Ed Driscoll

Ed Driscoll

MoDo Misses It By That Much

June 15th, 2015 - 10:54 am

“Obama’s Flickering Greatness” is the latest rumination by Maureen Dowd:

ON Saturday mornings, I love to watch reruns of the TV Western “The Rifleman.” Each show is a little moral fable, with Chuck Connors’s widowed rancher and crack shot, Lucas McCain, teaching his son, Mark, about actions and consequences.

If you neglect to do this now, you will pay a penalty later. If a corner is cut here, you will regret it there.

The president might want to catch some shows, as the lame duck’s chickens come home to roost.

At this pivotal moment for his legacy at home and abroad, his future reputation is mortgaged to past neglect.

Like Prufrock, Obama must wonder if the moment of his greatness is flickering.

Yes, I get Obama the clunky teleprompter orator and T. S. Eliot, the landmark modernist poetry stylist confused all the time, as well. But the fictional J. Alfred Prufrock, a construct of Eliot’s rich imagination, was an elderly modernist facing the twilight of his years with the double-barreled dread of additional infirmities and the eternal void to come. The quasi-fictional B. Hussein Obama, whose myth is entirely the construct of DNC-MSM fabulists, is 53 years old — an awfully young age in today’s society — who had every opportunity to achieve greatness, but had nothing but malice in his heart, instead.

If only MoDo and other journalists had the courage to point that out from the start, instead of attacking everyone who didn’t drink the Obama Kool-Aid as racists. (QED: MoDo’s racist 2009 attack on Rep. Joe Wilson.) Like Bill Clinton before him, Obama was not only corrupted himself, he corrupted so many of his defenders as well. As Jonah Goldberg wrote last month, both men and their courtiers are “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.”

And in some cases by association with their peers as well; which is why I was so surprised to see MoDo admiring The Rifleman. Given what her fellow leftists think about the all-American traditional western, that passage has got to be considered a hate crime by her colleagues at the Times.

And note this:

President Obama has vowed to degrade, destroy and defeat ISIS, but it seems more like delay, so it won’t look as though he lost Iraq on his watch. He’s putting a bandage on the virulent gash, sending American advisers to work with Iraqi troops and tribesmen in “lily pad” bases near the front lines.

It appears to be a sad, symbolic move by a country and president fed up with endless war and at wit’s end about how to combat the most murderous terrorists on the face of the earth. If we drowned in quicksand going full-bore for a dozen years beside Iraqi soldiers who did not want to fight, what good will 450 more American trainers do?

A lame duck sending sitting ducks to lily pads is not a pretty sight.

And once again, MoDo misses the obvious — Obama’s simply trying to run out the clock, and hand the smoking wreckage of Iraq over to his successor, after declaring in 2011, “We’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable and self-reliant Iraq, with a representative government that was elected by its people.” As Paul Mirengoff wrote last month at Power Line, “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.”

But Dowd is right: A lame duck is not a pretty sight — and both sides of the aisle can smell the fear and the stench of failure that emanates from this White House.

Feel the excitement! Or the lack thereof — “‘Pitiful’: CNN Finds Only Six People at Hillary’s Iowa Watch Party,” Cortney O’Brien writes at Townhall today:

It was such a paltry showing, CNN host Fredricka Whitfield said of the scene, “I don’t know. It’s looking kind of pitiful.”

Iowa is the first major campaign stop for any presidential candidate. The Iowa Caucus officially kicks off each general election and it’s important for candidates to leave an impressive mark on the state. If the scene in Marshalltown today is any indication, Clinton is going to have quite an uphill climb in the race.

Also of note, Fox News’s Leland Vittert reported that an overflow room was prepared for speechgoers who couldn’t fit in the main crowd at Roosevelt Island. It was empty.

I guess a party hosted by Hillary is one that’s just not worth crashing.

In 2009, when Microsoft released their “launch party” video to hype the debut of Windows 7, with actors painfully trying to portray average everyday folks displaying waaaay too much emotion and excitement about the impending release of an updated computer operating system, one Internet wag went through the entire clip and replaced every mention of the words “Microsoft” and “Windows” with network-style beeps, as if someone uttered whatever remaining foul words still left which cannot be said on TV. The result was infinitely more entertaining, and likely the same technique would make video from a Hillary launch party far more watchable as well:

Related: “Hillary Clinton: America’s Most Boring Public Speaker” — Hillary’s Peanuts teacher timbre anesthetizes Roger L. Simon at his new Diary of a Mad Voter Website.

With Fox News, Rupert Murdoch created a product that filled a niche — half the country, as the old line invariably attributed to Charles Krauthammer goes. At NewsBusters, Jeffrey Lord writes that Murdoch is “The Man Who Broke the Iron Grip of Liberal Media in America:”

My favorite Rupert Murdoch story? It goes like this.

Murdoch buys the London newspaper The Sun. He wanted to make it a tabloid, which his printers told him was not possible. Why? The presses he owned printed a broadsheet, or, in layman’s language, a large newspaper format like those in the United States of The New York Times, Washington Post or Wall Street Journal. The presses were not formatted to print a tabloid. Murdoch biographer William Shawcross tells the rest of the story this way:

“He (Murdoch) informed the printers that their presses had originally been supplied with bars which would fold the pages to tabloid size. The head printer denied it. So Murdoch took off his jacket and climbed onto a press. In a box at the top of the machine he found the bar in question wrapped in sacking and covered in ink and grime. The printers were impressed.”

Murdoch got his tabloid.

This week brought the news that Rupert Murdoch was handing over the day-to-day operation of his vast, self-built (yes, he really did build it) media empire. The New York Times headlined it this way:

Rupert Murdoch to Put Media Empire in Sons’ Hands

After linking to “this January 1977 Time magazine cover that depicts Murdoch as King Kong astride the twin towers of New York’s World Trade Center, clutching New York publications he then owned, then and now including the New York Post,” with the headline, “EXTRA!!! Aussie Press Lord Terrifies Gotham” — at least its leftwing journalists, such as those who work at Time, Lord writes:

Will the Murdoch brothers succeed? Can they use the 21st century to position the Murdoch empire for the 22nd?  Time will tell. But, of course, that isn’t the point.

The point is that while the announcement of just how Rupert Murdoch intends to hand off his empire and send it into the future is important, this is a moment to celebrate a larger than life original. A man who took his vision and his dreams and made them real. To the great benefit of his native Australia and his adopted America, not to mention all those gainfully employed thousands in Murdoch ventures across the globe.

And, in the case of Fox News? To the teeth-gritting annoyance of liberals everywhere.

I hope that Murdoch’s sons succeed beyond their wildest dreams, but only if they can continue to steer the journalism empire their father built on a path somewhere to the right. But the postwar stories of the New York Times and the aforementioned Time magazine does not inspire confidence. “Punch” Sulzberger was a relatively sane centrist liberal, perhaps because as a young man he served with the Marines in World War II and the Korean War. According to the New Yorker, with the Vietnam War still raging in the early 1970s, Punch asked his son, “If a young American soldier comes upon a young North Vietnamese soldier, which one do you want to see get shot?” “Pinch” Sulzberger, the man who now shapes the collective worldview of one of America’s largest newspapers replied, “I would want to see the American get shot. It’s the other guy’s country; we shouldn’t be there.”

