The Week’s Most Detestable, Suggestible, and Indigestible Headlines
POP SUPERSTAR ACCUSED OF ENABLING ANTI-SEMITISM
Baby-faced pop singer Justin Bieber has earned a quarter-billion dollars and sold 45 million records merely by dint of being a white male who pretends to be black.
Three years ago at age 20, the African-American-appropriatin” Caucasian sensation nearly suffered premature career death when it was revealed that he”d dropped several N-bombs on video at age 14 before his voice had even fully changed”then again, that’s a word that black people often use, so all was forgiven. In his tireless quest to be the blackest white performer of his generation, he has faced arrest for DUI and resisting arrest while drag-racing, DUI yet again, allegedly assaulting a paparazzo in Argentina, assaulting a limo driver in Montreal, and spray-painting graffiti on a hotel wall in Rio de Janeiro.
In 2014, he was also forced to move out of his plush mansion in Calabasas, CA, after neighbors Jeffrey and Suzanne Schwartz extracted an $80,000 settlement from the rambunctious wigger after a horrid incident that involved him egging their house. The Schwartzes still claim that they suffer body aches and sleeplessness as a result of Bieber’s thoughtless egging escapade. They have now allegedly filed court documents that claim Bieber’s bodyguard verbally abused them for being a son and daughter of Judah:
…threatening a man with body harm while calling him a ‘little Jew boy’ and intimidating him with ‘what are you going to do about it, Jew boy?’ is a hate crime.
The Schwartzes” lawyers make no bones about the fact that Bieber himself uttered no anti-Semitic remarks. Still, the fact that he didn”t immediately murder his bodyguard for terrorizing Jews leads to only two possible mutually exclusive conclusions: Either Justin Bieber is a Nazi, or the Schwartzes are a huge pain in the ass.
MILLENNIAL WOODSTOCK AN EPIC DISASTER
Billy McFarland is a douchey-looking 25-year-old entrepreneur who claims that “after computers, the two things I love most are the ocean and, for some reason, rap music.” A few months ago he teamed up with million-selling rapper Ja Rule, who has served separate prison sentences on weapons and tax-evasion charges. The interracial pals both decided it would be a good idea to host an astronomically priced music festival on some remote islands in the Bahamas that had almost zero infrastructure but at least used to belong to drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.
Tickets for the sold-out Fyre Festival ranged from a humble $5,000 all the way up to a super-luxurious $250,000. But just as festival-goers started arriving, it all fell apart. What were touted as luxury villas were instead nothing more than “disaster relief tents,” and the “celebrity chef-prepared meals” that had been promised turned out to be cheese sandwiches with lettuce in Styrofoam containers. Wild dogs roamed the premises, hostile locals began threatening the attendees, and security guards allegedly punched and robbed one concertgoer of his wallet. A tropical thunderstorm destroyed pipes and ripped the tents to the ground, leaving what one observer called “a complete dump, just a rain-soaked mud bowl” that was worse than a refugee camp. The entire event was canceled as desperate, hungry, shivering millennials scrambled to catch planes back home.
Organizers said this Millennial Altamont merely showed signs of “the growing pains that every first-year event experiences” and promised to do a better job next year.
PORTLAND PARADE SHUT DOWN AFTER THREATS TO REPUBLICANS
Since everyone knows that anyone who isn”t a violent totalitarian leftist is, in fact, a Nazi, an anti-fascist collective in the formerly quaint and beautiful town of Portland, Oregon were able to shut down the annual 82nd Avenue of Roses Parade before it started.
An anonymous email threat was sent to parade organizers:
You have seen how much power we have downtown and that the police cannot stop us from shutting down roads so please consider your decision wisely…we will have two hundred or more people rush into the parade into the middle and drag and push those people out as we will not give one inch to groups who espouse hatred toward lgbt, immigrants, people of color or others.
Who was this shadowy group of violent Nazi street warriors who were poised to bash and smash and club and hammer all nonwhite males into submission? The local hate group known as the Multnomah County Republicans.
As everyone knows, Republicans don”t have the guts to do such things, but the parade was canceled anyway.
RAMPAGING JUVENILES GIVE OAKLAND A BART ATTACK
Due to their systemic marginalization and objectification and repudiation by the white supremacist capitalist power structure, last Saturday evening in Oakland a group of 40-60 “juveniles“ swarmed through a Bay Area Rapid Transit train, robbing and beating people at will. Since most of the juveniles are thought to be minors, it is illegal to show video-surveillance photos of them, but we”ll go out on a limb and assume most of them were Armenian.
PAPER: BREASTFEEDING IS UNNATURAL
An academic paper in the journal Pediatrics argues that to depict breastfeeding as “natural” is “ethically problematic” since it enforces patriarchal gender roles and may dissuade people from doing highly unnatural and potentially toxic things to their children such as giving them vaccines.
According to coauthors Jessica Martucci and Anne Barnhill:
we are concerned about breastfeeding promotion that praises breastfeeding as the “natural” way to feed infants. This messaging plays into a powerful perspective that “natural” approaches to health are better….Promoting breastfeeding as “natural” may be ethically problematic, and, even more troublingly, it may bolster this belief that “natural” approaches are presumptively healthier. This may ultimately challenge public health’s aims in other contexts, particularly childhood vaccination.
