Moana, the new Polynesian-princess animated feature from Disney, is like a less on-the-nose version of Interstellar, the 2014 Christopher Nolan science-fiction epic set on a dying Earth that has cravenly given up on space exploration.
Nolan’s characters complain overtly that humanity has lost its urge to settle new worlds (an implicit criticism of the smallness of current identity politics). But in Moana, Disney’s veteran directing team of Ron Clements and John Musker more artfully turn to the astonishing history of Polynesian settlement of the vast Pacific as an optimistic metaphor suggesting that humanity’s current stagnation in space won”t endure.
This is the third Clements-Musker movie with a nautical setting, following The Little Mermaid in 1989, which inaugurated Disney’s animation renaissance, and Treasure Planet in 2002, their outer-space version of Robert Louis Stevenson’s pirate tale Treasure Island. While Treasure Planet was the least profitable of their seven films, it may have been the closest to their hearts.
Perhaps the best analogue so far in human history to settling the galaxy has been the Polynesians” audacious colonization of the far-flung islands of the Pacific. They repeatedly escaped the Malthusian trap by expanding their territories. Unusually for humans, sometimes they didn”t even have to steal their acquisitions from anybody else.
When Mediterranean sea captains began to venture into the Atlantic at the beginning of the Renaissance, they found that most of the small number of islands were uninhabited. The Vikings had settled Iceland, and Stone Age Berbers were living on the Canary Islands, but desirable islands such as the Azores and Madeira were still empty.
Yet when 16th-century Europeans reached the much wider Pacific, it was difficult to find an island that wasn”t already densely populated. Even remote Pitcairn Island, where the mutineers on the Bounty found refuge, appears to have been previously settled by Polynesian mariners.
Over the past half century, Western researchers, such as U. of Hawaii anthropologist and space scientist Ben Finney, have sponsored a revival of traditional islander talents at wayfinding from one known point to another.
But that still leaves the question of how the Polynesians discovered unknown islands. Presumably they followed birds and studied hints in the clouds and ocean swells?
In Moana, the prehistoric Polynesians have pioneered deep into the Pacific to islands such as Tonga and Samoa, only to have then settled down and turned their backs on the sea. Musker explains, “For thousands of years, they were great voyagers; and then there’s a thousand-year pause where they didn”t voyage.”
Suddenly, the Polynesians regained their dynamism and settled a vast triangle of the Pacific almost 5,000 miles per side, from New Zealand to Easter Island to Hawaii, with Tahiti in the middle as the jewel in the crown.
To fancifully explain both the Polynesian pause and their subsequent second golden age of exploration, Clements and Musker have concocted a children’s story out of scraps of Pacific mythology.
Maui, a trickster demigod the size of an offensive lineman (voiced by the half-Samoan former professional wrestler Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson), has been marooned upon an islet for a thousand years as punishment for stealing a nature goddess” sacred jewel. Moana, a chief’s daughter who loves the open sea, rescues the egocentric Maui and tries to talk him into returning the stone.
The Rock, the highest-earning movie star in the world with $64 million last year, isn”t quite as funny as the late Robin Williams, who memorably played Genie in Clements and Musker’s 1992 Aladdin. Still, he’s eminently competent at a role that mostly has him expounding affably on his own awesomeness, much like the mic work he did as a wrestler in the 1990s.
Clements and Musker have made primarily hand-drawn two-dimensional movies before, but Moana‘s 3-D computer work is spectacular. Films in recent decades have tended to eschew sunshine and bright colors as unserious, but every moment of Moana looks like a National Geographic calendar.
The songs, some of them by Hamilton composer Lin-Manuel Miranda, seem okay, although I can”t guess, based on one watching, whether they”ll grow on audiences. (Yes, The Rock can sing, well enough.)
Moana‘s depiction of ancient Polynesian culture as an egalitarian utopia is reminiscent of the European fad that followed first contact with Tahiti in the 1760s of portraying the South Seas as the embodiment of the concept of the Noble Savage in Rousseau’s Discourse on Inequality. In reality, the caste system in classical Polynesia made 18th-century Versailles seem as casual as a Jimmy Buffett concert tour.
I never want to belong to any club that would have anyone else as a member.
Groucho’s original complaint is incontestably clever, but when it comes to going almost anywhere, from the movies to Mass, other people are the problem, surely? (On the latter front, in the interest of accuracy, the Vatican should at least rename the “sign of peace” the “kiss of death”; may the genius who cooked up that particular rubric spend eternity shaking hands with sulfuric demons…)
And so, with the election of Donald Trump, I find myself once again involuntarily in league with the lumpen.
Yes, as I”ve said, I”m relieved he defeated Hillary, enjoying the effect his victory is having on sundry deserving slimeballs, and anticipating a spectacularly gaudy and even goose-pimply inauguration, not to mention the innumerable White House galas to come.
