What is it to grow old, asked Matthew Arnold as the first line of his poem “Growing Old,” which he published in 1867 when he himself was 45, a greater age then than now, perhaps, but still not very ancient. His answer was not comforting: He specifically rejected the notion that growing old might be a graceful declension into the tranquility of wisdom.
Ah, ’tis not what in youth we dream’d ’twould be!
’Tis not to have our life
Mellow’d and soften’d as with sunset glow,
A golden day’s decline!
It is something far worse than this, far worse even than mere physical decrepitude, though such decrepitude is certainly part of it:
Is it to feel our strength—
Not our bloom only, but our strength—decay?
Is it to feel each limb
Grow stiffer, every function less exact,
Each nerve more weakly strung?
Yes, says Arnold, but not only this. We eventually “are frozen up within/The phantom of ourselves.”
Yet even the stiffer limb, the function less exact, is sufficiently bad, as I have recently discovered rather suddenly, over the course of two months or so.
I have long noticed that young men in the street effortlessly walk at a pace that I can no longer equal, and pass me by, though by habit I walk nearly as fast as I am able (dawdlers irritate me). Also, young men, and even some women, offer me their seat on the London Underground and Paris Métro, as if I were some kind of invalid. Can I really look as old as that? Surely not. I am not comforted by the persistence of kindness and consideration, at least when I am the object of it—rather the contrary. Besides, when I look in the glass, I do not see myself as so very old. Those who offer me their seats are making what some philosophers call a category mistake; and I am not in the category of the elderly, whatever my birth certificate may say. It is true that when I look in the glass, I put my best angle forward, as if I were trying to take a publicity shot, but can the mirror ever lie?
Alas, like the camera, it can. Very occasionally, when I glance in the glass without preliminary thought or preparation, thus catching a glimpse of myself, I think “Who is that old man there?” and it takes a second to realize that it is I.
Still, we are as old as we feel rather than as we look, and until very recently I didn’t feel much older than I had at 21. Indeed, I may have felt older then than now, and certainly I felt wiser and more knowledgeable. It takes a lifetime to realize that one knows nothing.
I have always been under the impression that I have enjoyed good health throughout my life because of a strong constitution, but actually this is a little like the foundation and other historical myths that each nation is inclined to tell itself, at least until political entrepreneurs come along and try to replace them with other myths more advantageous to their ambitions. In fact, I have had several illnesses that brought me within at least conversational distance of death, though whether most people could say as much I do not know.
Once, for example, I was en route for India by Syrian Airlines—in those days one had to identify one’s luggage on the apron of Damascus airport, on the theory, subsequently proved false, that no one would want to travel on an airplane that he knew in advance would be blown up—and by the time I arrived in Delhi I was in full heart failure (many people had advised me against Syrian Airlines). It was a long way to have come just to be ill, so I ignored my heart failure and proceeded with what I had come to do. The cause of the heart failure was viral myocarditis, from which the death rate within five years was at that time between 25 and 50 percent. But I forgot about it within a few weeks.
Among other illnesses, I have suffered an endocrinological condition so severe that, if I had caught a cold before it was treated, I might have died from it. But still I told myself that I had never been really ill; and this despite at least two other life-threatening illnesses.
Now, however, I have suddenly deteriorated physically. I have an aching in my hips and cannot take for granted what previously I never gave a moment’s thought to, namely putting on my socks, which has become an exhausting struggle. Worse, I have developed ischial bursitis, which makes it uncomfortable to sit; on the other hand, standing for any length of time results in a condition known as meralgia paresthetica, a nerve compression that causes a burning numbness in the side of my thigh, which previously was relieved very quickly by sitting, now no longer the perfect solution it was. I will not enumerate my other problems, except to mention gout.
Until recently, I thought myself all but immune from the travails of age; like death itself, I believed that aging applied to others, not to myself, and was almost a sign or consequence of personal defect. But now the prospect of a severely limited life is very real to me: I have taken what the French call un coup de vieux, a blow of old age, such as I have sometimes noticed, with disapproval amounting almost to a moral judgment, in others.
Strange to relate, one adapts very quickly to limitation, but without enthusiasm. My future, insofar as I have one, is probably that of many pills and alleviating operations.
Matthew Arnold also provided me with a suitable epitaph:
This sentence have I left behind;
An aching body, and a mind
Not wholly clear, not wholly blind,
Too keen to rest, too weak to find…
This surely applies to most of us, who have never found anything even after a lifetime of restless thought. I don’t mind in the least, however, for as Bertrand Russell (I think) once said, there is no reason why the truth when found should be interesting. It is better to travel than to arrive.
Theodore Dalrymple’s latest book is Around the World in the Cinemas of Paris, Mirabeau Press.
It seems like all I hear these days is how liberals are red-hot for teaching history, while retrograde troglodytes on the right are demanding that we suppress the teaching of history by banning critical race theory (CRT). Haranguing students, day in day out, about their white privilege is just teaching history.
On this beloved Kwanzaa week, here’s some history for you.
Celebrated exclusively by white liberals, Kwanzaa is a fake holiday invented in 1966 by black radical/FBI stooge Ron Karenga — aka Dr. Maulana Karenga, founder of United Slaves, the violent nationalist rival to the Black Panthers. Liberals have become so mesmerized by multicultural gibberish that they have forgotten the real history of Kwanzaa and Karenga’s United Slaves. Kwanzaa emerged not from Africa, but from the FBI’s COINTELPRO.
In what was ultimately a foolish gambit, during the madness of the ’60s, the FBI encouraged the most extreme black nationalist organizations in order to discredit and split the left. The more preposterous the group, the better. (It’s the same function Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez serves today.)
By that criterion, Karenga’s United Slaves was perfect.
Despite modern perceptions that blend all the black activists of the ’60s, the Black Panthers did not hate whites. Although some of their most high-profile leaders were drug dealers and murderers, they did not seek armed revolution.
No, those were the precepts of Karenga’s United Slaves. The United Slaves were proto-fascists, walking around in dashikis, gunning down Black Panthers and adopting invented “African” names. (I will not be shooting any Black Panthers this week because I am Kwanzaa-reform, and we are not that observant.)
It’s as if David Duke invented a holiday called “Anglika,” which he based on the philosophy of “Mein Kampf” — and clueless public schoolteachers began celebrating the made-up, racist holiday.
In the category of the-gentleman-doth-protest-too-much, back in the ’70s, Karenga was quick to criticize Nigerian newspapers that claimed that certain American black radicals were CIA operatives.
Now we know the truth: The FBI fueled the bloody rivalry between the Panthers and United Slaves. In the annals of the American ’60s, Karenga was the Father Gapon, stooge of the czarist police. Whether Karenga was a willing FBI dupe, or just a dupe, remains unclear.
In one barbarous outburst, Karenga’s United Slaves shot two Black Panthers to death on the UCLA campus: Al “Bunchy” Carter and John Huggins. Karenga himself served time, a useful stepping-stone for his current position as the chair of the Africana Studies Department at California State University at Long Beach.
The left has forgotten the FBI’s tacit encouragement of this murderous black nationalist cult founded by the father of Kwanzaa. The esteemed Cal State professor’s invented holiday is a nutty blend of schmaltzy ’60s rhetoric, black racism and Marxism. The seven principles of Kwanzaa are the same as those of the Symbionese Liberation Army, another invention of The Worst Generation.
