I am just writing a piece about Maureen Dowd that begins with a quotation from William Hazlitt: “Those who lack delicacy hold us in their power.” La Dowd exemplifies the melancholy truth of Hazlitt’s observations in her girly, gossipy prose that brings the cattiest of sorority nastiness to the august pages of a once-serious newspaper. It’s the disjunction that causes the frisson: you’re expecting some sort of serious analysis or opinionating and what you get instead is this painful smart-ass calling people names and calling attention to herself like a poorly brought-up, pubescent brat who recently discovered that her sex could be deployed as a weapon as well as an excuse.
But let me leave Maureen Dowd for later on. Now I want to remark on the wide application of Hazlitt’s principle: “Those who lack delicacy hold us in their power.” You can, I’m sure, think of plenty of examples. Here’s one. My friend Kevin Williamson, a writer for National Review, author (most recently) of The End is Near and It’s Going to Be Awesome, and theater critic for the magazine I edit, The New Criterion, got tossed out of a theater last night. Why? Because Hazlitt’s principle was working overtime. Let Kevin explain:
The show was Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812, which was quite good and which I recommend. The audience, on the other hand, was horrible — talking, using their phones, and making a general nuisance of themselves. It was bad enough that I seriously considered leaving during the intermission, something I’ve not done before. The main offenders were two parties of women of a certain age, the sad sort with too much makeup and too-high heels, and insufficient attention span for following a two-hour musical. But my date spoke with the theater management during the intermission, and they apologetically assured us that the situation would be remedied.
The situation was not remedied. On the contrary, “The lady seated to my immediate right (very close quarters on bench seating) was fairly insistent about using her phone. I asked her to turn it off. She answered: “So don’t look.” I asked her whether I had missed something during the very pointed announcements to please turn off your phones, perhaps a special exemption granted for her. She suggested that I should mind my own business.
This is where things got interesting.
So I minded my own business by utilizing my famously feline agility to deftly snatch the phone out of her hand and toss it across the room, where it would do no more damage. She slapped me and stormed away to seek managerial succor. Eventually, I was visited by a black-suited agent of order, who asked whether he might have a word.
Kevin wondered, as I would have done, whether management had come over to give him a pat on the back and congratulate him on dealing effectively with a public nuisance. I hope you will be as shocked as I was to learn that instead, he got the boot. There is, Kevin concluded, “talk of criminal charges.” I assume, but do not know, that he means he is contemplating suing the female in question, the theater, or both. It’s been suggested to me that, on the contrary, the possible charges might be directed at Kevin.That, I suppose, is possible, but only because William Hazlitt, with his laser-like insight, saw deeply into the heart of human folly.
This thing caused a stir this weekend at the Dallas Sci-Fi Expo. I call it…MickeyDeadMau5Trooper. I saw it coming up the escalator and had to grab some video before it got away.
Lady Gaga went all out to shock at the Phillip Treacy show at London Fashion Week when she arrived at the event dressed in a burqa covered in raccoon tails. She later swapped the outfit for a floral headress. Check out the photos.
The once anti-fur star has once again shocked with her fondness for animal skins, having previously been seen wearing fur while on tour in Bulgaria. During her visit to London Fashion Week over the weekend, Lady Gaga was spotted wearing a cream-coloured burqa with raccoon tails, a pink sheet and a floral headdress.
When she was previously spotted wearing fur, Animal rights group PETA compared her a ‘mindless Kim Kardashian’ before Gaga later attempted to defend her choice to dress in animal skin.
“You see a carcass, I see a museum pièce de résistance,” she wrote in an official statement on her choice to wear fur.
There have been Lady Gaga burka wearing scandals before of course, but nevertheless the sight of the 26 year-old wearing yet another one at the London Fashion Week has had the media talking once again. The Born This Way star can often flash the flesh as much as cover up, but it was latter she opted for this time out as she wore a burka-style outfit adorned with racoon tails, having modelled at the PHILIP TREACY Fashion Week Show.
