Saturday, March 18, 2017

They Never Figure Their Theories Apply To Them - Hate Mail

You know, it's really funny that the fans of neo-eugenics seem to be so sure they'd pass muster when if Oliver Wendell Holmes and other earlier eugenicists had their way there's a chance they or their parents may never have been born.  

It's one of the funny things about Andrew Sullivan being a fan of neo-eugenics that W. R. Greg, sometimes called the co-inventor of eugenics was a vicious anti-Irish bigot whose bigotry attributing hereditary inferiority to the Irish was infamously repeated by the father of eugenics, Charles Darwin.  If they'd applied their eugenics ideas to the Irish - I mean in addition to letting them die through the effects of deprivation, poverty, disease and maltreatment - Sullivan may have died as a possibility sometime in the 19th century.  

I wonder what Charles Murray's ancestors were in the 1870s.  

Update:  JR-FREKI is both an habitual liar and an idiot who never read Darwin.  Darwin was not "about to tear apart" W. R. Greg in quoting him, HE WAS ENDORSING WHAT HE SAID.  

A most important obstacle in civilised countries to an increase in the number of men of a superior class has been strongly insisted on by Mr. Greg and Mr. Galton (19. 'Fraser's Magazine,' Sept. 1868, p. 353. 'Macmillan's Magazine,' Aug. 1865, p. 318. The Rev. F.W. Farrar ('Fraser's Magazine,' Aug. 1870, p. 264) takes a different view.), namely, the fact that the very poor and reckless, who are often degraded by vice, almost invariably marry early, whilst the careful and frugal, who are generally otherwise virtuous, marry late in life, so that they may be able to support themselves and their children in comfort. Those who marry early produce within a given period not only a greater number of generations, but, as shewn by Dr. Duncan (20. 'On the Laws of the Fertility of Women,' in 'Transactions of the Royal Society,' Edinburgh, vol. xxiv. p. 287; now published separately under the title of 'Fecundity, Fertility, and Sterility,' 1871. See, also, Mr. Galton, 'Hereditary Genius,' pp. 352-357, for observations to the above effect.), they produce many more children. The children, moreover, that are borne by mothers during the prime of life are heavier and larger, and therefore probably more vigorous, than those born at other periods. Thus the reckless, degraded, and often vicious members of society, tend to increase at a quicker rate than the provident and generally virtuous members. Or as Mr. Greg puts the case: "The careless, squalid, unaspiring Irishman multiplies like rabbits: the frugal, foreseeing, self-respecting, ambitious Scot, stern in his morality, spiritual in his faith, sagacious and disciplined in his intelligence, passes his best years in struggle and in celibacy, marries late, and leaves few behind him. Given a land originally peopled by a thousand Saxons and a thousand Celts—and in a dozen generations five-sixths of the population would be Celts, but five- sixths of the property, of the power, of the intellect, would belong to the one-sixth of Saxons that remained. In the eternal 'struggle for existence,' it would be the inferior and LESS favoured race that had prevailed—and prevailed by virtue not of its good qualities but of its faults."

I've read The Descent of Man several times and have studied it in depth.  The only other mention of Greg was as alleged scientific support for one of Darwin's most infamous and repulsive presentations of the theory of eugenics, more than a decade before Galton named the "science" he was in the process of constructing in the very works that Darwin also cited.

I have hitherto only considered the advancement of man from a semi-human condition to that of the modern savage. But some remarks on the action of natural selection on civilised nations may be worth adding. This subject has been ably discussed by Mr. W.R. Greg (9. 'Fraser's Magazine,' Sept. 1868, p. 353. This article seems to have struck many persons, and has given rise to two remarkable essays and a rejoinder in the 'Spectator,' Oct. 3rd and 17th, 1868. It has also been discussed in the 'Quarterly Journal of Science,' 1869, p. 152, and by Mr. Lawson Tait in the 'Dublin Quarterly Journal of Medical Science,' Feb. 1869, and by Mr. E. Ray Lankester in his 'Comparative Longevity,' 1870, p. 128. Similar views appeared previously in the 'Australasian,' July 13, 1867. I have borrowed ideas from several of these writers.), and previously by Mr. Wallace and Mr. Galton. (10. For Mr. Wallace, see 'Anthropological Review,' as before cited. Mr. Galton in 'Macmillan's Magazine,' Aug. 1865, p. 318; also his great work, 'Hereditary Genius,' 1870.) Most of my remarks are taken from these three authors. With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.

