Stock market tanking. Prez playing golf while the world burns. Everybody else talking nonsense as if it were wisdom. Lighten up.
We will get through this. An Instapunk Rule.
You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2014.
Stock market tanking. Prez playing golf while the world burns. Everybody else talking nonsense as if it were wisdom. Lighten up.
We will get through this. An Instapunk Rule.
My home county is mostly water. Boats, sails, motors, rivers, creeks, ponds, salt water marsh, bay and sea. But I don’t have a daughter or a son. Which, sometimes, is like being all alone on the ocean in a storm.
This one chokes me up. See what it does for you. Whole thing at Netflix.
Here’s what’s funny. All the people on the right with any political savvy are running around saying, “Shhhhhh! Don’t talk about impeachment. It just helps the Dems raise money.”
Dom the gaffemaster made that the opening platform of his WPHT show yesterday, echoing what we hear from National Review and Fox News pundits. Dom is way way superior to Sarah Palin. Like all reflexive conservatives, he was scornful of her call to impeach the Trojan horse in the White House. He beat up all the callers who thought otherwise.
Thing is, Obama should be impeached. Almost everybody knows he should be. As president, he’s become Hugo Chavez and a silent partner of Hamas and the plan for a global caliphate. But in strict political terms, it’s not the right time to make any such attempt. Granted. No trial in a Harry Reid senate could ever convict him.
But talking about why he should be impeached is a public service.
The perfect person to do that is Sarah, who has made no visible move toward future political office. She is a citizen. She is the equivalent of the first Roman Tribune, who was empowered to represent the people at the door of the Roman senate.
Even as I write this, I hear Rush Limbaugh beginning a parallel argument. So I’ll leave the details to him and move quickly to my close.
I’m just saying Sarah Palin has done right to put impeachment on the table. Talk to your friends. Make the case that Obama is not a president but a self-worshipping would-be emperor. We can’t go any farther down this road. And we’re the ones who have to depose him, the party that supports him, and the mass media who ignore his flat lawlessness. Pass it on.
Thank you, Sarah.
Is this relevant? Yes and no. Women are desirable. But not always.
Philly talk radio’s gaffemaster Dom Giordano has discovered that Eric Holder’s Department of Justice is going after the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for gender discrimination in police hiring. Apparently, only 50 percent of female candidates pass the physical requirements while 70 percent of the men do. This must be stopped or changed or rectified or something. So here comes the DOJ.
These requirements need to be gender-adjusted to ensure, you know, equality. TV tries to convince us that women are just as capable cops as men. One of Giordano’s callers from the Philly law enforcement community was matter of fact about the reality. Women, he said, wanted to get off the streets as fast as possible into office jobs. Why the most common descriptor for female police officers has become “secretaries with guns.”
Rightly, Giordano posed the question of female firefighters. If they can’t carry you out of a burning building, why should they be there at all? Political Correctness as a form of negligent homicide.
There may be some women who can do this kind of work. More power to them. But we don’t need gender differentials in the qualifying standards for police, firemen, and military. That’s not equality. It’s criminal favoritism.
A kind of equality to die for. Not a figure of speech.
Already mentioned below my outrage that RealClearPolitics would publish, let alone solicit, such drivel. Before we get started, here’s who the guy is.
He attended Harvard University, where he was on the staff of The Harvard Crimson, and graduated with honors in 1976. He has been a fellow at the American Academy in Berlin and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, and has served on the Visiting Committee of the University of Chicago Law School.
Think he’s been a frequent guest on NPR too. Standard Obama Orc. Why would anyone care what he has to say? Only me. Because I can’t let it stand without subjecting it to a flamethrower. Here’s his spine numbing apologia for the worst president in U.S. History. I’m the one in Italics.
Is Obama To Blame for the World’s Crises?
The world is a hot mess. I always borrow my best lines from TMZ. Pro-Russian separatists shot down a passenger jet over Ukraine. Iraq is under siege from Islamic radicals, the Taliban is rebounding in Afghanistan and civil war grinds on in Syria. True.
Israel is fighting in Gaza. Negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program have come up empty. China is bullying its neighbors. Also true.
When trouble flares up around the world, U.S. presidents get blamed. No shit, Sherlock. We’ve been holding it all together for a hundred years. Funny what happens when dad leaves home and the office for a Vegas hooker. The latest polls show that only about 36 percent of Americans approve of Barack Obama’s handling of foreign affairs — down from 51 percent in May, 2011, after the death of Osama bin Laden. Yeah. Odd, ain’t it. You’ve got that old snapshot of Dad looking intent in his Santa suit by the Xmas tree, but when you finally learn what he was intent on was a stripper dancing by the fireplace, your perspective changes. Especially since you’ve learned by hard experience he’s never been near the Xmas tree since. Not even on the day the tree fell down and killed some of his employees. While he was in Vegas.
Republicans have not been reluctant to place responsibility on him. “Obama has presided over a recent string of disasters that make even (Jimmy) Carter look competent,” wrote Marc Thiessen, a former speechwriter for George W. Bush. “The world is on fire — and Obama’s foreign policy legacy is in tatters.” Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina charged that “his policies are failing across the globe.” All right. Granted that his critics are Republicans and must therefore be wrong, I’m sure we can find a counter-argument. Let’s see. A policy of universal apology to every dictator for everything they’ve done to abuse their people, coupled with a total shutdown of U.S. Operations in Iraq and an announced withdrawal date in Afghanistan, couldn’t have done anything to embolden our enemies and cause them to ignore weak American statements that are never backed up by anything but cheers from Leonardo Di Caprio.
The indictment implies that had the administration been tougher or smarter, Ukraine would be intact, Syria’s dictator would be gone, Iraq would be stable, Hamas would surrender, China would be a gentle lamb and Iran would give up its nukes. No. It implies that the usual behaviors of dictators and tyrants would have been less vicious, reckless, and costly. America has been a century long cop, not a miracle healer. But when the cop puts his gun on the ball washer at the first tee, people get the wrong idea. Assads kill 100,000 rather than 1,000. And Putins grab the whole Crimea and half of Ukraine, not just rivals off the street with Glock-bearing thugs. Also, just maybe, they don’t feel blasé about murdering 300 civilians who were just passing through. What else? With a status of forces agreement forcefully negotiated, Iraq might not be falling apart and crucifying and exterminating Christians, and Iran might not be jeering as they ramp up their nuke program confident of no penalty now or ever. Do matters of degree mean ANYTHING to you, Steven?
Conservatives say Obama thinks he’s king. But they seem to confuse him with God. We don’t think that. Trust me. Only he’s confused that way.
It’s easy to forget that planet Earth has always been a turbulent locale. Really? During the Reagan administration, often fondly recalled as a golden age, there was endless strife hither and yon: civil wars in Central America; Americans taken hostage in Lebanon; a U.S. military barracks blown up in Beirut; and Libyan terrorists bombing a Pan Am plane. Bad things happened back then? Not only hither? But yon too? Shucks, I just plain forgot, Steve. The world always behaves when you’ve got a Repub to tell’em to sit in the corner till they’re ready to straighten up. Of course, a massive and growing navy, Air Force, army, and ballistic missile network working on SDI don’t hurt none when it comes to standing up at the TelePrompTer and saying how very disappointed we crackers be with what youse did yestiddy. Do it?
The Soviets shot down a South Korean passenger jet. South Africa’s minority white government tried to suppress a black revolt. Did the Soviets shoot down a jetliner? Damn. I’ll bet Reagan said it was a sad accident and probably nobody’s fault before he adjourned to one of Nancy’s fancy state dinners. And revolt in South Africa? We all know how much Reagan hated black people. Pullease.
Reagan may get credit for causing the collapse of the Soviet Union, but tranquility didn’t follow. Of course tranquility was the whole point. Reagan was a total failure at that. He settled for getting the quivering fingers of totalitarian nonagenarians off the buttons of the thousands of ICBMs aimed at every American city, town, and hamlet. What an oaf. (Or half an oaf, which is better than none.) It wasn’t long before Iraq invaded Kuwait, Yugoslavia erupted into bloody ethnic conflict, civil war broke out in one African country after another, famine ravaged Somalia, Palestinians rose up against Israeli rule, and Pakistan and India fought a war after acquiring nuclear weapons. Because none of these situations was brewing, stewing, and simmering before Ronnie politely asked Gorby to please “Repaint this Wall, in appropriate Russian colors.”