(On that front, I so wish Ivana were still Mrs. Trump. There’s no way she would have tone-deafly chosen “cyberbullying“ as her obligatory First Lady crusade, for one thing. More like “Pomeranian rescue” or “cocktail ring appreciation.”)
(That cavil aside, who can deny that Trump’s, well, Kennedy-esque family is part of his appeal? By far the greatest election reaction video came from a pants-wettingly enthusiastic Egyptian TV host, who swooned over the photogenic “sweeties of the White House” striding across the stage at the victory party. (Meanwhile, “the Muslim Brotherhood members in Egypt,” he continued breathlessly, just “bought up all the anti-diarrhea drugs in the country…”)
Weeks later, Trump’s triumph still seems slightly unreal; I permitted myself to purchase Time magazine’s special commemorative issue”can you imagine how much it pained them to put that out?”to serve as cerebral smelling salts and snap me out of those sporadic “Holy shit, he’s the president!” flashes.
But that lapse aside, I put not my trust in princes.
Of course, not everyone shares my horror of personality cults, or the man never would have won. Twitter’s upstart counterpart Gab, for example, is overrun by Trump cheerleaders, for whom fun memes like that “Deplorables” Photoshop or “Donald Crossing the Delaware“ aren”t just a split second’s amusement, but the bunting of a burgeoning civic religion.
At least so far, Tea Party tropes like tricorne hats appear to be permanently passÃ©, thank goodness. But can anyone doubt, given Trump’s famous personal aesthetic, that a kitsch front is steadily approaching? It will soon be hard to tell the left-wing parodies from the genuine right-wing article. (I can”t wait to see Jon McNaughton’s first postelection painting, can you…?)
But more troubling is the rhetorical kitsch being wielded against any criticism not only of Trump himself, but of his less appealing supporters.
In the wake of last weekend’s National Policy Institute gathering, I found myself on Facebook having to explain and defend my (I thought) pretty much noncontroversial assertion that “Making Nazi salutes is dumb.”
Otherwise-intelligent people piled on with the worst kind of pedantry about arm raisings of the “Roman” and “Bellamy“ varieties. What next? “The swastika is actually a Hindu good-luck symbol”?
Now that the British have voted to secede from the European Union and America has chosen a president who has never before held public office, the French appear to be following suit.
In Sunday’s runoff to choose a candidate to face Marine Le Pen of the National Front in next spring’s presidential election, the center-right Republicans chose Francois Fillon in a landslide.
While Fillon sees Margaret Thatcher as a role model in fiscal policy, he is a socially conservative Catholic who supports family values, wants to confront Islamist extremism, control immigration, restore France’s historic identity and end sanctions on Russia.
“Russia poses no threat to the West,” says Fillon. But if not, the question arises, why NATO? Why are U.S. troops in Europe?
As Le Pen is favored to win the first round of the presidential election and Fillon the second in May, closer Paris-Putin ties seem certain. Europeans themselves are pulling Russia back into Europe, and separating from the Americans.
Next Sunday, Italy holds a referendum on constitutional reforms backed by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. If the referendum, trailing in the polls, fails, says Renzi, he will resign.
Opposing Renzi is the secessionist Northern League, the Five Star Movement of former comedian Beppe Grillo, and the Forza Italia of former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a pal of Putin’s.
“Up to eight of Italy’s troubled banks risk failure,” if Renzi’s government falls, says the Financial Times. One week from today, the front pages of the Western press could be splashing the newest crisis of the EU.
In Holland, the Party for Freedom of Geert Wilders, on trial for hate speech for urging fewer Moroccan immigrants, is running first or close to it in polls for the national election next March.
Meanwhile, the door to the EU appears to be closing for Muslim Turkey, as the European Parliament voted to end accession talks with Ankara and its autocratic president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
In welcoming Muslim immigrants, Germany’s Angela Merkel no longer speaks for Europe, even as she is about to lose her greatest ally, Barack Obama.
Not only Europe but the whole world President-elect Trump is about to inherit seems in turmoil, with old regimes and parties losing their hold, and nationalist, populist and rightist forces rising.
Early this year, Brazil’s Senate voted to remove leftist President Dilma Rousseff. In September, her predecessor, popular ex-President Lula da Silva, was indicted in a corruption investigation. President Michel Temer, who, as vice president, succeeded Rousseff, is now under investigation for corruption. There is talk of impeaching him.
Venezuela, endowed with more oil than almost any country on earth, is now, thanks to the Castroism of Hugo Chavez and successor Nicolas Maduro, close to collapse and anarchy.
NATO’s Turkey and our Arab ally, Egypt, both ruled by repressive regimes, are less responsive to U.S. leadership.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye, her approval rating in single digits, is facing impeachment and prosecution for corruption.
Meanwhile, North Korea, under Kim Jong Un, continues to test nuclear warheads and missiles that can hit all of South Korea and Japan and reach all U.S. bases in East Asia and the Western Pacific.
