Sunday, August 31, 2003
Bend over for Allah?
It is the policy of this blog to courageously confront bigotry and homophobia whenever and wherever observed. Not even the gods are exempt -- especially a monstrous usurper going by the name of "Allah!"
This very same "Allah" -- a former Pagan deity -- has not only had the effrontery to start a blog, but almost immediately launched into a vicious and cynically hypocritical diatribe, positively dripping with venomous, internalized homophobia:
Allah checks his stats often and is amused to find that booze-swilling infidel Steven Green (sic) has dropped a sweet link on him. Tell me, infidel, do you think this will atone for calling your blog "VodkaPundit"? You should know that Allah forbids the consumption of alcohol by his children except for Saudi royals on vacation in the south of France. Allah also wants to know what the deal is with that photo on your homepage: Are you trying to get Allah to switch sides, with your Semitic good looks and come-hither stare? Because while Allah is flattered, and is not embarrassed to admit that if he were gay you might make a nice pony boy until you were beheaded, the fact is Allah doesn't "read the Daily Dish" if you know what Allah means.No greater hypocrisy can be imagined, Mr. "Allah." This is deeply disturbing, and calls for the most drastic remedies -- if you know what I mean. I am sick and tired of your Islamic double standard! DO YOU HEAR ME? On the one hand, your maniacal fanatics feel free to condemn homosexuals as "sodomites" and topple walls on them as punishment. Yet at the same time, in your "holy" (which hole might that be?) book, we find this:
* Sura 52:24. "And there shall wait on them young boys of their own, as fair as virgin pearls.
What the hell is going on with your insane religion anyway? And how dare you threaten a leading heterosexual blogger as you have?
I defy you! I will link to you, yes. But only so that I can mock you! Your past is well known! You are the upstart Moon God!
Moon! That's what all Americans should do when they think of you!
URGENT UPDATE AND NOTICE: It is now obvious to me that Frank J.'s Nuke the Moon plan is a product of divine inspiration.
This is serious business, folks -- so the Moon God better beware!
Who's afraid of Howard Dean?
A very astute blogger, David Adesnik, has noticed that Howard Dean and his supporters are now being subjected to ad hominem attacks. Carefully chosen culture war language is being used: among other things, Dean supporters are derided as "Birkenstock liberals." Here's more. Instapundit (my source for these links) cited a Democratic insider who "thinks that Dean is likely to win the nomination, and that he can give Bush a tough ride in the election. He may be right."
May be. But if so, then why is a leading New York Times writer (who defends 1960s radicals like Bernardine Dohrn and Kathy Boudin) going out of her way to launch ad hominem attacks on Dean supporters?
My gut instinct tells me that this is direct evidence that Hillary Rodham Clinton is serious about running in 2004. She and her handlers see Dean as improperly corraling her potential supporters, and I believe every Birkenstock liberal for Dean makes her see red. Thus, the ad hominem attacks, not strictly against Dean, but against his supporters.
Can I prove this? Of course not; political machinations are by their nature covert. But why the New York Times? Whose turf is that, anyway?
Why do they suddenly fear Dean?
Because Dean has been earning his supporters the old-fashioned way, through hard work, one vote at a time. Dean alone threatens the agreed-upon vision the media have of the Democratic race as lackluster, deadly dull, and just waiting for an interesting candidate to appear (and just who might that be?). The more strength his campaign gathers, the less dramatic a potential Hillary entrance would be. From Hillary's point of view, Dean has already gotten out of hand. Her entrance would be marred, and if there is one thing this very regal lady does not like, it is a marred entrance.
From a rhetorical standpoint, of course, there is nothing new or surprising about Wilgoren's focus on items of apparel like Birkenstocks. She blamed the Columbine shootings on a $99.00 trenchcoat. [Wilgoren, Jodi. "Society of Outcasts Began With a $99 Black Coat." New York Times 25 April 1999: A30.]
Fashionism? It's wearing thin, Jodi.
posted by Eric at 06:09 AM
Saturday, August 30, 2003
Classical Foundations Unshaken!
Instapundit is getting flak for (let's see now, I hope I get this right....) attributing to George Washington language written into the Treaty of Tripoli during his presidency, but which was not ratified until after his term, when it passed the Senate with little debate -- when John Adams was president.
The language in question recited that "the government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion."
What's the big deal here? The government wasn't founded on the Christian religion -- whether Washington said so or not. George Washington would certainly have presented his treaty to Congress had he been president. Why such sensitivity? Why do so many people want to make the founders more "religious" than they were? I'm glad we have the Constitution, because such unpatriotic ingrates sure as hell can't read things into that. God is not mentioned anywhere -- not even in the presidential oath, which is spelled out. At the time the Constitution was adopted, clergymen complained to Washington that there should be a mention of Jesus Christ. As was typical of the man, he gave them a very polite, dignified, brush-off.
So, now we must decide whether this is a tempest in a tea pot, a mountain morphed from a molehill, or a distinction without a difference. Am I, a philosophical pantheist, supposed to care?
Contrary to what some might imply, George Washington was no atheist. Like most of the founders, he was a Deist. Deists believe in God. While he recognized the importance of religion and religious virtues in general, he scrupulously avoided entangling religion with politics, and I wish some of his purported followers would do the same.
Religious intolerance was very much on the minds of the founders, and they wished to avoid it. Benjamin Franklin, in his essay "Toleration," wrote:
"If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practiced it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England blamed persecution in the Romish church, but practiced it upon the Puritans. These found it wrong in the Bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves both here [England] and in New England."
Franklin was pressed by clergymen about the specifics of his beliefs, and gave the following answer:
"You desire to know something of my religion. It is the first time I have been questioned upon it. But I cannot take your curiosity amiss, and shall endeavour in a few words to gratify it. Here is my creed. I believe in one God, Creator of the Universe. That He governs it by His providence. That He ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render Him is doing good to His other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental principles of all sound religion, and I regard them as you do in whatever sect I meet with them.
I can handle that. Fundamentalists (and maybe a few atheists) obviously can't.
Why the uproar over whether Washington himself made a simple statement which reflected the position of his admininistration -- and of the United States Constitution? Yelling at Glenn Reynolds (who must go through a ton of material to generate his work product) for a mere techicality strikes me as grounded in a much deeper resentment. Might it be that what the critics really fear is the truth of the statement itself? The issue -- that the United States government made this statement when it was run by its very founders -- is larger than George Washington (or Glenn Reynolds).
On a lighter note, I offer something to cheer everyone up: conclusive proof that George Washington was a Pagan!
Only here at Classical Values will you learn the real truth: that this country was founded as a Pagan nation!
(That last site has some serious quotes from the founders, too!)
Because The Washington Monument represents a Christless approach, it is, therefore, a Satanic monument to world government. It is in DEFIANCE of the real kingdom number FIVE, Christ's never ending kingdom. Masonry, the making of hewn stones, is a political expression of the Baal worship conducted by the Babylonians, Egyptians, and pagan Rome. Therefore, political masonry is one half of the pincer attack on world society - the other half being the Roman religion as expressed in the New Age, classical Catholicism, or even Marxism (a religion). Since both Masonry and Catholicism are forms of Baal Worship, all the parties in pursuit of world government are anti-Christian, though there many individuals who are deceived.Hmmm... That cool Osiris Obelisk has never looked better.
Honor our Classical Values!
posted by Eric at 04:02 PM
Lesbian, hates stupid people, seeks soulmate!
It must really be back to school time, because every time I turn around, there is a new test! Having to bare the deepest darkest secrets from the innermost reaches of my closet is deeply embarrassing, but the official policy of this blog remains searching, fearless self-disclosure.
Perhaps it is no coincidence that the first test comes from a favorite blog, Freespace (Tim Sandefur), who once again outdoes me at my own game by supplying a perfect motto from Horace:
Sapere aude ("dare to know" or "dare to be wise").Because I cannot argue with Horace (much less the mighty Mr. Sandefur), I am now doubly obligated to present my results from a test supplied by the latter, entitled "What pisses you off":
(Test courtesy of Tim Sandefur.)
And I thought I loved stupid people! (I should love them; after all, they give me so much to blog about....)
Next, that iconoclastic genius, Steven Malcolm Anderson, supplied a test which took me where I never thought I'd go. I gasp, blush, shudder, and hesitate to tell you, my gentle readers, what I have discovered about myself: I may be (gulp)
You Are Just Experimenting - For Now...You are a sex-crazed girl. You love to get off using toys, as well as with men and women.
When you get horny, you go crazy!
You've gone down on both chicks and dicks and have no conclusive response.
You like men who are particularly sensitive and caring. There are some!
You love showing your body off.
The locker rooms, and other places like the swimming pool, are special places to get naughty in public.
Overall, you dig sex, and you love to try new things.
Hence, you are an experimenter!
Are *You* a Lesbian?
More Great Quizzes from Quiz Diva
Will I never be able to live up to anyone's standards of right and wrong?
Why is life so unfair?
posted by Eric at 10:19 AM
Friday, August 29, 2003
I guess I am just being lazy about blogging, but between the long drive and having to readjust to the East Coast, I am not feeling terribly creative.
Which makes me really glad to have found another wonderful test -- this one from the mysterious, multifaceted Ghost of a Flea. It is called "Which Heinlein Book Should You Have Been A Character In?" -- and my research assistant Justin Case damned well better evaluate this test, because he's the scifi freak, and I don't think there's much he hasn't read.
Anyway, here are the results:
You belong in The Moon is a Harsh Mistress. You
value freedom above all else. You would fight
and die for your family and your home.
Which Heinlein Book Should You Have Been A Character In?
brought to you by Quizilla
Thanks Ghost! The results look very flattering, and now I'll have to ask Justin what's up!
But why can't I be the cat who walks through walls?
Toast 'n Post
Tim the Michigander (why do you do this to me Tim?) has come up with another blasted test -- this one called "What is your battle cry?"
I never knew that I would have a battle cry, but here is mine:
Hmmmm.... How did the test know that I have indeed been "rampaging along the freeway" -- 7000 miles worth? And that on the trip I did torment my tires until they nearly deflated. And then, when I got home, I made.... toast!
Incredible coincidences all; does this Tim the Michigander character have me under bumperlock surveillance or something?
Here's to Tim!
Anyway, now that my toast is done, I think I'll post. (This is my first Wi-Fi post in the Philly area).
Thursday, August 28, 2003
History in the making!
The history of the blog war to end all blog wars is being written right now. Here is Part II. I assure you, in time this classic will rival Thucydides!
Indeed. We. Live. In. Dangerous. Times.
And we don't even know how the war will turn out. But, remember the age-old, tried-and-true maxim that history is written by the victors. While Don may not know exactly what twists and turns this war may take, you can bet he'll be on the winning side. My advice is to read his analyses carefully.
Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.Here, thanks to Don Watkins' clairvoyant wit, bloggers are in the unique position of being able to avoid repeating future history.
Such opportunities arise very rarely. If we can avoid repeating the past which has not yet occurred, I think we should. I feel so strongly about this that I think it may be time to contact the United Nations' Learned Lessons Unit.
Wednesday, August 27, 2003
I should not be writing anything right now, because I see road in front of me, and feel goofy from too much driving. Had to take 24 hours off because of truly scorching heat in Nebraska on Tuesday. The car I was driving has no air conditioning or even air vents, and there was no escape from the 100+ degree sun over the endless prairie. It set a record for the area of I don't know how many degrees, but a car is a solar collector and it felt like at least 120. A moving oven. I kept buying bags of ice which I threw on top of the dog (this works like magic), but after a while I started feeling faint -- not a good idea at 75 MPH. The realization of what could happen triggered enough adrenaline to get me through to Des Moines, where I hung out until the weather broke a bit. Drove from Des Moines to South Bend, Indiana last night, then today all the way to Philly. But I am a bit spaced. (I have driven across the country more than a dozen times, but never had this kind of serious trouble with heat before.)
Here's a tune which helped keep me going on the road. Good driving music, and while I have a collection of around 750 doowops, this one kept mysteriously replaying itself (too often for "random play") and just followed me across the country. I have one of those MP3 hard drive deals (Creative Nomad Jukebox) and it has a mind of its own. Of course, I like the song, and could have been imagining it. The windows were open and I was broadcasting the CNJ unit through the car's old FM radio, so I often couldn't make out exactly what was playing....
