» The Return of the Primitive

Ed Driscoll

The Return of the Primitive

One of These Things Is Not Like the Other

May 24th, 2015 - 11:02 pm

A $190 million summer blockbuster starring George Clooney based on an area in a Disney theme park hits theaters, presumably hoping to rake in at least that much at the box office. Its narrative goal, however: to get you to stop caring so much about the vapid capitalistic things that are ruining us all and instead maybe do something to make the world a better place.

“George Clooney’s Global Warming Shaming: George Clooney’s new summer blockbuster shames us for our roles in global warming and a potpourri of other earthly calamities,” The Daily Beast, today.

As the Insta-Professor likes to say, I’ll believe it’s a crisis when the people who tell me it’s a crisis start to act like it’s a crisis themselves. Since Clooney and Disney’s corporate management apparently believes that “global warming” and other “vapid capitalistic things are ruining us all,” but lack the conviction to eliminate their carbon footprints by shutting down down their theme parks and ceasing production of $190 million dollar movies, then the next best thing would be to shun their products until the corporation ceases “shaming” its customers. (Given the film’s poor ratings from both critics and audience members at Rotten Tomatoes.com, it sounds like there are far better ways to spend your time than watching Clooney’s hectoring new film.)

Oh, and given that Disney is ABC’s parent company, what say you, 105 million dollar Disney corporate spokesman George Stephanopoulos?

Escaping the Shaming Spiral

May 23rd, 2015 - 7:48 pm

Chris Pratt, the actor starring in the upcoming Jurassic World, the umpteenth sequel to the venerable Steven Spielberg franchise has a novel approach for dealing with the Twitter mobs — he’s proffering a pre-outrage pre-apology for whatever he says during a press conference that will trigger the mob:

I want to make a heartfelt apology for whatever it is I end up accidentally saying during the forthcoming ‪#‎JurassicWorld‬ press tour. I hope you understand it was never my intention to offend anyone and I am truly sorry. I swear. I’m the nicest guy in the world. And I fully regret what I (accidentally will have) said in (the upcoming foreign and domestic) interview(s).

I am not in the business of making excuses. I am just dumb. Plain and simple. I try. I REALLY try! When I do (potentially) commit the offensive act for which I am now (pre) apologizing you must understand I (will likely have been) tired and exhausted when I (potentially) said that thing I (will have had) said that (will have had) crossed the line. Those rooms can get stuffy and the hardworking crews putting these junkets together need some entertainment! (Likely) that is who I was trying to crack up when I (will have had) made that tasteless and unprofessional comment. Trust me. I know you can’t say that anymore. In fact in my opinion it was never right to say the thing I definitely don’t want to but probably will have said. To those I (will have) offended please understand how truly sorry I already am. I am fully aware that the subject matter of my imminent forthcoming mistake, a blunder (possibly to be) dubbed “JurassicGate” is (most likely) in no way a laughing matter. To those I (will likely have had) offended rest assured I will do everything in my power to make sure this doesn’t happen (again).

Sonny Bunch of the Washington Free Beacon, who mocks the left’s highchair-banging outrage industry mindset by posing as a perpetually p.o.ed leftie at his Everything’s a Problem blog awards Pratt’s witty post with the maximum four problematics:

Oh, how cute. Chris Pratt thinks our outrage is something to be mocked. Chris Pratt thinks our hurt is something for you to play with. I cannot even with this. FFS. In some ways this is worse than Marvel’s Dude Bros acting all Dude Bro-y. Pratt’s implicit mockery of outrage culture for choosing to seize on any little dumb thing he might say is an incredibly marginalizing tool of oppression.

Apology NOT accepted. We’ve got our eye on you.

I give the transgression of making fun of outrage culture four problematics.

Heh. As Hans Fiene wrote last month at the Federalist, “We’re Addicted To Judgment Porn”; kudos to Pratt for simultaneously heading off the mob before they attack, and for subversively mocking their tactics.

In an article titled “The Shaming Spiral” in the new issue of Commentary, Christine Rosen reviews the recent book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson. From the various reviews I’ve read, it sounds like Ronson’s book is a flawed by still useful look at a rapidly growing trend, as torch-wielding Frankenstein mobs search the Web and especially Twitter for the latest outrage to burst their blood vessels over. This passage from Rosen’s article features sums up one way to fight back — to simply choose to avoid being outrageously outraged over the outrage!!!!! surrounding you, although the person featured is someone who sounds like a rather flawed messenger to deliver it:

Ronson’s most interesting case study is the story of Max Mosley, a British Formula One racing executive well known mostly because his parents were Sir Oswald Mosley, founder of the British Union of Fascists, and Diana Mitford, one of the dazzling Mitford sisters (Joseph Goebbels hosted the Mosley’s wedding, which Hitler attended). Having unrepentant Fascists for parents is difficult enough; but in 2008 the tabloid News of the World published grainy photos of Max Mosley engaged in what they called a “sick Nazi orgy” at an S&M dungeon in London.

Such a revelation might have spelled doom for someone else, but as Ronson notes, Mosley immediately went on BBC4 Radio and acknowledged that he had a kinky sex life (Princess Dolore would approve) and stated that he had done nothing wrong. “If our shameworthiness lies in the space between who we are and how we present ourselves to the world,” Ronson writes, “Max was narrowing that gap to nothing.” Mosley successfully sued the now-defunct News of the World for claiming his activities were Nazi-tinged when in fact they were not (the evening merely had a martial theme, he noted). Mosley told Ronson that he refused to feel ashamed by the exposure. “As soon as the victim steps out of the pact by refusing to feel ashamed,” he told Ronson, “the whole thing crumbles.”

In her review of Ronson’s book at Bloomberg, Megan McArdle writes that “Twitter makes it absurdly easy to shame someone:”

 You barely have to take 30 seconds out of your day to make an outraged comment that will please your friends and hurt the person you’ve targeted. This means it is also absurdly easy to attack someone unfairly, without pausing to think about context — or the effect you are having on another human being much like yourself. No matter what that person did, short of war crimes, you probably would not join a circle of thousands of people heaping abuse upon a lone target cowering in the center. But that is the real-world equivalent of what online shame-stormers do.

This sort of tactic may buy silence, though it is likely to be the most effective on people who already agree with you and simply said something infelicitous. What it cannot buy is community, beyond the bonds that build between people who are joined in collective hate. With the exception of Lehrer — who clearly realized he’d done something wrong without needing to be told — the people whom Ronson interviews do not think that they were the victims of perhaps excessively harsh justice; they think they were victims of abuse. They often recognize that they did something stupid, but they don’t think they deserved to be fired after having their lives dissected and their character impugned by thousands of people who had never even met them.

And perhaps this satisfies the shame-stormers; they may want to change hearts and minds but be willing to settle for silence. This sort of shaming has costs, however. If you haven’t changed someone’s mind, you haven’t changed their behavior, only what they say. If they do harbor the bad beliefs you accused them of, those beliefs are now festering in private rather than being open to persuasion. And you haven’t even necessarily changed what they say in a good direction, because people who are afraid of unjust attacks aren’t afraid of being punished for saying things they know they ought to be ashamed of, but of being punished for saying something they didn’t know would attract this kind of ire. So they’re afraid to say anything at all, or at least anything more interesting than “Woo, puppies!” That’s not norm enforcement; it’s blanket terror.

But it helps, as Marc Fitch noted last month at the Federalist, to return a sense of proportion by placing the angry mob to scale:

It is often quite easy to feel that you are greatly outnumbered and that the entire world is against you, particularly if you have the gall to air your beliefs in the public realm (or be caught in it, in this situation). Social media can seemingly explode with anger at your mention of a political or cultural position that goes against whatever the Video Music Awards are advocating this year. You are beset by Legion.

But are you, really? Two thousand people is a drop in the bucket of the overall population, but when they all turn and look at you it can feel overwhelming. While outrage is nothing new in cultural or political fights, the Internet’s ability to allow individuals to reach people they have never met or places they have never been perpetrates an illusion. Memories Pizza was deluged with one-star ratings by people who had never been to the establishment or sampled its pizza.

It was recently revealed that nearly 70 percent of the criticism lobbed at Rush Limbaugh (which is ample) comes from a small group of activists that have devoted their lives to attempting to make his miserable. However, to view coverage of Limbaugh in television and Internet media, you would think that the entire country is listening and vastly offended at everything he says. You would see and hear what appear to be great swaths of civilization amassing against this radio host. But this is an illusion born of spirit, not of substance, and it is meant to influence the spirit of others. It is necessary to separate the corporeal reality from the illusory zeitgeist.

Few people have time to be so incensed, and those that do should not drive culture. Their offense is an illusion. Their feelings may matter to them, but need not drive discussions and certainly shouldn’t attain such grandiose proportions. Ideas can be debated and talked through, and individuals who maintain a decorum of objective detachment can often find common ground. But fight with a spirit, with irrational rage, and there is no way to find commonality.

The anonymity of the Internet allows this illusion to truly reach its greatest power as a single individual can assume any number of Internet personas that can spew any amount of nonsense and vitriol with no accountability or personal reflection whatsoever. The pseudo-anger and the Internet’s ability to instantaneously connect users can often give the impression of widespread outrage, when really hardly anyone has noticed.

The first time one encounters the Internet outrage mob, the pressure can feel overwhelming. But when the virtual mob is perpetual, such tactics begin to lose their force. Perhaps Pratt’s deft preemptive strike is another sign that the power of the outrage mob is hopefully, becoming diluted.

(Unless you’re a business owner with a physical storefront, alas.)