In 1974, Patty Hearst, kidnap victim-cum-SLA revolutionary, famously posed next to the banner of her alleged captors, a seven-headed cobra. Each snakehead stood for one of the SLA’s revolutionary principles: Umoja, Kujichagulia, Ujima, Ujamaa, Nia, Kuumba and Imani — the exact same seven “principles” of Kwanzaa.
When Karenga was asked to distinguish Kawaida, the philosophy underlying Kwanzaa, from “classical Marxism,” he essentially said that, under Kawaida, we also hate whites. (And here’s something interesting: Kawaida, Kwanzaa and Kuumba are also the only three Kardashian sisters not to have their own shows on the E! network.)
While taking the “best of early Chinese and Cuban socialism” (is that the mass murder or the seizure of private property?), Karenga said Kawaida practitioners believe one’s racial identity “determines life conditions, life chances and self-understanding.”
There’s an inclusive philosophy for you!
Sing to “Jingle Bells”:
Kwanzaa bells, dashikis sell
Whitey has to pay;
Burning, shooting, oh what fun
On this made-up holiday!
There is no better demonstration of The Matrix’s concept of the blue pill that leaves its victims able to perceive only the simulacrum of reality curated by the powers-that-be than that virtually every review of the sequel The Matrix Resurrections refers to the auteurs of the 1999 science-fiction classic and its depressing follow-ups as the “Wachowski sisters.”
Even more blue-pilled, many critics have convinced themselves not just to say that frauteurs Larry and Andy Wachowski are now Lana and Lilly, Hollywood’s most famous female sci-fi directors, but to believe it.
Bluest of all, more than a few have trained themselves to have faith not only that the Wachowskis are women in 2021, but also that they—due to transcendental gender dogma’s miraculous power to alter not just the present but the past—were female in 1999, and that therefore the original Matrix was made by women. As Orwell might assert, “The Wachowski brothers have always been the Wachowski sisters.”
Sure, a few showbiz figures such as Dave Chappelle and J.K. Rowling dare to be publicly red-pilled. But it’s much safer for one’s career to enthusiastically ingest the blue pill and believe.
Of course, The Matrix was just about the least feminine movie since, oh, say, The Deer Hunter, another film of vaulting masculine ambition from a director, Michael Cimino, who later flirted with declaring himself a woman. Neither The Matrix nor The Deer Hunter (much less Cimino’s bankruptingly grandiose Heaven’s Gate) would have been made by somebody who always felt like a girl on the inside.
As I wrote in 2003, The Matrix perfectly captured the late-adolescent male computer nerd’s mindset:
You can’t trust anyone but your online friends. Maybe you really will save the world. Computer games are more real than what adults, who are zombies or evil mechanical brain controllers, call real life. It would be cool to have a girlfriend who is a butt-kicking videogame character and doesn’t care about dumb girl stuff.
And indeed, the Wachowskis’ boyhoods were awfully boyish. Besides being comic-book aficionados and fanatical Dungeons & Dragons players and videogamers, like so many other Chicago lads they loved Da Bulls. In 2006, these season ticket holders designed a new pregame player introduction light show for their favorite NBA team. The bros announced:
“As lifelong rabid Bulls fans, to have an opportunity to work with an organization that gave us so many fond memories we not only jumped at the chance, we asked, how high??”
While the brothers were trying to break into the movies, they supported themselves by running their own construction company.
In other words, the Wachowski brothers aren’t effeminate drag queens. Instead, they come from that small but influential high-IQ population of heterosexual ex-men who are typically motivated by their cross-dressing fetish.
On the rare occasions when some spoilsport points out that the Matrix movies, which likely contend with Black Hawk Down for most thousands of rounds of ammunition discharged, are obviously the product of a couple of hyper-male brains with the Wachowski brothers egging each other on to unprecedented heights of spergy fantasy, the response is usually: “Oh, they were just faking how masculine their imaginations are to cover up from society that they don’t fit in the gender binary.”
But no, that’s not how it works. Making memorable movies is hard, competitive work that taxes the filmmaker’s inner resources. Nobody could have faked The Matrix in 1999 if they weren’t really into it.
Nor, now that they are freed from society’s misapprehension of their true genders, have the Wachowskis since turned into the second coming of George Cukor and made insightful women’s pictures.
Instead of now making great girl movies, all that has happened is that the Wachowskis have gotten worse at making guy movies.
My perhaps too-pat explanation for the Wachowskis’ career arc is that the boys used to sublimate their fetishes into their art, but the financial success of The Matrix allowed them to live out their sordid fantasies. It’s a little like James Cameron’s more wholesome path away from making sci-fi movies: The huge amount of cash Cameron has made off Terminator 2, Titanic, and Avatar has enabled him to turn himself into his own sci-fi hero, exploring the depths of the ocean in his custom-designed submarine like Captain Nemo.
In 2001, flush with Matrix money, Larry Wachowski no longer had to merely invent characters like motorcyclist Trinity, a butt-kicking babe in skintight black leather. Instead, he could now afford a full-time dominatrix (professional name Ilsa Strix).
The next year his wife, whom he’d been with since college in 1984, filed for divorce. She had the judge freeze Larry’s half of the huge haul from the 2003 Matrix Reloaded sequel so that he couldn’t blow her upcoming settlement on Ms. Strix. In 2009, Wachowski married Ilsa, although by this point he was wearing dresses and calling himself Lana.
A few years later, Larry’s younger brother Andy followed a path similar to that of his big brother, the idea man of the pair, divorcing his wife and insisting on being called Lilly.
Smart rich guys like the Wachowskis blowing up their marriages to follow their fetishes are one thing, but ex-men not telling the truth about their motivations are another. Granted, the truth in this case is embarrassing, but it’s important. We now have a generation of naive teenage girls who have been fed countless blue pills about the coolness of transgenderism but have never even heard of the icky red-pill reason why many of these famous men announce they are women: autogynephilia.
By 2016, Andy was labeling their 1999 screenplay a giant trans allegory, although the details he gave in evidence for that were handwavingly vague. He admitted he didn’t know “how present my transness was in the background of my brain as we were writing…. But it all came from the same sort of fire that I’m talking about.” For what it’s worth, The Matrix’s venerable star, Keanu Reeves, said the Wachowskis didn’t mention to him in 1999 that their story had anything to do with transgenderism.
Larry Wachowski’s screenplay for his new Matrix Resurrections (in theaters and on HBO Max), the first sequel since 2003 and the first with only the older brother involved, is less annoying than might be expected, with less social messaging. If it’s a trans allegory, it’s not obvious.
Keanu’s Thomas Anderson is no longer a Chicago office drudge. In 2021, he’s a San Francisco game designer legendary for his Matrix videogame. But Warner Bros. is insisting upon a sequel, which inspires the marketing department to enthusiastically debate the true meaning of The Matrix. Surprisingly, the best scenes in the film are amusing satires of Silicon Valley corporate life.
But our mentally unstable hero is reluctant to revisit a game that seems all too real to him. His analyst (Neil Patrick Harris) insists upon renewing his prescription, which, unsurprisingly, comes in blue pills.
This wouldn’t be a bad setup for a small actorly movie in the manner of Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker. On the other hand, you don’t hire Keanu to compete with Joaquin for the Oscar, you hire him to look soulful while dispensing extreme violence to the bad guys.
