Tuesday, April 24, 2018

PUBLISH MY THESIS, LIBS!

This essay is short by Kevin Williamson standards, but let me boil it down still further for those of you who wish to limit their contact (and I'll keep it short because I'm sick of writing about this asshole):

Williamson, famously fired by The Atlantic for telling its editor he did indeed believe, as he had previously averred, that women who have abortions should be executed, later got space in the Wall Street Journal to declare The Atlantic and everyone else who got mad at him a "mob" and to suggest this his abortion prescription was just rhetorical shtick, though he coyly refrained from saying what his real prescription was.

Ed Kilgore of New York magazine asked Williamson what his real prescription was, and Williamson responded with evasions and, when Kilgore insisted on an answer, insults.

Today at The Weekly Standard, Williamson reveals that he offered New York a full column (free!) in which he would finally give The Full Monty on how he would really deal with abortion sluts, and (he claims) New York's editor told him a few sentences was "as much on the subject of your views on this matter as we want to publish." Williamson denounces New York, calls Kilgore more names, sputters about the "prevention of discourse," etc. But he still doesn’t reveal his view on abortion and execution.

I suppose this crybaby is even now stalking more liberal magazines, demanding they publish his work at length lest he insult them in the rightwing press, then running to the rightwing press to insult them. I suggest he try the Village Voice. There is precedent, after all, and I bet my editor will love his rates.

Monday, April 23, 2018

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...


...about the Starbucks bias incident, and the training the company ordered afterward -- which offended conservatives waaaay more than the bias incident.

Among the outtakes I wished I had room for was this bit from Jonah Goldberg's America's-not-that-racist essay:
In 1958, 44 percent of white Americans said they’d move if a black family moved in next door. Forty years later, that number had dropped to 1 percent… When the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, only 18 percent of white Americans said they had a black friend. By 1998, that number was 86 percent.
If you’re wondering why Goldberg picked 1998, twenty years ago, as his ebony 'n' ivory golden dawn (oddly, during the Clinton Administration), it may just be that this Brookings study was easy to find, but there may be more than one reason — for instance, maybe 86 percent of white Americans had a black friend in 1998, but a 2014 PPRI poll showed it was down to 75 percent. Also, the blacks-next-door number in 2017, according to the World Values Survey, was not 1 percent, but 6 percent. (In fact Goldberg actually cites the 6 percent figure later in his essay. Well, when you get really big in his world, you don’t need editors.)

Goldberg's on a tear lately -- his next column is about how people who pretend to be transgressive and whatnot aren’t the real rebels; “a real rebel talks out loud in an Ivy League classroom about how Jesus Christ is his or her personal savior.” If you saw the scene in Where Angels Go Troubles Follows where Rosalind Russell talked down the bikers, you pretty much got the gist.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

NO RACIST, NO RACIST, YOU'RE THE REAL RACIST!

How far has National Review come since its days as an explicitly segregationist magazine? Well, they have no fewer than three columns on Starbucks' admirable decision to hold a day of diversity training in response to a well-publicized racist incident in one of its stores. Want to guess how they feel about it? Here's David French:
There is near-universal consensus that the Starbucks employee’s actions were racially motivated. Starbucks apparently agrees, and given that the company knows more about its employees than I do, I’m not going to question its conclusion.
Sounds pretty sulky, doesn't he? Can't blame him -- everyone's bought into this racism-exists madness, even the big corporation -- and they're supposed to be on his side! French is pissed that Starbucks is "forcing more than 175,000 employees to undergo 'racial bias' training" (yeah, I bet those baristas are real upset they have to sit on their ass and get trained for a day) but especially that their training will address "so-called unconscious bias," which French calls "Orwellian junk science." Imagine -- thinking people might be prejudiced without even knowing it! Next you'll be telling him about all that stuff the eggheads say we do without knowing about it, like Freudian shits.
Starbucks is a private company and as such it has a right to make this mistake. It can shutter its stores for a day and re-educate its employees. But to the extent it’s teaching them about unconscious bias, it’s teaching nonsense, and when it comes to the fraught issue of American race relations, nonsense always inflicts a measure of harm.
French doesn't explain, but from his previous writings I guess he means if you try to make people less racist, they just naturally get more bigoted and vote for Trump, so you see it's really your fault for hassling them, you Orwellian junk scientists.

Let's see what NR's Kyle Smith has to say:
At a glance, what happened at that Philadelphia coffee shop last Thursday looks like racism. But there’s little context. Does the manager also routinely call the police on white people who loiter in the shop? If a white manager called the police on two white guys hanging around a coffee shop, it wouldn’t make the news, much less become a national obsession.
This guys are really suspicious about the incident that everyone involved agrees happened. Maybe Starbucks and the liberals are in cahoots to make people think racism exists!
The incident is making people unhinged. When the “racism” circuits in our brain get activated, we stop thinking clearly. We go out looking for someone to chastise, and one low-level staffer isn’t enough. We want a larger target suited to the strength of the frenzy. It affects our judgment the way being drunk does. This is your brain. This is your brain on race.
And you sheeple thought racism was bad! Nothing's as bad as anti-racism, except maybe drinking.

