Last week I wrote about my “evolution” on guns during the Boston manhunt:
In the middle of that night listening to the Boston police scanner, I evolved. I realized right then that if I were holed up in my house while a cold-blooded terrorist roamed my neighborhood, I wouldn’t want to be a sitting duck with only a deadbolt lock between me and an armed intruder. There are not enough police and they cannot come to my rescue quickly enough. They carry guns to protect themselves, not me. I knew at that instant if Dzhokhar Tsarnaev showed up at my door while I was “sheltered-in-place” and aimed a gun at my head and only one of us would live, I could pull the trigger.
Once I made the decision that I would not be a victim, I began to research my options for home protection. I plan to share the experience of choosing my first gun in a future post but first I’d like to deal with some of the moral implications of the decision to purchase, own — and potentially use — a gun.
I wrote about one of the reasons I refrained from owning a gun for many years:
The other thing holding me back was my belief that if you’re going to own a gun, you must be willing to shoot to kill…I searched my heart and realized that in the heat of the moment of an attack, I wasn’t sure what I would do with a gun in my hand. I knew that could be more dangerous than being unarmed; it wasn’t worth the risk.
A gun is an inanimate object and as such is morally neutral. Lying on a table, tucked under a mattress, or locked in a gun safe it cannot kill, inflict harm, or protect its owner. However, the fact that a gun is in one’s home creates the potential for both danger and protection depending on many variables, including the training, skill, and temperament of the residents of the home and the mental capacity and willingness of the gun owners to use the weapon, whether in self-defense or to inflict intentional harm.
While I understand that many who grew up around guns accept them as a normal part of life, for me, it’s a decision that requires serious introspection and moral evaluation. Though I passionately support the Second Amendment, I confess that I had never taken the time to earnestly contemplate its practical applications. Perhaps this is because I’ve mostly lived in safe, virtually crime-free neighborhoods and have never experienced violent crime. Whatever the reason, it’s not an excuse to jump into gun ownership without first embarking on this intellectual exercise.
Action movies are just as American as motherhood, apple pie, and capitalism. Movies like Unforgiven, Gladiator, Rooster Cogburn, Conan, Dirty Harry, Die Hard, The Dark Knight, High Noon, Man on Fire, Red Dawn, Tombstone, and True Grit speak to men in a primal language that transcends the story line on the screen. Men like these films because they capture qualities we’d like to think we have ourselves. We like the idea of being billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne and fighting crime in our spare time, pointing a gun at a punk and asking him if he feels lucky, or responding to the question, “What is best in life?” with “To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their women!“ While there are dozens of deserving action movies, there are seven that are particularly good at revealing parts of the male psyche.
1) First Blood
John Rambo is a damaged character. His fighting in Vietnam left him with mental problems, made him ill-equipped to fit into society, and led to him ultimately having a difficult and lonely existence. However, there are two things about him that make the character click with men. The first is this:
Teasle: Are you telling me that 200 men against your boy is a no-win situation for us?
Trautman: You send that many, don’t forget one thing.
Trautman: A good supply of body bags.
Rambo doesn’t pick the fight, but when he is backed up against a wall, he is a one-man army. This theme is repeated over and over in action movies because it’s something men aspire to all the way down in their souls.
The other, more subtle thing that makes Rambo appealing is that he shares a grievance that most men have on some level or another: his sacrifices are largely unappreciated. He went through hell to do what had to be done, paid a terrible price for it, saw his suffering shrugged off by men unfit to say his name, and was left holding the bag. There are millions of men who feel the exact same way. They’ve provided, they’ve struggled, they’ve done things they didn’t want to do for other people, and, ultimately, they found that it wasn’t valued. That makes it easy to relate to a character like Rambo, even if you’re not planning to shoot at anybody with a machine gun.
Week 4 of my second 13 week season; low carb diet and more exercise, tracking my weight, blood glucose, and body fat. You can follow me at my 13 Weeks Facebook page for daily updates, and you can join Fitocracy and follow my daily exercise.
I haven’t published new charts recently, so I think it’s time. Here’s the first one, my weight.
OH, NOOOOOES! My weight is going up! I’m a failure! Eeeek!
Well, maybe not, although certainly if all I was tracking were my weight I’d be mildly hysterical. (And I have to admit I get qualms looking at it this time, even though I swear I’m not primarily interested in my weight. But 50 years of dieting doesn’t go away quickly.)
The thing is, that weight in general isn’t really our primary interest. I asked whether weight itself was a primary concern over at my Facebook page, and got a lot of different interesting answers; almost none of them included weight. “Feel better”, “better health”, “more attractive”, “sexier” all did show up. Now a couple of people with bad knees and backs did say weight in itself was a problem, but for most people it’s more a symptom of something else that troubles them. Certainly so with me — blood sugar, health in general, and as I realized during the first 13 weeks, simply feeling ugly and disgusting were my major issues.
What people use as a proxy for all this is weight, of course, and especially with daily weighings, this can be very disheartening.