The U.S. is obligated by treaty to defend South Korea, where we still have 28,500 troops, and Japan, as well as the Philippines, where new populist President Rodrigo Duterte, cursing the West, is pivoting toward Beijing. Malaysia and Australia are also moving closer to China, as they become ever more dependent on the China trade.
Fidel Castro is dead, so that’s cool.
Born to wealth and privilege and educated in exclusive private schools”which seems to be the case with all communist fanatics I”ve ever heard of or have had the supreme displeasure to know in my personal life”the bearded revolutionary finally gave up the ghost on Friday at age 90.
Despite the fact that he was a murderous, dissent-squashing, and presumably very smelly tyrant who turned his nation into the sort of drab, flea-bitten torture chamber that all socialist republics eventually become, he was eulogized up the yin-yang by liberal Western politicians and the establishment leftist press, because they really are all that stupid.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau“whose dad used to play Yahtzee with Castro in the 1970s, or something like that”praised him as a “remarkable leader” whose death brought him “great sorrow.” Barack Obama“who has big ears, hates white people, and will be leaving office soon”claimed Castro was a “singular figure” whose death elicited “powerful emotions.”
MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell”one of the most hagged-out yentas currently polluting the airwaves”predicted that Castro “will be revered” for “education and social services and medical care to all of his people.” Mitchell’s MSNBC colleague Chris Matthews“who once claimed he got “a thrill up his leg” at the idea of a black president”described Castro as “a romantic figure” who “was almost like a folk hero to most of us.”
I wonder what they”ll say when David Duke or Tom Metzger dies? As far as I know, neither of those guys ever killed anyone or sent homosexuals to labor camps or imprisoned journalists or sent political dissidents to mental hospitals to be psychologically destroyed. Castro did all of that.
Yes, he had his faults, his blinkered acolytes will protest. After all, he’s only human. But, um, he provided the gentle people of his humble tropical island with healthcare and education. Even better, he, like, integrated the blacks with the Spaniards and the, uh, indigenous peoples.
Okey-doke, let’s examine those bold proclamations one by one, comrades.
Although Cuban healthcare was said to be better back when Soviet dollars were propping up their economy, modern observers tell a different story. A reporter for Miami’s PanAm Post writes of a Havana hospital:
The only working bathroom in the entire hospital had only one toilet. The door didn”t close, so you had to go with people outside watching. Toilet paper was nowhere to be found, and the floor was far from clean….I saw biological waste discarded in a regular trash can. The beds had no linen, and the only equipment around was the bag of IV fluids hanging above them.
Lucia Newman, the Latin American Editor for Al-Jazeera, writes:
I saw many hospitals where there was often no running water, the toilets did not flush, and the risk of infections – by the hospital’s own admission – was extremely high.
Newman says that there is excellent healthcare available in Cuba, but only for political elites and tourists. But for the righteous proles of the People’s Revolution, it’s “deplorable” and “wretched.” And because radical leftism always feels the need to worm its way into freaking everything, family doctors are required to keep notes not only on each patient’s physical health, but also on their “political integration.”
Cuba reputedly boasts a high literacy rate, but it’s uncertain whether its population is allowed to read anything except Das Kapital and transcripts of Castro’s speeches. Nearly all printed material that is deemed “counter-revolutionary””basically, 99% of the available literature on this planet”is banned. The “education” system consists of little more than communist indoctrination. According to rules set down in The Code for Children, Youth and Family, parents who teach their children ideas that are hostile to communism risk up to three years in prison. Each schoolchild has a file that tracks their “revolutionary integration” throughout life. So what exactly is the point of high literacy if you”re not allowed to read anything?
And as far as Cuba being a rainbow racial utopia, many black Cuban expats would disagree. “The authorities in my country have never tolerated that a black person oppose the revolution,” Jorge Luis GarcÃa PÃ©rez told a newspaper reporter in Florida. “Later when I was mistreated in prison by guards, they always referred to me as being black.” According to writer Carlos Moore, “There is an unstated threat, blacks in Cuba know that whenever you raise race in Cuba, you go to jail….There cannot be a civil rights movement. You will have instantly 10,000 black people dead.”
The Week’s Most Carcinogenic, Schizophrenic, and Estrogenic Headlines
SIEG-HEILING ALONG THE POTOMAC
Ever since Donald Trump scored an unexpected electoral victory earlier this month, mainstream journalists have been desperately clawing to prove that he flew into the White House on the wings of German Eagles. Naturally, they were relieved to discover that at the end of Alt-Right figurehead Richard Spencer’s speech last week in DC, a smattering of audience members stood up and threw Roman salutes toward the podium.
Here, thought the bloodthirsty media, was all the evidence they”d need to paint a swastika on the forehead of all Trump supporters.