It is our professional opinion that these dizzy broads shouldn”t be allowed anywhere near children.
Twenty-five years ago this week, Los Angeles was burning because of Rodney King’s beating by the fuzz and I had my shoulder sliced open by a doctor in order to repair torn ligaments. My shoulder hurt more than Rodney’s ribs, because I saw him on TV get up and gesticulate freely after being whacked rather hard by four cops. I didn’t lift my arm for months. Lesson to be learned: Better to have four cops beat you than to run into an ice wall at a high speed while skiing with snow blindness.
Forty years ago this week, there was better news: Studio 54 opened its doors, changing the Big Bagel’s nighttime culture forever. Started by two friends of mine—they became friends after a rocky start—Studio was entered after a physical battle under the giant marquee with “deplorables” who lay siege all night against those of us who were signaled to enter upon arrival. The sidewalk was a scary zoo outside Studio, the non grata ones linking arms against those welcomed by the legendary Marc Benecke, and some even spitting at people like Warhol and his entourage as the club’s heavies escorted them in. I never had any problem with the BBQs—Brooklyn, Bronx, and Queens crowds—as I always dressed square and never expected the heaving humanity to open up à la Red Sea to welcome me. Lesson to be learned: Act like an old-fashioned gent, never like a haughty celebrity, and the crowd will neither spit on you nor try to keep you out.
Studio was redolent of secret chambers. There were nooks and crannies and places where people openly screwed and took drugs. What amazed me was the fact that it was always referred to as exclusive, but when at full capacity it held 2,000 persons, a fact that always led me to question its exclusivity. Which brings me to the point of my story.
What I miss most when in New York is not Studio, or Nell’s, or even El Morocco, but the small cabarets, back then known as saloons or dives, where jazz musicians and singers could take popular songs and deliver them to you as though they were confiding in your ear. They were dark and they were smoky and they were small, and the best of them, near Third Avenue and 55th Street, was called the Blue Angel. It opened its doors late, as Elmo’s and the Stork Club closed theirs, and its lavishly upholstered room was straight out of a Berlin whorehouse of the ’20s. Eartha Kitt and Johnny Mathis and Woody Allen got their start there, and the place was packed with celebrities who lived at night, people like Tallulah Bankhead and Marlene Dietrich and that awful Truman Capote. For some strange reason I used to be in the gossip columns back then, especially around 1956, due to the film stars I used to escort around. The maître d’ of the Angel treated me like a celebrity; that was a first and last, I might add.
Manhattan back then had more piano bars than immigrants, cocktail pianists in smoking jackets who played their hearts out over the noise of drunks in long seamless medleys. This was the best part of the day—evening, rather. You’d pick up your date after a hard day on the tennis court, head for a piano bar while her stomach was empty, get well oiled, and then on to a restaurant, followed by El Morocco. Then, while holding on to each other for balance, head for the Blue Angel until dawn. Then on to even better things due to youthful horniness. It might sound like a dull life, but I wouldn’t trade it for a Nobel Prize in Literature.
What I really hate about Facebook is Mark Zuckerberg’s T-shirts.
Of course, his whole invention (if that is what one should call it) is an incitement to man’s reprehensible though no doubt eternal tendency to self-expression when he has nothing whatever to express. Even worse is its encouragement of both the exhibitionism of those who would rather be known as monsters than not be known at all, and the sadistic prurience of the public. The recent live-streamed murder of a 74-year-old man and the hanging of an 11-month-old baby by his father in Thailand for the delectation of both perpetrator and viewer were therefore only to be expected, in outline if not in detail.
But this is nothing compared with the civilization-subverting message and quality of Zuckerberg’s T-shirts. Like the celebrity-philosopher Slavoj Å½iÅ¾ek, who claims to believe in the necessity of terror and mass murder for the future happiness of the world, he dresses like an incompletely washed slob. I suppose dialectical materialists would cite the similar taste in clothes of Zuckerberg and Å½iÅ¾ek as an instance of the unity of opposites, the billionaire and the allegedly revolutionary philosopher.
I do not know what element of conscious playacting there is in their adoption of the T-shirt as their formal attire: whether, in short, they are the modern equivalent of Marie Antoinette, who liked to play the shepherdess for the afternoon before resuming her more accustomed role as queen. Perhaps in private both Zuckerberg and Å½iÅ¾ek dress with great elegance, though I rather doubt it (especially in Å½iÅ¾ek’s case). And we all know what happened to Marie Antoinette.
Are they playing the egalitarian, I wonder, and if so, why? It is unlikely that either of them wants to be in the actual position of someone who wears T-shirts because he can afford nothing better or more expensive. As a Marxist of the mass-murder-of-the-bourgeoisie persuasion, it is clear why Å½iÅ¾ek should wish to appear as if he is relaxing after a hard day’s work down at the iron foundry wrestling with pig iron (the kind whose production was on an ever-upward curve in Stalin’s Russia), but the case of Zuckerberg is less clear. It is possible, I suppose, that as a purveyor of drivel to the masses, he rather fears to appear very different from them, in case they should get the idea that his product is but a cynical ploy to exploit them.