What’s worse, I’ve been at least as diligent with the diet — in the last full week, according to LostIt!, I’ve been 8200 kcals in deficit, with an average of about 9g carbs a day net of fiber. Being diligent with the diet isn’t so awful, but still I’d sure like a chocolate bar or a plate of spaghetti sometimes. In anything, I’m doing better with the diet plan that in my first 13 weeks.
Add to that I’ve been pretty diligent with the exercise — not every day but at least five days a week (I’ve got more to say about the exercise, below) so I’m lots more active than I was in the first 13 weeks — and probably more than I’ve been in the last 13 years.
But still, I’m actually gaining weight.
Most people think Marv is crazy, but I don’t believe that. I’m no shrink and I’m not saying I’ve got Marv all figured out or anything, but “crazy” just doesn’t explain him. Not to me. Sometimes I think he’s retarded, a big, brutal kid who never learned the ground rules about how people are supposed to act around each other. But that doesn’t have the right ring to it either. No, it’s more like there’s nothing wrong with Marv, nothing at all — except that he had the rotten luck of being born at the wrong time in history. He’d have been okay if he’d been born a couple of thousand years ago. He’d be right at home on some ancient battlefield, swinging an ax into somebody’s face. Or in a Roman Arena, taking a sword to other gladiators like him. They’d have tossed him girls like Nancy, back then. — Sin City
Ever watched a classic action flick? Of course you have. Movies like Die Hard, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Lethal Weapon, First Blood, and 300 have become fixtures in the American psyche. All these movies feature either a lone man or a small group fighting in a desperate, violent struggle and yet, somehow, coming out on top. Throughout most of America’s history, the average man could more easily relate to the experiences in those movies the way someone who shoots hoops at the park could relate to watching an NBA game. Sure, they might not have been able to do what they were seeing on the screen, but they were well-acquainted with violence. Either they had inflicted it, suffered it, or seen it up close and personal. We’re a nation that was birthed in a bloody revolution, where feuds and dueling were frequent occurrences, where intermittent battles with Indians occurred until the twenties, where roughly twenty percent of the male population served in WWII, and where fist fights and brawling were relatively common.
The average man may have seen hundreds of thousands of murders on his TV screen and committed tens of thousands more playing video games, but he has also probably never struck another human being in anger in his entire adult lifetime. In other words, he may be captivated by the imagery he sees at the movies, but he goes home knowing that he will never even live out a pale imitation of what he’s just seen.
America’s muddle in Afghanistan is not merely an unwise policy. Two prominent American authors — one a serious analyst (and former badass warrior), the other a bestselling novelist (who created one of our biggest badass heroes) — worry that it is an affront to American manhood as well.
For years Bing West has argued that our carrot with no stick approach to counterinsurgency and nation building in Afghanistan is sapping the “martial spirit” of our armed forces. Recently, he even wrote a column titled “We’re Too Nice to Win in Afghanistan,” detailing how a wimpy approach to a truly savage enemy is making victory impossible.
West proposes we change from a counterinsurgency protocol (winning hearts and minds in order to recruit allies against the terrorists while building a civil society) to a counter-terror strategy (kill them whenever and wherever we can find them and let the Afghan government build its own society).
Vince Flynn, in his new book The Last Man, has his fictional alter ego, Mitch Rapp, take a very direct approach. Upon being introduced to a former Taliban official the CIA has recruited to be part of the Afghan security infrastructure as America prepares to leave the country, and who is certainly playing both sides, he sees only one incentive structure that can work:
Pistol-whip the sneaky bastard and threaten to kill him if he doesn’t cooperate.
So, based on West’s superb book on the war in Afghanistan, The Wrong War, and Flynn’s best thriller to date, here are 5 ways that Obama’s approach to Afghanistan is an affront to American manhood.
For 2013 at PJ Lifestyle we’re going to try to organize the seemingly endless abyss of “Lifestyle” topics with a general theme each day. These appear on the About Us page and include links to some of the articles we’ve published this past year:
We try to blog on seven general subjects each week from a variety of perspectives that do not always agree. The topics include:
Every Tuesday, we post career advice, self-improvement tips, product reviews, and how-to guides as well as blogs on entrepreneurship, disaster preparation, gardening, and self-sufficiency.
The middle of the week requires some laughter. That’s why every Wednesday we’ll have humorous pieces featuring satire, viral videos, goofy images and amusing photoshops, cute animals, slideshow galleries and other memes from across the Web.
On Thursday, PJ Lifestyle is your go-to place for the latest info on pop culture – ranging from movies, TV, novels, music and celebrities – as well as posts about other cultures – like military culture, counterculture, California culture, traditional culture, international culture, odd subcultures, geek culture – and more.
Spend Saturdays finding new recipes and cooking tips, learning about new ways to exercise and stay healthy, reading medical stories, and keeping up with sports and outdoor life.