At 57, Keanu still looks good, and judging by the success of his recent John Wick action movies, he can still move. But in these fight scenes, he seems to be pulling his punches, as if his John Wick 4 contract has a clause reading, “Don’t you even think about getting yourself hurt in some Matrix sequel.”
Worse, the chaotic fight choreography in the new movie is a disappointment compared with the superb lucidity of the best set-piece battles in the first two films. In general, Resurrections lacks the visual and explicatory clarity that distinguished the original. It’s not a bad movie, but it’s not a terribly good one, either.
The plot has something to do with the undying Larry-and-Ilsa-like love affair between Neo (Keanu) and Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss). They are now a Bill-and-Hillary-type power couple for whom no effort can be spared to make the distaff member equal in power to her mate. No longer is Neo the One: Instead, the pair are the One plus the One.
Left and right are equally vulnerable to bullshit, but in contrasting ways. And it pays to know the difference. Far-right has a susceptibility to nonsensical “sleuthing.” Byzantine “theories of everything.” That’s why QAnon hit so hard; rightists love going to the whiteboard to “prove” something wacky.
In contrast, for “IFL science” leftists (the smug pseudo-rationalists who walk around in a constant state of unearned superiority), their bullshit is usually in the service of disproving something. Their identity is based on presenting themselves as the intellectual superiors of the great unwashed. So their susceptibility to hogwash lies in a desire to dismiss the beliefs of their inferiors. Just give them a one-sentence soundbite they can smugly snort as their skinny jeans slowly smother their ballsack (that goes for the men and women, because in this demographic it’s impossible to tell the difference), and they’ll run with it.
The need to dismiss is important to leftists regardless of political circumstances, but it’s especially important when they’re in power. For the Biden administration, dismissal is its lifeblood: “No, crime isn’t rising, inflation isn’t hurting the working class, we never said ‘defund the police,’ BLM never sacked cities, we never said the vax would allow you to live mask-free in normalcy, unvaxxed and untested illegal aliens aren’t a Covid superspreader risk, CRT isn’t being taught in schools.”
Leftists are uniquely susceptible to “supermyths,” a term coined by British criminologist Mike Sutton to refer to a myth that’s created by “skeptics” in the service of supposedly debunking a myth. Sutton’s defining example is the Popeye supermyth, which used to be a staple of smug rationalist discourse: “Americans are so damn stupid! Just because Popeye—a snort snort cartoon character—told them that spinach is rich in iron, spinach sales went through the roof in the 1930s! And you know what? Turns out that spinach isn’t rich in iron at all, but in the 1800s a German (snort) ‘scientist’ put a decimal point in the wrong place and made it look like spinach has lots of iron. So much for ‘white superiority’! A German screwed up a decimal point and millions of whites bought spinach because they got their scientific info from a cartoon.”
Except, as Sutton discovered, none of that is true. No German misplaced a decimal point; in the 1800s, German scientists knew the exact amount of iron in spinach. And the creator of Popeye had him eat spinach because it’s high in vitamin A, not iron (he never once invoked iron in the strip). And spinach production skyrocketed in the 1930s not because of Popeye, but because of New Deal subsidies.
See the iron-y? The desire to feel superior to their lessers rendered leftist “IFL science” smugheads more susceptible to myths than the lowly nosepickers they were trying to ridicule.
Okay, so knowing how supermyths work, let’s talk about Anthony Fauci torturing dogs. Last summer, a conservative outfit called White Coat Waste (WCW) launched a campaign to expose various beagle-torturing “science” experiments funded all or in part by Fauci’s NIAID. WCW is, of course, a partisan org, but their info seemed solid. And that created a problem for Fauci, because animal torture plays very badly among leftists. The average leftist has no problem with duct-taping a mask to a toddler’s face or forcing an elderly man to die alone with no hand to hold because science. But abusing dogs? That’s an absolute no-go area for leftists (and, to be fair, for decent people of all stripes, even morally gray d-bags like me; I’m friends with everyone from commies to Nazis but I absolutely draw the line at animal abusers).
WCW began its campaign in July. Before long, #beaglegate was trending on Twitter, and as congresspeople from both parties were demanding answers regarding the use of taxpayer money to kill Snoopys, the left seemed unable to counter the charge.
Wait, why’d it take from July till November for the left to counter the WCW narrative?
Well, let’s “unpack” the supermyth.
On Nov. 19, The Washington Post ran a 3,650-word “debunking” of the beagle story. The two authors, Pulitzer-winning Beth Reinhard and millennial newcomer Yasmeen Abutaleb, began by painting Fauci as the victim of “hate” and “death threats” as the result of a “misleading” campaign.
Regarding the Fauci/NIAID beagle-torturing claims, Reinhard and Abutaleb (and the people they interviewed for the piece) dismissed them as “false,” “misinformation,” “bogus,” “conspiracy theories,” “ridiculous accusations and outright lies,” “dangerous to the entire field of science,” and “erroneous claims amplified by a right-wing echo chamber.” “Falsified misinformation” from “inflammatory right-wing media outlets and influencers” created “outrage that was supercharged” by “Republican operatives.”
Yikes! Based on that verbiage, you’d think the Fauci/beagle story was, like…fake!
But then you read the fine print in those 3,650 words and you realize that of the six beagle-torture studies WCW cited, five actually were funded by Fauci’s NIAID (including one in which beagles had their vocal cords cut “to protect the researchers from hearing loss” from the agonized wailing of the tortured dogs), and the sixth study claimed to have received NIAID funding when it was published in July, with the authors (and the peer-reviewed journal that carried the study) not “correcting” the claim of NIAID funding until Oct. 26.
See why there was that time gap? Between July and Oct. 26, the left had no snort snort one-liner with which to dismiss the Fauci/beagle claims. Then, on Oct. 26, the authors of one of the six studies said, “Aw snap, turns out we didn’t get NIAID funding after all! D’oh!”
Armed with that, the smugs pounced (even though WaPo admitted that the funding correction only occurred because of publicity from the WCW campaign).
So a rational person would conclude that WCW accurately reported on five studies and “trusted the scientists” on the sixth regarding their claims of funding, and because of WCW’s work, an erroneous claim of NIAID funding was corrected.
It’s hard to see what WCW did wrong. Especially considering all the anti-WCW invective used in the piece.
So I emailed Reinhard and Abutaleb. “Of the six beagle-torture experiments, we’re talking about five that were NIAID-funded, and one that wasn’t. Correct?”
Reinhard replied, “Thanks for your sending your inquiry to [email protected]”
That was the extent of her reply.
That woman won a Pulitzer.
Abutaleb didn’t respond at first. But knowing that millennials don’t see anything as legit unless social media validates it, I knew that if I told her that WaPo super-reporter Dave Weigel follows me on Twitter, she’d reply. I hated being right (I don’t like it when my worst prejudices are confirmed), but I was. Upon learning that I had a Weigel “follow,” she affirmed that yes, five of the studies were indeed NIAID-funded, and the one that now rebukes that claim didn’t correct the record until late October.
Let that sink in. The WaPo called WCW’s claims “false,” “misinformation,” “bogus,” “conspiracy theories,” “ridiculous,” “lies,” “dangerous,” “erroneous,” and “falsified.” But the reporters agree that from July through October, WCW didn’t actually get anything wrong. Five studies were funded by NIAID, and the sixth claimed funding until the Oct. 26 “correction.”
When the chronically corrupt PolitiFact also came to Fauci’s defense, I emailed the PolitiFact author, Bill McCarthy. Being a liar and hack, McCarthy refused to defend his piece (as in, he actually responded to say that he wasn’t gonna defend his piece).
