Monday, October 24, 2016


....about Trump's charges of a "rigged" election, and the brethren's defense thereof.

Among the bits I had no room to include was the libertarian perspective of Reason’s Sheldon Richman, “The Election Is Rigged, But Not as Trump Would Have Us Believe.” Some of his observations are reasonable enough, if suffused with the rarified air of the ivory tower or perhaps a distant planet where human behavior is an exotic subject ("viewers are more likely to reach for the remote when they hear about transcripts of speeches to Wall Street than when they hear 'locker-room banter' and insults"), but then Richman gets down to the real problem:
But there's another side to the "rigged election" charge that's bound to go unnoticed. The American political system, like all political systems, requires a good deal of peaceful cooperation to operate. This is obviously relevant to the transfer of power, which gets so much attention nowadays. This cooperation goes on in two respects: first, between the government and the subject population—government cannot rule purely through force because the ruled always substantially outnumber their rulers—and second, among the many individuals who constitute the government's branches, agencies, and bureaus...
On and on it goes for hundreds of words and with citations of Hobbes, Locke, and Roderick Long ("Now this of course does not mean that anarchists have achieved their goal of a society based purely on cooperation") till the merciful conclusion: "Finally, I think we can say that the elections are rigged but not as Trump would have us believe. They are rigged in the sense that the outcome is predetermined for power and against liberty. It'll take a change in ideology to change that." Well, with material like this, that's bound to come any day now.

Thursday, October 20, 2016


This is just a random ladleful of what Ace of Spades is cooking, post-debate:
Apparently there are a lot of women, including lots of women who don't call themselves liberal feminists -- MeAgain Kelly and half of the online female "conservative" commentariat, for starters -- who actually think that a woman is allowed to insult a man to the accompaniment of a witch's mocking cackle and the man is not allowed to say anything more than "I agree with you, Thee of the Superior Sex."
You can stop there if you're busy -- Mr. Spades is a volume dealer and will always have more of the same -- but those of you with time to kill may want to take in a bit more just to assure yourselves I'm not making him look bad with selective quotation:
Go fuck yourselves, women (and some men) who think this way. You're not superior and you have no special rights and privileges, and men do not have a special requirement to defer to you in all things. 
People who claim these things seem to be trying to vindicate some personal, at-home domestic issue -- "My husband is such a useless cad!" -- through their political agitation. 
You have two choices, ladies: You can either compete in the hard world, or you can keep to the soft world. You cannot go out into the hard world, and in fact employ the tactics of the hard world like insult and mockery, and then demand to be treated by the rules of the soft world.
Comment is largely superfluous, but I will remind you that Mr. Spades was doing this kind of thing way before MRA and red pill and Gamergate and all that stuff. Some of my younger, less experienced readers may think this kind of grotesque and willful sexism is a recent efflorescence in the movement, ignited by Trump, but it's really only a reassertion, one of many since women started insisting on their rights. Believe it or don't, once Mr. Spades was a bright young politically-incorrect thing, celebrated as part of the New Butchitude back in the days when Republican presidents could swagger around in a flight suit and get away with any old shit. The years have not been kind, and sometimes he reveals weariness at holding the old standard aloft, and swears he's turning over a new leaf: "I think human beings are meant to live in the three-dimensional world of air and light and breath and blood and not just reduce themselves to machines in the service of lesser machines," etc. ecch. Then some bitch gets the other bitches cackling and he has to man up again.

What I'm saying is, you may think they're on their last legs because they're so pathetic. But they've hung in longer than reason would suggest were possible; don't be surprised if President Hitlery fails to do them in. In fact, given how they've responded to Obama, I can safely say they'll insist that the first female president has destroyed man-woman relations.

Remember, just because it's stupid doesn't mean they'll stop trying to get away with it.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


The whole Trump idea of a "rigged" election is giving mainstream-esque conservatives fits. David French tries to explain to his readers that the American system is so darned robust that even a monster like Hitlery Klintoon cannot damage it -- notwithstanding that just last month he wrote "Hillary Clinton Is Even More Dishonest than You Thought" and that if she were, forbid it almighty God, elected Presient, "Americans will either be exhausted by the drama or so thoroughly hardened to dishonesty and scandal that our politics will be debased for a generation." The "exhausted by the drama" choice seemed strange to me at the time -- we'll either be tired or a lost generation! -- but I now assume French knew he'd eventually need to write, well, what he just wrote, when the election was no longer in doubt and the apocalypse had to be put back in the toy chest till next time.