And on Sundays, you’ll find content featuring interfaith dialogue, religion-based commentary, and posts on spirituality, ethics and morality.
One of the most important contributors to PJ Lifestyle this year has been Charlie Martin. His Thirteen Weeks diet and and exercise regimen has been an inspiration. This past fall Charlie has updated us every week on his progress to improve his health and live a long, long life. We’re going to try to provide more content like this — but on all seven subjects. Not just blog posts pontificating on what should be, but articles documenting what we do. Too often as writers and bloggers we forget that these New Media tools aren’t the end. They’re merely the means to whatever end we want to pursue and achieve. And at PJ Lifestyle that end is a happier, more fulfilling, richer life appreciating all the possibilities of what it means to be free.
I’ve decided on 7 New Year’s Resolutions this year, each corresponding with one of these themes and inspiring my daily blogging. I invite others to join me and offer their suggestions.
Victoria Soto, the Sandy Hook Elementary teacher slain in the Newtown massacre is being praised the world over as a hero – and rightly so. But is America being taught the true lesson of Soto’s sacrifice?
The reactions to the massacre in Newtown do not illustrate our culture’s value of human life so much as our desire to engineer the society in which we live. Whether the call for more gun control or less, the root of the argument is the same: human beings can create a perfect society through government, despite the fact that history has repetitively shown the exact opposite to be true.
Social engineering, an outgrowth of the industrial revolution, values human beings as assembly-line manufactured cogs in a wheel. Designed for a specific task, these human cogs are trained through government programming to follow bureaucratic blueprints for the creation and maintenance of a perfect society. This Marx-meets-manufacturing perspective may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but it continues to emerge over the course of human history. Ideas that sound innocent in theory are enacted with deadly results. Take, for example, one of the most grossly influential theories of social engineers in the late 1800s: Eugenics. This mad “science” that sprouted from Darwin’s Theory of Evolution posited that human beings could be determined “inferior” or “superior” based on their genetic makeup. This racial theory had as much influence on Margaret Sanger as it did Adolf Hitler. Both sought to engineer a “perfect” society and whether abortion or Holocaust, the result has been the same: A deadly lack of respect for the sanctity of human life.
It took less than an hour after we first learned about the events in Newtown for commentators to begin pontificating about gun control laws. We were never given an opportunity to mourn the dead. Those murdered were not valued as human beings, but as cogs to be used in the mechanical argument over the definition of a government-created perfect society. Even later arguments regarding mental health services were voiced under the auspices of government-funded programming more so than removing the stigma from, and promoting treatment for mental disease. Little to nothing has been said about the violent video games the shooter played, or the fact that his mother was a “Doomsday Prepper” like those seen and mocked on reality television. I wonder, when those comments finally make their way around the round tables, will that conversation also be guided by the advocacy of greater government regulation on media as well?
In the meantime, a nation mourns in silence, taught by example to channel their emotions into angry demands for government action, leaving little room for the comprehension — let alone teaching — of personal responsibility for the life of another human being. The real lesson of Newtown is the one that is being missed: Individuals are responsible to make the choice to value the sanctity of human life.
Related at PJ Lifestyle:
I’ve resisted this for awhile. The past three years I’ve readily identified as an ideologically conservative, pro-Tea Party, ex-leftist. But I resisted joining the Republican Party, preferring to focus on the war of ideas, the battles of Left and Right, Marxist vs Classical Liberal, rather than Democrat vs Republican.
When Mitt Romney secured the nomination I naively thought, “well, he’s got that corporate competence. Surely they’ll be as smart at growing a campaign as they would building a business, right? Even if they can’t articulate Americanism at least they’ll maximize on the basics of Get Out the Vote and fundraising and all the boring, professional stuff, right?”
Wrong, as Bethany Mandel reports at Commentary. Turns out we’re not looking just at the broader cultural problem of a 5% raise in nonreligious voters, but also a Republican Party unable to compete in the technological arms race or even run a competent Get-out-the-vote (GOTV) operation:
The story of how monumental a failure Project ORCA was on Election Day was first reported by a volunteer, John Ekdahl, on the Ace of Spades blog. After tweeting the article, I was contacted by several other volunteers who were eager to explain in greater detail just how many things went wrong with Project Orca on Tuesday.
I spoke with one volunteer in a rural Virginia county who had a similar experience to the blogger on Ace’s site. Shoshanna McCrimmon signed up to volunteer on Romney’s website several months ago. She was contacted by Dan Centinello of the Romney campaign and underwent online and phone training that lasted for several hours in order to volunteer locally on Election Day. Because of secrecy concerns, the application itself was inaccessible until the morning of the election. From the outset there were failures of organization.