The last time I put a song up on my blog (a favorite by The Students) Chaz at Dustbury.com knew something more about the group; maybe someone will do the same this time. The song is "I Only Love You," by The Passions, a Bronx-based white Doowop group, from 1960. The pizzicato (my blog seemed overdue for a Classical reference) is magnificent, as is the mixing. A thoroughly haunting song, which made me feel that the ghosts were along for the ride.
You can stream it here.
Sunday, August 24, 2003
Another favorite blogger, Objectivist Craig Ceely (I always like Objectivists, even though I'm a poor excuse for one myself) was kind enough to link to me yesterday regarding my proposal to solve the spamming problem by using a Classical method:
The problem is that when I wrote that I was on Blogspot, so if any of you are here to read it, here is the link.
Thanks for coming, and please crucify a spammer today!
Quaint customs here and there....
Isn't multiculturalism wonderful?
Most people know about the Eskimo custom of putting grandma out in the snow when her teeth become too worn down to continue to soften seal skins.
But for some reason, the French method -- locking grandma up in the attic and going on vacation -- seems to be less well known. Leading Americans are still having trouble accepting it.
When I was a kid, I thought the Eskimo custom was, well, cold.
Little did I know....
Here is the best way to get your pet into a NO PET motel:
First, NEVER ask whether they take pets. Go in, ask for a room, and start filling out the card. Fill it out slowly, allowing them plenty of time to count the money they are going to get from you. Then, glance around, and suddenly stop writing, and with an abject look, exclaim, "Oh! I'm sorry! I see that you don't take pets!" This will generally begin a process of negotiation, and for five bucks more, I can usually wangle a deal. That way, you don't have to sneak the dog in wrapped up squealing in a sleeping bag.
However, the place last night in Winnemucca, Nevada I definitely do NOT recommend. Twenty bucks and no sign, no question about dogs, told me I could stop filling out the form as soon as I put my name. I should have smelled something....
But once I did it was too late! The room was a tiny, filthy hovel, with a bed that made me nervous to look at, as the sheets did not look clean, the bed was barely made, and the carpet was a disgusting mess of brown shag, shiny in places. My standards are pretty low and I once lived in a bathhouse while I built the place, and I can sleep on anyone's floor if I have to (except that one)... so what the hell.
As I started unpacking my stuff I noticed my dog licking, slurping and tugging on the rug just in front of the bathroom door. I yelled at him, but then when I peered closely down I saw a two inch diameter smear of -- OH GOD! PLEASE! NOT THAT!
Yes that! Someone (probably an infant) hadn't quite made it to the bathroom, and then someone else had made a pathetic stab of cleaning it up, leaving plenty smeared around. Gross! Of course, I hadn't cleared the dog, so I didn't want to complain, so I took yesterday's San Francisco Chronicle section featuring a look at Warren Zevon looking at death, threw it on the toxic zone, then placed the trashcan on top.
A shame really. Because I had really wanted to read that Zevon piece more thoroughly. One of his last observations, "Enjoy every sandwich," struck me as an especially good metaphor for life, which I wasn't doing a very good job of savoring right then.
Plus, it really didn't look like a sandwich. I guess if I really have to force Warren Zevon's sandwich-as-life metaphor (God this is morbid!) I could say it most resembled a small Eskimo Pie. But I still didn't enjoy it. I know, I know, when life offers lemons, make Lemonade. But you can't make an enjoyable sandwich out of everything. At least, not an edible one.
Enough pie-in-the-sky thinking! And enough arguing with the dead. (Not an alien subject for me....) Time to hit the road!
And why should some states be allowed to prohibit (allowed to prohibit?) gambling, while others allowed to allow it? Is the prohibition not religious morality? Shouldn't the country have a single standard? Just being the Devil's Advocate here, although I think it's part of America's charm to see a border town like Wendover, Nevada draw fun-loving Mormons in a mad weekend dash to throw away their money....
Saturday, August 23, 2003
Tolerance is selfish!
Read this gem from Don Watkins; it's utterly brilliant.
Friday, August 22, 2003
A picture is worth a thousand rounds!
When I saw this picture at Frank J's Peace Gallery, a warm, peaceful, sentimental, feeling came over me. After all, when I was a wee lad, still in the student phase of my life, I helped out in the campaign to recall Mayor Feinstein for imposing unconstitutional gun control laws on San Francisco. An unheard of coalition was formed, including libertarians of all stripes, right wing NRA members, the wildly Communist White Panther Party, and assorted gay gun nuts. While the recall failed, I will never forget what happened, and while I don't know how to verify this, it could very well have been the opening salvo in the war against politically correct tyranny.
Even today, political analysts are citing Feinstein's "trauma" as a reason for Feinstein's opposition to the recall:
Diane Feinstein opposes the Davis recall effort in part because she also faced a recall years ago initiated by gun control opponents.Well, gun lovers in San Francisco may be considered fringe (my own "fringe" experience is discussed here), but 24,000 voters signed that petition. The politically incorrect, for the first time, defied the left on their own turf.
Anyway, here's the picture I've been promising you:
She's still at it, folks. She really means it, and she hasn't learned her lesson. (Schwarzenegger really ought to have the NRA mail this out....)
Kim du Toit, where are you when we need you?
Why can't you move to California instead of Texas?
We need someone to to start another recall!
posted by Eric at 11:49 PM
Here's a view of San Francisco at sunset, from wharfside at the decommissioned Alameda Naval Air Station.
It's pretty close to the end of my trip West, and the beginning of the trip East. For a variety of reasons, it is difficult to be bicoastal, and being away from one's principal residence for more than a month can lead to problems. So, soon, I'll be hitting the road.
San Francisco is a beautiful city, and while I like to make fun of the politically correct tyrants around here, the crazies on the other side who give them fuel also drive me to fits of despair. (San Francisco, of course, has long been denounced as "Sodom," as it still is.)
[Note: be sure to check out the main page on that last link. And "Viva Aztlan," baby!]
Is it "middle of the road" to be sickened by the fact that an intelligent and cultured, free people are increasingly forced to choose between fundamentalism and Marxism? These two obnoxious "sides" of the culture war share a mutual interest in presenting each other as a "choice" facing the country. The major media and the Democratic Party tend to line up on one side, while shrill ideologues (claiming to be the "Republican base") do all they can to make people think the only "other" choice is their "side." "Liberals" and "conservatives" avail themselves of phony and divisive cultural definitions and cheap ad hominem attacks to bully people into belief systems which are logically tortured, and, I believe, un-American in the truest sense of that misused word.
Ordinary people -- the new libertarian majority -- fear speaking up. Yet a new literary movement is emerging. Reading something like this makes me cry:
Those on one side see individuals as rafts on that river of culture, swept along inexorably downstream, perhaps capable of a weak paddling, displacing our paths a few feet from side to side. I on the other hand, and others like me, see human potential as a powerboat, a nuclear-powered hydrofoil, one capable of cruising side to side at will, as easily able to race against the current as with it. I don’t believe people are rafts adrift in the destiny of their culture. I think all people have propellers, whether they use them or not, and rudders too. And rather than commiserating with people about the rapids that they endure and the battering that is their lot in life, we should be teaching them how to start those engines, take the wheel of their own futures, and steer themselves wherever they damn well please.Indeed. And I truly believe that right now bloggers like Whittle are the last hope of the last hope. The staunch ideologues who demand Americans kowtow to their respective "dictates of culture" are frantically painting from a phony spectrum onto a phony canvas, which they attempt to sell as liberal versus conservative, or "the Culture War." Nothing could be more insulting to a free people than the demand that they choose between one reverend's phony rainbow or another reverend's "Party of God." May the sun set on them soon!
I'll probably be out of commission for a few days, but I am glad the sun never sets on the blogosphere.
Thursday, August 21, 2003
My better 65%
It's soul-baring test time again. When it comes to disclosing my deep dark truths to you, my loyal readers, there are no lengths to which I won't go, no depths to which I will not sink.
I am disgusted by the first test, because I thought I was a much nicer person than I apparently am. To take this test, you simply supply your blog's URL, and a bot will analyze and then rate your blog in percentages of good and evil.
Here's my rating:
Above link via The Michigander.
Well, now that my secret is out, would anyone care to dance with my bride?
Do "coding errors" miss the target?
What, exactly, is a "coding error?" That's what Professor John Lott (author, More Guns, Less Crime) is accused of in this 120 page atrocity.
Does anybody have time to read this shit? I don't. And I am not putting down the authors (described by Glenn Reynolds as "honest"; but be sure to check out Lott's web site), or attacking the quality of their statistical analysis. I don't know enough about shit like coding and sampling errors, and frankly I don't want to know. For starters, I don't have time.
I mean, if someone is making stuff up, like Michael Bellesiles, who invented imaginary people and imaginary statistics and then cited them, well, that's simple dishonesty, which rendered Bellesiles's work a fiction (and not worth reading unless you enjoy Pravda-like lying historical revision).
But coding errors? That sounds like something only super nerds could understand.
As for me, I hate statistics anyway. You'll never get me to step into that hopelessly labyrinthine crap about sampling rates, and skewed extrapolations. I mean, sheesh!
The last time I saw a cat fight like this crap was when the right wing anti-homosexual crowd decided to go after the Kinsey statistics. They maligned Kinsey as a child molesting, Satanic cultist, and claimed his statistics about the prevalence of homosexual conduct were the product of a perverted mind with a grand scheme of world rule by perverts or something. In their view, Kinsey had said there were too many homos, and thus his statistics had to be discredited.
Of course, if you assume the anti-gay crowd's statistics are right, and homosexuals are only three percent of the population instead of ten, what does this mean? That it's OK to imprison or kill them?
Kinsey was an evil pervert, so that means open war on homos?
(Or, Lott had a "coding issue" so we lose our guns?)
I guess that makes me very cynical about people who believe that statistical battles are the key to deciding important principles or ultimate truths.
Statistics are inherently misleading, and distract people – even very good people – from focusing on real truth. At best, even when a given statistic can be agreed upon by both sides, it only supplies a utilitarian argument. A million people saying that a horse is a dog, for example, does not make a horse a dog.
Mark Twain was not kidding when he complained about "lies, damned lies, and statistics."
I don't care what the statistics show. I can tell you from my own experience that having a firearm prevents even the craziest of people from attacking you. On more than one occasion, I used a gun to protect myself, and it worked or I wouldn't be here. People who tell me that having a gun means I'll be more likely to have it used against me are just anti-gun, and anti-Second Amendment, and they will bludgeon me with statistics in the hope of wearing me out. This is a common tactic, and it is a major reason why people detest bureaucrats, politicians, and lawyers.
You get into a debate with those types, and they'll wear you out with statistics, much the same way a large law firm will try to wear you down with a sea of litigious paper.
The problem is, people win arguments that way, and they shouldn't. Exhausting an opponent is a dishonest tactic. And right now, I feel that they're trying to do it to Second Amendment supporters -- by throwing huge piles of statistics at me in the hope that I will be cowed.
Well, I have been around too long to pay any attention to these tactics. I will not play their game. I refuse to read the Stanford Law Review article. People who make their living billing their clients by the hour can get into it if they want, but I consider it like a tar baby. You touch it and you're stuck in sticky goo and there is no end to it.
I am not aguing against truth, mind you, for I am not a deconstructionist. I recognize the value of taking the time to plod through something like that law review article, and even attempting to refute it point by point. But I can assure you that even if it turned out to be false, the gun control advocates would come out with another one, and another one. And another one. They do not stop. They crank out statistics like shit through a goose.
If I let them, they'll even refute my own life experiences through statistics. I do not doubt that someone could cite statistics to prove I do not exist, just as they proved the bumblebee cannot fly.
My blogfather busts his ass to compile the weekly Yahoo gun bias statistics. I would be willing to bet that if Sarah Brady's grab-the-guns think tank commissioned a professional (read highly paid hired whore) statistical analysis, they'd manage to find problems with his work. I don't know whether they'd call it a "coding error" or whether they'd use words I don't understand, but it would not faze me in the least, because I know what their bottom line is: they want to take away my guns, and they see statistics as a weapon to do that.
The only statistic that should legitimately concern anyone who cares about freedom is how many rounds you can get into the target when you're shooting.
