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This is Week 4 of Season 3 in my new 13 Weeks of Wild Man Writing and Radical Reading Series. Every weekday I try to blog about compelling writers, their ideas, and the news cycle’s most interesting headlines.
When it all comes down to it, my reason for regarding Dennis Prager as the best talk radio host, one of the must-read syndicated columnists, and his Prager University as essential: the focus on articulating good vs evil.
In the newest Prager University video, Prager explains why rational and irrational are not synonymous for good and evil. Often times the “rational” act is the immoral one. Is it rational to cheat on a big test if you know you won’t get caught and it’ll be the difference between getting into college or not? Weighing the potential of punishment for being discovered– a slap on the wrist — versus the reward of going to a school that will open up career doors?
It’s rational to try to avoid pain and suffering. So in a godless world without objective morality, why is it wrong to murder an unwanted, disabled baby?
We need this continual dialogue about the nature of good and evil. Only once we recognize evil can we make defeating it our primary priority.
If there are other stories that I missed — and I certainly am forgetting plenty — please leave them in the comments, and if there is anything that really jumps out then I’ll revise the list.
21. Entertainment Weekly: Eminem’s homophobic ‘Rap God’ lyrics: Still getting away with it?
What’s everyone talking about? Mainly about the following lines from “Rap God”:
Little gay-looking boy / So gay I can barely say it with a straight face-looking boy / You witnessing massacre like you watching a church gathering taking place-looking boy / ‘Oy vey, that boy’s gay,’ that’s all they say looking-boy / You take a thumbs up, pat on the back, the way you go from your label every day-looking boy.
Even though I walk in the church and burst in a ball of flames / Only Hall of Fame I be inducted in is the alcohol of fame / On the wall of shame / You fags think it’s all a game ’til I walk a flock of flames
Those lyrical nuggets come about midway through the song. Earlier, in the first verse, Em raps:
I attempt these lyrical acrobat stunts while I’m practicing that / I’ll still be able to break a motherfuckin’ table / Over the back of a couple of faggots and crack it in half / Only realized it was ironic I was signed to Aftermath after the fact
So, Eminem’s still using homophobic slurs to insult his rap foes and competitors. He’s been getting in trouble for his harsh homophobic imagery for more than a decade now, and it seems not much will change this fall whenMMLP2 drops.
The more homophobic, hateful artists are celebrated and accepted in popular culture, the more teenagers and idiots will feel justified in committing acts of violence against gay people, gay teenagers, and children who are insufficiently masculine or feminine.
20. The Daily Mail: Fashion’s King of Sleaze: The squalid truth about the photographer venerated by A-list stars and behind Miley Cyrus’s X-rated makeover
In one of the sets, Richardson persuades the once squeaky-clean singer to perform a sordid-looking sex act on an ice cream cone.
In another, he talks Cyrus, who is still too young to buy a drink legally in her native U.S., into holding an empty beer can suggestively in front of her groin while sticking her tongue out.
More images from the late-night photo-shoot show the former Disney queen smoking what appears to be a joint of cannabis, standing topless in a pair of see-through tights, and pulling a tiny red leotard upwards, so that it exposes most of her crotch.
Those are just the pictures which can be described in a family newspaper.
I suppose here is a good spot to respond to my friend Susan L.M. Goldberg, who began a debate about pornography recently: A Biblical Feminist’s Take on Porn:
So, when it comes to drawing lines regarding porn and porn-related behaviors, the first question anyone needs to ask themselves is: What do you define as pornography and, more importantly, why?
The common definition of pornography involves “obscene writings, drawings, photographs or the like”. ”Obscene” is defined as “offensive to morality or decency; causing uncontrolled sexual desire.” Biblically speaking, there is no direct commandment proclaiming pornography evil. Yet, there are several commandments regarding acceptable and unacceptable sexual behaviors. And, in relation to writings, drawings and photographs, God prohibits us from making graven images to worship.
Part of the reason why we need a real, working definition of pornography is because the wide range of materials often labeled pornographic is so broad and has such very different effects on the mostly men — but also women — who consume it. Some feminists like to define porn as essentially “anything that gives a man an erection.” Does Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition count as pornography? Does Playboy? Are all nude depictions of the female form morally equal? I think porn can be defined more simply by going to the original definition from 1843, courtesy of the Online Etymology Dictionary:
“ancient obscene painting, especially in temples of Bacchus,” from French pornographie, from Greek pornographos “(one) depicting prostitutes,” fromporne “prostitute,” originally “bought, purchased” (with an original notion, probably of “female slave sold for prostitution”), related to pernanai “to sell,” from PIE root *per- (5) “to traffic in, to sell” (see price (n.)) + graphein “to write” (see -graphy). A brothel in ancient Greek was a porneion.