Was ORCA’s failure the reason why Romney lost Virginia by almost 116,000 votes, Ohio by 103,000, Iowa by 88,000 or why Florida is still, days later, too close to call? It’s impossible to know what a Romney campaign with working GOTV technology would have been able to accomplish. Ekdahl explained that with the failure of Project ORCA’s organization and its later meltdown on Election Day “30,000+ of the most active and fired-up volunteers were wandering around confused and frustrated when they could have been doing anything else to help. Like driving people to the polls, phone-banking, walking door-to-door, etc.” The possibility that all of the efforts of Romney’s campaign, all of the enthusiasm, went unharnessed and dormant on Election Day when they could’ve at least led to a closer election result, if not a victory, is becoming beyond frustrating for thousands of his staffers, for the millions of Americans who gave their time and money to elect Mitt Romney president as they come to learn just what a disaster ORCA seems to have been.
This is my tipping point. Will it be for anyone else?
1. Today I’m joining the Republican Party because I recognize that it’s not enough to take back the culture. We could spend four years pushing the culture and expanding the base and then it would be all for naught because incompetent GOP campaign operatives cannot run a campaign.
2. Today I’m joining the Republican Party because over the coming years as ideological factions compete for influence the antisemitic elements within the party — Ron Paul’s Paleo-Libertarian, Old Right, Anarcho Capitalist, Conspiracy Theory cult coalition — threaten to gain greater influence.
3. Today I’m join joining the Republican Party because as I’ve returned to Bible-based religion and a faith in God during the past year I’ve come to understand the story of the ancient Israelites rebelling against slavery and idolatry as the basis for Western Civilization, our ancestors’ flight from Europe, and the founding of this nation. The Republican Party was founded as the anti-slavery Party. It still is today.
shutterstock images courtesy patrimonio designs limited /
Cross-Posted from the PJ Tatler.
I guess it’s to be expected – that the cool grew up to be square. Hell, even evangelicals are hipper than liberals now. (I used the word Hell deliberately, even though it isn’t cool.)
Now here’s the thing: Liberals are beginning to realize they’re not hip anymore. They won’t admit it, but they do. Witness Obama’s behavior with the press. He’s sweating like Nixon – and that’s definitely not hip. (On second thought, Nixon was finally hipper than Obama.)
And Jay Carney? Would you call him hip? And what about Biden? Has there ever been a soul so square?
What makes modern liberalism the mess that it is today is that it is mainly composed of people who desperately wanted to be cool in high school – wanted to be Abbie Hoffman or Eldridge Cleaver – but never were. Their longing – this need to be Abbie – has clouded their thinking and their ability to perceive reality, placing us all in a mess along with them.
Meanwhile, Bob Dylan became a conservative.
– PJ Media CEO Roger L. Simon, June 19, 2012
“He’s forgetting what his own positions are, and he’s betting that you will, too. I mean, he’s changing up so much and backtracking and sidestepping, we’ve gotta … name this condition that he’s going through… I think it’s called Romnesia,”
– President Barack Obama, October 19, 2012
Of course we’re down to the final months of the president’s term, as presidents…
…as President Obama surveys the Waldorf banquet room with everyone in white tie and refinery, you have to wonder what he’s thinking. So little time, so much to redistribute.
And by the way in — in the spirit of Sesame Street, the president’s remarks tonight are brought to you but the letter ‘O’ and the number $16 trillion.
– GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney, October 18, 2012
Previously at PJ Lifestyle we’ve discussed the phenomenon of the “crunchy conservative,” the individual who embraces politics and values commonly associated with “the Right” while living a more natural, “hippie” lifestyle stereotyped as a monopoly of those on “the Left.”
But libertarians who prefer raw milk and organic food aren’t the only oddballs smashing the stereotype of what a “Bitter Clinger” actually looks like. Here are three more political-cultural hybrids:
Someone with classical liberal politics and outside-the-mainstream art tastes, lifestyle choices, diet, fashion sensibilities, sexual preferences, or religious beliefs. Often times this mindset comes as a result of a political shift to the Right later in life.
Archetypal example: New Media troublemaker and publisher, the late Andrew Breitbart (whose memoir appears second on the list.)
Tea Party Occultist
One who identifies with both the founding fathers’ Enlightenment politics and Masonic spiritual values — and perceives the relationship between the two. Religious Liberty requires a government based in Political Liberty and a military to defend it from barbarian idolaters who would take away both. Alternative definition: one who identifies with both the “Right-Wing” Tea Party movement and the Right-Hand path of the Western Mystery Tradition, adequately defined here by Wikipedia:
The Right-Hand Path is commonly thought to refer to magical or religious groups which adhere to a certain set of characteristics:
(See the rest of the Wikipedia entry for a list of various religions and mystical groups characterized as Right-Hand.) Even within the magical world those on “the Right” cherish the Rule of Law, while those on “the Left” embrace anarchy.
Archetypal example: James Wasserman, author, book designer, and a “founding father” of the modern revivals of the mystical secret society the Ordo Templi Orientis and its religion Thelema. (Wasserman’s new memoir begins the list and four more of his books also appear.)