And the 21st century? It did not turn the world into a serene oasis where America consistently got its way. Awwwwww. It didn’t? Good intentions don’t always lead to perfect results? Why the best parents never try to restrain their children in any way. The 9/11 attacks, the war in Iraq and the war in Afghanistan are still fresh in our minds. The Russian invasion of Georgia, al-Qaida’s migration into Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, Israel’s war in Lebanon, the civil war in Sudan — those are easy to forget. They are? You’re even better at forgetting than us Reagan sots are. Like, who can forget the time when Georgian rebels brought down that American Airlines 747 with one of the Kardashians on it? Oh. Sorry. Senior moment here. Which probably accounts for why I don’t remember the Al Qaida migration either. I thought the Sun King had Al Qaida pretty much neutralized, wiped out, and waiting submissively at the 19th green. My mistake.
North Korea cheated on a nuclear deal under Bush. Iran took major strides in its own nuclear quest. Thank God they’ve stopped THAT shit. Vladimir Putin gutted Russian democracy. China tried to intimidate its neighbors.
When was this era of harmony that Obama has somehow forfeited? It never happened. And it’s not likely to emerge under his successor. Even at the height of our post-Cold War power and influence, nasty events happened all the time, and we couldn’t stop them…
Yet the belief persists that the difference between a bad outcome and a good outcome is a willingness by the U.S. government to exercise leadership or show toughness or otherwise get involved. Like the way it didn’t matter what we did in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, or the Cold War. In practice, our interventions often exact a terribly high price for a dismal result. Like three victories, one tie, and a loss, which if I read it right is enough to win a World Cup in futbol. If there are two ways to get a dismal result, maybe we should choose the one that doesn’t cost us thousands of lives or billions of dollars. And giving up more easily is always a good thing too. 440,000 lives in WWII, 60,000 apiece in Korea and Vietnam, and far less than that in Iraq and Afghanistan. Almost like a cop who’s been getting better at walking his beat, right before he retires and turns it over to the ascendant gangs.
We like to think we can easily shape the world to suit our preferences. But as the 19th-century historian Henry Adams pointed out, chaos is the law of nature, and order is the dream of man. I’m sure you like to think a lot of things, but it would be a huge help if you learned how to think in the first place.
Sorry if I’ve been impolite. But I’ve no more use in my life for Harvard Crimson slop.
RCP, I’m about done with you too.
Sell out pretending to be objective in your presentation, and I’m done.
It’s an Instapunk Rule.
All the nicely dressed ladies and gentlemen holding their noses are the “Good Germans” who lived in the environs of Buchenwald and professed to know nothing of what was going on. What’s that smell? It’s the smell of you twisting your brains inside out to hate what is good and love what is evil. A stink you’ll never outgrow. Patton ordered it at Buchenwald. They came in laughing. Not how they left. But he’s dead now. Don’t feel too relieved. You may think you know something about contempt. I assure you you don’t.
I had three posts I was going to do today: one good, one bad, one ugly. The good is done. This is the bad. What U.S. troops who liberated Buchenwald and Dachau found was so bad that military discipline broke down. It was hushed up, but here are the accounts.
The footage above was taken by army troops. Photoshop didn’t exist. No makeup artists had the tools or the imagination to invent such entanglements of massed starved dead bodies in 1945. Yet Youtube still has plenty of disk space for holocaust deniers. Who are legion. Including this gem from a German bishop. Take a good long look at him. This is who you are becoming.
“Quote unquote the holocaust.” And pay attention to his locution about anti-semitism and truth. Is he saying what you thought he said? Play it again. Yes. And if you like this kind of stuff, Youtube has an ocean of it, all in the same superior tone you libs are used to using on Republicans. Enjoy.
I don’t have time for more of this. I have to get on to my ugly post, which is a fisk of an absolute fool harbored by RealClearPolitics of all places. Why it’s going to be so ugly.
Also why I’m tendering my apologies in advance to Abraham H. Miller at National Review for reprinting his column in its entirety. I think Dr. Miller will forgive me. Pass it on to your friends with full credit to the original author.
Progressive Jews, Wake Up
At pro-Hamas demonstrations in U.S cities in recent weeks, anti-Semitism rises up and is heard.
By Abraham H. Miller
In the largely Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Chicago’s Petersen Park, residents last Saturday morning found anti-Semitic leaflets on their way to synagogue to observe the Sabbath. The leaflets threatened violence against the community unless Israel stopped the war with Gaza.
For those progressive Jews who have found solace in the myth that anti-Zionism has nothing to do with anti-Semitism, the events across the globe of the last few weeks have been a rude and discomforting awakening. And so they turned to their final recourse, the belief that America was different.
Sure, there was a pogrom at a synagogue in Paris, but, well, that’s Paris. Muslims and their neo-fascist and leftist allies might walk through the streets of Germany shouting anti-Jewish slogans reminiscent of the Hitler Youth, but, well, that’s Germany.
Then came the pro-Hamas demonstrations in Los Angeles, Boston, and Chicago.
In San Francisco, if not for the police, some 30 pro-Israel protesters would have been brutalized by over 300 people demonstrating on behalf of the genocidal Hamas terrorists.
Sounds of a vicious, leftist anti-Semitism associated with anti-Zionism have long been audible in American society, but Jewish-community leaders, cut from leftist cloth, refused to acknowledge them. I have to wonder if those Jews pushed back on the streets of San Francisco by frenzied haters recognized some of their opponents from joint ventures on gun control, gay and lesbian rights, reproductive rights, and interfaith dialogues.
Those who believe in women’s rights, gay rights, reproductive rights, and human rights have cast their lot with people whose culture violates the basic dignities of freedom. What explains that? Hatred!
Hatred is the great unifier. If you are going to hate anyone, hate Jews, because no one cares. When a naïve foreign-born student at the University of California, San Diego, put up a noose in the library, as a prank on her boyfriend, the administration called for a campus soul searching and held meetings, vigils, and teach-ins. Moved by the inadvertent crisis she caused, the student confessed. The administration, however, was unsatisfied and notified the FBI, calling for her to be charged with a hate crime, all for an act of naïveté.
But just months later, on the same campus, Jumanah Imad Albahri, a member of the Muslim Student Association, publicly proclaimed her support for killing Jews. The UCSD administration took no action.
Slight the voluble sensitivities of any group on an American campus and you’ll be condemned to sensitivity training and endless bureaucratic harassment. But propose to kill the Jews and you’ll find that the Constitution will be wrapped around you tighter than a piece of cling wrap.
The palpable anti-Semitism visible in recent demonstrations here in the United States has caused some of our progressive community leaders to come out strongly for Israel, but in so doing, they have to showcase their progressive credentials, as if it is necessary to say, take me seriously because I too am a progressive and I support Israel.
Forgive me if I am not awed by progressive credentials, especially knowing that these are the people who helped put this administration in office. Why did the Federal Aviation Administration cancel flights to Tel Aviv, when flights to Ukraine, where a passenger plane actually was downed, continue? Flights to Damascus and Baghdad, active war zones, were never canceled. Why was the Jew-hating, Islamist Turkish president Recep Erdogan once one of President Barack Obama’s most trusted allies in the Middle East? The questions answer themselves.
As for progressivism, gay marriage is not worth putting the lives of 6 million Jews in the hands of an incompetent, indifferent president, whose cultural affinity is with Islam. His Jewish associations in Chicago’s Hyde Park were with rabbis who believed peace was more likely if Israel was on the receiving end of condemnation.
Progressive Democrats do not support Israel in this existential struggle, but the Republicans do. The reality is that progressive Jews are going to have to decide whether they are progressives or Jews, because the term “progressive Jew” is increasingly becoming an oxymoron.
The modern anti-Semitism that now concerns our progressive leaders is an outgrowth of the Left. It was Marx who wrote the vile “On the Jewish Question.” Hitler recruited from elements at the margins of Germany’s economy. There is a reason he called his movement National Socialism and infused it with an ideology of workers’ rights. The distinguished political scientist Seymour Martin Lipset has shown how Hitler’s electoral surge came from the liberal elements of Germany.