Of course, it is also possible that Mr. Zuckerberg’s T-shirts are expressive of the real him, that they are the mirror of his soul. I am not quite sure whether in this, as in other similar instances, it is better if he is playing a part or expressing his true self. I speak as a sartorial moderate, that is to say as someone who is halfway between a dandy and a slob.
Dandyism, as the writer Arnold Bennett pointed out in a beautiful little essay, may well be an expression of vanity, but it is vanity of a relatively harmless kind, and does at least also express an aspiration to perfection that requires an effort to approach. Moreover, insofar as it seeks the admiration of others, it does at least recognize the existence and importance of others. Slobbery, on the other hand, is expressive either of an indifference toward others or of an active desire to insult them. It is the expression of a vanity of a different and far worse kind. A slob is all-important to himself.
As there is slobbery in clothes, so there is slobbery in manners, which often masquerades as informality. My slight acquaintance, Alexander McCall Smith, created the delightful character of Mma Ramotswe, the only lady detective in Botswana, whose attractiveness for audiences of many millions around the world is surely connected to the ceremoniousness of the African life portrayed in the books in which she appears, a ceremoniousness that has been lost almost everywhere.
That ceremoniousness is sometimes thought to be not only a waste of time (and time is money) but, far worse from the intellectuals” point of view, to be inauthentic as well, insofar as it involves forms of words that do not express real individual thoughts or feelings. And the authentic person is under the obligation to be always sincere. If I don”t actually care a jot how you are, I shouldn”t ask you; and if I do ask you, it should be because I really want to know how your varicose veins are getting on.
The first round of the French presidential election is done, and the results are monumental. A new president hasn”t been decided, but the political realignment launched by Brexit, expanded by Donald Trump, and brought to the fore by nationalist uprisings all throughout Europe came fully into being when French voters entered the polls.
National Front leader Marine Le Pen and independent centrist Emmanuel Macron emerged the winners. Both are outsiders; neither is a member of France’s two major political parties that have dominated the country for half a century. Macron is an ex-Socialist and pragmatist heavy on optimism and light on solutions. Le Pen is the fiery culture warrior determined to keep France French.
The new battle lines are drawn: nationalism versus globalism; populism versus technocracy; provincials versus urban dwellers; God-and-country patriotism versus allegiance-less individualism.
France’s electoral results make this all too clear. Le Pen predictably bombed in the cities, but made up for it in the country’s faltering rural areas. A recent dispatch from Roger Cohen of The New York Times captured the existential angst felt by Le Pen’s rural army. Socially immobile and invisible to the global economy, France’s working class is feeling the squeeze of modernity’s hypercapitalism. “In the shopping malls the cashiers are lined up like cattle for the slaughter,” said a sommelier by the name of Thierry Corona. “And immigrants arrive and they immediately get handouts!”
That attitude is by no means exclusive to the land of libertÃ©, Ã©galitÃ©, fraternitÃ©. The West has been beset with a bad case of liberal fatigue. The open borders, open trade, open society model inspired by the Enlightenment, honed by the U.S. Constitution, and codified by postwar governments and international institutions is beginning to sputter.
Society is as rich as it has ever been, and yet we”re more miserable than ever.
What happened? The promises of globalism have all been delivered. Free movement of people and capital has been a boon for hedge fund profits and stock prices. Yet the prosperity hasn”t stopped anxiety from inching upward, or plain people from stupefying themselves with drugs. “Why is neoliberalism failing?” is the great question of the 21st century.
A new article by James Meek in the London Review of Books may provide the answer”or, at least, an answer”to liberalism’s struggle.
Tracing the story of a Cadbury chocolate factory’s move from England to Poland, Meek details the decline of morale that follows the loss of local expectations. For nearly a century, residents of Keynsham knew that their local Cadbury confectionery plant was a source of employment. Then, on Oct. 3, 2007, it all changed. The word went out that the factory was to shut down and move to Skarbimierz, Poland. Just like that, come 2011, one hundred years of history were rubbed out thanks to a closed-boardroom decision. As Meek writes, the factory’s leaving meant the loss of “highly paid, permanent, solidly pensioned jobs…not because [the workers] had done anything wrong, or because their products weren”t selling, or because the factory was unprofitable, but because their Polish replacements could do the same job for less than one fifth of the money.”
The people of Keynsham didn”t just lose a stable source of employment. They lost a piece of their shared history. This is something free marketers miss when they extol the virtues of Ricardo. While finely lubricated trade keeps the engine of commerce pumping, it can also leave behind a void. It’s a cruel fact that businesses shutter all the time. That doesn”t make the erasure of their memory any easier.