Among my theses is that there is a big difference between pornography and erotica. It can be summarized very simply: pornography depicts the pimp/prostitute model of sexuality, erotica depicts an erotic sexuality. Prostitute sexuality is in which the woman is indeed treated as an object. Erotic sexuality is mutually pleasurable, an equalizing act. In pornography, it’s all about just the man’s perspective. The erotic depicts men and women equally. Pornography is what men watch alone because most women would find it revolting; erotica can serve a legitimate purpose for couples, fostering intimacy and providing sexual inspiration and instruction.
These two forms of media each program a man’s nature differently, pornography teaching him to focus on himself and his most primitive instincts, erotica motivating him to learn how to become a proficient husband who can satisfy his wife. The disturbing cultural development in today’s MTV soft porn performed by Miley Cyrus — she is in no way erotic — is in further mainstreaming the sexualizing of immature girls instead of mature women. Among modern pornography’s most disturbing aspects is the recruitment of 18-year-old girls who don’t know any better and then dressing them up to look even younger.
What happens to the men who choose to spend hours a day — for years on end — worshiping the bodies of teenage girls?
19. The Atlantic Wire: Rape Fantasy Stories Dominate the Self-Published E-Book Market
A slew of abuse-themed novels featuring rape, incest, and bestiality flooded the self-published e-book marketplace for online sellers like Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.
The massive success of 50 Shades of Grey worked to blur the line between mainstream and explicit literature, but these titles in question are unambiguously on the inappropriate side of that line. While searching the self-published section of some online sellers, tech site The Kernel found stories of fantasy abuse heavily featuring rape, incest, and bestiality.
The cringe-worthy book titles are enough to get their points across, with names like Daddy Daughter Sex Stories and Don’t Daddy (Forced Virgin Seduction). These awful titles have even more disturbing descriptions along with them, things like, “Full of hot, vigorous sex and is not for the faint of heart.”
Consider it the broken windows theory applied to culture — tolerate seemingly small horrors and much bigger ones will soon emerge.
18. Billy Hallowell at The Blaze: Ex-Porn Star Reveals the Horrors of Working in the Sex Industry
Ex-porn star Vanessa Belmond left behind a years-long career in adult entertainment, and is hoping to help others do the same.
The 25-year-old, who performed under the name Alexa Cruz, has become an anti-pornography advocate to spread awareness of the dangers perpetuated by the adult film business. Belmond is so devoted to the cause that she volunteers with AntiPornography.org, a group that fights the porn industry.
Belmond also gave graphic details, many too explicit to describe here, about injuries from sex acts she performed on shoots. Some scenes left her with tearing and bleeding and required heavy pain medication to endure.
17. Eric Owens: Art student’s stunt will be publicly losing his anal virginity
Priapus in modern form. What used to be understood as pre-modern phallic worship and temple prostitution now goes by the name of postmodern art. See Camille Paglia’s Sexual Personae for 700 pages on the transformation from Pagan image-worship to today’s image-obsessed pop culture.
16. Talking Points Memo: Revenge Porn Is Awful, But The Law Against It Is Worse
It’s hard not to sympathize with victims of so-called “revenge porn.” Hearing women such as Rebekah Wells and Holly Jacobs talk to a concerned Katie Couric about having their bosses and colleagues see them in states of (un)dress entirely inappropriate for the office elicits a feeling of protectiveness. No one who isn’t being paid for it wants months of tentative emails from concerned friends letting them know that they’re naked on the internet again.
This sympathy certainly undergirds a bill recently signed by California governor Jerry Brown which outlaws revenge porn. The state of California can now add people who post naked photos of their former partners to its criminally overcrowded prisons if they do so without permission and with the intent to cause emotional distress or humiliation. Offenders may spend up to six months in jail and pay a $1,000 fine. Repeat offenders can be imprisoned for up to a year.
Now legislators in New York, Texas, Wisconsin and Georgia are looking to enact similar laws. Proposed legislation in New York would actually widen to the ban to include photos victims take of themselves. Other activists are pursuing a ban on revenge porn at the federal level.
While well-intentioned, this kind of legislation is over-broad, poses serious free-speech threats and may not even be necessary going forward.
The first thing it’s important to keep in mind is that revenge porn laws criminalize speech.
No, this is nonsense. Publishing naked or compromising photos of someone for the purpose of inflicting emotional distress is absurd. The claim that a law such as this could be used to prosecute journalists who publish stuff like the pictures Anthony Weiner tweeted is absurd and not a reason to oppose the law.