Gaslighting, Then and Now

May 22nd, 2015 - 3:13 pm

“Bill Clinton is the greatest gaslighter in modern American politics,” Jonah Goldberg notes in his latest G-File. Click over for the Wikipedia definition of the term if you’re unfamiliar with it; after which Jonah writes:

A truly sociopathic liar (though his sociopathologies hardly end there), Clinton has a gift for making other people feel like there is something wrong with them for objecting to his deceptions.

At the outset of the 1990s, liberals had worked themselves into a moral panic about sexual harassment. If anything, it was a bigger obsession than the campus-rape panic we’ve been witnessing over the last few years (no doubt in part because there was more factual basis to the problem). Male politicians — Bob Packwood, John Tower, et al. — had their careers summarily ended because of their “womanizing” — a term popularized by Tower’s predations. (Ironically, the original meaning of the word was to “make effeminate,” i.e., to turn into a woman. Given the mainstreaming of sex-change surgery, maybe it’s time to rehabilitate the older definition?)

Then, the country was presented with proof, incremental and suggestive at first, overwhelming and indisputable by the end of the decade, that Bill Clinton was an irrepressible and irresponsible sexual predator, at least by the moral and evidentiary standards established by feminist activists and the press corps that loves them. And, rather than face the consequences of applying their own principles consistently, they prostrated themselves to the Oval Office. Gloria Steinem raced to the pages of the New York Times to advance the “one free grope” rule. Susan Estrich, Susan Faludi, and countless other professional feminists defenestrated their principles in a desperate attempt to defend Clinton.

It was a perfect example of what Lord Acton really meant by power corrupting. He didn’t mean that rulers are corrupted by power, he meant that intellectuals become corrupted by their worship of the powerful.

When Bill Clinton had to “apologize” to his cabinet for playing baron-and-the-milkmaid with an intern and lying about it, he asked if anybody had a problem with it. Donna Shalala foolishly assumed he was being sincere. She chimed in and said she had a problem. He berated her for her effrontery, explaining that her prudish standards would have prevented JFK from being president. And while those of us not ensorcelled by the cult of that charismatic mediocrity might respond, “Yeah, so?” this was a debate-settling argument for many liberals.

Clinton’s sexual exploits were only one facet of his full-spectrum gaslighting of America. He sold pardons. He sold the Lincoln bedroom. He lied and cheated in innumerable ways, large and small, and he successfully made the people who objected, or even pointed out the truth, seem like the weird ones.

Jonah mentioned the campus rape panic in the second paragraph quoted above; in her latest column, Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal writes, “Readers know of the phenomenon at college campuses regarding charges of ‘microaggressions’ and ‘triggers,’” and adds, “quite a bunch of little Marats and Robespierres we’re bringing up” — or actually, being programmed by their socialist teachers and professors. Noonan’s column is on the censoring of classic books and epic poems such as Ovid’s “Metamorphoses,” which students at Columbia University attempted to suppress:

The class read the myths of Persephone and Daphne, which, as parts of a narrative that stretches from the dawn of time to the Rome of Caesar, include depictions of violence, chaos, sexual assault and rape. The student, the authors reported, is herself “a survivor of sexual assault” and said she was “triggered.” She complained the professor focused “on the beauty of the language and the splendor of the imagery when lecturing on the text.” He did not apparently notice her feelings, or their urgency. As a result, “the student completely disengaged from the class discussion as a means of self-preservation. She did not feel safe in the class.”

Safe is the key word here. There’s the suggestion that a work may be a masterpiece but if it makes anyone feel bad, it’s out.

That goes as well for public speakers who risk harshing the kids’ collective mellow, Mark Hemingway writes in the Weekly Standard:

At [Christina Hoff Sommers'] speech in April at Georgetown University, multiple undercover policemen were placed in the audience. At Oberlin, also in April, uniformed police officers never let her out of their sight and after her speech escorted her in a police car from the campus to a dinner. In May, she was the guest of honor at a Washington, D.C., meetup of “Gamergate” supporters—video gamers concerned about radical feminism’s influence in the video game industry (more on that later). In response, Salon and Daily Beast columnist Arthur Chu started a social media campaign to pressure the bar where the gamers were meeting to drop the event and sent emails to the venue accusing them of hosting a “right-wing hate group.” Despite the pressure, the owner of the bar, Local 16, emailed Sommers to tell her they “would never keep any group out. This is America.” A bomb threat soon followed, necessitating a heavy police presence and a tour of Local 16 by bomb-sniffing dogs.

Through all this, Sommers says, “I didn’t feel threatened. I’d never known feminists to be violent.” Her calm in the face of feminist extremism is in marked contrast to the fury of her critics. “I am a threat to their health, to their mental well-being. That attitude is new,” she says. “Before, they might have thought, ‘Oh, her views on feminism are reactionary.’ But now it’s that her views are a threat.”

Indeed, an inability to distinguish between threats and disagreements seems to be a hallmark of this contemporary feminism. Sommers is scary precisely because she doesn’t shy away from heightening the contradictions. Where op-ed writers have patiently picked apart the discredited “wage gap” statistics feminists insist on recycling, Sommers shows up in the proverbial lion’s den, calmly points her finger at the scolds-in-training, and challenges them to prove their commitment to female equality by changing their major to the lucrative and male-dominated field of petroleum engineering.

These days, campus feminists make no attempt to debate Sommers on substance. Instead, she routinely faces attempts to shun her, silence her, or distort her message. After her Georgetown speech, there were demands that the student group that had hosted her remove the protesters from video of the event. A university administrator warned that if the upset students weren’t edited out, “Georgetown [would] need to step in.”

Got that? Protesters showed up at a public event to draw attention to their message—but then realized that footage showing ostensible adults holding signs saying “Trigger Warning: Antifeminist” was an embarrassment to the students and bad PR for the school, so they wanted it censored. Another embarrassment is young feminists’ ignorance. When Sommers joked at Oberlin that the Junior Anti-Sex League had occupied campus feminism, a voice from her audience yelled, “What the hell is that?”

For the most part, Obama and Hillary love keeping already high-strung college kids on emotional tenterhooks, ready to swing into action at the latest perceived racial or sexual “microaggression,” and anyone who dares commit doubleplus ungood Emmanuel Goldstein-esque thoughtcrime. But isn’t there a huge, equally Orwellian contradiction here? Hillary is counting on those same college kids, who see sexism, male oppression and rape everywhere to swing enthusiastically into action to support her. (Presumably, as is Obama, as Hillary is a far safer bet to preserve his “legacy” than a Republican president.) Completely ignoring the fact that she’s the enabler of a former president whom Rand Paul dubbed one of Washington’s most prominent sexual predators. As Paul noted on C-Span last year:

Democrats are being hypocritical by criticizing Republicans as waging a war on women while at the same time embracing Mr. Clinton, who was impeached for lying about a sexual relationship with a White House intern.

“They can’t have it both ways. And so I really think that anybody who wants to take money from Bill Clinton or have a fundraiser has a lot of explaining to do. In fact, I think they should give the money back,” Mr. Paul, Kentucky Republican, said. “If they want to take position on women’s rights, by all means do. But you can’t do it and take it from a guy who was using his position of authority to take advantage of young women in the workplace.”

Or is the assumption that because Hillary will do “good things” (read: expand government and restrict freedoms — including, as she herself admits — freedom of speech) the same college kids obsessed with rape and sexual predators will overlook Bill’s serial macro-aggressions?

It’s too bad that Lord Acton is yet another dead white European male; because as Jonah wrote above, the Clintons really are the perfect example of what Acton “meant by power corrupting. He didn’t mean that rulers are corrupted by power, he meant that intellectuals become corrupted by their worship of the powerful.”

And young, self-styled wannabe intellectuals as well, as yet another generation of leftists are gaslighted.

I know the aforementioned Rand Paul did a fair amount of battlefield prep last year by pointing out Bill’s past, noting that “Mr. Clinton’s settlement with Paula Jones in 1999, in which he paid $850,000 to settle Ms. Jones’ claims of sexual harassment, is an admission of guilt by the former president.” Not to mention Bill’s “friendship [with] seedy billionaire and convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein,” as Sean Hannity discussed this past February. But I’m surprised more Republican candidates aren’t mentioning this enormous contradiction, which seems ripe for exploiting.  And/or anyone on the left who’s serious about opposing her. Isn’t it time for the spouse of the man who made “Sister Souljah” a verb to experience a “Sister Souljah moment” of her own from one of her fellow Democrats?

We’ve mentioned the left devouring its own several times in recent months. The “campus rape epidemic” seems like a bizarre intellectual climate to serve as the background for Hillary’s campaign — and she has no one else to blame but her fellow Democrats for creating it. Or am I simply gaslighting myself?

In Tom Wolfe’s famous essay “The Great Relearning,” originally published in the December 1987 issue of the American Spectator and included in his 2000 collection of essays, appropriately titled Hooking Up, Wolfe believed that a leitmotif of the 21st century would feature mankind recovering the rules about art, aesthetics, and human relations that various degrees of socialism stripped away in the 19th and 20th centuries in the rush to “Start From Zero” by discarding vast quantities of man’s accumulated knowledge and wisdom.

But for that happen, first the “Swaddled Generation” needs to replace their diapers with the big boy pants and begin growing up.  RINO Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post, last seen helping grease the skids of the ultimate swaddled man-child to reach the White House by shivving Sarah Palin in the fall of 2008, appears to perhaps be on the verge of experiencing the aura of the penumbra of second thoughts over whom she helped bring to power and his negative impact on today’s college students:

It seems that mostly conservative sites and writers are concerned with the increasingly draconian suppression of free speech on college campuses. But then, it is mostly conservative writers and speakers who are treated as though they’re bringing the Ebola virus rather than contrarian ideas to the sensitive ears of what we may as well name the “Swaddled Generation.”