Coding and sampling errors are one thing, but if they wanna take away my guns, well, maybe I can't hit the target every time, but are they feeling lucky?
Wednesday, August 20, 2003
It's back-to-school time...
For many years I have wanted to know where it is written in granite that if you are a homosexual (or let's just say you have engaged in homosexual acts), you have to be a socialist. Or, to put it bluntly, if you are a male and you happen to have had oral sex with another male, why must you now love Barbara Streisand?
Here's a glimpse into the mind of that tenured academician:
"Let there be no mistake about it: lesbian and gay studies, as it is currently practiced in the U.S., expresses an uncompromising political militancy."Political militancy. What might that mean?
For starters, Halperin wants to make that founding purveyor of deconstructionist gobbledygook, Michel Foucault, a saint.
I guess that's his job. Lest anyone misunderstand, Halperin claims he is being misunderstood:
"It does not teach students to be homosexual," Halperin told The Washington Times. "Rather, it examines critically the odd notion that there are right and wrong ways to be gay, that homosexuality is not just a sexual practice or desire but a set of specific tastes in music, movies and other cultural forms — a notion which is shared by straight and gay people alike."I'm all for academic freedom, but shouldn't there be a disclaimer here? I mean, there may be a right way or a wrong way to engage in certain types of sex, but how does gay sex cause you to like Barbara Streisand? Or want socialism?
No one can tell me. I guess I should return to school to find out.
But frankly, I think I would fall asleep. Here is what Halperin has to say about an allegedly "gay" postage stamp:
As if by magic, each person who views the stamp -- no matter what his or her social location -- instantly and unreflectively reconfigures the image, constructing the pair of lovebirds not only as male and female but as a heterosexual and, presumably, monogamous couple (the stamp is not taken to depict a one-night stand). The viewer may also perform a number of other, subsidiary operations on this visual text, such as installing the "male" bird on the right-hand side of the field and even magnifying "his" size in relation to that of "his" mate, so as to motivate as well as to justify a heterosexist reading. But nothing in the text itself . . . provides the slightest impetus for such collective hallucinations. Rather, the apparently universal and unconquerable urge to read off gendered, heterosexualized meanings from the innocent surface of this unoffending text springs -- as the text's source in the figural repertory of European-American folk art implies -- from the traditional codes or conventions for "representing" love in European-American culture. These codes, which also govern the culture's visual rhetoric, restrict the use of erotic symbols, such as the valentine-shaped heart, to heterosexual contexts and employ exemplary animals, such as lovebirds, to typify and thereby to naturalize contemporary human social and sexual arrangements, such as monogamous, heterosexual marriage. Common to all those rhetorical practices is a discursive strategy whose effect is to (re)produce "love" as an exclusively heterosexual institution and to convert, under the sign of "love," all pairs of ungendered, identically figured bodies into heterosexual couples. . . .I think I'll drop Halperin's course. He might try to lick my stamp, but I'll never let him paste it on my envelope.
WAIT A MINUTE!
Just when I thought I had exhausted myself silly with this nonsensical tedium, Brian Stephens (a very articulate Michigan student blogger) came to my rescue, by supplying a description of Halperin's course:
Here is the original course guide description of Prof. David Haleprin's "How to be Gay" class. He sanitized last year, but i guess a lot of these stereotypes were still there.Phew! What the kids today have to do to get an "A." And by the way, according to another blogger, Left & Right, this course is offered by the English Department.
Of course, when I was a kid, I took a class called "Sex and Crime" (offered appropriately by UC Berkeley's Department of Criminology) -- taught by the distinguished Dr. Joel Fort. I performed independent field research into male prostitution, and I learned a lot. Without getting into too much detail, I'm pleased to report that I got an "A+" in the course.
So, I try to keep an open mind, and I recognize that many issues can be academic.
But brainwashing and fraud are not.
Tuesday, August 19, 2003
First (Fertile) Wi-Fi post
The first principle is not to fool yourself -- and you are the easiest to fool. -- Richard FeynmanI have not checked the above quotation, but it is staring at me here on the wall at Fertile Grounds Expresso, at 1796 Shattuck Aveune (near Cedar) in Berkeley. They have free Wi-Fi, and this is my first post using it. I am amazed I can get away with this.
Link to Fertile Grounds courtesy of beastblog (deriving from its pig Latin, "East Bay").
Better post this while I can, for I may be fooling myself.
posted by Eric at 02:01 PM
Improving on a classical theme?
See that really cool new psychedelic image over there on the left? That is my blogfather's new logo. He has redesigned his whole blog, and while I am not a person who likes change (and I was quite fond of the black, outer-space look he had before), this really works, it is growing on me, and I think it is easier on the eyes.
Jeff does his own web design, thinks his own thoughts, and codes everything by hand. Like Jeff himself, his blog is completely self-made, and an American Original through and through. I wish I had his talent. No matter how you look at it, Alphecca is a far-thinking, far-out dude.
There is no one in the blogosphere who does more to encourage new bloggers than Jeff. Had he not sponsored me, and encouraged me in that critical early stage of blogging when I was sick of baring my soul and wondered whether it was all "worth it," I would probably not have continued blogging.
But, as I am a mere modern mortal, my words are insufficient as praise, so in keeping with the Classical Values theme, I think it is appropriate to quote from the ancients on the influence of Alphecca:
According to Ptolemy it is of the nature of Venus and Mercury, but Alvidas considers it to be like Mars and Mercury. It gives honor, dignity and poetical and artistic ability.Hey, I didn't say that -- much as I wish I had! But you better believe the above is true! Jeff is a credit to and reflects these ancient attributes (perhaps they anticipated him), and I am really proud to be part of the Alphecca constellation.
Go check out the new Alphecca right now!
Fine old cannibals
Well, from what I've been reading, Uganda's former cannibal-in-chief is still dead. This time, apparently "he's not only really dead, he's really most sincerely dead."
But anyone who thinks monstrous, Idi Amin-style tyranny died with Amin should read this.
Why does the West systematically ignore African butchery? Fear of being seen as racist? (I am not being facetious; this film was called racist when it was made!)
If such a double standard isn't racist, then what is?
Why was there never any extradition and trial?
Glenn Reynolds links to this story, which speculates that the Saudis may find it unacceptable to "let an African Muslim potentate be toppled, tried and convicted by a predominantly Christian African state."
Yeah, I guess Muslim hegemony and Western guilt allowed Amin to live out his life in serenity and tranquility.
But what about this guy (Eichmann's right hand man, Alois Brunner)? He's no Muslim, but the most vicious Nazi war criminal alive. (At least I think he's still alive.) For the life of me, I don't understand. Again, why no extradition and trial?
Let's follow Austin Bay's Idi Amin speculation, with a twist:
Sounds logical to me. But at least the Saudi spin machine tried to put the best face on Amin. Brunner, on the other hand, made this statement to the Chicago Sun Times:
"The Jews deserved to die. I have no regrets. If I had the chance I would do it again..."Hmmmm.....
Do it again? Maybe Brunner is also getting a pass for being "anti-colonialist."
For such an old man, I think his survival strategy is very hip. We all know that colonialists should be nuked.
posted by Eric at 10:11 AM
Monday, August 18, 2003
On the perpetuation of bigoted categories
Reacting against bigotry may be a fun form of entertainment, but can it be carried too far?
When I was in high school in the late 60s and early 70s, racism was ugly, raw, and a real national disease. The word "nigger" -- while it was starting to be used only in hushed tones in the (white) upper classes, was in wide use among working class whites, who lived in fear that "they" might move in and then "there goes the neighborhood." After the assassination of Martin Luther King I heard many people say that King had been asking for it and had gotten what was coming to him. Feeling very angry, emotionally enraged by the stupidity of racism, and ever more radical as a result, I became a Marxist Leninist, supported the Black Panther Party, and was a very outspoken 15-year-old. This occurred during adolescence, at a time when I simultaneously saw the tyrannical use of the term "faggot" on a regular basis -- to mindlessly instill conformity to sexual role models which I saw as preposterous on their face.
When I announced my homosexuality (which I called bisexuality at the time -- although I was told later that I can't call myself that lest I be accused of being "in the closet"), no one dared criticize me for it. I remember announcing it in the school lunchroom while my classmates froze and stared at their food. I guess it is fair to say that my "coming out" was in large part a reaction against the hypocritical stigmatization of something I had seen going on all over the place -- a thing which turned me on but which meant nothing to me on a guilt level. (I used to see myself as an ancient trapped in a horrible modern world.) True, I played around with both sexes, but the truth of the matter was I wasn't all that sexual of a person. Intrigued by androgyny, many of my LSD trips convinced me that the differences between the sexes were indeed often blurry, but that the ape-like desire to conform induced massive insecurity in people who reacted with anger and bigotry almost out of a need to protect their image vis-a-vis the herd. Well, to me that was a game, and two could play at such a game. Fuck 'em!
I still feel much the same way. I do not understand society's neurotic obsession with putting people into categories and judging them by things like skin color or something even more personal: the content of their orgasms.
This is a major reason I started Classical Values. I think it is high time for people to stop reacting. Homosexuals are a Victorian creation. So are heterosexuals. How long must this con game go on? I mean, I can play it as long as people want to, but I am getting a bit tired and a bit old.
The only person who has any right to know or care about where I put my dick is someone interested in it! To the extent other people want to get into my life, if they are not interested in sex, why, I suppose curiosity is OK, but if they are doing the whole gay-versus-straight, let's-assign-a-category deal, well I have no duty of honesty. I will always be proud to say that I am gay to anyone who wants to make an issue of it, because I consider it a form of bigotry to classify people that way. It is a bit like asking about someone's race; what the hell is the relevance?
The gay movement, however, wants to perpetuate this reaction business, and I think they have reached a point (degenerated to a point, I should say) where they are not about freedom, but about perpetuating society's tyranny. I think it is high time for the tyranny to go. Homosexuality and heterosexuality are arbitrary, bigoted categories. So is bisexuality. Who did this, and why? Krafft-Ebing has been credited with coining the term "homo-sexual" in the 19th century. Before that men were accused of engaging in sodomy -- something I tried to demonstrate (twice) to be primarily a "heterosexual" phenomenon (more properly, something practiced between men and women).
I do not know what it will take to convince people that they are victims of Victorian fraud, but that is what I think.
The gay movement is a reaction against bigotry, and has about as much credibility as the race-based, affirmative action movement or any other identity politics. In some ways it is even more bogus, as the identity is simply based on a reaction against bigotry imposed against a class of people defined and created Houdini-style, on the whims of Victorian shrinks.
[Parenthetical note: This Victorian fraud may well have been grounded in compassion for the plight of accused "sodomites" who were had been imprisoned, or far worse, over the centuries because of medieval interpretations of religious texts. But compassion does not make something logical which is not. Nor is it logical to substitute irrational medical quackery for medieval misapplications of religious texts.]
In ancient times, there was no such category as homosexual. People did sexually what they wanted to do without having labels applied to them for it.
Does such a simple concept have to be a radical idea in a free, modern country?
The last thing in the world I am advocating is intolerance. But tolerance implies that there is something to tolerate, as if to forbear. Why should anyone care where some guy sticks his dick or shoots his wad? I have never been able to understand why. All I know is that they do, and they act like a bunch of sexual control freaks (whose real motivation may be suppressed or misplaced apelike dominance urges). What I saw in adolescence was wrong then and it is wrong now. I don't care whether it is propped up by weak male egos seeking to be leaders or followers, by interpretations of religious texts, or by gay rights activists whose weak egos require them to do the same thing.
How might gay marriage factor into this? People may hate what I am about to say, and I may be accused of giving ammo to the other side, but I assure you I am not. Gay marriage strikes me as a continuation of the gay movement: an insecure, artificial aping of something which is not there -- or at least has no logical need to be there. It is grounded in a movement which arose out of (and is still driven by) anti-homosexual prejudice. Reactions like this, like racial insecurities brought on by racism, should not have been there in the first place, because reactions do not solve reactions.
My argument is not so much against gay marriage as it is for self respect.