So I emailed my buddy Al Tompkins, top dog at the Poynter Institute (which runs PolitiFact):
The story’s being presented as an example of “right-wing outrage machine disinformation.” And that’s the angle I’m just not seeing.
The main problem is the highly charged language they used saying Fauci poisoned puppies and so on.
If I understand correctly, you’re saying that the main problem with what the conservative groups did revolves around hyperbole, not disinfo. Because of course those are two different things. Liberals who said “Trump is separating immigrant families at the border” weren’t actually claiming that Trump himself went to the border to separate families.
But I see hyperbole, in this case, as part of the disinformation. The stories repeatedly led us to believe that Fauci snipped the dog’s vocal cords, ordered them to be subjected to awful tests.
Al’s a good guy, and I hate to see good guys demean themselves by defending the indefensible. But nobody, and I mean nobody, claimed that Fauci personally snipped the vocal cords of dogs (a more honest piece by Factcheck.org admitted that Fauci personally approves of all NIAID-funded projects, meaning that the only way to say he’s not responsible for the torture is to use an impossible standard by which Steve Jobs would not be responsible for the iPhone because he didn’t personally build each one).
The bottom line is that the WaPo/PolitiFact outrage was not based on the accusation that WCW engaged in “hyperbole,” but rather that WCW lied. “Hyperbole” wouldn’t have made for a good IFL science snort snort line.
“Those ignorant wingnuts are hyperbolic about beagle torture.”
That wouldn’t have worked as a smug dismissal talking point because many leftists are themselves hyperbolic about animal cruelty; “hyperbole” on that issue is not seen as a sin.
The talking point that was needed in order to run interference for Fauci had to be “WCW lied with dangerous disinformation and conspiracy theories.”
What we see here is a meta-supermyth. A supermyth-upon-a-supermyth.
Supermyth No. 1: The Fauci/beagle story is a “falsified,” “misinformation,” “bogus,” “conspiracy theory,” “ridiculous,” “lie,” “dangerous” “erroneous” tale manufactured by the right-wing disinformation machine and lapped up by gullible Fox viewers.
WaPo/PolitiFact cooked up a myth (“the beagle story is right-wing disinfo”) to dismiss something that is not a myth. The “meta” part is that leftists claimed that the Fauci accusations are falsehoods concocted by the right-wing outrage machine, when in fact the left-wing outrage machine manufactured a fake right-wing outrage machine story to justify a left-wing outrage machine story.
That’s so meta, I have a fuckin’ headache.
The IFL science smugs got their talking point (“snort snort, Fauci never tortured beagles. Neanderthalic right-wingers fabricated the story in order to discredit science!”), while the reality is that five of the six experiments were indeed NIAID-funded, the sixth one claimed to be NIAID-funded until the bad publicity hit, and no one ever accused Fauci of holding the puppy knife himself.
The Popeye supermyth is fun and harmless. This one isn’t. This is about a journalistic cover-up of something genuinely foul that taxpayers funded, with reporters playing to their base by writing something off as a right-wing nonstory when in fact the real story is that the thing the “wingnuts” claimed happened actually happened, but leftists, susceptible to dismissal bullshit, lapped up the cover story (like a gullible FUX NEWS audience!) so they could pooh-pooh the beagle torture as disinfo at their next cocktail party.
A myth created in the service of “debunking” something that’s supposedly a myth but actually isn’t.
Behold the Fauci/beagle supermyth.
But don’t expect IFL science dorks—or “journalism ethics” professors—to debunk this one.
Climate change is an existential threat—this according to our Department of Defense.
Not a military but a political position, the mentality comes from an intellectual spectrum that focuses as well on critical race theory and gender fluidity. Even if humans play a role in global warming, it is neither an immediate nor life-threatening danger. There is an environmental vulnerability, though, that is.
Our environment is not just nature—it is man-made as well. A prolonged collapse of this nation’s electrical grid—through starvation, disease, and societal collapse—could result in the death of up to 90% of the U.S. population. This figure has not been disputed, yet this prospect has received virtually no attention from policy makers or the media. The environmental issue holding center stage, of course, is global warming.
Vulnerability of the power grid does not conjure up imagery of polar bears on melting ice floes. But even minimal sober analysis shows the threat to our population is both immense and immediate, far more than that of a 0.8 degree Celsius rise in global temperature since 1880.
Electricity is mundane and taken for granted. The power grid is vulnerable to geomagnetic storms generated by solar activity, electromagnetic pulses (EMP) produced by nuclear detonations, cyber and physical attack.
The vulnerability is in our high-voltage transformers. These are the units that make it possible to send electricity over great distances. Loss of just a few could lead to a coast-to-coast blackout. There is little manufacturing capability for these units remaining in the U.S. And delivery, under low-demand benign conditions, would take one to two years.
Geomagnetic storms are due to massive eruptions of plasma from the sun’s corona. The plasma induces a DC-type current at ground level that can cause irreparable damage to transformers. The largest recorded storm occurred in 1859. The National Academy of Sciences states that a storm today of similar scale could cause massive blackouts that might not be repaired for years.
Of the scenarios that could lead to electrical network collapse, EMP has received the widest public attention. A high-altitude EMP is produced when a nuclear device is detonated above the atmosphere. A study published in 2010 for the Congressional EMP Commission calculated that a nuclear detonation 170 kilometers over the United States would collapse the entire U.S. power grid.
The grid is susceptible to cyber attacks. A 2017 report by the Department of Defense states that “the United States today lives in a virtual glass house.” In 2018 the Department of Homeland Security issued an alert that Russia could shut down American power plants at will. The grid is also vulnerable to small-scale coordinated military operations. An internal Federal Energy Regulatory Commission memo states that “destroy nine interconnector substations and a transformer manufacturer and the entire United States grid would be down for 18 months, possibly longer.”
With loss of the grid telecommunications, finance, banking, and transportation would collapse.
Electricity is necessary in the delivery and purification of water and removal and treatment of wastewater and sewage. It is problematic if fuel will be available to boil water.
Crops and livestock require water delivered by an electronically powered pump infrastructure. Tractors, harvesters, and other farm equipment run on petroleum products supplied by an infrastructure (pumps, pipelines) that requires electricity. The plants that make fertilizer, insecticides, and feed also require electricity. Gas pumps that fuel the trucks that distribute food require electricity.
We cannot go back to 1900. We do not have the horses and mules that used to tow agricultural gear.
People can live for one to two months without food, but after five days they have difficulty thinking and at two weeks they are incapacitated. There is typically a 30-day perishable food supply at regional warehouses, but most would be destroyed with loss of refrigeration.
The infrastructure bill of 2021 is budgeted at $1.2 trillion. Climate change mitigation is the focus of the legislation. Global warming is also the centerpiece of this country’s economic agenda and now central to defense policy. Climate change is defined by the Pentagon as a threat equal to that posed by China. Meanwhile, China has developed a hypersonic missile, traveling at five times the speed of sound, that can produce an EMP without the need of a nuclear warhead.
Hardening the grid, even if fully funded, would only mitigate a collapse. A partial backup grid—coal-based—has been proposed. As we reduce greenhouse gas emissions, China is building 43 new coal-fired power plants.
Securing the grid should be this country’s highest environmental priority.