Progressive rabbis will probably organize a call for peace, but that is precisely what Israel does not need. Israel needs to destroy the Hamas tunnels, some of which are under Israeli schools and residences. They form part of the command-and-control apparatus of the terrorists. No nation-state can live with rockets and missiles falling from the skies and explosive-laden tunnels underneath its schools.
As for our progressive Jewish communal leaders, I will believe their commitment to Israel when they go to the next interfaith-council meeting and publicly confront their fellow progressives about their boycott-divestment-sanctions hypocrisy. I will have renewed faith in our community-defense groups when they confront the double standards on campus that protect every group but Jews-
In the meantime, their failure to do so only means that, increasingly, American Jews will have to start behaving and thinking like French Jews, because the bigotry of Islam and its leftist allies does not end at Europe’s coast.
— Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science at the University of Cincinnati. He has served on the faculty of the University of California, Davis, and the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Dr. Miller is a Jew. I am not. Why I feel free to add my own postscript to all the non-Jewish Americans who are pure sons and daughters of Josef Goebbels. You liberals, progressives, Paulistas, whatever you want to call yourselves, who cannot see the simple truth that Israel is fighting for its life against barbarian fanatics who possess no morality worthy of the name (yeah cut off my daughter’s clitoris and stone her if she gets raped) and almost no consciousness, do not deserve to live yourselves. Look yourself in the mirror with one thought. When was it in your pitifully perverted education that women’s liberation came to consist of the infinite right to abortions for American women and nothing else? Not even makeup, a driver’s license, a degree in Women’s Studies, or an orgasm for anyone else. (Overlooking altogether the right to live through rape or mere imprudent copulation at a frat party.) When? Are you proud of that moment? Could you blog about it for the rest of us?
I sure hope so. Articulating it would be good for you. Because it might be the last thing you try to explain in dead earnest before you are put to the sword by the savages you presently support. Actually, the smart course would be to deny, deny, deny. Call it your Peter moment. I kind of like that.
And as to you who have publicly chanted or even thought “Back to Birkenau,” I wish you a traumatic last moment of life.
Now I have to go foul myself with the writings of a former Harvard Crimson editor named Steven Chapman. Just when I thought Garrett Epps had laughingstocked himself out of the journalistic universe with his fellatial adoration of you know who. No rest for the guys who were actually smart at Harvard way back when.
What I watched last night till thunderstorms knocked out the electric. The Papuans have no need for electric and no concept of romantic love. Cool, eh?
This is a post that could be huge or succinct. I prefer succinct. Sometimes things that don’t belong together in any rational way belong together just because they do. So I’ve assembled some things that belong or don’t with one another. My hope is that they will serve as compound fractures of the bone most people use for a mind.
You see. There is no link.
All any of us get is a moment.
It can be the same moment over and over and over or an instant that lasts forever. Or both.
Maybe why the concept of divinity is embedded in all of us, to be accepted or fought tooth and nail, byte by byte.
Because everything dies or goes away in the end, all brief as flies but the stone stuff…
…and in all the millennia no one has ever been free. Just ask us.
Unless someone or something has been surreptitiously raising the bar of what it means to be human. Or maybe it always was, is, and shall be mere self adornment. Whatever that consists of.
NOTE. Perurambo, Air Disasters, Afternoon of a Faun, and Men at Lunch are available in full at Netflix. In a later post I’ll tell you what all I learned is NOT available at Netflix. It’s an eye opener.
You all love this damn dumb “beautiful game.” Use it. Flop & fake like pros.
What a bunch of idiots. Israel takes stubborn pride in protecting its citizens while the world press creams its jeans lamenting the death of Palestinian children chained to legitimate military targets. As Israel wins the military fight, the press gushes over the depraved dissimulations of terrorists.
The answer is easy. Too easy for Israeli intellectuals, apparently. Inflate your own casualties. Hell. Even Israel likes the farce called futbol. Learn from your own damn phony sport. Fake it. Get your citizens to flop. Film and publish casualties that beggar the Palestinian propaganda. Oh! Look! Another Jewish mother has fallen! Use lots of ketchup. Cherry bombs are great sound effects. Use clips from Michael Bay movies. The alphabet networks will never see through it any more than they see through the flagrant lies of Hamas. Face it. They’re dumb as fenceposts. Please, please don’t be dumber than they are. That would be a crime worse than the existence of MSNBC.
What is this insistence on truth? It has no place in the modern news cycle.
Or even the old news cycle, which is why there’s this.
Where do you come down? Me? I’m all in favor of cheating. It’s worked before.
All’s fair in love and war. Somebody said it. I’m just repeating it.
A sale I haven’t closed. The other day, I teased my wife about an author she hadn’t encountered, a Rhode Island Jew named S.J. Perelman who wrote a series of essays about the silent movies he had seen as a boy. “Cloudland Revisited” was about a middle-aged, sophisticated New Yorker writer who connived to see the movies of his youth in private museum screenings. The title I teased her with was “The Wickedest Woman in Larchmont.” She was entranced. But I couldn’t find the text for free, and she’s feeling burned by Kindle books we’ve bought and haven’t read. Stalemate.
So I gave up. NOT. Perelman was an extraordinary talent whose style seems more and more outstanding and relevant to me than it did when I first stumbled across his work. He doesn’t just play with words. He’s the Cirque du Soleil of words, tumbling acrobatics and high wire trapezery that leave you breathless. Amazingly, from a guy who went to Brown. Now that’s funny.
Humorists who are literate as opposed to toilet jokers are not a dying breed but a wholly extinct one. For example, a guy who used to be a literate funnyman published this the other day. I showed it to my wife who agreed with my review of “WTF.” If you can’t think or write or be funny anymore, for God’s sake STOP.
It happens to all humorists if they live long enough. It happened to Thurber. It happened to Mark Twain. And it happened to Perelman. The New Yorker stopped publishing his work when the darkness that always hovers descended.
But that was a long long time after his masterworks. Among which is a book I did manage to find online called Westward Ha! It was a curiously conceived project. Holiday magazine was the great travel periodical of its day. In the aftermath of World War 2, some editor got the odd idea that it would be fun to send two lugubrious middle aged Jews — one a sourpuss humor writer and the other the best caricature artist in Broadway history — on a trip around a world suddenly at peace. You know. Glamor. Sex. Sights. Boats and planes. Cool.
The result was a fiasco, obviously. Perelman in impoverished Asian dance halls tangoing morosely with teenagers in braces. Fueled by oceans of cheap liquor and worse food. It was, in short, one of the funniest things I have ever read. Here’s a taste of the first chapter from a source you can see more from.
Goodbye Broadway, Hello Mal-de-Mer
THE WHOLE sordid business began on a bleak November afternoon a couple of years ago in Philadelphia, a metropolis sometimes known as the City of Brotherly Love but more accurately as the City of Bleak November Afternoons. Actually, the whole business began sixteen years ago, as do so many complex ventures, with an unfavorable astrological conjunction, Virgo being in the house of Alcohol. Late one August day in 1932, I was seated at the Closerie des Lilas in Paris with my wife, a broth of a girl with a skin like damask and a waist you could span with an embroidery hoop. I had had three mild transfusions of a life-giving fluid called Chambéry Fraise and felt a reasonable degree of self-satisfaction. Halfway through my imitation of Rudolph Valentino in Blood and Sand, my wife wiped the tears of laughter from her eyes and arose.
“Look, Julian Eltinge,” she smiled, naming an actor who had achieved some transitory fame for his powers of mimicry, “descendez de cette table, salop, et dinons (come down off that there table, sweetheart, and let us feed the inner man).”
Ever the thrall of a pair of saucy blue eyes, I good-naturedly complied and sprang down with a graceful bound, sustaining a trifling fracture of the spleen. There then ensued a long, absurd debate as to which of us would pay the tab. An innate sense of gallantry prevented me from taking money from a woman, but I stifled it and soon we were bowling along the Boulevard St. Michel in a fiacre. In less time than it takes to build a fourteen-room house, we had crossed the Seine, got lost in Passy, and arrived at a quaint Javanese restaurant…
And that doesn’t take into account the Hirschfeld illustrations. Which are as great as his inspired renderings of the biggest stars of his day.