Now, Jim Geraghty:
I suspect you can trace the country’s unexpected path to this mindset on racial controversies by following the twists and turns in the career of Al Sharpton.
Shorter version: This Starbucks thing reminds me of some famous black guy I don't like.

Not content with this trifecta, National Review has chosen also to run this:
Enoch Powell’s Immigration Speech, 50 Years Later
I shit you not -- they do indeed mean the "Rivers of Blood" speech, which I believe was last celebrated in NR's pages by John Derbyshire, not long thereafter defenestrated for Making It Too Obvious. If you're guessing this new review is less obvious but highly sympathetic, collect your prize at the door. There are some mealy-mouthed qualifiers, but nothing the typical NR reader can't see through -- when author Douglas Murray says "some portions of [the speech] cannot but induce an intake of breath and a considerable wince or gulp" -- referring to the more overtly ooga-booga passages about "pickaninnies" and so forth -- you know conservatives for whom "politically incorrect" is the highest possible accolade will take it as a recommendation (and so, I assume, does Murray). And anyway, says Murray, none of these PC drags talk about the good parts -- why, "some of the questions [Powell] addressed are questions that understandably gnaw away at us still" -- f'rinstance:
...some of the issues he raised — however well or poorly — remain so pregnant. 
As I wrote in my latest book, imagine you had been a speechwriter for Enoch Powell in 1968, or an adviser or friend. And imagine if you had said to him then, “I have an idea, Enoch. Why not use your speech to say that if immigration into the U.K. goes on at these rates, then in 2011 the official census will reveal that people who identify as ‘white British’ will be a minority in their capital city of London.” Had this been said, Powell would most likely have dismissed the person as an inflammatory madman. Yet that was indeed one of the things that the 2011 census showed. And the news came and went as though it was just another detail on just another day.
London's full of sooties and wogs; the man was a prophet! Ahem, I mean "questions remain."

Welp, looks like National Review's capitulation to Trumpism and its corollary -- that conservatives can be elected with zero support from black people, so why even bother -- is complete. But then, they never really had that far to go.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

PUTTING THE "CHRIST!" BACK IN CHRISTIANS.

Rod Dreher doesn't get why other Christians are being such saps about these so-called "refugees":
A journalist asked the two presenters how we determine how many migrants we are to allow into the country. Sister Norma [a nun] responded by saying that she was speaking to a group of kindergarten students at a Catholic school, and asked them what they thought we should do about all the migrants at the border who are fleeing terrible conditions at home. 
The children said, “Let them in,” the nun said. She added, “I don’t know that Jesus would leave anybody out.” 
And that was it. This is not thinking. This is emoting — and it is emoting just as much as the kind of rhetoric that Trump and his ilk use when he discusses immigration. Sister Norma is a vastly more genial person than many of the anti-immigrant hotheads are. But it’s still substituting emotion and sloganeering for hard thought about difficult questions.
Jesus actually said "Shaddap, the little children," and also "Fuck the Samaritans -- they don't vote for us."  Later, in an update:
I’m halfway through approving comments, and it is frustrating how so many readers believe that Sister Norma’s simply telling stories and asserting that Jesus would probably agree with her approach was sufficient.
"Come on, Jesus, what do you mean 'the last will be first, and the first will be last'? I've already written a 9,000-word post explaining why that's not rational. Why won't you engage my argument?"

Maybe Dreher's right to moan about Christian persecution, because real-life followers of the Man from Galilee seem rather thin on the ground.


Thursday, April 12, 2018

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Chuck McCann in a slightly more restrained role.
I wonder if Albert Brooks ever saw this?

• When I was a kid, there was a ton of children’s shows on TV, and near as I can remember they all had their charms. But my favorite, ever and always, was Chuck McCann, who had a show on WPIX Sunday mornings and who died last weekend. The show seemed long to me — not because it was boring, but because it felt big, like something you could stretch out and live in, with many different things going on and many different characters, nearly all of them played by Chuck. I think even as kids we knew the show was cheap and largely improvised, just as we knew it about Soupy Sales; the music was canned, the sets wobbly, and the costumes obviously pulled out of a musty back room, but that didn’t matter because Chuck poured a lot of energy into it, mugging and flailing as if a single moment of rest would bring the whole thing crashing down. What really hooked me was Chuck reading the Sunday comics, a bit he swiped from Fiorello LaGuardia — but, unlike LaGuardia, he read each strip as one of its characters, and, lemme tell you, talk about committing to a bit: to play Little Orphan Annie he put on a big belted dress and fright wig, and he stuck round pieces of white cardboard in his eye sockets to emulate her pupil-less look, and spoke in a screeching mockery of a little girl’s voice. The white circles kept popping out of his eyes, which he sometimes apologetically acknowledged and sometimes shamelessly ignored, and when the camera cut to the newspaper I assume he removed them to read the text but, at the time, I just imagined him sitting there, squawking away with sightless cardboard eyes. He was childlike and wild and felt like our friend and, if the show wasn’t Peabody Award bait, who cares; Mr. Rogers was a decent human being, too, but Chuck McCann was someone you would want to play with. In a way he showed us how to play -- how to take something simple like a comic strip and make it into an extravaganza. I hope he knew at the end what a gift he gave us all.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

OFF TO A GREAT START.