The Week’s Most Drifting, Uplifting, and Regifting Headlines
ONE FIN, TWO FIN, REDFIN, F.U.-FIN
Seattle-based real estate brokerage website Redfin boasts a team of Pacific Northwest “progressives” working ’round the clock to make the real estate business less racist!
Last week, Redfin announced that its in-house experts had made a major scientific discovery. Typically one doesn’t expect such things from Realtors (Jonas Salk was a Century 21 agent, but only because he dug the jacket), but there’s no holding back Seattle millennials when it comes to trailblazing.
Christian Taubman is Redfin’s “chief growth officer” (“growth” as in neckbeards). And this is his amazing discovery: Crime data is racist because “people reporting crimes were more likely to describe their offender as young, male, and Black than would be expected given the representation of those groups in the population.”
Yes, everything in America must be exactly proportional by race to population percentage. It’s a law of physics, like gravity. That’s why basketball is 70% white (uh, wait…), Hollywood is 98% gentile (um, well…), and STEM is never above 6% Asian (hold on…).
Okay, Taubman’s discovery still has some kinks to work out. But this is the guy who used to manage deliveries for Amazon Prime. With credentials like that, how can his racial theories be anything but solid?
Did Gregor Mendel ever have to deal with an angry cat-lady whose mail-order vibrator was swiped by porch pirates? Surely not.
Based on Taubman’s discovery, Redfin announced that it will no longer feature neighborhood crime data on its site. So if you’re thinking that your home is worth more because of your area’s low-crime stats, by all means list with Redfin, and they’ll make sure potential buyers can’t learn about it.
And for buyers, when you end up in a Gary, Indiana, slum, just remember: Be on the lookout for people of German ancestry. As the largest ancestral plurality in the U.S., it’s scientifically proven that they’re most likely to kill you.
GUY SO RONERY
Asian-American activist Guy Aoki has made it his life’s work to threaten and cajole TV networks and movie studios into apologizing for anything that “offends” Asians. To accomplish this, he does nothing all day but watch every TV show and movie available, taking copious notes of “objectionable” words.
Aoki has single-handedly forced apologies from Conan O’Brien, Sarah Silverman, the writers of The Simpsons, and execs at CBS, NBC, and ABC.
But with great power comes great loneliness. Imagine the burden of never being able to tear yourself away from a TV screen; the anal fissures alone from not taking bathroom breaks are a terrible price to pay. But Aoki is Atlas (sorry, “Atras”), with the weight of all Asian hurt feelings on his shoulders.
And now Aoki has set his sights on Paul Thomas Anderson’s new film Licorice Pizza, because an ancillary white character in a brief scene affects a fake Asian accent. Although Aoki acknowledges that the character is presented as a “racist buffoon,” Aoki long ago established the precedent that even racist characters must never be racist toward Asians. In 2001 Aoki forced The Simpsons to apologize for having villainous Mr. Burns say “Chinaman,” and in 1998 he attacked a CBS show starring George Takei in which a racist character used the same term (Takei initially refused comment for this piece, but then he read “anal fissures” and excitedly exclaimed, “Oh my!”).
Yes, in Guy Aoki’s world, even virulently racist characters must never use anti-Asian slurs. Indeed, while condemning the “violence” of Licorice Pizza’s fake-accent scene, Aoki claimed that no white screenwriter would ever write a slur directed at a black character.
To which Quentin Tarantino (hard at work on his new screenplay, tentatively titled Nigger Nigger Nigger) replied, “Uh, is this moron Asian or Down syndrome?”
Aoki is leading a crusade to keep Motion Picture Academy members from recognizing Licorice Pizza with awards this season. Which is enough to make most sane people hope the film sweeps every category.
THE TERRIBLE MOVIE YOU PAID FOR
Have you seen the movie No Man of God, starring eternal hobbit Elijah Wood?
No? Well, too bad. Turns out you paid for it.
The film, about serial killer Ted Bundy, was apparently funded with $10 million in Covid relief money fraudulently acquired by the movie’s producer, former Olympic speed skater Allison Baver (a.k.a. “the Tonya Harding who kneecapped taxpayers”).
Ms. Baver has been indicted by a federal grand jury on nine counts of fraud. And Wood’s been indicted for Radio Flyer (yes, it’s been thirty years, but there’s no statute of limitations on crimes against humanity).
The director of No Man of God is Amber Sealy, a leftist activist who tweeted last week that everyone should be wearing N95 masks 24/7, and if they’re uncomfortable, that’s “proof it’s a good mask.”
So she uses your money to make a film, and doesn’t even let you watch it in comfort.
She also recently retweeted:
What is really interesting about the pandemic is that I think many or even most people have realized they would like to live a slower, quieter life, and also that that kind of life is basically economically, socially and structurally impossible for the vast majority of Americans.
Yes, Amber—it’s “economically impossible” because your producer robs taxpayers so you can make mediocre films.
According to CNBC, over $100 billion in pandemic relief dough has been pilfered by grifters. That puts No Man of God’s $10 million in perspective. Baver, Wood, and Sealy should’ve gone big: For $100 million, they might’ve made a film people actually saw.
Of course, the only thing worse than a con is a bad con. Baver purloined $10 million to make her film, but it earned only $188,759 at the box office. Baver & Co. squandered your hard-earned cash on a piece of crap nobody saw.
On the bright side, at least you didn’t pay for a gunfight scene with Alec Baldwin.
SHOT FOR TEACHER
God bless America’s teachers! Without them, who’d give our children semen-laced cookies and flutes filled with ejaculate?
Okay, those are extreme cases. And it would take a lot of effort to top them…
“Hello, I’m Kimberlynn Jurkowski and I’m here to top them!”
Last week Ms. Jurkowski, a staff librarian at Watkins Elementary School in the Capitol Hill section of Washington, D.C., ordered third graders to “reenact the Holocaust” by “digging mass graves” for their schoolmates so they could simulate shooting them in the head and burying them, as a child portraying Hitler cheered the proceedings.
Upon reading news of this incident, the cumcookie guy was like, “Okay, now that’s going too far.”
After the child portraying Hitler oversaw the mass executions, Jurkowski apparently instructed him to simulate his own suicide (as if the story needs more unintentional humor, the kid playing Hitler was Jewish).
The rest of the students were told to act as if they were suffocating in a gas chamber.
Jewish parents have long complained that Christmas celebrations in public schools promote religion. So hopefully the parents at Watkins Elementary will appreciate the new, totally secular December holiday mascot, Santa Klaus Barbie.
According to local media, Ms. Jurkowski had previously been convicted of defrauding a neighboring school district of $24,000 in a tutoring scam.
Yet somehow Americans, even conservatives, find themselves begging such people for a return to in-person learning. Maybe parents should pretend to make an Elijah Wood film and spend the government largesse on homeschooling supplies.
NO FAT CHECKS
After decades of being told “don’t see color,” Americans are now being commanded to “see color” everywhere and in everything. But, at the same time, they’re also being told to “not see fat.”
No offense to the morbidly obese, but it’s really hard not to see you. Or hear your labored breathing. Or feel the ground shaking as you approach.
Obesity greatly increases the severity of Covid, a fact that’s acknowledged across the board, from the rational MDs who study the pandemic apolitically, to the witch doctors at the CDC who want to forcibly mask babies and make adults eat lunch in a bubble. Everyone agrees: Fatties are way more at risk of dying from Covid than twiggies.
