NEW YORK—Question: How can you tell the difference between Elon Musk and an ordinary Tesla owner?
Answer: Elon Musk will eventually stop talking about his Tesla.
I never quite got the whole Tesla thing. Is there some connection between multi-millionaires and ecological crusading that I was previously unaware of? Do people really buy $138,000 cars so they can save the planet from greenhouse gas emissions?
I demand to see that fossil-fuel imprint, Mister Tesla Dude. Yes, you just drove from Cape May to Cape Cod without a single gallon of gasoline, but let’s see the size of that refrigerator back home, the one where you keep all the spelt, kale, chia seeds, tofu, seaweed and holistic cat food that you bought this morning at the Whole Foods on Seventh Avenue. I’m thinking those teak freezer drawers are pulling some kilowatts.
But who am I to talk? My 1970 Plymouth Hemi-equipped Barracuda has been up on blocks since 2008 because my regular mechanic, Bubba Barclay of Houma, Louisiana, has been unable to make it street-legal in any state except Alabama (no emissions inspections). That baby pulls 500 horsepower, still has the original plum-colored paint, and gets an amazing 4 miles to the gallon, 6 on the highway. If my Hemi Cuda met a Tesla on the open road, it would be like the opening scene of War of the Worlds, in which a Martian fighting machine destroys Bayonne, New Jersey. Tom Cruise would have to come assassinate my ass.
Meanwhile, we now have an existential threat to the blithe moral superiority of the Tesla owner.
They’re about to sell a bunch of $35,000 Teslas.
Can this be true?
For people who got into Tesladom in 2008 (remember the Tesla Roadster? neither do I), this must be the equivalent of waking up and finding out that homeless people will soon be living in Teslas parked on the side roads of East Hampton. Thirty-five thou is, like, plumbers. No, worse than plumbers. Weathercasters.
There was a day last year when the price of Tesla stock rose so high that it surpassed General Motors, Mercedes, Ford and every other automobile company in the world and, at that moment, Tesla was the biggest car company on the planet.
Let’s think about that.
Ford sells 6.6 million cars a year.
Tesla sells 103,000.
Chevrolet sells 4.8 million.
Even if you wanna compare cars favored by millionaires, Mercedes comes in at 2.3 million and BMW at 2.1 million.
A hundred thousand is not enough cars.
Hence the new Bargain Bin Tesla. No doubt they’ll be opening Tesla boutique showrooms inside Wal-Marts any day now.
And that’s another thing about Tesla that’s super-douchey: they market it like an iPhone, complete with showrooms that are not located in massive concrete plazas out on the interstate, like God intended, but are actually placed in shopping malls, right between Cartier and the wood-paneled shop that sells ugly $200 neckties from London. That way you can window-shop while you’re going in to get this season’s silk cravat.
By the way, the actual key to the car—or the fob—looks like a computer mouse shaped like a Tesla. So you access the vehicle with something similar to what a six-year-old uses when he gets his first baby computer. You can press different parts of the fob to do things like back out of a parking spot without getting inside or “open the frunk,” the frunk being a Doctor Seuss word used to describe a trunk located in the front of the car.
Once you’re on your long-distance Tesla road trip, you would think they would have electric car chargers at, say, truck stops and gas stations, but . . . nope, that would be funneling money toward the outdated soon-to-be-extinct fossil-fuel planet-fouling military-industrial complex. No, what you’re gonna do is pull into a mall, high-end restaurant, hotel or resort—yes, I said resort—where there are Superchargers that work only with a Tesla, no other car, and you can recharge in “only an hour.”
Only an hour.
This is stated with apparent pride by all Tesla owners. I don’t know about you, but I can gas up at any of five million different places on highways and surface roads in well under an hour, even allowing for standing in line at the Fake Starbucks or the Quickie Burger King or the Dasani Kiosk after buying trucker DVDs starring Jerry Reed with soundtracks by Ferlin Husky. In terms of time management, I don’t think pulling in at the White Sulphur Springs golf resort—even if it’s Scallop Sashimi Day—does much for you.
And then there’s the sales pitch for the Tesla. First they tell you it’s named after a 19th-century Serbian inventor named Nikola Tesla. Okay, fine, this really wouldn’t seem like the era to be celebrating Serbs, what with Ratko “The Butcher” Mladic and friends, but Tesla is supposedly the inventor of the induction motor and Thomas Edison would be too much of a direct-current guy, even though he was an American who did build an electric car, unlike Tesla.
So, anyway, they have the nerdy back story, but then what’s the question everyone asks when they go to a car lot?
Can this car kick ass?
And they actually have a great answer to that question. The top-end Tesla can go zero to sixty in 2.4 seconds.
But that’s not what they show you.
Harvey Weinstein’s recent perp walk reminds me of another great thing about Trump winning the election: Hillary Clinton isn’t president.
A New York Times article on Weinstein’s court appearance noted how the “ground shifted” last year, finally ending the “code of silence” surrounding powerful men. Why “last year,” if this has been going on for decades?
The article explained that Weinstein’s power was enormous, his connections extensive and his willingness to play dirty without bounds. Did Harvey lose his money and connections “last year”?
Nope. But “last year” was the first year of Trump’s presidency, or as I like to think of it, the first year of Hillary not being president. Ever.
The liberal protection racket for sexual predators was always intimately intertwined with the Clintons. The template used to defend Bill Clinton became a model for all left-wing sexual predators. They all hired the same lawyers and detectives and counted on the same cultural elites to mete out punishment to anyone who stood in the way of their Caligula lifestyles. It was Total War against the original #MeToo movement.
Even Teddy Kennedy never plotted revenge on reporters or smeared his sexual conquests as bimbos, trailer park trash and stalkers. That was the Clinton model.