Although the terms “fascist” and “Nazi” are grossly overused, it would be fair to say that there was at least a mild Nazi flavoring in Spencer’s oratory at this gathering of his National Policy Institute. After all, his speech ended with the mildly Hitlerian “Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory,” which is what apparently triggered the half-dozen or so Sieg-Heilers to leap to their feet and let their fash flags fly. Spencer also used the word LÃ¼genpresse“German for “lying press””and openly wondered whether America’s media was peopled with “soulless golem.”
It probably didn”t help stave off any accusations of “anti-Semitism” that a featured speaker at the NPI conference was Kevin MacDonald, a tireless critic of Jewish influence over American culture and demographic shifts. Nor did it likely help that at a private dinner at a DC restaurant, Spencer urged his compatriots to “party like it’s 1933.” Vietnamese porn star and mentally ill Alt-Right anomaly Tila Tequila is pictured here at the dinner party Sieg-Heiling with two white males.
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum claimed that it was “deeply alarmed” at the NPI gathering. In an interview with The New York Times, Donald Trump formally disavowed and condemned his Alt-Right supporters.
In a typical display of leftist tolerance, Politico news editor Michael Hirsh published Richard Spencer’s home addresses and threatened to attack him with a baseball bat. (Hirsh subsequently resigned his editorial post. The whereabouts of his baseball bat remain unknown.)
Lisping miscegenating Hebraic lawyer Mike Cernovich”accused by many of being controlled opposition”referred to Spencer as “controlled opposition“ while bitching that Spencer gets more TV time than he does. In fairness, if anyone can claim bragging rights over how to define the “Alt-Right,” it is Spencer rather than Alt-Righty-come-lately Cernovich.
It is true that we occupy a lopsidedly biased”some would say philo-Semitic”world in which Hitler is relentlessly demonized while Fidel Castro gets eulogized. But in politics, timing is everything. Tossing up a Roman salute in DC less than two weeks after Trump was elected may not be the best PR move for Trump or the Alt-Right. Others would argue that as long as political barriers are being smashed, you might as well break all the taboos while you”re at it.
“¨Even though Hitler has been dead for over 70 years, the cultural overlords who triumphed over him still insist that it is “too soon””and will likely always be “too soon””to emulate the Nazis either sincerely or ironically.
Those Sieg-Heils along the Potomac were a drastically bad PR move. At best, let us hope they were a sign that we might soon live in a world where the word “racist” no longer carries any sting.
TECH GIANTS CONTINUE PURGING UNACCEPTABLE SPEECH
Last week brought news that Twitter had purged the accounts of several Alt-Right luminaries for imagined “hate speech” and that Facebook was being asked to purge all “fake news” that failed to slavishly buttress the fake leftist narrative.
Things continue apace this week, as the CEO of message-board titan Reddit”a rather fey-looking chap named Steve Huffman“was caught rewriting posts critical of him and redirecting the comments toward the moderators of a Donald Trump subreddit.
Advertising network AppNexus has now banned Breitbart News from its ad-serving tools under the pretense that Breitbart had violated their “hate speech standards.” Among “evidence” of such violations was an article by a homosexual who calls himself a “Dangerous Faggot” that was critical of leftist gay militancy and a headline in which a Jewish writer referred to another Jewish writer as a “Renegade Jew.”
Recently we stayed a few days in Belgium with friends who had very well-brought-up children, that is to say polite and with excellent manners without having had their own personalities extinguished or crushed by formality. They were respectful of their elders without being obsequious and it was a pleasure to be with them, at least for us. It came as a kind of relief to meet such good young people (who were better than I ever was). Perhaps the end of civilization is not nigh after all, but will continue even after our deaths.
Nevertheless, my friends and I spent a couple of happy days lamenting the state of the world”there is, as always, much to lament”until suddenly my friend said, “Perhaps we complain too much.”
This was obviously true. We personally had very little to complain of. We were prosperous and in reasonable health, and at most suffered the irritations consequent upon daily existence rather than serious injustices. In fact, I haven”t suffered a serious injustice in my entire life. The three occasions on which I was arrested (all in foreign countries of dubious jurisprudence) were farcical rather than frightening. I have never had to perform backbreaking labor for a pittance and all the work I have done has been interesting, even absorbing. I have always been able to adapt my tastes to my income and if I have been mildly goaded by ambition, it has not been entirely worldly. I have always had good friends and insofar as I have ever been unhappy it was a long time ago, in my childhood. I got my unhappiness over with very early in my life. I therefore have much to be thankful for.
And yet my career has been one of complaint, admittedly not about my own situation, but rather about the condition of the world”the very world that has given, or allowed, me a good life.
But part of what the world has given me is imperfection to complain of, for what would there be to write or even think about in a world without problems? Each of us can easily think of a thousand hells, but even a single heaven is unimaginable to us.