If the lying Brit would like to take me on, she can do it here and I'll be more than happy to respond directly to her. 

Second Feature - Fredrik Pohl - The Space Merchants

The CBS Radio Workshop is famous among radio drama fans as a high-quality experimental program that had access to the best creative talent, the best current sound technology (the transcriptions online aren't bad).  The rather superior music was composed and conducted by Samuel Matlovsky for this radio show - amazing how much music was commissioned by American networks back then.  They still had their own network orchestras, too. 

This one is about a future world in which advertising runs everything, including the government.  Note that the conservationists are the enemy.  Sound familiar?  

I believe Pohl was involved with the production, though I can't know how close to the novel it is because I've never read it.  Maybe someone who listens has and can tell us.

Update:  Answer to The Troll on Pohl.

A. One of the thing I read about the production said that Pohl had been involved in it, I assumed, based on that it was OK with him.  I probably wouldn't have posted it if I hadn't read that without having read the novel first.  B. I love to force you to read what I wrote to try to find something you can twist into a criticism, why do you think I posted this instead of the original drama I was thinking of posting?  C.  I mean other than it, like most of the CBS Radio Workshop productions was very good and very interesting.

Update 2:  When it's you there's hardly any great trick to it, it's hardly worth calling it "mind control" it being your mind.  It being your mind, it's like moving a light to change the direction of movement in microscopic life forms.   Or plants.

Update 3:  I just said it wasn't some kind of hugely complex plan, it was just that you're as predictable as the simplest phenomena of nature.  

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Marie Jones - The Milliner and the Weaver

The Milliner and The Weaver written by Marie Jones is a play set against the back drop of Edward Carson’s resistance to the third home rule bill, examines the relationship between Elspeth the wife of a Dublin business man and Henrietta a Belfast widow and mother of six children. The suffragette movement promised much for these, like many women but with Ulster being called to arms to defend its loyalty to the English King George and War looming, Henrietta feels she must stay loyal to her eldest son Thomas who will join the emerging Ulster Volunteers.

Katie Tumelty played Henrietta Elspeth was played by Caitríona Ni MhurchúThe part of Thomas was played by Matthew McElhinneyJoe Taylor played Sir Edward Carson and also the voice of the Pathé News reporter

This is another radio play from Raidió Teilifís Éireann, unfortunately you have to download the play to hear it.  Something Irish and historical.

I'm A Lot More Worried About The Victims of Neo-Eugenics Than I Am Charles Murray's Opportunity To Promote Their Victimization

Note:  I will not link to Bill Maher, he is a douche bag and a pseudo-liberal of the worst sort.
Someone recommended to me that I look at the footage from Bill Maher's show in which he, Andrew Sullivan and Barney Frank had a chat over the rowdy reaction at Middlebury to the racist, neo-eugenicist Charles Murray.   To start with Andrew Sullivan whining about the reaction to the racist neo-eugenicist who he promoted when he was the editor of The New Republic and is a continuing advocate of academic racism and racist policy was a silly thing to have on.  He has no credibility on the issue except the false credibility that the media gives him.  Clue, not everyone with a Brit accent is smarter than those with American accents.

But, let's get the basic fact about what Murray and Sullivan are peddling in a supposedly milder form, eugenics.   It's not as if people aren't hurt by eugenics, it is a theory that got millions of people killed, many tens of thousands, if not more, forcibly sterilized - cutting their progeny out of the future as effectively as the Nazis murders did - thwarting the effort to gain economic justice and justice to people who have suffered generations of grinding exploitation, subjugation and suppression and a host of other things WHICH NONE OF THE GUESTS IN MAHER'S DISCUSSION HAVE ANYTHING TO WORRY ABOUT.   Andrew Sullivan is a West Briton, to use Miss Ivor's useful label, he's one of the worst sort.