A trigger warning is usually conveyed on a sign carried or posted near the auditorium where a speech is to be given, alerting students to the possibility that the speaker may express an idea that could trigger an emotional response. A discussion about campus rape statistics, for example, might cause a rape victim to suffer.

This was the case recently at Georgetown University when Christina Hoff Sommers, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and author of “Who Stole Feminism?,” was greeted by sign-carriers warning: “Anti-Feminism,” with the room number of a “safe space.”

Students elsewhere have taken their trigger-phobia a step further, urging professors to add warnings to syllabuses alerting swaddlers to the possibility that a course might prompt uncomfortable thoughts. At Rutgers University, a student proposed flagging F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” as potentially upsetting owing to “a variety of scenes that reference gory, abusive and misogynistic violence.”

Protections against unpleasant thoughts can be arranged only by managing unpleasant speech. Thus, anyone who dares question any of the communally collected “understandings” of proper thought, presumably embraced during share-time and group hugs, will not be celebrated as a curious mind but condemned as a “hater.”

Now there’s a winning debate argument. If you’re 5.

Which neatly sums up the intellectual development of the far too many college kids, and the leftwing professors and pundits who enable them:

Found via Josh Good of the American Enterprise Institute, whose description of Parker’s article and his allusion to Tom Wolfe work better as a meme than the Post’s own headline writers:

Update: This tweet by Twitchy.com manages to tie together both of the elements of our headline above:


Update: Leon H. Wolf of Red State on the corrosive impact of “The Emma Sulkowicz Generation,” on both their victims and their pet causes.

osama_book_shelf_5-21-15-1

“Bin Laden had the book on Obama,” Paul Mirengoff writes at Power Line, who asks, “What should we make of the bookshelf?” Bin Laden’s bookshelf that is. Beyond being photographed on the 2008 campaign trail — chillingly in retrospect — holding fellow leftist Fareed Zakaria’s then-recent book The Post-American World, the pop culture-obsessed Mr. Obama seems to prefer binge-watching television to reading.

But Bin Laden’s choice of reading material is fascinating, as Mirengoff writes, who notes that Bob Woodward has the rare distinction of being on both Nixon’s enemies list, and Osama’s reading list:

Above all, it confirms that bin Laden was obsessed with the United States. Unlike ISIS, which strives to capture territory and create a caliphate, bin Laden focused on attacking America and American interests.

But attacking America wasn’t an end in itself. Bin Laden’s overriding goal was to drive the U.S. out of the Muslim world so that al Qaeda and its affiliates could topple hostile governments in these regions.

Once we understand this, we must see bin Laden as more of a success than a failure. And we must see President Obama as the vehicle through which bin Laden succeeded.

Under Obama, the U.S. is basically exiting the Muslim world. We pulled out of Iraq (and haven’t re-entered to any significant degree). We’re pulling out of Afghanistan. We never pulled into Syria, despite the advice of many in both parties that we should.

We didn’t stay in Libya. We’ve been driven out of Yemen. Our influence with Egypt and Saudi Arabia (two countries of special interest to bin Laden, surely) has waned considerably.

As for the toppling of governments, bin Laden’s dream is partially realized. The Afghanistan government hasn’t fallen, but it may well, once the U.S. leaves. And the government’s hold on large portions of the country is weak to non-existent.

The Iraqi government hasn’t fallen, but it has lost huge chunks of territory to Islamic terrorists, with even Baghdad now threatened. The government of Syria is in basically the same condition.

These two pop culture icons couldn’t be happier about the rapidly disintegrating state of the world:

obama_letterman_finale_iraq_5-21-15-2

(Artwork atop post created using multiple AP and Shutterstock.com images.)

Speaking Truth to Sharpton

May 19th, 2015 - 11:57 pm

The other day, I mentioned the old cliche of journalism that invariably when a superstar “objective” MSM reporter or anchorman retires from his beat or unclips his lavaliere for the last time, he begins giving speeches and writing op-eds that reveal conclusively what everyone simply assumed from his story selection and tone — that he’s a flaming full-on lefty. (QED: Walter Cronkite and Dan Rather among many, many others, which is why it’s such a cliche.) Duke professor Jerry Hough is the very definition of politically correct; as Steve Hayward wrote yesterday at Power Line, in the 1980s, Hough’s anti-Reagan rhetoric was so extreme, “You wondered sometimes whether he was on the Soviets’ payroll.”

In other words, he’s MSNBC and NPR’s core demographic. Which is what makes Hough’s recent letter to the New York Times all the more powerful:

In 1965 the Asians were discriminated against as least as badly as blacks. That was reflected in the word “colored.” The racism against what even Eleanor Roosevelt called the yellow races was at least as bad.

So where are the editorials that say racism doomed the Asian-Americans. They didn’t feel sorry for themselves, but worked doubly hard.

I am a professor at Duke University. Every Asian student has a very simple old American first name that symbolizes their desire for integration. Virtually every black has a strange new name that symbolizes their lack of desire for integration. The amount of Asian-white dating is enormous and so surely will be the intermarriage. Black-white dating is almost non-existent because of the ostracism by blacks of anyone who dates a white.

It was appropriate that a Chinese design won the competition for the Martin Luther King [statue]. King helped them overcome. The blacks followed Malcolm X.

As Steve Hayward notes, “Hough is not backing down, sending a follow up comment to a local TV station:”

“I am strongly against the obsession with “sensitivity.” The more we have emphasized sensitivity in recent years, the worse race relations have become. I think that is not an accident. I know that the 60 years since the Montgomery bus boycott is a long time, and things must be changed. The Japanese and other Asians did not obsess with the concentration camps and the fact they were linked with blacks as “colored.” They pushed ahead and achieved. Coach K did not obsess with all the Polish jokes about Polish stupidity. He pushed ahead and achieved. And by his achievement and visibility, he has played a huge role in destroying stereotypes about Poles. Many blacks have done that too, but no one says they have done as well on the average as the Asians. In my opinion, the time has come to stop talking incessantly about race relations in general terms as the President and activists have advocated, but talk about how the Asians and Poles got ahead—and to copy their approach. I don’t see why that is insensitive or racist.”

Sadly, those two statements read as remarkably truthful words concerning the last 70 years of assimilation and advancement and the lack thereof, so naturally, the left are already attempting to devour Hough for his comments. But at age 80, presumably with a fabulous pension, what can they do to him? As Glenn Reynolds writes, “Even being an old commie apologist isn’t enough to keep you from being savaged over this badthink. But if you can’t say what you believe is true when you’re an 80-year-old professor, when can you?”

‘Why Does the Left Kowtow to Islam?’

May 19th, 2015 - 6:27 pm

In the 1930s as a result of a rival faction of socialists having seized control of post-Weimar Germany, the founders of the leftwing Frankfurt School fled to America. By the fall of 1941, several of the Frankfurt School big boys eventually wound up in southern California, as a New York Times writer noted in 2010, in a passage much beloved for its deadpan irony by the late Andrew Breitbart:

The Frankfurt School of philosophers emigrated from Nazi Germany and became dyspeptic critics of American culture. Several landed in Southern California where they were disturbed by the consumer culture and the gospel of relentless cheeriness. Depressive by nature, they focused on the disappointments and venality that surrounded them and how unnecessary it all was. It could be paradise, Theodor Adorno complained, but it was only California.

Just as a reminder, this was at very pinnacle of the film industry’s studio system, a period in which Hollywood was routinely cranking out such titles as Gone with the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, Fantasia, Pinocchio, Stagecoach, Citizen Kane, the Thin Man movies, and dozens and dozens of other classic audience-pleasing films.

“But it was only California.”

As Andrew Breitbart wrote in his 2011 book Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World:

We always feel that our incredible traditions of freedom and liberty will convert those who show up on our shores, that they will appreciate the way of life we have created—isn’t that why they wanted to come here in the first place? We can’t imagine anyone coming here, experiencing the true wonder that is living in this country, and wanting to destroy that. But that’s exactly what the Frankfurt School wanted to do.

These were not happy people looking for a new lease on life. When they moved to California, they simply couldn’t deal with the change of scenery—there was cognitive dissonance. Horkheimer and Adorno and depressive allies like Bertolt Brecht moved into a house in Santa Monica on Twenty-sixth Street, coincidentally, the epicenter of my childhood. They had moved to heaven on earth from Nazi Germany and apparently could not handle the fun, the sun, and the roaring good times. Ingratitude is not strong enough a word to describe these hideous malcontents.

If only they had had IKEA furniture, this would have made for a fantastic season of The Real World.

Brecht and his ilk were the Kurt Cobains of their day: massively depressed, nihilistic people who wore full suits in eighty-degree weather while living in a house by the beach.

And the socialist Frankfurt School set about in earnest poisoning the idea of freedom and democracy in America, despite America having taken them in from National Socialist totalitarianism in Germany.

Nearly a decade later, as Mark Steyn noted last year, “a young middle-class Egyptian spending some time in the US had the misfortune to be invited to a dance one weekend,” and like the emigres of the Frankfurt Institute, was similarly “horrified at what he witnessed,” in which another Hollywood product again inadvertently played a leading role, causing our “young middle-class Egyptian” to feverishly write:

The room convulsed with the feverish music from the gramophone. Dancing naked legs filled the hall, arms draped around the waists, chests met chests, lips met lips . . .