I had three long term male lovers. All died. I never needed a government institution to tell me I was OK, and I don't need that now. What is stopping people from living together or doing whatever it is they want to do? Private contracts and adoptions can take into account almost any circumstance I can think of. If I decided to marry a woman, well, I could do that legally regardless of whether we were both gay, straight, bi, or defined ourselves as auto-erotic strangulationists. (And no; the latter not my shtick, OK?) So what? There are a lot of reasons the law protects opposite-sex spouses -- not the least of which is the traditional role of women as the "weaker sex," as the child-rearers who need money because they give up careers, the coming together of the two male/female yin/yang as one, etc. The fact that marriage is changing -- even that it is falling apart as an institution -- does not alter its history, nor does it supply any reason why two members of the same sex should feel forced to imitate an institution intended to use official state glue to cement into place an otherwise consensual contract between men and women.
Why this need for a piece of paper from the government? So that someone can say "I'm just as good as you are?" That is a logical fallacy, because if you need a piece of paper to say you are as good as someone else, you must have doubts. No paper will prove you are just as good. You are in fact just as good and entitled to your life. Needing that paper is insecurity. There is nothing which it gives you which cannot be obtained by other means.
Especially respect. Anyone who requires a government issued piece of paper for self respect in my opinion will not get it from that piece of paper.
Analogizing to a drivers license sheds some light on the problem. Other than a law requiring a license, there is nothing about a drivers license which enables someone to drive. Likewise, a man in his natural state may live with and have sex with any other person, male or female, for whatever length of time the two (or more) may deem fit.
What we are arguing about here is not a living arrangement, but a definition. Unlike a drivers license (without which I may not drive) I can live with anyone I want for as long as I want, share whatever portions of my life, property, inheritance rights I want, without needing any piece of paper from the government to prove it.
If I live with another person without that piece of paper, what are the real, day-to-day consequences? The only one I can think of is that someone might say that I am not married.
Oooohhhh, that is sooo scary! Someone might say I am not married! What trauma! I might not be able to sleep at night if the neighbors didn't think I was married.
Or, suppose I told my neighbors that I consider myself married, or in a common-law situation analogous to marriage. If I didn't have the right piece of paper to wave in his face, he could, I suppose, say, "You're not married and I am!"
But if I had the piece of paper, I could wave it is in face and return the nyah nyah?
Is that what this is about?
The right to say "nyah nyah?"
Isn't that like saying "Mommy and daddy said it was OK!"?
posted by Eric at 08:06 AM
Sunday, August 17, 2003
NEO (lithic) conservatism?
Northern California is considerably cooler than the East Coast in summer -- and MUCH warmer in winter. When I left the East Coast in late July (and on the drive all the way across the country) it was swelteringly hot. The Bay Area weather, on the other hand, is beautiful, 70-ish, and just gives you that feeling of not needing to have a care in the world. (Not, that is, until neurotic uptight East Coast types like me come charging in with gratuitous observations....)
And then I read about New Yorkers hating Southern Californians, and Northern Californians hating Southern Californians.
Might I have a word on this subject? I lived on both coasts for many years, and I consider LA to be a sort of home away from home. Thanks to two very dear friends in LA, I have two places where I can crash whenever I make the 5.5 hour drive from here to there. I have spent a lot of time in LA on business over the years, and not only do I not resent the place, I would move there in a heartbeat, and needless to say prefer it infinitely to the East Coast.
New Yorkers may not like hearing this, but the East Coast consists of more than New York. Philadelphia, where I failed to grow up, hates New York with the a bitterness which reminds me of the French. That's because Philadelphia is America's Founding City, has old, prestigious money, and is tormented by a mindset which seems perversely proud of its provincialism (which of course can never be called that). This hatred spills over into New Jersey, part of which "leans" towards Philadelphia, and part towards New York. Yet Philadelphians and New Yorkers each feel far superior to New Jerseyites.
But both Philadelphia and New York (and their NJ satellites) unite in hatred of California. The "hatred" between Northern and Southern California is a joke compared to the attitude of the East Coast towards California.
Do you think California could care less? Sure, there are political differences, but the only fault line in California which strikes me as genuinely bitter also exists all over the country -- and that is the vexing, worsening tension between urban and rural peoples. There is a an ill-defined yet fundamental incompatibility which gets worse and worse. City people want laws and restrictions and taxes, then they flee to more pastoral areas upon which they then inflict more laws and restrictions and taxes. Libertarianism with a small "l" is becoming the only option -- for California and for the nation. Very, very dangerous thinking; Jesse Ventura was getting close; is Arnold smart enough to pull it off? Am I allowed to speculate about these things?
Sorry folks; I just smelled the beginnings of a rant. And this is Sunday, so I really ought to stick with nice, safe things.
Like the weather, perhaps?
(Yeah! Weather -- or not.)
Here in California (especially in the Bay Area) there are really only minimal seasons; it is mostly the same year round. In fact, I was last here in December, and it was not much colder than it is now. Not that that is a representative sampling of these times of year; it just shows how meaningless are the "seasons" around here, and how genuinely random are the weather patterns. I have long believed that people are affected by the weather. When you live in a culture that thinks along seasonal lines yet you live in a season-less area, you become different. I have known people from the East Coast who hated it here precisely because of the absence of seasons, and the ubiquitous rain and fog. Those who love that tend to have a live-and-let-live view of the world. This is slightly different from the "I've earned it!" retirement mentality of Floridians and Arizonans. But I think it goes a long way to explain why it is that Bay Area residents are as eccentric as they are. It also helps explain some of the difference between Northern and Southern Californians. Mystical fog versus fun-in-the-sun...
But the East Coast! Man, they are as mean as scalded cats over the weather, because they have to stay indoors in the summer, and indoors in the winter, and spend Spring and Fall getting ready for (or catching up on maintenance caused by) severe hot or severe cold. Year after year of snow-shoveling, ice-salting, suffering in the heat, and fighting hordes of summer insects, well, these things just don't warm them to California's Northern mystical-fog or Southern fun-in-the-sun mindsets. Nor are they happy about the fact that Californians just don't suffer from power outages the way they do on the East Coast. They secretly think Californians need a good wallop on the behind -- another earthquake, a Tsunami, at least a good stiff drought!
If weather can influence such cultural phenomena, then what about genuine environmental stresses? My philosophical comrade Justin Case is completely sold on the idea that many events in human history can be explained by comet and meteor impacts. I have seen enough of the evidence to conclude that it is at least plausible, if not certain. Long ago I learned that a big one had done in the dinosaurs. But what I had not realized was the frequency of much smaller (but substantial) impacts. Some of them left craters which are only now being revealed, while often times other meteors and comets explode into blasts of gravel-sized, dispersed debris. Large surfaces of ground are scorched, rock is melted like glass, lakes and oceans boil, fire and brimstone literally rain down, and gigantic tidal waves are caused when the damned things crash into the sea. Several books have been written on the subject which I have not read (one by a guy named Bill Napier stands out); apparently it has escaped the attention of historians that there are common denominators in the simultaneous demises of multiple cultures and civilizations during the same time periods.
I know very little about this subject but I can readily see why it won't receive much attention in the major media. Right now the big money is on global warming, which finds strong emotional appeal among the egocentric guilt-mongers who enjoy blaming progress and technology for everything, and see us as dooming the planet. Anything which demonstrates our ultimate insignificance, and instead shows the real power of nature, is to be shunned, silenced, even censored. Besides, the solution (yes, there is one) is even more threatening to the liberal/green point of view. Many of the scientists who have studied this phenomenon agree that we stand a damned good chance of being able to deflect future impacts by standing ready with large thermonuclear devices, which could divert the meteors from their course long before they pose a threat. Existing technology could be further developed which could spot not only the bigger rocks, but the smaller ones which currently escape attention. (Which is bad, for if a smaller one hit Manhattan, it would be a big-time disaster.) Liberals, of course, would object to the development of any technology that might also be used to defend us against missiles. Why?
Is defenselessness a state of grace?
Frankly, I would not expect to see much interest in this emerging topic from conservatives either -- and certainly not from moral conservatives. Too many of their favorite Biblical stories could be explained by meteoric impacts. And if these things in fact hit earth randomly, then religious people are hard-pressed to explain why God would "do" such a terrible thing. And if he would, why would he "strike" a Siberian forest in 1907? (Duh! Obviously because of the bi polar bears.)
Why, if God had any sense, he'd hit the evil San Francisco with a Big One! (And if God strikes some other place, that's only because the people there were too tolerant of places like San Francisco...)
I was quite surprised to read the statistical analysis of the relative danger posed by these things. We have a 1 in 10,000 chance of being killed by a meteor! That is substantially greater than the odds of being struck by lightning, bitten by a snake, dying in a plane crash, eaten by a shark, or even killed in floods, or tornadoes. Yet we are far more concerned about these other dangers. Why? Because, not only don't we know about the meteor risk, but we do not have any control over them, or so we imagine.
These things are called NEOs. (Near Earth Objects.) Only the big ones attract much attention, but people forget about what can happen if even a small one hits the right area. Even without it doing any direct damage, the indirect damage can last for many years. Just look at that silly Kaaba stone, which continues to stir up millions of militant Muslims in Mecca!
The late Stephen J. Gould, while accepting the evidence for NEO impacts, thought it was distressing to the human psyche for people to consider that outer space might be responsible for major events in earth history. Liberals and conservatives alike cling tenaciously to the idea that man is responsible for his problems, and that the solution therefore must lie in getting power and making men behave properly. Even our beloved Thomas Jefferson stated (when told that a meteorite had crashed into an area of New England):
I would more easily believe that two Yankee professors would lie, than that stones would fall from heaven.
Is this stuff more important than hegemonic differences between Philadelphia versus New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, or East versus West Coasts? Common sense would suggest that there is an awful lot of stuff out there which might easily crash into our planet. An asteroid (1994 XM) recently whizzed past within 104,000 kilometers of earth! My cars have more mileage on them than that, so we aren't talking light years here; we are talking driving distance.
Justin Case dragged me up into the Berkeley hills for a star-gazing venture. University employees had set up high power reflecting telescopes for the public to use, and I looked at a number of planets. Most fascinating was the moon, which was so bright that it hurt my eyes. What did I see? A bunch of craters. It doesn't take much imagination to extrapolate from this visible data.
You don't even need to be a rocket scientist.
Still, people are not likely to get terribly excited about any of this, because they are much busier hating each other over things like the weather. If you think about it, though, it makes a lot of sense to hate people who don't have to experience your own misery. Thus, we hate people who have nice weather while we suffer, who pay no taxes while we shell out huge portions of our income and live in fear of an IRS audit, or who vacation in Bali with a "significant other" while we struggle to buy clothes for the kids.
When collective misery intervenes, people are temporarily distracted from blaming each other, until a scapegoat can be found. Cataclysmic events -- even if naturally occurring -- traditionally invite scapegoating. Things must be made someone's fault, whether directly (global warming, pollution, stupidity, failure to take action, or simple greed) or indirectly (man pissed off God and was punished).
The former explanation can be found in conventional media. The latter is in most of the religious texts. Both explanations fill a similar need. Not a natural human need, so much as a need (by the purveyors of the explanations) to control.
That's too bad, because there are a lot of people who might enjoy knowing that some things are beyond anyone's control.
And not anyone's fault.
Spider this link....
Here's some useful news of bizarre sexual rituals, incolving necrophilia, cannibalism, and the actual use of corpses of suitors as a sort of weird chastity belt.
Sexual suicide and "dinner date" anyone?
posted by Eric at 01:32 PM
Saturday, August 16, 2003
You kinda hafta watch your language too.
UPDATE AND APOLOGY: I don't mean to be unfair to Bustamante by highlighting this inconsequential gaffe. Trivialities such as Freudian slips are never held against people, are they?
posted by Eric at 02:13 PM
As opposed to being uneasy....
Let me start with an apology for an excited utterance I made in an earlier post. "Uneasy" and "opposed" are not synonyms, and I should know better. (And opposition to uneasiness does not equal uneasiness about opposition, either.)
I stand accused (by a commenter named Wild Bill with no blogsite) of starting a "lynch mob" because when I linked to a Glenn Reynolds piece which says Kass is "uneasy" about organ transplantation, I characterized such uneasiness as "opposition" to organ transplantation.
Mea culpa! My apologies to all concerned -- particularly to Stephen Green, who was nice enough to link to me only to get slammed for it by some anally retentive, apparently blogless Kass Klone. Now, I am going to attempt to straighten out this mess (which means I will probably make it worse).