Man is not homo economicus alone. A high living standard rendered by improved production is a blessing. But there is a limit to what the relentless pursuit of higher gross domestic product brings. From far enough away, investors, executives, and money managers can easily move capital like pieces on a board game without consideration of the human toll. In the Cadbury example, Meek writes, “They”d programmed it to seek only one thing”efficient production”and accordingly, when the machine set about its task, it attacked the largest obstacle to efficiency, the wants of its human components, blind to the fact its programmers depended on these same human wants to validate its construction.”
The Horseman by Tim Pears is one of the best novels I”ve read in a long time. The first part of a projected trilogy, it is set in rural England before the 1914″18 war, and is partly the story of an inarticulate young boy’s development, partly an evocation or, better, re-creation of a now-vanished way of life on the farms of an aristocratic estate. The boy, Leo, communicates more easily with the great Shire horses than with other people, and the relationship between men and horses is at the heart of the novel.
It’s thoroughly researched, and the research has been absorbed; it’s as if Pears had been sitting in the hayloft above the stable, watching and listening to everything. The novel is also beautifully written. I loved it for all these reasons, but also because it brought back to me remembrance of a world I just touched in its dying years.
One of my first visual memories is of holding my grandfather’s hand in the stable of his Aberdeenshire farm and gazing awestruck at the hairy-heeled, huge-hooved Clydesdales munching their midday meal of bruised corn, reward for their morning’s work, fuel for the afternoon’s. My grandfather was famed for the quality of his horses, and when they were brushed their coats shone like a guardsman’s boots.
Half a dozen years later, 1946, I remember my father, whom I scarcely knew then because he had spent the war years in a Japanese POW camp, saying that soon there would be no more horses. In one sense, of course, he was wrong, because there are still, happily, lots of horses and ponies, but they are kept to be ridden, for pleasure and recreation, not for work, certainly not for the heavy labor performed by the Clydes, Shires, and Suffolk Punches. As it happens we still had three Clydes”Sally, Queen, and Kate”on the smaller of his farms, which my grandfather had left to my mother. Even then most farms had gone over to tractors, and I daresay ours would have done so sooner if my father had stayed to run it instead of returning to Malaya. So I can remember the beautiful sight of the Clydes yoked in harness to pull the binder at harvesttime while men and older boys followed behind, stooking the field, and I can remember being hoisted, somewhat nervous, onto Sally’s back as she returned from field to stable at “lowsing time.”
It’s all gone now. The reign of the Clydes lasted a little over a hundred years from the stabilization of the breed, around 1830. They were big beasts, mostly bays and browns (though Sally was a chestnut), often with a white blaze on the face; they were usually white about the legs, which were feathered with a silky sort of hair. They stood on average a bit over sixteen hands, and the stallions and geldings would weight about a ton, mares a bit less. The Clyde had a briskness of step that in the opinion of devotees like my grandfather gave it the edge over other breeds. They would be broken for work at the age of 3, and their working life would last twelve to fifteen years. In memory, one marvels at their patience and gentleness.
In the 1930s there were some 17,000 farm horses, most of them Clydes, in Aberdeenshire, more than in any other county in Scotland, and some fifty of them were stallions. The stallions, known there as “staigs,” would travel the country serving mares from late April after the spring sowing was done. Some of them were wild-eyed, dangerous beasts, and their handlers canny men who, it was said, did their own bit of impregnation of maids in the farms they visited in the line of business. The staigs themselves went at their work with a will. One called Dunmore Footprint could sell his services every two hours of day and night, at a fee of £60, with the same due when the mare was pregnant. Less potent staigs might manage only eighty mares a season, but a good stallion might keep at it for twenty years. The staig was, understandably, excused more menial work. As the Borders poet Will Ogilvie wrote:
For all the splendour of his bone and thew
He travels burdenless along the track,
Yet shall he give a hundred hefty sons
The strength to carry what his kingship shuns.
As Louis C.K. says, “No good marriage has ever ended in divorce.” You made a go of it, but for whatever reason it didn”t work out. The solution is simple: end it. Life is too short to keep wasting your time with something that isn”t working, so grow a pair of balls and rip the Band-Aid off.
It’s actually perfectly logical that things didn”t work out. We are all in a constant state of flux. Remember the idiotic things you believed when you were 17? The idea of having to sleep in a bed with that person for the rest of your life is just unthinkable. That’s what your marriage has become, a long and torturous chain to the past.
Most studies show that 70 percent of divorces are instigated by the wife. Maybe she got a lump of money after her father died and figured, “Why am I lying underneath this old boor every night?” A large inheritance can skew the power dynamic. If her dead dad is providing for her more than the breadwinner, he tends to lose his authority. Besides, a woman’s libido crashes before a man’s, so being constantly hounded for intercourse when you don”t want it is going to lead to some animosity. When women are in their 30s and now 40s, they are getting harassed by kids all day. The last thing they want to do is answer to their husband’s demands when the house is finally quiet. After the kids move out, solitude becomes even more inviting. The temptation is there for a woman to ask that one last kid”the one her age”to move out, too. Ah, serenity at last.