Bill Maher and Sullivan used the incident to bash "liberals" and "liberalism".  To start, I would say that to blame liberalism for the kids at Middlebury who did go over the top, a bit, is stupid in the way that Bill Maher usually is.  How does he know that any of the students involved would call themselves liberals?  I would guess that many if not most would reject that label.  But that's just my guess.   Neither Maher nor Sullivan is or ever has been a liberal so their observations on this are from self-interested polemic.  Barney Frank who was a liberal in congress (with some important but not entirely disqualifying exceptions on financial matters) said that what they were doing was not an expression of liberalism, which has some merit, though I think he's also making some assumptions.

I, of course, am opposed to violence - apparently things got rowdy enough that a faculty member was hurt - but to ignore that Charles Murry is a peddler of racist lies that contribute to what Gandhi noted was one of the worst forms of violence, poverty, and an ideology that has, literally, killed millions in the past century, I can understand how, if the students understood that history, they would have a strong reaction.  If it had been possible for German opponent of eugenics, Jews, Roma, Poles, the disabled etc. who would become the victims of Nazi eugenics to shout them out of being able to do it, it is absurd to think that it shouldn't be done because Madison, Jefferson and Mason would think it was impolite.

I don't see any reason, given that history of eugenics in reality, not in abstract falsification of it, to take a risk that it will get another chance.  It is already a major part of the Republican-fascist agenda, through slashing, not only safety nets but public education, health care, treatment for psychological problems, addiction, .... everything right down to prenatal care and banning lead pollution.   Charles Murray's kind of eugenics is contained in the pending budgets and Trumpcare-less.  It's not something that we need to give them a chance to put into effect.  I would certainly argue that Andrew Sullivan helped that effort by his promotion of Murray and Herrenstein's racist "Bell Curve" and similar things.

I think the sins of the eugenicists and their supporters are vastly larger than those of a bunch of student whose legitimate rage made things kind of edgy.   Compared to the sins of Murray and Sullivan, they hardly count.   I think it will turn out that in order for egalitarian democracy to survive that eugenics, along with Nazism, fascism, Marxism, racial supremacy,  and other forms of racist, sexist, anti-egalitarian, anti-democratic ideologies with a proven history to do enormous harm and endanger the possibility of democracy will have to be suppressed.

I look at the history of the past two-hundred years, which the 18th century aristocrats that theorized the First Amendment didn't know and couldn't imagine and am entirely at a loss to understand why we are to learn nothing from the blood shed, the oppression, the murders and the struggle to oppose those kinds of ideologies and the enormous effort and expenditure of lives.   I don't think there is any reason to give those ideologies a chance to force future generations to have to undertake that struggle even one more time.

See also:

Earlier this year, Foer edited an anthology of TNR writings titled Insurrections of the Mind, commemorating the magazine's 100-year history. "This book hasn't been compiled in the name of definitiveness," Foer wrote. "It was put together in the spirit of the magazine that it anthologizes: it is an argument about what matters." There is only one essay in Insurrections that takes race as its subject. The volume includes only one black writer and only two writers of color. This is not an oversight. Nor does it mean that Foer is a bad human. On the contrary, if one were to attempt to capture the "spirit" of TNR, it would be impossible to avoid the conclusion that black lives don't matter much at all.

That explains why the family rows at TNR's virtual funeral look like the "Whites Only" section of a Jim Crow-era movie-house. For most of its modern history, TNR has been an entirely white publication, which published stories confirming white people's worst instincts. During the culture wars of the '80s and '90s, TNR regarded black people with an attitude ranging from removed disregard to blatant bigotry. When people discuss TNR's racism, Andrew Sullivan's publication of excerpts from Charles Murray's book The Bell Curve (and a series of dissents) gets the most attention. But this fuels the lie that one infamous issue stands apart. In fact, the Bell Curve episode is remarkable for how well it fits with the rest of TNR's history.

The personal attitude of TNR's longtime owner, the bigoted Martin Peretz, should be mentioned here. Peretz's dossier of racist hits (mostly at the expense of blacks and Arabs) is shameful, and one does not have to look hard to find evidence of it in Peretz's writing or in the sensibility of the magazine during his ownership. In 1984, long before Sullivan was tapped to helm TNR, Charles Murray was dubbing affirmative action a form of "new racism" that targeted white people.

Two years later, Washington Post writer Richard Cohen was roundly rebuked for advocating that D.C. jewelry stores discriminate against young black men—but not by TNR. The magazine took the opportunity to convene a panel to "reflect briefly" on whether it was moral for merchants to bar black men from their stores. ("Expecting a jewelry store owner to risk his life in the service of color-blind justice is expecting too much," the magazine concluded.)

