overconfidence infects the genre’s worthier exponents as well. For example, U. of Chicago economist Steven D. Levitt became famous in 1999 for theorizing that legalizing abortion cut crime 20 years later. I pointed out to him in our debate in Slate that the murder rate among juveniles born just after Roe v. Wade was several times higher than for the cohort born just before legalization. This did not faze Levitt, who simply repeated his assertion six years later in Freakonomics…to vast acclaim.
A half-year later, though, two obscure economists tried to replicate Levitt’s original calculations, only to discover that their celebrity colleague had simply botched them. This fiasco didn”t seem to hurt Levitt’s career, but few people care much about getting the past right. Nor do people bother terribly about the long-term future: You can make reasonably accurate predictions by looking at, say, immigration-driven demographic change, but there’s little market for that.
What people do get excited over is who is going to win current competitions. If Silver had fouled up his call of this month’s election the way Levitt messed up his most famous theory, Silver’s career would have suffered. So by the standards of Frequent Flyer writers, Silver is admirably cautious and levelheaded. The Signal and the Noise carries much advice, almost all of it good, about how not to get fooled when forecasting.
Getting the 2012 election right wasn”t hugely difficult for Silver because 90 separate polling firms published their results from which he created a weighted average. (Although Republicans whined that he was weighting the polls wrong, Silver’s model underestimated Obama’s share in the national vote.)
More impressively, he beat the Intrade prediction market (which the federal government banned earlier this week), even though punters could (and some certainly did) use his projections. Plus, prediction markets can use inside information.
About a year ago an Italian judge ordered me, as a condemned criminal, to perform 166 hours of unpaid “lavoro socialmente utile“ (socially useful work). I kept putting it off until three weeks ago when I could put it off no more, and now I have to finish it by Christmas”or else.
So I spend large chunks of my life being “socially useful.” In my case this means not being a priest or a gigolo, which is what I had suggested to the woman in charge of me. Instead I”m sweeping the streets and the piazzas in the old center of the small provincial city of ForlÃ¬, which has been run by the Partito Comunista“now calling itself the Partito Democratico“since World War II.
Seeing me thus reduced amuses those among the local “ex” communist majority who do not care for my articles in which I point out that it is thanks to them that Italy has gone to the dogs. I once received a bullet in the post, which according to the anonymous covering letter was for the eldest of my five small children, Caterina, who is now nine.
It is all the fault of a man called Mussolini”not the fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, but the traffic cop Marco Mussolini, who is (and I am not joking) a comunista. I know, I know, Mussolini though an infamous name is a rare one, and I couldn”t believe it either.
This Maresciallo (sergeant) Mussolini as opposed to Il Duce Mussolini spotted me late one night a couple of years ago. I was at the wheel of my black, seven-seater, long-axle, Land Rover Defender which flies the Union Jack from its radio antenna and is nicknamed “Che Guevara” as I passed his roadblock on my way home at a perfectly reasonable speed and doing nothing untoward. This Mussolini nonetheless abandoned his roadblock and another vehicle he had already stopped to take off after me in his little patrol car with his blue lights flashing hysterically. When he stopped me less than half a mile from my home, he offered no reason for his extraordinary behavior and simply whipped out his truncheon-like Breathalyzer. As I had drunk more than the two glasses of red wine permitted by the law in this supposedly civilized country, that was that.
The judge banned me from driving for two years and sentenced me to a couple of months in jail plus a whacking great fine. And if my beloved Defender had been in my name rather than my wife’s, Mussolini would have seized it at the scene of my horrific crime and then sold it at auction, with the money used to pay some parasite’s welfare entitlement claim for a week or two. If however I were prepared to do 166 hours of “socially useful” work, I would lose the driving license for one year only, not two, the jail sentence would be annulled, and the crime would be taken off my record. So I agreed.
As all normal Europeans know, the “drunk”-driving law is unjust in all European countries and is yet another example of tyranny creep. It is even more so in Italy. I am 54 and have driven for 37 years, more often than not well over the two-glasses-of-wine limit. Yet not once in all those years have I been involved in a traffic accident, not even a minor one.
If only Romney had campaigned against Elmo instead of Big Bird.
Then again, the sordid details of Sesame Street puppeteer Kevin Clash’s alleged dalliances with four then-underage boys didn”t emerge until after the election.
And let’s face it: The Democrats would”ve spun the GOP candidate’s call to defund PBS as a “homophobic” witch hunt, and Romney would”ve lost even more votes.
Witness actor (and Obama fan) Henry Winkler’s Tweet defending Clash. Lest you shrug at the mention of “Fonzie’s” real name, the powerful producer and director’s industry nickname is “the Nicest Man in Hollywood.” That’s not nothing.
Never underestimate how tolerant liberals are of kiddie diddling, as long as the diddler’s one of them. (See “Polanski, Roman.”) I didn”t say “pedophilia” because, strictly speaking, that’s not Clash’s problem. Adults cruising homosexual chat rooms for teenaged companionship is more accurately termed “ephebophilia,” or, in gay parlance, “a typical Saturday night.” It’s a tale as old as Death in Venice and the trials of Oscar Wilde: “Man/boy love” is part of gay “culture,” which is why activists strongly oppose any attempts to raise the age of consent. (“My first lover was 17 years older than me. And this is common [among gay people],” explained one such campaigner matter of factly.)
I got a crash course in this phenomenon when I worked at a Canadian Catholic newspaper during the Mount Cashel orphanage scandal that unleashed the clerical sexual-abuse tsunami that soon swept the US and beyond.
My liberal colleagues loved having a boy-shaped cudgel with which to beat the Church, and the negligent, ass-covering hierarchy deserved every smack.