Where was this den of debauchery? Studio 54 in the 1970s? Haight-Ashbury in the summer of love? No, the throbbing pulsating sewer of sin was Greeley, Colorado, in 1949. As it happens, Greeley, Colorado, in 1949 was a dry town. The dance was a church social. And the feverish music was “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” as introduced by Esther Williams in “Neptune’s Daughter.” Revolted by the experience, Sayyid Qutb decided that America (and modernity in general) was an abomination, returned to Egypt, became the leading intellectual muscle in the Muslim Brotherhood, and set off a chain that led from Qutb to Zawahiri to bin Laden to the Hindu Kush to the Balkans to 9/11 to the brief Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt to the Islamic State marching across Syria and Iraq. Indeed, Qutb’s view of the West is the merest extension of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” — America as the ultimate seducer, the Great Satan.

I’m a reasonable chap, and I’d be willing to meet the Muslim Brotherhood chaps halfway on a lot of the peripheral stuff like beheadings, stonings, clitoridectomies and whatnot. But you’ll have to pry “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” from my cold dead hands and my dancing naked legs. A world without “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” would be very cold indeed.

I know it’s taken me a while to get there, but I wanted to set the stage for Robert Tracinski’s new article at the Federalist, in which Tracinski asks The question of the 21st century West, in both America and Europe: “Why Does the Left Kowtow to Islam?”

You might suspect that the question answers itself. They kowtow to Islam precisely because it is a real threat, a macroaggression that trumps all of the microaggressions. So you could say that it is simple cowardice. They protest against people they know are extremely unlikely to harm them, and they shut up about the fanatics who might actually follow through on their threats.

But I don’t think that’s the fundamental cause. After all, most lefties are not being called upon to take any personal risk, because somebody else has already stuck his neck out. Drawing or publishing a cartoon of Mohammed might get you put on an al-Qaeda hit list. Simply saying that you support the cartoonist’s defiance of that threat won’t get you on anybody’s list.

In fact, a running theme of the left’s arguments, repeated with a great deal of apparent sincerity, is the notion that it is irrational to fear Islam, that describing the religion as violent and dangerous is “Islamophobia.” They seem to have largely talked themselves into believing that they have nothing personally to fear from Islam. Jihadists may throw gays off of buildings in Syria, but it can’t happen here.

This is nonsense, of course, but it is revealing of the mindset. They actually talk themselves into believing that “censorship of LGBT artists” is an equal or even greater threat, far more urgent than anything having to do with Islam. For the left, the main source of evil in the world always comes from within America and from within the West, never outside of it.

Read the whole thing, which traces the weird twists of the leftwing history from its original “Progressive” era at the dawn of the 2oth century to today. And to bring this post full circle, note that as Glenn Reynolds wrote in response to photos of Iranian and Afghani women pre-Ayatollah and pre-Taliban strutting their stuff in mini-skirts, high-heels and uncovered Liza Minnelli-inspired hairdos, “In the 1950s Western culture was confident, and thus widely imitated. Our cultural leaders soon fixed that.”

Sayyid Qutb, Osama bin Laden, and the Ayatollah Khomeini couldn’t have “fundamentally transformed” the Middle East without them.

Update (5/20/15): “Confirmed: Bin Laden was into conspiracy theories, including 9/11 conspiracy theories,” Allahpundit writes today at Hot Air:

That’s the choicest morsel from this morning’s kinda interesting but not terribly newsworthy document dump by the feds of what they found in Casa Osama. The SEALs reportedly took more than one million documents from the compound in 2011, including evidence of Al Qaeda’s relationships with Iran and Pakistan, but all the White House is comfortable with Americans knowing is the fact that Bin Laden read Noam Chomsky. Which we already knew, as if we couldn’t have guessed. (Chomsky returned the compliment after Bin Laden was killed, calling the operation a violation of international law and absolving Bin Laden of any role in 9/11.)

And as the Washington Post noted on October 1st 2010, “Osama bin Laden embraces his inner Al Gore” as well:

The al-Qaeda chief’s recorded messages are ordinarily calls to arms against the West, warning of apocalyptic consequences for enemies of his puritanical strain of Islam. But the latest message, released Friday, is instead devoted to the consequences of climate change.

But of course. He certainly worked hard to reduce lower Manhattan’s carbon footprint.

“Emma Sulkowicz, the Columbia University student who has carried a mattress around campus as part of an art project for the past year, has graduated. And she carried that mattress across the stage during the ceremony — to much applause,” Ashe Schow writes at the Washington Examiner. That stunt could end up being a very costly one for Columbia:

Paul Nungesser, the man she accused of raping her, and who was cleared by a campus hearing and the police, was forced to watch, having walked across the stage just a few minutes earlier.

Nungesser is now suing Columbia for facilitating a harassment campaign against him. He alleges in his lawsuit that by allowing and even praising Sulkowicz’s mattress project, the school was complicit in defaming him.

On Monday, Columbia circulated an email banning students from bringing large objects to graduation. It appeared at the time that Sulkowicz was being disallowed from carrying her mattress across the stage. But evidently, that was not the case.

Allowing Sulkowicz to carry her mattress may have helped Nungesser’s case in court, as the school made clear that large objects were banned but then did nothing to stop Sulkowicz.

Nungesser’s lawyer, Kimberly Lau, told the Washington Examiner that Columbia’s acceptance of Sulkowicz’s graduation stunt was “absurd” and would help her client’s case.

“This goes beyond mere facilitation; they have now granted a special exception,” Lau said.

Meanwhile, Samantha Power, the ambassador to the United Nations for America’s self-proclaimed “blank screen” of a president praised Sulkowicz’s wacky primitivism in her Sunday commencement address to Bernard College, Paul Mirengoff writes at Power Line, quoting a Daily Caller report that “Power also suggested that Afghanistan is superior to the United States in at least one way in terms of women’s rights because women currently hold 28 percent of the seats in Afghanistan’s parliament.” * As Mirengoff writes:

For context, the Daily Caller’s Owens reminds us that the Barnard students whom Power addressed have just received an education that costs $250,000. This does not include four years of off-campus expenses in New York City or the expenses incurred during jaunts in exciting study-abroad locales such as France and Spain.

In war-torn Afghanistan, gross national income per capita is approximately $1,960, according to Owens.

But maybe college campuses are war zones for females students. Power suggested as much when she invoked the case of Emma Sulkowicz, a student across the street at Columbia University who carried a mattress around campus on her back all year to protest the school’s handling of her rape allegation.

As I discussed yesterday, however, Sulkowicz’s allegation is almost certainly false. A campus tribunal found no merit in it.

Moreover, the cleared male student has produced numerous text messages and social media conversations from before and after the night when Sulkowicz claims he raped her. The messages undermine her claim by showing that Sulkowicz made comments about having anal sex with the male student before the night when she says he anally raped her. She also messaged him several times after that night suggesting that they should meet up.

Is Power aware that Sulkowicz’s rape allegation has been discredited? One hopes not.

Mirengoff describes Power as “the poster child for the smear America, moral equivalence brand of leftism,” but there are plenty of others who vie for that award in Mr. Obama’s far left, radical chic-obsessed administration.

* Shades of HSBC’s ad campaign praising Iran’s pro-feminist film industry!

48 Reasons to Distrust & Despise the Media

May 19th, 2015 - 12:15 pm

“I’m With the Media, Screw You,” the late Newsweek bureau chief Ginny Carroll publicly admitted on C-Span to wearing at the 1992 GOP convention, neatly summing up her industry’s attitude to conservatives, their audience, and the truth. At Big Journalism today, John Nolte has a must-read “Scandal Rap Sheet: 48 Reasons to Distrust & Despise the Media,”  a chronological look back at how the MSM as lied about some of the biggest events of the last two decades.

From NBC News rigging a pick-up truck in 1992 to explode on impact with another vehicle and Newsweek spiking the Lewinsky scandal in 1998, to the L.A. Times assisting Barack Obama by  burying the Rashid Khalidi tape a decade later, and George Stephanopoulos burying his contributions to his former employer’s slush fund earlier this month.

Plus 44 other examples of media malfeasance, from some of the biggest names in news, many of whom still hold themselves out as being “objective,” a reactionary vestigial boast held over from the FDR-era, during the the days where there were only three national radio networks.

These days, as Elizabeth Price Foley wrote this morning at Instapundit, “Mainstream media has died.  RIP.  All that’s left now is a bunch of progressive/liberal zombies out for ideological flesh. Most people know better than to listen to them anymore.”

Well, except for those millions of everyday hard working voters who get their only news from TV at 6:00 or 11:00 PM.

Which is why the lies go on:

(And yes, the far left Salon did eventually add an “alleged” to its headline, but only after being called out.)

The 1.6 Percent Versus the World

May 18th, 2015 - 5:14 pm

“No one knows the exact figure, but a decent estimate tells us that there are about 900,000 police officers in the United States,” Richard Epstein wrote earlier this month at the Hoover Institute, after the radical left’s latest attempt to wage war against them, in Baltimore.

In a post titled “Police and Transgenderism” on his personal blog, Jonathan Last of the Weekly Standard noted what else that number allegedly corresponds to:

The reason [Epstein's quote] jumped out at me is that in writing about the transgender debacle at Smith College I took a brief detour to look at the estimates activists give us for transgender numbers in the United States. The line they push is 0.3 percent of the population. That may seem small, but keep in mind that gay-rights activists spent a generation insisting that 10 percent of the population is gay, but the real number turns out to be 1.6 percent.

