‘… And There We Can Still Maintain Our Mysterious and Dreadful Freedom.’
A dose of optimism for the day (advice to my newlywed friend) after so many troubling headlines from Wednesday.
July 18, 2013 - 12:45 pm
This is the sixth of my reading/writing journals, a new routine in season 2 of the 13 Weeks Radical Reading Reading Regimen. Each morning I will juxtapose book excerpts from my readings with the day’s headlines and then try in the afternoon to make sense of the chaos of the day’s news. So far I’m not doing as well as I hoped. Some days I haven’t been able to finish, thus yielding longer multi-day collections. Eventually I hope to figure out a better rhythm. See the first week and a half’s entries:
- Monday, July 8: “We Ought to Defeat Capitalism With Its Own Weapons, Comrades…“
- Tuesday, July 9: Can We Just Fast Forward to 2040? Please?
- Thursday, July 11: Researching the American Family’s War to Beat Death…
- Monday, July 15: Turning On Mankind’s Magical Machines To Battle Mother Earth’s Cruel Monsters
- Wednesday, July 17: ‘So, You Know How You Felt on 9/11? Yeah, That’s How We Feel When It Comes To Race.’
Wednesday Dawn Book Reading:
From Page 32 of Ishtar Rising: Or, Why the Goddess Went to Hell and What to Expect Now That She’s Returning, Robert Anton Wilson’s book on goddess worship’s influence throughout culture and history:
Quote of the day #1: “A panchreston — an idea that explains everything — is the logical equivalent of a panacea — a medicine that cures everything — or of the perpetual motion machine in physics. Such ideals cannot possibly exist. We all know this intuitively, if we have any common sense at all, and Russell and Whitehead, with a strange passion for proving the obvious, have demonstrated it at length in their Principia Mathematica.” – Robert Anton Wilson
Wednesday Morning News Round Up:
Lead PJM Stories:
Roger L. Simon: Confessions of a Racist
Andrew Klavan: Journalism Beneath Contempt
The Democratic Party is a machine for inciting grievances in order to consolidate its power. The Republican Party is also just such a machine, but poorly run. Incompetence and stupidity are its only saving graces. Journalists who cast a hostile and suspicious eye equally on both would be… well, they would be journalists, wouldn’t they? How can you suspect the stratagems of those who seek power and go far wrong?
Instead, what we have in our news media is a cabal of over-educated but under-smart elites under the hilarious impression that one power-hungry party is out for the good of mankind and the other staunchly opposed. It’s such a stupid thing to think — such a blitheringly naive proposition — that reacting to them with outrage seems almost unkind, like slapping a child for believing in Santa Claus.
Bryan Preston: States Enacted ‘Stand Your Ground’ Laws Because Leftists Just Can’t Help But Ruin the World
Stephen Green: Lewisville Is for Boobs
So now we’ll have a bunch of ignorant politicians debating the weighty matter of exactly what geometry of the female breast away from the nipple is allowed to be exposed and what constitutes proper coverage of said side- and/or under-boob.
Bryan Preston: Trayvon Protesters Assault Houston Grandmother
I wonder if it’s possible to sue protest organizers in civil court over any harm their followers cause? “No justice, no peace,” which the protesters were chanting in this case, implies that violence will ensue if the protesters’ demand aren’t met. The protesters aren’t even making clear and reasonable demands in this case. They wanted a trial, they got one, they don’t like the outcome, so now they want a do-over.
Paula Bolyard: Baseball: The Last Refuge From What Divides Us
Hannah Sternberg: Bad Advice: Slaying Facebook Trolls
So, if someone that you barely know or speak to anymore gets upset that you defriended her on Facebook, just hold the course you’ve already set: don’t respond to her. When you break up a long-term relationship or friendship in real life, you owe someone an explanation. But when you quietly disappear from the newsfeed of someone you barely know and haven’t personally spoken with in ages, you don’t owe them any explanation…it’s just the natural conclusion of a pattern that must have been obvious to them for a long time.
