Friday, August 26, 2016

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.



I like their sound. h/t @sethdmichaels


•  There can be none more Rod Dreher: Apparently Clay Higgins, a rightwing Baton Rouge character currently running for Congress  ("Looking to be a 'loud, angry voice' in Washington, D.C.," per The Advertiser), wanted to go into Red Cross centers where flood refugees were staying and conduct prayer meetings; Red Cross politely declined, and explained themselves thus:
Is it true that the Red Cross doesn’t allow people to pray in shelters? 
We have been so moved by the outpouring of care and kindness we’ve witnessed among Louisiana residents. At the Red Cross, our priority is also providing comfort to all that reside at our shelters. We recognize and are sensitive to the fact that hundreds of people from different backgrounds are often sharing a large space with limited privacy. It is of the utmost importance that we respect people’s individual needs, backgrounds and beliefs in accordance with our Fundamental Principles, which state that we bring assistance without discrimination as to nationality, race, religious beliefs, class or political opinion. With this in mind, and for the privacy of our shelter residents, we do have policies in place on who can enter shelters to ensure that people have a private, secure place to stay as much as possible. Please know people in the shelters are also welcome to pray and gather among themselves.
Dreher quotes these very words, and responds:
So much for the “Cross” in Red Cross. No wonder south Louisiana people are pissed off at them.
Elsewhere at his blog -- check the caption:


Maybe his whole Benedict Option off-the-grid malarkey will in the long run be a blessing to us all.

•  I see people are debating the efficacy of Hillary Clinton's alt-right speech. I of course am fully on board -- she's adopted my method! I've been telling the world about the very large racist component of conservatism for years, starting from back before they had a fancy "alt" name for themselves. I've also told people how they take small stories like the "knockout game" and inflate them into harbingers of race war, and how more mainstream wingnuts promote such loony ideas as a hi-sign to the neo-Confederates in the back room. I have been vilified for it by VDare and other such like, which is just gravy -- I really do it for the Moscow Gold, and also because I think it's  important that we cut the crap and acknowledge where all their crocodile-tear hurts-me-more-than-it-does-you social welfare and policing policy ideas really come from. Hillary's not all the way there, of course -- her husband was a big part of the bullshit, after all -- but I'm for anything that pushes the ball along.

•  Speaking of the alt-right, D.C. McAllister of The Federalist tells us "It’s important, therefore, to step back and analyze exactly what the truth is about race in today’s politics," and the truth is that conservatives aren't the racists liberals say they are -- in fact, liberals summon racism (or something that looks very much like it) by invoking its name:
Those accusations increased so dramatically during the Obama presidency that I would also add it has created an emotional backlash that has caused many Americans to develop negative feelings toward minority groups. We are seeing much of this negativity expressed in politics today. It is important to understand this development in the right context. It doesn’t stem from white supremacism, but frustration born of racial identity politics...

Polls that show Trump supporters having negative feelings toward minorities reflect this backlash. Unfortunately, too many conservatives have misinterpreted such polling, using those errant interpretations to promote the false narrative that Trump supporters on the whole are racist, when they’re actually reacting to the charge of covert racism and to racial identity politics.
When you accuse someone of racism, how else is he supposed to react but with racial slurs? But that isn't the half of it -- apparently, in addition to making these poor people look racist, liberals are also behind the recent murders of cops, and are coming for Rush Limbaugh and D.C. McAllister next:
Today, the violence is directed against police. Tomorrow, other stigmatized groups will be targeted. The question is, what is all this leading to? What’s the endgame? What happens when you stigmatize a group, negate it, make it powerless, and then blame it for all your struggles? They must be annihilated. 
Boy, I remember when they used to call us sissies -- now we're storm troopers! Well, you live long enough, you get to see all kinds of weird shit. Anyway, on to McAllister's solution:
For conservatives to successfully de-stigmatize their identity, they must do something that is not happening right now. They must unite with all stigmatized out-groups. Everyone who opposes the Left has been labeled by the same brand. To fight back, they must unite, overcoming differences to face a common enemy.
Alas, McAllister doesn't say who those other out-groups are. Maybe it includes people who hate gay people -- excuse me, people who are made to look as if they hate gay people. OK, but what other liberal stigmatees are there? Billionaires who want even more tax breaks? Pretty sure they're already with the conservatives. Oil and gas executives? Ditto. I suppose the real play here is to convince white working class people in general that liberals are denigrating them -- Obama said that bitter-clinger thing once! -- but that'll be stretch, since conservatives are these days busy telling those folks their problems are nobody's fault but their own. You know, it's too bad no one in that movement knows anything about community organizing.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

BEARING WESTBORO.