A betterworse example is Allahpundit at Hot Air. He predicts, in the wake of a Trump defeat, "a splintering on the right on basic questions of the opposition’s legitimacy" -- and I can't guess what he means, since Republicans have been casting doubt on the legitimacy of Democratic Presidents since 1992; I really expect some bright boy on their team to declare that Hillary is "no man that's born of woman," so according to Shakespeare she's illegitimate. But the last paragraph pretty much shows where Allahpundit is at.
I recommend this piece by Joel Pollak of Breitbart...
Yeah I know, but bear with me:
...on the ways in which the election is, and isn’t, rigged. “Rigged” in terms of a deeply slanted media? Most definitely. “Rigged” in terms of Hillary Clinton being let off scot free after committing a felony in mishandling classified information? Absolutely, and it’s worth noting that every day. “Rigged” in terms of vote counts being manipulated next month? Ah, no. Exit question: Since when is Barack Obama a fan of manning up and taking responsibility for one’s own political problems? He’s been whining about Republican obstructionism every day for seven and a half years.
Basically his POV is that of course the election is rigged, just not the way Alex Jones and Trump think -- they're crazy, not like us sensible, mainstream, center-right conspiracy theorists. (And even in the solitude of his writing chamber he's compelled to throw sand in the eyes of an invisible adversary: Oh yeah well what about Obama he complained about things too!)

With these guys, anytime anything doesn't go their way, it's because it was rigged.

Monday, October 17, 2016


...about Trump's week of groping accusations and the brethren's damage control. A dirty job, but someone's -- actually, "a dirty job" just about covers it.

Among the outtakes:  There are some rightbloggers who can't approve of Trump but still think their fellow shitheels should elect him President. One of these, Ace of Spades, offered this literary explanation: While both Trump and Clinton are “jackals,” he said, Trump is merely “a jackal being released into a swamp full of alligators looking to devour him,” while Clinton is “a jackal being set loose in a field full of sheep with no defenses…” He further explained that the sheep in his metaphor are “any Republican or Christian unprotected by the elite power structure” and that Clinton Jackal also has “a pack of ravening jackal minions who will gladly join her in hunting and tearing apart the sheep." Close reading suggests these minion-jackals are the “political establishment of Washington DC.” But who, then, are the alligators? The establishment, again? Seems redundant. Maybe the jackals are working with the alligators, with the help of Dr. Doolittle. Spades' mysterious fable will long occupy historians, or at least forensic psychologists.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


Well, no one can say they don't know this Laureate's work. (Actually I'm sure there are some bowtied Roger Kimball motherfuckers for whom it might as well be Onyx or Kevin Gates.) But what might the Nobel Committee mean?

From the beginning (well, near the beginning -- it's strange to think that songs like "Blowin' in the Wind" and "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall" are essentially Dylan's juvenilia) he had an unfair advantage over other poets as a rock 'n' roller; not only did he have the poet's traditional advantage -- relief from the burden of explanations -- he also didn't have to sound serious, either. Part of the joy of Dylan is the extent to which he just seems to wing it in the time-honored, whimsical tradition of close-enough-for-rock-'n'-roll. (You might say Little Richard got there first, and Dylan might agree with you.) I think this looseness is where a lot of his lyrics come from -- like this, my very favorite Dylan couplet ever, from "Million Dollar Bash":
I looked at my watch, I looked at my wrist
I punched myself in my face with my fist
That is so stupid it's sublime. And that's just my particular favorite -- bear in mind, millions of allegedly half-literate teens were in 1965 singing aloud, "You're invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal," probably as in love with keening sound of CEE-ullllllllll as with the words. Some of them were even singing, "But the second mother was with the seventh son." Mind, that was the same summer as I Got You, Babe and I'm Henry VIII, I Am.

But Dylan wasn't just fooling around. If you take the time to think about that line about being invisible with no secrets, it turns out the metaphor is even more vivid and effective. (I'm still not sure about that seventh son, though.) I'm convinced Dylan saw from early on that hipster obscurantism was not only fun and profitable but also something with which he could go hunting for the Real Thing. Some go after it thundering and blundering, but Dylan chose to sneak up, casual-like, looking like he didn't care till it was time to throw the knife. Just because you didn't want to seem serious didn't mean you couldn't be serious.