One who understands the magical abilities of the free market to create value, wealth, and prosperity out of nothing but hard work, great ideas, and good luck. In free societies you really can wave your wand and turn lead into gold. All wealth begins when the entrepreneurs who will someday create it first dream and then put pen to paper to lay out their plan. Writing creates wealth. The ridiculous level of comfort in our society today — our government can afford to pay for the luxury of a cell phone for “poor” people — could happen because hundreds of years ago men wrote that the pursuit of happiness was an innate right.
Archetypal Example: Walt Disney. What began as imaginations in his head and sketches of a mouse would one day become a billion dollar multimedia empire with DisneyLand — our Mecca — as the permanent celebratory reminder of how the imagination can manifest mental and spiritual wealth into the material world.
One can note that these categories each correlate with one of the three values of the American Trinity identified and defined by Dennis Prager in his book Still the Best Hope: Why the World Needs American Values to Triumph. Counterculture conservatives embody Liberty, Tea Party Occultists emphasize In God We Trust, and the Capitalist Wizards live E. Pluribus Unum in both theory and practice.
These three categories also have their natural opponents, of whom more will be said later in the list when appropriate:
- Counterculture Conservatives Vs Cultural Marxists.
- Tea Party Occultists Vs Nazi Mystics.
- Capitalist Wizards Vs Corporatist Sorcerers.
My intent with this list is to compile an annotated bibliography of sorts — a collection of books on a variety of subjects and genres that when put side by side can manifest fresh connections and new ways of looking at the world so we as individuals can solve our problems and live happier, more fulfilling lives.
Future editions will include additional categories and authors, as well as expanded entries for the books and authors already included. (Please leave suggestions of who should appear in future updates. And if you leave an especially strong comment then I might include it in the next edition.) This first list comprises only a bare bones beginning for defining these three emerging traditions. Perhaps 100 more titles await in my mind for potential inclusion and with input from PJ Lifestyle’s readers that number can grow.
Here are the various sections of the list for your browsing convenience so you can jump to the subjects or authors who are of most interest. However, I’ve still written this extended article (really more of a free e-book before the election) with the traditional intent that it should make the most sense read beginning to end… that is, if it ends up making any sense at all — which is not something I can guarantee… Caveat Emptor…
Part I, Autobiographies: Forging Counterculture Conservatism In The Center of the Fire
- Occult author James Wasserman in the context of New Media publishers Roger L. Simon and the late Andrew Breitbart.
Part II, History: The Temple of Solomon and the Foundations of Western Civilization
- Abraham, The Patriarch as Original Counterculturalist.
- Also: the truth about the Muslim occultists who tried to separate Islam from Shariah and their hidden role in shaping Western Freedom.
Part III, Polemics: A Moonchild of Aleister Crowley and Ann Coulter
- “Freedom is a two-edged sword of which one edge is liberty and the other, responsibility. Both edges are exceedingly sharp and the weapon is not suited to casual, cowardly or treacherous hands.” — Jack Parsons…
Part IV, American Exceptionalism: The Secrets Embedded Within The Fourth Great Western Religion
- The Tarot cards hidden in Washington D.C.’s architecture.
- Why America really is a nation of crazy people.
- Also: meet Ronald Reagan’s favorite occultist.
Part V, Media: Douglas Rushkoff and Programming Internet Magic
- The Bible as R-rated Counterculture Comic Book For Adults.
- What’s the difference between capitalism and corporatism?
Part VI, Science: Howard Bloom and the Modern Alchemical Marriage of Secularism and Spirituality
- What does it mean to understand Mother Nature as “a bloody bitch?”
- And what does it look like when an atheist proves that God exists not as a noun, but as the Kabbalists always said, a Verb?
I like reading college newspapers to get a feel for the culture on campus. Today, I was reading The Stanford Daily and an article on the front page caught my eye. The article, “Groups react to sexual batteries” under “crime and safety” reminded me of how advice from politically correct women’s groups can actually be harmful to women. Unfortunately, I could not find the article online but I will summarize it for you.
A male suspect has been groping and attempting to sexually assault women — two of whom were in public places and another who was on a foot path. The police believe the same man may have perpetrated these three incidents and recommended that pedestrians be more aware of their surroundings and “women jog in pairs or small groups whenever possible.”
Good advice, right? “No” according to the Stanford Sexual Assault and Relationship Abuse (SARA) office: “To suggest that someone can employ certain tactics to ward off an offender–particularly when caught off guard during blitz attacks such as these–can be victim-blaming.”
This office goes on to encourage students to do whatever makes them feel “safe and empowered in public spaces and behind closed doors, but prefer not to give advice on self-defense.” The director of the Women’s Community Center at Stanford stated “We don’t advocate using self-defense as a prevention measure for a sexual assault or rape or relationship abuse because it’s not prevention.”