So naturally, fatties are dealing with this reality in the typical 21st-century American way, by accusing people who point it out of being “phobic.”
More-Love, a “body-positivist advocacy org” (a.k.a. a collection of jabbering morons), is fighting “fatphobia” by producing cards that blubberbutts can give to their doctors demanding not to be weighed during a checkup. More-Love admin Ginny Jones told The Sunday Times that the cards should be “given to healthcare workers to help explain why you or your child are not automatically stepping on the scale.”
The Times was unable to publish a photo of Jones, as her sizable image can only be fully captured on triptych canvas.
According to the Times, some U.S. doctors are caving to the pressure from fat advocates (and to be fair, that pressure is intense; these are people who can sit on a lump of coal and leave behind an oil slick). In another great bounce forward for Western medicine, some docs are no longer bringing up weight issues with their patients, to avoid instilling (in the words of More-Love) “stress and shame.”
Luckily, most members of More-Love are not at risk of spreading Covid to the rest of the population, having long outgrown the ability to leave their home without having a construction crew take out a wall.
When asked whether she thinks her “weight gag-order for doctors” might be “problematic” during a pandemic that hits the obese hardest, Ginny Jones was unable to comment, having fallen through the earth’s crust.
A few weeks after Friedrich Nietzsche bragged to an admirer that he had completed a ruthless attack on our Lord, he collapsed, had convulsions, shouted like a madman, and never recovered his faculties again. It was the autumn of 1888. He was 44 years old, his books had just begun to be noticed, and he lived for a decade longer, empty-eyed, silent, and entirely unaware of the fame that was about to engulf him.
Was his tragic end divine punishment for his sacrilege? My devout Catholic wife begs to differ. Our Lord is not a vengeful one, she insists. That’s the only thing wrong with him, I answer her. Although Darwin’s Origin of Species in 1859 had started the anti-God ball rolling, Nietzsche’s nervous breakdown and anti-Christian profanities had an enormous effect because the genius/madman was a man of faith. Both his father and grandfather were Lutheran pastors, and young Nietzsche was so pious he was nicknamed the little pastor. Yet it was the Hellenes of ancient times who drew the little pastor away from Christianity and onto the Hellenistic world of Homer and Olympian Gods. Schopenhauer and Wagner followed and soon the little pastor was into German myths, excessive masturbation (according to Wagner), and madness. The great religious and classical scholar Taki believes that if Herr Nietzsche had kept faith with the poor carpenter’s Bethlehem family instead of going Greek he would have remained sane.
As a sinner but a devout Christian I need to reassert to you that the heart of faith is mystery. God is not an object, and is beyond our knowing, as is Jesus Christ. I was brought up to fear God, but as I grew older I learned to love Him as much as I love Jesus. The Virgin Mary, her son, and God for me are one and the same, and to hell with theologians who split them up along with their infinities. Is my faith tied up with some vague promise of an afterlife? To be perfectly honest, the answer to that question is maybe, although I don’t count on it too much. One thing I don’t do is pray for things I desire. It’s called manipulation, and the Almighty does not do manipulation.
One reason that I am certain most intellectuals will go to hell is their bizarre claims against the virgin birth of Christ, a theology they deem naive and meant for those who see sexuality as sinful. As in most instances, the eggheads get it completely wrong. The pure, untouched body represents virtue and innocence, not a Kardashian-like overused and overexposed figure. The reason violence is on the rise everywhere is the downgrading of Christianity by our so-called elite, whose company will one day soon represent the new hell. No more fires and circles of hell, just the nearness of Dorsey, Zuckerberg, and their ilk.
Mind you, when John Calvin and Martin Luther reformed the church, new forms of communication and scientific discoveries were changing the world. But look who did the reforming. Calvin and Luther were great men with great minds who were devout Christians. The bums who are anti-Christian nowadays are not fit to register as humans. And yet the bad guys are winning. In America, a nation that makes Sodom and Gomorrah look like Eden, fewer than half of Americans claim membership to a church. Seventy percent belonged to a church as recently as 1999, now it’s down to 47 percent. With the kind of scum that runs Hollywood and TV, I am surprised that it is as much as that at present. Christianity is under attack as never before, and the anti-Christian attacks are from our so-called elite people who produce movies that Americans watch nonstop.
Just think about it: Our Christianity now is subordinate to other affiliations such as ethnic identity, sports team loyalty, and even superhero devotion. Among university-educated people, many now feel sophisticated after denouncing their Christianity. The secularization of the meritocracy is seen as a good thing among the unbelieving rabble, but I see it as the reason all these bums need drugs, porn, and booze to get through their dull, useless lives.
Never mind, it’s Christmas and I must be charitable. But I find it hard because of the bums of Silicon Valley. Spiritual ideas among them take the form of wellness, hardly a metaphysical belief. Can any of you imagine a Bezos or a Zuckerberg or a Dorsey getting up early and going to church to recite creeds they don’t believe in because if they did they would not have done to their fellow man what they did in the first place? Step all over them, that is. Again, never mind because it’s Christmas.
The even bigger danger to Christmas and to our Christianity comes from those who actually wrote the following: “The default to Merry Christmas as a normal greeting is also white supremacy culture at work.” I will not give those who wrote such things room in my Xmas column, suffice to say you dear readers know exactly where they will end up. In the meantime, I wish all Takimag readers the happiest of Christmases ever.
People, it seems, are increasingly unable to bear the presence in a room of someone who is of different political opinion from theirs. We have now become adept at gauging the general tenor of any gathering’s views and either join in if those views coincide with our own or hold our silence if they don’t. Moreover, a person’s opinions are now the main criterion that people use to assess the goodness or badness of his character; his actual behavior is much less important to them.
The only other criterion that has much salience in the assessment of character nowadays is a person’s taste. To be accused of having no taste, or bad taste, is extremely hurtful. Taste is one of the means by which we categorize people, and we are reluctant to be seen in public with persons of poor taste, for their poor taste reflects on us, too. We judge by appearances and very often there is little else to go on. Our tastes in art, music, reading matter, food, decoration, modes of entertainment, and so forth help to place us in categories. We tend to despise categories other than our own.
Twenty-seven years ago, there was a brilliant play called Art by the French playwright Yasmina Reza, on the matter of taste. Three friends discuss a painting bought by one of them for a considerable price. The painting in question is a canvas painted nothing but white, with a white border and some lines visible in the paint. The purchaser of the painting is a dermatologist called Serge, prosperous but not wealthy; one of his friends, Marc, an aeronautical engineer, is obviously intelligent but not a connoisseur of art; the third personage in the play, Yvan, is a relative failure who has no direction in his life.
Marc, the plain, inartistic man of intelligence, sees nothing in the picture (if picture it can be called), and even calls it shit. He thinks it is a confidence trick: After all, anyone could take a piece of canvas and cover it with white paint. But the fact that anyone could have done such a thing doesn’t mean that anyone had done it, at least not before this particular artist, apparently well-known and hence the high price of his work, did it. As for Yvan, he sees, or affects to see, something of value in the painting.
Serge, the purchaser and owner of the painting, thinks that Marc, its detractor, lacks the necessary education and interest to pass judgment on the painting. Marc, by contrast, thinks that Serge is prey to intellectual and aesthetic snobbery. Before long, their disagreement reveals other fissures in their friendship. Yvan tries to mediate between Serge and Marc but is turned upon himself by the other two. Disagreement about a painting has sown real dissension among them.