If you find yourself intrigued, go to Amazon and purchase a copy of “The Most of S. J. Perelman.” You won’t regret it. It might save your life for a few more months. All we can ask for these days.
Why would this symphony have anything to do with Scottish deerhounds? Apart from the fact that the conductor is obviously a deerhound too.
If you miss Raebert, go here. Truth is, everybody who’s ever met Raebert misses him forever afterwards. Don’t tell Stan Lee or the other guys at Marvel Comics. He turns heads, stops traffic, makes rules disappear, wherever he goes.
Last night, my wife had to go to bed halfway through Megyn Kelly’s show. “Why does it have to be so interesting?” she asked. I didn’t have an answer for her. All I know is that the Kelly File is the show I now rely on to keep me up to date at a time when I can’t stand to read or watch other news sources without throwing up. She’s become my crib sheet.
Interestingly, though, she’s also having an impact on the shows before and after hers. O’Reilly is in reactionary mode, reverting to a kind of New Deal archaism that seems actually proud of its out of touchness, as if anyone under the age of 70 need not tune in. He’ll be gone in a year or so is my prediction.
Hannity, on the other hand, is upping his game. I’d written him off long ago. After he jettisoned Colmes, he seemed merely self indulgent, tossing that stupid football around and loading up his “panels” with dim bulb Imus sidekicks and country singers who fancy themselves pundits.
But if you don’t turn off the TV immediately after Megyn does her final sign off, Hannity shows up right away. What happened last night. (Sorry, honey.) And, yeah, it’s happened a couple of times lately. He’s actually getting better.
For one thing, he’s not afraid to schedule Mark Levin, once dubbed “The Great One” by Rush Limbaugh before he became a Limbaugh competitor and therefore a conservative nonperson. Just seeing Mark Levin and that intense angry stare of his reignites the fire in my belly and sends me back to the barricades with all weapons loaded.
There’s also my new favorite female warrior, Deneen Borelli. I can’t prove it, but I’m convinced she’s a Hannity discovery. Good on him. What a woman. Smart, cool, unflappable, and beautiful. My favorite candidate to replace the O’Reilly dinosaur when he retires to his estate in Jurassic, Long Island.
Also my Number One reason for staying up after Megyn to watch Hannity. She might show up.
If she’s still fighting, we can do no less. Last night, she appeared to respond to a video clip in which an NAACP spokeswoman viciously attacked her as a traitor to her race and the cause of Civil Rights. She never raised her voice. She’s Shane. Stoic but fast, fast with a gun.
Thank you, Sean. The signal strength of a great executive is not being afraid to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you. You are passing that test big time.
I’ve been having a conversation with my dead dad, staring at the ceiling and asking his forgiveness. I let him down. My life in many ways has been the opposite of his. He always told me, “I want you to do whatever will make you happy. I don’t care if you want to be a garbage man if it makes you happy.” But he didn’t really mean that. He wanted me to be more like him, dutiful, traditional, and polished. He felt pressured by his dad to be an engineer, which he never wanted to be. He thought my better choice would be to become a lawyer, which I believed because he told me I would be so good at it. This gets us through adolescence, after I’d been through his prep school, where I never realized I had any choice not to go to, just as my sister was entering Vassar, where his sister had gone and my sister automatically matriculated after gaining early admission. Between the two of us, at the height of the most competitive period of college admissions ever, the two of us applied to exactly three colleges. (At the time a little less than $50 in total application fees.)
This is not a bragging jag. It’s the backstory for what happened in my life. The family plan was that I would go to Princeton and then to some great law school that wasn’t named Harvard. Because the only academic stricture ever placed on me was that I couldn’t go to Harvard. My father’s first postulate was that Harvard was the worst of the worst, although every other Ivy school was reverenced.
Why it was so awkward that the only two colleges I applied to were Yale… and Harvard. About the same time my sister got her early admission to Vassar, I got a letter from Yale, offering something called a Yale National Scholarship, meaning if I ever ran out of daddy’s money, they’d pay the rest of my way through. You know. Kind of an honorary thing.
My parents were very proud. My prep school guidance counselor was proud. He was a Yalie. But in those days, the moment of truth was April 15th. On that day I received a letter from Harvard offering me an “Honorary Freshman Scholarship” and the distinct possibility of “sophomore standing,” meaning I could graduate in three years instead of four.
The most difficult conversation I had ever had with my dad. “I got into Harvard. I want to go,” I told him on the pay phone in the dining hall. Long silence. “Okay,” he said. “If that’s what you want, do it.” He felt better when he understood the financials of the sophomore standing option. I was sixteen. He figured I would grow out of my folly.
Cut to freshman orientation at Harvard. It wasn’t a few days of feel good stuff the way it is now. It was a meeting of the entering class at Harvard’s ugliest building, Memorial Hall. Just two days before classes.
It was the Dean of Admissions who addressed us. Chase Peterson. No one in the gallery who didn’t know who he was. We had all written our application essays to him. He was the Colossus who stood astride the portal of Harvard. It’s all too big to comprehend. When you get accepted you don’t just receive a letter. You get a piece of parchment with your name rendered in beautiful calligraphy announcing that you have been chosen. In those days, the percentage of those admitted to Harvard who went to Harvard was 85 percent. The second best in this metric was Yale at 60 percent. Harvard was dying and going to heaven. Nowhere else could compare.
Chase. His job was to congratulate us, assure us of our superiority, and guarantee our success in the adventure of life. Here’s my best recollection of what he said: “I suppose I should tell you you are the best and the smartest and most promising of all the youth in the land. But I have to tell you the truth instead. We are all gathered here, in a crumbling throwback to the 19th century, to let you know that you are the result of a fairly arbitrary selection process and none of you should feel that anything is assured.”
There was a murmur in the great hall. Unless it was a kind of gasp. Hard to tell about the acoustics of crumbling throwback buildings.
Cut to a day or two later. By college mail I received a summons to the office of the Dean of Admissions. Oh shit. The Colossus has discovered I’m not worthy. Oh shit.
I made my way to the administration building, a somewhat garish and frighteningly modern edifice opposite Harvard Yard. Sitting in the modern waiting room, you feel that none of Harvard’s gentlemanly traditions will protect you. You’re another unit, another widget easily expelled from the machine.
And then someone else ambled into the waiting room. My prep school roommate. My best friend. The guy who had talked me out of applying to Princeton in the first place and into applying to Harvard because Harvard was so hard to get into and it was, in his mind, where I belonged. His dad had gone there, but Russian Jews don’t have quite the in on college admissions they once did. My friend Howard Levin had applied to Harvard only to honor his dad, desperately wanted to go to Columbia, and added schools like U. Rochester, U. Cincinnati and similar as his mid-range, and then ticked off Boston University as his fallback.
By the time we graduated, Howard had been rejected by every school he applied to except Boston University and one other, which had both wait listed him. The other one was Harvard. He tore up his diploma. Then he spit on it. Four years of work and pain and he wasn’t in college. He had a genius for self pity I’ve never seen equalled.
But late in August, I got a call from Howard. As usual, he started in the middle. “I was getting ready to harikiri myself and go to f***ing BU when the phone rings and it’s Chase.”
“Chase Peterson. I was the next guy on the waiting list and some Lawrenceville shithead decided he wanted to take a few years off to find himself.”
I was appropriately dignified about his new opportunity. “Holy fucking Christ. HOWARD! What are the odds? We’re both going to Harvard. Four years of hell. And we’re the winners.” He was typically enthusiastic. “It was an accident.” It had been two decades at least since our school had sent two graduates to Harvard. An accident? No way.
And now here we were in the outer office of the guy he had aimed me at and who had somehow reached out to save him. Weird. Which was the title of the personal essay in Howard’s Harvard application.
We didn’t wait long. We weren’t being punished. He was a handsome friendly man. His eyes kept moving back and forth between us. Calm, curious, appraising.
“I didn’t mean to alarm you,” he said. “But I just had to see.”