I know, fellas, he's in here a lot, but once more, David French:
Debunking the ‘Born This Way’ Myth
It about time someone smacked down that Lady Gaga or Googoo or whatever she's called!
A new study challenges progressives’ tall tales about sexuality. 
Here is the world according to the LGBT Left: Just as there are black and white, there are gay and straight. One’s sexual orientation, like one’s race, is fixed and immutable at birth. The process of “questioning” one’s orientation isn’t a process of deciding but of discovering...
Cut to the chase: Libtards think gay people have to be gay, and there's such a thing as "transgender," and they call it "science": "This, you see, is science. Anyone who contradicts it...isn’t just ignorant, but bigoted," says French, echoing his passive-aggressive "denying that science not only makes you a Neanderthal, it makes you a bigot" shtick from the previous week. Liberals are always using science against the godly, and it's so unfair, because they also have "the academy, pop culture, progressive corporate America, and, lately, the Supreme Court" on their side. What a bunch of bullies!

Well, this time David French will show them some science: Behold, a study, from The New Atlantis, a wingnut "journal of science and technology" which is not peer-reviewed (indeed, is against peer review as a concept), but whose authors have gone through a bunch of papers and found that gays can be straightened and a good thing too because being gay makes you sick. Q.E.D., faggots!

There's a little pantomime of nuance ("Human sexuality is not so neatly and cleanly divided and determined") to give readers who are unfamiliar with French's shtick the impression that it's really the homosexualists who are rigid and inflexible -- but inevitably French can't keep it up, and he returns to the Old Rugged Crock of theocratic certainties:
Here’s ["the Left's"] vision, in a nutshell: Consenting adults should be able to do what they want with their bodies, and the resulting physical or emotional harm is either reasonably tolerable or can be alleviated through a combination of government programs and public re-education.
It may sound like freedom to you sodomites, but it ends in re-education! See, it's right there at the end of the paragraph. Be grateful French didn't put "the Holocaust" instead -- Jesus put him in a generous mood!
The Judeo-Christian model, by contrast, is aspirational, calling on people not to do what they want, but what they should.
And the reason they should is something something hey where's everybody going.
Admittedly, this path is far easier for some than others...
Some of you men do not love the cilice. Weaklings!
...but there has always been some play in the cultural joints.
???
The Left’s response is alluring, but it offers a self-indulgent path down which lies cultural ruin. The LGBT Left is driving us there just as fast as it can depress the gas pedal, but thanks to [study authors] McHugh and Mayer, we now know they most assuredly are not doing so in the name of “science.”
I have to ask: What is this intended to achieve?  No one who isn't already standing on a pillar with maggots in his legs, or aspiring to pretend to do so, will find the proposition attractive as French puts it. This is strictly "the heathens will be sorry" material. All I can figure is, the idea is to keep the Saving Remnant seething with resentment at the unbelief of the unbelievers so that, if an opportunity arises (such as global conflagration, fantasies of which wingnut grifters like to use to shake down suckers, and which French might just be crazy enough to believe in), they'll be juiced and ready to fan out and effect the gay-straightening themselves, with pliers and pruning hooks.

Again, remember that in addition to being a National Review writer, the man was considered by Bill Kristol and other prominent morons to be Presidential timber. And they wonder why the whole rotten enterprise was vulnerable to Trump!

Monday, August 22, 2016

THE COMEBACK KID.