Showing how incestuous it was, in 2000—two years after Clinton’s impeachment—Weinstein used his publishing company, Talk/Miramax, overseen by Tina Brown, to take revenge on anyone involved in Clinton’s impeachment.
The publishing house commissioned a book by John Connolly to dig into the private sex lives of the people who had helped expose Bill Clinton, e.g., the lawyers behind Paula Jones’ lawsuit, Ken Starr’s staff, Linda Tripp lawyer Jim Moody, Matt Drudge, reporter Michael Isikoff and so on.
Concise summary of the book: All of us were gay, except me, because I was having an affair with Geraldo Rivera.
We know this because drafts of the book, “The Insane Clown Posse,” soon began to leak. Talk/Miramax’s editor-in-chief Jonathan Burnham denied that any private eyes had been prying into our private lives and said he’d kill the book if it were true.
I went on “Rivera Live” and produced a letter given to me by an ex-boyfriend from a private eye looking for dirt on me:
My office has been engaged by John C. Connolly, a writer who has performed work for Spy, New York, Premiere, Vanity Fair and a few other magazines. The project for which my services were engaged deals with January 16th, 1998, the day Monica Lewinsky was corralled by the office of the independent counsel. Mr. Connolly has described the goal as ‘a day in the life of’-type book, and to that he has directed me to conduct interviews and look into the background and activities of a few peripheral characters, including the author of ‘High Crimes and Misdemeanors,’ one Ann Coulter.
Nils B. Grevillius, private investigator
As a result, the book was killed. But what if my ex hadn’t given me that letter?
No one cared about any of our private lives. The only point was to humiliate anyone who hadn’t endorsed Clinton’s treatment of women as his sexual playthings.
There were plenty who did.
Well into the Monica Lewinsky scandal—which followed the Gennifer Flowers scandal, the Paula Jones scandal, the Dolly Kyle Browning scandal, the Elizabeth Ward Gracen scandal, the Sally Perdue scandal and the Kathleen Willey scandal—feminist icon Gloria Steinem wrote her infamous New York Times op-ed, announcing the “One Free Grope” rule for progressive men.
“He takes no for an answer,” Steinem explained. Whether he was groping Kathleen Willey in the Oval Office or dropping his pants for Paula Jones in the Excelsior Hotel, she said, Clinton “accepted rejection.”
Soon thereafter, we found out about Juanita Broaddrick.
As Bob Herbert wrote in The New York Times, the reaction of the feminists to Clinton’s predatory behavior “can most charitably be described as restrained.” (This was when the Times was still an occasionally serious newspaper.)
Not one Senate Democrat voted to remove Clinton from office for various felonies related to his sexual assaults.
The deaths this month of literary giants Tom Wolfe, age 88, and Philip Roth, 85, illuminated a little-noticed divide in American life. The two writers were fairly comparable combinations of talent, energy, ambition, and personality, so it’s instructive to see how their reputations differed.
Roth’s passing revived a debate among Jewish critics that has been sputtering along since he published his 1959 satire on the Jewish American Princess, Goodbye, Columbus: Is Philip Roth good for the Jews or bad for the Jews?
Should his many strong novels entitle Roth to be admired by other Jews as a Jewish hero? Or were his books, especially his funny but vulgar 1969 best-seller Portnoy’s Complaint, about a shiksa-chasing liberal lawyer’s Jewish guilt, excessively frank about Jewish life?
In Portnoy’s Complaint, Jewish guilt is the diametrical opposite of white guilt: Portnoy feels guilty not because his ancestors were too ethnocentric (as in white guilt) but because he’s not ethnocentric enough to satisfy his ancestors, who want him to knock it off with the gentile broads, settle down with a nice Jewish girl, and propagate the race.
To Roth’s Jewish critics, his insufficient feelings of Jewish guilt revealed him to be a self-hating Jew. That might seem convoluted, even contradictory, but the point was never to make the rules lucid to the American public, but to discourage Roth from using his skills to let his gentile readers in on how things worked.
But if the early Roth was seen as too honest to be good for the Jews, did Roth’s anti-gentilic 2004 alternative-history novel The Plot Against America, in which the election of Charles Lindbergh as president in 1940 is bad for the Jews, make up for his youthful indiscretions?
As Americans, we are all used to Jews arguing over whether or not various things are good for the Jews. Some Americans may find these displays of ethnocentrism unseemly, but if you are not Jewish, you’d be well advised not to mention that view in public. One thing Jews can agree upon is that gentiles having an opinion on Jews is not good for the Jews.
On the other hand, virtually nobody ever argued over whether Tom Wolfe was good for whichever ethnic group he was assumed to represent.
Was Tom Wolfe good for the Southerners?
But nobody ever asks whether a white gentile is good for the white gentiles.
And did many even notice Wolfe was Southern?
Even though Wolfe, who wore a trademark white suit in the attention-calling tradition of Mark Twain, was one of the more famous American writers ever (eventually surpassing in celebrity, for example, interwar North Carolina novelist Thomas Wolfe), he almost never was seen as representative of any ethnicity, region, or political stance. (If anything, he was initially seen as a Sixties Person due to his book about Ken Kesey’s LSD cult, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.)
There’s much to be said for being treated as a sui generis individual. On the other hand, it should have always been rather obvious that Wolfe was a Southern WASP conservative. And yet that was almost never disclosed about Wolfe.
This was not for a lack of publicity. The New Journalism of the 1960s, in which reporters like Wolfe and Hunter S. Thompson wrote like novelists while novelists like Truman Capote and Norman Mailer researched like reporters, was both prestigious and popular. It was fun.
Not surprisingly, the New Journalists did not suffer from a lack of coverage by other journalists. As the most dazzling, broadest-ranging (from Radical Chic to The Right Stuff), and most enduring New Journalist, Wolfe never lacked for newsworthiness.