Matters of taste are indeed capable of sowing dissension and even hatred. As with political opinions, I find myself increasingly having to bite my tongue. When people express a liking for something that I consider an aesthetic abomination, I change the subject—if I value good relations with the person more than the temporary relief of feelings that expressing my opinion would give me.
Vehemence of denunciation in any case often hides or disguises doubt about the ultimate well-foundedness of one’s denunciation. What if Serge’s reproach to Marc, that he is insufficiently educated in art to appreciate the painting that he has brought, that the problem is his blindness to, rather than an absence of, merit or meaning in the painting, applies to my own adverse judgments of art or architecture? When someone sees beauty in something in which I see only ugliness, how is our divergence to be settled, who or what is to be the final arbitrator between us?
Judgment, as Hippocrates said a long time ago with regard to medicine, is uncertain; and yet we must exercise it, for life is judgment. Those who claim not to make judgments are always making a self-congratulatory meta-judgment, as it were: that it is a great and glorious thing, indicative of largeness of heart, not to judge. But judge we must, for we have always to choose between alternatives. There was a famous novel by Luke Rhinehart (a pseudonym for George Cockcroft), published in 1971, The Dice Man, in which the protagonist tries to live by the roll of a dice, thereby eliminating conscious choice from his life, but of course this method of living does no such thing. First, the protagonist has chosen to try to live this way, and second, the alternatives between which the roll of the dice “chooses” at random on behalf of the protagonist are themselves chosen, there being always an infinitude of possibilities. Then, of course, he has to choose whether or not to carry out the dice’s supposed dictates. Therefore, however much we should sometimes like to escape the responsibilities of choice, we cannot—short of brain disease—do so. The novel became very popular because it seemed superficially to offer the possibility of a world liberated from the onerous necessity for moral judgment. Of course, it did no such thing, though it might have promoted bad moral judgments.
The unavoidable necessity to make judgments, both moral and aesthetic, creates a nagging bad conscience because we are unsure of the final justification for any of them. This gives rise to a tension relieved often by vehemence. When two people meet who are vehement, but in opposite senses, conflict is likely to arise. It may remain on the purely intellectual plane, but often such conflicts are about practical matters that require a decision to be made; and however much we may acknowledge the philosophical uncertainties of judgments as such, we are psychologically certain that our own are correct. When I say that x is ugly, I do not just mean that I think that x is ugly, I mean that x, objectively speaking, is ugly. Hence, we are reluctant to believe that anyone who disagrees with our judgments is honest or sincere, and then we start to look for explanations—such as economic interest—for his dishonest or insincere rejection of our judgments.
There is no disputing taste, says the old Latin proverb. On the contrary, there is nothing but disputing taste.
Theodore Dalrymple’s latest book is Around the World in the Cinemas of Paris,
They’re doing it again. The New York Times is aggressively hiding relevant facts on a matter of public interest simply in order to promote the narrative of black victimhood.
OK, we didn’t get away with it last time, but we probably will this time. Let’s try!
Daunte Wright is the half-black man fatally shot by a police officer in Minnesota earlier this year. According to Nexis, he has appeared in well over 100 articles in the Times. But one thing Times readers will never be told is that Wright was facing criminal charges for trying to choke a woman to death while robbing her at gunpoint.
They will also never hear about the lawsuit accusing Wright and an accomplice of shooting a guy during a carjacking.
In a bold departure from customary practice, the Times did make two passing references to another lawsuit claiming Wright shot a guy in the head, permanently disabling him, but in both cases, quickly added: “The lawsuit offers no direct evidence tying Mr. Wright to the shooting.”
And those are just the crimes he’s accused of committing lately, during the brief year and a half since he turned 18 and was no longer treated as a juvenile.
When it comes to Wright’s legal problems, the Times didn’t even pull its usual trick of putting all the interesting information in paragraph 20. These grisly allegations, as set forth in police reports and lawsuits, have been completely, 100% censored from the Newspaper of Record.
This isn’t a genteel refusal to “put the victim on trial.” Wright’s short but exciting criminal record is highly relevant to the convulsions this country has been going through since George Floyd’s death at the hands of the police in 2020 — convulsions painstakingly fostered by the Times.
Contrary to the media’s black victimhood narrative, there’s a very good reason Wright was in a position to be confronted by the police and in a way that most people are not.
In addition to allegedly committing a slew of gun crimes before the age of 20 (based on only one year and six months of public records), Wright was stopped for driving with expired license plate tags. He didn’t have car insurance. He also didn’t have a driver’s license. (And yes, white people are busted for these infractions all the time.)
When the officers ran his name, they discovered that Wright was driving on a suspended license, there was a restraining order against him, and a bench warrant for his arrest on a weapons charge. They had no choice: They had to arrest him. But as one officer began to handcuff him, Wright resisted, jumped back in his car and was about to flee — along with an officer trapped in the passenger window, trying to get control of the gears.
That’s when Wright got shot.
In other words, this case isn’t exactly a primo example of “Driving While Black.” That’s why The New York Times hides all the pertinent facts.
For example, last week, the Times finally — glancingly — mentioned Wright’s lack of a driver’s license and insurance. (That’s if you don’t count a recent article about how Minnesota laws adversely affect minorities — “even regulations about driver’s licenses and renewal of tags.”)
On the other hand, the Times has run 16 articles about Wright’s … air freshener! (E.g.: “How a Common Air Freshener Can Result in a High-Stakes Traffic Stop”). That is 16 more than all its articles on Hunter Biden’s laptop!
What is the Times talking about? It seems that, immediately after the shooting, Wright’s mother told the media that he’d been stopped merely for having an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror — AND NOW HE WAS DEAD!
That’s completely untrue, but it’s the story the Times is going with. No new information will be allowed to penetrate the paper’s BLM cocoon.
Times reporters must have heard about the armed robbery/choking incident, because they’ve repeatedly quoted Wright’s accomplice in the crime, Emajay Driver. On April 13, Nov. 30, Dec. 8 and Dec. 17 the Times ran some version of this quote:
“‘He loved to make people laugh,’ said Emajay Driver, a friend of Mr. Wright. ‘He was just great to be around. There was never a dull moment.'”
And that’s all we get from Mr. Driver.
New York Times: Say, we saw that police report about you and Daunte nearly choking a woman to death while committing an armed robbery. So naturally, we have to ask: Do you by any chance have any heartwarming stories about him?
Somewhat more important than Daunte’s love of laughter are the details of that incident, given at length in America’s Greatest Newspaper, the U.K.’s Daily Mail.
On Dec. 1, 2019, Wright and Driver crashed at the apartment of a 20-year-old woman they’d been partying with. The next morning, the woman’s roommate went out to get $820 in rent money, handed it to her, then left for work.
Just before the attack, Wright locked himself in the victim’s bathroom for a noticeably long time in order to make videos of himself with a gun, and to empty a bottle of hand sanitizer onto his gun. (Daunte, with his simple, trusting nature, apparently believed an urban legend that sanitizer “blocks” fingerprints.)
Minutes later, as the three of them were exiting the apartment, Wright suddenly blocked the door, pointed the gun at the woman’s head, saying, “Give me the f-ing money. I know you have it.” (Me to The New York Times: Give us the f-ing facts. We know you have them.)
She refused, asking “Are you serious?” Wright barked, “We’re not playing around,” and grabbed her by the neck, choking her, as she dropped to her knees, with the gun in his other hand still pointed at her head. “You look into his eyes,” the victim later said, “and it’s so evil.”