As I noticed some months back, Jonah Goldberg has been off his feed lately -- shoved off it, I assumed, by the goons and musclemen of Trump Inc. who took over his beautiful conservative Playland. But today he's showing some of the old stuff. His topic is Trump's transparent and offensive pretense of a play for black and Hispanic voters.  (Relevant quote: "You'll be able to walk down the street without getting shot. Right now, you walk down the street, you get shot. Look at the statistics.")

For a second, Goldberg actually seems to see what the rest of us see:
The conventional wisdom is that Trump isn’t trying to reach out to African-American voters. Rather, he’s trying to signal to moderate and suburban whites, particularly women, that he’s not the racist some have painted him to be.
But then:
I think the conventional wisdom is right, though it wouldn’t surprise me if Trump himself thinks his pitch his sincere.
What? What makes you think --
I would also note that I think the strategy is very Kellyanne Conway, but the words sound more like Roger Stone and Steve Bannon.
?? So... he's sincere about mouthing the script of his latest campaign advisors?
Shouting at blacks that they all live in poverty is not exactly a nuanced or persuasive way to go. It’s more like a guy losing his temper in a bar argument.
Oh, so that's why you think it's sincere. But then why did you --
But at the general level, some people seem to think it is a terribly cynical thing for Trump to reach out to whites by making an overture to blacks. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but that doesn’t mean it’s not the right thing to do. Just because one has cynical motives doesn’t mean one’s actions are objectively bad. Lots of people cynically give to charity to make themselves look good to the public, that doesn’t mean charities should refuse money from anyone not of pure heart.
Keep in mind that Goldberg is comparing "shouting at blacks that they all live in poverty" to charitable donations. One may seem worse than the other, but you gotta look to motive! Similarly, when the guys from The United Way shakes their canister at Goldberg, he tells them, "HEY WHATTAYA CALL A PUERTO RICAN TEST TUBE BABY! JANITOR IN A DRUM!" and offers, as they withdraw in disgust, to explain why this was an appropriate response.
...George W. Bush campaigned with Colin Powell in 2000, not because he was under any illusions that he would pick up a big swath of the black vote, but to reassure those very same moderates and independents that Trump is after. The differences between Bush and Trump on minorities, immigration etc. are deep and wide, but the tactic was similar.
Bush only got 9% of the black vote in 2000, but he won 35% of the Hispanic vote, and in 2004 he won 44% of it. Trump will be lucky if they don't deduct votes from his totals on behalf of those communities.  You only have a couple lines left, Jonah -- play us home!


He's still got it!

UPDATE. I should add that putting quotes from rightwing columnists into Frinkiac is something I learned from @ralphdouthat.

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about the allegations that Hillary is too sick with some unidentified disease to be President. I'd been seeing shit like this for months but thought it beneath notice, like those creepy "Here's a picture of Hillary with an Ay-rab -- now here's one of Bill next to a chick with big tits!" slideshows that you find in the clickbait zones of rightblogger sites. I should have known nothing is beneath anything in this campaign; now, with Rudolph Giuliani pushing this sick-HIllary shit, I guess it's worth talking about, at least as a lesson in abnormal psychology.

Among the outtakes: At the New York Observer, a paper run by Trump’s son in law, Austin Bay complains “the media is 'flat-out' unfair,” which has been “only just discovered” by a certain prominent media reporter who “emerged (at least momentarily) from the New York-Washington-Los Angeles media jungle” to acknowledge bias against Trump. The punchline: The reporter in question is Howie Kurtz. That's right -- the reliable Fox News pushover Kurtz is Bay's Mr. Media Bias Insider! Next up: The scales fall from the eyes of Mickey Kaus! (Bay goes on for over 2,000 words, rehashing Hitlery's Greatest Hits, and closes with a series of links to his own work: “SEE ALSO: WAR ON HONESTY I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X.” C'mon, Austin, you can grift better than that -- offer them parchment editions bound in Corinthian leather!)



Thursday, August 18, 2016

TRANS DERP EXPRESS.