We reacted in our distinct ways. Howard plucked at his long black hair, obsessively, and I leaned back in Celtic fight or flight mode, ready to say something unforgivable.
“You were roommates,” Dr. Peterson chuckled. We admitted it. He ignored us. “I just had to see the roommates who were the very first and the very last admitted to your class at Harvard.”
Howard and I looked at each other. From both ends, we had exactly the same thought. This is winning a lottery of lotteries of lotteries. And we’re the ones who did it. Fuck the assholes of Exeter, St. Paul’s, Groton and Choate. We got each other into Harvard from nowhere because we decided to. Between us, there was no more than an eyeflash. We both smiled, manfully, giving nothing away.
Chase wasn’t trying to pin us down. He was just genuinely curious. He wanted to see the chemistry between us. And I think he saw a good part of it. Howard and I were always in the business of protecting each other. I think Chase saw that. Something neither of our families ever did. My folks thought Howard was a bad influence. His folks thought I was a ‘Goodbye Columbus’ subplot. Goy.
Howard died at the age of 40. I’ve been missing his friendship all these years. He died long before my dad did. I suppose these days I have to specify that there was nothing gay about it. We were everything male friendship is supposed to be. We talked and talked and talked from our opposite perspectives, Episcopalian WASP and Russian Jew, and we both could read books by the dozen. I saved him from getting expelled and he saved me from Princeton. He promoted Dostoevsky and I promoted Hemingway and Fitzgerald. And we both lashed out in satire that got us in trouble in the school newspaper I edited. We collaborated on some pieces that I defended him for. When we won those fights I turned him loose and he was scathing.
I could see Chase looking from Howard to me and back again. Who wrote the brilliant essay that got Howard against all odds into Harvard? And I could also see that he couldn’t tell. Because friendship is proof against tells.
Okay. I won’t play footsie with you. I wrote the essay. But I’m a writer. Nothing without material. Howard was an original, too big to be able to write about himself. He found me, a dutiful conformist, and more or less launched me on the mission that has both illuminated and poisoned my life.
There was a chapel walkout in our junior year. The moment when the sixties hit our school. The reason I did the first ever EXTRA in the history of my school newspaper. When I became for the first time a commentator. I did not walk out when half the school did. Howard did. He enjoyed doing it. He’s dead now. But there’s still a part of him in me.
I walk out and I stay. I stay and I walk out. Why my dad and I don’t get along in my dreams. But also why I don’t give up no matter how bad it gets.
Thinking he might forgive me eventually. Though I doubt the Levins ever will. You know how those Jews are. Not Sally, not Rachel, not Janet, not Robert, not any of them.
Because they’re only the best friends you can ever have. If one of them is named Howard.
Call me crazy or delusional or sentimental, but I think Chase saw what he expected to see, wanted to see. Abiding friendship.
And, dad, except for your eternal disapproval, I am happy. Better, I know I used my time here to leave something behind that’s better than I am. So I am content. Which is far more important than happy.
Here’s the sad thing. He’s too dead to hear me. I’m the warrior he raised me to be. Just not in the arena he expected. I think he was English. But I’m a Scot. Makes a difference.
btw, ask Chase if he remembers. He’s still alive, me hearties.
P.S. Not all happy endings. Howard opened a dozen furniture stores. I opened a multinational management consulting practice. His mother decided she could write fiction. Life is beautiful. But what of Rachel? What of Janet? Howard died. More than 20 years ago. None of them has ever reached out to me. Everybody knows Celts don’t feel. Which is our edge. We. Just. Don’t. Care.
SALLY: I miss your son Howard every day. I’m also a better writer than you. If you’re still alive, talk to me.
We can do this. We can learn new stuff that changes us.
We keep hearing that our magically brilliant scientists have figured out everything important or are on the verge of same, in every specialty from climate change to cosmology. This past week has been a bit of a deflater for such bombast. I won’t provide you links unless I relent later, but the Climate Apocalyptics have an inconvenient problem with soaring penguin populations in the Antarctic. They’re supposed to be declining and endangered. Instead they’re thriving. And the cosmologists, who already are muttering to themselves about their inability to find the dark matter that makes up 75 percent of the universe, are now reporting that the universe seems to be missing 75 percent of the light that should be here. Dadgummit.
I don’t hold it against them that science is a moving target. I only hold it against them when they overplay their presumptuous, unproven speculations. But I’ve been doing that for a long long time. Here’s a column from Shuteye Nation coming up on 15 years old.
April 17, 2000
The Television Connoisseur
“Dozing with Dinosaurs” was magnificent educational television.
Those of you who watch for my column know that it is a rara avis. I write only when I am moved by quality of the sort infrequently aspired to by television producers. Thus, it has been some months since I put pen to paper for the Times. The last time I felt tempted, indeed, was in March, when the Evolution Channel mounted its two-hour special called “Excising the Mammoth.” On that occasion, I was profoundly impressed by the overall integrity of the production. Lesser lights might have pandered to the audience by insisting that the attending scientists remove the ice and reveal the actual carcass of the animal. Instead, we were privileged to receive a television treat—two hours of closeup footage of heavily accented Siburians chipping away at an iceberg and the formless shadow it contained.
In the final analysis I demurred, however, because in the closing moments of the special a certain amount of ‘show biz’ did regrettably intrude. I found the reattachment of the amputated tusks mawkish and sentimental. Too, I was repelled by the artifices employed to imbue the transportation of the icebound mammal with suspense—the melodramatic music, the jump cuts intended to suggest that the helicopter might not be able to carry the load, et cetera. Taken together, the lapses culminated in failure to meet my standards.
In a word, I am a stern critic. That is why I am so pleased to be able to tender a fully glowing review of the Evolution Channel’s most recent effort, an epic film bearing the title “Dozing with Dinosaurs.” From first to last, it was magnificent.
I had not anticipated the broadcast with much enthusiasm. Promotional pieces promised an application of high technology to the project which inevitably suggested Hollywood-style exploitation of the topic with computer graphics and other sensational special effects. I was expecting ersatz drama, stage-managed excitement, a determined effort to provoke and retain my interest.
Happily I now confess that I was wrong. “Dozing with Dinosaurs” dared to be true to its subject. For three hours that could have been three years, we saw the life of dinosaurs the way it must have been in reality—dull, repetitive, and featureless. There was plenty of hunting and eating, lumbering and scurrying, hatching and dying, but it simply did not matter. There is nothing to like about dinosaurs. They had no personalities, no engaging qualities. And to their immense credit, the producers did not attempt to suggest otherwise.
I am, of course, untrained as a scientist, and I cannot offer a technical critique of the information provided about the extinct species to which we were exposed in the show. For example, I am ignorant of the means by which the scientists deduced the timbre of baby Raptor chirps, the choreography of brontosaur mating dances, the trans-Alantic flight patterns of pterosaurs, or the ocular architecture of Tyrannosaurus Rex. Nevertheless, I feel I can vouch for the meticulous scientific accuracy of the film for two reasons. First, the scientists kept explaining how much they knew about dinosaurs, and second, if they had been making up their information, it would—at least occasionally—have verged on the interesting.
I make this point only because certain other critics of my acquaintance have expressed a certain dubiousness about what they call the “all-knowing manner” of the scientists interviewed on camera. These critics suggest that if the science of living animals is unable to answer major questions about the lives of sharks, anacondas, and homing pigeons, then paleontologists are perhaps presumptuous in deciding that dinosaurs can be satisfactorily summed up as whale-sized chickens.
My rebuttal, as I have already stated, is esthetic rather than scientific, but it is none the less certain for that. If “Dozing with Dinosaurs” is in any respect the product of imagination, that imagination is scarcely a human one. No fantasy of the human mind could manage to be as devoid of charm, beauty, creativity, and appeal as the wurld of dinosaurs captured on film by the Evolution Channel. It is indeed a masterpiece of public television.
To my list of living animals that are still mysterious to contemporary zoologists I might have added (and know I did somewhere I can’t locate) the oh so familiar white tailed deer, which many of us try hard to keep from killing us or themselves on the nation’s roads.
Why I am taking this opportunity to recommend two documentaries which show the difficulty of “figuring out” what science is chartered with finding out: what strict, objective observation can tell us about the facts of the matter. And what remains stubbornly elusive nonetheless.