Timothy Imholt, Ph.D. and David Forsmark: How Fingerprint Technology Solves Election Day Multiple Voting Fraud
Some people “delete” their Facebook as a sign of mental strength—only to reappear a few weeks later with 100 status updates about their awesome willpower. Forget you. I wanted a long-term solution. So, after years and years of accumulating friends, nourishing Facebook friendships, and pruning some of those annoying (above) stragglers from my friends list, I decided to do a Facebook purge.
Honestly, when I told some of my real-life (not just digital) friends that I was going to go through my page and systematically delete people, they were aghast. HOW could you do that? That’s sad! Why?
More Headlines On News and Culture All Around the Web Wednesday and Earlier This Week:
Dennis Prager: The Election of a Black President Has Meant Nothing
I put quotation marks around the term “racial tensions” because the term is a falsehood.
This term is stated as if whites and blacks are equally responsible for these tensions, as if the mistrust is morally and factually equivalent.
But this is not at all the case.
“Racial tensions” is a lie perpetrated by the left. A superb example is when the New York Times described the 1991 black anti-Semitic riots in Crown Heights, Brooklyn as “racial tensions.”
For those who do not recall, or who only read, viewed or listened to mainstream media reports, what happened was that mobs of blacks attacked Jews for three days after a black boy was accidentally hit and killed by a car driven by a Chasidic Jew.
A Brandeis University historian, Edward S. Shapiro, who wrote a book on the events, described those black attacks on innocent Jews as “the most serious anti-Semitic incident in American history.”
Ian Tuttle at National Review: Angela Corey’s Checkered Past
Shortly after Dershowitz’s criticisms, Harvard Law School’s dean’s office received a phone call. When the dean refused to pick up, Angela Corey spent a half hour demanding of an office-of-communications employee that Dershowitz be fired. According to Dershowitz, Corey threatened to sue Harvard, to try to get him disbarred, and also to sue him for slander and libel. Corey also told the communications employee that she had assigned a state investigator — an employee of the State of Florida, that is — to investigate Dershowitz. “That’s an abuse of office right there,” Dershowitz says.
Still, by the end of the case it was clear that the jury was unlikely to convict Zimmerman of second-degree murder; hence the prosecution’s addition of a manslaughter charge — as well as its attempt to add a charge for third-degree murder by way of child abuse — after the trial had closed. “In 50 years of practice I’ve never seen anything like it,” says Dershowitz. It’s a permissible maneuver, but as a matter of professional ethics it’s a low blow.
Corey’s post-trial performance has been less than admirable as well. Asked in a prime-time interview with HLN how she would describe George Zimmerman, Corey responded, “Murderer.” Attorneys who spoke with me called her refusal to acknowledge the validity of the jury’s verdict everything from “disgusting” to “disgraceful.”
Noah Rothman at Mediate: Touré Defends ‘Journalistic’ Concept Behind Rolling Stone’s Boston Bomber Cover: ‘Exploring Roots Of Evil’
“I think we’re trying to get at, there was an innocence to this person,” Touré added. “They weren’t always this, sort of, evil.”
“This, sort of, [National Rifle Association CEO] Wayne LaPierre concept of people are either good or evil is, sort of, cockamamie,” he concluded.
Jonah Goldberg at National Review: Rand Paul’s Paleo Problem
Both controversies stem from the same sinful strategy adopted by so-called paleolibertarians in the 1980s. The idea was that libertarians needed to attract followers from outside the ranks of both the mainstream GOP and the libertarian movement — by trying to fuse the struggle for individual liberty with nostalgia for white supremacy. Thinkers such as Murray Rothbard hated the cultural liberalism of libertarians like the Koch brothers (yes, you read that right) and sought to build a movement fueled by white resentment. This sect of libertarianism played into the left-wing view of conservatism as racist. The newsletters, probably ghostwritten by Rothbard and former Ron Paul chief of staff Lew Rockwell, were the main organ for this effort.