Here, in the interest of fairness, is a full quote of Dr. Kass's apparent position on organ transplantation:
Leon Kass: ....[S]tep-by-step, we walk down a path to whose final destination we may not wish to go.So, Glenn Reynolds was right to define this as "uneasiness" and I am wrong to call it "opposition."
Here is what I said:
Josh Chafetz at OxBlog asks whether this report (that Idi Amin seeks kidney donor) is a sick joke.OK, so if I change that to "I have to expresss agreement with Dr. Kass -- who is uneasy with organ transplantation" my point is exactly the same. I don't want human organs going into that cannibal who has already consumed more organs than the most debauched, degenerate sex maniac ever to grace the halls of a gay bathhouse.
And this latest post was was supposed to be about Amin, not Kass.
But since I've been dragged back into Kass, I will say this: the man's objections to the (gasp) "assault on mortality itself," should come as good news to insurance companies, who want nothing more than to stop paying for expensive life-prolonging treatments.
For those like me who don't have the time or inclination to read everything Kass has written, the best summary I have seen can be found here.
Regular readers to this blog might realize that I find Leon Kass as tedious as a committee meeting, and if I had my druthers I'd druther not write about him at all. My prim, proper, and paranoid research assistant Justin Case disdains my sloppy approach, and because he is the one largely responsible for forcing me into blogging (boy! do I sound like a passive-aggressive moonbat or what?), he made me blog -- repeatedly -- about the very dull Kass!
But by getting a tad carried away and trying to spice things up (in the process overstating Kass's sentiments on organs), I ran afoul of a pitfall Roger Simon warned about recently:
Writers are in a double-bind (who isn’t?). If they’re not smart-mouthed, no one’s interested, but if they are, they’re likely to put their foot in that not-all-that-smart mouth. Or at least regret what they say. (Or, in extreme Mailer-Hemingway cases, get punched out).From the Classical Values standpoint, this tricky double-bind reminds me of Scylla and Charybdis: get too anal and you can bore people; get too exciting and you crash and burn.
I hope I don't get in trouble for saying this, but I consider blogging a bit like art. Words are shades and colors, and depending on your style, sometimes you throw them on the canvas brutally and spontaneously, whereas in other blogs you meticulously document, research, and even footnote.
In either case, of course, if you believe in such a thing as artistic integrity, you must always adjust the colors when they are incorrect, don't match, or are simply ill-chosen. I will correct or adjust my errors as necessary, but as to my thoughts, politics, and opinions, they're mine, and I would be completely worthless were I to change my mind on something because someone disagreed with me.
There seems to be a school of thought contending that the bigger the writer, the worthier he is. Recently there was a tiff between Rich Hailey (hope I have the name right) and Michael Fumento which degenerated into a yelling contest over who had more readers. This reminded me of an email exchange ("flame war" would be a better description) with a friend in Oxford's graduate program in foreign policy. He cited (and sent me and all twenty seven of the people on his email list) a thoroughly despicable essay -- on patriotism! -- written by the notorious Marxist deconstructionist Howard Zinn. I countered with a piece from Zinn's conservative critic Daniel Flynn, and the following exchange -- abbreviated greatly here -- took place:
Reasonable minds may differ on the definition of patriotism - which is a refuge of many a scoundrel. But Zinn of all people is anything BUT
My Oxford buddy then replied as follows:
Eric,The standard which my friend urges upon me is based on an illogical assumption: that the innate utility or truthfulness of a piece of writing (or any other piece of art, for that matter) may be determined by reference to its popularity.
According to Amazon.com, Hillary Clinton ("Living History" ranked 39) and Ann Coulter ("Treason" ranked 21) are more popular than Shakespeare ("Complete Works" ranked 5702). Or, if we really wanna get sour about it, "The Grapes of Wrath" (ranked 819).
Frankly, I am surprised at myself -- being concerned with things like the inherent value of writing or art! It's out of character for me. Flynn versus Zinn as "sour grapes"? That's almost as bad as my own attack the other day on what I saw as blatant bigotry by a bigger and better blogger, one Howard Veit. Can't I just leave well enough alone? At TTLB I am just a small reptile, and history shows what happened when reptiles got too big for their britches:
"Fellow reptiles, I do not hesitate to tell you that we face grave problems. And I do not hesitate to tell you that we have the answer. Size is the answer! Increased size! There are those who say that size is not the answer. There are those who even propose that we pollute our pure reptilian strains with mammalian amalgamations and cross-breeding. And I say to you that if the only way I could survive was by mating with egg-eating rats, then I would choose not to survive. But we will survive. We will increase both in size and in numbers, and we will continue to dominate this planet as we have done for 300 million years. Bigger is better, and biggest is best!" (William Burroughs,1989:54)
No sour grapes, and no holding back. I will continue to say what I think at the risk of being wrong, and I will correct myself as necessary.
Once more, I sincerely apologize to Stephen Green for carelessly mischaracterizing uneasiness as opposition, because I know there are a lot of persnickety critics out there just waiting to pounce like the hyperactive velociraptors they are.
However, I want one last chance to defend my recklessness -- because I think that I may have touched inadvertently on a truth which Kass will never admit. Reflecting on Kass's stated opposition to life extension, his championing of mortality (that means death if I am not mistaken), I don't think it is too much of a stretch to discern a strong, necessarily covert, disapproval of organ transplantation. That we've-gone-down-that-slippery-slope type of talk, at least to my mind, reveals a medieval mindset which would rather not have opened this Pandora's box of horrors like organ transplantation in the first place. But Kass the modern politician, who chairs an important presidential commission, is enough of a realist to know his job and his credibility would be on the line if he gave voice to what he really thinks. Thus, when pressed in interviews he knows enough to concede grudgingly that of course he does not "oppose" organ transplantation. After all, it's fait accompli and we live in the modern world.
But it's a modern world he opposes, and I think that the totality of the Kass ethos is opposed to organ transplantation as a part of that modern world. Even if it cannot for political reasons give voice to direct opposition.
I suppose you can say I am uneasy with Kass.
Isn't that a mealy-mouthed way of saying I am opposed?
UPDATE: Dead issue now. (Amin, that is.) This time it looks like real death. Hope he stays that way. Once again, I find myself in partial agreement with Kass. Mortality can occasionally be good.
UPDATE (04/11/05): It's been over a year and a half (and probably a million words) since the above post, but I have another delectable Kass tidbit to add; his statement that organ transplantation is akin to cannibalism:
Referring to organ transplantation as “simply a noble form of cannibalism” (185), Kass turns in Chapter 6 to argue that there are a series of powerful presumptions that tell against the propriety of organ donation. Since this is so, Kass argues, the existing prohibitions on the sale of human organs for transplantation should be maintained, for to allow such exchanges would be “to forget altogether the impropriety overcome in allowing donation and transplantation in the first place” (195).Gee.... That would have gone so well with Idi Amin....
And I now see that the alleged "Glenn Reynolds piece" I cited above, not only doesn't exist, but the link goes to a blog about dogs.
I wonder how many other links have gone to the dogs.
It isn't fair.
Friday, August 15, 2003
PEACE -- BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND
This is the first time I have republished a post, and I hope it will be the last. This really burns me up!
So read on, and please, PLEASE, link for peace...
Si vis pacem, para bellum: If you wish for peace, prepare for war.
Much as I try to practice the Classical Values, I can't keep up with the kids these days. I really can't. This Frank J. stuff, frankly, is beyond me. Last night I saw that someone had written Frank a long, lovely frankophile sonnet (entitled "Gratuitous Pandering for Linkage, a Sonnet to Frank J.") consisting of some of the most extravagant sycophancy I have ever seen. Frankly, I think the sonnet would impress even the most decadent and cynical Roman emperor. Here, in the interest of complete accuracy (and in furtherance of the Classical Values Peace Plan ©), is the whole thing:
Whew! This guy's more slick than William Shakespeare -- who couldn't possibly have done that!
But the people I worry for are the innocent young kids who so admire Frank that they are willing to do anything to get links -- so they can get ahead in blogging. They are being herded into packs and readied for war. I have complained about the human waste involved, and begged, implored Frank to stop.
His response? Well, I got a mention (and I am grateful for the hits Frank), but -- my goal remains PEACE IN OUR TIME. Frank's comment -- "madness is all I got" -- seems to underscore the problem. And ominously, his enemies list grows.
In short, something must done to appease Frank.
Otherwise, I fear that HEADS will roll!
Please, Frank, try a new slogan! Not "INSTAPUNDO DELENDA EST" but
PAX POTIOR BELLO!!!
Here is what I propose as a peace solution. What Frank really wanted -- what really started this war -- is hits. Originally, Frank was angry because Glenn Reynolds failed to link to him directly as Frank had demanded. Instead, Frank felt ridiculed.
Well, I have a plan. A dream for a lasting PAX BLOGIORUM!
Now, I don't know whether what I am proposing is a breach of blog ethics (I have only been blogging for two months and, quite frankly, I have never been noted for my ethics anyway, so how would I know, and if I did know how would I care?)
To be frank about it, I thought, well, frankly, if Frank wants hits, if all of his allies just started franking their blogs and every time the word "frank" appears in any context (even as a part of a larger word, like "Frankish") they could put a link to http://imao.us/archives/000917.html#000917, then maybe, just maybe, Frank would be appeased for a time, and the war at least postponed.
My tentative peace/ceasefire plan (and you don't have to be a genius and write syrupy sonnets to do this):
Just frank the hell out of your blog. If everyone put the word "frank" with a link to http://imao.us/archives/000913.html#000913 each time the word frank appeared, then technorati and truthlaidbear would have alltime new records, Frank's hits would exceed anything in blog history, and war might be averted.
It really doesn't matter whether you even spell frank's name right. Some Guy called him Frnak and who cares? As long as the link is there Frnak will get the hits he wants.
Frnak? What the hell kind of a frankensteinian name is that anyway?
There are ethical considerations, and let me give an example of a line which should not be crossed. I think it is perfectly acceptable to be creative and insert a link to "frank" every time the name or word appears. You could even offer a reading list:
FrankensteinBut don't just post a gigantic list consisting of the word "frank." That would be an abuse of the system.
Link ethically! Link politically! Link locally! Link globally!
Link for peace!
Come to think of it, isn't frank another word for "link"?
And, to take this a step further, are not such links both the essence of politics and the essence of frank link sausage manufacturing? This is not my opinion, but a long tradition:
"To retain respect for sausages and laws, one must not watch them in the making."How much more frankly political can I get than the above link to Bismarck?
Come on baby, don't make me light my fire!
Bear my Grizzly ass!
Enough of bi polar bears.
Sheesh! I probably shouldn't have posted secret information reported to come from Lavrenti P. "Bearia," but for you, my readers, only the best!
I don't feel like blogging today, because I exhausted myself doing repairs and frankly, I am a little burned out. I am pissed as hell about this Jamie Gorelick stuff, though, and I reserve the right to blog about it. I mean, its one thing for the country to have one conflict of interest on the 9-11 Commission, but when you add Saudi corruption to Deep Throat, my low standards are offended. Little wonder I hate lawyers. I know, I know, self hating lawyers are the worst kind, but it really isn't my fault that I became a lawyer, so don't blame me. Besides, I have just as much right to hate lawyers as anyone else, and maybe more.
Jamie Gorelick and Deep Throat. God, what a combination. We'll never know what happened.
Anyway, on to something beautiful. The sun has just set, and I can't get sunsets like this on the East Coast anywhere that I know of. This is one of the things I most miss about the Bay Area.
I did not snap the actual sunset, because this time of year it sets way over to the right, on the other side of Mount Tamalpais (in Marin County). In the Fall and in the Spring, it sets over the Golden Gate Bridge, on its way back and forth. What I really love is watching the weather come in over the bay; the fog pours in through the Golden Gate, then spreads over the bay the way dry ice creates smoke if you put a chunk of it in water. You never know how far up the fog will roll. Sometimes it comes all the way up here and fogs me in; other times I remain above it. More fun than watching television.
I had thought the Peace Plan® was working too. Having to regurgitate peace just burns me up!