The first is the documentary about white tailed deer above. For everyone who lives near farms or in the suburbs, the information provided is relatively new and hopefully helpful in your own private lives. Guaranteed, the list of stuff you don’t know about them is long and fascinating. Most importantly, they really want to live right next to us. Human development of landscapes has propelled them to a 30-fold increase in population within a century. We’re not in their way so much as they, arguably, are increasingly in our way. Watch and learn. We can work this out.
The second is a sadder piece, about a species far less successful, even though it should be an inspiring example of inter-species communication and bonding.
Science is founded on observation. But not everything can be measured. For you quant types, that’s where alarm bells should start going off on the validity of your certainties.
In the end, though, they are both mysteries. A lesson in humility we should find both thought provoking and, well, inspiring.
I identified her online inside of 20 minutes. She’s real. As these things go. btw at Netflix you can get an English translation. If you don’t know Norwegian.
Not like it’s some kind of spouse abuse. We’ve been watching Scandinavian movies and TV series for quite a while now. We like the intellect behind the writing we see, but we’re also baffled by the people being depicted. There’s a lassitude, a dense unwillingness to engage with critical situations and dangerous people that we just don’t recognize. Don’t mean to be abstract. The Scandinavians tend to just sit there when the shit is hitting the fan. Or they go slow in coming to the rescue when rescue is urgently, desperately needed. Even their heroes are always late, plodding, and diffident in the face of impending catastrophe.
Except for Annika Bengzton (pardon the awful French dubbing in this clip), whose show turned us on to all the other Scandinavians. My wife liked The Eagle, which I couldn’t watch because it was so dense and slow and complicated. But we both liked Lilyhammer, an American take on the difference between passive stupidity and action oriented stupidity (the former Norwegian, the latter American). And we soldiered on through Wallander (not the BBC version) together, perhaps for different reasons. She liked the stories. I liked the fact that he hated everyone without ever showing it openly. The last Viking. Gone a’glimmering. I guess it’s fair to say we endured the native language version of the Dragon Tattoo trilogy because we had grown used to Scandinavian inability to recognize emergency and had learned to wait for what they peculiarly conceive of as justice. Which might or might not just happen.
Then I found this one, a maybe horror movie though not really. It put the Scandinavian detachment front and center, to such an extreme that one of the protagonists says barely a hundred words in the whole picture.
There’s a perfect scene which exemplifies everything we grate our teeth about in Scandinavian films. The silent guy, with excellent contextual rationale, tells his partner, “Don’t touch ANYTHING.” Whereupon he leaves the room and his partner immediately starts fiddling with the knobs of a radio set, repeatedly, obsessively, irrationally. There is never any penalty for this kind of disconnect in a Scandinavian movie. Apparently, no one ever expects anyone to pay attention to anything he says. When the bad thing happens there is never an “I told you so” moment. There is only silence.
Inert silence is the Scandinavian default. They’re done in by the modern condition, too many generations of Ingemar Bergman movies and plays by Ibsen and Strindberg.
Except that there’s something underneath all that, a damaged, maybe even amputated, vitality.
Indeed, amputation is a big part of The movie Thale. But for once we’re not subjugated by the Nordic welfare state, even though it rears its head in the most frightening possible way in the climax of the film. Instead, we are returned to the mythic past of a Norway that just barely exists anymore. Whence the Vikings? Whence the Norse passion? Here. On a shoestring budget. The detached are reattached. The past consumes the present. The old ways win.
Yeah. She liked it too.
I actually remember being 13. Does that make me special?
All right. I admit this is a diversion. Since I posted the previous post, large white cars have been driving by the house. They have drilled, stainless steel hubcaps and driver side spotlights. I think the men inside are wearing cheap black suits. So it seems like a good idea to put something else up as the first thing people see. Maybe, if I’m dumb enough, they’ll overlook what I wrote a bit ago.
I told my wife that now I’m well into my sixties I’ve become obsessed with sex. She thinks that’s okay. But there’s no telling what turn it will take. Because I’m old and perverse and far less energetic than Tiger Woods. Why I started pondering History/Discovery/Nat-Geo channel documentaries about Neanderthals.
They’re all obsessed with the same thing these days. DNA. Is there any chance Neanderthals disappeared only because they converged with Cro-Magnons? Or did they just die off because they weren’t smart enough to keep up?
Yeah. I keep watching. But all the shows are about DNA, whether you can get it from bones or Neanderthal teeth, and if you get a positive cross pollination result is it contamination? Would early homo sapiens have had incentive to breed with big clumsy Neanderthals, and if so, why and how? Or is any sign of DNA combination, well, contamination? And why do I keep watching these silly shows that always end with the narrator intoning, “It’s a mystery.”
I have some answers. Now that I’m well into my sixties.
You see, those of us who are that old and had virtuous parents did not have a supply of Playboy magazines to raid in Dad’s bottom drawer. Our whole knowledge of female anatomy came from yellowing copies of the National Geographic. Being from a highly educated, thoroughly Episcopalian, and ridiculously naive WASP clan, I discovered that my sainted grandparents had a 30 year collection of the National Geographic magazine stored in the attic. Eureka!
They have breasts on the Amazon River. They have breasts and buttocks in the Ubangi tribe of Africa. And the Neanderthals have all of that and pubic hair too.
There was no sex education in those days. You took it where you could get it. I must concede that my mother was a Mickey Spillane fan, and I learned a lot by borrowing the paperbacks hidden under the towels on the bathroom shelf. (A lot.) Also, we had huge color-plate editions of the masterpieces on display at the Uffizi Gallery, the Louvre, and did I mention the Uffizi Gallery? Who else do you know whose first intense moment of pleasure was watching Hera create the Milky Way, never mind how. (She was naked when she did it if that helps.)
But National Geographic was always the nuts and bolts of female anatomy. The way they really looked. Which was wonderful.
The photographs were great, though mostly black and white. You want more. Which is where the artists’ renditions of cave women came into play. Don’t know who those artists were, but they captured the ultimate attraction of wild women. They don’t know, don’t care, aren’t concerned at all about being stark naked.
As I said. Funny. The anthropologists can wonder all they want. Truth is, of COURSE Cro-Magnons would have mated with Neanderthal women. Everyone from 13 to 18 would have taken the plunge without a second thought. Probably the older guys too.
Solving the question of whether or not there’s Neanderthal DNA in homo sapiens. Of course there is. Have you ever been to a mall? A mall in Kentucky?
Sorry. Cheap joke. I see Neanderthals at the Christiana Mall outside Wilmington, DE, and Cherry Hill, NJ, too.
There’s also this movie. About a guy from my home state.
I rest my case. Do you get the funny? The academics could have saved themselves years of research and hundreds of hours of documentaries. But that would be against their Cro-Magnon nature. They’re so sapiens.
Cars still driving by… If you don’t hear from me in a few days, do NOT call 911. Wouldn’t be good for your health.
P.S. Okay. Since one of my oldest friends insisted, here’s a link to my first erotic experience ever. Full disclosure: I was 11, which makes it 50 years ago almost exactly. Why I indulge a single time in TMI. Meanwhile, my wife is telling me to watch out for descending ladders from helicopters. Just so we’re keeping everything in perspective here.
It’s obvious. So obvious that it’s taken a supreme act of will on almost everybody’s part to deny it. The only problem is, the racism in play isn’t white racism against blacks. It’s black racism against blacks.
A couple uncomfortable facts. White people don’t think about race all the time or even a lot of the time. People tended to believe Barack Obama’s line about ushering in a new post-racial age. Why they elected him president.
The people who think about race all the time are black people. And, sadly, what they think about race is deeply unhealthy. Not all, but many, have a profound inferiority complex. A feeling that people are pointing at them and laughing, or despising, or hating.
Which is a syndrome that distorts all communications, perspectives, and policies. Obama’s biracial status was supposed to free us from this particular hobgoblin. But people forgot that the most fanatical adherents to any faith are not those born into it but the converts.