In his early 40s, Wolfe began to trash-talk the reigning literary novelists of the early 1970s about how a real reporter could write a much better novel than them in the time-tested Trollope tradition of The Way We Live Now.
Fiction proved much harder to write than Wolfe had expected, however, but finally fifteen years later he delivered his first novel, The Bonfire of the Vanities. It’s not the Great American Novel, but it’s definitely the Great New York City Novel, the most foresightful analysis of Current Year America penned during the 20th century.
Critics were somewhat baffled about what to make of this impolitic novel about our society’s Hunt for the Great White Defendant. But reality almost immediately vindicated Wolfe’s perception of the future of race relations when Al Sharpton (Reverend Bacon in Bonfire) began promoting Tawana Brawley’s claim of being gang-raped by white police officers in what turned out to be the first modern Hate Hoax.
Wolfe’s cultural prestige was so high as the literary embodiment of the ’60s that he could hardly be ruined for his political incorrectness without raising uncomfortable questions for the literary gatekeepers about their failure to notice what Wolfe had long been up to.
Paradoxically, Wolfe was made distinctive by his lack of white guilt and Roth by his lack of Jewish guilt.
Rather than pad his observations of African-American culture with boring boilerplate blaming whites, Wolfe simply didn’t bother doing what everybody else was doing.
Conversely, Roth did the unusual in satirizing Jews (as, to a lesser extent, did Wolfe, who showed courage in not letting his WASPness get in the way of good laughs at Leonard Bernstein’s expense in Radical Chic).
Strikingly, it seldom seemed to occur to observers that Wolfe, with his lack of white guilt, was a product of a particular time and place.
In truth, he grew up in Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Confederacy, and his father edited Southern Planter magazine. Wolfe took pride that his forefathers had fought for the South.
Finally, an octogenarian Wolfe authorized his protégé Michael Lewis, a New Orleans WASP, to read his letters to his parents. Lewis pointed out in 2015 that up through Wolfe graduating from Washington and Lee College in Virginia,
there isn’t a trace of institutional rebellion in him. He pitches for the baseball team, pleases his teachers, has an ordinary, not artistic, group of pals, and is devoted to his mother and father.
Whenever I invite guests to my house for high tea, the first thing they notice is my stunningly vibrant flower garden. Indeed, fellow gardening enthusiasts are surprised to view such healthy specimens of calochortus catalinae (Catalina mariposa lily), as the soil in this part of town is not particularly known to be rich in nutrients and…
…okay, I think it’s safe to actually start the column now.
See, I’d wanted to title this one “It’s Time to Say Nigger,” but obviously such a piece would be unpostable on social media. So then I was going to begin with the sentence “I’d wanted to title this one ‘It’s Time to Say Nigger,’” but when you post something on Facebook and Twitter, the first few sentences show up in the thumbnail (and thus can be picked up by word-searching bots). There’s a scene in Scorsese’s Casino in which Ace describes how to get around federal wiretaps on home phones: “If a phone’s tapped, the feds can only listen in on the stuff involving crimes. So on routine calls, they have to click off after a few minutes.” In the movie, the mobsters have their spouses make the calls and talk about boring crap for five minutes, and once the feds tune out, the wiseguys take over and talk business.
In a world in which so many of us are routinely monitored for “racism,” such misdirection is sometimes required. And now that we’re safely out of the line of sight of the bots, we can proceed.
“Nigger” is an ugly word. I can say with confidence that in my 49 years on this earth, I’ve never directed that epithet toward another human being. I’ve certainly said the word while telling an anecdote or recalling a conversation, but it’s an unpleasant word, and I avoid it in daily conversation.
Saying “nigger” should not be a revolutionary act. There should be no dignity in it. Yet thanks to the social justice left, saying “nigger” is fast becoming an act of justifiable defiance.
Until last week, I had no idea who Kendrick Lamar is. I’d heard the name, to be sure, but I’d assumed he was some kind of sports figure, as his name seems tailor-made for an NBA jersey. Turns out he’s a popular rapper who actually won a Pulitzer Prize (has anyone checked the Pulitzer HQ for lead paint?). A few days ago, Lamar was playing a music festival in Alabama when he invited a young white woman to come up on stage to “sing” his hit “song” “m.A.A.d. City”:
Yawk! Yawk! Yawk! Yawk!
Where you from, nigga?
Fuck who you know, where you from, my nigga?
Where your grandma stay, huh, my nigga?
This m.A.A.d city I run, my nigga
It’s nice to know that, as we pull down statues of Stephen Foster, we can bear witness to a new generation of master songsmiths who’ll pick up his torch.
Lamar specifically chose a white girl to come up on stage to perform with him. And he specifically chose “m.A.A.d. City” as the number to be performed. So, as requested, she began to recite the lyrics. And when she said “nigga,” Lamar stopped the show and publicly humiliated her, encouraging the audience to boo and insult her as he scolded her for doing exactly what he’d asked her to do. By the next day, the girl had been threatened and harassed off social media. That the woman in question is rotund and unattractive only made it worse, as she proved perfect grist for the meme mill.
Perceptive social media users noted that this was obviously a calculated setup, a way for Lamar to get in the week’s news cycle (it worked). But while the setup angle was obvious to those with a brain stem, America’s leftist pundits (who as a group have the highest incidence of anencephaly in the U.S.) cheered Lamar, and eagerly heaped additional abuse on the unfortunate girl.