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Thought Criminal Posts A Movie - The Luck of Ginger Coffey

I'm generally skeptical of movies based on novels, but Brian Moore, the author, wrote the screenplay for this one.

I got an e-mail from an aged cousin telling he how happy she was that Catholic TV had a Korean priest on to do the St. Patrick's day Daily Mass.  We'd talked at her funeral about how happy my mother used to be at the diversity of the Catholic Church.  She'd have loved it.

Hate Mail

Someone at Duncan's blog contends that it upsets me that he's posting .... what's his name? .... Oh, yeah, Robbie Fulks' attempt to write an atheist anthem over there in atheist land.  

I doubt it's going to replace the current anthem of atheism, "Imagine."  Fulks', simple minded as it is, is too hard for atheists.  

I'd go on but I keep getting the giggles from his angry, repeated, contention that Fulks is a genius.  I guess atheists have to get their "geniuses" where they can.   Fulks isn't without talent but he ain't no genius.   He's a mid-range talent in the singer-songwriter genre.   At best.   He's no Jimmy Rogers. 

He's no Greg Brown. (published yesterday, - nope, read it wrong, last month - and topical)

Update:  And, as always, when he's unable to pretend any longer that he's got more than nuttin', the biggest troll who trolls me brings out the "J card".   Only, since it's libel, it's not a Joker. 

Update 2:  I'd call him "The liar from Queens  but people would probably get him mixed up with Trump.  

Update 3:  And now the liar is repeating a lie that I've refuted at least three times.  But he's one of Duncan Black's favorite regulars.  

The Age of Lies Includes The Age of Hypocrites

The book by Bruce  Gibney, A Generation of Sociopaths: How The Baby Boomers Betrayed America, was touted on the chat shows and in book columns and editorial sections last month.  I had intended to post on it but I'm easily distracted these days.  RMJ posted about it well yesterday, pointing out how absurd it is to believe you can characterize tens of millions of people based on when they were born.  His analogy to dime-store, restaurant place mat Chinese astrology is apt.

But my first take on these things is to look up who it is who is making the accusation.  The first thing in Gibney's CV is how he made his money, as a venture capitalist - we all know how uninterested in the big "ME" such folk are.  And, especially, what jumped out at me was the first item in this short summary:

"Bruce Cannon Gibney is a venture capitalist and writer. An early investor in PayPal, he later joined Founders Fund, where he and his colleagues funded Facebook, Spotify, Palantir Technologies, Elon Musk's SpaceX, Airbnb, Lyft, and other start-ups."

Pay Pal is what put the libertarian - no Nietzschian - nut case*, anachronistic suffrage opponent,  Trump supporter who reportedly has plans to flee to New Zealand if his fake fur Fuhrer turns things too ugly here,  Peter Thiel before the public.   A man who makes Ebeneezer Scrooge look merely misguided.  And you can look at Gibney's other business associates in such enterprises as Facebook to see how sociopathic or not his own generation of jillionaires are.  Somehow, I have my doubts that he ever spoke up for a regard for the least among us or for the common good to them.

I suspect that his book is reference material for the campaign to destroy Social Security and Medicare, which is already the major support for many people in the "boomer" cohort.  Trying to turn younger people against it before they're smart enough to realize, in the new feudalist libertarian world, they're probably going to need them even more than their parents and grandparents.

*  Thiel has also postured as a libertarian, and even as his ideology shifts toward something more nihilistic — The Economist now calls him a “corporate Nietzschean” — he continues to rail against government programs like Medicare and Social Security. Meanwhile, he is chairman and co-founder of Palantir Technologies, a mass-surveillance-software company that makes a good deal of its money selling to the government; Palantir’s clients reportedly include the Department of Defense (including the NSA and various military branches), the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, and the CIA. Thiel is, inexplicably, pro-monopoly. And don’t forget that Peter Thiel believes death is nothing but a bug in the feature set of mankind, and one he can buy his way out of.

The article linked to has some background about Thiel's role in Facebook, too.