So in order for us to believe that 0.3 percent of America is transgender we’d have to believe that there’s one transgendered American for every five gay Americans. Or, to put it in another context, we’d have to believe that there are as many transgendered Americans as there are police officers.

About a decade ago at NRO, Jonah Goldberg explored the radical contrast between today’s “Progressives” and how their New Deal/postwar equivalents defined the words “reasonable man” when it came to shaping society:

Today that corrosion takes a predictable form: the overthrow of the reasonable man. Now, I’m not talking about liability or torts or any of that stuff, because I don’t know much about it. I’m talking about the larger societal standards that come with the erosion of authority and how they creep into our law and our culture. The reasonable man was a composite, a statistical average of the aggregate human decency necessary to sustain a society. The reasonable man’s behavior was the group average of moral conduct in a very moral country. Today, all of our arguments are about how much the society must bend to the behaviors and attitudes of the man of the fringe, the outlier, the arrow that sails farthest from the bulls-eye. Schools are paralyzed by the question of what to do about the atheist, the homosexual, the handicapped, while the average kids–i.e., most of them–are given short shrift. Abortion has stalemated the political system for a generation because the debate must be over what to do in the extreme circumstances; the famously horrible trinity of abortion legalizers everywhere: rape, incest, and the life of the mother. Roughly 90 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas in one way or another, but every year we must haggle about what to do for the thin-skinned atheist who withers from the glare of a nativity scene.

* * * * * * *
Now none of this should be interpreted as a stirring defense of conformity or a denunciation of anyone who might be a square peg in my ideal society of round holes. What a decent, prosperous, historically Christian Anglo-Saxon liberal society should do to accommodate gays, atheists, Jews, Muslims, foreigners, the handicapped, et al. are entirely appropriate questions to spend time and resources on. After all, there is no American who perfectly incarnates the external standard of the average American. We are all scattered plot points on the cluster graph. Groups are made richer by their diversity.

But, as liberals are wont to do, they are once again smashing their own accomplishments. The story of liberalism, after all, is the story of intellectuals building castles and then destroying them a generation later because they believe something new–and therefore more exciting and “better”–can be made with the rubble. Today’s heirs to the Pragmatists want nothing to do with “reasonable men” and “community norms.” For Holmes the norm and the ideal were roughly synonymous. For today’s liberal they are antipodes. The deviant are the role models, the outliers the heroes. And we never could have replaced the old morality with this new stuff if we hadn’t thought we could do without fatty, flabby morality in the first place.

But hey, how else can the left stay in power, except by constantly moving the goalposts, causing the Stupid Party to constantly refight battles on their terms?

“In my experience, people argue identity when they don’t want to argue policy. And the reason they don’t want to argue policy, usually, is that they’re wrong,” Glenn Reynolds writes in USA Today:

But in arguing that everyone who disagrees with them is a racist, or a sexist, or a tool of Big Money, or whatever, the Democrats run the risk of self-destruction. This is basically what happened to the the Labour Party in Britain: A reliance on easy tropes that please the base but alienate other voters.

As Daniel Hannan notes: “When leftists attack the Tories, they’re not just having a go at 300 MPs, or 100,000 party members: They’re scorning everyone who has contemplated supporting the party. … How do you think this sort of thing goes down, not only with anyone who has ever voted Conservative, but with moderate people who, though they haven’t voted Tory themselves, have friends and family who have? When you adopt a bullying tone, you find that 1) voters don’t like it; 2) you solidify the other side’s core support; and 3) some people hide their voting intentions.”

Likewise, to many prominent Democrats and supporters have spent the past six years calling everyone who doesn’t agree with Obama a racist. Now some of the same folks are gearing up to call everyone who doesn’t support Clinton (or, perhaps, Warren, the backup-Hillary) a sexist. For instance, one group of Hillary supporters makes the preposterous claim that saying she is “out of touch” or ‘insincere” reflects a sexist worldview. This technique worked pretty well so far for Obama’s presidency, but it now seems to be wearing thin, even within the Democratic Party.

The 2016 election is still more than a year a way. It’s not too late for the Democrats to start arguing policy. But if they want to stick with shouting about identity, well, the Republicans may be happy to let them.

Have at it with gusto, boys and girls on left — but for the rest of us, remember that the American left argued identity politics amongst themselves in 2007 and 2008 as well — recall Obama and his allies declaring Hillary’s primary voters — their fellow Democrats –as racist bigoted white males and even smearing Bill and Hillary themselves as racists. Many of the same leftists who wrote the most vicious attacks against Hillary in 2008 are wildly supporting her today in classic Oceania versus Eastasia versus Eurasia fashion. In other words, pass the popcorn — but wait until mid-November of 2016 before assessing just how damaging the left’s internecine struggle has been to its presidential election chances.

Related: “If you replace ‘men’ with ‘Jews,’ a huge percentage of Tumblr becomes Nazi propaganda.”

Unexpectedly.

Mad Men Blessedly Comes to a Conclusion

May 17th, 2015 - 9:00 pm

On Sunday, I watched an overlong, over-budget, exceedingly pretentious production about insensitive, inarticulate men in dark suits, fedoras and skinny ties whose upbringing left them unable to cope with the fast-changing urban milieu in which they toiled for their living.

But enough about the Blues Brothers movie, which I saw at the local Cinemark theater as their weekly revival showing. I think this was the first time I saw it on the big screen, after seeing it on TV a zillion times.

At two and a half hours long, The Blues Brothers was a huge, over-weighted Hindenburg of a film, but filled with terrific music numbers, a killer band, and in retrospect was the last great movie John Belushi made before substance abuse on a massive scale did him in.

As for Mad Men, having watched it religiously from its very first episode, it has been the most frustrating TV series I’ve ever consumed. Loved the concept, loved the setting, loved the production design, loved the costumes, and loved the cast, but the glacial pacing of the series and the missed opportunities have made it so painful to watch. With traditional TV fare, the writing and the series were inseparable. But I would have loved to have seen a series in which this cast and this setting were better employed.

Mad Men could have been the perfect show to comment on what drove the fast-paced radical change of the 1960s, just as Oliver Stone’s Wall Street explored the financial industry of the 1980s, but instead, producer / creator /primary writer Matthew Weiner was far more interested in the interpersonal relationship of his characters rather than social commentary. Which seems odd, since an ad agency by its nature would have to know what’s driving the changes in the media overculture in order to exploit the current trends with effective advertising for its customers.

But on Mad Men, particularly once the show left the comparatively cool and exotic early JFK-era ‘60s for the Beatles-era ‘60s that Boomers have made the history of the decade, what drove that era was virtually ignored.

Take the Beatles themselves. When they touched down in New York in early 1964, this Newsweek description summed up the conventional American wisdom of the times:

Visually they are a nightmare: tight, dandified, Edwardian-Beatnik suits and great pudding bowls of hair. Musically they are a near-disaster: guitars and drums slamming out a merciless beat that does away with secondary rhythms, harmony, and melody. Their lyrics (punctuated by nutty shouts of “yeah, yeah, yeah!”) are a catastrophe, a preposterous farrago of Valentine-card romantic sentiments.

Inside the cocoon they quickly built to protect them from their crazed fans, the Beatles were four remarkably talented young musicians with an equally gifted record producer. They didn’t simply magically parachute in one day to then-newly-renamed JFK airport; as Kathy Shaidle recently noted, Capitol records spent “$50,000 in New York City alone to promote their first American visit — ten times the amount usually budgeted for new bands.” That’s the equivalent of $375,000 in today’s money, “which buys a lot of Beatle wigs and bobble heads.”

How significantly did Capitol get behind the Beatles? Mark Steyn tells the story of Nat “King” Cole, who helped put Capitol on the map as an American superstar in the 1950s, calling up his record label in 1964 and recoiling in disgust when the receptionist answered the phone, “Capitol Records, home of the Beatles.”

That would be a great advertising story, but instead, the Beatles and Stones simply magically begin to appear in the Mad Men universe once Kennedy is shot.

(And Kennedy’s Cold War assassination was the signature moment of the 1960s, which the series dealt with in surprisingly rote fashion with one of their most conventional episodes, instead of exploring the ripples of change and cognitive dissonance amongst America’s left his death at the hands of a Marxist true believer set in motion.)

Another advertising story never told occurs in one of the series’ last episodes, set in 1970, which revolves around Betty Draper learning that a neighbor’s son, who had a serious crush (and a seriously creepy one) on Betty in the show’s first season, is now of college age and about to serve in Vietnam.  The episode ends with Betty’s youngest son running through the kitchen playing with a plastic toy machine gun, which she grabs and throws into the garbage bin in anger and disgust. As a metaphor, that shot reflects the early political correctness that the toy industry was wrestling with at time — knuckling to leftwing activists, Mattel stopped producing its toy version of the Army’s M-16 rifle. And while Hasbro’s GI Joe action figure got to keep his guns, the toy manufacturer recast him and his sidekicks from patriotic pro-American fighting men, to paramilitary adventurers and a rescue force largely absent from the battlefield, lest young children thought that helping President Nixon fight communism in Southeast Asia was a good thing.

Pages: 1 2 | 31 Comments bullet bullet

Blog Comment of the Day

May 16th, 2015 - 7:18 pm

Responding to a Time article titled “Terrorists’ most powerful recruiting tool: Boredom,” which significantly downplays the role of The Religion that Must Not Be Named, a commenter at Hot Air writes:

1. Most twentysomethings in the region are like teenagers in the West; they think they’re immortal, they’re easily bored, and they have chips on their shoulders. They are also poorly educated- even the ones with university degrees, which are worth about as much as one from an Ivy League school today.