Time magazine was founded in the 1920s by center-right Henry Luce, the son of Jesuit missionaries to pre-communist China. During World War II, he declared that the 20th century would be the American Century, just as the previous century had been relatively benignly dominated by England. That confidence in American ideals would eventually be utterly discarded by his successors. In the twilight of his life, as Luce began to cede day-to-day control over his empire, Time magazine shocked its readers by running a cover story that paraphrased Nietzsche’s infamous God (and ultimate Europe) destroying aphorism of the previous century by asking, “Is God Dead?” Less than three years after Luce himself was dead, the magazine’s cossetted and monolithically left-leaning writers admitted they had no understanding of the core center-right audience that Luce had devoted his entire life to courting.

As the old saying goes, “From shirtsleeves to shirt sleeves in three generations.” In addition to looking at how badly the Gray Lady, Time, and more recently CNN and NBC have gone off the deep end, I hope Murdoch’s sons — and beyond them, whoever is designated to be the successor to Fox News titan Roger Ailes — keep that in mind.

Just NBC the Chutzpah!

June 13th, 2015 - 10:34 am

NBC’s Al Sharpton “Scolds Rachel Dolezal’s Parents: ‘Are You Really Gonna Do This To Your Kid?:’”

Al Sharpton has some questions for Lawrence and Ruthanne Dolezal about why they waited until Friday to appear on TV to discuss their controversial daughter, Rachel Dolazel. Dolazel’s parents outed the NAACP local president as a white woman pretending to be black, and Sharpton was approached by TMZ one day later to give his thoughts.

When asked if what the Dolazel parents did was wrong, Sharpton first brought up the NAACP description of the story as a family dispute, but then said that Rachel’s parents were trying to create a distraction from her activism in social justice.

“On one level, you’ve got to say to her, ‘you’re misleading us’, but another level, mom and dad, come on,” Sharpton said. “Are we gonna have this dysfunctional family stuff play out and distract us from key civil rights causes?

Yes, you certainly wouldn’t want dysfunctional family stuff distracting America from key civil rights causes…

For the starboard half of the Blogosphere, Rachel Dolezal is the gift that keeps on giving, including this brilliant juxtaposition by James Taranto in his latest “Best of the Web Today” column at the Wall Street Journal:

● “Imagine the reaction if a young white man suddenly declared that he was trapped in the wrong body and, after using chemicals to change his skin pigmentation and crocheting his hair into twists, expected to be embraced by the black community.”—Elinor Burkett, New York Times, June 7

● “The National Associated for the Advancement of Colored People released a statement Friday regarding the controversy surrounding Rachel Dolezal’s racial identity. Dolezal’s parents said Thursday that she is a Caucasian woman and has been misleading the public for years, claiming that she is the child of biracial parents instead of Caucasian parents. Dolezal later came out and expressed that she and her parents do not speak due to ongoing legal issues. The NAACP said in a statement that the organization stands behind Dolezal’s advocacy record, regardless of her race.”—KREM-TV website (Spokane, Wash.), June 12

And don’t miss Taranto’s classic description of “the young-adult website Vox.com,” you guys…

Related: “Doležal also entertains an interest in the medical field and has begun pre-medical studies, working toward an MD and a residency in trauma surgery. She hopes to combine her medical knowledge with her passion for human rights and engage in life-saving surgery efforts around the world,” as spotted by John Hinderaker of Power Line who adds, “This is not the Onion, folks, this is the web site of a public university with over 12,000 students. Somehow, I don’t think you need to hold your breath waiting for Ms. Dolezal to graduate from medical school and ‘engage in life-saving surgery efforts around the world.’”

I know I’ve leaned on Tom Wolfe’s material a lot recently, but Dolezal’s mad tale really is the race-obsessed worldview illustrated in several of his novels and his landmark Radical Chic article made (bronze-tinted) flesh. Or as one Timeswoman quipped, Philip Roth’s Human Stain novel run backwards. As Hinderaker writes, “It is curious how much we can learn about contemporary America from the weird story of Rachel Dolezal.”

Particularly when placed into context with the veritable smorgasbord of identity politics stories making the rounds this month:

The Eschaton in the Balance

June 12th, 2015 - 11:57 pm

To paraphrase Reverend William T. Cummings’ take on newfound faith discovered by bitter cynics trapped within a violent war zone, apparently there were no atheists in the Clinton White House — but certainly plenty of gnostics:

“Every wedding should have a Hillary Clinton Bible reading.”

—Headline, the Politico, yesterday.

“Al Gore’s ‘Inconvenient Truth’ Replaces Bibles in Green Hotel.”

—Headline, Hotel Chatter.com, May 3, 2007.

And from the Daily Caller in April, “Hillary Says ‘Religious Beliefs’ Must Change For Sake Of Abortion.”

And for environmentalism, and feminism and gay marriage and…

Say, if only there were an all-encompassing substitute religion for traditional Judeo-Christian values? What on earth would it call itself?

Great Moments in Instructional Literature

June 12th, 2015 - 6:02 pm

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

I’m not sure if the first image is a Photoshop — the author’s being a good sport about it, either way — but in any case, as our nation continues its wacky fun rollercoaster descent to Chavezland Mark II (thanks, Barry!) today was a welcome respite from the recent horrors and those to come. (Thanks, Rachel!)
Exit question:


Update: Almost forgot this one:

Black Like Me: The Rachel Dolezal Story

June 12th, 2015 - 1:38 pm

Alternate title: Soul on Vanilla Ice. As Daniel Greenfield writes at Front Page, “NAACP Leader Exposed as White After Faking Hate Crime:”

There are a lot of stories about black people passing for white during Segregation. These days the arc of racism has tilted the other way and there are white leftists trying to pass for black.

Rachel Dolezal not only pretended to be black, but she got all the way up to the head of an NAACP chapter before the scam was exposed.

On Twitter, Rachel Dolezal claims to be a “Black Studies Educator” and her user name is HarlmRenaissanc.

On her blog she claims to have an MFA from Howard University and to be working as an Adjunct Professor of African American Culture at Eastern Washington University and an Advisor for the NIC Black Student Association. Her artwork fetishizes suffering and oppressed black people. There’s only one problem. Rachel Dolezal is white. Really white.

At some point Rachel married a black man, broke all ties with her family and began pretending to be black.

She wasn’t called out on her trans-racialism until she was accused by Spokane media of faking multiple hate crimes (shocker, I know):

Neumaier said he was suspicious of several incidents Dolezal reported in Coeur d’Alene, including her discovery of a swastika on the door of the Human Rights Education Institute when the organization’s security camera was “mysteriously turned off.”

“None of them passed the smell test,” he said.

He said that after Dolezal left the institute and he saw her gaining prominence in Spokane – becoming head of the NAACP, chairman of the police ombudsman oversight commission, teaching at Eastern Washington University, and speaking frequently in public on racism and justice issues – that he became worried that there might be “blowback” for the institute for not doing a better job of vetting her.