URGENT UPDATE: According to this report, aside from the conflict of interest, Gorelick has a long and sleazy background in political intrigue, skullduggery, and (of course) being a coverup artist. (Link thanks to Dwight Meredith -- a truly great investigator I wish I had been reading before!)
I wouldn't expect any truth to come from the 9-11 Commission. Who will they put on it next? Fred Fielding's former boss John Dean?
posted by Eric at 09:13 PM
Thursday, August 14, 2003
Pravda Laid Many Bears!
Well, not really. Let me give picture:
Is very complicated, Comrade; more than just mysterious issue has cropped up which has broken Ecosystem. We at Novaya Zemlya Bear Collective have summer coming out party this year. We are, how you say? bloggier than your average bear, is true! But that is only part of story. We have bearest longing for each other this time of year, Comrade! Is true! We dance, we get drunk, we sing and we roll around bear-back style!
More Saudi pork?
It sure sounds like a sick joke to me. For once, in this very limited instance, I have to express agreement with Dr. Leon Kass -- who opposes organ transplantation.
No human organs should go into that guy!
On the other hand, I see no reason why xenotransplantation might not be attempted, in this instance -- at least as an experiment. I am not sure whether pig kidneys have ever been transplanted successfully into a human being, but I'd be willing to bend the rules.
I don't think Amin's Saudi hosts would mind, do you?
If they get mad, they could always try another experiment: open up the hospital window, slide him off his gurney, and let him fly!
I just took the "What Matrix Persona Are You?" test, and found out I officially qualify as Neo. What a relief!
Just pure, plain simple Neo, I hope. I don't like the various suffixes commonly attached to that word.
Far easier to remember than nonsensical jumbles like "neoquasipseudopaleohomocon."
It can't happen here?
A couple of Canadian blogs I just discovered offer timely (and timeless) lessons in freedom.
If anyone had asked me about Americans in Toronto (where I am told you can go to jail for quoting Howard Stern), or French libertarians in Quebec, I would have expected a punchline. But this blog is the real thing: Debbye Stratigacos is a very witty, very entertaining writer.
Reflecting on my earlier comments about bikers and disorder, Debbye cited a scientific study which I found unsettling to say the least. Children need structure, it is true. But adults are not children. Adults handle things like cognitive dissonance better than children do, and treating people like sheep is not the American way.
Parenthetically, I should add that while the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally may not be the best place in the world to take young children, it was my intent to laud adult bikers, not offer advice on child-raising.
Debbye also links to a very thoughtful analysis of the creeping, politically correct tendency to criminalize thought crimes. It makes me furious to read about this stuff, and leads me back to my last post, in which I criticized a blogger who thinks homosexuals are degenerate sewer dwelling slime.
To me, that is freedom -- warts and all. You can call me anything you wish, and I can reply in kind. I like to think that I don't engage in unprincipled ad hominem attacks, but the day anyone tries to restrict anyone's right to do that, why, that's the day I'll stand side by side with the worst bigots in the country.
In Canada they'd put Howard Veit in prison under the Incitement to Hatred Act. Reading what Canadian libertarians are saying ought to make everyone think. If they can put us in prison for "hate speech" then what's next? Criminalization of "red-baiting?"
Rather makes me proud to have linked to the S.O.B.....
Whether the guy hates me is irrelevant. If personal opinions -- however obnoxious -- can be made illegal, then freedom is lost.
Events in Canada serve as another reminder that you don't know what you have till you lose it.
Don't let it happen here!
The blog's philosophy?
No subject should be outside the realm of debate in a democratic society.That gets my vote! Lots of good stuff throughout; be sure to check it out.
Wednesday, August 13, 2003
Even Oracles Ejaculate Occasionally…..
There is no purpose in the homosexual relationship other than ejaculation and climax. The means to this end include oral and anal sex, sado masochism, bondage, and homosexual rape together with practices best left unsaid. You can forget the individual worldly accomplishments of the individual homosexual, there is no further improvement of the world because of their relationship. Some deviant sex is enjoyed by a very few heterosexual couples, who also have children in most cases. The homosexual relationship represents a deterioration of society by depriving the society a result of their copulations. Carried to the extreme, homosexual society means the population ceases to exist. A complete destruction of a country or society because no children will be born.That is it?
Well, hey, it's nice to know that homos are all a bunch of degenerates who care only about ejaculations. Thank you, Mr. Veit! I don't mean to put you down, because you are a far more distinguished blogger than I am, with more links and hits than I've got, so you can go ahead and say that my puny disagreement with you is just a case of sour grapes.
I did say "puny" disagreement, because I am on record as one of the few homosexuals in the world with the temerity to express disagreement with the concept of gay marriage. (All who are interested may read my posts here, here, here, here, and here.)
This does not mean that I agree with Mr. Veit about homos debasing society, denigrating normal people, making families into outcasts, and having nothing to live for but their slimy (doubtless diseased) "ejaculations."
I certainly hope that an ejaculation never springs from an oraculation.
Much as I hate to be impertinent, nowhere in Mr. Veit's blog do I see a single mention of the word "love." I guess that is because despite living amongst homosexuals and knowing them so intimately, he knows for a fact that they are incapable of loving each other. Once the ejaculations are over, it's "Hit the road baby!" In sickness and in health? For richer, for poorer? Forget it! For Mr. Veit, ejaculation and love are mutually exclusive.
I do admire Veit's bravery for daring to live amongst the degenerates though. I know what it is like to live among awful people, as I lived on the East Coast for the past four years and you wouldn't believe the things I have found. Fat, disgusting, smelly people who don't know how to drive, slobs who do nothing but drink beer, eat pizza and those disgusting soft pretzels, behave in a very selfish, aggressive, and loud manner, and are just plain stupid. You don't believe me, just try driving around in New Jersey! They're almost all heterosexuals, and they make the few homos brave enough to live amongst them pay a bloody fortune in school taxes to finance their saprophytic, unconstrained, often welfare-based heterosexual lifestyle.
And you know what else? I have also lived and worked among lawyers. The stories I could tell you about those degenerates would curl your hair. They are worse than parasites! And as I said before, except for a few bloggers, they don't know how to write!
These generalizations are intended as satire, OK? I need to point that out because some people don't seem to get it.
For all I know, Mr. Veit lives in a flat above a gay bathhouse, and sees only gay ejaculators. But with all due respect, it is a mistake to assume that all people in a group do that which some people in that group do. There are such things as love and friendship, and longtime partnerships. Couples, if you will. Many of them live together for years -- even into old age, long after their filthy homo ejaculations have dried up (often for the same reasons that heterosexuals suffer from ejaculatory disabilities).
Hey! There's a new name for a homo blog: EJACULATE! EJACULATE! EJACULATE! ("A blog for men looking to get laid from the time they could get it up til the time they can't get it up any more.")
Does Mr. Veit think that homos somehow never reach the point where "they can't get it up anymore?" If only they could package and sell that! I'll have to ask all the aging homos I know about this!
In any case, I am relieved to hear that "much of the ethos of philosophy and religion has to do with reining in male sexual rampage" because I don't get laid that much.
Now I know which ethoi are to blame! They've reined in my male sexual rampage for the last time!
Under the circumstances, it seems only fair for me to link to Mr. Veit. He graduated in 1951, which makes him old enough to be my father. Much as I disagree with his idea that human beings should be judged by the content of their orgasms, I mean him no disrespect personally -- even if I am a degenerate. Hell, he even says I belong in a sewer:
We are being told we should sanctify these deviant couriers of lust through marriage, as if these disgusting people are normal and entitled to elevation to a pedestal of respect.
Sewer slime like me will do anything for a link!
Even as satire, of course....
Home sweet home?
I really wish I could do a better job of keeping up with everyone in the blogosphere. I try to check in with technorati and truthlaidbear, but with dialup connections on the road, it's not easy. Not long ago I saw that Howard Owens, one my favorite bloggers, had found a piece I wrote about him when I was a mere fetus of a blogger, and he liked it. I wanted to thank him for his very kind words about me, but now technorati no longer shows it, truthlaidbear is completely dysfunctional, and Howard Owens' archives don't seem to work.
Then today I found something my blogfather Jeff said about me which he absolutely should not have said, because while it is very flattering, it is not true. Jeff, I am NOT "better" than you are! I violate every rule in the book, and my law school training ruined what little writing skill I might have had. They warned me about it at UC Berkeley's Department of Rhetoric, and they were absolutely right. Lawyers, of course, are taught to append nearly every sentiment, every thought, every jot, every tittle, with some variety or another of qualifying, limiting, obfuscating, complicating, aggravating, and ALL billable-by-the-hour modifiers -- in the interests of "clarification." What they are really doing is covering their own asses, while inviting more litigation, which in turn generates more billable time!
Jeff, writes with more clarity than almost anyone in the blogosphere, and his creativity is unmatched! He is a much better, much more accomplished blogger than I am, and I will say once again that I am very honored to have such a talented and generous blogfather.
Also, I was delighted to see Jeff put in a plug for another favorite blogger, Don Watkins! The latter went AWOL for an entire week, and while I am tickled pink to see that he's returned, the story and pictures of that debauched, drunken orgy have me deeply worried....
Jeff is highly intuitive, and somehow he knew that I was somewhere other than "home" -- or wherever I am normally supposed to be. Jeff is right, and an explanation is in order. Hence, this post will be personal in nature. (Uh oh!)
Let me start with a rationalization of personal blogging. I just found a cool new blog -- Viking Pundit (link from Blogcritics via Instapundit) -- which appeals to my ethnic pride as an American of Norwegian descent. His name's Eric Lindholm and he's been blogging for quite a while so I shouldn't call him new. But anyway, his advice (which I have seen before and try to practice) is to "avoid blogging on personal issues" which he deems "a lazy form of writing."
Fair enough. But I am feeling lazy! And then I was struck by the elements Lindholm saw as justifying an exception to his personal issues rule. Recalling his honeymoon in Egypt, he says it was marred by the following:
relentless begging;Egypt, you say?
Well, here I am in Berkeley, California, my home for three decades! Mr. Lindholm's list describes the place perfectly.
It might not be a honeymoon, but I am home at last! For how long, who knows?
My dog, Puff, is a 14 year old pit bull, and he has been away for four years. I left Rawlins, Wyoming on Saturday morning (after first fixing a radiator hose which burst in 100+ degree heat about 40 miles from Lusk, Wyoming -- a town with a web page but no radiator hoses!), and after fifteen hours of driving, pulled up in front of my place in Berkeley near midnight. Puff knew where he was immediately, and as soon as I opened the door he jumped out of the car, raced to the house, marked his corner, and shoved his head into the front door in an attempt to open it. When I let him in, he ran directly to his empty water bowl which was still sitting exactly where he had left it in that fateful September of 1999.
I snapped a picture of him sleeping contentedly on his favorite futon, and I hope it successfully feeds through.
How long I will stay is anyone's guess, but blogging here is a serious problem, because I am still stuck with an antiquated laptop with the s-l--o-w sucky-ass dialup modem. How spoiled I was by a DSL connection. You don't know what you have till you lose it.
Which I could say about leaving Berkeley. California is just so ... well, "EASY" is the only word which comes to mind. Sure, people make fun of the place, but the weather is idyllic, and for the most part people are tolerant, civilized, and "laid back." Having grown up on the East Coast and moved out here, I understand the thinking of both coasts -- often much to my dismay.
The West Coast is as different from the East Coast as either coast is from, say, Canada.
See how personal I am getting? I don't like this at all, and now I'm worried about who might be offended. East Coasters, West Coasters, Canadians?
What next? I mean, how personal do I have to get?
Do I have to bare my life entirely and admit to being "bicoastal?"
(Wouldn't want to be accused of flying a "false flag," now, would I?)
Monday, August 11, 2003
Rush to anxiety?
John Hawkins says he was "very disappointed" to hear Rush Limbaugh (of whom he is a fan) airily dismiss blogging. But had this leading blogger been listening to Rush's competitor, the G. Gordon Liddy Show, he would have heard his very own blog (about bad reporting by the Washington Post) read on the air, and praised by G. Gordon Liddy.
Or, had Mr. Hawkins been listening to Hugh Hewitt, he might also have heard James Lileks (a regular on that show) interviewed on the air.