2. They are nurtured in a culture which rejects modernity, considers blood feuds a duty, is somewhat more superstitious than the average New Age crystal-gazer, and has an almost infinite set of rules imposed by society, the infraction of the least of which generally results in mutilation or death.

3. They are constantly told that all the ills they see around them are caused, not by their culture, which is Perfect, but by other cultures, which are Evil.

4. Their culture also teaches that any normal sexual urge toward a woman is unclean, and since the woman is at fault, she must be punished for “tempting” the Holy Male.

5. On top of all this psychosis, they learn that by becoming jihadi “holy warriors”, they can make the entire world Perfect. And incidentally, instead of being stoned to death for looking at a girl the wrong way, they can do the stoning. Especially stoning women. And oh yes, that rape (of women, girls, boys, etc.) is perfectly OK as long as it is an “act of Holy War” outside the Faith, and absolutely OK inside said Faith because as “holy warriors” they are a privileged caste.

Put it all together, and becoming a “holy warrior” looks entirely reasonable. Among other things, if anything pisses you off, for any reason, you just kill somebody. Anybody. Immediate catharsis.

NB; The similarities between Islam, progressivism in general, deep-ecology progressivism in particular, and progressive-approved minority gang “philosophy” specifically, are almost too obvious to note.

And both religions maintain seemingly moderate public fronts who work very hard at hiding their radical ideology’s true agendas.

guggenheim_museum_interior_5-15-15-1

(Photo by Shutterstock.com.)

“Guggenheim accused of racism after high school kids are booted,” the New York Post reports, complete with the horrible pun, right in the lede that “It’s a Guggen-crime:”

The Upper East Side museum banned a Brooklyn high school for life after its students were deemed too rowdy on a recent visit — a move that some call discipline and others discrimination.

A group of about 80 kids from Downtown Brooklyn’s Science Skills Center HS were kicked out after just 20 minutes after a student allegedly spat off the museum’s swirling rotunda lobby and another threw a penny off its winding walkway. The coin was rumored to have hit a security guard.

It was only a handful of troublemakers, but the whole group of ninth- and 10-graders got the boot, with the museum forcing them to wait outside for an hour for their bus to arrive.

Many never got to glimpse the gallery’s Picassos, van Goghs and Monets or even finish checking out the main display by Japanese artist On Kawara.

“I thought, if anything, they [museum staff] should just tell the teachers to control the children more and let us finish the exhibit, but they didn’t even do that. They just kicked us out,” said student Yosmeris Martinez, 14, from East New York.

Shortly afterward, the school was told it was not welcome back.

Just last week, First Lady Michelle Obama pleaded for art institutions to be more welcoming of kids from all backgrounds.

Naturally, because of the timing of that rant by “the first lady of microaggressions,” the uber-leftists at the Guggenheim were immediately accused of the macro-aggression of raaaaacism, as the left continues its process of slowly devouring itself. Likely as a result of all of the bad press, the museum very quickly recanted its ban. But for anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the birth of modern art, the whole incident has a Strangelove-esque, “You can’t tussle here, this is a modern art museum!” feel to it.

To understand why, recall what Tom Wolfe wrote in his classic essay on “The Great Relearning,” from his 2000 Hooking Up anthology, and its leitmotif of “Starting from zero.”

As Wolfe noted, while on a field trip to the west coast as a reporter in 1968, he “came across a curious footnote to the hippie movement” at the Haight-Ashbury Free Clinic, where doctors were treating “diseases that had disappeared so long ago they had never even picked up Latin names, diseases such as the mange, the grunge, the itch, the twitch, the thrush, the scroll, the rot.” They had reappeared thanks to the hippie movement’s mass communal living and “free love:”

The hippies sought nothing less than to sweep aside all codes and restraints of the past and start out from zero. At one point the novelist Ken Kesey, leader of a commune called the Merry Pranksters, organized a pilgrimage to Stonehenge with the idea of returning to Anglo-Saxon civilization’s point zero, which he figured was Stonehenge, and heading out all over again to do it better. Among the codes and restraints that people in the communes swept aside—quite purposely—were those that said you shouldn’t use other people’s toothbrushes or sleep on other people’s mattresses without changing the sheets or, as was more likely, without using any sheets at all, or that you and five other people shouldn’t drink from the same bottle of Shasta or take tokes from the same cigarette. And now, in 1968, they were relearning . . . the laws of hygiene . . . by getting the mange, the grunge, the itch, the twitch, the thrush, the scroff, the rot.

This process, namely the relearning—following a Promethean and unprecedented start from zero—seems to me to be the leitmotif of the twenty-first century in America. “Start from zero” was the slogan of the Bauhaus School. The story of how the Bauhaus, a tiny artists’ movement in Germany in the 1920s, swept aside the architectural styles of the past and created the glass-box face of the modern American city during the twentieth century is a familiar one, and I won’t retell it. But I should mention the soaring spiritual exuberance with which the movement began, the passionate conviction of the Bauhaus’s leader, Walter Gropius, that by starting from zero in architecture and design man could free himself from the dead hand of the past. By the late 1970s, however, architects themselves were beginning to complain of the dead hand of the Bauhaus: the flat roofs, which leaked from rain and collapsed from snow; the tiny bare beige office cubicles, which made workers feel like component parts; the glass walls, which let in too much heat, too much cold, too much glare, and no air at all. The relearning is now under way in earnest. The architects are busy rummaging about in what the artist Richard Merkin calls the Big Closet. Inside the Big Closet, in promiscuous heaps, are the abandoned styles of the past. The current favorite rediscoveries: Classical, Georgian, Secession, and Moderne (Art Deco). Relearning on the wing, the architects are off on a binge of eclecticism comparable to the Victorian period’s 125 years ago.

As Wolfe noted, “In politics the twentieth century’s great start from zero was one-party socialism, also known as Communism or Marxism-Leninism,” which Barack Obama’s parents and other early influences were very much in favor of, and which invariably lead to the Gulag.

But while international socialist Russia and later national socialist Germany were getting an education in the ultimate definition of conformity, in the west, modern artists were casting off old rules — starting from zero — and specializing in the notion of épater les bourgeois — shocking the bourgeois. That style of art began with Marcel Duchamp’s urinal — and as seen in the photos of say, Robert Mapplethorpe in the 1970s and ’80s, or Andres Serrano’s infamous “Piss Christ” never left the men’s room. In his G-File last week, Jonah Goldberg wrote, “back in the ’80s and ’90s, the whole point of subsidizing art was to pay for stuff that offended, shocked, and stretched the boundaries (and, occasionally, sphincters) of society:”

As is almost always the case, what this actually meant was that it must shock the right kinds of people: bourgeois fuddy-duddies and fusspots, squares, and scriveners, men in gray flannel suits and bible-thumpers of all sorts.

Many on the left still like doing that, of course. But there’s a problem. It turns out that there are lots of people who are even more shockable than white, Christian men and the women who love them. After so many years of the Left focusing on making Uptighty-Whitey blush, social conservatives have grown a pretty thick skin about such mockery. Meanwhile the same feminists who clapped with glee as Karen Finley rubbed chocolate-qua-feces over her body to symbolize the way women are treated — and rushed to her defense when she sued the federal government to pay her to do it — don’t much like it when anybody else says things they don’t like. And unlike conservatives, mainstream liberals have rice-paper thin skin about such things, which is why some think Joss Whedon fled Twitter this week.

(When Finley and the “NEA Four” lost their lawsuit at the Supreme Court, Justice Scalia wrote: “Avant-garde artistes such as respondents remain entirely free to épater les bourgeois; they are merely deprived of the additional satisfaction of having the bourgeoisie taxed to pay for it.” This proved yet again that Scalia is a hoss.)

The notion that certain anointed people have a right not to be offended has spread with the ineluctable logic of a cancer cell. One need only look at the reception Christina Hoff Sommers gets on college campuses to appreciate how times have changed. She gets bodyguards to protect her from physical attacks while the delicate little flowers get “safe spaces” where they are protected from words — facts, actually — they do not like.

And the curators of the Guggeinheim get the vapors when they encounter kids who employ a little épater les bourgeois of their own.

Of course, likely the kids weren’t taught acceptable behavior in school — but again, the early modernists would cheer that as well. In her 1938 manifesto Three Guineas, modernist author Virginia Woolf was succinct in her proposed antidote to existing forms of education: “rags. petrol. matches,” as Theodore Dalrymple wrote in 2002:

Mrs. Woolf’s ideal college—the kind that would prevent rather than promote wars—would not be in any way elitist. It would “not [be] parcelled out into the miserable distinctions of rich and poor, of clever and stupid.” It would, rather, be a place “where all the different degrees and kinds of mind, body and soul met and co-operated.” It would be entirely nonjudgmental, even as to intellect. For her, the urge to compete does not inhere in man’s nature, nor does it result in anything other than violent strife. Henceforth, there is to be no testing oneself against the best, with the possibility, even the likelihood, of failure: instead, one is perpetually to immerse oneself in the tepid bath of self-esteem, mutual congratulation, and benevolence toward all.

Of course, it is a mistake to suppose that a hypothetical future state of perfect toleration means toleration in or of the present: far from it. Mrs. Woolf would not let her opponents, or those who think differently, live in peace: on the page after the last marked by Michel Leiris, she gives full expression to her slash-and-burn concept of cultural renewal: “No guinea of earned money should go to rebuilding the college on the old plan. . . . [T]herefore the guinea should be earmarked ‘Rags. Petrol. Matches.’ And this note should be attached to it. ‘Take this guinea and with it burn the college to the ground. Set fire to the old hypocrisies. Let the light of the burning building scare the nightingales and incarnadine the willows. And let the daughters of educated men dance round the fire and heap armful upon armful of dead leaves upon the flames. And let their mothers lean from the upper windows [before, presumably, being burned to death] and cry “Let it blaze! Let it blaze! For we have done with this education!”’”