Part of Neumaier’s job on the board is to look at complaints of human rights violations and help victims take action and seek justice.

“In all of these incidents (she reported in Coeur d’Alene), she was the sole witness to events that, when put under scrutiny, don’t hold up,” he said.

One of those incidents was possible mail fraud:

Dolezal made headlines back in February when she claimed someone had mailed racist and threatening letters to the NAACP post office box. KHQ managed to obtain a 38-page Spokane Police report about the investigation into that mail. Officers concluded that the mail had not been properly processed through the post office, and was likely put directly into the post office box, without being mailed at all. They said only a few people have access to the box: the USPS employees who work there, and the boxholder. Police said they do not believe the USPS employees put the mail there. The investigation continues.

At that point, the media called her on her trans-racialism:

But on Thursday, Dolezal’s parents also told local media outlets that their daughter’s heritage is Czech, Swedish, and German — including possible traces of Native American.

Larry Dolezal told BuzzFeed News he could not fully explain why his daughter might have wanted to pose as a black woman.

But, he added: “She has over the past 20 years assimilated herself into the African American community through her various advocacy and social justice work, and so that may be part of the answer.”

He went on to say that Rachel cut off all communication with him and her mother, and “doesn’t want us visible in the Spokane area in her circle because we’re Caucasian.”

If Dolezal ‘s pose sounds like a bad Saturday Night Live sketch, it’s because we’ve seen it before twice on the show during its earlier, funnier, non-PC-infested years:

And in reverse as well, when Richard Pryor guest-hosted an early classic episode:

Jane Curtin: Good evening! Welcome to “Looks At Books”. I’m your host, Jane Curtin. My guest tonight is the author of several books on race in America, and he’s here to talk about his latest book, “White Like Me”. Welcome, won’t you, Junior Griffin. Junior, why don’t you begin by describing the ordeal behind your book?

Junior Griffin [Pryor]: Well.. I decided that the only way to understand a white man’s problems was to actually become a white man, get white skin, and live like a white man in a white’s man world, you know?

Jane Curtin: And, uh, how did you accomplish this?

Junior Griffin: Uh.. shoe polish.

In real life — or as close to real life as being in the Rolling Stones gets, in November of 1972, the Rolling Stones traveled to Jamaica to record Goats Head Soup, their follow-up to Exile on Main Street. It was in Jamaica that Richards discovered reggae music and hooked up with the island’s Rastafarian cult, as he describes it in his fun shaggy dog page-turner of an autobiography, Life: 

I felt like a choirboy. I would just stroke a little bit behind them and hope that I didn’t annoy them. One frown, I’d shut up. But I kind of got accepted. And then they told me that I was not actually white. To the Jamaicans, the ones that I know, I’m black but I’ve turned white to be their spy, “our man up north” sort of thing. I take it as a compliment. I’m as white as a lily with a black heart exulting in its secret. My gradual transition from white man to black was not unique. Look at Mezz Mezzrow, a jazzman from the ’20s and ’30s who made himself a naturalized black man. He wrote Really the Blues, the best book on the subject.

In their page on Mezzrow, Wikipedia notes:

Mezzrow became better-known for his drug-dealing than his music. In his time, he was so well known in the jazz community for selling marijuana that “Mezz” became slang for marijuana, a reference used in the Stuff Smith song, “If You’re a Viper”. He was also known as the “Muggles King,” the word “muggles” being slang for marijuana at that time; the title of the 1928 Louis Armstrong recording “Muggles” refers to this.

Mezzrow praised and admired the African-American style. In his autobiography Really The Blues, Mezzrow writes that from the moment he heard jazz he “was going to be a Negro musician, hipping [teaching] the world about the blues the way only Negroes can.”

Mezzrow married a black woman, Mae (also known as Johnnie Mae), moved to Harlem, New York, and declared himself a “voluntary Negro.” In 1940 he was caught by the police to be in possession of sixty joints trying to enter a jazz club at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, with intent to distribute. When he was sent to jail, he insisted to the guards that he was black and was transferred to the segregated prison’s black section. He wrote (in Really the Blues):

“Just as we were having our pictures taken for the rogues’ gallery, along came Mr. Slattery the deputy and I nailed him and began to talk fast. ‘Mr. Slattery,’ I said, ‘I’m colored, even if I don’t look it, and I don’t think I’d get along in the white blocks, and besides, there might be some friends of mine in Block Six and they’d keep me out of trouble’. Mr. Slattery jumped back, astounded, and studied my features real hard. He seemed a little relieved when he saw my nappy head. ‘I guess we can arrange that,’ he said. ‘Well, well, so you’re Mezzrow. I read about you in the papers long ago and I’ve been wondering when you’d get here. We need a good leader for our band and I think you’re just the man for the job’. He slipped me a card with ‘Block Six’ written on it. I felt like I’d got a reprieve.”

And to bring this post back to today, here’s a question and answer on Dolezal from Allahpundit: “Will lefties back [Dolezal] up?”

 [Sean Davis of the Federalist] is having fun on Twitter this morning reminding them that it’s a staple of their rhetoric that “race is a social construct.” As such, there should be no problem, or less of a problem, with Dolezal identifying as black than with Jenner identifying as a woman. The counterargument will be that a white woman can’t claim authentic blackness because she hasn’t had to cope with prejudice, but Dolezal’s trying: Like Jenner, she’s taken on the physical trappings of the reality she aspires to. She’s curled her hair, she’s darkened her skin a bit (is that bronzer?), she’s the head of the NAACP, for cripes sake. She even claims fake black relatives to enhance the illusion. She wants the world to see her as black, notwithstanding the risk she runs of facing prejudice by doing so. What’s the progressive argument for rejecting that?

* * * * * *

The more cynical read on why progressives treat them differently is that one helps the lefty agenda while the other harms it. Jenner is another milepost in LGBT acceptance; the more mainstream she is, the more comfortable the public will be with gays, lesbians, and transgenders/transsexuals. Dolezal, meanwhile, diminishes the seriousness of civil rights for blacks by suggesting that being black is as easy as changing your hair and hitting the tanning bed more often.

At Power Line today is a post on Columbia’s role in enabling the now infamous “Mattress Girl,” particularly her graduation ceremony, in which the university allowed her  to carry her prop, Linus-style, across the stage when she picked her diploma, complete with an assist from a couple of classmates and a wink and a nod from the faculty.

Between “MG” and Dolezal, doesn’t it seem like we’ve reached the goofy endgame of identity politics and victimhood as the will to power? What SNL/Living Color/Monty Python-style sketch gets played out in real life next?

Update: Warren/Dolezal 2016!

“FLASHBACK: ABC’s ’08 Prediction: NYC Under Water from Climate Change By June 2015,” via Scott Whitlock of NewsBusters, who writes:

New York City underwater? Gas over $9 a gallon? A carton of milk costs almost $13? Welcome to June 12, 2015. Or at least that was the wildly-inaccurate version of 2015 predicted by ABC News exactly seven years ago. Appearing on Good Morning America in 2008, Bob Woodruff hyped Earth 2100, a special that pushed apocalyptic predictions of the then-futuristic 2015.

The segment included supposedly prophetic videos, such as a teenager declaring, “It’s June 8th, 2015. One carton of milk is $12.99.” (On the actual June 8, 2015, a gallon of milk cost, on average, $3.39.) Another clip featured this prediction for the current year: “Gas reached over $9 a gallon.” (In reality, gas costs an average of $2.75.)

On June 12, 2008, correspondent Bob Woodruff revealed that the program “puts participants in the future and asks them to report back about what it is like to live in this future world. The first stop is the year 2015.”

As one expert warns that in 2015 the sea level will rise quickly, a visual shows New York City being engulfed by water. The video montage includes another unidentified person predicting that “flames cover hundreds of miles.”

Then-GMA co-anchor Chris Cuomo appeared frightened by this future world. He wondered, “I think we’re familiar with some of these issues, but, boy, 2015? That’s seven years from now. Could it really be that bad?”

Obviously, no one at ABC thought so, since the network never moved their corporate headquarters from its tony Upper West Side address, despite attempting to scare the crap out of gullable low information viewers that Manhattan would be flooded in seven years. And notice that the network never cut back any of their entertainment programming or sports coverage, despite the enormous reduction in carbon output and the incredible statement it would make. (Insert the trademarked Insta-Rejoinder here. No, not the one about “I don’t want to hear an other goddamn word about my carbon footprint”; the other one.)

Click over to NewsBusters for the 2008 ABC video of yet another not-so-final countdown based on global cooling/warming/climate change/climate chaos/whatever it’s called this week. We’ve rounded up loads of them ourselves; click here and just keep scrolling.

But why does the left keeping hyping their religious end-of-the-world sandwich board-style doomsday tone despite being called out on so many busted flushes? At Forbes, Steve Hayward of Power Line explains “Why The Left Needs Climate Change:”

The need to believe in oneself as part of the agency of human salvation runs deep for leftists and environmentalists who have made their obsessions a secular religion. And humanity doesn’t need salvation if there is no sin in the first place. Hence human must be sinners—somehow—in need of redemption from the left.

I got to thinking about this when reading a short passage from an old book by Canadian philosopher George Grant, Philosophy in the Mass Age:

“During the excitement over Sputnik, it was suggested that the Americans were deeply depressed by Russian success. I thought this was a wrong interpretation. Rather, there was a great sigh of relief from the American elites, for now there was an immediate practical objective to be achieved, a new frontier to be conquered—outer space.”

This tracks closely with Kenneth Minogue’s diagnosis of liberalism in his classic The Liberal Mind.  Minogue compared liberals to medieval dragon hunters, who sought after dragons to slay even after it was clear they didn’t exist. The liberal, like the dragon hunter, “needed his dragons. He could only live by fighting for causes—the people, the poor, the exploited, the colonially oppressed, the underprivileged and the underdeveloped. As an ageing warrior, he grew breathless in pursuit of smaller and smaller dragons—for the big dragons were now harder to come by.”

Hence on college campuses today the liberal mind is relentlessly hunting after “microaggressions,” which is pretty pathetic as dragons of injustice go. Environmentalists are still after the fire-breathing dragon of climate change, now that previous dragons like the population bomb have disappeared into the medieval mists—so much so that even the New York Times recently declared the population bomb to have been completely wrongheaded.

Or perhaps a better metaphor for true-believing environmentalism is drug addiction: the addictive need for another rush of euphoria, followed by the crash or pains of withdrawal, and the diminishing returns of the next fix. For there’s always a next fix for environmentalists: fracking, bee colony collapse disorder, de-forestation, drought, floods, plastic bags . . . the list is endless.

And it’s all built on William James’ century old metaphor defining socialism as the “moral equivalent of war” to organize society and end-run democracy and freedom. Perhaps it’s time to update the playbook, fellas. Or join the rest of us here in reality? You may say I’m a dreamer…

NBC’s Alex Wagner never disappoints with her reliably Marxist talking points. As Matthew Balan writes at NewsBusters, “Shorter MSNBC: Seinfeld’s Jab at ‘Creepy PC’ Isn’t Valid Because He’s Rich:”

Wagner, along with her three liberal guests, ripped Jerry Seinfeld on her MSNBC program on Wednesday, for his blast at “creepy” political correctness. Wagner hinted that Seinfeld had “fallen behind the times.” New York magazine’s Annie Lowrey mocked his critique: “I kind of roll my eyes at Jerry Seinfeld. You know, he’s a billionaire – like I don’t feel sorry for him if people don’t laugh hard enough at his jokes.”

Bloomberg Politics’s Dave Weigel remarked that “no one wants to think they’ve stopped being cool or they stopped being relevant – or especially, that they – that they’re now a bigot because they believe something they’ve always believed.” Weigel also echoed Lowrey’s class warfare jab at Seinfeld: “There is no down side; there is no social pressure backlash for Jerry Seinfeld here. He still has all of his cars – the gigantic fleet of cars.” MSNBC’s Dorian Warren attacked the comedian with his own left-leaning talking points: “I think it’s so cheap and easy to be able to insult people who are socially marginalized….you’re afraid to be criticized, because you can’t come up with funny jokes that don’t insult people.”

Hey, remember Weigel posed at being a conservative and a libertarian (both ideologies which are strongly anti-PC) to advance his career? Good times, good times. And as for Wagner, what is the intersection between money and power? She may not have Seinfeld’s net worth — but the President of the United States attended her wedding to a former White House employee, and according to Wikipedia, her father is “a prominent Democratic Party political consultant who co-chaired Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign.” If money negates Seinfeld’s argument, shouldn’t power negate hers?

And as with Melissa Harris-Perry’s equally goofy Marxist rants, Wagner has another form of power: she’s a prominent employee of Comcast. If she actually loathes Seinfeld’s comedy, she can march over to the Comcast boardroom anytime she wants and demand that Comcast-owned channels cancel his reruns and blacklist him further appearances. Or pow-wow with the programming heads at Time-Warner-CNN-HBO, and demand they put an end to reruns of Seinfeld’s show on WTBS.

C’mon Alex, don’t just kvetch about those who are anti-PC, unleash your inner Stalinist! (And really prove that the man who made NBC millions of dollars of advertising revenue — which is how he was able to buy that “gigantic fleet of cars” correct about the current low ebb of free speech amongst his fellow leftists.)

Another day, another Obama-era American disaster. As Ed Morrissey writes at Hot Air, “Great news: OPM hack started over a year ago, encompasses all federal employees:”

Some on Twitter now call this a “Pearl Harbor” in cyberspace, but that may actually undersell the damage that we now know the US took in the hack on the Office of Personnel Management. On one hand, no one’s been killed; the US lost 2,403 lives and another 1,178 wounded in that battle. Within months or even weeks, the US had repaired much of the damage and went on offense in the eastern Pacific. In this attack, the damage to more than 2 million federal employees is permanent and irreparable — and it had been going on for more than a year before anyone knew (via JeffB from AoSHQDD):

The massive hack into federal systems announced last week was far deeper and potentially more problematic than publicly acknowledged, with hackers believed to be from China moving through government databases undetected for more than a year, sources briefed on the matter told ABC News.

“If [only] they knew the full extent of it,” one U.S. official said about those affected by the intrusion into the Office of Personnel Management’s information systems.

It all started with an initial intrusion into OPM’s systems more than a year ago, and after gaining that initial access the hackers were able to work their way through four different “segments” of OPM’s systems, according to sources.

And once again, a reminder why the DNC-MSM had to utterly destroy Mitt Romney:

romney_hacking_warning_6-11-15-1

That tweet is from a self-described “Senior Project Manager at Oracle,” by the way. Sleep tight, America. (On the other hand, “The government didn’t discover the hack — an outside (private) company discovered it, in demonstrating a product.” Though likely not created by the above guy, one hopes.)

Update: Twitter user “Jimmy Princeton” has been rounding up tweets from those on the left jerked their knees before typing such reactionary clangers as “‘The Chinese are hacking into our computers and stealing our s***!’ Well played, racist old white guy. Well played.” Since some of these tweets may be disappearing soon (hacking, no doubt…), I thought I’d round-up a sample from his Twitter homepage:

(more…)

In less enlightened times, colleges were quasi-religious institutions that existed with the express goal of bettering the souls* of young men of distinction. So much for that idea, when we live in an era where neuroscience tells anyone who will listen, “Sorry, But Your Soul Just Died,” as Tom Wolfe chillingly wrote nearly in 1996. A decade ago in I Am Charlotte Simmons, Wolfe’s fictional Nobel Prize-winning neurosciences professor, whom Wolfe named Victor Ransome Starling, taught his class (including a knowledgeable yet still wide-eyed Charlotte) about the latest terrifying belief harbored by his profession, that man was little more than a conscious rock:

They laugh at the notion of free will. They yawn at your belief — my belief — that each of us has a capital-letter I, as in ‘I believe,’ a ‘self,’ inside our head that makes ‘you,’ makes ‘me,’ distinct from every other member of the species Homo sapiens, no matter how many ways we might be like them. The new generation are absolutists. They — I’ll just tell you what one very interesting young neuroscientist e-mailed me last week. She said, ‘Let’s say you pick up a rock and you throw it. And in midflight you give that rock consciousness and a rational mind. That little rock will think it has free will and will give you a highly rational account of why it has decided to take the route it’s taking.’ So later on we will get to ‘the conscious little rock,’ and you will be able to decide for yourself: ‘Am I really … merely … a conscious little rock?’ The answer, incidentally, has implications of incalculable importance for the Homo sapiens’ conception of itself and for the history of the twenty-first century. We may have to change the name of our species to Homo Lapis Deiciecta Conscia — Man, the Conscious Thrown Stone — or, to make it simpler, as my correspondent did, ‘Man, the Conscious Little Rock.’”

And that passage dovetails perfectly with this excerpt from the deadpan coda in the Kindle edition of Wolfe’s book**, which explains how Starling earned his Nobel in the first place:

Victor Ransome Starling (U.S.), Laureate, Biological Sciences, 1997. A twenty-eight-year-old assistant professor of psychology at Dupont University, Starling conducted an experiment in 1983 in which he and an assistant surgically removed the amygdala, an almond-shaped mass of gray matter deep within the brain that controls emotions in the higher mammals, from thirty cats. It was well known that the procedure caused animals to veer helplessly from one inappropriate affect to another, boredom where there should be fear, cringing where there should be preening, sexual arousal where there was nothing that would stimulate an intact animal. But Starling’s amygdalectomized cats had gone into a state of sexual arousal hypermanic in the extreme. Cats attempted copulation with such frenzy, a cat mounted on another cat would be in turn mounted by a third cat, and that one by yet another, and so on, creating tandems (colloq., “daisy chains”) as long as ten feet.

As Mickey Craig and Jon Fennell wrote in “Love in the Age of Neuroscience,” their review of I Am Charlotte Simmons in the New Atlantis in 2005:

The setting of I Am Charlotte Simmons is truly “postmodern” — a world dominated by Nietzsche and neuroscience, a world which has jettisoned the moral imagination of the past. Not only is God dead, but so is reason, once understood as the characteristic that distinguishes man from the rest of nature. We now understand ourselves by studying the behavior of other animals, rather than understanding the behavior of other animals in light of human reason and human difference. We learn that it is embarrassing for any educated person to be considered religious or even moral. Darwin’s key insight that man is just another animal, now updated with the tools and discoveries of modern biology, has liberated us from two Kingdoms of Darkness. Post-faith and post-reason, we can now turn to neuroscience to understand the human condition, a path that leads to or simply ratifies the governing nihilism of the students, both the ambitious and apathetic alike.

So with that genie out of the bottle, with God and free speech both dead on the modern Soviet-style campus (as Roger Kimball recently suggested, perhaps American campuses should have Checkpoint Charlie-style warnings attached to their gates) and man reduced to being the equivalent of “the Conscious Little Rock,” how are things going there in the human relations department? Two articles linked to this week by Kathy Shaidle, while attacking the argument from polar opposite worldviews, paint a grim picture. First up, Jason Morgan of the conservative Life Site News posits that “Liberalism can’t fix ‘rape culture’ because it can’t understand sex,” having morphed its role from procreation to what Wolfe dubbed the endless art of mindlessly “Hooking Up:”

Sex functions precisely to break down autonomy and overcome the overweening sovereignty of the self upon which consent is ultimately based. In a liberal framework, our freedom to engage in activities assumes that all activities are equal, as long as we have obtained consent when those activities involve others. But sex is not like other activities. Sex, unlike anything else we might do with another person, transcends the self while radically reorienting it within a new, shared context with our sexual partner. Consent assumes that sex will not do this, that sex will leave two people as fully autonomous after sex as they were before. But this is precisely the one thing that sex was designed not to do. Sex, even if entered into based on a free agreement between two autonomous people, by its very nature dismantles the autonomy upon which the consensual understanding of sex had been based.

In the wake of this compromised autonomy, sexual partners, confronted with a transcended self but still working within the conceptual confines of leveling liberalism, may very rightly view this transcendence as a violation of their sexual integrity. This holds true even when the sexual encounter was freely and consensually entered into, and especially when the myriad other expectations attendant upon sex are left unfulfilled. These expectations of emotional and spiritual intimacy, including the promise of future growth as a couple and openness to new life through sex, have no place in the liberal understanding of sex. Thus, when these hopes are dashed, women, especially, see “consensual sex” as a misleading proposition. Their subsequent sense of violation feels very similar to the devastating effects of non-consensual sex. To be clear, sex without consent is rape. But the wasteland of the hook-up culture shows that merely granting and receiving consent do not safeguard against the manifold consequences of casual sex.

If we want to talk seriously about ending campus rape, we must get to the bottom of the liberalism that underpins consent discourse on campuses. By rescuing sex from liberalism, we can restore sex to its rightful place—not as bargained recreation between Lockean rights-bearers, but as the complete gift of mind, body, and soul to another person, and the reception of the complete gift of the other.

In sharp contradistinction to the above passage, I sincerely doubt that Camille Paglia who, paraphrasing Nietzsche, once said, ”God is man’s greatest idea,” has any desire whatsoever to return Morgan’s pre-Sexual Revolution, pre-”Sorry, But Your Soul Just Died” concept of the term. Nonetheless, as she recently told Reason’s Nick Gillespie, she agrees that leftist college campus administrators can’t fix “rape culture,” either — and shouldn’t even be investigating it in today’s infamous campus Star Chambers:

Paglia: When I arrived in college in 1964, in loco parentis was operative. I was in a girl’s dorm. We had a sign-in at 11:00 at night. The boys could run free. They had panty raids. We threw water at them out the windows and so on. My generation of women rose up and said, “Get out of our private lives!” And the university said, “No, the world is dangerous. We must protect you against rape and attack and all those things.” And we said, “Give us freedom! Give us freedom to risk rape! That is true freedom!”

reason: Isn’t it as true that what they were trying to restrain was not rape, but rather your sexual appetite?

Paglia: I think that they believed they were acting for the parents, that it was their obligation to protect, and this is why I went so much against the grain of contemporary feminists, when I wrote about the date rape hysteria. I wrote this inflammatory piece for Newsday in 1991 that I’m still being persecuted about everywhere; people are still angry about it. Basically what I said was free women must take personal responsibility for their own sex lives and keep the authority figures out of your sex life. reason: And to be clear, in no way is this sanctioning sexual violence.

Paglia: Absolutely not.

reason: What you’re talking about is cases where people retroactively reclassified a regrettable sexual experience that they would rather not have consented to as rape.

Paglia: I’m talking about date rape, what everyone is talking about right now, about this so-called rape culture. But that essay that I wrote begins, “Rape is an outrage that cannot be tolerated in any civilized society.” That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about this new reclassification of people getting drunk, going on a date, going to fraternity houses, and women not taking responsibility for their own behavior. I said that gay men for thousands of years have been going out and having sex with strangers everywhere. They know they can be beaten up. They know they can be killed. What is this, where women are, “Oh, we must be protected against even our foolish choices. It’s up to men to.” This is ridiculous. This is an intrusion into the civil liberties of young people [to] have these vampiric parent figures and administrators hovering, watching, supervising people’s sex lives.

* * * * * * * *

[W]hat Madonna did [in the 1980s MTV era] was to allow young women to flirt with men, to seduce men, to control men. She showed that you could be sexy but at the same time control the negotiations and territory between male and female, and that was really powerful. So now, we’re in a period—this is what I don’t understand, where women on campus, the institutionalized whining now, that’s what it’s turned into.

reason: Clarify what’s the difference between a legitimate gripe and whining?

Paglia: Well, in my point of view, no college administration should be taking any interest whatever in the social lives of the students. None! If a crime’s committed on campus, it should always be reported to the police. I absolutely do not agree with any committees investigating any charge of sexual assault. Either it’s a real crime, or it’s not a real crime. Get the hell out. So you get this expansion of the campus bureaucracy with this Stalinist oversight. But the students have been raised with helicopter parents. They want it.

The students of today—they’re utterly unformed. Not necessarily at my school, the art school. I’m talking about the elite schools. I’ve encountered these graduates of Harvard, Yale, the University of Pennsylvania, and Princeton, I’ve encountered them in the media, and people in their 30s now, some of them, their minds are like Jell-O. They know nothing! They’ve not been trained in history. They have absolutely no structure to their minds. Their emotions are unfixed. The banality of contemporary cultural criticism, of academe, the absolute collapse of any kind of intellectual discourse in the U.S. is the result of these colleges, which should have been the best, instead having retracted into caretaking. The whole thing is about approved social positions in a kind of misty love of humanity, without any direct knowledge of history or economics or anthropology.

As National Review’s John O’Sullivan noted in his perceptive review of Wolfe’s 2012 book Back to Blood, a repeated theme in Wolfe’s fiction is that in attempting to build a postmodern world, by killing God and atomizing sex and race relations, in reality, we’re building what O’Sullivan calls “A New Age of Antiquity.” In Back to Blood, the New Antiquity expresses itself in the form of a cold war among various racial tribes in an America that’s no longer a melting pot. In his earlier book, it’s very likely not a coincidence that Charlotte, Wolfe’s intelligent yet hopelessly naïve waif, was born in a town called Sparta, and explains to one of the basketball jocks, who can bypass virtually all aspects of education because he’s such a stud on the basketball court, where the university makes its real money and prestige, the history of liberal arts:

“You never had to take philosophy?”

Self-pitying: “Jocks don’t take philosophy.”

Charlotte looked at him in a teacherly fashion.

“You know what ‘liberal arts’ means?”

Pause. Rumination. “ … No.”

“It’s from Latin?” Charlotte was the very picture of kind patience. “In Latin, liber means free? It also means book, but that’s just a coincidence, I think. Anyway, the Romans had slaves from all over the world, and some of the slaves were very bright, like the Greeks. The Romans would let the slaves get educated in all sorts of practical subjects, like math, like engineering so they could build things, like music so they could be entertainers? But only Roman citizens, the free people? — liber? — could take things like rhetoric and literature and history and theology and philosophy? Because they were the arts of persuasion — and they didn’t want the slaves to learn how to present arguments that might inspire them to unite and rise up or something? So the ‘liberal’ arts are the arts of persuasion, and they didn’t want anybody but free citizens knowing how to persuade people.” Jojo looked at her with arched eyebrows and a compressed smile, a smile of resignation, and began nodding nodding nodding nodding. Dawn was breaking inside that big head of his. “So that’s what we are … athletes — we’re like slaves. They don’t even want us to think. All that thinking might distract us from what we were hired for.”

But does the modern college want anyone to think? And just as the Ayatollah Khomeini once instructed the faithful, “An Islamic regime must be serious in every field. There are no jokes in Islam. There is no humor in Islam. There is no fun in Islam. There can be no fun and joy in whatever is serious,” a sense of humor is double plusungood crimethink on campus as well, as this seasoned comedy expert instructs neophyte funny man Jerry Seinfeld.

Related: “Another Fake Rape at Amherst; Amherst Now Knows It’s Fake, But Lets the Rape Finding Against the Falsely Accused Student Stand, Just Because.” Did you expect anything better from the Stalinists on the other side of the Checkpoint Charlie?

And from Amy Alkon,  “‘Get Off My Lawn! I Mean, Campus!’: The Angry Old Man In The Body Of The Politically Correct College Student.” Reading Amy’s headline, I keep thinking of “Bob Hope in a Hippie Wig,” Hollywood shorthand for an out of date square confused by the rapidly changing world around him — but today’s punitive young campus reactionary leftists are nothing like the well-meaning but aged Hope of the late ’60s.

* To get a very minor sense of how far things have fallen for both academia and the media world for which it serves as training camp, “Author Lee Siegel Brags In NYT About Ripping Off American Taxpayers,” by cheerfully defaulting on his student loans. As Kevin D. Williamson writes, somewhere, T.S. Eliot, who toiled in the basement of a bank while writing “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and “The Waste-Land,” weeps.

** In the hard copy first edition of I Am Charlotte Simmons, Starling’s mock bio with his robotically humping train of cats is the book’s prologue, where it works even better to set the scene for everything that follows. I have no idea how that passage was moved to the end, and if that change was approved by Wolfe or not.

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Front page headlines don’t get any better that “Headless Body In Topless Bar,” and Vincent Musetto of the New York Post was the man who wrote it. He died of cancer yesterday at age 74:

The headline appeared above an article about an infamous crime in which a psychopath entered a bar in Queens, shot the owner, and then had the one female patron cut off the victim’s head.

When the police report came across Musetto’s desk, he thought it was almost too good to be true. Upon finding out the that the drinking establishment also featured topless female performers, fate had aligned with those five words. He created the perfect headline.

One of the city editors yelled to Musetto across the room, expressing his disbelief that the local bar was actually a topless one. Musetto jumped on top of his desk and waved his arms yelling,“It’s gotta be a topless bar! This is the greatest f***ing headline of my career!”

And it was. As Thomas Novelly of the Washington Free Beacon notes, “The famous headline earned Musetto his spot in the pop-culture hall of fame and his clever turn of phrase was featured in Saturday Night Live sketches, became the title of a crime film, and even earned him a night in the guest chair with David Letterman.”

It’s also the title of a fun-packed anthology of Post headlines that the Manhattan tabloid published a few years ago. If you’re a blogger, you owe it to yourself to buy a copy and study it as if it were a how-to guide, because it is: no matter how good a post you write, no one will see it unless the headline grabs them first.

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

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, May 24th.

Mission accomplished, fellas! “Disney Could Lose $140 Million on ‘Tomorrowland’ Flop,” says the Hollywood Reporter today.

Obviously, audiences took Disney’s advice and stopped “caring so much about the vapid capitalistic things that are ruining us all,” including their movie, so it’s all good for Disney, right?

No? Then, perhaps the filmmakers should have heeded the advice of one of Uncle Walt’s chief competitors. As MGM’s Sam Goldwyn famously said, “Pictures are entertainment, messages should be delivered by Western Union.” It’s a lot cheaper and more reliable than shaming your customers.

Staring into the twilight of the Four Seasons restaurant, “the once-great eatery that still personifies the power and glory of New York City as no other,” Steve Cuozzo of the New York Post asks, how could two of the giant egos behind the scenes there accidentally collude to bring her down? “Or, put another way, which egomaniac’s the bigger pig — Julian Niccolini or Aby Rosen?”

The Four Seasons’ lease at Rosen’s Seagram Building is up in July 2016. Rosen says he won’t renew it but wants to bring in a different restaurant.

Meanwhile, Niccolini and co-owner Alex von Bidder are searching for a new location while Rosen hopes to mess with Philip Johnson’s classic design.

My loyalty was mostly on the owners’ side — until Niccolini’s arrest this week for alleged sexual groping at the bar. Suddenly, the plight of the fabled dining temple for the high-and-mighty became a police-blotter story.

What a pitiable, infuriating, possibly final act for an institution that has been synonymous with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s landmark Seagram Building — and all that’s to cherish about New York — since 1959.

There’s an interesting symmetry between the restaurant’s birth in the late ’50s and its possible demise, considering that it was birthed by two of the hugest egos in modern architecture: German-born Mies van der Rohe, a truly talented architect who allowed a near Scientology-level cult of personality to arise around him at the Illinois Institute of Technology in the 1940s and ’50s, whose campus he designed and whose students he rigorously taught his design systems. And wealthy America-born modernist gadfly Philip Johnson, who as a young man created the architectural department at New York’s Museum’s of Modern Art, and immediately afterwards, put Mies on the map in America in the 1930s. During that period, both socialists collaborated with Germany’s National Socialists — Mies, arguably reluctantly until he fled Germany in 1937; Philip as a full-fledged worshiper.

And as Tom Wolfe noted in From Bauhaus to Our House, the two men built the ultimate expression of Weimar-era German Socialist Worker Housing rising up on Park Ave. housing one the most fabled watering holes of New York’s capitalists and corporatists. Coming less than a month after the final episodes of Med Men aired, where the Four Seasons was namedropped in several episodes from the first season through its major role (offscreen) in the show’s penultimate episode, Niccolini’s alleged crime, if true, sounds like something that would be entirely appropriate in one of its stories. But that era has passed — and sadly, perhaps the Four Seasons’ time has as well.

Microeconomics version:

Macroeconomics version:

Oh, and speaking of the Clintons’ more recent real estate schemes to benefit the self-declared “dead broke” and “not truly well off” in desperate need of home-ownership…

“NBC Anchor” really is the television news equivalent of the Florida Man idiot crime spree meme, as I tweeted last month. Although Florida Man would be a lot more fun to have a couple of beers with in-between police line-up appearances than any NBC anchor, especially Melissa Harris-Perry. But as Jack Coleman of NewsBusters writes, “Never let it be said that MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry is unwilling to float provocative ideas, regardless of whether doing so confirms suspicions that she harbors a Maoist within that’s raging to get out:”

HARRIS-PERRY: During the break I was trying to think up a solution to the problem of building audience (for women athletes), so my solution is in 2016 we go completely dark on all media coverage of men’s sports, just for one year. We have the only televised sports, the only print sports, it’s only women’s sports, and we’ll just see whether or not women could get a fan base if in fact they were the people who were constantly on our televisions and in our newspapers.

Say, considering that MSNBC is the channel that can weaponize any word it likes to be racist, including “golf” and “Chicago,” then the phrase “going dark” is a racist hate crime in and of itself. Beyond linguistics though, MHP’s task here is a simple one: you’re an employee of MSNBC, which means you’re an employee of both NBC and corporate parent Comcast. Put your money where your mouth is, unclip your lavaliere (and perhaps your tampon earrings as well), exit the TV studio, then simply walk across the hall to the NBC and Comcast boardrooms and state your proposal to them.

But then, this is the network where fellow NBC anchor Chris Hayes last year found heretofore undetectable “parallels between the abolition of slavery and today’s climate fight.” As I wrote a year ago:

OK Chris, here’s your action plan. If indeed there are “parallels between the abolition of slavery and today’s climate fight,” then your mission is to barge into the NBC boardroom and convince them to drop NASCAR coverage. And the NFL — all those charter flights to the games, and the Goodyear Blimp circling around overhead at the stadium — those will have to be dropped from coverage. And no car chases in cop shows, unless it’s hot Prius on Prius action. And no stretch limos for NBC, CNBC and MSNBC execs and the on-air talent. No helicopters or jet flights for the news team.

Do all that, have NBC sign off on it, then get back to us. If you’re going to accuse your bosses of the moral equivalent of slavery (Because Al Gore took the moral equivalent of the Holocaust decades ago, I guess), you must force them to stop.

Do it for Gaia, man. Do it for Gaia.

And then help Melissa Harris-Perry with here latest in a series of ongoing goofy Dr. Evil-esque plans to destroy men’s sports.

And if either actually did do such a thing, once the laughter in the NBC/Comcast boardroom died out, perhaps the powers that be might ask themselves why they are paying for programming that trashes their very own product.