Maybe he read and took the point of Ellen Willis' 1967 critique of his "silly metaphors, embarrassing cliches, muddled thought; at times he seems to believe one good image deserves five others," etc. Maybe he figured that out himself. Maybe the motorcycle crash had something to do with it, or the bad scene after Woodstock, but his imagery and inventiveness became muted, prematurely autumnal. It took me years to figure out that he wasn't just filling measures on "The Ballad of Frankie Lee and Judas Priest"; I didn't get why Judas was laying out tens for Frankie to pick from, and why Frankie was unable to choose -- they're all ten dollar bills! -- until I started to have dreams like that too, and to think more seriously about death. Dylan was 26 when he wrote it.

Over time Dylan has come to seem much less weird, partly because we've gotten used to him and because he's been festooned with honors and become a Cultural Figure, but also because the more mastery he got over his songwriting, the more it came to resemble the work of the other masters in his field -- good American Songbook stuff, love songs and stories. (He sees that too, hence Shadows in the Night.)

But he didn't shave himself to fit that mold. Rather he pushed it out, gently, to suit himself. I remember how shocked and thrilled I was by "either I'm too sensitive or else I'm gettin' soft" -- holy shit, it's quarter to three and there's no one in the place except Bob Dylan! If his love songs didn't have the economy of a Jimmy Van Heusen song, that was okay; one of the benefits top being of the New Breed was that you were expected to be undisciplined, a little shaggy and bloated like a fat couch at a hippie house. ("If You See Her, Say Hello" = 234 words. "All the Way" = 130.)

Dylan took advantage of his allowance; some of his songs feel like director's cuts avant la lettre. "Idiot Wind" (639 words!) is like a scenario for a Sam Peckinpah movie no one could possibly finance. But along the way he learned to be sparing when needed, too, as in "Make You Feel My Love," one of the Dylan songs closest to the old tradition. The song is a plea; the lines are spare with short words, to carry the plaintive feel; the emotions are raw to the point of embarrassment.  And it sneaks up on you like Dylan sneaking on the muse. See how it goes from something almost mundane to something majestic in just the first two verses:
When the rain is blowing in your face
And the whole world is on your case
I could offer you a warm embrace
To make you feel my love 
When the evening shadows and the stars appear
And there is no one there to dry your tears
I could hold you for a million years
To make you feel my love
 I'm not sure if this is what the Swedes meant by "for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition," but it does the trick for me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


Eric Metaxas is new to me, but his "Should Christians Vote for Trump?" at the Wall Street Journal is one hell of an intro:
Over this past year many of Donald Trump’s comments have made me almost literally hopping mad. The hot-mic comments from 2005 are especially horrifying. Can there be any question we should denounce them with flailing arms and screeching volume? I must not hang out in the right locker rooms, because if anyone I know said such things I might assault him physically (and repent later).
He's a Christian, see, but he's still dead butch!
So yes, many see these comments as a deal breaker. 
But we have a very knotty and larger problem. What if the other candidate also has deal breakers? Even a whole deplorable basketful? Suddenly things become horribly awkward. Would God want me simply not to vote? Is that a serious option?
In case you haven't guessed, Metaxas' point is yes, noxious as it seem, brothers and sisters, you have a Christian duty to vote for Trump because Hitlery Klintoon.

To make his case Metaxas cites a bunch of wingnut memes -- e.g., "What if she defended a man who raped a 12-year-old and in recalling the case laughed about getting away with it?" -- and offers ISIS as a reason to vote for Trump because they're evil and Clinton is... I don't know, in favor of ISIS? Etc.

But that's not the best part. In case his fellow Christians are still not sure they can stomach a vote for Trump, here's how Metaxas bids them find strength:
The anti-Nazi martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer also did things most Christians of his day were disgusted by. He most infamously joined a plot to kill the head of his government. He was horrified by it, but he did it nonetheless because he knew that to stay “morally pure” would allow the murder of millions to continue. Doing nothing or merely “praying” was not an option. He understood that God was merciful, and that even if his actions were wrong, God saw his heart and could forgive him. But he knew he must act.
You read that right: Metaxas is comparing Trump voters to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Clinton to Hitler.  I guess that makes Trump Sophie Scholl.