Perhaps The Only Style Point You're Going To Get From Me

If you want me to automatically start to NOT find your YouTube credible, start by saying "Hey guys" or something like that.  I just clicked on what I believe is probably a Republican-fascist fake Young Turks operation making the most out of this weeks outrage that watching Rachel Maddow's opening segment is sometimes "Haaaarrrrrrrrd!" so as to discredit her - not that I listen to Cenk et al much, anyway.   If the bright youngish thing in the black leather jacket hadn't started "Hey guys" it would have taken me at least ten seconds longer to get my suspicions up.

I'm still finding it funny that people on the competing cabloid channels are criticizing her over her announcement tweet, as if no one else in the business is in the business of hype.  In her case, there was a lot more behind the hype than there usually is.  

The Brit Who Wants To Turn St. Patrick Into a Slave Trader

The modern use of St. Patrick would seem to be turning ugly.  There are two stories bopping around today, one in which white supremacists have tried to conflate the maltreatment of the Irish under British subjugation with black slavery in the Americas - both were bad so I don't understand how one could be used to turn the other innocuous.  The attempt do so that is baseless, worse, it's based on blatant lies and appeals to bigotry.  Unfortunately, in this Age of Lies and the internet, it will probably get believed and, instead of reminding Irish Americans, Canadians, etc, that they have a moral obligation to not oppress others for they were once slaves of the Brits*, it will have the effect the neo-Nazis want.   By far, it is the more dangerous of the two and it needs to be opposed because lies have been so empowered. I'll need to hold my nose and do more research for that, the other one is relatively silly and self-inconsistent.

That other is a Brit, a Dr Roy Flechner, research fellow at Cambridge University's Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic who said the commonly accepted account of story of St. Patrick was "likely to be fiction."  He turns the escaped slave into a slave trading Roman tax collector based, it would seem, on a modern program of debunkery.    In the scant documentary record of the period, there isn't much to make the accusation from, he chooses to base his accusation on one thing.

Flechner says Patrick’s family were tax collectors for the Romans, a very dangerous job during that era.

Patrick's father, Calpornius, was a Decurion, a Roman official responsible for tax collection in Wales. Calpornius wanted out and used a Roman legal clause that allowed him to join the clergy and pass the job on to his son.

Which would seem to be based on St. Patrick's Confession, the earliest and, obviously,  most informed account of his life which we have, coming from the man, himself.   It's unlikely that any of the later accounts were based on anything as informed on the subject.  But, reading into the few facts given by Patrick for his own purpose, Flechner invents a lot of stuff, including his contention that if Calpornius wanted out that he'd want to give a dangerous position to his son in the decaying empire.  I will invent the suspicion that by that time the likely minimal system of Roman law, so far from Rome, was hardly as effective as that.

But there is a lot more that Dr. Flechner has to create to come up with his effort to debunk St. Patrick, into a slave trader.

"The traditional story that Patrick was kidnapped from Britain, forced to work as a slave, but managed to escape and reclaim his status, is likely to be fiction.

"The traditional legend was instigated by Patrick himself in the letters he wrote, because this is how he wanted to be remembered.

"Escaped slaves had no legal status and could be killed or recaptured by anyone. The probability Patrick managed to cross from his alleged place of captivity in western Ireland back to Britain undetected, is small. “

Well, so far as I've read, the entire identification of who Patrick's father was and where he was from is contained in the very same documents he wrote.  If you're going to depend on them for one thing you spin into an accusation, it doesn't seem to me that you get to then say that his own testimony is unreliable.  He does the same to try to discredit Patrick's opposition to slavery.   Either the saint was a liar or he wan't.   It's more likely that Patrick's account is accurate than Flechner's publicity attracting speculations are.

"The only objections to slavery known in this period and the early middle ages were cases in which Christian slaves were owned by non-Christian masters. Patrick is known to have attempted to free enslaved captives, but these were Christians whom Patrick had converted himself, and who were sold to Pictish masters."

Which obviously relies on Patrick's letter of excommunication addressed to the soldiers of Coroticus. It, like the letters of Paul, was a document sent to specific people in response to a specific set of problems.  The people who were abducted into slavery were specific people, who were converts, it isn't a general document.  If they had not been Christians who he had charge of, his protests would be dismissed on the basis of his not having standing.  Something which he noted himself, in his letter.