Race aside, let’s focus on the unequal power dynamics at play here. A multimillionaire rapper humiliated, scolded, and whipped up a hate mob against an absolute nobody who wielded zero power in the situation. Remember the days when leftists claimed to side with the powerless and disenfranchised, regardless of race? But today’s media elites not only sided with Lamar, they actually applauded him for bullying the girl. Mind you, these same elites will no doubt extol the virtues of Spike Lee’s upcoming film BlaKkKlansman, which is filled with white actors saying “nigger.” Because those actors are just “playing a part.” But isn’t singing a song roughly the same thing? Does one actually have to be an American-born Vietnam vet to sing “Born in the U.S.A.”? I’ve karaoke’d to “Bohemian Rhapsody” more times than I can recall, but you know what? I’ve never actually killed a man in real life. What’s the difference between a white chick saying “nigga” while reading song lyrics at the request of the author, and a white guy in a Spike Lee film doing the same while reading from the script? In both instances, the whites are reciting the words of a black man at the request of the black man.
The Lamar incident was nothing more than a power play, an attempt to humble and intimidate a person of a different race, a public spectacle designed to make sure that people with a certain skin color remember their place. This is frighteningly familiar stuff. In the early part of the previous century, opera singer Marian Anderson was attacked by white racists for daring to sing “white music.” In Nazi Germany, Jews were banned from performing “Aryan music” (indeed, in the ghetto/town of Theresienstadt, to which “privileged” Jews, including many artists, were sent, the orchestra was expected to play only “Jewish music,” because, according to the Nazis, Jews don’t possess the “racial soul” to comprehend Aryan art).
And now the left is resuscitating and repositioning the notion that music has a racial soul.
I first noticed this trend in 1999, when L.A. Times fraud Alisa Valdes attacked singer Lou Bega for his pop version of “Mambo No. 5.” As a “non-Latino,” she argued, he shouldn’t sing “Latino” music. In 2005, also in the Times, Colombian author (and Reuters editor) Paulo Prada claimed that European Antonio Banderas didn’t have the “roots” to perform a Central American song at the Academy Awards that year. “Imagine a Scotsman trying to wrap his brogue around hip-hop from Brooklyn or South Los Angeles,” Prado asked. Exactly. It’s as ridiculous as thinking that a Chinese person can handle European classical music (oh…right).
After being sworn in for a fourth term, Vladimir Putin departed the Kremlin for Annunciation Cathedral to receive the televised blessing of Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church.
The patriarch and his priests in sacred vestments surrounded Putin, who, standing alone, made the sign of the cross.
Meanwhile, sacred vestments from the Sistine Chapel were being transported by the Vatican to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art to adorn half-clad models in a sexy show billed as “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.” One model sported a papal tiara.
The show proved a sensation in secular media.
In Minsk, Belarus, on May 17, to celebrate International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, Britain’s embassy raised the rainbow flag. Belarus’s Ministry of Internal Affairs was not amused:
“Same-sex relationships are a fake. And the essence of fake is always the same—the devaluation of truth. The LGBT community and all this struggle for ‘their rights,’ and the day of the community itself, are just a fake!”
Belarus is declaring moral truth—to Great Britain.
What is going on? A scholarly study sums it up: “The statistical trends in religion show two separate Europes: the West is undergoing a process of secularization while the post-socialist East, de-secularization.”
One Europe is turning back to God; the other is turning its back on God.
And when Vladimir Putin and Belarus’ Alexander Lukashenko are standing up for traditional values against Western cultural elites, the East-West struggle has lost its moral clarity.
And, so, what do we Americans stand for now? What is our cause in the world today?
In World War II, Americans had no doubt they were in the right against Nazism and a militaristic Japan that had attacked us at Pearl Harbor.
In the Cold War, we believed America was on God’s side against the evil ideology of Marxism-Leninism, which declared the Communist state supreme and that there was no such thing as God-given rights.
With the moral clarity of the Cold War gone, how do we rally Americans to fight on the other side of the world in places most of them can’t find on a map?
A weekend article in The Washington Post discusses the strategic difficulty of our even prevailing, should we become involved in wars with both Iran and North Korea.
“You would expect the U.S. and its allies to prevail but at a human and material cost that would be almost incalculable, particularly in the case of the Korean example,” said Rand researcher David Ochmanek,
Added John Hopkins professor Mara Karlin, “If you want to ensure the Pentagon can actually plan and prepare and resource for a potential conflict with China or Russia, then getting into conflict with Iran or North Korea is the exact wrong thing to do.”
One wonders: How many of these potential wars—with North Korea, Iran, Russia, China—could we fight without having America bled and bankrupted. What conceivable benefit could we derive from these wars, especially with a China or Russia, to justify the cost?
Looking back, only one great power survived the last century as a world power. The German, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires did not survive World War I. World War II brought to an end the British, French, Italian and Japanese empires.
How long have I been asleep that I woke up and suddenly the Alt-Right wants to go full Amish? When did they lose their sense of humor and get so frickin’ uptight? When did their comical irreverence get swapped out for an unintentionally comical reverence toward all things our forefathers deemed holy?
I realize that a lot of these whippersnappers are young and have short attention spans—call them “meme-impaired”—but whence cometh this seemingly sudden, undeniably hive-minded, and morally hysterical fixation on “degeneracy”? If you’re going to be a degenerate, isn’t your youth the best time to do it? Shouldn’t you at least wait until you develop arthritis to become a humorless, hectoring do-gooder?
That amorphous and ultimately indefinable group known as the Alt-Right and I share many interests and sentiments, but the thing I liked the most about them was their brash irreverence toward the reigning modern pieties. We all unfortunately inhabit a world where if you don’t agree that imaginary sins such as “sexism,” “racism,” and “homophobia” are the worst breed of moral failings, you are an evil person who deserves to be shunned at best and murdered at worst. Many elements of the Alt-Right were experts at gleefully and hilariously shitting all over such hyperbolic and moralistic delusions.