Next, he tried ripping her shirt open to get the money, perhaps having seen her hiding it in her bra earlier. She screamed, and Wright began choking her again. (As Wright’s accomplice so poignantly said, there was never a dull moment with this guy.)
Finally, Wright and Driver ran off, hopping into a white Cadillac that was waiting for them.
They were arrested five days later. Driver pleaded guilty to first-degree aggravated robbery, his second felony conviction. He was facing 20 years in prison, but only got probation, leading some to speculate that he’d made a deal to testify against Wright.
Again: The Times hasn’t printed a single detail of Wright’s give-me-the-f-ing-money robbery attempt. Or the lawsuit about the carjacking. In one of more than 100 articles, there were two brief mentions of his shooting a guy in the head.
As for the trial of Kim Potter, the officer who shot Wright, neither the prosecution nor defense disputes that it was a mistake, that she thought she was holding her Taser. Several officers, and the defense’s use-of-force expert, testified that Potter would have been fully justified in shooting Wright in order to protect the other officer from being dragged by the car.
But Wright “loved to make people laugh.” That’s all the Times wants you to know.
It wasn’t a good autumn for Joe Biden and the Democrats. The president’s approval rating was down to a Trump-like 41 percent in an NPR poll released on Monday.
British prime minister Harold Macmillan supposedly replied to a question about what is the most important influence on his term of office with, “Events, dear boy, events.”
Biden isn’t that suave, but he would have some justification for blaming the Democrats’ tumble on a series of unfortunate events. But much of the ruling party’s growing unpopularity stems from inevitable outgrowths of their fundamental 21st-century political strategy of exacerbating divisiveness in the name of diversity.
And Democrats alienated Hispanics and, increasingly, Asians by anointing blacks as their moral leaders and deciding that black interests trump all others. Thus, in this new poll, Biden’s approval rating among Hispanics was only 33 percent. (Granted, that’s a small sample size, and the number is drawing attention precisely because it’s something of an outlier. But still, it’s another example of a trend worrying Democrats.)
The big decline in Biden’s polls happened in August during the tactically inept fall of Afghanistan. The press had been covering for him, but Kabul punctured the administration’s claim to competence.
Biden also bet heavily that he could double down on the already expansive Trumponomics with lavish spending on the Democratic Party’s Christmas wish list without provoking retail price inflation.
After all, the government had long been printing money to keep interest rates quite low, with the outcome being mostly asset price inflation (which pleases asset holders, so it’s not as politically fraught as supermarket inflation). Biden presumably looked at the recent past and reasoned: Who really understands macroeconomics anyway? So maybe we can push our luck much further and get away with it.
But now we seem to be back finally to 1970s-style inflation.
And, of course, Covid keeps mutating unpredictably, undermining the appeal of the administration’s mantra that they will succeed by following The Science. In truth, nobody much knows what will happen next.
But other political problems the Democrats are running into are closer to inevitable by-products of their grand strategy of riding the diversity train to triumph.
As I’ve been pointing out for years, in an era of high immigration and the worship of diversity, it makes sense for the Democrats to try to assemble a coalition from the fringes of American society: immigrants, blacks, LGBTQ+, and so forth, and to encourage the concoction of more of their constituents by not defending the border, encouraging teenage girls to have themselves disfigured, etc…
One downside to diversity, of course, is its disunity. What can bring together so many odd lots of voters?
The Democrats’ main strategy for that has been to foster hatred of core Americans as something all Democrats can agree upon, tearing down the statues of their ancestors and denying their accomplishments. As Joe Biden said in Kenosha in 2020: “A black man invented the light bulb, not a white guy named Tom Edison.”
Core Americans have tended to be remarkably easy-going about all the defamation. But, eventually, even straight white males start to catch on.
Moreover, there is a constant struggle among the various activists to exalt their group as the most oppressed. Blacks seemingly won a historic victory on May 25, 2020, over the immigrant ethnic groups that are actually supposed to provide the Democrats’ incremental votes to be the sacred cows of wokeness.
But the subsequent black crime spree has left the Democrats in a tight spot, with even San Francisco Democrats like Gavin Newsom and London Breed now talking tough on crime.
The Hispanic revolt against the Democrats is likely due to their politicians allowing, even encouraging, blacks to steal with impunity during the Mostly Peaceful Protests.
What about Latino criminals? At present, we don’t have terribly reliable statistics on how much Hispanics are contributing to the murder and robbery surge of the past eighteen months.
It could be a significant amount. For instance, in California in 2020, there were 40 percent more black murder victims, reflecting the obvious tsunami of black-on-black shootings. But Hispanic victims were also up 34 percent, while white deaths increased 9 percent.
It would be useful to know how much Hispanics are participating in the crime wave because it could help us understand if the murder surge is more due to the police pulling back or to blacks becoming more exultant.
But in any case, Latino voters seem less sympathetic toward their own criminals, much less toward black lawbreakers.
It’s not widely recognized that Hispanics appear to have become relatively more law-abiding over the past four decades. Criminologist Barry Latzer’s informative 2016 book The Rise and Fall of Violent Crime in America reported that from 1980, the peak year of Miami Vice-style killings over powder cocaine, to fairly sedate 2009, the white homicide mortality rate declined 50 percent, the black rate dropped 54 percent, while the Hispanic rate plummeted an impressive 75 percent. In 1980, Latinos were murdered 62 percent as often as blacks (which is a lot), while in 2009 they were slain only 35 percent as much.
The reasons for this relative improvement in Hispanic behavior are not certain. In fact, it hasn’t much been noticed. But Latinos can reasonably take some pride in it while resenting the attention devoted to black crooks who come to unfortunate ends at the hands of police and the subsequent egging on by elites of black rioters.
Something similar may be starting to happen among Asian voters. Matt Taibbi points out that the parents’ revolt against the woke school board in Virginia’s Loudoun County, a wealthy and fast-growing Washington, D.C., exurb of 421,000, took place in one of the more Asian counties in the country. Loudoun’s Asian population increased by an order of magnitude between the 2000 and 2020 Censuses, growing from 9,000 to 90,000.
Dumbing down their kids’ schooling in the name of black self-esteem is anathema to Asian parents. Taibbi quotes one Indian-American:
“You watch. Indian and Chinese immigrants who typically vote Democratic will vote the other way because education for children is their number one issue. It’s why they came here.”
Nor are Asians immune to the rise in black crime. A New York Times headline reads:
In Fight Against Violence, Asian and Black Activists Struggle to Agree: Calls for unity have ebbed over disagreements on one main issue: policing.
In other words, the apparent increase in beatings of small elderly Asians by large young black muggers and maniacs is causing Chinatown activists to demand more cops on the beat, much to the dismay of BLM activists. It’s almost as if Asians and blacks have different interests and blaming everything on ex-President Trump saying the words “China virus” is a rapidly deteriorating Band-Aid.
The Democrats deciding they must put blacks in charge (symbolized by Joe’s affirmative-action choice of the inept Kamala) is like making the drummer the leader of the rock band. Drummers are important, but they tend not to be the main composers. It’s as if John and Paul had responded to George’s complaints about not getting enough songs on the Beatles’ albums by realizing that Ringo had even fewer and declaring, in the manner of Ibram X. Kendi, that Beatles records would feature nothing but the drummer’s ditties until equity had finally been attained.