And the author’s claim that the threat of civil lawsuits is sufficient for this problem is naive and ignorant. The law’s real purpose is more to deter those who would publish such images. A potential lawsuit is nowhere near as threatening as having to spend six months of jailhouse nights with Bubba.
Let’s call this what it is: polygamy minus marriage.
And here’s the antisemitism section of the list.
14. Daily Beast: Oliver Stone on the Tyranny of Obama’s ‘Exceptional’ America
But I want to talk to Stone about something else: the Oct. 15 Blu-ray release of The Untold History of the United States, a 10-part documentary series that was directed, co-written, and narrated by Stone, and that originally aired on Showtime in 2012. The product of four years of work, The Untold History is a fascinating and in some ways upsetting film: a deeply liberal revisionist take on the so-called American Century that attempts to shatter our cozy sense of exceptionalism and show us how the rest of the world sees us. For Stone, World War I was about Wall Street profiteering; World War II was about empire building; the USSR didn’t deserve to be demonized; and the Cold War was a huge overreaction. These are not views that most Americans would agree with, but there’s value in exploring other perspectives on the past.
My idea for the interview, however, is not to ask Stone about the series he made last year; he’s already answered thousands of questions about that. Instead, I want to ask him about the history that has unfolded since his documentary aired. If he were to create a Chapter 11 of TheUntold History, how would he address 2012 and 2013? What argument would he make? What story would he tell?
[Stone]: But when I went back and studied it, I realize we were never the good guy, from World War II on. From two weeks after Roosevelt’s death, Truman started down a path that was almost…It was a huge mistake to have Truman as vice president. He was a small man like George W. Bush at a time when we needed big men. And he was weak. He thought himself strong, but he was weak in his lack of empathy for the Soviet Union.
“We were never the good guy, from World War II on.” To learn more about the origins of Stone’s fake facts and revisionist history, see Ion Mihai Pacepa and Professor Ronald Rychlak’s new book, Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Attacking Religion, Undermining Freedom, and Promoting Terrorism.
13. Eric Alterman reviewing Max Blumenthal’s new antisemitic book at The Nation: The Israel Hater’s Handbook, Continued…
The complication arose when I finally received the book. I expected to disagree with its analysis. I did not expect it to be remotely as awful as it is. Had the magazine not published its excerpt, it would have been easy to ignore. It is no exaggeration to say that this book could have been published by the Hamas Book-of-the-Month Club (if it existed) without a single word change once it’s translated into Arabic. (Though to be fair, Blumenthal should probably add some anti-female, anti-gay arguments for that.) Goliath is a propaganda tract, not an argument as it does not even consider alternative explanations for the anti-Israel conclusions it reaches on every page. Its implicit equation of Israel with Nazis is also particularly distasteful to any fair-minded individual. And its larding of virtually every sentence with pointless adjectives designed to demonstrate the author’s distaste for his subject is as amateurish as it is ineffective. As I said, arguments this simplistic and one-sided do the Palestinians no good. There will be no Palestinian state unless Israel agrees to it. And if these are the views of the people with whom Israelis of good will are expected to agree, well, you can hardly blame them for not trusting them.
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“You are a despicable human being. You are the lowest life form I have ever seen.” — the late Andrew Breitbart confronting Max Blumenthal at CPAC in 2010.
12. Jonathan S. Tobin at Commentary: Rising Tide of Hate for European Jews
But an even better indicator of the tone of European society is revealed in the question about reporting such incidents:
More than 75 percent of respondents said they do not report anti-Semitic harassment to police and 64 percent said they do not report physical assaults, with 67 percent saying that reporting incidents was either “not worth the effort” or otherwise ineffectual.
If Jews don’t think it is worth it to report even physical assaults, it can only mean one thing: that they believe such behavior is no longer considered beyond the pale or even frowned upon by mainstream European opinion.
11. Huffington Post: George Soros Backs Hillary Clinton For President In 2016
10. Politico: Greenwald’s backer: eBay founder Omidyar
Omidyar, a 46-year-old Iranian-American with an estimated net-worth of $8.5 billion, will personally fund the web-based media project. He confirmed the news to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday after Reuters broke the news Tuesday night.
9. Huffington Post: This Glenn Greenwald Profile Is The Best One Yet
—Greenwald is very sweary. A (small) sample: “I came to believe if you’re smart, skilled, and have the resources, you should use those things to fuck with the powerful.”
But steer clear of the powerful people who are funding your jihad against America and Israel. And don’t bother with George Soros either.