I hate to go to that well again but goddamn, David French is on a roll. In this case he tackles the transgender menace. Apparently a lot of kids are goin' trans nowadays -- it's "fashionable," a fad, like pop rocks and rainbow parties -- and like them incredibly dangerous!
Indeed, transgender diagnoses have become so fashionable that doctors are sometimes stampeding to prescribe life-altering drugs even to kids — and then later, when the kids grow up, recommending mutilating surgery. In other words, doctors aren’t necessarily waiting for evidence of “consistence, insistence, and persistence"
"When the kids grow up" means "when they're adults," by the way. Oddly, I haven't heard of any American parents being forced to let their kid's dick get sawed off -- please let me know if you have! -- nor even to let him or her take the initial "life-altering drugs" (I assume French means hormones, but he doesn't specify, perhaps hoping his readers will imagine an Instant Pussy Pill that alters your young'un in a puff of smoke and with a sound effect like twink).

In fact, so far all French can offer for data is a vague reference to the number of minors in the U.K. some anti-trans group says are seeking counsel for gender dysphoria, which is up hundreds of percent -- though when you trace his source you see that means it's gone from 94 to 969, out of a population of 64.1 million.

So what does he have as evidence that the Transmanian Devil is sweeping America?
Here in the United States, the evidence is more anecdotal...
Uh huh.
...but the anecdotes are disturbing. Rod Dreher...
Rod Dreher! There's the tell. You may have read some of Brother Rod's anecdotal Tales of Trans Terror, but if you know his work at all you'll know that for hysteria he outstrips even French, especially when it comes to sexual apostasy.

Now assuming, as I said, that no one is forcing this stuff on the families of the prototrans kids, what is French's beef? It's not as if people can't judge for themselves whether they want it for their kids; aren't Republicans, after all, of the party of personal responsibility? Even a whiner like French can't pretend that Ma and Pa Kettle would let their boy Jethro take pussy pills just because he saw Caitlyn Jenner on the teevee and felt unbidden feels.

It seems what's really enraging French is really that transgenderism is acknowledged and (especially) that it is acceptable among people he can't successfully marginalize. The tell is in lines like "It’s all science, you see. And denying that science not only makes you a Neanderthal, it makes you a bigot," of which the wretched thing is full.  His sputtering rage is not that something is being forced on him and his, because it isn't, as much as his desire for unearned sympathy compels him to pretend -- it's because someone else chooses it, and when he tries to bully them he finds himself unsupported, because bullying such people has gone out of style. How that must sting!

UPDATE. Early in the morning and already comments are glorious. Here for example is Big_Bad_Bad_Bastard, with an apposite reference to French's earlier obsession: "Anecdotally, the vast majority of male-to-female transpersons are millennial boys who were ashamed of their low grip strength. Now they have perfectly acceptable female boomer grip ranges."

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

BUTCH, PLEASE.

A new study shows grip strength among young people today is not as good as it was among people of their parents' generation.

Part of me interprets this to mean that the Modern Youts are sissies, not like me when I was a lad -- well, actually I was kind of a sissy, but still I was compelled by the social pressures of that get-out-the-house-kid era to perform physically demanding jobs, loading trucks and slinging hash and the like, and I bet my grip-strength then could beat the band (had I but known to have it measured so I could wave it in you young punks' faces!).

That is, as I say, how part of me interprets it, for a few seconds anyways; but, like any sensible, grown person who is still troubled by ridiculous, juvenile reactions like this, but also has matured enough to take them in stride,  I remind myself that every generation feels the succeeding generation to be degenerate and weak by comparison; and that even if I don't approve of the way modern parents raise their kids, it's their business how to raise them, not mine.