Everything about this administration has been about race. Everyone who opposes any policy is indicted specifically or by implication as a racist. Eric Holder has run the Department of Justice as Reconstruction Part 2, an in your face dare-you-to-say-anything program of favoring everything black over everything not. Meanwhile, the president and his wife have done everything possible — almost to the point of parody — to fulfill every old-time white stereotype of black people. As if this isn’t a presidency at all but an eight year show of performance art.
Consider the evidence. The president is lazy, an inveterate liar, a man evidently more interested in basketball brackets than intelligence briefings, a coward, an anti-Semite, a go home early paranoid whiner. His wife is the ultimate nouveau riche freeloader, prancing through Paris on the taxpayer’s dime without the slightest hint of humility. Both of them bask in the borrowed glow of celebrity and exhibit absolutely no shame in doing so.
In fact, they are laughing. Because nobody has the nerve to call them on their outrageous behavior. Everything they do proclaims that they know they are the Affirmative Action administration, which means they have no real responsibilities other than to put their feet up on the desk in the Oval Office and jeer at their impotent opponents.
I urge you all to watch the video above. At its core it’s about the black racism against blacks I mentioned. It’s worth noting that with the sole exception of Obama’s trophy wife Michelle, the president’s black officials are light-skinned. Obama himself. Eric Holder. Valerie Jarrett. He’s friendly with Colin Powell. With dark girl Condoleeza Rice not at all. He can’t be bothered to discipline Harry Reid for calling the SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision a travesty perpetrated by “five white men,” even though one of those white men is the very black Clarence Thomas.
No wonder the rumor mill has it that Michelle is fed up with him and wants a divorce. (I get to see National Enquirer headlines every time I go to the RiteAid.)
Is there a contradiction in here somewhere? Yes. Of course. Obama wants to use his blackness as an excuse for being a corrupt and inattentive president. Does he care about black people? Only insofar as he needs their continuing, unearned 84 percent approval rating, which prevents him from plummeting into the twenties, where he belongs. But in the cold light of day it’s evident he has nothing but contempt for the plight of black Americans. His policies have pushed their unemployment rate to historic highs, and he pursues an immigration policy that will leave another whole generation of African-Americans in the economic dustbin. He’s the worst president black people could ever have had.
It’s called having your cake and eating it too. He gets all the PC protections of being black. All the adulation and hysterical defensiveness. He has a one size fits all response to every criticism: you’re a racist. Minions like Holder actually believe it. And at the same time, he maintains a racist distance from the dark-skinned population he has manipulated as brutally and systematically as Bernie Madoff bilked his clients.
This is the biggest, longest running joke in the history of global politics. Try, try, try not to vomit when Obama turns his back on all the scandals and all the terrible human costs of the current border crisis he deliberately created and jets off to Martha’s Vineyard a month from now for a $12 million, 16-day vacation of the lily whitest variety.
N.B. Some of the “dark girls” specifically exempted white men from the charge of “colorism.” I think your own experience will bear that out. I am notoriously good at finding exactly what I want on the Internet, but the most galling failure — the one that sticks in my mind as prime example — is my search for a young black actress in a CSI episode about some high school murder. She was one of the most beautiful girls I have ever laid eyes on, and she was definitely the blackest. The contrast made her eyes utterly bewitching. They killed her off early on and I can’t find her. See, I’m mostly immune these days to Hollywood’s idea of pretty young things. But I like to have someone to root for. To give you some idea, she was much blacker than Grace Jones (always had a thing for her), and I have a feeling she may be a descendant of the Nuba tribe memorialized by the pariah Leni Riefenstahl.
OK. I’ll shut up now.
Pretty funny. Global something.
Autumnlike Chill to Expand From Midwest to South, East
By Alex Sosnowski
Weather across the North Central region is discussed in the above AccuWeather.com video.
A summertime version of the polar vortex will continue to set record low temperatures in the Plains and Midwest this week. Cool air will also reach into the South and Appalachians.
The air will feel refreshing to some people but downright chilly and autumnlike to others.
According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Steve Travis, “Many residents and visitors will be toting jackets and long sleeves.”
Rather than days of hazy sunshine and high humidity, typical of mid-July, many areas will experience a deep blue sky, at times, low humidity and a cool breeze.
Made me think of a new term based on all the old tired ones: Global Cool.
Don’t get it? Try it out.
Which reminded me, Al Gore can’t sing or wear a hat and look cool. And Sinatra would never drive a Prius. Youse can take dat to da bank, fella.
One of the reasons I like Jonah Goldberg so much is that he is evidently, like me, a whorishly promiscuous reader. He’s as likely to cite Godzilla as Savonarola in his essays. So. I know who Archie is. I’ve read the comic books. But this was a shocker.
On July 16, comic character Archie Andrews, of Life With Archie, will die after being shot while protecting gay friend Kevin Keller.
Keller is “Archie Comics’ first openly gay character.”
According to the Associated Press, Keller is “a married military veteran and newly elected senator who’s pushing for more gun control in Riverdale after his husband was involved in a shooting.”
Archie Comics’ publisher and co-CEO Jon Goldwater said the way in which Archie will die was carefully chosen. While he could have been killed saving “Betty” or saving “Veronica,” doing so for Keller was something “that would really resonate with the world.”
Resonate? Hardly. Archie isn’t even dead. Apparently the publishers put Archie into parallel universes some time ago. In one universe he marries Betty. In another he marries Veronica. In this particular gay/gun control universe, he dies. He’s a comic book character. Nothing he does matters or lasts. It’s called having your cake and eating it too, and having the additional frisson of cramming the same cake down the throats of those who are foolish enough to keep buying sophomoric crap.
It’s a perfect example of progressive propaganda. A straw man argument made not even of real straw but virtual straw, with no accountability, consequences, or credibility.
Hence my title Comic Book Intelligentsia. A persistent subtext of Jonah Goldberg’s writings is that we are all defined by the cultural sources we experienced in youth. I tend to think of it in terms of a massive map that encompasses all possible sources. My particular trick is that I actually can imagine that map and locate anyone in it. Each individual has a zero point, his first major cultural influence. Based on curiosity or its opposite, that individual has a unique spread pattern originating from the zero point. The shape of that spread, including its gaps, leaps, and ultimate extent, suffices to define the mind of the person.
Why I like Jonah. His map is very different from mine but probably every bit as extensive. If we color-coded it, his Goucher blue consciousness spans an area similar in scope to my Buckeye scarlet one. We’ve both dabbled in everything. I may scorn his gloppy Star Wars smear of utilitarian metaphors, but I have dabbled enough to know whereof he speaks. I get his references and I know they are never entirely out of context. There is always a relationship that leads back to the zero point.
The thing is, I’ve made a lifelong study of what people think they know and how they think they know it. Most of them don’t know much. And what they think they know is almost always wrong or sheer fantasy, based on a handful of sources they’ve never done squat to extend. Even people who boast of their IQs and glittering educational credentials. Their minds may be sharp, but they’re terrifyingly small.
Think of all the guys you know who keep returning to The Godfather as an operating manual. All the libertarians who default constantly to Atlas Shrugged. All the women who make a kind of religion out of Disney or Gone With the Wind. On our map, they are just pitiful little clumpy blobs.
Why the current Hollywood fad of comic book inspired blockbusters is so concerning. Everyone wants to be a superhero. They have an image of themselves in their mind’s eye that gives them superior capability and virtual tights. It’s their tiny visualization of what freedom might be. But all it is is a narcissistic kicking over of the traces. They are not bound by any societal convention. They are just better than the rest of us. Somehow. Someway.
Good is defined as what they think, what they do, what they proclaim. There is no test of good beyond pronouncements and posturing.
Saddest of all, thanks to the educational collapse of our great nation, we have a generation of people in charge, with degrees from all the most prestigious schools, whose zero point is, well, comic books, Star Wars movies, and zombie fantasies.
They sneer at The Bible, though they’ve never read it. They couldn’t read a page of Shakespeare out loud without stumbling into silence over the vocabulary. They couldn’t identify, with a gun to their heads, the difference between a Bach fugue and a Mozart symphony. To them the universe is a melange of Grand Theft Auto, the Sopranos, and 50 Shades of Gray.
But don’t hold yourselves immune. We all have a zero point and the map, the really big map, is huge. If the Bible is your only source, you are a prisoner. If you think the Seinfeld Show is the best thing ever to appear on television, you are a prisoner.