A great column summarizing why Rand Paul must not, under any circumstances be the GOP presidential nominee in 2016. Read the whole thing from Goldberg.
Katie Pavlich at Town Hall: NAACP Rejects Black Conservatives From National Conference
According to author and Fox News contributor Deneen Borelli and her husband, Tom Borelli, black conservatives have been blacklisted from the NAACP’s national conferences for years. When the Borellis, who are employees of the conservative group FreedomWorks, attempted to pay for booth space at this year’s 104th National NAACP conference in Florida, they were told there was no room for them despite plenty of exhibit space remaining open.
R.J. Moeller at Acculturated: From Hashtags to Holy Matrimony
Big congratulations to my buddy R.J. and his lovely bride Whitney:
R.J.: I look forward to your future articles on the joys and challenges of transitioning from single male barbarism to husbandly domestication…. (Hint, hint for upcoming story pitches…)
Israel is in “greater danger” of nuclear attack with every day that goes by and it doesn’t attack Iran, said John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
“Israel should have attacked Iran yesterday. Every day that goes by puts Israel in greater danger, every day Iran makes more progress,” Bolton told The Jerusalem Post.
“I can understand why Israel wants us to take action, but the longer Israel waits for something that is not going to happen, the greater the danger Israel is in,” said the senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
Daniel Pipes at Commentary: Can Islam Be Reformed?
To state that Islam can never change is to assert that the Koran and Hadith, which constitute the religion’s core, must always be understood in the same way. But to articulate this position is to reveal its error, for nothing human abides forever. Everything, including the reading of sacred texts, changes over time. Everything has a history. And everything has a future that will be unlike its past.
Only by failing to account for human nature and by ignoring more than a millennium of actual changes in the Koran’s interpretation can one claim that the Koran has been understood identically over time. Changes have applied in such matters as jihad, slavery, usury, the principle of “no compulsion in religion,” and the role of women. Moreover, the many important interpreters of Islam over the past 1,400 years—ash-Shafii, al-Ghazali, Ibn Taymiyyah, Rumi, Shah Waliullah, and Ruhollah Khomeini come to mind—disagreed deeply among themselves about the content of the message of Islam.
However central the Koran and Hadith may be, they are not the totality of the Muslim experience; the accumulated experience of Muslim peoples from Morocco to Indonesia and beyond matters no less. To dwell on Islam’s scriptures is akin to interpreting the United States solely through the lens of the Constitution; ignoring the country’s history would lead to a distorted understanding.
Daniel Pipes is one of my favorite writers. In addition to his expertise on Islam, he’s also one of the world’s experts on conspiracism. See his history of the conspiratorial temperament:
Justin Peters at Slate: I Write All My Blog Posts Out Longhand, and You Should Too
When I’m working on a computer, it takes me three times as long as it should to write a post. When I’m putting pen to paper, though, there are no distractions. It’s just me and the ink, and I can’t tab over to something more immediately gratifying. Not only do I finish my posts faster, I’m more likely to just sit and think before I write a sentence or a paragraph—something I don’t always do while composing in Microsoft Word.
I am also an advocate of handwritten blogging, though I go a step further than just writing first drafts by hand (which I do sometimes, but not regularly): photograph and publish the handwritten post. (Recent example from me: Philip Seymour Hoffman vs. Heroin Addiction.) Back in April I did my first piece for Acculturated on the subject: Five Rules for Writing Blog Posts by Hand.
New York Daily News: Al Sharpton finds new love in a decades-younger Westchester stylist
Al Sharpton has a new, decades-younger, attractive main squeeze.
The civil rights activist and MSNBC star, 58, is dating 35-year-old Aisha McShaw, a Westchester “personal stylist” who has been seen on Sharpton’s arm at several recent black-tie affairs, including the White House Correspondents Dinner in April and President Obama’s holiday party in December.