In other words, not that being a little less of an asshole than I might be is much to brag on but I'm apparently a little further along the evolutionary scale than erstwhile Presidential can'tdidate and eternal pain in the ass David French of National Review, who reads the grip-strength report thus:
If you’re the average Millennial male... You’re exactly the kind of person who in generations past had your milk money confiscated every day — who got swirlied in the middle-school bathroom... Welcome to the new, post-masculine reality
Once upon a time it was only selected sissies who got the dick-wagging locker-room treatment -- now David French will take all you millennials on! Look what a tough guy he was in high school:
I look back to my own childhood. In 1985, I was 16 years old, and I was a nerd’s nerd. I toted graph paper and 20-sided dice to school to play Dungeons & Dragons at lunch. (I like to think I was the finest dungeon master Scott County, Ky., had ever seen.) When I wasn’t playing D&D, my nose was buried in Lord of the Rings, or the Shannara books by Terry Brooks, or the Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey...
[Blink. Blink.] I'd like to give him credit for 'fessing up, but still I have to ask: if French was such a numpty as a teen, why is he barking out butchness lessons to young people now?
But none of my nerdiness relieved me of the responsibility of learning how to be a man — a protector, builder, and fixer. So that meant spending my Saturdays hauling out the ramps to change the oil and oil filters on all our cars.
Cars, plural? Look-surey!
That meant helping my dad build a new back porch or constantly wrestling with immense piles of firewood. (We heated our house with a wood stove.) I made extra money working in neighborhood yards. Being a guy meant doing manual labor...
Ah, so like many of us fossils French had chores, and after-school and summer jobs. How nice. But so what? Some generations back, kids could count on being bound to their parent's serfdom and poverty till the day they died. That was manhood then. We have progressed, and now that fate is less common in America than it was -- including for French (Harvard Law, 1994! Dungeonmaster's come a long way).

So why does it bother French so much that the new breed have it easier than he did? If you're a generous sort, you might think he's just concerned that kids today are deprived of the pleasurable experience of useful labor -- of joy in their own physical strength and a job well done. But French is a wingnut: Promoting pleasure, let alone the physical kind, is the furthest thing from his mind. He snarls, he nags, he kvetches -- never does he suggest they're anything rewarding in physical labor except the opportunity to escape his bitching about it.

You can see hints of what's really eating French when he leaves off grousing about yardwork and starts... veering in an interesting direction. For example:
In the age of zero-tolerance school-disciplinary policies — where any kind of physical confrontation is treated like a human-rights violation — [young men] have less opportunity to develop toughness. Today’s young males don’t have common touchstones for what it’s like to grow up to be a man.
The modern boy's teacher helps him get out of the locker into which, doing only as God and nature intended, bullies have stuffed him, and thus is he emasculated! Why didn't these teachers-union ballbusters let him figure out himself how to deal with bullies? Chances are he'd come out tougher -- well, actually chances are he'd come out emotionally crippled, perhaps suicidal, but at least he'd be a man! Perhaps even a Dungeonmaster! Speaking of which, later French brags that he and his D&D buddies could, despite their nerdom...
...pop the hood of a car and get to work right alongside the future mechanics of my high-school class. We weren’t as good or as knowledgeable, but we held our own. And there were no social-justice warriors shrieking that there was no such thing as distinctively male or masculine pursuits.
Social justice warriors! So that's the problem! Modern boys might be manly enough to suit French -- they might want to work on car engines -- but they're being stopped by Zoe Quinn, Sarah Silverman and their fellow SJWs, who swarm like emasculating Valkyrie over Shop Class, wrestle the boys away from their Ford Fairlanes, and make them write essays for Vox. In their pajamas!

Bottom line, French is a rightwing hack factotum, in fact a hacktotum, and this latest stray datum is only meaningful to him as an excuse to shake his fist at feminists and non-homeschool-educators -- and, mostly, at millennials, because it seems they've turned against conservatism in a big way. In other words, the butch is a bitch.  And not even the fierce kind.

UPDATE. Comments are all very funny, but if you must choose start with the dialogues invented by Pere Ubu and Andrew Johnston ("You are enjoying tankards of fine ale when two orcish barbarians who look just like those assholes who hang around on the north side of the building come up...").

Monday, August 15, 2016

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...

...about the CryptoTrumpers and their sneaky third way of promoting the GOP candidate, or at least his ideas. There are a lot of columns out there about how of course Trump is a wrongo but still you must admit [insert bullshit here] and call me cynical but this is, in most cases, an admission that you'd openly support Trump if your careerism and social anxieties weren't preventing you. Have a read and see if you don't agree.