This, of course, doesn”t absolve men. I”ve spoken to many divorce lawyers who tell me the 70 percent stat is often women responding to a man who has made it clear he has no interest in continuing the relationship. Infidelity is another complicated issue. Often, women are divorcing their husband for cheating. In other cases, the man is cheating because his wife isn”t interested in putting out. Adding porn to this equation is like adding poison. Why should a man try to seduce his wife or work out their differences when there are an infinite number of naked women on his computer dying to relieve him? In order for a marriage to stay sexually vibrant, both parties have to be interested in each other at the exact same time. What are the odds of that?
There are a million other reasons marriages fall apart. Feminizing men and masculinizing women is garnering catastrophic results. We are living in a culture where divorce is no big deal. My wife is a Democrat in hyper-liberal New York and I guarantee when she complains to her friends about a fight they say, “He voted for Trump. Dump his ass.” Men think divorce is cool, too. Look at Louis C.K. He gets to walk around the house naked and do whatever he wants. Guys like it when their buddy gets divorced because they get to hang out with him more often. The reasons for divorce are often perfectly justified. One spouse drinks too much and after 37 strikes, he’s out. Maybe he did that ugly cry face when his mother died and she can”t get over it. I know of one couple who never recovered when the husband fell asleep driving and flipped the car. There are some mistakes that are unforgivable, so when a married couple are faced with that situation, there is one solution: let it go.
After a brief period of mourning, it’s time to find your new mate. She should be someone who is good with your kids. I”m always alarmed by how many discussions about divorce ignore how it affects the kids. They say, “I have the whole week to myself,” without realizing that’s seven days the kids have no dad. The norm for custody seems to be Wednesday dinners and every second weekend. That sounds like a cool uncle, not a dad. Assuming you get a good custody deal, she’s going to be seeing a lot of the kids and she should enjoy that time. She should also be your type. Sure, we change over time, but our “type” doesn”t really change. I saw Raquel Welch on Sesame Street in 1978 and knew instantly I”d be marrying something similar. It was a strange time to be discovering the kind of woman you will eventually marry because the late “70s and early “80s were when the divorce epidemic hit. My parents stayed together, but it seemed like our couch had various divorcing dads sleeping on it without a break from 1980 to “85. I remember being surprised to see that the woman they ended up shacking up with always seemed remarkably similar to the one they just left.
Which brings me to the crux of this article. Remarry your wife. I don”t mean have a second wedding in Hawaii and drag everyone across the ocean to watch you make out. That’s so gay it’s basically gay marriage. I”m saying, say goodbye to the old marriage and start anew WITH THE SAME WOMAN. That’s right. Recourt your wife from scratch. Stop farting around her. Stop looking at porn. Stop masturbating. Stop giving her the reins. You”re an in-control single guy, trying to get with the perfect mate. She’s got a great relationship with the kids. If you “remarry” her, you get full custody. No lawyer’s fees. No giving up half your savings. No deeply traumatized kids. The idiot who flipped the car, or ugly cried, or drank too much, or even cheated, is gone. The woman who resented that guy has nobody to resent anymore. You don”t even have to tell her this elaborate process is going on. It’s none of her business, really.
Poor Bill O”Reilly…taken down by a combination of corporate cowardice, female coworkers, and his own boorishness. It’s an ignominious end to the career of a highly successful opinion warrior. Like Stonewall Jackson being ventilated by his own boys, O”Reilly wasn”t Derbyshire”d for his opinions, but Cosby”d for his conduct. The day Bill got canned, I posted on social media that the curmudgeonly wordsmith would still be on TV had he taken to heart one final “word of the day”: In all matters involving high-profile men and their female colleagues, it pays to be “Pencive” [adj. Pence-ive]. Earlier this month, people laughed at Mike Pence when it was revealed (or rather recalled) that he refuses to be in the company of women if his wife is not present. “American Taliban!” the lefties yelled. But in fact Pence’s method is far from madness; it’s the smart thing to do. Because these days, any dude with something to lose (especially dudes who are right-of-center) who finds himself in a “he said/she said” dispute regarding “sexual harassment” charges will quickly learn that “she said” is the paper to the “he said” rock.
In the current year, it’s the men who need the chaperones.
To be clear, I”m not saying that all or even most of O”Reilly’s accusers (and settlement recipients) were lying or undeserving of compensation. But the one who was jitterbugging through the media circuit last week, Perquita Burgess, is more full of crap than my uncle’s colostomy bag. Perquita, who is black (I feel the need to point that out because her name gives absolutely no indication of her race), claims that O”Reilly “grunted” at her and called her “hot chocolate” while simultaneously “leering” at her and “not looking” at her, an impressive feat for anyone who’s not Orthrus. She also claimed that she “felt” that O”Reilly was looking at her cleavage, so apparently she’s an empath, or O”Reilly has heat vision, or maybe both. Here we have O”Reilly leering at someone while not looking at them, and being accused of staring at cleavage not because it was witnessed but because it was “felt.” I”m surprised O”Reilly wasn”t also accused of cursing the harvest and mesmerizing the milliner’s wife.
Appearing on the daytime TV henhouse The View, Perquita’s attorney Lisa Bloom brazenly admitted that her client’s claims were part of a “legal strategy to bring [O”Reilly] down.”