Gaga – being Gaga – decided to up the controversy levels one step further though, and accessorised the look with a bright pink and yellow bag, with diamantes that spelt out the word c***. Oh Gaga. It was one of a few odd outfits worn by the pop star during the course of the day: earlier on, The Sun had spotted her wearing black leggings and a white jacket topped off with a pair of Mickey Mouse ears.
Related at PJ Lifestyle:
Related at PJ Lifestyle:
A man who haunts Central Park dressed as Elmo, the lovable Sesame Street character, was handcuffed by New York City cops yesterday and whisked away in an ambulance after he launched into one of his trademark anti-Semitic rants.
The unidentified man, who police say was not arrested, was removed from the vicinity of the Central Park Zoo, where he has alternately posed for photos with park visitors, screamed curses, and launched into diatribes about assorted Jewish conspiracies.
For instance, last week the man was filmed loudly complaining that he was not making money because “the Jewish cops” were harassing him. He also suggested that parkgoers read “The International Jew,” a notorious series of anti-Semitic pamphlets distributed about 90 years ago by the auto magnate Henry Ford.
I’m having a hard time finding it that funny given the related news in New York City…
And on the Muslim Brotherhood’s rise to power in Egypt, Barry Rubin: Egypt: A Muslim Brotherhood President Does Not Prove That We Are All ‘Chimps’ and David P. Goldman: Egypt ‘Another Gaza’ with Obama Administration Backing
Some headlines just grab you.
US student “ate roommate’s brain and heart” — Telegraph.
Canada cannibal says he believed victim was an alien — Telegraph. “A Chinese immigrant who beheaded and cannibalised a Canadian bus passenger in front of horrified travelers four years ago spoke out for the first time Tuesday, saying he believed his victim was an alien.”
Cannibal on run after warning The Sun: I can’t stop killing — The UK Sun. “We showed cops sick film of a live KITTEN fed to a snake and an email warning: ‘Once you kill and taste blood it’s impossible to stop.’ Luka Magnotta, 29, fled after his male partner — a missing Chinese student — was chopped up and eaten in Canada.”
And you thought the problem was going to be the Zombie Apocalypse. One way to think about these accounts is as instances of severe mental illness.
Woman kills husband, tries to cook body parts — AFP. “The police arrested Zainab Bibi, 32, and her nephew Zaheer, 22, in the Shah Faisal colony of Pakistan’s southern megacity Karachi, and recovered the bowl of flesh she planned to cook, said police chief for the area Nadeem Baig.”
“They killed Ahmed Abbas, Zainab’s husband, and chopped his body into pieces and were about to cook the flesh in a bowl,” he told AFP, adding that the knife with which they killed the man had been recovered.
Television networks showed gruesome footage of the human flesh in a bowl ready for the stove.
Or maybe times are just hard. But mental illness is a more likely cause than poverty for lurid headlines like this: “Russian cannibal ate gay date” — Global Post.
A 21-year-old Russian cannibal brutally stabbed his gay date to death and then made him into meatballs and uploaded footage of him cooking onto the internet.
The two are probably related in some way. Reuters reports that mental illness is up in Greece. “Job loss can lead to an accumulation of risks that can tip people into depression and severe mental illness which can be difficult to reverse — especially if people are not getting appropriate care.” A person diagnosed with bipolar disorder writes: “Is there an alternative to being mentally ill?”
I wish there were; I’d probably have an easier time making friends. Living with bipolar disorder allows for only two courses of action, really: acknowledgment and denial. Knowing the risks associated with the latter (such as lapses into self-destructive behavior, which had gotten so bad with me that my parents and friends all but dragged me by the hair to a psychiatrist’s office), I’ll take acknowledgment, thank you, even if it’s not always easy. It means accepting that I sometimes need to hold still for a few hours lest I do anything rash. It means checking in with a shrink at least once a year to make sure I’m getting treated appropriately. (Since I don’t have health insurance, this is a lot harder to do now that Mayor Emanuel closed half of Chicago’s public mental health clinics, but that’s another story.) And it means admitting my vulnerability to family and friends, who do want to help me, I learned, when I feel I can’t get through life on my own.
The observation above may sound funny to a healthy person but it probably isn’t for the guy with the problem. For him it is all deadly serious, in a way that an unafflicted person can scarcely imagine.