I should mention the latest NeverTrump fantasy object that emerged last week, Ted-talking former CIA officer Evan McMullin, Presidential candidate. At National Review Josh Gelertner gamely offers a winning scenario for McMullin, which begins with “If, among swing states, Trump wins Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, and Pennsylvania…” so I didn’t read it. Kidding! Long pathetic-fantasy short, if McMullin wins Utah and neither Trump nor Clinton has enough electoral votes to clinch, the vote goes to the House, where Gelertner speculates the Republican majority would naturally vote for a nobody rather than for the nominee of their own fucking party. (As David A. Graham’s useful tally at The Atlantic shows, very few GOP Congressmen have come out against Trump.)

“Note, however: If McMullin were to run anywhere but Utah, he will tip the race to Hillary, Ross Perot–style,” closed Gelertner, “…Which means, if he does run anywhere besides Utah, he’s making it clear that he isn’t interested in winning, just in guaranteeing that Trump loses. Which would be perfidious, to say the least.” Enemies everywhere, even in their own fantasies! I hope this guy has his post-election electroshock booked -- interventional psych wards are going to be filling up their calendars quickly this year.

Friday, August 12, 2016

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Been listening to a lot of Dave Dudley lately.
This one's my favorite. Written by Mr. Tom T. Hall

• If you've been reading Rod Dreher lately, you know he's been quoting at length (everything he does is at length) letter writers who wish to remain anonymous for reasons you can only guess who claim their children and/or other people's are faking a transgender identity. Here's one who says her daughter is only pretending to be a trans boy because "she developed physically and boys and men started treating her like a piece of meat and a second class citizen" -- in which case it would seem sham trans claims are the least of their problems in whatever hick burg she's stuck in. The correspondent also quotes an anti-trans source that says there's been a "930% Rise in Child Gender Identity Referrals" in the UK; read the source and it shows that in five years such referrals rose from 94 to 969 -- out of a population of 64.1 million. The letter-writer suggests that physicians are "ready to prescribe testosterone shots and a double mastectomy despite the fact that she is a minor" but does not tell us whether the child can be given these treatments against her mother's will; I strongly suspect this vagueness is intentional. Another claimant in the same post says he was an adolescent psychotherapist but had to stop because of all the fake trans kids Big Homo was forcing him to validate:
The children are all absolutely confused, rightly terrified of being linked or in any way associated with beliefs that have been deemed toxic and contaminated – anything from the western tradition. They are desperate to rid themselves of the contagion of their own history. Being “queer” is the new salvation, it is the new blood in which the children are to be cleansed of the sins of their fathers; the youth are celebrated mightily for their embracing of any lifestyle that erodes the power of the individual to stand alone – that erodes the sacredness and sovereignty of our very humanity...
Plus they all listen to that "rap" music. It may be this fellow was actually forced to stop practicing by a state medical board or a restraining order. There's more, oh so much more, in this post and others but if you had to choose I'd say check out the one where someone who "grew up in an American expat family living in a Persian Gulf monarchy... a conservative Islamic society with strict standards and codes for sexual purity"  revisited the Gulf and found that, thanks to the "corrosive" influence of Western culture, the place had gotten all porny and gay:
At the wedding we attended, members of the village performed a very traditional dance where a group of men and a group of women congregate on opposite sides of an open space. The two sides call out responses to one another while they dance on their separate sides, and it’s virtually the only contact men and women have during the whole of the celebrations. During the dance, two young men who had grown out their hair (very unusual in this culture) participated flamboyantly on the women’s side. In a society where women and men are kept strictly separate, no one even bothered to try to prevent them from joining, because it was widely known that they were gay and wouldn’t bother females.
These young fellas should have been out decapitating infidels for ISIS, like real men! Then you get to hear Brother Rod preach about how settlers kidnapped by Native Americans in the Old West often declined to be rescued, which he does not read as desperation or Stockholm Syndrome but as a sign of some sort of spriritual superiority over the Enlightenment-sickened West. Well, I think he's got the Ghost Dance part down, anyway.