Or how about Mr. Hawkins' own interview with Hugh Hewitt? In stark contrast to Limbaugh's rather curmudgeonly approach, Hewitt understands the technological implications of blogging, and here is what he said to Mr. Hawkins about its future relationship with talk radio:
John Hawkins: Is there anything else you'd like to say or promote before we finish up?Synergy between blogging and talk radio?
Precisely Glenn Reynolds's initial reaction when he first heard the Limbaugh outburst:
I don't actually think that blogging is a threat to talk radio. In fact, I think that the two are synergistic. (So, I suspect, does Limbaugh: I'm not a "Rush 24/7" subscriber, but it sounds a bit bloggy with its "stack of stuff," etc.) But the article is rather dumb and clueless, and deserves to be mocked in the Grandpa-Lou voice.
Eh, sonny boy?
Who is right? Is there a division, (a generation gap, perhaps?) between talk radio and blogging? Or are the two, as Instapundit and Hewitt suggest, synergistic?
I cannot say why Limbaugh attacked blogging, but I thought I should report something which as far as I know has been unreported in the blogosphere, and which should certainly lay to rest any idea of a generation gap between talk radio hosts who "know better" and impertinent young bloggers. Last week, immediately before the Limbaugh broadside, G. Gordon Liddy (aged 73) discussed and praised blogging at length, and read from a number of blogs on the air (specific links are supplied insofar as it was possible; I had to reconstruct this):
Little Green Footballs ("Protocols of the Elders of Zion" being taught as fact at UC Berkeley)I think that by any standard, that's an impressive list of blogs for a talk show host to be reading and discussing. Not only that, Liddy faithfully observed blogosphere propriety, crediting Instapundit, Imao and others as link sources. Please remember that this is not a comprehensive list, as I wasn't taking notes and had to reconstruct it from memory.
Let me admit my bias here: I am partial to the Liddy Show and have been listening to the guy for many, many years. Also, I don't have time to keep track of the numerous other talk shows, so I really have no idea what they may be saying about blogging. Nor do I know what motivated Rush Limbaugh to take the offensive; it might have been Hewitt; it might have been Liddy (a Limbaugh competitor since 1993); there might be other talk show hosts relying on blogs, or Limbaugh may fear a new, youthful trend.
Blogger Mitch Berg (link thanks to Instapundit), a guy with an extensive radio background, analyzed the situation, and speculated that Limbaugh may have been annoyed by potential competition into launching a "pre-emptive strike":
Pre-Emptive Strike - And while you're seeing #1, above, remember this; there are talk hosts on the market now that do leverage blogs, and are in tune with how this medium works. Hugh Hewitt's show calls on bloggers (and blogosphere staples like Mark Steyn) for a very large part of his program's content. His show almost sounds like an audio blog; de-centralized, skipping about between issues during the course of an hour, as heavily oriented toward guests as any blog...
Resentment toward bloggers is not new, of course. Bill O'Reilly went on the offensive not long ago with his remarks that bloggers work for no one and can't be fired.
Blogging is unsurpassed as an idea and information sharing network. Talk radio was a factor which led up to it -- particularly the interactive nature of talk radio. I am a licensed ham radio operator, and some commentators have called ham radio the earliest form of information sharing, the precursor to talk radio and even the Internet. Why anyone would resent technological improvements is beyond me. Just because something is older does not make it better. Age and cluelessness are no defense.
A common criticism of bloggers is that they have too much to say and there are too many of them. This must be very annoying to those accustomed to delivering the last word to millions of unquestioning followers.
Still, why this fear, this anxiety, from a man who is, after all, the Mr. Big of talk radio? If I thought he would listen to a lowly blogger, I would remind him of this quote from baseball great Satchel Paige:
"Don't look back, someone might be gaining on you."
UPDATE: Someone's gaining on Rush, all right! Instapundit was just interviewed on the Hugh Hewitt Show! Boy, I wish I could have heard that one.
Friday, August 8, 2003
Corrupt living at Club Guantanamo?
Conditions are so appalling at the American "torture camp" at Guantanamo that a Russian mother wants her son to be allowed to stay there:
"I am terribly scared of a Russian prison or Russian court for my son," Amina Khasanova was quoted as saying by Gazeta newspaper on Friday.
Hey, I thought we were supposed to be mean and brutal. What's going on down there? You can read the whole thing here.
The Romans used to enslave those captured POWs who were not killed outright. The more intractable warriors deemed unfit for domestic service were sent to the arena to be used as gladiators.
There were problems with this, of course, as the following piece shows:
The agricultural slaves were captives who spoke many different languages so that they could not understand each other, or they were born slaves; they had no solidarity to resist oppression, no tradition of rights, no knowledge, for they could not read nor write. Although they came to form a majority of the country population they never made a successful insurrection. The insurrection of Spartacus in the first century B.C. was an insurrection of the special slaves who were trained for the gladiatorial combats. The agricultural workers in Italy in the latter days of the Republic and the early Empire suffered frightful indignities; they would be chained at night to prevent escape or have half the head shaved to make it difficult. They had no wives of their own; they could be outraged, mutilated and killed by their masters. A master could sell his slave to fight beasts in the arena. If a slave slew his master, all the slaves in his household and not merely the murderer were crucified. In some parts of Greece, in Athens notably, the lot of the slave was never quite so frightful as this, but it was still detestable. To such a population the barbarian invaders who presently broke through the defensive line of the legions, came not as enemies but as liberators. 5Hey, don't get me wrong; I am all for Classical Values, but I think in the case of slavery we had the right idea in getting rid of it. Slavery caused the Romans a lot of problems, and many have argued that it prevented the development of a modern free economy. (Much more recent history shows a close association between slavery and a stagnant economy.)
Are our Guantanamo prisoners getting a taste of too much freedom? If so, it would be very dangerous if they returned home -- because they could be a corrupting modern influence.
(A primary reason why Stalin sent repatriated POWs straight to Siberia.)
posted by Eric at 06:06 PM
Put one in your front yard now!
posted by Eric at 05:28 PM
I have to say, I am impressed by the timing, coming as it does on the heels of the groundbreaking Berkeley Psychology Department study which diagnosed conservatives as disordered.
Taken together, I guess this means that if you are not a liberal, and decide to blog, they can throw the whole DSM-V book at you!
Can Soviet style psychiatric hospitals be far behind?
Even Bill O'Reilly -- who complained that bloggers "work for no one" and "can't be fired" -- never thought of this angle. (Of course, mean-spirited type that he is, if he saw the report he'd probably snap that "they can't be cured!")
Senator Abourezk merely sued his blog critic. That's lame. Now, armed with scientific evidence, any aggrieved politician or "real" writer ("professionals" who work for someone) can label his enemies in the blogosphere as mentally disordered. All that need be shown is that they fit the MOUSE acronym:
1. More than intended time spent online;
DAMN! This post is taking me longer than I thought it would!
2. Other responsibilities neglected;
I can think of at least five things I should do right now!
3. Unsuccessful attempts to cut down;
Here I am on a vacation, still blogging!
4. Significant relationships discord;
My dog hates it when I sit in front of the screen, and he lets me know about it!
5. Excessive thoughts or anxiety when not online.
Shit! I have email piling up! A new link and I haven't had time to reciprocate! Uh-oh! Someone might be making fun of my last post!
I need help badly! Isn't there a recovery group somewhere?
1. We admitted we were powerless over blogging -- that our lives had become unmanageable.
Doesn't the Bible condemn blogging? Yes, but we have reached a modern understanding:
Love the blogger, but hate the blog?
I feel very threatened by this kind of thinking. It is nothing but another lifestye attack!
And what is the best defense? Why, a good offense, of course....
Which leads to the serious side of this: the damned know-it-alls and other butt-insky types simply will not leave us alone. They think they have the right to sit in judgment, to make pronouncements, to declare people mentally sick, to label those who do not conform.
Perhaps that is why it has been such a genuine relief to be around bikers. Bikers are the antithesis of the people who butt in. They are fiercely individualistic, and in my humble opinion, some of the finest Americans to be found. They are Americans in the truest sense. And the good news is that they are mainstream. This is in accord with the observation I and others have made about the silent libertarian majority.
Here's an honest peek into the biker lifestyle:
When Paul Revere and the Raiders ended their performance with a soaring rendition of Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA," the crowd cheered and sang along. That this is the same crowd that later hooted for the nearly nude contestants in the Miss Buffalo Chip contest is only ironic if one fails to grasp the libertinism inherent in the libertarian urge.Read it all.
You can call it countercultural or traditional, or I can call it classical (which I think it is). But I'll tell you one thing: bikers won't be labeled, they won't be judged, and they won't be cured. That shit sucks!
Disorder is cool! And it's American!
posted by Eric at 05:17 AM
Wednesday, August 6, 2003
GOD I'M A LIVE AVID DIVA, EVIL AM I DOG!
Even though I have absolutely no time for such nonsense, the brilliant Ghost of a Flea has steered me to an online test which is supposed to tell you which political diva you are.
According to the test, I am Karen Hughes:
Does this mean that the president will finally listen to me?
He better! Because the title of this post is a palindrome, and they're pretty hard to write especially when you're stuck with a sucky-ass modem and you have no time and you're really supposed to be writing about Classical Values instead of Divas and motorcycles, and, well, DOGS! Yes, I had to take a dog test because if I am a political diva, how am I to evaluate my bitchiness? And aren't Divas supposed to be high bitches of some camp or another?
Here's one dictionary definition:
"Diva" might be a slang modern word, but it is also an ancient Roman word of veneration -- Latin for "goddess." The word was used to deify important Roman women -- such as "DIVA FAUSTINA" (wife of Antoninus Pius -- mourned, deified by the Senate, and featured on this widely-circulated denarius).
Hey, who says I'm neglecting Classical Values anyway? And I'm supposed to be on vacation, or at least the road....
Anyway, a Diva is also an Italian term for a female opera star, such as Maria Callas.
Somehow, all of this Diva stuff led me to dogs. Why, I am not sure. Doubtless more of my own pathology. But, in my dogged efforts to maintain symmetry in this posting, I first tested myself to see which dog I most closely resemble.
And I got this:
You're an Akita. A very loyal breed, you'll do
Eat small dogs for snacks?
That's not funny at all, and I would never do such a thing. It reminds me of a political scandal which, fortunately, seems to have died down lately. (Something my blogfather hoped would not come up during the campaign....) Anyway, I deny puppy eating indignantly! I don't even trust Korean Restaurants, I am so dog-loyal.
Notwithstanding any of that, I had to push the dog-diva connection to its ultimate conclusion, and frankly, I was amazed to find that there is a web site featuring canine Divas. As if that wasn't good enough, they're pit bulls!
If that doesn't merit a palindrome, what does?
Classical sights and sounds -- in Sturgis
I have been in South Dakota for the past few days, attending the 63rd annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
There are so many motorcycles and so many bikers that it is a bit surreal. Downtown Sturgis right now consists of wall to wall motorcycles in all directions. And in a couple of days, there will be no room to even walk! They're pouring in from all over the country.
Here is an sample of what it sounds like outside my Super 8 Motel right now. (I recorded a 10 second clip with my camera for any interested readers.)
Incredibly cool, and actually calming to my nerves. There is something soothing about the sound of a Harley Davidson. (Maybe I got brainwashed by hearing the sound at so many Grateful Dead concerts when I was in the right state of mind for things like that to soak deeply into the recesses of my neural tissue....)
Equally soothing, for that matter, are the sounds made by an Indian.
Here is a photo of a brand-new Indian Chief, Springfield Edition. The famous Indian flowing script logo dates back to 1917, and the red color is exactly the same color used in the 1920s -- and looks it!
A classical motorcycle if ever there was one.
posted by Eric at 05:48 AM
Monday, August 4, 2003
When I am on the road like this, I don't have time to write, and I was very lucky this morning to find that one of the most knowledgable bloggers among all of my links, Michael McNeil, has sent me the following Pop Quiz.
Here it is -- and remember, this will be on the final exam!
Q. 1. What language did the Carthaginians speak?
(Click on "continue reading" to view the answers.)
But no peeking until you have at least managed a guess!!!
Continue reading "Pop Quiz"
Sunday, August 3, 2003
Giant sucking sounds everywhere!
More suck stuff. (Once again, thanks to Instapundit for sounding the alarm.)