Mission accomplished, hot chocolate.
Again, I”m not claiming that O”Reilly never came on to some of his female colleagues. His loutishness was well-known to those of us who hovered around establishment GOP circles during the Obama years. But the tales told by “Perquita mÃ¡s” are obviously part of a targeted hit, the figurative assassination of a conservative baddie.
Leftists are, of course, and as always, obsessed with eradicating all opposing points of view. The problem is, a sizable number of Americans remain uncomfortable with the idea of censoring or punishing people for expressing their opinions. And, it should be added, a pretty decent number of Americans continue to identify as conservative. So leftists have had only limited success in torpedoing conservative public figures by attacking their views. Michael Calderone in the Huffington Post damn near admitted as much when he pointed out that attempts to force Glenn Beck off the air at FNC, when the complaint was “we don”t like his opinions,” failed, whereas the campaign against O”Reilly was destined to be far more successful, because it was not centered around views, but conduct.
This is similar to the manner in which poor Milo Yiannopoulos (remember him?) was extirpated. What finally got him wasn”t his views on multiculturalism or Islam or feminism”his publisher totally stood by him against all leftist opposition on those issues (because a publisher of political tomes would look a right fool for canceling a book because the controversial political ideologue they signed turned out to be a controversial political ideologue). Milo was taken out by his remarks about statutory rape. Now his publisher could plead that it wasn”t about politics, but advocacy of unseemly sexual conduct. “We loved Milo the impish right-winger, but Milo the sleazeball sex fiend? Blech!“ Milo was sent to the cornfield, and those behind the banning (and those who cheered it) could sleep well, because whereas penalizing dissenting political views is illiberal and fascistic, penalizing sexual misconduct is civilized and reasonable.
This is the way of the future. The best method by which to take out rightists is the Anita Hill approach. Don”t go after ideology; go after swinishness. The Anita Hill battle plan failed 26 years ago, but think for a moment about what might have happened had it succeeded. Had H.W. Bush decided to withdraw Clarence Thomas” nomination, we may very well have gotten a second David Souter, and every significant victory common sense has gained in the Supreme Court since 1991 would not have occurred. Leftists may have lost the Battle of Anita Hill, but they”ve never abandoned the strategy.
Unable to win on policy, leftists seek to win on propriety. And when conservatives lose on those grounds, I hate to say it, but it’s a fair cop in many cases. The right’s self-righteous moralists always leave themselves wide open to well-deserved censure when they don”t live up to the good Christian standards they publicly espouse. And I never mind seeing a conservative moralizer brought down by his own hypocrisy (Foley, Hastert, Craig, etc.). I only wish that the media could muster the same level of outrage for leftist hypocrites in politics and the media”i.e., the self-proclaimed socialists and Marxists who own five mansions, six yachts, and a dozen tax shelters. But no, those folks receive only adoration, never condemnation.
Think about this for a moment…Bill O”Reilly was taken down for allegedly being rude to women, while Al Sharpton, who on more than one occasion has outright called for violent pogroms against Jews, stays on the air. The shift from attacking ideology to attacking propriety benefits leftists in several ways. It allows them to avoid looking like hypocrites for continuing to support vile ideologues like Sharpton, but also, let’s be frank, leftists are more likely than rightists to get away with unsavory sexual indiscretions. Take Bill Clinton. He survived his sex scandal with precious little damage; Newt Gingrich did not. Because when your platform is all about an aborted fetus in every Dumpster, a tranny in every bathroom, and a glory hole in every stall, who’s going to bat an eye if you uninvitedly squeeze a boob or get a BJ from a subordinate every now and then? This is why leftist darling comedian Louis C.K. consistently skates past whispers of sexual harassment and lewd conduct. When your routine consists of making jokes about pedophilia and how your own young daughters are “cunts,” who’s going to act shocked if you”re accused of dangling your dirlywanger in the presence of a female colleague? “Oh, that Louis, such a free-spirited scamp. Nothing’s sacred to him!”
Lately, American higher education is notoriously prone to tantrums. Two more academic meltdowns last week raise connected questions:
First, are scholars allowed to suggest any explanation for racial disparities other than that White People Are Bad?
Second, if they can”t say anything heretical or interesting, do we really need white scholars anymore, or can they be replaced by Professors of Color?
The American Historical Review, perhaps the top academic journal in its field, got itself in all sorts of trouble for assigning the review of an academic book about the failure of school desegregation in Nashville to a historian who actually has thought long and hard about the subject of why busing hasn”t worked as hoped anywhere or anytime. Raymond Wolters has been a professor of history at the U. of Delaware for the past 52 years. But that means he can actually remember the past”a dangerous capability, as Orwell noted in 1984.
Meanwhile, Pomona College’s hiring of the crown princess of sociology, Alice Goffman, author of On the Run: Fugitive Life in an American City, the celebrated 2014 denunciation of the mass incarceration of muscular, sexy black males, was slammed by 128 People of Color claiming affiliation with Pomona. Why? Because Goffman is not black:
This hire does not enhance a culture of inquiry and understanding on campus as we navigate a tumultuous time in our nation’s history; on the contrary, it boasts the framework [sic] that white women can theorize about and profit from Black lives while giving no room for Black academics to claim scholarship regarding their own lived experiences.