What happens when generations take the notion of “starting from zero,” burning all the old forms, and all of the old customs? I’m not sure why the Guggenheim should temporarily banish kids for their boorish behavior — when the people who painted the paintings on the wall of their museum would surely approve of it entirely.

Tough Week for Rolling Stone

May 15th, 2015 - 2:52 pm

“Jann Wenner started off the week by getting hit with a $7.5 million lawsuit for publishing a bunch of lies about a gang-rape that never happened,” Jim Treacher writes at the Daily Caller. “Now he’s ending it with the news that his boyfriend Jahar has been sentenced to death.”

Treacher offers a “A Long-Distance Dedication” to the beleaguered far left publisher. At the start of last year, one of Rolling Stone’s writers wrote a reactionary screed straight out of the Communist Manifesto, with more than a hint of Bane-style punitive malice against those who have achieved wealth and property. You know, like Jann Wenner. Ironically, the lawsuits against the magazine for its University of Virginia rape fantasies could go a long way towards Wenner inadvertently living out his loopier journalists’ socialist redistributionist fantasies.

Great Moments in Self-Awareness

May 15th, 2015 - 11:07 am

Or the lack thereof:

Despite this outrageous setup and all the attention to it over the past 20 years, the status quo is still firmly entrenched, especially when it comes to health research. All of us — physicians, policymakers, journalists, curious patients — can’t access many of the latest research findings, unless we fork over a hefty sum or it happens to be published in an open-access journal.

Because of these now well-known problems, it’s not unusual to hear statements like those from The Lancet editor Richard Horton that ”Much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue.” He continued: “Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.”

“Science is often flawed. It’s time we embraced that,” GE-funded Vox.com, today.

You know what other “literature” may simply be untrue? The material published by the JuiceVoxers themselves. Just ask ‘em:

yglesias_sophistry_8-10

(H/T: Small Dead Animals; as one of the commenters notes, “What an odd story to be published in Vox since their history is steeped in ‘the science is settled.’”)

Two Condé Nasts in One!

May 14th, 2015 - 7:23 pm

Now is the time when we juxtapose, Small Dead Animals-style:

Data center emissions account for small percentage of global emissions, Greenpeace information technology analyst Gary Cook tells us. That’s not much compared to 14 percent that goes towards agriculture or the 13 percent that goes to transportation. But data center emissions are growing by at least 13 percent per year, Cook says. And within two years, information technology in general, including manufacturing servers and other gear, is expected to be to account for between seven and 12 percent of all electrical use, according the report.

Data centers are expected to account for about 21 percent of that usage, mostly because of the explosive demand for streaming video. Cook explains that even though streaming can offset some emissions, such as the manufacture and delivery of DVDs or BluRay disks, the convenience of streaming is leading us to consume more content. Instead of buying a few videos and watching them again and again, we’re now binge-watching entire seasons of shows in a sitting, which ends up creating a bigger carbon footprint overall.

“Your binge-watching is making the planet warmer,” Wired magazine, owned by Condé Nast publications. (Link safe; goes to excerpt at Hot Air.)

Condé Nast Entertainment has begun streaming more than 600 episodes of digital video content on Roku, the “over the top” set-top box that streams programming to the Internet. “CNE now produces up to 40 new episodes a week on a growing portfolio of regular shows,” writes Steve Smith.

And in mid-March the glossy publisher’s Brides magazine will begin streaming its second version of “Brides Live Wedding,”  a weekly Web series “where readers can plan a couple’s wedding via social media by voting on everything from the dress to the flowers,”  writes Lucia Moses in Adweek. “Every aspect of the wedding will have a sponsor, from the registry (Target) to hair and beauty (Neutrogena) and wedding bands (Simon G.).”

“Conde Nast Starts Streaming Digital Content On Roku,” MediaPost, December 9, 2013.

As the Insta-Professor likes to say, I’ll believe it’s a crisis when the people who tell me it’s a crisis start to act like it’s a crisis themselves. If Condé Nast don’t want to look like hypocrites, they need to not only immediately cease streaming their videos, but close down their Websites, which are also housed in data centers and server farms.

Flashback: From 2010, “Springtime for Algore:” Condé Nast’s Traveler‘s Romantic Pilgrimage to Germany’s ‘Eco–Anschluss.’

Amy Alkon, the “Advice Goddess” spots Jurassic lefty Todd Gitlin correctly reminding his readers that college education will often be “disturbing” by its very nature:

At Chronicle, in the wake of all the “trigger warnings” everywhere, Todd Gitlin gets it right on what a college education is supposed to be — disturbing:

No one ever promised that the truth would be comforting. History, Western and otherwise, is (among other things) a slaughterhouse. The record of civilization is a record of murder, rape, and sundry other brutalities. As for the discomfort that may be occasioned by the discovery — even the shock — of this record, discomfort is the crucible of learning. The world is disconcerting. The proper way to begin understanding it is to accept the unwritten contract of university education: I am here to be disturbed.

Where did this epidemic of thin-skinnedness come from? Gitlin’s not sure.

I suspect it’s a collision of feminism and other politically correct isms and helicopter parenting.

We live in America at a time of more physical ease than any other time in history, and what do we do? We use the extra time we have to gnash about how awful everything is.

College kids demanding “trigger warnings” be assigned to everything potential piece of literature they read is one part of this phenomenon, as Rd Brewer writes at Ace of Spades, with first-hand experience that “The thing is, triggering is a valid concept in psychology and counseling. But it has been swiped and used inappropriately:”

The concept of triggering is for those who are close to a person who is hurting: family members, close friends, and mental health professionals. It is for when you are knowingly dealing with someone who has a problem. If you know a topic, a word, or an image that might cause someone difficulty, you can avoid it. Accordingly, trigger warnings are for known situations where sufferers might encounter common triggers, like if you’re conducting a seminar for people with PTSD or writing a book for people with DID. Triggering is not a concern for the general public. You and I do not have to worry about triggering some unknown person. There is no way to trigger-proof our entire culture on the chance you might affect a stranger with an emotional or mental problem. And there is absolutely no need to worry about triggering Social Justice Warrior snowflakes and prudes. No one has to walk on eggshells around them. They need to learn to own their feelings.

Speech police types who use triggering improperly to shut down speech are misguided. Opposing political views should be discussed. Comedy does not have to be anodyne. Stories and movies need not be bland, and we do not need to live in a way that kowtows to those with aggressively delicate sensibilities. Unless you’re dealing with a family member or a friend who has a real problem, say what you want to say. Don’t allow the speech police to make fun, free expression taboo.

Maybe owning our feelings should become a thing again.

Well yes, when you make the cossetted boomer generation look like rugged individualists, it may be time to rethink things, as Purdue graduate student Fredrik deBoer writes. Walter Olson of Overlawyered.com describes deBoer’s post as the equivalent of “a prisoner’s note smuggled out from inside the current progressive discourse, particularly when deBoer concludes:

Criticism of today’s progressives tends to use words like toxic, aggressive, sanctimonious, and hypocritical. I would not choose any of those. I would choose lazy. We are lazy as political thinkers and we are lazy as culture writers and we are lazy as movement builders. We ward off criticism of our own bad work by acting like that criticism is inherently anti-feminist or anti-progressive. We seem spoiled, which seems insane because everything is messed up and so many things are getting worse. I guess having a Democratic president just makes people feel complacent. Well, look: as a political movement we are in pathetic shape right now. We not only have no capacity to move people who don’t already share our worldview, we seem to have no interest in doing so. Our stock arguments are lazy stacks of cliches. We seem to want to confirm everything conservatives say about our inability to argue without calling other people racist. We can’t articulate why our vision of the future is better than the other side’s, and in fact many of us will tell you that it’s offensive to think that we have an obligation to educate others on that vision at all. We celebrate grassroots activist movements like Black Lives Matter, but we insult them by treating them as the same thing as hashtag campaigns, and we don’t build a broader left-wing political movement that could increase their likelihood of success. We spend all day, every day, luxuriating in how much better we are than other people, having convinced ourselves that the work of politics is always external, never internal. We have made politics synonymous with social competition. We’re a mess.

If you want us to stop being a mess, you have to be willing to criticize, and you have to accept that every criticism of an ostensibly progressive argument is not some terrible political betrayal. Not everyone who complains about white people has enlightened racial attitudes. Not everyone who constantly drops “mansplaining” or “gaslighting” into conversation actually helps fight sexism. One-liners don’t build a movement. Being clever doesn’t fix the world. Scoring points on Twitter doesn’t create justice. Jokes make nothing happen. We’re speeding for a brutal backlash and inevitable political destruction, if not in 2016 then 2018 or 2020. If you want to help avoid that, I suggest you invest less effort in trying to be the most clever person on the internet and more on being the hardest working person in real life. And stop mistaking yourself for the movement.

Trigger warning: As long as the “backlash” isn’t physically brutal, as with the left on left rape camps of Occupy Wall Street and the (trigger warning: my copy of the Newspeak Dictionary is woefully out of date) thugs of Ferguson and Baltimore, I hope the coming backlash against the left is good and hard, as one early “Progressive” inspiration would say. Or at the very least, the rest of America simply tells the left to “Eff Off:”

All of this stuff stems from three impulses:

1) A desire to assume unearned moral superiority – I’m better than you
2) A desire to assume unearned prominence – I’m more important than you
3) A desire for attention – Look at me! Aren’t I special?