I am not forcing myself in where I have no right to act. I have a part with those whom God called and destined to preach the gospel,

If he had tried to make that argument for pagans, I imagine  a bunch of thugs like Coroticus and his soldiers would tell him to go mind his own business.

Flechner says that "he wanted to be remembered" as an escaped slave.  If he was so invested in the slave system why would he have wanted to be remembered as a slave?    It would certainly not have endeared him to any aristocratic, slave holding power.  If he were one of them, it's more likely that any biography padding would have been in his parentage, not his status as an escaped slave.  Flechner uses the danger that that status would have carried for Patrick in another part of his debunkery effort.

Adds Flechner: "Escaped slaves had no legal status and could be killed or recaptured by anyone. The probability that Patrick managed to cross from his alleged place of captivity in western Ireland back to Britain undetected, at a time when transportation was extremely complicated, is highly unlikely.

If it were not unlikely for slaves to escape then it would have been happening all the time.  But it was done.  There were people who escaped the slave labor of the modern Nazi and Stalinist states, not many and many of those who tried were killed.  It would hardly have been wise for Patrick, a slave-holder, himself, to have advertised himself as an escaped slave if it hadn't been the case.  As it is, if that endangered him, it is clear his willingness to risk martyrdom as others who had tried to convert pagans had suffered was authentic.

In the several accounts I've read of this, Flechner seems to like to use the phrase "it is likely" and other such hedging because the documentary record doesn't support his contention.  For me, it is likely that Flechner wants to get some media attention and as a Brit he turns to the still rampant anti-Irish, anti-Catholic tradition, about the least risky thing you can still do in a British university.  It would seem to me that he wants to claim that the few documents of St. Patrick that we have from him are to be believed when he can twist it into his claim and to be disbelieved when the don't.  That's no way to make something more reliable than the kind of ideological mythology that flourishes these days and which, in the case of British academics dealing with the Irish, has never much done anything bad for their careers.

*  The reminder to the children of Israel of why they shouldn't oppress aliens, wage earners, etc. "for they were slaves in Egypt" was continually repeated in the books of the Law.  It's something that the modern Irish should be reminded of at least as constantly.   Not that they were recently treated as African slaves, Native Americans, Australian aboriginal people, etc. but it was something we should certainly remember.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Hate Wail - "That's Not Fair"

After much whining and whinging I went back and listened to more of your instantly declared "genius".  Yeah, I was really impressed with the covers of "Dancing Queen" and "I'm a Believer In The Style of Theloneous Monk" the only comfort in that was that everyone involved was probably too clueless to be as embarrassed as they should have been.  

OK, I did it and I'm even less impressed than I was before I did it.  I was impressed times - 1.  His attempt to get groovy and electric?   Let's just say he ain't no Dylan.

Update:  Humor is best well done, homage is best done competently.   Satire.  If you thought that was satire you have no idea what the word means.    

Dusan Bogdanovic - Six Balkan Miniatures for Guitar

I didn't know about Dusan Bodanovic's wonderful compositions until last year and I posted just about every one I could find.  I posted these Minatures from two different live performances,  Though the performer isn't listed, I believe this posting uses the playing of one of those but it also has the score which helps to follow the music better.   I got lost in a few places with the first and second endings and the intricate rhythms.  It's fun and fun is good.  Also surprising are  the small additions to the score, ornaments, here and there.  I don't know if Bogdanovic authorized those or not, it wouldn't surprise me if in some of his work, such as these based on folk dances from different areas of the former Yugoslavia did have that permission.

On Me Being Mean To Atheists

Bad news, my trolls, it wasn't a heart attack, I just ripped a muscle in my chest while moving the heavy snow we got the day before last.  I'm not sixty, anymore.   If it makes you feel any better, it hurt like hell but icing it has helped.

Now that the unglad tidings are over,  I've had a piece of mail that asks me why I hate atheists so much and am so mean to them.  Well, I don't hate all atheists and am trying not to hate any of them.  I think my hating some of them is a failing in me and I'm trying to do something about it, though atheists like so many religious fundamentalists, are doing their best to make that hard.  And speaking of fundamentalists, many anti-religious bloggers, including Hemant the "friendly atheist" spews a lot more hatred at fundamentalists - not to mention all other religious folks - its the main topic of his "friendly" blog.  And, to not put too fine a point on it, that's the "friendly atheist".