The next step will be a painting by Jon McNaughton (of the famed Obama-tramples-the-Constitution stuff) showing a ghostly Jesus standing proudly behind a raging Trump, or maybe a footprints-in-the-sand thing where Jesus says, "When you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that I flew off to Trump Tower to grab some chick by the pussy."


David French is on fire this week, by which I mean more ostentatiously nuts than usual. (Can you blame him? Strategery Presidential candidate Evan McMullan seems to be making some progress in his bid to take Utah and, if the prognostications of Josh Gelertner mean anything (spoiler: they don't), throw the election to the House. French, who rejected the Billy Kristol Party presidential bid earlier this year, may be eating his heart out over what might have been.)

One French post is about the depressed viewership of NFL games on TV. French naturally blames Colin Kaepernick and other protestors:
While it’s difficult to explain the behavior of millions of people by reference to any single cause, I’m dubious of the NFL’s attempt to rule out player protests as offering any explanation for the ratings drop. The NFL isn’t the NBA. Its fan base isn’t as clustered in progressive urban centers but is far more equitably distributed across the country.
As the Coach says in That Championship Season, basketball is no longer the white man's game, so You People in your urban hoop-ghettos can protest all you want, but we white men out here in the Big Suburb demand you calm your black folk down or it's bye-bye Pennzoil ads.
Thus, it plays a doubly dangerous game by embracing the social justice left. It stands to alienate more fans than it attracts, and it’s in bed with a cultural force that ultimately despises the league itself. Social justice warriors hope to destroy football. They don’t want what’s best for the league or the sport. Instead, they want to use it until they kill it.
The National Football League -- betrayed from within! You fellows in the executive suites are deceived -- Those People aren't your friends, they're trying to kill you. In NFL, pass-catcher mau-maus YOU!

Sometimes I think modern conservatism is just one long riff on the word "nigger-lover."

Elsewhere French gets into the pussy tape, and echoes Trump agent Betsy McCaughey and others with a oh-yeah-well-you-libtards-love-sex defense. Remember, this guy professes to despise Trump, so this shows how insanely devoted to culture war he has to be:
This is one for the Vox record books. The liberal site — which purports to “explain” the news...
Impudent liberals! Only Jesus can explain the news!
...— is now trying to explain why some conservative Christians are sharing BeyoncĂ© lyrics and passages from Fifty Shades of Grey in response to the Trump tapes. Their explanation? Christians view dirty words and sex assault as basically the same because, well, read it for yourself...
French argues theology with the Vox quotes for a while ("all sins are certainly not 'equally' bad in their moral gravity or their earthly consequences") before proving their main idea right:
Second, regarding pop culture, it’s not that pop culture is just crass — it celebrates perversion. Fifty Shades of Grey seems to describe its own sexual assault. Here are key passages, via Rod Dreher:
Imagine David French and Rod Dreher examining the evidence! "Look, Rod, have you seen this?" "Wow! I don't even know what that is and I'm gettin' a boner! [stabs self in leg with penknife]"
I’m not even going to attempt to quote Beyonce’s lyrics. They don’t describe sexual assault but instead a quid pro quo-style sex relationship where she grants all kinds of favors to men she has sex with — the kind of relationship that women have forever rightly condemned as sexual harassment.
You libtards say you're against sexual assault but she took his ass to Red Lobster -- according to the Bible that makes her both a whore and a whore-monger!
At the heart of the conservative critique, however, is something very real — calling out a Left that has helped sexually debase our culture to such an extent that only one moral norm remains, and even that’s truly optional in the right context. All the Left cares about anymore is consent, but its icons (like Bill Clinton) get a pass even then, and if a novel gets popular enough — like Fifty Shades of Grey — then it exists in its own exempted, subversive category.
David French answers your "consent" argument with unproven allegations and fiction! Now who's a dirty bird?
Heather Mac Donald says it well:
Ugh. All you need to know about that is Mac Donald has taken time out from her usual job -- warning white America of the national Negro uprising -- to explain that women are whores ("Now why might it be that men regard women as sex objects? Surely the ravenous purchase by females of stiletto heels...") and parse Beyoncé and Jay-Z with a Talmudic intensity seldom seen outside a Black Studies seminar or the writings of Victor Davis Hanson. Mac Donald is also mad at Amy Schumer: "She confesses to a 'weakness for orgasms.'" In short, the Clenis and Hollywood made everything badsex and we need to get back to "the chivalric ideal that gentlemen should treat females like ladies," which comes with permanent inferior status for women but, on the bright side, maybe marginally fewer rapes, at least outside of wedlock or the manor.