How America's newest top-tier pundit? Smokin', my friends. In the past 24 hours Megan McArdle has offered us not one, but two classic columns. First, anyone who was wondering how McArdle would top all the other rightwing weepers over Kevin Williamson may feast their eyes:
A person of color in a white space spends a great deal of time noticing they are a person of color, and that they are in a white space. The white people are very rarely conscious of the glistening pink skin surrounding them on all sides. Something similar holds for liberals and conservatives in American cultural institutions.
I'm tempted to bold or italicize or bold italicize that last sentence but honestly, only the late lamented blink tag would do.
...conservatives spend the first few decades of their lives in a left-skewed educational system, and the rest consuming cultural products made by liberals, so that liberal cultural hegemony barrages them daily with their “otherness.” Which is how they can sincerely feel powerless despite holding a great deal of political power.
They rule America, but what does it mean if they cannot have love? If only Jimmy Kimmel were nice like Fred Hiatt! But wait, there's more -- the column also contains a I'm Not Saying I'm Just Saying Switchback ("I’m comparing the group dynamics, not proclaiming that bias against conservatives is exactly morally the same," reads her "disclaimer," which she describes as "tiresome-but-necessary" and she's half right) and a This Is Why Trump Wonsie ("If that happened to you, probably you’d be pretty mad... Heck, you might even say ‘to hell with respectability politics,’ and vote for a loudmouthed reality television star..."). And on Twitter, this chef's kiss: "My prediction on this column, by the way, is that at least a few people on the right will say 'Wow. Maybe I should be more sympathetic to complaints about systemic racism.'" (Update, next day: No conservative is saying this.)

And a mere turnin' of the earth later, here comes Zombie-Eyed Granny Starver, We Hardly Knew Ye:
Should he have called out Trump more boldly than he did, refused to pass a tax reform without some reasonable attempt to pay for it, and generally made more of a nuisance of himself to the more irresponsible elements of his party? Perhaps. But holding a divided party, or a divided country together, is a delicate and important task. We shouldn’t be too quick to condemn those who attempt it. And when they go down, we should bury them with honors.
Now that’s The Up Side of Down!
...His replacement is likely to be less reasonable, less broadly liked, and less interested in policy than the sound of their own voice. They’re likely to be someone who is desperately interested in the prestige of the office, rather than someone willing to sacrifice from their own interests to party and country.
Wow, maybe that new, lesser GOP Speaker will help push through an even bigger deficit, with even more tax cuts for the rich and shit for the poor, than Ryan did while pretending to be a deficit hawk! And when he retires Megan McArdle will come tell us that we should be nice to that guy because the GOP Speaker after him might be even worse! (Assuming, perhaps unfairly, that we ever have another GOP Speaker.)

Reaching to top of the heap seems to have inspired her. Can’t wait to see what she does next! In fact I’m kind of sorry we all Twitter-mobbed Williamson off The Atlantic — maybe by now he’d be calling to make contraception a capital crime.

UPDATE. Comments -- always worth your time -- include this insight from our old Spy/SOROB buddy Ellis Weiner:
Don't shoot me--I'm just the messenger--but I can see McMegan bidding fair to become the Peggy Noonan of the still-slightly-new century: The fake concessions to common sense. The finger-wagging lectures on responsibility and maturity. The outright lying on behalf of obvious frauds, thieves, and hypocrites. The tremulous citation of the mood of the nation. The pseudo-wise discourses on human nature and psychology that, once you actually read them, turn out to have exactly nothing to do with real people slugging it out in a world in which the rich would, if they could, bring back feudalism and ask the lower classes to thank them for it.
Well, look. Becoming the Tokyo Rose of American class warfare is a delicate and important task.
I take his point; McArdle's got Noonan's natural talent for passive-aggressive twaddle, and Lord knows they both have similarly bizarre notions of financial struggle.  But McArdle's going to have to pay some heavy dues before she ascends to the Tanqueray Throne: She'll have do time in the chrism-and-gin-scented sepulchre of the Crazy Jesus Lady, prostate before the Reagan effigy until, suffused with the Holy Spirit, she can summon the magic dolphins. That Pulitzer's not a walk in the park!