I stopped identifying as a leftist nearly three decades ago for two primary reasons: 1) the left’s main premises were counterfactual and ran purely on the fumes of raw emotion; 2) the formerly freewheelin’, free-lovin’, live-and-let-live left had become a viper’s nest of poisonously hysterical neo-Puritans who merely bartered old hang-ups about saying “tits” and “fuck” for new ones about saying “nigger” and “tranny” and “bitch.”
The left can’t be defended with facts because trannies aren’t women, the genders are biologically different, and due to evolution’s pesky implications, the races aren’t anywhere close to equal.
I suspect that since the facts aren’t favorable to leftists of the fanatical type, they revert to moral hysteria to prop up and enforce their narrative.
What I hate about leftists isn’t merely that they’re factually dead wrong—anyone with more than one brain cell knows that the idea of innate equality is preposterous—it’s that they became so drunk on their pretensions of moral irreproachability, they developed a malignantly entitled arrogance that sees fit to hector and needle and hurt anyone who offends them. At some point in the late eighties, they began reminding me of the bitter nuns in the early seventies who smacked me around in the name of an allegedly loving God. As I said in my latest book, the resolutely anti-Christian New Left had ironically morphed into The New Church Ladies.
That’s why it’s depressing to behold this creepy and humorless tilt toward puritanical “traditionalism” and endless moral outrage amid the brash young fash-wavers of the allegedly “new” right. Is there really much—or any—psychological difference between some pissed-off leftist who gets up on a digital soapbox to “call out” someone for refusing to date black people and some pissed-off neo-righter who “calls out” some “degenerate” for actually dating black people?
Both of you are chest-thumping, virtue-signaling porcupines who should mind your own business. From my vantage point, you both willfully inhabit a nightmare moral Panopticon where everything is done for the Hive and the Indisputable Greater Good it fraudulently claims to represent. In other words, you both sound like total drags, and neither one of you will be getting an Easter basket from me next year.
As I see it, the One True Path toward defeating leftist delusions and sanctimony is through reason and humor. Be logical and be irreverent—and for the love of Pete, because Pete’s feeling unloved—please dispense with the preachifyin.’ You don’t beat the New Church Ladies by resurrecting the Old Church Ladies.
You can beat the left without having to ape their out-of-control moralism. It’s easy—just stick to the facts. Instead of calling a tranny a “degenerate,” why not call them “fucked-up?” It’s not only more accurate, it will probably piss them off more. Tell them they have a mental problem. Hurt them where they can feel it. They may not believe in your ideas of God and sin, but due to the fact that they all seem to have psychiatrists who feed them pills like Ritz crackers to a monkey, they apparently believe that “mental illness” is real. If you call them a sinner or a degenerate, they’re just going to think you’re a Bible-thumping nut.
Can a Pope Change Moral Truth?
I did Infectious Diseases for a career during which I shepherded many a gay man to a death due to AIDS. These men are wired differently; their sexual fantasies, even from childhood involve only other males. These feelings pain most of them.
The pope is right to accept this biologic truism. The moral issue is when the homosexual men (or women) indulge in their fantasies, join the gay lifestyle and have sex.
Sexual relations among gays is rather like fornication among heteros. And, of course, they can’t commit adultery since the latter is a mortal sin or in some states a crime defined by sex among married people.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Still my favorite Bob Hope joke from when the anti-sodomy laws were struck down in California. “Homosexuallity is now legal in California. I think I should move before it becomes compulsory.”
A minor point about how, 55 years after it happened, it seems unimaginable that a black man could win a NASCAR race today. Not that unimaginable. Bubba Wallace finished 2nd in the Daytona 500 just this year.
One thing I have always admired about Mr Woods is that he never submitted to the various racial, political and other (victim) identity groups, although those people almost certainly must have given it their very best try.
Simi Valley, CA
My Name is Joe Bob, and I’m an English Major
A degree in English is a foundation for about anything you may want to do. I enjoyed being a professor – but it was going to be pretty much the same for thirty years with pressure to get that PHD and do professor-things. Instead, I constantly re-invented myself. I wrote one of the first grants for female opportunities in engineering, I partnered with Ohio State University in doing occupational analysis for curriculum development, I worked with our four local county’s public school and the State Department of Education. We broadcast “Homework Hotline” and “Tech Talk” over local cable. I did so many things I can’t remember them all. I was never bored; I was always challenged to do things that had never been before. I had a hell of a lot of fun.
I was no exception. Fully half the members of the SC Technical College Distance Learning Coordinators Peer Group were Liberal Arts majors. They were grant writers like me who ended up managing what was funded.
So would I advise young people to major in English (or other liberal arts) ? Sure ! There are more opportunities today. I remember how excited we were to buy the first Apple 2e’s, the Radio Shack Model II, and a portable computer the size of a large suitcase. Now, there’s almost no limit to technology or imagination.
I remember being criticized for including technology in my grant applications that was not yet available. But I never worried – I was sure that if I could imagine it, someone would put it on the market. I was usually right.
I am bothered by several of the points Joe Bob Briggs makes in his article. His personal assertions are, of course, entirely his own business. But I am concerned that he falls into the modernist trap of mistaking statistics for truth.
He offers: ” And eventually, if you study the data, which is what the Modern Language Association does, you have to reach the conclusion that studying English is good for.nothing.” I criticize his insight and trust in someone’s assertion that they have studied the data and offer their summary
as the foundation for a personal conclusion. I have, for example, read that Joyce’s Finnegan’s Wake is merely verbigeration without meaning. As I have not been able to make headway at all in reading this book, I would like to say that this forgotten source is speaking the truth; otherwise I would have to suspect that I am not gleaning much meaning from a book that may indeed contain content.