I suspect that if people were asked to describe a heaven, they would come up with something very like an eternal cruise on one of those dreadful ships that ruin the appearance and atmosphere of everywhere they dock: five meals a day, a casino, cinema, sauna, swimming pool, dinner at the captain’s table. But such a life would soon pall. Before long there would be quarrels, divisions into factions, and possibly even a murder or two, just for variation. Man is not so much a problem-solving creature as a problem-creating one; and as for his state of mind, he likes change for its own state, even if it be change for the worse. Man will never be entirely sensible.
One has only to read of the Muslim conception of heaven to realize just how limited and mediocre is Man’s conception of bliss.
As to hells, not only is it easy to imagine them, but their variety is infinite. They do not need to consist of such crudities as eternal boiling in oil, or Bosch-like tortures that go on forever. We each have our own idea of what would be intolerable. One of my hells would be a ceaseless televised basketball game with loud commentary and shrieking spectators from which I could neither avert my eyes nor stop my ears: I find even five minutes of it appalling, let alone the prospect of an eternity of such entertainment. Then there is a hospital committee meeting in which the Director of Quality Assurance talks forever of his vision for improvement of patient services. There are indeed a million possible hells.
There is no possible perfection on earth because Man creates ever new dissatisfactions for himself. His desires are contradictory: He wants peace and excitement, stasis and novelty, freedom and limits, appetite and its satisfaction, his cake and to eat it. The total number of satisfactions can therefore increase without a decrease in the amount of dissatisfaction. That is why the process of reform will never be done. No sooner is one alleged injustice, unfairness, or obstacle to contentment removed, than another is found equal to the last, especially where there is no religious belief and no real struggle for existence. I fully expect by the end of my life to see a struggle for the legalization of polygamy, polyandry, incest, and necrophilia, for all the “rational” arguments are in favor of them, and after all it is the struggle, not the result, that counts. It is more blessed to travel than to arrive, more enjoyable to fight than to vanquish. Victory is always disappointing: post coitum omne animal triste, every animal is sad after coitus, satisfaction of desire is never as satisfying as it is expected to be and brings its own dissatisfaction.
Pessimists are better fun than optimists and have all the best jokes, as the devil was said to have all the best tunes. It is difficult to think of an optimistic comedian. A world of optimists who expect, as Dr. Johnson puts it, that age will perform the promises of youth, and that the deficiencies of the present day will be supplied by the morrow, would be like a church in which a crooked evangelist preaches an eternal sermon.
NEW YORK—If only my friendly wordsmith Jeremy Clarke had been with me, what fun he’d have had with the ungallant thing I did last week. Jeremy’s writing thrives on such occasions, but alas, he’s in the land of cheese and impressionism. I had just finished lunch with my friend Alex Sepkus, a unique jewelry designer, and a Catholic priest whose name I will not reveal in view of what followed. After all, the Catholic Church loves sinners, but hooliganism is discouraged.
I was walking up 5th Avenue—packed to the gills with shoppers, gawkers, and tourists—when I got to 56th Street, blocked off by armed police and steel barriers, a bottleneck to end all bottlenecks as protesters screamed and shouted abuse at the black glass rock that is Trump Tower. One woman carrying a sign and looking like a 21st-century Mme. Defarge was by far the loudest. Never have I seen such hate, her eyes slits of shrillness and loathing for the orange man lording it over the mob high above.
Just as I brushed passed her, I don’t know what came over me but I politely asked her if she also gave blowjobs. Without missing a beat she swung the sign, trying to nail it on my head, but missed. A cop saw her and tried to arrest her. But when he saw me laughing he thought better of it and only told her to behave. I got lost in the crowd, but for about a minute she forgot about the Donald up high and screamed bloody murder against the poor little Greek boy. Some tourists stopped ogling the black tower and demanded to know who the well-dressed man was for the protester to go so bananas. “She mistook me for Trump,” is all I said.
The ones I feel sorry for are the retail merchants whose stores are now blocked by the programmed robots—paid to protest by George Soros, I might add—whose businesses are now zero, especially during this high-end period of holiday shopping. The irony is that the spiritually crippled protesters are paid to do what they’re doing, while the merchants are offloading nada. The paid protesters are damn good actors. They show a burning intensity, soulful suffering, and haunted brooding, emotions that one no longer can find either on stage or on the screen. None of the imbeciles standing around and watching the protests have much to say about the merchants’ plight. People who work, after all, are the types who voted the wrong way, so the hell with them. The woman whom I asked that rather indelicate question was white, middle-aged, and very ugly. But well-dressed, most likely a possessor of a small fortune left to her by either a husband who committed suicide or a father who also took his own life.