Huh? The woman attacked on a secluded foot path struggled out of a bear-hug by a perpetrator. Is that too much self-defense for these damsels of political correctness? They would rather a woman not use or learn self-defense to protect herself because to do so would somehow be victim-blaming? Do they really think the perp doing this is going to stop himself and say “no, this is wrong?” Perhaps if these sanctimonious women would come out of their cocoon long enough to join us in the real world, they would realize that the police officers’ advice is sound. There will always be people in the world, both men and women, out to harm others. You cannot wish that away, no matter how much you may wish to do so.
Scientists working in a secret laboratory around the clock have created an amazingly realistic female android programmed to show life-long affection for conservative comedian Steven Crowder. No other narrative is sufficient to explain the photograph above in which a young woman of breathtaking beauty seems for all the world actually to be marrying the guy. Believe me, Steven is a friend of mine and I can tell you from personal experience: There is absolutely no other way he scores a babe like that.
Now normally if a thought about Crowder’s sex life entered my mind I would naturally try to put out my eyes and pour boric acid into my ears in an attempt to clean out my brain. But hey, he started it. Writing at the Fox News Opinion blog (where apparently they let just anybody weigh in), Steven produced this provocative and extremely interesting post-marriage column called “Waiting for the Wedding Night — Getting Married the Right Way.”
Steven begins by confirming that, yes, he and his new missus waited to have sex until they were married — and then goes on to say that this is the right thing to do, as opposed to, you know, the wrong thing to do:
Feeling judged? I couldn’t care less. You know why? Because my wife and I were judged all throughout our relationship. People laughed, scoffed and poked fun at the young, celibate, naive Christian couple.
We’d certainly never make it to the wedding without schtupping, and if we did, our “wedding night would be awkward and terrible,” they said.
Turns out that people couldn’t have been more wrong. Looking back, I think that the women saying those things felt like the floozies they ultimately were, and the men, with their fickle manhood tied to their pathetic sexual conquests, felt threatened.
The column is worth reading in itself, but even more fascinating is the predictable reaction: the filth, hatred, and rage with which floozies and fickle manhood men have been responding in comments, blogs and on the entertaining @scrowder Twitter feed.
Obviously, such reactions tend to confirm Crowder’s outlook. Why hate on the guy if you don’t secretly feel ashamed of yourself?
Maybe, maybe not, but if you’re going to be honest with yourself and those around you, you’d admit that you hate people too. With the loss of common sense, politeness, and consideration by most, how could you not? It seems that “kindness to others” has been placed on a shelf next to the good china to be taken out and “used” only on special occasions. Let’s face it, people wander through life taking care of their daily business oblivious to those around them unless of course they may somehow be affected by an encounter with another.
I can see that you don’t believe me. You are either not paying attention, which launches you right into the middle of the oblivious, or you are surrounded by a much better breed of people than I. Since I don’t know your situation, I can only share a few of my daily experiences so you don’t think I’m lying.
Often times my daily chores take me to the grocery store. Honest to goodness, I have never asked anyone to allow me to go in front of them, but somehow my time is rarely considered as valuable as the person behind me. On one particular day, I was in line in, my cart moderately full. I had been waiting my turn patiently for about ten minutes when I was approached from behind by a lady (I use that term loosely).
“‘Scuse me, ‘scuse me lady…let me go in front of you. I have only this, I’m in a hurry.”
Granted, she was polite, she did say “‘Scuse me” as she held up her item. I was annoyed. Aren’t patrons like her the reason there are lines for those with “15 items or less”? As I said, I had been waiting my turn and had other things I needed to do. Reluctantly, I allowed the woman with the one item to go in front of me. As she maneuvered past me, she looked back, waving her hand yelling, “Over here!” I turned to look in the same direction as the lady who had just moved to the front of the line, in front of me. With G-d as my witness, I was nearly knocked down by another woman barreling towards me with a grocery cart so full the wheels were about to click off.
As this woman pushed past me running over my toes, she looked over her shoulder and spat out “Watch it lady, I’m with her….” In that one quick minute, these two women accomplished a feat those who know me thought impossible: they made me speechless. I think I was in shock until after the checker began ringing their order, and then it was too late. With my jaw still hanging open ten minutes later when my order was finally being checked, I was asked if I required medical attention or perhaps a chair on which to sit since I didn’t look well.
Still don’t believe me? Okay, let’s go to the movies. If you want to see a movie without the probability of being hit in the head with flying objects, it is suggested that adults go to evening movies. It’s a great suggestion, even if you take into account that the person in front of you may be hard of hearing, and his partner may repeat the entire dialogue of the movie at the top of her lungs, don’t you think? (Yes, it really happened!) Probably less noise, chances of crying infants should be way down, flying objects should not be a worry. Huh, ya think? My girlfriend and I one day decided to take in a “chick flick” choosing an evening show. It was a seven o’clock movie; we figured that would work.
We bought our tickets, loaded up on the popcorn and drinks, and in we went to a half filled theater. Perfect.