What was Wolters” crime in his good-humored book review of Making the Unequal Metropolis: School Desegregation and Its Limits by Ansley T. Erickson, a white woman professor at Columbia Teachers College? Noticing that all the strenuous attempts at nurture over the past half century haven”t much affected the nature of the school test-score gap.
While that’s the biggest news from K to 12 in America, you will no longer be allowed to review that history, announced the editor of The American Historical Review.
Also, the good folks at the Southern Poverty Law Center, America’s most lucrative hate organization, called for a Two Minutes Hate against Wolters. (And Donald Trump, too: Never forget that everything is Trump’s fault.)
Unlike Dr. Wolters, Dr. Goffman expounds all the right (i.e., left) opinions. (Here’s her popular TED Talk.)
In the current year, though, that’s just not good enough. She may wholeheartedly believe the right platitudes, but she inherited the wrong genes. If Miss Goffman, the daughter of 1950s sociology superstar Erving Goffman, wants to be paid to expound on race, she should have taken care to be born nonwhite.
It may seem strange today, but at one time sociology was something of a glamour subject. Erving Goffman’s 1959 book The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life was influential on a generation of college students. The International Sociological Association voted it one of the ten most important sociology works of the 20th century, along with titles such as Max Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism.
The elder Goffman conceived, not unreasonably, that individuals are constantly putting on an act for those around them; appropriately, he brought a theatrical flair to his theorizing.
Unfortunately, his influential animus against incarceration played a role in two of the more misguided reforms of the 1960s”70s: reducing prison sentences for criminals, which contributed to a doubling of the murder rate, and the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill, which flooded the streets with homeless crazy people. His 1982 obituary in The New York Times concluded:
In the 1970’s, he served on the Committee for the Study of Incarceration, which concluded that prisons should be retained but only for individuals convicted of the most serious crimes. He is survived by…a daughter, Alice.
Although heredity is not at all a popular idea among sociologists, the younger Goffman, who was born only a few months before her father’s death from cancer, inherited not only his prejudice against locking criminals up but also much of his dramatic skill.
A sociology prodigy, her ethnographic study of life among the “legally entangled” in a black Philadelphia slum, On the Run, caused a sensation in 2014 because it was so much more gripping than most social science.
Moreover, enough decades had gone by that only old crimethinkers like Wolters could remember what had happened when society had followed her dad’s disastrous advice about what to do with criminals and the insane.
Malcolm Gladwell, for example, announced in The New Yorker that the younger Goffman had solved the riddle of why black males have such high crime rates: because the police keep arresting them. Conversely, Malcolm explained, the reason Philadelphia Italians eventually rose above poverty and organized crime was because there were fewer police around back in their day.
Since it’s inconceivable that blacks might be doing anything to cause themselves to have such high crime rates (see The American Historical Review‘s anger at Dr. Wolters), it must be the fault of white people.
Miss Goffman wrote:
Once a man fears that he will be taken by the police, it is precisely a stable and public daily routine of work and family life…that allows the police to locate him…. A man in legal jeopardy finds that his efforts to stay out of prison are aligned not with upstanding, respectable action but with being a shady and distrustful character.
In the spirit of the primped humility that is clitsch, “I”m not going to lie”: A Black Mirror episode inspired this piece.
We”ve heard the sound: the “so cute” refrain, the first syllable pricking like a vaccination shot. Note how all our narrations devolve into the cadence of yada yada yada”as if our lives were a list. Clitsch is artificial in its attempt at authenticity. It follows the ritual man-grooming in a public restroom: the restriction of mirror-gazing to his handwashing time, the certain angling of the nose, the casual sheveling as he waits for the dryer. More than the way Sontag said of camp, clitsch exists in quotations; it is the “gritty and spontaneous” that refines and mechanizes.
Of course, the tendency is as old as Xanthippe’s, in whom Socrates identified the vanity of our age: “What you are going for is not to see, but to be seen.” But the term can serve as more than just a catchall for self-serving humility. For what Gutenberg did for literacy, Zuckerberg has done for authorship. We”ve become a public of first-time listeners and longtime callers. An un-liked photo is no different from an orphaned article; the anguished handler of an unverified Twitter handle finds his fellow pilgrim in the half-published freelancer. Clitsch is the grammar by which we edit despair, conjugate relevancy and decline into parts of being. But it is also a writer’s consultation with the Urban Dictionary (and this author’s chosen spelling of clitsch to differentiate from one particular entry therein); it is a politician’s adoption of y”all and forswearing of terminal g‘s. And despite what our creative-writing teachers would workshop out of us, it is the confessional poetry of a negotiated self.
Like a poker hand, certain rules evince themselves. The common performing the uncommon (and vice versa) trump the self being the self, hence the unrivaled filmed film of a marriage proposal and a Kardashian extending her family (despite the transience that those events bode). So in addition to the trolling and ghosting gracing the web, we can stumble across the political satyrs and sirens: the Republican-looking Beshear or Republican-supporting Milo who brandish their contrasting natures for attention.