Mind you, had the sign made contact I might not be writing this column. My gray hair saved me, as far as the cop was concerned. I was the only man wearing a suit among thousands of people dressed like coal miners, but without the dignity of those hardy men who go underground. What is it that makes moral superiority such a phony but effective cause for protest? How is it possible for one of the world’s most—in my opinion, that is—evil men not behind bars, George Soros, to mask himself in virtue by paying self-aggrandizing, mostly young well-off people to protest while the cameras are whirling, and they’re sure are whirling nonstop since last Tuesday two weeks ago. Mme. Defarge aside, the protesters remind me of Tony Last, held prisoner by a madman reciting Dickens in perpetuity. They will be yelling the same slogans eight years from now, or for as long as the ill-gotten Soros billions hold out.
Soros is a snake. He operates in the name of virtue instead of in the name of greed, materialism, and avarice—that is his creed. Needless to say, the media is pushing the envelope like never before. The Old Hag, whose majority stockholder is a Mexican jumping bean by the name of Carlos Slim with a fortune close to 50 billion smackers, has abandoned all pretenses of reporting and objectivity and now prints only stories that fit to demonize Trump. (“It’s the apocalypse…”) Even the trained seals have joined in the fun. I happened to be in a theater about fifteen years ago and sitting near Netanyahu during a period he was out of power. If a member of the cast had, during a curtain call, exhorted him to stop building illegal settlements and stop occupying the West Bank, the outrage would have been universal, and rightly so. Although Israel has been occupying the West Bank since 1967, Trump has not occupied the White House, at least not yet, and while the Israelis occupied the West Bank through force of arms, Trump will occupy the White House after a legal vote. Yet a trained seal reads out his concerns and is cheered for it. The arrogance and hostility of the Hamilton cast illustrate why Trump will be moving into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in a few weeks.
They never learn, do they, and they continue to remain under the pathetic misconception that rappers and reality stars and actors and professional grievance-mongers represent the real America. In the meantime, if any of you visit the Big Bagel and suffer even the slightest from agoraphobia, stay away from 5th Avenue and 56th Street.
The Victorian poet Arthur Hugh Clough offered an update of the Ten Commandments. Some of his verses are merely neat, for example: “Do not adultery commit,/Advantage rarely comes of it.” Others are more to the point: “Thou shalt not steal, an empty feat/When it’s so lucrative to cheat,” advice taken to heart and acted on by a number of rogues in the City of London and on Wall Street.
One of Clough’s new commandments is very relevant to our time: “Thou shalt not kill, but needs not strive/Officiously to keep alive.” The old commandment””Thou shalt not kill””is generally observed in civilized societies. Homicide is wrong. We almost all agree about this. Clough’s revision is of course humorous, but it bears thinking on.
Every country in the West and some, such as China, in what we used to call the Third World is faced with the problem of an aging population. Life is being extended far beyond the biblical “threescore years and ten.” But prolonging life doesn”t necessarily prolong pleasure; quite the reverse. Last year Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia became the chief causes of death in England and Wales, responsible for 11.6 percent of all deaths. There are cases of early dementia, but characteristically it is a disease of old age. As medical science prolongs life, the prospect of dementia looms. I know nobody who isn”t horrified by the thought of developing dementia, and likewise nobody who isn”t dismayed by the prospect of having to care for a demented spouse or parent.
So what’s to be done? Medical science is like nuclear weapons, which once invented can”t be uninvented. Likewise the march of science will continue. Few of us, I think, are in favor”yet, anyway”of euthanasia or so-called mercy killing, and we recognize that it’s wrong to ask doctors, dedicated to saving life, to take the responsibility of ending it. Withdrawal of treatment in certain cases is another matter, one that meets with considerable approval.
Moreover, it’s not only the dreadful prospect of dementia that concerns us. The prolongation of life brings with it social and economic problems, too. The burden of providing care for the elderly in form is a heavy one, and going to get heavier. It puts an enormous strain on hospitals and social services. And here we come back to Clough’s wry comment; we are indeed striving officiously to keep alive old people, for many of whom life has lost its savor.
So what’s to be done? It may be that we are looking at the problem through the wrong end of the telescope. The problem is less old age itself, with all its admired horrors, but the number of people living long enough to be consigned to care homes, hospital wards, or the mindlessness of Shakespeare’s seventh age of man””second childishness and mere oblivion,/Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.”
Well, the advances in medical science that have made greater longevity possible are going to continue. But it is not only medical science that has prolonged life. Social and fiscal policy has made its contribution. For years governments, egged on by doctors and other health professionals, have made war on two social habits that in the past frequently shortened life. The war on alcohol is still in its early stage, but it is already more than a phony war. Social pressure as well as high taxation are having an effect. The four-martini lunch is a thing of the past, and one reads that on the whole young people today drink less than previous generations. So they are less likely to die of alcohol-induced heart attacks or cirrhosis of the liver. They”ll live long enough, poor things, to develop dementia.