That’s what they’re looking for. Don’t give it to them. Don’t play their game, refuse to acknowledge that their game even exists. I just realized it right this second, but this is exactly what Breitbart did, and it drove them NUTS! They’re yapping on about the oppression of the 1% and he’s screaming “STOP RAPING PEOPLE!” in their face. He popped their bubble. He refused to acquiesce to their assumptions. He pointed out the reality they were purposefully attempting to ignore. Imagine how Andrew would have handled the VA frat rape hoax or the reaction to Christina Hoff Sommers’ speech.

Be Breitbart. And have fun with it. The meltdowns from the special snowflakes when you refuse to grant them what they assume is theirs by right of their magnificence are AWESOME.

Oh and by the way, in their meltdown over Christina Hoff Sommers, Oberlin students helpfully identified by name which students will need, to borrow from Amy’s terminology, big extra-cushy couches in particular when they enter the work force. Potential employers take note:

Related:  “When Politics Substitutes for Religion: Daniel Hannan: How the Left’s hatred devoured its own election campaign” in England.  And in the Weekly Standard, Mark Hemingway writes that “After years of relying on identity politics, Democrats no longer even know how to argue,” as they begin to devour themselves stateside.

 

 

The debris was still being cleared from last night’s Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia, which resulted in a a reported 140 injuries and seven deaths when the left began the cries of “more infrastructure spending!” Today, as Noah Rothman writes at Hot Air, “Hours after tragic train derailment, MSNBC ghoulishly uses it to advance a political agenda.” Because this is who they are, and that’s what they do:

In an awful tragedy, one particularly acute for New York City and Washington D.C. residents, an Amtrak train derailed on Tuesday night resulting in over 140 injuries and at least seven deaths. The bodies were still being collected when the hosts and guests of MSNBC’s Morning Joe appeared convinced that this tragedy could have been averted had the Congress passed massive spending measures aimed at repairing what Barack Obama contends is America’s “crumbling infrastructure.”

[Click over to Hot Air for the video]

In a compelling post, National Review’s Jonah Goldberg unloaded on the unfounded self-assuredness and the factually inaccurate assertions that characterized this segment. What’s more, he addressed the hideously ghoulish desire displayed this morning by these media figures to advance a political agenda on the heels of a bloody tragedy.

There’s this obsession, particularly on the East Coast, with moving lots of Americans around by train. The sophisticated Europeans do that, we should too. There’s so much know-nothingism at work here. In America we move stuff (i.e. freight) by rail and people by road (and plane). In Europe they do it the other way around. America’s freight rail system is the best in the world (which is why Warren Buffett keeps investing in it). The reasons for this arrangement have to do with population density, geography, etc. I’m not saying our passenger rail system couldn’t be better, particularly in the Northeast. But this idea that we’re falling behind China on infrastructure is ridiculous. Just because the Morning Joe crowd doesn’t care about our see the freight rail system, doesn’t mean we should obviously blow it up to turn it into a passenger rail system.

Goldberg’s post dismantled the pathology that compels partisans to insist that their pet cause would have prevented a heartbreaking disaster, even before an investigation into the incident has been conducted. These MSNBC personalities might have spared themselves quite a bit of embarrassment if they had checked NBC News’ website before launching into a diatribe loaded with familiar Democratic talking points. A source told NBC’s reporters on Wednesday morning that excessive speed, not America’s dated railway network, is most likely to blame for this tragedy.

The macabre instinct to politicize an ongoing tragedy has become a pattern for MSNBC hosts. In December of 2012, even while helicopters hovered over Sandy Hook Elementary School and ambulances raced to the scene of that horrible massacre, MSNBC host Alex Wagner consoled herself by noting that “hopefully” the shooting would provide Democrats with the “political capital” they need to pass new laws restricting gun ownership.

CNN is also quick to hop onboard this clown car, Ace writes:

Chris Cuomo has a textbook case of bias.

Previously, he’s dismissed speculating about possible terrorist involvement in murders claiming “no evidence” had yet been adduced to suggest that.

So he claimed, categorically, that it was improper to speculate about terrorist motive.

However, in the Amtrak case, without any evidence for it (and indeed mounting evidence against it) he gladly floats the speculation that allegedly low infrastructure spending was responsible for the derailment.

This is, as I say, a textbook form of bias, or, I should say, a textbook case of partisan behavior.

One important rule in any competition is this: What happens in ambiguous situations? I mean things like tie scores, but I also mean things like “What happens when replay review cannot conclusively establish what happened?”

Do you go with the original ruling, even if the replay suggests that’s wrong (while not conclusively demonstrating that)?

Because this is a breaking story, there are conflicting reports as to whether the engineer has talked to authorities after the crash. However, my colleague Stephen Kruiser spots a Philadelphia Inquirer story that claims he’s lawyered up for the upcoming investigation:

Investigators of Tuesday’s deadly Amtrak derailment say they are focusing on reports that the train was traveling more than twice the 50-mile-an-hour speed limit when it entered a sharp curve in Frankford.

An automatic train control system designed to prevent speeding was not in place where Amtrak Train 188 crashed, killing seven people and injuring more than 200.

The train’s engineer, who has not been identified, declined to give a statement to police investigators and left the East Detectives Division with an attorney, police commissioner Charles H. Ramsey said Wednesday.

And Stephen adds “In news that may or may not be related, a Philadelphia commuter train was struck by a projectile about twenty minutes before the Amtrak derailment and fairly close by.”

I’ll be curious to see what “projectile” ends up being. In the northeast corridor rocks being thrown at trains by vandals is a somewhat common phenomenon. (Hence the metal grills that covered many locomotive windshields operating in that region in the 1970s and ’80s.)

Related: While Twitter had many early updates on the train crash yesterday, including photos taken by passengers inside the passenger cars themselves, the desire for the mob to find fresh victims to shame resulted in this ghoulish incident that occurred immediately after the crash. As the London Daily Mail notes, “Washington National Opera violinist Jennifer Kim was among the 238 passengers” last night. She triggered the mob into full-blown BURN THE WITCH mode, when immediately after the crash, she tweeted, “thanks a lot for derailing my train. Can I please get my violin back from the 2nd car of the train?”

It’s very likely an ancient Stradivarius or similarly valuable instrument, and in any case, she was probably in shock from the crash. But the Twitter mob needs to be fed — and just as they did last week when the paper blamed Pam Geller for the Islamofascists who tried to kill her and other attendees over cartoon drawings, the London Daily Mail is blaming the victim’s actions for the Twitter mob that descended on her. Kim quickly deleted her Twitter account, adding to her stress just hours after surviving the derailment.

“The University of Virginia dean accused by Rolling Stone of being indifferent toward sexual assault survivors is now suing the magazine,” Ashe Schow writes at the Washington Examiner, who notes that Associate dean of students Nicole Eramo is “seeking nearly $8 million in damages for its portrayal of her:”

“Rolling Stone and [writer Sabrina Rubin] Erdely’s highly defamatory and false statements about Dean Eramo were not the result of an innocent mistake,” the lawsuit states, according to a copy obtained by the Washington Post. “They were the result of a wanton journalist who was more concerned with writing an article that fulfilled her preconceived narrative about the victimization of women on American college campuses, and a malicious publisher who was more concerned about selling magazines to boost the economic bottom line for its faltering magazine, than they were about discovering the truth or actual facts.”

Eramo was the only named “villain” of the Rolling Stone story about a brutal gang rape at U.Va. She was described as being callously indifferent to sexual assault accusations because, according to the accuser in the now-retracted story, “nobody wants to send their daughter to the rape school.”

Far from being an indifferent dean, Eramo actually did everything she could to help Jackie, the accuser in the Rolling Stone story, but wasn’t given enough information to identify any real assailants. Further, Jackie wouldn’t cooperate with police even before the Rolling Stone story broke.

The Washington Post also adds this detail:

[Rolling Stone] also printed a photo illustration of Eramo that she argues is inflammatory; the lawsuit says the magazine turned a mundane Cavalier Daily photo of her addressing a classroom and turned it into a wild-eyed image of her sitting in an office giving a “thumbs-up” in front of distraught sexual assault victim as protesters hold signs outside. The lawsuit claims the doctored image “demonstrates the lengths Erdely and Rolling Stone were willing to go to portray Dean Eramo as a villain.”

The complaint details that in the wake of the story’s publication Eramo received hundreds of spiteful e-mails from alumni and others who judged her based on her portrayal in Rolling Stone. In addition to rape and death threats, the messages described Eramo as a “wretched rape apologist” and “a disgusting, worthless piece of trash” who should “burn in hell forever.”

As the story gained international attention, Eramo lost sleep, had difficulty eating, experienced emotional distress, and sought counseling, according to the lawsuit. The lawsuit also alleges that Eramo, stressed out and emotionally and physically drained, suffered surgical complications during an operation to treat a recurring case of breast cancer, leading her to spend additional days in the hospital.

The truth that Eramo knew at the time, the suit argues, was that the dean had made considerable efforts to help Jackie, who first spoke to U-Va. officials about her alleged assault after she was summoned to a meeting about her having failed three classes.

The suit says that Eramo quickly arranged for Jackie to meet with police, helped introduce her to sexual assault support groups on campus and encouraged the student to get other alleged Phi Psi rape victims to “come forward so that UVA could take action against the fraternity if the allegations were well founded.”

Here’s the original photo of Eramo, and after Rolling Stone was done Photoshopping the image, via a reporter with the Richmond Times Dispatch:

Exit quote: