Ed Driscoll

Ed Driscoll

The New York Times Rejects Your Reality and Substitutes Its Own

June 17th, 2015 - 3:24 pm

“I don’t know that I’ve ever read a book quite as eye-opening as Michael Oren’s Ally, the bestselling historian’s stunning new memoir of his four years as Israel’s ambassador to the United States,” John Podhoretz writes at Commentary. “For what Oren has written is an account of serving as a diplomat during a Cold War — the Cold War the Obama administration launched against Israel upon coming into office.” And then there are Mr. Obama operatives with bylines:

[Oren] called the New York Times editorial-page editor, Andrew Rosenthal, after the paper published an op-ed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in which Abbas startlingly claimed the Arabs had accepted the UN Partition Plan of 1947. The conversation went thus:

“When I write for the Times, fact checkers examine every word I write,” I began. “Did anybody check that Abbas has his facts exactly backward?”

“That’s your opinion,” Rosenthal replied.

“I’m an historian, Andy, and there are opinions and there are facts. That the Arabs rejected partition and the Jews accepted it is an irrefutable fact.”

“In your view.”

“Tell me, on June 6, 1944, did Allied forces land or did they not land on Normandy Beach?”

Rosenthal…replied, “Some might say so.”

As the kids say on Twitter, “SMH,” short for shaking my head.

So just to place the above moment into context, speaking of clueless teenagers with computer keyboards: The Times is owned by a man who in his 2os wanted to see American soldiers shot in Vietnam. Its editorial columnists include a former Enron advisor obsessed with alien invasions. (Of the little green man variety, needless to say. Illegal aliens coming over the border into Texas don’t concern Krugman the slightest.) A woman who flew into Denver and ate an entire marijuana-laced candy bar for her big investigative piece on Colorado’s new pot laws and had William S. Burroughs-level drug hallucinations as a result. A man who advised Mitt Romney in 2012 to “Stick that in your magic underwear.” A 60 year old former editor who immediately after being fired last year posed for a New York Daily News cover standing next to a punching bag while wearing boxing gloves, a ironic trucker’s cap, a visible tattoo and a Les Misérables tank top.  Her successor, current editor “Dean Baquet called an associate professor at the USC Annenberg School an ‘asshole’ on Facebook [in January] after the professor took a shot at Baquet for not running Charlie Hebdo’s Muhammed cartoons.” And an alleged conservative who told Mr. Obama that one day he’d be president because of his awesome trouser creases.

As Matthew Continetti wrote last year in the Washington Free Beacon in response to Jill Abramson’s posed photo as the distaff Rocky Balboa, the Times is a daily Saved By the Bell rerun, a high school bereft of grownup supervision. But even at this late date, with all of the paper’s Star Wars-cantina level characters who fancy themselves as  being Masters of the Journalistic Universe, it’s still astonishing to read just how far round the bend this one great newspaper has gone.

As I mentioned at the start of the month, I was out at Rough Creek Lodge near the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex videotaping the vast resort with an aerial drone to help promote our upcoming Bullets & Bourbon event in December. With a major assist from my friend Steve Green on narration, I’ve incorporated the best of the aerial footage into a two minute video that also highlights Rough Creek’s yuuuuge (as The Donald would say) two-story dining room, its luxury suites, and its shooting facilities.

Join Glenn Reynolds, Dana Loesch, Ed Morrissey, Kevin D. Williamson, Mark Rippetoe, Roger L. Simon, Steve and myself in December — click here for all of the details.

The Progressive Death of Comedy

June 17th, 2015 - 1:08 pm

“Everything comes down to power: who has it, who defines it, who wants it,” Anthony Sacramone writes in a potent essay at Intercollegiate Review:

In the ’60s, “political” comics shared a wink and a nod with fans as to who was due a beat-down, a comeuppance, a reversal of fortune. The power was Johnson or Nixon, the big chemical companies that manufactured napalm, the military-industrial complex, the KKK and its think-alikes—even the networks themselves. When the Smothers Brothers (whose writers included Steve Martin and Rob Reiner) started doing sly political humor, stinging critiques of the Vietnam War, guns, and even censorship, CBS canceled the Emmy-winning variety show.

But now the one perceived as having the power—even as much as the one-percenters, the banks, the NSA—is the celebrity comic himself. He must audition for the right to deliver a pointed opinion as if it were just one more entitlement. Big names like Seinfeld, Rock, and Maher—rich, famous—have to prove they’re worthy of their privilege before their observations on the economy, civil rights, domestic spying, dating, marriage, you name it, are given a fair hearing.

The comic is barely performer anymore; he is more the audience. It’s his or her job to applaud the people in the seats for being exactly who they are, the evolutionary high-water mark of sensitivity to other people’s powerlessness, which is just a projection of their own inner insecurities and dissatisfactions. Like the poor kid whose immunity is shot and must live in a plastic bubble for fear of an errant sneeze, our college kids fear microaggressions and so construct bubbles of their own. Approach at your own peril.

In short, the students of 2015 are not the rightful heirs of hip ’60s audiences, willing to let the latter-day Bruces pull them—for good or for ill—they know not where, but of their grandparents’ sensibilities, only with the world as their living room. They expect to have their self-image reflected back to them, they tut-tut “abusive” language, they become outraged at wrong attitudes. Don’t you know what we suffered through in the Depression, World War II, heteronormative patriarchy? Instead of calling the networks or writing a letter to the editor, this generation takes to social media to vent spleen as to what’s wrong with these kids today.

What’s lost in all this talk is what’s funny.

But in a way, the comedians that Sacramone names above, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, Bill Maher, and others of their ilk, have only themselves to blame for not knowing that it is the nature of their ideology to devour the host organism. The original “Progressives” at the start of the 20th century devoured puritan America. When the New Deal-era left became the dominant culture in Washington, Hollywood and New York by the mid-1960s, they too were devoured by the radical upstart New Left.*

In the early 1990s, journalists and critics ranging from John Leo at US News & World Report all the way to Siskel & Ebert on their TV film review series warned of the looming dangers of political correctness, and were largely ignored, likely because of how crazy the stories then emerging from campuses across America sounded. I realize that the left tends to ignore its own history, but the more astute among them should have anticipated this moment, if only because similar headlines were emerging about 15 years ago out of England, a socialist hothouse due to its much smaller size. Perhaps, as with the the left and Islam, leftist comedians presumed that if they kept quiet, they’d be devoured last by their audiences. Well, “last” has now arrived at last.

* Other than Barry Goldwater’s Pyrrhic run for the White House, the entire history of America in the 1960s is blue on blue on blue, all the way to Nixon’s White House, which governed domestically as an extension of LBJ’s Great Society.

Update: Of course, part of what made the comedian’s job easier in the old days was that if society as a whole was relatively functional, all he needed to do was to hold its perceived excesses up for ridicule. In contrast, as Mark Steyn writes today, “I try to stay chipper about Rachel Dolezal and the rest of this stuff, but it’s not really funny, is it? More and more levers of civilization appear to be in the hands of the clinically insane.”

Moonbat Tat Spat Falls Flat

June 16th, 2015 - 2:21 pm

The Left’s cycle of victimhood appears to be in freefall and accelerating towards the abyss rapidly these days, doesn’t it? Let’s review: The Rolling Stone campus rape case that wasn’t. Oppressed Mattress Girl who doubles down by releasing a sex tape. Rachel Dolezal reliving James Whitmore’s Black Like Me B-movie.

Finally, it’s come to this: Far Left Socialist Justice Warrior at Jezebel demands a neck tattoo for one of her first tats and throws a fit screaming — but of course! — sexism and oppression when the tattoo artist very sensibly refuses. Or as Ace writes today, linking to this post at InstaPundit, “Jezebel Blogger: Don’t Tell Me What Tattoos I Can and Cannot Get, Dad. I’m an Adult Now, Dad. And I’ve Got Ideas, Dad. Good Ideas! You’ll See When I Run Off to Rome to Become a Gritty Fashion Photog, Dad!

Anyway, so, this Jezebel blogger is, get this, unreasonably angry owing to a sense of infuriated entitlement, in this particular circumstance, over the fact that a tattoo artist refused to give her a neck tattoo.

Why? Tattooist ethics, and no, I’m not making that up. It turns out tattoo artists have a code: they will not give highly visible “game changer” tattoos to persons who are not already well-marked with ink. They actually look out for their customers, and have much more experience with tattoos than their customers, and know what the customer does not: A neck tattoo is a tribal marker of potency that the occasional tattoo-wearer (the cute little barbed wire around the ankle, how darling!) doesn’t understand.

That it can keep you from getting jobs. Or something even more valuable: marriage proposals. (I went there, I really did! You been #Mansplained!)

Like sex-reassignment surgeons who demand you “live as a woman” for a year before they surgically maim you, they want to make sure you know what it really is to be Marked By Tattoos before getting one on your neck.

Apparently this is very common — and this particular unreasonably-angry Jezebel diatribist had been warned by multiple people and several tattoo artists that most artists would simply refuse to give a relatively-unmarked person a neck tattoo.

And we’re off to the races:

Dan: “And then you want your daughter’s name… on your neck?” Shakes head left to right.Me: “What.”

Dan: “Not gonna happen.”

Me: “Wait, what? Why?’

Dan: “It’ll look tacky. It’s just tacky.”

Me: “Wait, you’re telling me what will look tacky on me? Don’t I get to decide that?”

Dan: “A neck tattoo on someone without a lot of tattoos is like lighting a birthday candle on an unbaked cake.”

Stunning analogy, right? I wonder: Does Dan know what an analogy even is?

As Ace responds, “Actually, it’s the perfect analogy:”

Bake me a cake, bigot. You’re a lower-class hand-worker. I make the rules, because I am paying you, and therefore you surrender all rights to self-expression to me, your Noble Lady ruler.

And then suddenly I’m fighting back tears because, as Dan has already correctly assessed, I’m just a feeble-minded, hysterical girl.

Not just Dan. We all assessed it.

I understand perfectly well that the identity politics obsessive must always be on the prowl for something new to be offended about. (Insert Alvy Singer’s “Dead Shark” allusion here.) But just as the racial grievance industry never stops to ponder the incredible strides that minorities have made destroying what were once institutionalized forms of racial oppression when they’re down to screaming that the words “niggardly,” “chink in the armor” and “black holes” are racist (let alone “golf” and “Chicago”), when the PC police are now going on search and destroy missions in tattoo parlors, they might want to take a moment to assess just how much ground they’ve captured in the culture war before throwing their next hissy fit.

Other than possibly invitations to Lawrence Welk revival concerts, I doubt there are many things a tattooist will say no to. When he comes across as the calm, reasoned grownup in your story, it just might be time reevaluate your worldview. It’s a bit like the person in Chris Rock’s brilliant little “How to avoid getting your ass kicked by the police” sketch telling someone “I wouldn’t do that sh** if I were you,” before they get an ass kicking, except that unlike a tattoo, bruises from a policeman’s truncheon eventually go away:

Donald Trump is America

June 16th, 2015 - 12:41 pm

P.J. O’Rourke at the Daily Beast: “Garish Tastes, Awful Hair: Donald Trump Is America” — or at least America after the left had their way with it in the 20th century. If the 1970s was the Me Decade — i.e., “Let’s Talk About Meeeee!” there’s no bigger “Meeee!” than Donald J. Farging Trump:

And in this era of inflated self-esteem, which has become so fundamental to Americanism that it’s taught in our schools, we can all match Trump’s opinion of his own worth. Trump claims to be worth billions—seven of them as of 2012.

In 2004 Forbes magazine estimated Trump’s net worth to be $2.6 billion. New York Times reporter Timothy O’Brien looked into the numbers and came up with a net worth figure between $150 and $250 million. Trump sued O’Brien and lost.

Many a candidate for president has fibbed on the subject of his or her economic circumstances—William Henry “born in a log cabin” Harrison and Hillary “dead broke” Clinton. But Trump will be the first candidate to—like the American legend that he is—tell tall tales about all the money he’s got. Trump is a financial Paul Bunyan, Johnny Appleseed, and Davey Crockett rolled into one, according to Trump.

If Trump’s critics don’t think this is typical of modern Americans, they haven’t looked at our online dating profiles.

Also typical of modern Americans is Trump’s bad taste. True, he doesn’t dress the way the rest of us do—like a nine-year-old in twee T-shirt, bulbous shorts, boob shoes, and league-skunked sports team cap. And Trump doesn’t weigh 300 pounds or have multiple piercings or visible ink. He puts his own individual stamp on gaucherie. And we like it. We’re a country that cherishes being individuals as much as we cherish being gauche.

Trump’s suits have a cut and sheen as if they came from the trunk sale of a visiting Bombay tailor staying in a cheap hotel in Trump’s native Queens and taking a nip between fittings. Trump wears neckties in Outer Borough colors. And, Donald, the end of your necktie belongs up around your belt buckle, not between your knees and your nuts. Trump’s haircut makes Kim Jong Un laugh.

And America loves voting for candidates with Hindenburg-sized egos making impossible campaign boasts, so The Donald has that going for him as well. Particularly O’Rourke’s editor at the Daily Beast:

Financial chicanery? The MSM has no problem with that, either:

Invented narrative? No problem there, either:

And the saddest reality of all? America could do far worse. And we have:

Trading Places

June 15th, 2015 - 10:39 pm

“Good question! Laura Ingraham wonders what Rachel Dolezal has in store for her Today Show interview,” Twitchy notes.

I really don’t care what sort of train wreck pyschobabble emerges from Dolezal’s mouth at this late date tomorrow. What I’ll be curious to study, after NewsBusters, Mediaite or another Website that monitors the MSM has the transcript and video, is how she’s treated by NBC. This is the network that’s to Obama as ABC and the House of Stephanopoulos is to the Clintons, and as needed, they’ve done much to advance his own highly, err, improvised narrative, and memory hole the details when necessary. (Recall Tom Brokaw’s goofy “I know nothing — nuuuuuthingggg!!!” remarks about Obama on the eve of the 2008 election and immediately after Dan Rather was caught cooking the books to advance the DNC narrative in 2004.) The tone of Dolezal’s interview and the questions she asked will speak volumes about what the DNC-MSM overculture as a whole thinks about Dolezal and others after they’re caught pedaling a phony identity politics narrative.

Err, like NBC’s own Al Sharpton and Brian Williams, come to think of it.

Related: Found via InstaPundit, a former NBC employee had Dolezal’s number almost 20 years ago.

And from the Insta Twitter feed, two NBCs in One! In addition to appearing on the Today Show,  Dolezal is also booked tomorrow for MSNBC’s uber-Marxist identity politics obsessed — and that’s something considering the rest of the crowd she shares network time with — Melissa Harris-Perry, who asked this weekend, “is it possible that [Dolezal] might actually be black…I wonder can it be that one would be cis-black and trans-black, that there is actually a different category of blackness, about the achievement of blackness, despite one’s parentage?”

Oh the fun those two should have together tomorrow — pass the popcorn.

Update: In his Friday G-File, Jonah Goldberg wrote, “America’s Progressive Autoimmune Crisis Continues Apace:”

The progressive vision sees all of mankind as clay to be molded, sheep to be herded, a third-grade diorama to be diorama’d. There are no safe harbors from politics because the personal is political.

The problem with saying “the personal is political” is twofold: You politicize what is personal (“Everyone must celebrate my lifestyle!”) and you personalize the political (“Your opposition to the minimum wage hurts my feelings!”).

This is how you un-think yourself out of a civilization; When politics becomes a fashion choice and fashion becomes political. If you wear your politics on your sleeve, it usually means you don’t keep them in your brain where they belong.

But as Mark Steyn writes today in “The New Minstrelsy,” from the far left’s perspective, that’s a feature:

Senator Warren walks like a white, quacks like a white, looks whiter than white. As I like to say, she’s the whitest white since Frosty the Snowman fell in a vat of White-Out. And yet The Fordham Law Review hailed her as Harvard Law School’s “first woman of color”, and good for them. Why do we impose outmoded stereotypes and demand that black women be black? Why can’t a woman of color retain her pallor? After all, as The New York Post informed us, “Caitlyn Jenner Still Has Her Penis“.

Is that the first American newspaper headline to use the phrase “her penis”? If so, it won’t be the last. Caitlyn Jenner still has her penis, Elizabeth Warren still has her pallor, Jeb Bush still has his pad at Kennebunkport, Rashaqua’nishia Brunnhilde von Dolezal still has her swastika. But all of them have recognized that it’s last orders at the White Privilege saloon. So too have all those so-called “allies” of the LGBTQWERTY crowd, the straight end of the high-school “gay-straight alliance” groups. Is there anything more totally fagulous than being an “ally”? It’s way gayer than gay: You go along to the meetings with all the gays, but you don’t get any of that great anal sex, you just get to take the minutes. Even in the Republic of Paperwork, you’d have thought that would be a tough sell. But no: all the cool heteros – okay, not cool, but the least uncool — are lining up to take it.

But that’s the left’s genius. If the personal is political, why can’t it still be political even when it’s not personal? In contemporary America, race and sexuality are no longer confined to personal identity but to professional status markers — so why not be professionally black, professionally gay, professionally Cherokee?

As Steyn writes, “sometimes a society becomes too stupid to survive” — and our elite “intellectuals” retired their intellects long ago.

Apollo 13 and DNC-MSM-Hollywood 1995

June 15th, 2015 - 7:09 pm

Terry Teachout watches Ron Howard’s 1995 Apollo 13 film and ponders how much has changed in America since the epoch-defining NASA moon landings depicted in the movie. As he writes, “In the opening scene, we see a roomful of astronauts and their families celebrating in Houston as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin land on the moon. The TV that they’re watching is tuned to CBS, and Walter Cronkite, who was anchoring the network’s coverage of the flight of Apollo 11, makes no secret of his delight at the mission’s success. ‘Oh, boy!’ he cries in a tone that is not ‘objective’ but unabashedly admiring.”

There were very few issues that could have resonated approvingly with the perilously left-leaning Cronkite and pioneering libertarian Ayn Rand, but the Apollo program was one of them. Teachout adds that he also watched Cronkite on CBS as a “a thirteen-year-old boy unaware that he was witnessing a sea change in our national self-understanding:”

Having been a space buff throughout my childhood, it stood to reason that I should have been excited. But we were all on the same side on July 20, 1969, myself and my family and virtually the whole of America. Yes, the ties that bound us had been stretched to the breaking point by the assassinations of 1963 and 1968, and the Vietnam War was well on its way to snapping them. Yet we were still “we” on the night that Armstrong and Aldrin landed on the moon, just as we were “we” when, a few months later, the crew of Apollo 13 faced the imminent prospect of death in the silent chill of space. We believed in heroes then, just as we believed every word spoken on the air by Walter Cronkite, whose newscast my family watched each night after dinner.

This unanimity of national spirit is part of the point of Apollo 13, and I can’t help but wonder how it plays with younger viewers today, assuming they’ve seen the film. That’s not a safe assumption, seeing as how Apollo 13 was released in 1995. If you’re thirty years old, you weren’t yet born when Walter Cronkite retired, and you may well not even know his name, much less recognize his voice. You grew up in a very different country from the America of my youth, a land in which the phrase “common culture” was not in common use only because everybody took its existence for granted.

I’ve written a lot, here and elsewhere, about what it was like to grow up under the aspect of a common national culture. Now Charles Murray has published an extremely interesting essay in Commentary called “The United States of Diversity” in which he argues that America’s postwar cultural unanimity was an aberration from the historical norm:

Movies were ubiquitous by the beginning of World War I, and most American homes had a radio by the end of the 1920s. These new mass media introduced a nationally shared popular culture, and one to which almost all Americans were exposed. Given a list of the top movie stars, the top singers, and the top radio personalities, just about everybody younger than 60 would not only have recognized all their names but have been familiar with them and their work.

After the war, television spread the national popular culture even more pervasively. Television viewers had only a few channels to choose from, so everyone’s television-viewing overlapped with everyone else’s. Even if you didn’t watch, you were part of it—last night’s episode of I Love Lucy was a major source of conversation around the water cooler.

In these and many other ways, the cultural variations that had been so prominent at the time of World War I were less obvious by the time the 1960s rolled around. A few cities remained culturally distinct, and the different regions continued to have some different folkways, but only the South stood out as a part of the country that marched to a different drummer, and the foundation of that distinctiveness, the South’s version of racial segregation, had been cracked by the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In December 1964, Lyndon Johnson evoked his mentor Sam Rayburn’s dream, expressed in 1913, of an America “that knows no East, no West, no North, no South.” Johnson was giving voice to a sentiment that seemed not only an aspiration but something that the nation could achieve once the civil-rights movement’s triumph was complete….

Half a century after Johnson’s dream of a geographically and culturally homogeneous America, the United States is at least as culturally diverse as it was at the beginning of World War I and in some respects more thoroughly segregated than it has ever been. Today’s America is once again a patchwork of cultures that are different from one another and often in tension.

But in addition to looking back at the near-unanimous national approval of the moon landings in 1969 and ’70 even as the left’s culture war was about to accelerate to escape velocity, 1995′s Apollo 13 also reflects the era in which it was made. The Cold War was over — or at least undergoing an extended time out, and it was also concurrently a strange interregnum in the left’s culture war, when our “liberal” betters in Hollywood and in New York gave their enthusiastic blessings to an America that narrowly rejected moderate liberal George H.W. Bush and replaced him with moderate liberal Bill Clinton. As Jonah Goldberg has written, during that period David Brooks, then of the Weekly Standard and in the process of writing Bobos in Paradise happened to completely misread the tenor of the times in far left Burlington, Vermont during the Clinton era:

In his Weekly Standard article, entitled “The Rise of the Latte Town,” Brooks highlighted Burlington, Vermont as Exhibit A in what he identified as a profound transformation of American liberalism and American society in general. Brooks declared, “One of the striking things about Burlington is that it is relatively apolitical.” He noted how the bookstores downplayed overtly partisan books in favor of tomes which explained how individual citizens could help the homeless. “Bulletin boards are everywhere,” he reported, “but most of the fliers advertise rock bands, not rallies.” He saw only three political bumper stickers there: two simply said “Bernie” (a reference to Vermont’s only congressman, an Independent in the House and a socialist in his heart) and the third was a sticker for Rush–which he found on the outskirts of town on a pickup truck, so maybe the owner was an out-of-towner making a delivery.

All in all, Brooks discovered, Leftists didn’t care much about national or international politics. They wanted to be left with their expensive-but-necessary homes, cars, and clothes. “So these upscale liberals have retreated from national and urban politics and instead concentrated their energies on the local politics and small-scale activism to be found in the Latte Towns.” Moreover, while this retreat may be literal for those who voted with their feet and moved to Burlington, Austin, Texas, and Portland, Oregon, there has been a broader psychological retreat by the Left in general. “In this sense, Latte Towns represent a fundamental transformation in the American Left, the shift from the adversary culture to the alternative culture.”

Visiting Burlington in 2003 one discovers a very different Latte Town, and not just because Brooks seemed not to notice all of the drug addicts and facially pierced ne’er-do-wells. Oh, by the way, Latte Towns (Alan Ehrenhalt coined the term) are exactly what you’d think. I describe them in my forthcoming NRODT piece as one of those clever, crunchy, condescending college burgs crammed with students–and professors–with open-toed shoes and closed minds. The kids can name 50 different espresso drinks but not one reason to cut a tax, a tree, or their hair.

Anyway, Burlington is hardly the “apolitical” hamlet Brooks encountered. These days the bookstores front a lot more Noam Chomsky and Al Franken. You can still find flyers for bands–if you’re willing to peel off the ones advertising trips to Cuba. Political bumper stickers are everywhere. “Impeach Bush” is particularly popular, but my favorite was one I saw while driving along the campus of the University of Vermont: “The Road to Hell is Paved with Republicans.” You can also find it for sale at the “Peace & Justice Center & Store” on Church street in the heart of downtown Burlington.

So what changed? Well, some very important things have changed and others have stayed the same.

When Brooks visited Burlington, Bill Clinton was at the height of his popularity, just a couple of months before the Monica Lewinsky scandal broke. The ’90s economy was booming and for whatever reason liberals believed that, unlike the 1980s, Wall Street-generated “excess and greed” under a Democratic president were hunky-dory. If terrorists attacked, Leftists tended to blame America for forcing the delicate hands of peace-loving al Qaeda. And while most Leftists didn’t like it when we responded with force, at least President Clinton did so “proportionately” (refusing to highlight our military advantages too much, which might harm the self-esteem of backward countries and the leftists who infantilize them).

Now George W. Bush is president. And as numerous folks have noted, the Left hates George W. Bush. (See Jonathan Chait’s and Ramesh Ponnuru’s debate, for example.) President Bush doesn’t mind demonstrating that when it comes to things military the third world isn’t ready for adult swim. He cuts taxes. He talks funny–and not Garrison Keilor funny or Al Franken funny either. He mentions God in a non-kitschy way without using quotation marks or a lowercase “q.” You get it. The fact is upscale and downscale liberals alike loathe the man.

And, like the savages who riot when you leave the toilet seat up, they have no problem making that known. I flatly refuse to believe that if Brooks visited Burlington today–or any other Latte Town–he would still think the locals are “apolitical.”

On the other side of the country during the 1990s, Hollywood rode out that era making films that celebrated America’s achievements (as in the case of Apollo 13, which if I’m remembering it correctly, contains only one churlish comment about Richard Nixon) and portraying that decade’s American president as a heroic man of action. In 1997, Nick Gillespie of Reason surveyed the glut of Hollywood’s pro-POTUS product and concluded:

Why the filmic landslide? Director Ivan Reitman, who shot 1993′s Dave, chalks it up to baby boomer solidarity, telling Time that Clinton “is just like me….He’s my age. There are a lot of commonalities.” That might explain the sympathetic portrayals, but it fails to account for the sheer quantity (or the nasty takes). Part of the reason lies with those election results: Without a clear mandate, both supporters and detractors are more likely to go on the offensive. Then there’s the chief executive’s well-known penchant to be all things to all people. That may not be possible in Washington, but judging from the presidential filmography to date, it’s a dream come true in Hollywood.

There were two films of that era that in retrospect are particularly of note: 1997′s Air Force One, which starred Harrison Ford as a 50-something American president who knew his way around the cockpit of a jet aircraft, refused to take any guff from terrorists, and had a woman as a vice president to boot. And 1999′s Three Kings, which starred George Clooney, and denigrated George H.W. Bush for not toppling Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

No wonder Hollywood has been so miserable after 9/11; they got everything they has previously wished for in a president and as a result, thoroughly hated his guts.

In “Rachel Dolezal, Ethnic Politics and the World of Make Believe,” Peter Wehner of Commentary writes:

“Rachel has wanted to be somebody she’s not. She’s chosen not to just be herself but to represent herself as an African American woman or a biracial person. And that’s simply not true,” Ruthanne Dolezal said. Her mother said Rachel began to “disguise herself” in 2006 or 2007.

This interview shows Dolezal being caught in her lie. It also seems quite likely that her claim that she’s received racially motivated hate letters and pictures was a ruse. (Police are still investigating, but say that whoever placed the mail must have had access to the mailbox, as it was not processed through the regular mail.)

The reason this story is significant is that it so perfectly represents the absurdity of the American Left today. There’s the obsession with racial and ethnic politics, to the point that this very white woman would attempt to start a “new life” in which she airbrushed out of history her real father, invented a black father and began to darken her skin and hair. It wasn’t enough to support a political and cultural cause; she had to pretend she was black. She had to be part of the African-American sisterhood, to the point of re-inventing who she is. That is what gave her validation.

But that’s not all. Ms. Dolezal, in a later interview, was unapologetic about her deception. Indeed, she still maintains she’s black, even though she’s white. We don’t really understand, you see, the “definitions of race and ethnicity.” Which, according to Dolezal, don’t have anything to do with race and ethnicity. Or even reality.

One of my favorite moments so far is Dolezal pleading that “challenging the construct of race is at the core of evolving human consciousness” in her resignation statement. That seems absurd at least twice over — if “challenging the construct of race” really was at the core of “evolving human consciousness,” you wouldn’t have so many Democrats reverting back to their concept of separate but equal education over the past 20 years, after all-too-briefly and commendably paying lip service to the goal of a colorblind society in the ’60s and ’70s. But by mid-2008, Obama’s longtime religious mentor, whose pro separate but equal speech to 10,000 wildly approving NAACP members toyed with the following concepts:

He claimed these differences were genetic (imagine Charles Murray trying to pull this off!). European-Americans have a “left-brain cognitive, object-oriented learning style. Logical and analytical,” explained Wright, whereas blacks “learn not from an object, but from a subject. They are right-brain, subject-oriented in their learning style. That means creative and intuitive. The two worlds have different ways of learning.”

The logical conclusion of Wright’s words was that whites and blacks should be schooled separately, but he did not expand on the point. What was important is that whites and blacks inhabit different spheres — two worlds, in fact. And now we were at the nut of Wright’s message.

That speech to the NAACP was declared “a home run” by a CNN spokeswoman, a week before the network received its marching orders from the Obama campaign and tossed Rev. Wright down the proverbial Memory Hole.

Similarly, you wouldn’t have so many leftists using race a cheap cudgel against Obama’s opposition on both sides of the aisle starting in 2008 — including by Dolezal herself, astonishingly enough. And if Dolezal truly believes her current modified limited hangout, she wouldn’t have picked the NAACP to be her employer, as they’ve become increasingly militant and polarizing in their racial stance as well in recent decades. (QED.)

This hilarious tweet from Las Vegas comedian George Wallace (no relation to the best of our knowledge to his earlier fellow Democrat with the same name) places Dolezel’s bizarre claim into further context:

Oh, and there’s this little tidbit at the Smoking Gun: “NAACP Imposter Sued School Over Race Claims:”

The court opinion also noted that Dolezal claimed that the university’s decision to remove some of her artworks from a February 2001 student exhibition was “motivated by a discriminatory purpose to favor African-American students over” her.

As detailed in the court opinion, Dolezal’s lawsuit contended that Howard was “permeated with discriminatory intimidation, ridicule, and insult.”

Judge Zoe Bush dismissed Dolezal’s complaint in February 2004, 18 months after the lawsuit was filed and Dolezal was deposed on several occasions. Bush found no evidence that Dolezal was discriminated on the basis of race or other factors. The D.C. Court of Appeals subsequently affirmed Bush’s decision.

Following the dismissal of Dolezal’s lawsuit (and the Court of Appeals decision), she was ordered to reimburse Howard for a “Bill of Costs” totaling $2728.50. During the case, she was also ordered to pay the university nearly $1000 in connection with an “obstructive and vexatious” court filing that sought to improperly delay her examination by an independent doctor.

Dolezal’s lawsuit, included “claims for medical and emotional distress damages,” according to a court docket.

Hot Air’s Allahpundit imagines the internal contradictions of a young woman obsessed with identity politics attempting to formulate her identity*:

So imagine you’re Rachel Dolezal, having grown up with adopted brothers and sisters who are black, having married a black man, having focused your art on African-American subjects, having applied and been accepted to Howard University, and then discovering that you’re still not black enough to be fully accepted in the cultural and academic circles you move in. Part of the reason she changed her appearance doubtless was sincere identification with and admiration for black culture, but partly too it now seems like an act of desperation to assimilate as completely as she wished. She was caught in an authenticity trap, a ludicrous phony when she tried to pass as black and a “problematic” white artist exploiting black subjects when she didn’t.

The above article from the Smoking Gun references Dolezal’s artwork, and note this great catch by the Weasel Zippers blog: “Derivative is one word for the following. Plagiarism is another. You can decide.” Dolezal’s painting strongly resembles a clumsy Photoshop knockoff of “The Slaveship,”  J.M.W. Turner legendary proto-impressionist work from 1840.

* Dolezal is far from alone on the left in attempting to open up the Identikit, shake up the contents, remold herself into something she isn’t, and then demand that society as a whole play along. As Sean Davis writes today at the Federalist, when it comes to Dolezal and Bruce Jenner, the difference isn’t fraud; “The only difference between these two is the extent to which society is willing to entertain their delusions” — which brings us back to the headline of Wehner’s Commentary post.

Insert obligatory Mencken “good and hard” reference here. As Michael Goodwin writes in the New York Post, “A new world order may be coming, or it may just be a long period of bloody disorder. The only clarity is an unshakable conviction that something fundamental is changing for the worse:”

The biggest change is that America, the modern world’s anchor of stability and security, is being roiled by a never-ending loop of turmoil and division. Mankind’s last resort feels unsettled and unreliable, adding to the sense of impending danger.

The lion’s share of the blame ­belongs to our awful governments, from New York City to ­Albany to Washington.

I can think of no other period when we simultaneously had such terrible leaders and ineffective lawmakers at all three levels. They seem to feed on each other’s worst instincts, competing to lay claim to the most sweeping changes, no matter the method or impact.

And so we are engulfed in waves of corruption, incompetence and arrogance, trickling up and trickling down, as government smothers society with agenda-driven policies. Just as modern culture often works against parents and families, modern government ­often works against social harmony and individual liberty.

Barack Obama leads the pack, and he will make history in two ways: as the first black president, and as the president who weakened America at home and abroad. Even race relations are on fire.