When Democrats lose big, one thing is for sure”the pitchforks and hangin” ropes are coming out. Using lynchings to deal with defeat is as old as, well, how old is the Democratic Party? And so it is now. The Dems were pantsed by a vulgar, obnoxious, politically inexperienced reality-show pussygrabber. They lost the thing they were “sure” to win. So somebody’s gotta swing. The only question is, who?
Of course, it’s not just going to be one person. Expect strange fruit to be this winter’s bumper crop, because the Democrats are only beginning their search for a scapegoat. They can”t blame Hillary. No, not after pushing the line that criticism of Hillary is pure-grain misogyny. Huma? Not likely; blaming her is Islamophobic! Comey? Yeah, to a point. Comey might make a decent goat on paper, but it’s impossible to bring him up without reminding the public of the email scandal, and Dems certainly don”t want to keep that in the headlines.
There will be time aplenty for the sore-assed Dems to come up with more suitable scapegoats, but at the moment, there is a sense of urgency, because the left’s blood is up, and a good lynching always requires frenzy. As I wrote on my site following my own metaphorical lynching in 2013, “The enemy of a good lynching is introspection. The lyncher’s motto is, “allow your adrenaline and righteous anger to guide you.”” So, bottom line, someone’s gotta pay now. Facebook is filled with weepy leftists looking for somebody or something to retaliate against, and as much as they may want, first and foremost, to hit back at Trump himself, the Big Man has made it quite clear”pretty much from the start of election season”that he is unmoved by the tears of his adversaries.
So, who is the devil du jour? Who’s to blame for the fact that the expected win unexpectedly failed to materialize? Well, the mainstream media has found the culprit, and it is (and here’s where you can visualize the Scooby-Doo gang pulling the mask from the “Creature From the Haunted Amusement Park”)…fake news sites! Yes, the left is claiming that fake news is what tipped the scales on Election Day. As summarized by Nancy Scola at Politico:
Critics on the left say false headlines on Facebook harmed Hillary Clinton and helped swing the election to Donald Trump. One fake news story titled “FBI Agent Suspected in Hillary Email Leaks Found Dead” from sources like The Denver Guardian, The Free Patriot and Red Flag News circulated on the social network prior to the election. Another, under the headline “Michelle Obama Deletes Hillary Clinton From Twitter,” was picked up by conservative radio host Sean Hannity, who later apologized for spreading the lie.
In response to the existential threat posed by fake news sites, Democrats have pledged to take action!
The Clinton campaign’s chief digital strategist [Teddy Goff] on Monday blamed Facebook for enabling the spread of misinformation about the Democratic nominee”and said Democrats in and out of government have been looking at how to tackle the “big problem” of fake news on the social network…. “This is something we were very aware of, saw zero percent chance Facebook was going to be compliant or work with us during the election, but wanted to take on post-election.” Goff declined to shed light on the strategy he says is in the works, other than to say that it would target “one or two people” at the company, including Zuckerberg.
Go get “em, Klancy. Hang “em high”it’s the Democrat way.
To be fair, the idea that fake news sites contributed to the fact that every newspaper in the world had to scrap its “You”re Fired!” postelection “Donald Trump loses” page 1 headline isn”t just being promoted by the Democrats and their lapdogs in the press. At least one actual (and prolific) purveyor of fake news, Paul Horner, told The Washington Post that he agrees with the notion. After bitching to the Post about how much he “hates Trump,” how stupid Trump supporters are, and how he purposely targeted them with fake anti-Clinton stories in order to demonstrate their gullibility, Horner lamented the fact that he may very well have had an effect on the election’s outcome. “I think Trump is in the White House because of me,” he mournfully admitted. He explained that his strategy of floating viral anti-Clinton stories in order to harm the Trump camp may have backfired. “Looking back, instead of hurting the campaign, I think I helped it. And that feels [bad].”
So, are Horner, the Democrats, and the press correct regarding the malevolent, electoral-vote-influencing power of fake news? Well, yes and no. Horner is 100 percent correct when he claims that Trump supporters are more likely to pass along stories from obviously fake news sites. I hate to say it, but had Trump lost, I had a column ready to go in which I scolded and hectored Trumpers for sharing fake stories on social media. During the election, there was not one day that went by in which I didn”t see at least one Trump-supporting Facebook friend share an obvious fake, from the “Hillary smells like boiled cabbage” phony Podesta email to the “Clinton Foundation paid $333,000 to the Black Panthers” fake WikiLeaks doc to the “FBI agent investigating Hillary’s emails dies in a murder-suicide” story by a nonexistent Denver newspaper. You guys loved your fake news stories.
Hell, even when appearing on a podcast mere days after the election, joining in the post-victory celebration with several alt-righters who had backed Trump from the start, I found one of my fellow guests boasting about a pro-Trump tweet from Clint Eastwood. As I bit my tongue trying to be polite, my suggestion that the tweet was from a bogus account (as it was) fell on deaf ears.
Yay, fake news!