We picked our seats and settled in for a hopefully enjoyable two hours. No sooner than the lights dimmed and the previews started, a phone rang. At first I thought it was one of those clever movie commercials reminding viewers to be polite and turn off their phones. Unfortunately, I was wrong. A person a mere four rows back answered her phone, speaking as if she were enjoying a cup of coffee at her kitchen table with a couple of friends. I’d like to report that she immediately told the caller that she was in a movie theater and she’ll return the call later, but that was not in the cards.
Jason Beghe is an actor, a Brooklyn tough-guy known for his starring role in the gritty G.I. Jane. In 2008, after fifteen years as a Scientology poster boy, Beghe left the cult and released an interview (embedded below) chronicling his descent into and exodus from L. Ron Hubbard’s bizarre universe.
Beghe’s recruitment, life as a celebrity spokesman, and ultimate rejection of the cult are riveting, particularly for someone like myself who spent nearly thirty years in a cultic religious organization. I was stunned because, even though the doctrines and practices of our respective organizations are so different, I identified perfectly with the mental processes Beghe described. I also believed in a completely irrational worldview and ignored blatant contradictions.
Experts believe people join and remain in cults for similar motives regardless of variations in cult lifestyles and teaching. Harder to find in scholarly research is an explanation of how or why people in wildly differing cults exhibit such similar mental and emotional symptoms.
A potential answer is found in “Confessions of a Coward,” a brilliant article by PJ Media columnist David P. Goldman. Published by First Things, the piece reveals that the scathing political and economic commentaries by “Spengler” actually flowed from Goldman’s eloquent pen. Confiding the story of his return to the practice of Judaism, Goldman admits that from 1976-1986 a compulsion to escape his Jewish identity and find post-1960s structure left him vulnerable to the overtures of the cult leader Lyndon LaRouche.
The Vietnam War, the crisis in race relations, and the cracks in the economic structure of the 1970s persuaded us that we had to do something and that indifference was morally inexcusable. And that is where LaRouche had us. His intellectual method resembled the old tale about stone soup: Having announced that he had the inside track on the hidden knowledge that underlay Western civilization (one of his essays was titled The Secrets Known Only to the Inner Elites,) he attracted a small parade of intellectual orphans, whom he then put to elaborating the details.
The first time I read Goldman’s description of LaRouches’s “soup,” my blood froze:
LaRouche claimed to trace a tradition of secret knowledge across the ages…in LaRouche’s Manichean view of the world, a conspiracy had suppressed the truth in the service of evil oligarchs…the Rockefellers, and the Trilateral Commission all figured variously in this grand conspiracy against LaRouche’s supposed intellectual antecedents. Jewish banking families kept popping up in LaRouche’s accounts of the evil forces.
The worldview promoted by the organization in which I spent my youth mirrors LaRouche’s, but it was not the content that gripped me. What truly leaped off the screen of Goldman’s Confessions was a clue about how cults produce this profound psychological effect that can grab even the brightest of minds into a “cult syndrome.” Goldman exposes what happens when when the “Gnostic Mind” meets reality:
You might think—you should think—that this (LaRouche’s Antisemitism) would have sent us running for the exits. But, Godless and faithless, we were all possessed by a fear of being Jewish, and LaRouche offered us a rock to hide under. In a Carto-influenced article LaRouche later tried to suppress, he put the number of Jewish dead at around 1.5 million. I knew about all this, and I looked the other way. LaRouche took my quantitative study and combined it with the paranoid musings of other researchers into a book, Dope, Inc., that had unmistakable anti-Semitic overtones. I knew about this, too, and again I looked the other way.
After The Dark Knight, we already knew Batman was a Republican. In The Dark Knight Rises, this son of privilege who made a fortune in his own right stands up for free enterprise and individualism against the collectivist demagogues who stir up class warfare and vilify the wealthy. That’s right — this time he’s BatMitt.
Here are the political takeaways from The Dark Knight Rises:
5. Bane is not Bain.
Rush Limbaugh, who apparently hadn’t seen the new movie, initially wondered, “Do you think that it is an accident?” that the movie’s lead evildoer is named Bane in a summer of chatter about Mitt Romney’s former outfit Bain Capital.
But not only is the bad guy’s name a coincidence (it dates back to 1993), Bane is the opposite of Bain. The villain plots to destroy Bruce Wayne by attacking the Gotham Stock Exchange, then launches a Marxist revolution in which the lower orders strike down the financiers and the “oppressive” bourgeoisie. Bane even empties the prisons, though to his credit he doesn’t do what the Democratic Party would, which is to guide the mob to the nearest polling place and forbid anyone to check their IDs.
With David Forsmark’s popular article earlier this month on the 7 Most Badass Founding Fathers, there seems to be some confusion about what it means to be “badass.” Some thought such a word inappropriate or even childish in reference to the very serious military leaders, politicians, and political theorists of the founding era.
It’s time to rescue “badass” from his mysterious origins, dust him off, and send him out onto the main stage where he belongs, as one of pop culture’s best imaginative metaphors for masculine bravado. This is a tool advocates of traditional, classical liberal values should grasp and take with them as they go forth fixing our broken culture.