How To Escape The Age Of Mass Delusion

June 8th, 2015 - 1:52 pm

As always, Tom Wolfe got there first:

I Am Charlotte Simmons is an indictment of the primary centers of higher education in America today…This tragic miseducation of the young has two kinds of consequences. The first is personal. As the new pope declared to the conclave that elected him, “We are moving toward a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as for certain and which has as its highest goal one’s own ego and one’s own desires.” This sounds very much like the world of Dupont. But of more immediate importance is what the new pope added: People who live in a world “emptied of God” suffer from “leaden loneliness and inner boredom.” Given the vacuum resulting from the evaporation of all that is higher, it is hardly surprising that Charlotte feels so alone, that she is desperately driven to “hook-up” with others in whatever way she can, and that she inevitably finds the result of doing so to be wholly unsatisfying. Compared to the inhabitants and products of Dupont University, the oft-maligned other-directed “gray flannel suits” of the 1950s were deep. In their case, there was at least a genuine self that was presumably denied and repressed.

The second cost imposed by the teachings of Dupont is political. The American experiment depends on a self-governing citizenry. This self-governance is a form of moderation in which the individual restrains personal desire and ambition in light of something higher than himself. This is as true of citizens as it is of leaders. Such voluntary restraint — a function of a soul that respects, loves, and admires something higher — is absent at Dupont, where everyone wishes to be the master of all. The individual in the world described by Wolfe is limited only to the degree his will is thwarted by another equally unrestrained “playa.” There is nothing moral about this interaction, for there is nothing beyond individual will by which one’s actions may be judged. The metamorphosis of Charlotte takes her beyond all virtue; it represents a paradigmatic instance of adaptation in the interests of survival in a changing environment. By constituting the environment requiring such adaptation, and by requiring the abandonment of self-governance (while making it impossible), Dupont has not only harmed the young student, it has betrayed the American Republic.

If Wolfe’s description of Dupont accurately portrays the character of our elite universities, then the dissolution of the American way of life is nearly complete. Our ancient faith is no longer a vibrant and effective part of the education of future leaders. Our ability to perpetuate our culture and our constitutional soul will wither alongside our belief in the soul itself. As Lincoln understood, once it loses its ancient faith, the Republic cannot long endure. Perhaps our situation is not as dire as the metamorphosis of Charlotte Simmons makes it seem. But if the portrayal is right, only time will tell whether Wolfe’s diagnosis of our condition can help effect a recovery.

“Love in the Age of Neuroscience,” Mickey Craig, Jon Fennell, the New Atlantis, Fall, 2005.

[Dutch psychiatrist Joost A. M. Meerloo] published “The Rape of the Mind: The Psychology of Thought Control, Menticide and Brainwashing” in 1956 after years immersed in the study of social psychology and countless interviews with victims of mental coercion, including Nazi officers and American prisoners of war in Korea. This treasure of insights was written for the layman. It is an absolute must-read for anyone who hopes to uphold the dignity of the individual. The book offers the psychic defenses so lacking among those who submit to logicide.

“The transformation of the free human mind to an automatically responding machine” is essentially the story of the transformation of the United States of America we are watching in real time today. Delusion is an important element, because tyrannies do not stand up to logic. It seems very sudden, but it’s not. We’re only at this tipping point because we let our defenses down. In fact, if the First Amendment collapses, it would simply indicate a return to humanity’s tribal default position, in which a sort of Nietzschean “Will to Power” rules the day.

Mass delusion is an important tool of oppressors because they can’t survive where free exercise of expression and association is practiced. Unfortunately, delusion can be induced anywhere.

“It is simply a question of organizing and manipulating collective feelings in the proper way. If one can isolate the mass, allow no free thinking, no free exchange, no outside correction and can hypnotize the group daily with noises, with press and radio and television, with fear and pseudo-enthusiasms, any delusion can be instilled.”

“How To Escape The Age Of Mass Delusion: Mass delusion is an important tool of oppressors because they can’t survive free expression. That’s why the First Amendment’s a target,” Stella Morabito, the Federalist, today.

Chapter One, She Adored New York

June 8th, 2015 - 12:52 pm

In “Real New Yorkers Can Say Goodbye to All That,” Megan McArdle of Bloomberg writes a Woody Allen/Joan Didion*-esque ode to her hometown, before concluding:

That Saturday night [before moving to DC] I had three parties to go to, in three parts of the city. I was determined to pack them all in, because when would I see these people again? It took an hour and a half to get to the first one, in Cobble Hill. Inwood and Astoria clearly were not going to happen. As I made that calculation, the incipient panic I’d felt at leaving “all that” vanished, as my city already had. The bits of New York that weren’t turning into a shopping mall** were instead turning into London, where the cost of real estate pushes the merely affluent people so far to the periphery that it is only really practical to make friends along a single train line.

And they’ll all bitch about “global warming” and “income inequality,” as they continue to pull the drawbridge up ever-higher behind them.

* Not that those two necessarily always agreed with each other, of course.

** You’d rather have the ’70s Lindsay / Beam / Travis Bickle / Death Wish-era back? Be careful what you wish for, hipster New Yorkers.

Two Gray Ladies in One!

June 8th, 2015 - 12:18 pm

In “What the New York Times Didn’t Learn from Paul Ehrlich’s Population Bomb Fizzle,” Robert Tracinski of the Federalist looks at the Times’ rare moment of honesty and self-awareness in debunking the WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!1!!!! fever that they and the American TV networks pushed so heavily in the late ’60s and early ’70s:

Stewart Brand, a former disciple of Ehrlich’s, asks: “How many years do you have to not have the world end to decide that it didn’t end because that reason was wrong?”

Most remarkable, however, is Ehrlich’s answer. Yes, he’s still around, the Times interviewed him, and they asked him that question. I got the impression it may have been the first time someone prominent has asked Ehrlich to answer this directly, and his guard seems to have been down, probably because he remembers all the puffball coverage he’s gotten from the New York Times over the years. So he answered it, and it has to be heard to be believed. He said: “One of the things that people don’t understand is that timing, to an ecologist, is very, very different from timing to an average person.” I wonder, is BS still the same for an ecologist as it is for an average person?

It is such an obviously arrogant, dishonest, evasive answer that the Times report features it prominently, and not in a positive way. They captured in one line the sudden realization that Ehrlich is a charlatan who has been conning the highest levels of the culture for years. (Jonathan Last runs down all of the awards and accolades heaped on Ehrlich as recently as 2012.)

That’s why it’s so great to see that the mainstream left is finally beginning to face up to this reality.

As Tracinski writes, “Perhaps some day they’ll do a look back on the failure of the global warming hysteria—though at this rate, we should expect to see that some time around 2062.”

Exactly — which is why, in the meantime, the Gray Lady is up to her usual slatternly panhandling ways, attempting to proffer “The Case for a Carbon Tax” in an unsigned editorial.

But then isn’t New York’s most visible Democrat house organ always asking for taxes to be raised? As Daniel J. Mitchell wrote in 2013 at Townhall, rounding up just a few of the Times’ calls for more and higher taxes in recent years, “The New York Times seems really fixated on screwing Joe Lunchbucket.”

But to paraphrase effete enviro-hypocrite John Kerry, How do you ask a newspaper to be the last news source to destroy its reputation for a hysterically misguided theory? mistake?