Other concerns I have must be offered in outline form, and listed in haste:
It is a tautology that seems to be now forgotten that human society is principally occupied by, and involves, human beings. We may be able to call
down the One IT God to rule us. I suspect that our modern assumptions will draw us back into medieval rigidity and orthodoxy. The humanities are only of as much use as humans are.
The capacity for independent reason has withered severely in the endless flood of propaganda and advertising. We are trained from youth to surrender our attention to whomever delights the eye with bright spangles. Mr. Briggs discusses the habit of honing one’s attention to glean hidden meanings out of texts. Achieving such skill is worth merit.
For an individual, the assignment of value is a choice. We are nudged constantly this way and that to surrender our active choices to the maker of
the current commercial message that we are captivated by. Whether or not the study of English literature is worthwhile, is not a fact, but a valuation. If one passionately values this path out of the depths of one’s own humanity, there is no objective quality measure of whether that is a “stupid valuation.”
Joe Bob recites a global and cynical refutation of the arguments for majoring in English, without much willingness to probe the details. We live in a broadly cynical age, for at least two generations. Might there have been other cultures and ideas that are different than our own murky pessimism? How would we know?
The ability to reason and seek deeper insight is the only skill for adapting to the future. Perhaps our society is on the ebb of greatness, and progress is always met with a sardonic sigh. Perhaps we do not have a future, but how might we think if we did?
Stephen A. Vaughn MD PhD
There’s an old med school joke: Q “What do you call a med student who scraped by with a D average and who had to retake critical tests numerous times?” A: Doctor!
The professional classes of our glorious Utopian future will be populated by legions of ill-tempered Elena Ceaușescus with very large chips on their shoulders. The fruits of diversity are beginning to smell like freshly-cut Durian.
The genesis of this perception, of course, varies widely between the sexes. Men are (finally) beginning to realize that awarding the franchise to that 50% of the population which has shown itself to be silly, irrational, and generally uninterested in any but the most personal of subjects was a fatal error (now at 99 years and counting).
Women are (finally) beginning to realize that the roles projected for them by the MSM (SEAL team leader, martial arts champion, patent holder) were never possible without reducing the quality of performance the position entails: you may get the job, but only keep it if no one notices your incompetence. Since “it’s not my fault”, men must be blamed.
In my opinion, the critical moment in history, when the consequences of these changes could be avoided by concerted effort, has long since passed. The car has already gone over the cliff, what remains is the speed of its descent.
I won’t see the wreck, my soft landing is my life expectancy: I’m 73.
Ah, yes….right to the point.
Our declining civilization. Seeks not to know itself but to burrow down blind to all else.
English literature, any literature, works in the opposite direction, promoting knowledge of the culture, self, history, et al….
And you know what thought came to my mind immediately upon reaching the end of your article?
That the study of English: literature, words, the hubbub of the human, was the essence of Taki’s unruly and often obscene, annoying, stupid, etc… comments section.
That is what we were truly immersed in. That is what that was.
Hence Taki mag imitates the ‘progress’ of the Universities.
I am very happy to see the ‘Comments’ section go; the ‘Letters” are more interesting. I can do without the guy in ‘Comments’ who wants the re-enslavement of American Blacks, and several nasty antiSemites constantly attacking Jews and denying the Holocaust. The Germans have for a very long time been almost obsessive documenters of everything they could possibly document. In the German archives there are over a million separate documents that one way or another related to the Holocaust. The Holocaust is the best documented set of events in all of human history, I am told by a University Librarian/Archivist of my acquaintance.
Thank you for Takimag. As a 63 year old white American female, I find your articles so refreshing. I have also enjoyed the “Takitariat” commenters immensely, but quite understand why commenting was discontinued, as it tended to not reflect the site content, as immensely, and hilariously, entertaining (and unique) as it was. I miss Boris.
I have never regretted not being wealthy, or one of the “elites”, royalty, etc., until I read this site. I am sorry that I will never travel the same circles as Taki, and meet true elites.
Thank you for the great articles and POV.
The Week’s Most Boring, Soaring, and Adoring Headlines
CENSUS: NEARLY A QUARTER OF AMERICANS OVER AGE FIVE DON’T SPEAK ENGLISH AT HOME
If you count the illegal aliens who come to our nation and gorge on our cake and champagne like a bunch of party-crashing ingrates, around 21.6% of US citizens over age five speak a language other than English at home. US Census data show that as of the year 2016, nearly one in every four Americans of kindergarten age or older speaks some sort of gibberish that would be indecipherable to King James I or any of the Anglophonic conquerors who came to North America four hundred years ago to kick ass and take slaves.
This quotient is roughly twice as high as it was in 1980, and if trends continue as we clench our anuses and fear they do, in another forty years the English language in America may be as dead as Latin.
Most of the demographic growth among groups who have an irrational fear of the English language is in Florida and the Southwest, places that are afflicted with flying cockroaches and roaming jackalopes. If current trends are allowed to continue and these hordes of maraca-playing, plantain-frying, bean-chewing types are not sent back to their natural tropical homelands, we’ll have another Tower of Babel on our hands, yet it’ll be seedier and more déclassé—call it the Trailer Park of Babel.
NFL OWNERS TO PLAYERS: GET OFF YOUR KNEES, BOY
The idiotic “take a knee” scandal in the NFL was launched in 2016 by a mediocre quarterback named Colin Kaepernick, a mudpuppy ingrate who was the product of miscegenation and apparently had to loudly declare to the world that he’s black because even he has his doubts. It was based on the idea that racist cops are wantonly slaying young black males in the streets because they are jealous of their charm, good looks, and sexual prowess rather than the fact that it is young black males who are statistically far more likely than any other group to be shooting at them.