The concept forever embedded itself within Generation X and Millennial pop cultural consciousness through the most badass character of 1990s cinema: Jules Winfield, as performed by Samuel L. Jackson and created by writers Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary. The famous “burger scene” in which Jules combines witty lines, tough confidence, and smooth intellectualism (a fictionalized Ezekiel 25:17) before dispensing justice crystallizes the concept. Brains + Brawn + Controlled Emotion = the tools to accomplish one’s mission.
The Badass doesn’t just talk, feel, and think — he combines all three to then create and do. (Hence why the founders in creating our nation were uniquely badass.) Defining manly cool in this fashion has been the task of Generation X’s men for the last 20 years. And we see it across genres, mediums, and even in real life.
Tarantino collaborator and fellow Gen X-er Robert Rodriguez has further helped define the badass in the action genre. The nameless Mariachi in Desperado played by Antonio Banderas captures it in this memorable action sequence where one man overcomes an entire bar full of thugs:
Rodriguez’s Sin City, adapting artist Frank Miller’s graphic novel series, also offers a good definition of the Badass persona:
But Generation X Badass isn’t limited to pop culture and fantasy.
Megan Fox wrote about a recent real-life example of a Generation X Badass last weekend when Wayne Brady responded to Bill Maher complaining that Obama resembled him instead of the criminal Suge Knight:
“So, that means it’s a diss to Obama to be called me because he wants a brother-brother, or what he perceives. Just because you f*** black hookers, just because you have that particular black experience….
“Now, I’m not saying I’m Billy Badass, but if Bill Maher has his perception of what’s black wrapped up, I would gladly slap the sh** out of Bill Maher in the middle of the street, and then I want to see what Bill Maher would do.”
“Now, Bill Maher would call the cops and he would have his lawyer — I’d get sued and lose my house and it’s not worth it for me,” he continued. “But the black man part of me would be so satisfied to slap the shit out of him in front of Cocoa and Ebony and Fox, the three ladies of the night that he has hired … and Fancy, who also happened to be named Tyrique at one point.”
Confronting bullies like Maher is central to being a badass. And doing it by cutting to the core — identifying Maher’s own personal racial hypocrisy — is badass.
In the political realm, one man forever defined Generation X Badass:
As Andrew Breitbart was to cultural Marxism with New Media, my friend Bosch Fawstin is to the stealth jihadists with his chosen medium of graphic art. The second issue of his long-awaited The Infidel is now on sale as digital download for $3.00 here. The first issue is available here.
The Infidel tells the story of twin brothers Sal and Killian Duke who respond very differently to the mass murders of 9/11. One of them, untroubled by the religious motivations of the killers, reaffirms his commitment to Islam. The other, Killian, completes his rejection of his family’s faith by pledging to use his artistic talents to create an anti-jihad comic hero named Pigman.
The Infidel obviously draws from the author’s own life. Bosch is an ex-Muslim and an Objectivist. And he employs a comic technique utilized by other graphic novel auteurs. Just as Grant Morrison made King Mob of The Invisibles resemble himself, Warren Ellis’s Spider Jerusalem of Transmetropolitan mirrored his creator, and Neil Gaiman cast the The Sandman‘s brooding Lord Morpheus as his avatar, Bosch has created his digital doppelgänger in Killian.
I wonder: Is Bosch drawing a character based on himself or is he introducing the world to the fictional character idealization that he strives to be? (Deep down aren’t we all just trying to play a fictional character version of ourselves?)
I won’t spoil the plot — or reveal the provocative cliff-hanger that concludes this installment. Instead, for this collection of some of my favorite excerpts from The Infidel #2 I’ve replicated the style of my review of Dennis Prager’s Still the Best Hope, juxtaposing images and embedded videos along with an observation about how Bosch’s work relates to the concept of the badass.
In preparing to engage with Bosch’s world, a good place to start is this panel from Table for One, his first graphic novel about an individualist waiter making his way in the treacherous, superficial world of fine dining:
Abandon hope all ye moral relativists who enter Bosch Fawstin’s world here…
In your email, say who you are, explain exactly what happened, and attempt to be succinct. Make it clear that you will not be doing business with them if this is where things are left. I wanted to do business with this store because it was the easiest choice, so I was trying to get a win-win solution: I get the customer service I want so I can buy the product I want, and they get my money.
I’m pretty adept at figuring out what people’s emails are. This is because I’m also a journalist, and I have to do that on occasion. Can’t find the CEO’s email? Identify the email format company for others at the company. Is it email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org? Identify the email template and the CEO’s name, and you can probably figure out what his or her email is. After you think you have it, run it through Google and see if you get a hit.
Why would you email the CEO if you don’t expect a response? Because you’re going to use this email to get what you want.
But really start from the beginning and read the entire post. It’s another example of why Susannah Breslin — a woman undergoing chemo therapy for breast cancer and still churning out fun, inspiring career and life advice every week — should be on your “Read Everything They Write” list.