But about me hatin' on the atheist,  I don't read any of them trying to put their opposition to religion on anything other than a nasty, hateful, snobbish basis.  Tell me when they tell their fellow atheists that they're morally obligated to love their enemies and to... well, I suppose it would be futile to request that they pray for those who persecute them.   Now, that's something that an atheist can't do, pray for those who persecute them, even as I'd guess so many who have been so oppressed by atheists pray for them.  I remember the nuns in catechism used to tell us that we needed to pray for everyone, "even Mr. Khrushchev"  I think it was Sr. Jean Paul who used that phrase.

I think what I do, mostly, falls more in the category of refutation of atheism, its phony account of atheism to day and in the past and its stands, its ideological assertion in science and history, which has anything but an effect of clarification and the furthering of knowledge. I think that whereas the constant howling at the uniformly unsuccessful insertion of religion into science is always sounding, unlike religion, atheism has successfully passed off its ideological assertions as science.

Looking at the link provided to said "friendly atheist" he has a couple of recent posts mocking the mockable Ken Ham over his denial of the reality of the "big bang" the current best model of the beginning of the universe. In a quick skimming of his coverage of the issue, I don't see anywhere where Hemant notes that when Father Georges Lemaitre proposed what would come to be called "the big bang" the foremost opponents of it were not creationist fundamentalists but atheist physicists, cosmologists and philosophers because they suspected Father Lemaitre, one of the most accomplished cosmologists of his time, of trying to insert Biblical creation into cosmology, no matter what his equations said.  That atheist hatred of the Big Bang persisted in the highest realms of formal science as late as the 1990s when the atheist ideologue and editor of Nature,  John Maddox, who published an article in said most prestigious of scientific journals called "Down With The Big Bang,"   You can also point to the myriad of atheist-ideologue-cosmologists such as Sean Carroll who have tried to find ways of getting past the Big Bang to invent all kinds of schemes to get beyond it for pretty much the same reasons as Maddox*.   Of course, there's no means of testing such schemes and many of them involve logical impossibilities and seem, to me, to be based mostly in twisting the meanings of words out of any coherent denotative significance.

Now, that's the kind of stuff I write about atheists, that and noting the moral, political and social consequences of their nihilistic program, even as they deny that is a logical conclusion to the method of atheism.   They will point out to atheists who, unlike the advertised "friendly atheist" are not in fact hate mongers who clearly hate their opponents.  I freely admit such atheists are real, most of them don't seem to be huge on atheist polemics but just simply don't believe.  My problem isn't with such people as individuals, it's the problem with the effect of the moral nihilism that is a logical conclusion of atheism in the wider population, especially those who can exercise power.  I think the history of atheists with political control from the period of the Reign of Terror to today's atheist dictatorships are a real life test of what happens when atheists have power and influence.  I think anytime when the ideological assertion of atheism had sway over a population, something like that is inevitable.   I would argue that the Trump regime is, in effect, the same thing, even with his clearly lying professions of belief, but that's a huge argument that is better had among believers.

*  You should look up Maddox's infamous Nature editorial dismissing the significance of AIDs, calling it "non-existent condition".  I believe he held the editorship for about two decades after that, including the period when he tried to debunk the Big Bang that Hemant is mocking Ken Ham over.

Update:  Robbie Fulks?  As I said yesterday,  If I knew the name of a 3 Doors Down song I'd make a joke.

Update 2:  I really doubt that a prep-school, Ivy League drop out country singer has much to tell me about the reality of God.   I read the lyrics, they're pretty uninspired.  I really don't care to listen to him,  I'm not really big on the Columbia school of country music.  Other than the great Dolly Parton and Willie Nelson, I'm not really big on contemporary country music.  I've got nothing against the genre, in general, though I really prefer the less produced stuff from the early period.

I still agree with Natalie Maines on Toby Keith, especially after he sang that pro-lynching song at Trump's inaugural flop.

I suspect Robbie Fulks was just trying to catch a kulcha wave, hoping to write an atheist anthem as he realizes that that's as big a he's ever going to get.  Really, Mike Seeger did it better if not much less embarrassingly.  Preachy atheists, a shtick that is really old.

Update 3:  Illiterate as ever, typical of blog-rat atheists.