However, the paper’s staff refused to acknowledge the obvious fact that almost all these abusive priests were homosexuals.
And subsequent abuse reports coming out of local hockey shrine Maple Leaf Gardens messed up their precious theory that their bÃªte noire, mandatory celibacy, was to blame.
Welcome to the late 80s and early 90s, the era of the (highly lucrative) pedophilia moral panic. The Courage to Heal was a bestseller, “recovered memory” was the new dunking, Geraldo Rivera investigated Satanic cults, and the patently ridiculous McMartin preschool case turned into one of history’s most costly criminal trials. Comedian Emo Philips quipped at the time, “It’s nice to see incest finally coming into its own.”
In many cases, it was also a figment of fevered imaginations, although in fairness, the “massive denial of the experience of women and children who genuinely had been victims of sexual abuse provided the essential conditions without which the recovered memory movement could never have grown and flourished in the way that it did.”
Were the average Republican asked for a succinct statement of his views on taxation, he or she might respond thus:
“U.S. tax rates are too high for the world we must compete in. The tax burden—federal, state, local, together—is too heavy. We need to cut tax rates to free up our private and productive sector and pull this economy out of the ditch.”
This core conviction holds the party together.
Yet today the leadership is about to abandon this conviction to sign on to higher tax rates or revenues, while the economy is nearing stall speed. Yet, two years ago, President Obama himself extended the Bush tax cuts because, he said, you do not raise taxes in a recovering economy.
Why are Republicans negotiating this capitulation?
Because they have been warned that if they do not sign on to a tax hike, they will take us all over a fiscal cliff.
If we go over, Republicans are being told, you will be responsible for tax hikes on all Americans as the Bush tax cuts expire on Jan. 1.
You will be responsible for a surge in tax rates on dividends, interest, capital gains, estates.
You will be responsible for an automatic sequester catastrophic to the national defense.
This is the pistol Obama is pointing at the GOP. This is extortion.
Republicans are being told that they either vote for something they believe to be wrong and ruinous—or get something worse. Pay the ransom, fellas, Obama is demanding, or take the blame for a second recession.
Like the Panama Canal debate that made Ronald Reagan a hero, this is a defining moment. No GOP senator who agreed to the Carter-Torrijos treaty ever made it onto a national ticket.
What are the perils for Republicans who sign on to an Obama deal?
They will sever themselves permanently from much of the base of the party. While their votes may ensure that tax rates or revenues rise, they will have no assurance that the promised spending cuts will ever be made. Even Reagan fell victim to this bait-and-switch.
Then, if the tax hikes slow the economy, Republican collaborators will share the blame. Not only will they have gone back on their word, they will have damaged the recovery. What would be their argument for re-election?
If you believe higher tax rates or tax revenues would be like poisoning an already weak economy, why would you collaborate in administering that poison? Why not just say no?
As the leftist juggernaut blithely steamrollers its way over what’s left of this country, its blinkered acolytes have smugly convinced themselves that they are on “the right side of history” and that any dissenters are troglodytic throwbacks to a less moral and less enlightened era. They freely smear, degrade, disgrace, tut-tut, pooh-pooh, pee-pee, and skeet-skeet anyone who questions whether their shallow tokens of “cultural progress” might be nothing more than cynical window dressing that obscures an increasingly “empowered” governmental behemoth.
Although their chapped and cracked lips speak of “equality,” they truly see nothing as equal and can”t help but view all of history in terms of skin color, gender, sexuality, and especially ideology. Anyone who disagrees with their resolutely intolerant collectivist notions is far less than equal and is viewed instead as a soon-to-be-obsolete subhuman fossil. They can never get over their oft-despised cultural “other,” and the other is never their brother.
Despite the historical record, a peskily persistent fallacy is argumentum ad populum, the idea that the majority is right. The mob, no matter where it’s headed, whom it’s beheading, or what it’s burning down, has always deemed itself to be on the right side of history. So whenever I hear some smug, smirking, smarm-coated snarkmonster bleating that they are on “the right side of history,” what I hear is, “I feel safe within the crowd.” I don”t sense that they fear being on the “wrong” side of history so much as they”re afraid of being on the “losing” side. They don”t want to be on the wrong side of superior force. Many of them exhibit the shallow and neurotic herd-animal fear of being deemed uncool or out of step. In far too many cases, being “on the right side of history” amounts to nothing more than being trendy. Many of these types used to ally themselves with alleged “oppressed minorities,” but now that they appear to be on the “right side of history,” they openly mock the newly marginalized minorities. Once the victims of bullying, they now fear being on the wrong side of peer pressure and are the world’s neo-bullies. Others are the type who wait until there’s critical mass behind any social movement before joining it. Many of them have no core and will fellate power wherever it leads them and consider themselves bold for doing so. And at least as it concerns liberal white males, I”ve never seen people so eager to surrender to the very historical forces that seem destined to march right over their necks.
Modern triumphalist progressives share a common delusion that history is a linear process wherein societies continually perfect themselves morally. Yet I doubt many of them, if given access to a time machine, would be bold enough to travel back and lecture their now-cherished “Native Americans” that they were on the wrong side of history as the white man was rolling westward over them. I don”t think they”d have the chutzpah to stroll onto a slave ship during the Middle Passage from Africa and tell the shivering, huddled, shackled slaves-to-be that they were on the wrong side of history. I don’t think they”re toting sufficiently sized cojones to have accompanied the conquistadores as they slew the Aztecs. Compared to the Dark Ages, the Roman Empire was on the wrong side of history, but I”d bet that most modern progtards would have opted for the safety of togas and aqueducts over the grim barbarism that succeeded it.