Rapper Kanye West was just carted away to a mental institution for #TrumpingWhileBlack and he will likely spend Thanksgiving in his hospital room. West’s team has canceled his tour and concluded he’s lost his mind because he’s a black man who sees the merits of a Trump presidency. “I didn”t vote,” he told an audience in California last week, “but if I did, I would have voted for Trump.” A few days later, he doubled down by telling concertgoers,
BeyoncÃ©, I was hurt, because I heard that you said you wouldn”t perform unless you won Video of the Year over me and over “Hotline Bling.” In my opinion”now, don”t go trying to diss BeyoncÃ©. She is great. Taylor Swift is great”we are all great people. We are all people. But sometimes we be playing the politics too much and forgetting who we are, just to win. Fucking winning. Fucking looking cool. Fucking being cool.
He was referring to the free concert BeyoncÃ© did for Hillary and his quote is one of the saner things I”ve heard this election. In fact, it’s the sanest thing Kanye West has ever said. This is the fool who thinks he’s going to run in 2020. He’s constantly terrorizing awards shows and he interrupted a Katrina PSA to tell America, “George Bush doesn”t care about black people.” I”ve compiled a big list of his most retarded quotes and they are all a thousand times more likely to get someone committed than anything he’s said this week.
What is really going on here is thought policing. Alex Jones is convinced West has been kidnapped by his staff and forced into a reeducation facility, and if you strip away all the hyperbole, that’s basically what happened. The rapper who calls himself Jesus blasphemed the progressive gods and he must be punished. He questioned Saint Bae and refused to disavow the Prince of the Devils. This made the liberal puritans apoplectic because they”ve never considered the possibility their version of events isn”t carved in stone. However, they are the ones who should be taken to a mental institution. They are the ones having a nervous breakdown and severing lifelong friendships based on rhetoric.
There are a lot of articles about relationships falling apart over Trump, but the tone is often “Racist man ostracizes significant other with his terrible bigotry,” as opposed to, “Woman who has never cared about politics or known anything about it suddenly ruins relationship based on juvenile narrative that sounds like it’s out of the miniseries V.” I spoke to a couple dozen Trump supporters about the reactions they”ve received since the election (very few would allow me to use their full names). Men in red states have been experiencing unprecedented laidness. “I live down here in the Panhandle and it’s the opposite of what you guys are getting,” says ex”naval officer Tim E. in Florida. “We feel so much better now that he’s been elected.” They got their man and conservative couples who voted together seem to be experiencing a second honeymoon.
Unfortunately, here in the Northeast, it’s quite different. (Although I do have one case of a man who can”t peel his girlfriend off him despite her caring nothing about politics. “I”ve had an aura of winner,” he said. “It’s a confidence aphrodisiac.”) Andy, a technician from northern New Jersey, told me his wife would “break down into tears” when she saw him. This lasted for days. Video producer Pawl Bazile was fired from his waiter job by a manager who hated Trump. “I might sue,” Pawl said, “but I like the owner and I don”t want to screw him over.” The CEO of GrubHub decided to punish all their pro-Trump employees by encouraging them to quit. This launched a huge backlash and the company’s stock price has been in a free fall ever since. Like Pawl, GrubHub’s employees didn”t sue. Our people are much less litigious than theirs. While Democrats fabricate receipts that say, “I”m sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle,” we take real-life prejudice and laugh it off. As long as we”re not being kidnapped and hospitalized, we”re fine. “My whole office also laughed at me for supporting Trump and mocked me all day on the election,” said Trav, a sales guy who works at a tech company similar to GrubHub. “Next day I went into work with my MAGA hat and my Trump shirt and nobody would talk to me. It’s a lot of women, too”big surprise.” Tim is a bouncer who said, “The gay and minority coworkers appreciate my differing view and get that I just want a better country for my kid. All my white middle-class friends have bailed on me and treat me like a leper.” This seems to be a pattern, lots of privileged white people telling privileged white people they”re privileged white people. The childless are particularly spiteful.
To be clear, I”m not complaining. I”m just confused. We won. They lost. They need to get on their knees and kneel before Zod. It’s like going out on the field to shake the losing team’s hands after a game and they yell, “FUCK YOU!” from the dugout. Huh? Even my church is in mourning. I walked in expecting high fives from everyone, but the sermon was about surviving adversity and remembering to pray even when you feel all is lost. The only thing lost is a bunch of irrational babies who have never faced reality before.
When we got back from church, my liberal wife hugged me and said, “I forgive you.” I replied, “For what, making America great again?” and she recoiled in horror as I marched proudly back to the doghouse. My brother’s girlfriend is still livid that he “supports hate” and he lives in Canada (Australian Trump supporters are getting this too for some reason). The bickering drove him further to the right and he decided to get a “Proud Boy” tattoo, which led her to burst into the tattoo studio and start punching him in the face. Who’s nuts here?