It’s a great column, but that last quoted sentence is a classic Fox Butterfield momentof course race relations are on fire; that’s just what Barry and Eric Holder intended. And as John Fund writes today at National Review, “Most Americans Expect a Long, Hot Summer of Racial Unrest. [Pat] Moynihan Would Not Be Surprised.” Well, American elites have spent the last 40 years or so defining deviancy down and finally have both the politicians they want, and deserve. But to paraphrase Ed Koch, the “Progressive” elites have spoken, and now the rest of us must suffer.

But even wealthy elites are not completely clueless about the debacle they’ve created. Speaking of de Blasio, a friend tipped me to this column while I was visiting New York last week, “De Blasios Are Largely No-Shows at New York City’s High-Profile Society Affairs,” the Wall Street Journal noted last month, and as result, charitable giving is down amongst elite New Yorkers. “Unexpectedly,” as the namesake publication owned by de Blasio’s successor would say:

Since becoming the city’s first couple 16 months ago, Mr. de Blasio [and his wife, Chirlane McCray] have largely skipped many of the city’s high-profile society events. Their style offers a sharp contrast with predecessor Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire businessman and philanthropist who, along with his longtime companion, Diana Taylor, were a fixture on the black-tie circuit.

The de Blasios and their aides said they do their best to attend a range of events, but limited time and competing priorities often intervene.

Their absence hasn’t gone without notice, troubling some who say their apparent reluctance to attend these events is a snub to the city’s philanthropic community. The criticism is particularly nettlesome for Ms. McCray because she serves as chairwoman of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, a nonprofit that raises money from private donors to support city causes.

Peggy Siegal, a New York City event publicist who orchestrates high-profile parties, said Mr. de Blasio had “disdain for the striving, successful New Yorkers and I have been told by insiders that he always listens to his wife, who also has disdain for the accomplished.”

“They obviously do not relate to New Yorkers who socially network to support charities,” Ms. Siegal said. “They have made themselves socially irrelevant. It is a major shortcoming not to mingle with all classes.”

In an interview, Ms. McCray said she was “certainly willing” to attend all types of events as head of the Mayor’s Fund in hopes of securing contributions.

“Wherever people are who want to donate, you will find me,” she said. “Not at everything because that’s just not possible. But I am out there. I’m definitely out there.”

Well, that’s one way to put it.

As the New York Post adds, “It’s not that you’ve hurt their feelings, Mr. Mayor: The rich are giving less to charities you control because they expect you to waste the money:”

Contributions are plummeting to nonprofits like the Fund for Public Schools and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.

The Wall Street Journal notes that donations to the Mayor’s Fund (run by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife, Chirlane McCray) dived 63 percent, to $19 million, last year from $52 million in the final year of Mike Bloomberg’s term.

At The Fund for the Public Schools, The New York Times cites a 38 percent dip, to just $18 million, from a yearly average of $29 million for the past decade.

Sure, de Blasio may annoy the 1 percent. He’s eager to raise their taxes and his “inequality” rhetoric implies their success is to blame for the woes of the poor. His backers — like the labor-allied Hedge Clippers — spend their lives bashing the rich and the “damage billionaire-driven politics inflicts on our communities.” (Huh?)

But most wealthy New Yorkers are plenty liberal, and donate generously to progressive causes. Yet how can they trust the mayor to make wise use of their gifts?

Perhaps they should have this question sooner, rather than later.

Not surprisingly, PJM alumnus Jennifer Rubin is much more aware of how Mr. Obama’s personal existential crisis has worldwide ramifications than Maureen Dowd, whose column we deconstructed in the previous post, and to her credit, Jennifer manages to chart “A presidency in free-fall” without resorting to pretentious T.S. Eliot references:

And so the remainder of his term becomes one giant gamble: Can we get through the next 18 months without a serious attack on the homeland, with no irreversible disasters in the region?

Well, so much for that idea, at least in terms of information theft. As Glenn Reynolds writes in USA Today, “What if Pearl Harbor happened and nobody noticed?”

Last week, while people were going on about the white woman who posed as black to get an NAACP job, Hillary Clinton’s (latest) campaign relaunch and President Obama’s trade-bill debacle in the House, a much bigger story slipped by with much less hoopla: the successful seizure of a vast trove of federal personnel records, reportedly by the Chinese.

And then it got worse. “Hackers linked to China have gained access to the sensitive background information submitted by intelligence and military personnel for security clearances, U.S. officials said Friday, describing a cyberbreach of federal records dramatically worse than first acknowledged.”

And there are lessons in this debacle, if we are willing to learn them.

Read the whole thing; to paraphrase Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca, which takes plays shortly before the real Pearl Harbor, “I bet they’re asleep in Berkeley — I bet they’re asleep all over ‘Progressive’ America.” But there’s no reason the rest of us should spend our days in such a mental slumber.

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.)