Imagine a normal person reading these posts, and you'll see why their movement is in trouble.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016


As I mentioned in the column on Monday, some conservatives are using the Trump tape to establish moral distance between themselves and the candidate. George Will, for example, is so rattled he's quoting Kris Kristofferson. (He attributes "freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose" by the song's title rather than to its author -- guess he considers it a vulgar bit of folk wisdom from Hippietown and can't take it seriously enough to acknowledge authorship, as he would for Tacitus or Casey Stengel.)

Others are trying to spin it as a silly bit of potty-mouth rather than a sinister expression of hatred toward women (charitably assuming that didn't actually, as he memorably put it, grab them by the pussy). Part of the strategy, such as it is, is to confuse creative or even simple use of obscenity with misogyny and sexual menace. A popular example is former New York Lieutenant Governor, national health care assassin, and all-around dumbass Betsy McCaughey conflating Hillary Clinton's appreciation of Beyonce with Trump's appreciation of sexual assault on CNN because both involve words not normally spoken in church.

But for my money the more interesting version is by ancient Washington Times hack Wesley Pruden. (For background, here's a typical passage from a column in which he compared, and not as a joke, Herman Cain to Ronald Reagan: "Things have gone from bad to badder for the self-righteous artsy-fartsy elites, who for all their book-learning and self-regard just can’t figure out America.") Pruden loves Trump because he sticks it to sissies like "the editor of the precious and erudite New Yorker magazine" on their "fainting couches in recovery rooms across the precincts of the mainstream media," and this week he suggested that grab-her-by-the-pussy isn't so bad because Trump is a man, unlike some Presidential candidates he could name:
It’s a credit to their sex that women are rarely good at either cussin’ or telling what were once called “smutty stories.” Most women think the woman is always the butt of the joke, even when it’s usually the man cast as hapless jerk who humiliates himself in an absurd pursuit of elusive prey. A woman with a good repertoire of abuse is occasionally said to be able to “cuss like a man,” but she more resembles the woman preaching in Dr. Johnson’s famous jibe, “like a dog walking on his hind legs. It is not done well; but you are surprised to find it done at all.”
You ladies should stick to what you're good at, like needlepoint and cocksucking.
On the other hand, a talented teamster with a brace of ornery mules, headed to the sawmill with a heavy load of fresh-cut pine logs, could keep up a string of obscene abuse for fully two or three minutes without ever repeating himself.
Pruden recalls this from when he was a cub reporter on the Fritters (Ala.) Slaver-Picayune back afore they came up with the horseless carriage. Last time Pruden saw a present-day Teamster, he was probably nervously asking him what he thought of those Redskins while planning a column on how unions are destroying the country.
Not many dirty mouths, male or female, can do that. Who would want to?

Nobody cultivates a dirtier mouth than Hillary Clinton. It’s difficult to describe Hillary in full because a decent regard for the gentle reader forbids it. Any teamster, cop, or Secret Service agent assigned to Hillary duty has to put his hands over his ears even to think about it.
Lordy, sech language! Pruden then recirculates a bunch of jacked-up claims from the age of Troopergate about Clinton's cursing abilities, fondly reminisces about the days when Strom Thurmond would bestow "the occasional pinch when he came upon a young lady bending over the groaning board at a cocktail party," and then just basically wanders off onto a tangent about these new-fangled cellular phones that take recordings kids can play back on their Walkmen.

At no point does Pruden portray a hint of awareness that normal American women are acquainted with coarse language -- not only because men yell it at them on the street whenever they wear anything more revealing than a hijab, but also because they live in the 21st Century -- and a great number of them occasionally employ it themselves, and probably would not only excuse but admire Clinton's ability to pitch it back at the limpdicks by whom she is surrounded. Unless Pruden really is being kept in a jar on a musty old rolltop in the City Room, he can't have failed to notice this. So why's he pretending? The same reason guys like him pretend we can keep out the world with a wall, and that white men will always run everything: The alternative is too awful to contemplate.