Last NFL season Donald Trump nuzzled his way a little further into our hearts when he said, “Get that son of a bitch off the field” when referring to the blockheads who knelt during the Star-Spangled Banner with the same sort of defiance that leads several black males to resist arrest or reach for policemen’s guns during routine traffic stops.
Last week the NFL’s owners voted unanimously—with one abstention, from San Francisco, of course—to get those sons o’ bitches up off their knees and to fine any player who doesn’t get the hell up off his perfectly healthy knee and show respect to the National Anthem. In effect, they were telling these young squadrons of overpaid future Alzheimer’s patients that this is their cotton field and that anyone who refuses to placidly pick cotton to the delight of millions will be denied full rations of cornbread and lemonade.
It is truly morning in America again.
DUMB EBOLA VICTIMS DON’T SEEK HELP DUE TO DUMB SUPERSTITIONS
As everyone knows but is too afraid to admit, there are parts of Africa that are so technologically backward, people eat earthworms and wipe themselves with their hands. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo—a polysyllabic national moniker designed to make it sound less prehistoric than what was formerly known simply as “The Congo”—King Leopold II of Belgium’s notoriously violent predations were in no way enabled by the fact that the country’s indigenous residents never mastered things such as the abacus or the slide rule because they kept trying to eat them.
In an alarming story that has received almost no coverage in the West, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has suffered an Ebola outbreak this month that has already cut short the lives of more than two dozen aspiring rappers and future Beyoncés. The spread of the virus has been enabled by superstitions among indigenous simpletons that Ebola is a spiritual rather than a medical problem and that there ain’t no doctor gonna cure no demons. Some believe that Ebola is “a curse on those who ate stolen meat,” and if you don’t do something demonic such as eating stolen meat, you have nothing to worry about. Others insist that “this disease is incurable…because it’s about witchcraft.”
This all brings up a troubling medical question: What’s the cure for people who are born dumb?
WEBSITE PEDDLES MYTH THAT THERE WAS A “RECORD LOW” OF HOMOS IN HOLLYWOOD FILMS LAST YEAR
Gay and lesbian activists will obviously never sit down or shut up until everyone is actively gay and lesbian.
To show their infantile ingratitude for the grand mass of normal people agreeing to stop throwing up whenever their deviant practices are mentioned and for not burning down Hollywood studios over the fact that every show, documentary, and advertisement has to squeeze at least one fudge-packer or clam-licker into the script, the queer community is mewling like a bunch of spoiled kittens in a caviar factory that it still isn’t enough.
“Hollywood So Straight: Studio Films With LGBT Characters Dropped to Record Low Last Year,” bitches The Wrap about the fact that “Only 12.8 percent of studio films [in 2017] contained characters who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual or queer.” Mind you, this is “only” about three times the quotient of Americans who actually identify as such. And the headline neglects to mention that this is only a “record low” because the sodomitical special-interest group GLAAD—which never, ever seems GLAD—only started tallying the homo quotients six years ago. We certainly don’t remember any loud-and-proud rump-wranglers or possum-squashers in those old Randolph Scott or Tom Mix films.
PASTOR: SILICON VALLEY AN “ELITIST SHIT DEN OF HATE”
The Guardian identifies Silicon Valley pastor Gregory Stevens as “queer,” which means that he isn’t merely gay and probably commits acts that are even more forbidden by Holy Scripture than simply lying with a man as one would with a woman. But despite his life of sin that will surely lead to the lake of fire if he doesn’t repent and recant, he recently served up a scalding critique of wealthy progressive sanctimony and cluelessness.
Frustrated to the point of PMS at the wealth inequality in California—which despite its communistic pretensions suffers the nation’s starkest contrast between haves and have-nots—Stevens has publicly lashed out with the fury of a power bottom at the hollow inadequacies of “social justice” posturing among the insanely wealthy. Calling Silicon Valley “an elitist shit den of hate,” he offers a scorching critique of what Dickens would call the tech elites’ “telescopic philanthropy”:
I believe Palo Alto is a ghetto of wealth, power, and elitist liberalism by proxy, meaning that many community members claim to want to fight for social justice issues, but that desire doesn’t translate into action….The insane wealth inequality and the ignorance toward actual social justice is absolutely terrifying.
Stevens felt it necessary to add that “Jesus was a homeless Jew” who probably would have disliked people such as Elon Musk and Peter Thiel. He also complained that gentrification was turning Silicon Valley less brown. To be frank, Stevens sounds like a real bummer and pain in the ass.
Concerts by a singer called Bertrand Cantat in Paris were canceled recently because the organizers said they could not guarantee the maintenance of public order at them. Whether this was a pretext will never be known, though it is certainly true that these days people who feel strongly about something, or at least who wish to demonstrate to others how strongly they feel about something, think themselves under no obligation to obey the law or to keep their protest within bounds. Their virtuous sentiments give them the right to deny the rights of others.
However, those who would have protested the appearance of Bertrand Cantat on the stage certainly had a point. He was for a time the most famous rock star in France. In 2003, he brutally did to death the actress Marie Trintignant, with whom he was having an affair. He beat her so severely that she died not long afterward of her head injuries. He was under the influence of both alcohol and cannabis at the time. For this terrible crime, in which there were no mitigating circumstances, he spent four years in prison, a derisory punishment. If you have to serve only four years for such a crime, what punishment can a lesser, but nonetheless still serious, crime attract, assuming that the principle of proportionality of punishments has still to apply? Deflation is as serious a problem in penology as in economics.