My Internet connection sucks so bad I can't research anything, but I hate to rely on personal accounts from decades ago without substantiation of any kind. I distinctly remember the "homophobe" aspect of attempts to ban the word "suck" -- and while I haven't hit the motherlode yet, I will pass on this: they have been trying to ban "suck" in the baseball arena recently, and I know that team owners are very susceptible to pressure by forces of political correctness such as word police.
If you want to read about baseball fans in Boston being prohibited from wearing "Yankees suck" T shirts, read this atrocity.
Same thing with the Seattle Mariners, and that's too bad, because Seattle was once as cool as San Francisco (the latter fell to tyranny back in the 1980s), but the PC clowns now have an insidious stranglehold there too. Here's another account of sinister Seattle suckery.
Clearly, the language police are the ones who suck, and they must be told so. The insidious, creepingly relentless nature of their movement reminds me of what a Scottish sci-fi writer called "clammy suckers" in another context.
Their clammy suckers reach everywhere. They suck -- in the truest, purest context of that word. They want -- literally -- to suck away our freedom. No wonder they want to ban a word which so devastatingly describes them.
There is only one answer: MILITANTLY PRO-SUCK SPEECH!
READ MY LIPS!
I will fight them on the beaches! I will fight them in the bedroom! I will never surrender! They'll have to pry the word "suck" from my cold, dead, sucky ass modem!
Something in the offing....
Driving most of the night and sleeping in my car got me from Des Moines to Rapid City, and I am almost as frazzled as this sucky-ass Internet connection.
Yes, I did say "sucky ass!" I am allowed to say that, because politically correct cowardly nerds cannot censor my blog. Not that I enjoy being deliberately vulgar, but when I read stories like this (link thanks to Instapundit), why, I feel like letting loose with a torrent of the foulest, good-old all-American profanity I can muster.
Imagine, censoring the word "suck!" I am quite familiar with the origins of this cowardly movement, which at one time even demanded that words like "asshole" be banned. (Words that "use in a denigrating way any part of the human anatomy.")
The word "suck" was called "homophobic" in San Francisco in the 1980s, and its use discouraged (apparently to assuage the sensibilities of people who believe they possess a proprietary interest in these things).
It would appear that some of this political correctness may have covertly seeped its way into mainstream journalism. It is the simpering closet that will not speak its name or something, and if I believed in feeling shame because of the actions of others, it would make me ashamed to be gay.
Back in the 1970s, I hated disco. At least, I grew tired of it. I had one of those T-shirts which said "DISCO SUCKS!" and when one day I read an editorial in the gay weekly, the "Bay Area Reporter" claiming that this slogan was "homophobic" I grew very confused. After all, the right to suck is a right which I defend vigorously, and it really sucks to say it's homophobic to say that something other than actual sucking sucks, because many of the the people who are saying that are not against sucking at all! In fact, they want nothing more. True, most of those who use the word "suck" in a "denigrating" manner are heterosexual, but then, so are most people who suck and most people who get sucked!
If you want to get down (now come on; I didn't mean it that way) to the heart of the matter, there may be a certain undertone of sexual frustration behind the use of the word. They like having it done to them, but don't want to actually do it, might secretly resent those who do because of the unfulfillable sexual indebtedness created -- but on the other hand DEFINITELY resenting those who don't. Thus "suck" inevitably becomes a put-down -- not of the various people (whether male, female, heterosexual or homosexual) who engage in fellatio, but of life's frustrations, irritating things, and irritating people -- people who most often do NOT suck in the literal sexual sense.
The use of "suck" is certainly not homophobic, because I use it, and I do not fear homosexuals or homosexuality, so I cannot be homophobic. (I won't touch the issue of sexual indebtedness, OK? This has gone far enough.)
I suppose it could be argued that the term is sexist as well, but that really isn't fair either. The term does not insult or degrade women or homosexuals. It accomplishes a transference -- a projection, if you will, of sexual frustration onto resented concepts, objects or people. There is nothing wrong with this, and it is neither new nor abnormal. Freud discussed it years ago, and my observations are not original.
Obviously, sexual frustration is not the greatest thing in the world. Frankly, I think sexual frustration sucks. But the imposition of sexual guilt is far worse. Politically correct prudishness is in my view more dangerous than "traditional" prudishness, because the latter would have censored only the word "suck" in the sexual context. Here, the natural, ubiquitously human concept of sexual frustration is being censored.
And I am pissed. And not because I have to take a piss. I am pissed over the frustration of sexual frustration, because nothing could be more frustrating than the frustration of frustration. Have these people no sense of decency? What the hell are they trying to do? Restore "traditional values" by means of politically correct legerdemain -- some Dworkin-Falwell collusion?
I'm pissed. And it sucks to be pissed.
Words can be so arbitrary and tyrannical anyway. They frustrate me to the point I'm PISSED OFF.
(I think I am allowed to say that. But, if I put the word "off" after the past tense of the word "suck".... might not the loss of my wholesome PG-13 family rating be in the "offing?")
Friday, August 1, 2003
A good example....
A good example is the best sermon.I am on a long road trip, so I haven't been able to do much of my blogger "homework" -- like visiting all my links and keeping up to date with everything. It's just impossible to do that while on the road.
However, I just found out that my blogfather, Jeff (that's the one and only Alphecca), said some of the kindest things anyone has ever said about me, and I want to thank him for it. I also should thank him for his service to the cause of human dignity and the Second Amendment. I consider myself to be very lucky that this "gay gun nut" who lives in rural Vermont would help sponsor me as he did, because he is a guy who walks the walk, and doesn't go whining for his rights. He lives his rights.
Guys like Jeff are real leaders, as far as I'm concerned.
He's also way ahead of the curve politically.....
posted by Eric at 04:53 PM
Curtains for gay rights?
Why would the number of Americans who favor legalized homosexual relations drop precipitously since the Lawrence v. Texas decision? This Gallup poll (link via Nick Gillespie thanks to Instapundit) shows that is precisely what happened -- and the change is in the double digits. According to the poll,
the level of support for legal homosexual relations has dropped 10-12 points in a period of just two months.Forget logic, and forget facts. Americans simply do not like being told from above what to think, and what laws they may not have. While getting rid of sodomy laws was certainly the right thing to do, there is nonetheless something undignified about the Supreme Court simply issuing decrees as an end run around popular prejudices -- regardless of how indefensible those prejudices are.
This apparent fickleness, in my view, reveals an indelible feature of the American character -- a contrarian spirit which can be both damnable and laudable. A leading Israeli intellectual recently stated that most Israelis have a Mezuzah attached to their door frames, but that if the government were to order them to display a Mezuzah, about half of them would run outside and yank them off.
Regardless of the correctness of the ultimate result in the Lawrence case, a significant percentage of Americans feel stepped on. Obviously, many of them were harangued into feeling that way by the usual demagogues, but that does not alter the fact that a victory ordered from above is not at all the same as one based on clear victory through the individual state legislative process.
If we analogize to private disputes, a mutual agreement is always preferable to an official edict. It is better to talk to your neighbor about a problem than call the police. The higher the authority figure issuing the edict, the more it smacks of tyranny and builds resentment. To use the schoolyard analogy, a disagreement worked out between two kids results in a better peace than when one kid has to go to the teacher or the principal to get his way. Homosexuals tend to be hated anyway, and too many of them feel guilt and shame, which makes the haters feel justified in hating them. This will not disappear simply because the Supreme Court Court declares state sodomy laws null and void. On the contrary it will only increase -- and cause homosexuals to look to Big Brother for protection.
I don't want to look to Big Brother! I want to take care of my own business. That is the most dignified way, and it is the American way.
I am glad the medieval sodomy laws are gone, but I would rather have had it done it state by state. This is not said so much in defense of states' rights, so much as the right to true independence -- one of the hallmarks of which is freedom from fear. If one has to call the police, or invoke government help, one cannot be said to be self-sufficient and thus independent.
Years ago, I was appalled to see supposed "gay activists" cowering on national television at what should have been a pivotal point in their "campaign" for the right to serve in the military. Bill Clinton had shocked many Americans early in his first term by attempting to accomplish this by executive fiat. All hell broke loose, and the usual series of hearings were held. At one such hearing, Senator Strom Thurmond (as bitter a foe as the homos ever had), leaned forward angrily, pointed to a gay "leader" and asked nastily,
"ARE YOU A HOMOSEXUAL?"
Well, what do you suppose happened? An immediate touchy-feely "huddle" event occurred, and the man exchanged poignant, feel-my-pain, glances with the "lesbian activist" seated next to him, and -- THEY NEVER ANSWERED STROM THURMOND!
I will never forget and I will never forgive such rank cowardice. These people are not my "leaders." They are made-up, fraudulent media sycophants, hiding their sexuality in rainbow-hued closets of politically correct ambiguity.
Even those who don't like my hyperbole should ask themselves whether or not cringing before a 90 year old man like a deer caught in the headlights constitutes leadership. I don't believe it does. Yet what was being asked of Thurmond (himself a highly decorated combat veteran of the D-Day landing) was the right to serve in the military. You know, a thing called combat?
Might a similar principle be involved with those who would rather have Big Brother in the form of the Supreme Court issue a decree than face down the occasional petty bigot in a state legislative committee? I submit that if you are afraid to walk into the guy's office and tell him how you feel about the law, you have no dignity. (Even if you are right.)
What, you might ask, would I have said to Senator Thurmond in response to his simple but admittedly personal question? Well, by way of suggestion, here's an example:
"Well Senator, you have asked me a personal question, but since you consider it relevant, my answer is YES, I am a ho-mo-sex-u-al! But since we're onto personal questions, I have one for you: How does a 90 year old manage to get a 20-year-old wife and have children? What's your secret? Boy! I wish I could do that!"
Something like that might have broken the ice with the old coot. Might not have melted his cold, cold heart, but it's just more human than hiding behind quasi-presidential skirts, aloof judicial robes, or some other man-behind-the-curtain power.
Hell, even the Wizard of Oz, penultimate Man Behind the Curtain, saw the wisdom in having Dorothy first prove her mettle. Ditto for Dorothy's followers -- whether feline, metal, or straw. And even after all that they still had to get heavy and yank away the curtain.
Con artist that he was, the Wizard knew something that is being forgotten: Human dignity cannot be simply granted or bestowed from above. The American people seem to understand this principle, and I think this latest bit of Gallup Poll insolence poll proves it.
UPDATE: Arthur Silber, who is one of my favorite bloggers, disagrees with the point I was trying to make here. I think he misundertands me -- which means that I didn't make myself clear. My argument above is not a moral one (as I agree that sodomy laws are morally abhorrent as well as unconstitutional), but a utilitarian one based on political expediency. If we are to avoid perpetuating the Culture War, I think it is essential that both sides compromise a bit. There is little question that the sodomy laws were doomed, and had they been overturned state by state (as they had been in the overwhelming majority of states before Lawrence), the Culture War-style objections would have been minimalized. But now, I fear we will not see the end of it for a long time.
Obviously, I do not like the Culture War, which is a major reason I started this blog. Culture War is essentially a "cold" Civil War, and I do not like the fact that this country has already suffered a hot Civil War. I believe demagogues on both sides of the "spectrum" would like to see another Civil War, and because I think a little utilitarian reasoning will help defuse such sentiments, I don't mind offering it from time to time. I think the Civil War could have been avoided had people on both sides been a bit more willing to compromise, for slavery, (like sodomy laws now) was ultimately doomed.
Drug laws are another example. I believe they are patently immoral, as well as unconstitutional. But I don't think a Supreme Court decision nullifying all drug laws is the best idea, and instead I would support any state by state (or federal legislative) effort to repeal them, weaken them, or dilute them.
Utilitarianism always smacks of dishonesty to some. But I sincerely believe that doing things from the bottom up avoids the kind of showdowns that can occur when things are done from the top down.
By no means am I a staunch Utilitarian. Hell, just yesterday (when I was talking about gun statistics) I rejected the utilitarian approach of relying on statistical analyses instead of a strict interpretation of the Second Amendment.
Inconsistent? Perhaps. But it just struck me that citizens with guns can take care of themselves, statistics be damned.
Emotionally, at least, my point is about homosexuals is similar. Fighting bigotry at the local level demonstrates strength in a way that appealing to mommy and daddy (however right) never can.
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