8. France 24: Greek neo-Nazis, leftists face off in Athens protest
Among the problems of the parliamentary system in European countries is that it allows hatemongers to achieve positions of prominence much more easily.
7. Media Matters: Fox’s Ablow: Being “Abandoned” In Childhood Has Led Obama To “Offer The Mantle Of Victimization To As Many People” As Possible
We need to start articulating what a great evil it is for a parent to abandon their child. In Obama’s, case both his father and mother abandoned him to pursue their social justice careers.
6. Talking Points Memo: Alabama Man Pleaded Guilty To Hiring ‘KKK’ To Hang Neighbor ‘Like An Animal’
Allen Wayne Densen Morgan, a 29-year-old veteran from Munford, Ala. entered a guilty plea in federal court Thursday for attempting to hire what he thought were Ku Klux Klansmen to murder his neighbor. According to court documents, Morgan told an undercover FBI agent he wanted to see his neighbor “hung from a tree like he is an animal” and “his dick cut off” over accusations that the man, a convicted sex offender, had raped his wife.
Another form of evil, at a much lower level: the only reasons why Talking Points Memo is running this story are to demonize all Southerners as racist and perpetuate the image of an America that hasn’t changed at all in the last 60 years.
5. New Brunswick Patch: Newark Man Beaten to Death in Bowling Alley Brawl
A 23-year-old Newark man was beaten to death at a Piscataway bowling alley on Saturday morning.
According to a press release from the county, police responded to Stelton Lanes at 1:31 a.m. Saturday to find 250 people “involved in a series of fist fights” in the bowling alley and the surrounding parking lot.
Warning: the next three stories are the most disturbing.
4. The Daily Mail: Father pleads guilty to repeatedly raping his three-year-old daughter while his wife held her hand so it ‘wouldn’t hurt too much‘
3. The Daily Mail: Mother arrested for selling the virginity of her 12 daughters’ for $200 each
2. The Daily Mail: The terrible truth about Gaddafi’s harem: How Libyan dictator kidnapped and raped dozens of women to fulfill his perverted desires
Despite the mother’s protestations, the girl was driven away at high speed to an encampment in the desert.
There she was once more introduced to Gaddafi, who was sitting in a red chair holding a TV remote control. He looked her up and down and barked to one of the women: ‘Get her ready!’
Now terrified, the girl was taken away and undressed. Her measurements and a blood sample were taken, then her entire body was shaved except for her pubic hair.
She was made to wear a G-string and a low-cut dress, and make-up was plastered on her face. She was then shoved into Gaddafi’s room.
Many of the episodes in the book are too distressing to relate here, but it is sufficient to say they would turn even the strongest of stomachs.
Yet Soraya’s story is typical. She was just one of thousands of young Libyan girls and women who were kidnapped from their schools, homes or places of work and forced to be Gaddafi’s sex slaves.
Nor did the Libyan leader restrict his attentions to women. He also took delight in sexually abusing young male guards in front of his ‘harem’.
Fuelled by cocaine, whisky, cigarettes and Viagra, Gaddafi used sex not only as a physical weapon, but as a political tool through which he could exert his power.
Rape subjugates women — and at the same time subjugates the men who are close to them, such as their husbands and fathers.
Some women were even abducted during their wedding ceremonies, as the ultimate show of omnipotence.
As one of Gaddafi’s close collaborators admitted after the tyrant’s death, sex was ‘all he seriously thought about’ and ‘he governed, humiliated, subjugated and sanctioned through sex’.
1. The Huffington Post: They Walk Among Us – 30 Million People Are Slaves, Half in India
One of the books that transformed the way I understood slavery is the autobiography of Frederick Douglass. Slavery’s destruction of the nuclear family is its greatest, permanent evil:
I have no accurate knowledge of my age, never having seen any authentic record containing it. By far the larger part of the slaves know as little of their ages as horses know of theirs, and it is the wish of most masters within my knowledge to keep their slaves thus ignorant. I do not remember to have ever met a slave who could tell of his birthday. They seldom come nearer to it than planting-time, harvest-time, cherry-time, spring-time, or fall-time. A want of information concerning my own was a source of unhappiness to me even during childhood. The white children could tell their ages. I could not tell why I ought to be deprived of the same privilege. I was not allowed to make any inquiries of my master concerning it. He deemed all such inquiries on the part of a slave improper and impertinent, and evidence of a restless spirit. The nearest estimate I can give makes me now between twenty-seven and twenty-eight years of age. I come to this, from hearing my master say, some time during 1835, I was about seventeen years old.