When she arrived in a form-fitting black and white dress with a sharp-suited Sharpton at the New York County Democratic Committee Award Ceremony on Monday night, the Daily News asked her to define her relationship with the civil rights powerhouse.
“I’m his girlfriend,” McShaw said before Sharpton intervened to shepherd her away from a reporter.
Thursday Dawn Reading:
Quote of the Day #2: “I would not want to disguise that my father was Jewish.” — Leonora Goldstein, Pg. 42 of William F. Buckley Jr.’s novel of conservatism, Getting it Right. Ayn Rand urges her young pupil to adopt a Randian name:
Thursday Morning Reflections:
So initially when I began this books-headlines-excerpts juxtaposition round-up last week, my hope was that in the mornings I’d assemble the day’s material and in the afternoons I’d write up a few paragraphs trying to tie together the strings of ideas which fell together. But the reality I’ve come to accept: my afternoons are just too unpredictable to guarantee that I’ll always have the time and focus to finish up making sense of the day’s media madness. So for tomorrow and then the next week I’m going to try the routine of assembling the day’s links and most of the excerpts during the day and then trying to write the summary and publish the next morning.
Then this will allow for more interesting book excerpt juxtapositions too. I aim for two excerpts a day so I’ll get in the habit of using one excerpt to end the previous day’s entry and then another to start the next.
And eventually, when I’m in a better rhythm, then it’ll be time to take a page from Justin Peters’ playbook in the Slate article above advocating for writing first drafts of blog posts by hand. But one step at a time — trying to make too many changes too quickly is a recipe for disaster.
And that’s a sentiment that I’d also aim toward the newly married Mr. and Mrs. Moeller. I have some unrequested advice — I’m sure they’re getting boatloads of it already but maybe this is one that hasn’t come across their path yet.
R.J., my wife April and I just celebrated our fourth wedding anniversary in May. And these years have been a wild ride filled with changes — from my shifting to a full-time new media job in 2009 to us moving to LA on to my job change to PJM almost two years ago and April’s own professional journey into her Master’s of Fine Arts graduate program (just one more year left for her in a 3-year program — I’m so proud of her). Our heads still spin trying to keep track of how different everything is. And we speculate and wonder what life has in store for us in the coming years after she graduates.
And amongst the anxieties of these external changes all too often the more important internal changes of marriage — what we need to do to become better husband and wife — have taken a subordinate position. When couples get overly focused with the day-to-day requirements of just surviving — making sure the bills get paid — then it’s too easy to neglect taking the time to really focus on becoming a more nurturing, compassionate, loving spouse.
I’ve become more of a social conservative and across-the-board marriage advocate in recent years because I’ve seen in my own life how marriage is transformative. Everyone needs to have a spouse — someone that they are aspiring to perpetually protect, strengthen, and cherish. To be married is to be bound to the perpetual challenge of trying to make yourself a more decent human being. It is the preparation for someday attempting to raise a family of your own. And getting there means recognizing one another’s — and our own — character flaws and setting about fixing them.
But R.J., in making that realization and pursing that path together, both in improving yourself and encouraging your wife in her own continued growth, I’d invite you both — new media types that you are — to consider the 13 Weeks spirit to change. There will be many adjustments that you’ll both have to make, many compromises, many surprises to married life. But an overzealousness to try and fix all problems at once and create the ideal married life results in much the same as attempts to create utopias in the real world. Our conservative attitudes toward limited government and a gradual approach to social change apply both above and below. Marriage is intended as a long, refining process. Husband and wife have a whole lifetime together to shape one another into the stronger people that we need to be.
So in adapting to married life — modest changes and experiments to see what routines and habits will work best to keep everyone fulfilled and growing.
And P.S: All those headlines up there with all the fights that need to be fought… One other thing that I need to work on and that you probably do too: http://www.workaholics-anonymous.org/