In the same spirit of contrast, the humblebrag or treating-myselfie will out-clitsch any blatant show of charity or vanity. The “I Eat, Therefore I Am” photos provide a useful four-course meal illustrating the concept: the I”m-busy-so-I-got-fast-food-that-I-have-enough-to-photograph, the look-at-what-you-can”t-afford, the look-at-what-you-didn”t-make, and finally the locally-sourced-memory-inducer. This piÃ¨ce de rÃ©sistance resembles the same patronizing conscientiousness on display when academics tell minorities how they should feel about their names, their cuisine, or what is no one’s culture at all. Campaigning to raise awareness for the sake of awareness, they only seek to serve up healthy servings of guilt.
When it comes to tenor, we learn how the sarcastic, singular, touchy, and touching all make the viewer relevant and thus the viewee even more so. (One important caveat brought to us by a former New York congressman: Combine the touching with the touchy at your own risk.)
Finally, like-baiters should only hint at themselves; selfies depicting only one’s own body pale to those that frame (sanctioned) appendages with other places, pets, and people. Nevertheless, even these photos depict an entire person, the idea being that the less appendages depicted on one’s actual body, the more other objects and objectified people serve as the limbs of an amalgamated self. And so we have begun to treat the world as our gallery. Students now see their campuses as a kind of feed from which they must filter those that challenge them and post only those that reflect them.
There Affectation, with a sickly mien,
Shows in her cheek the roses of eighteen,
Practis”d to lisp, and hang the head aside,
Faints into airs, and languishes with pride,
On the rich quilt sinks with becoming woe,
Wrapp”d in a gown, for sickness, and for show.
The fair ones feel such maladies as these,
When each new night-dress gives a new disease.
“The Rape of the Lock: Canto 4 by Alexander Pope (1715)
So he traded one imaginary diagnosis for another, I thought, after reading the Telegraph story a friend emailed me with the subject line “shocked not shocked.”
I call transsexuals (or whatever we”ve been ordered to call them this week) “future suicides” for what I assume are obvious reasons”to Taki’s readers at least, if not, apparently, to one particular British coroner.
Commenting on the suicide of 27-year-old Oxford University chemist Erin Shepherd, who “took her own life despite being apparently pleased with her transition from man to woman,” Darren Salter called it a “tragic case” and “a great shock,” adding:
Those closest to her did not foresee this. Things seemed to be going in the right direction. Very sadly, something caused her to decide to take her own life.
Note to self: Somehow murder everyone you hate within the jurisdiction of this Salter fellow…
Because truly, nothing says “going in the right direction” quite like “pretending you don”t have a penis when you do, then wearing dresses and making everyone call you by a woman’s name.”
But this is 2017, and everyone”this coroner, Shepherd’s doctor, apparently, all those connected with Corpus Christi (ferchrissakes!) College, and, finally, The Telegraph“is socially and legally obligated to participate in yet another literally deadly charade, with all its “despite”s and “something”s and other tragicomical linguistic trappings.
Add to that list of performers Detective Sergeant Kevin Parsons, who was forced to mouth the following two contradictory sentences in immediate succession:
She had struggled with her gender identity for most of her life. She was doing well and showing no signs of unhappiness.
But it was the rest of his statement to the inquest that prompted my thought at the start of this piece:
Parsons testified that “Miss Shepherd was unable to attend school as a teenager after being diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome…”
Ah, yes. Remember chronic fatigue syndrome? (Many hands go up.) Remember when it was called “yuppie flu”? (Fewer hands.)
Now: How about spinal irritation? Bilious fever? Catalepsy?
Nobody? Well, the 21st century isn”t the first era to witness the rise and fall of fashionable (and now forgotten) illnesses, syndromes, and disorders. Many of these mass delusions were also doctor-approved.
I was fortunate to come down with lupus in the early 1990s, after a blood test had been developed to confirm diagnoses. Until then, many women presenting its telltale symptoms had been dismissed as hypochondriacs and malingerers. I suspect novelist Flannery O”Connor was only spared this “diagnosis” in 1952 because, freakishly, her father had already died of the same disease. (Lupus in men is uncommon, but even so, he was likely taken more seriously by physicians than his daughter might have been had she contracted SLE before he did.)
Stories of other women being told their suffering was a sham got my (aching) back up, until I read Susan Sontag’s Illness as Metaphor, and the shamefully lesser-known, and quite magisterial, From Paralysis to Fatigue: A History of Psychosomatic Illness in the Modern Era, by Edward Shorter (1992).
Through Sontag, I learned about the tuberculosis fad that sprang up in the late 18th and early 19th centuries:
Wan, hollow-chested young women and pallid, rachitic young men vied with each other as candidates for this mostly (at the time) incurable, disabling, really awful disease….
Surely everyone in the nineteenth century knew about, for example, the stench in the breath of the consumptive person…. Yet all the evidence indicates that the cult of TB was not simply an invention of romantic poets and opera librettists but a wide-spread attitude.