My mother was named Harriet Bailey. She was the daughter of Isaac and Betsey Bailey, both colored, and quite dark. My mother was of a darker complexion than either my grandmother or grandfather.
My father was a white man. He was admitted to be such by all I ever heard speak of my parentage. The opinion was also whispered that my master was my father; but of the correctness of this opinion, I know nothing; the means of knowing was withheld from me. My mother and I were separated when I was but an infant—before I knew her as my mother. It is a common custom, in the part of Maryland from which I ran away, to part children from their mothers at a very early age. Frequently, before the child has reached its twelfth month, its mother is taken from it, and hired out on some farm a considerable distance off, and the child is placed under the care of an old woman, too old for field labor. For what this separation is done, I do not know, unless it be to hinder the development of the child’s affection toward its mother, and to blunt and destroy the natural affection of the mother for the child. This is the inevitable result.
Called thus suddenly away, she left me without the slightest intimation of who my father was. The whisper that my master was my father, may or may not be true; and, true or false, it is of but little consequence to my purpose whilst the fact remains, in all its glaring odiousness, that slaveholders have ordained, and by law established, that the children of slave women shall in all cases follow the condition of their mothers; and this is done too obviously to administer to their own lusts, and make a gratification of their wicked desires profitable as well as pleasurable; for by this cunning arrangement, the slaveholder, in cases not a few, sustains to his slaves the double relation of master and father.
I know of such cases; and it is worthy of remark that such slaves invariably suffer greater hardships, and have more to contend with, than others. They are, in the first place, a constant offence to their mistress. She is ever disposed to find fault with them; they can seldom do any thing to please her; she is never better pleased than when she sees them under the lash, especially when she suspects her husband of showing to his mulatto children favors which he withholds from his black slaves. The master is frequently compelled to sell this class of his slaves, out of deference to the feelings of his white wife; and, cruel as the deed may strike any one to be, for a man to sell his own children to human flesh-mongers, it is often the dictate of humanity for him to do so; for, unless he does this, he must not only whip them himself, but must stand by and see one white son tie up his brother, of but few shades darker complexion than himself, and ply the gory lash to his naked back; and if he lisp one word of disapproval, it is set down to his parental partiality, and only makes a bad matter worse, both for himself and the slave whom he would protect and defend.
Get to Know Everyone on the #ReadEverythingTheyWrite List!
17 of My Favorite Writers And Most Important Intellectual Influences:
6 On Foreign Policy:
- Monday, August 5: ‘War, and Preparation for War, Are the Normal Conditions of Mankind, While Peace Is Extremely Rare.’ – Michael Ledeen
- Tuesday, August 6 on Andrew C. McCarthy: Muslim Brotherhood Operatives Have Infiltrated America’s Political and Cultural Institutions to Conquer Us from Within
- Wednesday, August 7 on Barry Rubin: First We Define Anti-Americanism, Then We Crush It Again Even Harder
- Thursday, August 8 on Claudia Rosett: The United Nations is a Corrupt Failure That Does Not Unite Nations
- Friday, August 9 on David P. Goldman: No to Corporate Neoconservatism, No to Paleo-Libertarian Anarchism, Yes to Augustinian Realism
- Tuesday, August 13 on Victor Davis Hanson: The Price We Pay for Our Ignorance of Military History Is Dead Americans
4 On Culture:
- Wednesday, August 14: 3 Weapons to Win the Culture War Courtesy of Roger Kimball
- Monday, August 19: How to End the Fake Fight Between Social Conservatives and Libertarians With Andrew Klavan’s Wonderful Writing
- Wednesday, August 21: Michael Walsh Names the Founder of the Criminal Organization Destroying America for Two Centuries…
- Sunday, August 24: The Most Valuable Writing Advice Roger L. Simon Gave Me…
5 On History:
- Tuesday, August 27: Ron Radosh: The Most Valuable Historian Exposing Marxism’s Long War Against America
- Thursday, September 5 on Ion Mihai Pacepa: How the Soviets Seeded Antisemitism Around the World and the Price We Pay with Syria Today
- Friday, October 11: The KGB’s War To Destroy the God of Israel
- Wednesday, September 11 on James C. Bennett and Michael J. Lotus and their essential book America 3.0: On 9/11 and Benghazi’s Anniversary, We End Conservative Pessimism and Right-Wing Apocalypticism
- Tuesday, October 9 on Robert Spencer’s Vital Role in Creating Conservatism 3.0
2 On New Media:
- Wednesday, October 16 on Prager University: ‘There’s Nothing Just About Nature. Nature Is Only About Survival.’
- Tuesday, October 22: Ed Driscoll: New Media Master and Cultural Conquistador