Some might argue, of course, that Cantat, having served four years, was unlikely to repeat his act, and therefore to have kept him longer in prison would have been both primitively vengeful and a useless public expense. But that, it seems to me, is quite beside the point. (In fact, when he was released from prison, he returned to his wife, whom he had left for Trintignant. She was a Hungarian resident in France. Some time before she hanged herself in the house while Cantat was sleeping, she had telephoned her parents to tell them of his intolerable behavior.) If a man committed a terrible crime and we had a means of knowing immediately afterward that he would never repeat it, would that mean that he should escape all punishment? Are we all permitted one terrible crime that we will never repeat? Strange doctrine.
But when a man has served his sentence, whatever it might have been, does he not have a right to resume a normal life, which in Cantat’s case meant singing in public? Are not criminals to be allowed back into society? Are they to be hounded forever because of what they did?
No. In general they should be accepted back into society and given another chance. No doubt there comes a point of recidivism or seriousness of crime when they forfeit the right to live as a full member of society, though precisely where this point lies will always be a matter of judgment. As a matter of fact, most criminals rehabilitate themselves. Crime is mostly a young man’s game, and relatively few are criminals who commit new crimes after the age of 39. (Another possible, though unlikely, explanation is that they become better at evading detection.)
But the general principle that criminals should be able to reintegrate into society without constant and continued recrimination against them after their sentence has been completed implies reciprocal duties on the part of both society and the criminals; it is not purely one-way. And in Cantat’s case, it was surely his duty, moral if not legal, to live discreetly, out of the public eye, not to push himself forward or to make an exhibition of himself, so to speak.
PEGASUS BRIDGE, NORMANDY—We’re taking morning coffee at the Gondree Café (skirting “THE” bridge), still owned by Arlette Gondree, whose family owned it on D-day. She was a girl at the time, and she now stands old but erect and schoolteacher-like, looking us over as we have breakfast and try to imagine the brave Brits who took and held the bridge so long ago. Our führer/teacher James Holland called it the greatest piece of flying ever, when the gliders managed to land in the dark on a grassy strip not much wider than a tennis court and three courts long, not even fifty yards from the bridge. (The very same pilots had messed up in Sicily one year before, but this time they got it more than right.)
What every Allied commander feared was the ten armored divisions of the Panzergruppe West, commanded by General Geyr von Schweppenburg, with their 170,000 men and 1,500 tanks. Schweppenburg was a gallant commander who knew that by keeping his army inland he could mount a massive counterattack and wipe out the Allies. The taking of the bridge by Major John Howard and his 6th Airborne commandos was imperative. It was the sole passage from east to west and would allow the invading forces to join them a few hours later. We move to the Gold and Sword Beaches, assigned to the Brits as revenge for the Dunkirk and Dieppe humiliation of four years earlier. I look over Lord Lovat’s bust, a ramrod-straight man I saw once at his son’s wedding, where I had been an usher. We arrive at a small farm where a young boy had told Company Sergeant Major Hollis that Germans with a Panzerfaust were hiding behind a hedge fifty meters away. Hollis attacked it with three men but failed to move it. He retired but was awarded the first Victoria Cross nonetheless for having attacked and taken out the first bunker blockhouse on the beach earlier. (The bunker had taken out six British tanks, but Hollis of the Essex Yeomanry blew it up single-handedly.) As James finishes the story, we see a very old man tending the garden. He’s most likely the little boy who signaled Hollis.
James’ theory against the one that tells us the Allies advanced much too slowly is that democracies do not force men to advance at gunpoint, dictatorships do. I’m not so sure. Men don’t fight for ideas, they fight for their company, their squad, their buddy. People nowadays worry about self-help bromides, their insecurities, sensitivities, their shopping. They worry about their encroaching mortality. Not so on the front line. Like an athlete, you don’t think—you follow orders and look out for the next man. The sense of camaraderie is all.
That evening, fired up after the battle images, we order some very good wine. A wonderful and very humorous friend, John Moore, orders a 65-minute egg, which arrives after 65 minutes and is microscopic. While waiting I notice our waitress, not a particularly pretty girl but pure and innocent-looking, my type, with prominent glasses. I am stricken and ask her to dine with me the next day. She blushes—a blush in 2018 is as rare as a real Fabergé in an Arab souk—and tells me it’s impossible because she’s engaged and is to be married next week. This drives me mad with desire and I insist. She resists. “Don’t be so middle-class,” I advise her. Then I sort of blow it by reminding her that if the French army had resisted like her in 1940, we wouldn’t all be here in the first place. Having told her I have German blood and am married to a German doesn’t help, but I get some encouragement from the concierge, who—Iago-like—whispers to me to keep trying. “Margo, Margo,” I howl into the night like some lovelorn werewolf.
On Tilly Point 103, in Bayeux, twelve SS Hitlerjugend Division tanks finally engage the Allies. Panzer Lehr has come up from Le Mans posthaste to join the fight. Tank warfare is not like in the movies. Tanks are death traps; they operate in total darkness. The fumes are suffocating, and molten bits of metal hurl against one another, the kinetic energy blowing up tanks full of men, who are then scraped out in tiny bits, nothing resembling a human being left inside. No human can take more than four days of tank fighting.
The battle rages back and forth; the great German tank commander Michael Wittmann—230 Allied tanks—is killed, 17-year-old paratroopers without any training are walking up from Le Mans, and Wehrmacht lieutenant general Lüttwitz receives a message from an American commander that he has captured German nurses and is willing to send them over. Lüttwitz rings up Rommel, who tells him to accept the nurses and thank the Americans, as “I will most likely throw in the towel because Berlin is lying and sending us nothing,” or words to that effect. Lüttwitz tells the Swabian that he will follow him, whatever he decides. The next day, Rommel is machine-gunned from the air as he’s traveling in an open car with his marshal’s insignia for all to see. (Historian David Irving sent me a message about last week’s column saying that Hitler was absolutely certain that the invasion would be in Normandy, and that the German generals changed their tune after the war.) We visit the cemeteries and our mood gets very dark.