Over the years, people have asked me to name the ten best of this and that — novels, poems, movies, songs, etc. I’m just now realizing, this late in life, that the right answer to such questions is ALL OF THEM.
I have chosen to spend my life as a sponge. So deliberately that I’ve even developed strategies for exposing myself to the most possible sources. Which includes all the comics from Spider-Man to Green Arrow, Tom Swift novels, Nancy Drew, Andy Warhol, Gregorian Chant, The Clash, quantum physics, the Seth Material, Picasso, Chaos and Complexity Theory, Information Theory, Enfield motorcycles, Stephen Hawking, Rimbaud and Eminem, Peyton Manning, greyhounds and deerhounds, Steven Jay Gould, Ayn Rand, Karl Marx, the Lipizzaner stallions, Max Shulman, Carter Thermo-Quad carburetors, Jimmy Stewart movies, Cynewulf and Dickens and Fitzgerald, Mike Schmidt, and sex and sex and sex, Shidooby.
Everything is everything. It doesn’t dissolve into meaningless nothing there-ness. It comes finally to make lovely sense. As long as you can spread yourself far enough across the big map.
What I’m struggling with right now. Leonardo, far beyond my poor powers, became nearly catatonic in old age. There was no one left to talk to. I feel like I’m the only one here who is talking. And so I become ever more reclusive.
Call me Archie. Watch me bleed out in a cartoon. I’m not complaining or feeling sorry for myself. I’m content with being alone if no one has a good question to ask. By most measures, I’ve already outlived my creative period. The time left to me is an unexpected bonus.
I picked Veronica btw. She was hot.
In 2011, GQ did a top ten list of the worst fans in America. The top two spots they assigned to Philadelphia, calling out both Eagles and Phillies fans.
The Meanest Fans in America
Over the years, Philadelphia fans have booed Santa Claus as well as their own star players. They’ve even booed a guy who just helped the city win a friggin’ World Series title—while he was getting his ring. Boooo! Admittedly, there are some things fans have cheered. Like Michael Irvin’s career-ending neck injury and a fan being tased on the outfield grass. Things reached their nadir last season, when Citizens Bank Park played host to arguably the most heinous incident in the history of sports: A drunken fan intentionally vomited on an 11-year-old girl. The truth is this: All told, Philadelphia stadiums house the most monstrous collection of humanity outside of the federal penal system. “Some of these people would boo the crack in the Liberty Bell,” baseball legend Pete Rose once said. More likely, these savages would have thrown the battery that cracked it.
You must know this is true. Every ESPN announcer repeats the refrain at every opportunity, usually with a knowing smirk. It’s sports gospel. So true it’s possible to reaffirm with a mere wink.
I’m thinking of it now because my birthday present from my wife was a trip to Citizens Bank Park to see the struggling Phillies, now 11 games under .500 heading into the All Star break. The Phillies were playing the Washington Nationals, whose roster includes Jason Werth, the player cited above who was booed when he got his World Series ring.
He got booed again Saturday night. My wife was sitting on my left. She booed loud and long. The man on my right cheered. The second time he did it, I exchanged words with him. I reminded him that Jason Werth was beloved in Philadelphia, that he left for a $30 million contract, and has done little to earn the money since. “It’s a business,” the guy said. “It isn’t all business,” I said. “I watched Mike Schmidt, the greatest 3rd baseman in history, play his whole career in a stadium that compared to this one was a back alley asphalt basketball court. He could have left. But he was a Phillie.” The guy looked at me. “I did too,” he said. Which was demonstrably a lie. He was at least 10 years younger than me, probably more, meaning Schmidt’s career was mostly history to him, and he was wearing bright white sneakers, the ineradicable stamp of the eternal 9 year old. “Like Jimmy Rollins,” he added. No. Not like Jimmy Rollins. Who is milking a fat contract and doing absolutely nothing to earn it.
I didn’t mention that. I told my wife only later about the exchange with my seat mate on the right. She said, “I didn’t boo about the $30 million. I booed because he trashed Philadelphia fans the first time they asked. Because he thought it would endear him to Washington fans.” You see, Phillies fans routinely come close to outnumbering Nationals fans at Washington home games. They’ve even gone so far as to refuse to sell Nationals tickets to Philly zip codes. Because we’re such awful fans.
Why are we so awful? We boo. We don’t throw batteries at players. That would be a New York thing. We don’t beat opponent fans into a coma in the parking lot. That would be a San Francisco thing (“arguably, the most heinous incident in the history of sports”?!!) We just boo when we don’t approve of what’s going on.
[Vomiting happens at every stadium when people have enough cash to get drunk on $8-12 beers. Einstein is dead. No one can explain this particular mystery of the universe. But it’s hardly confined to Philadelphia. Maybe GQ never sat in the bleachers of Fenwick Park. : ). Tasing is fun btw. And Michael Ervin trashed Philly plenty before he flopped in that game. Get a grip.]
And actually we’re slow to boo, though we all know exactly what’s going on. A couple minutes after right seat guy dared to compare Jimmy Rollins to Mike Schmidt, Rollins executed a swinging bunt that died at the plate and the ump called it fair. The catcher was caught off guard and groped for the ball. Rollins made no attempt whatever to run toward first base. The silence in the park was sepulchral. I heard a sharp intake of breath from right seat guy. He only expressed himself verbally when the next batter, Chase Utley, manfully tried and failed to beat out a grounder at top speed on his aged legs. “Way to run it out,” he said.
The next time Werth came to the plate he didn’t cheer.
The next time Rollins came to the plate, no one booed. Except in our hearts.
See, Philadelphia fans know their sports and they care, care, care about them.
The Phillies have no chance this year. They suck. But on Saturday night the park was nearly full. They’re our team. We love them. No team in professional sports has ever lost more games than the Philadelphia Phillies. Fact. But they’re our team. And we support them.
But all we hear about is booing Santa Claus. Which happened 48 years ago. Any Philadelphian under the age of 60 couldn’t possibly have consciously participated in this sacrilege. The booed Santa was a skinny, drunk, unofficial fella who phinagled his way onto the sidelines and got booed for a bad act. That makes us permanently, inveterately mean?
Really? Why is a bad Santa half a century ago more significant than the present reality of, arguably, the best mascot in professional sports? (Hockey doesn’t count and the San Diego Chicken is just plain lewd; explain his act to your kids.)
Some PR hack a few years back decided to expiate the ancient sin by bringing Santa to another Eagles game. He got booed. We don’t like being patronized or played for fools. We boo when we detect fraud, lack of effort, lack of sports sense. And we don’t kill people in the parking lot.
For the record, our experience at the game was outstanding. Beautiful facility. Everyone polite. At the 200 level where we were, I didn’t hear a single shouted obscenity.
I ask you, not rhetorically, when’s the last time you went to a sporting event and didn’t hear the F-word? When? I can’t even say that about an Ivy League football game.
But Philly fans are brutish Neanderthals, right? Unless they aren’t.
Twice in the last couple of days I’ve encountered the void in American self knowledge represented by Edgar Allan Poe.
Thought I’d share. Very very briefly. First, a Brit or PBS documentary on Sherlock Holmes, subtitled “How He Changed the World.” Mostly true except for leaving out the part about how the first fictional detective who functioned by reasoning rather than beatings was omitted entirely. There was no mention of the predecessor who beat Holmes into print by 40 years. His name was C. Auguste Dupin.
Second, I saw a documentary derived from Museum Secrets called Church Secrets or some such. All about eerie happenings surrounding the death and burial of Edgar Allan Poe. Interesting enough except for the glib summary of Poe’s career as a writer of horror stories. Even the iconic poem The Raven was used as an example of a horror tale.
So I’m calling foul. Here’s a link to a post I did long ago at the original Instapunk. Please read it and take all the links, many of which still work.
If you won’t do it for intellectual curiosity, do it as a birthday present to me. I added another candle to the cake last week. Which I’ve now done 21 more times than Poe had a chance to do. Although I’m convinced my funeral will be just as well attended as his.
Not complaining. I DO know my place. Why I bow today to a master who, were it not for bad luck, would have had no luck at all.