The only music of 3 Doors Down I ever knowingly heard was what Samantha Bee and a few others exposed me to as they were the headliner act at the Trump Embarrassment of an Inauguration Concert.  The only Robbie Fulks I ever knowingly heard was the first thing that came up on Youtube which left me determined to not hear any more.  Like I said,  I already heard Mike Seeger do it better long ago and I didn't like that as much as the real thing, either.  I didn't find his atheist anthum, the words convinced me it would be one of those earnest, preachy singer-songwriter things.  I will not expose myself to singer-songwriter earnestness for such a non-reason.

Update 4:  A. I'm not posting anything he wrote, B. he obviously is suffering short-term memory loss, it's not uncommon in his age cohort among those who never got into the habit of thinking hard. C. he's an habitual liar, I suspect those who don't think hard are likely to lie to fill in the moth holes of their inattention.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Trump Can’t Even Watch TV Correctly

I'm Limiting Myself To That Particular Pleasure Once A Week

I am trying to give up the fun and amusing game of setting off the automatic engines of umbrage through dissing what passes as idols of kulcha these days.  Though, having picked up "To The Lighthouse" and trying for about the fifth time to get past the tenth page I'm really tempted to say Virginia Woolf was one of the most overrated writers in the history of commentary on writing.  I wonder how much the unarticulated knowledge that she was a second-rater might have played in her suicidal depression - I can't see any evidence that she or her fellow Bloomsbury phonies ever felt deeply about anything more important than that.  They certainly never thought deeply about anyone but themselves.  Now I'll wait for my mid-brow trolls to pretend they've made it through even one of her books when I know they never have. 

Having recently begun on the project I should have started a long time ago, reading all of Mari Sandoz, she was Woolf's superior in every single aspect of thinking and writing.   I don't think I'm going to have any trouble getting through Old Jules or Crazy Horse.  

Update:  [*raspberry!]

Interviewer:  This is part of your philosophy of writing, isn't it, you should write the truth rather than what shocks.

Mari Sandoz:  Yes, oh definitely yes.  You have no right to falsify life.  Ever.  No, never at all.  That I think is the, that's the cardinal sin of the writer.  That's the thing you cannot face yourself after.
I think.  

Interview recorded for NET in 1961

You could, if you wanted to, contrast that with what Woolf said in her short essay,  "The New Biography," in which she advocates manipulating fact to make a more pleasing arrangement.  She said,

On the one hand there is truth;  on the other, there is personality.  [How you're supposed to discern the “personality” of someone dead and unknown to you as a person except through the truth is something that apparently didn't much concern Woolf.  I think by “personality” she meant turning them to her own entertainment.]  And if we think of truth and something of granite-like solidity and of personality as something of rainbow-like intangibility and reflect that the aim of biography is to weld these two into one seamless whole, we shall admit that the problem is a stiff one and we need not wonder if biographers have for the most part failed to solve it.  

How she imagined she was going to capture something “intangible” even something as entertainingly “rainbow-like” except through truth one wonders.  After some compliments to the truth, Woolf goes on in a famous passage that gives her real meaning away.

… For in order that the light of personality may shine through, facts must be manipulated;  some must be brightened; others shaded; yet, in the process, they must never lose their integrity.

In Virginia Woolf we're talking about a woman who failed, during many years of the most intimate daily, the closest personal contact and her own dependency on their labor,  failed to recognize the inner life of her and her family's servants.  Through the truth gained by her own writing, seemed to see them as barely human or, at least, humans of a lower order than rich people who didn't need to consider them very deeply.  She was opposed to education for the lower classes or their even reading.  How someone so obtuse could, somehow, figure she was able to discern the life of people she would never see or meet though some pleasing arrangement and selection of that so off-puttingly "granite-lie" truth instead of facing it squarely is worth asking.   I think what Woolf was was self-centered, snobbish and vapidly superficial.   I've tried to read her without success for about as long as I read things because people told me I should read them.

You should read the article linked to, above.  If nothing else than to see that Virginia Woolf's much abused and long time cook, Nellie Boxall, once Woolf had fired her lived happily after, first working for the much nicer (and more talented) Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester, getting the stimulation of their household that she certainly wouldn't have with the Woolfs and then going to work in a hospital canteen.

No One Knows What The Effect of Rachel Maddow's Publishing of Two Pages of Trump Taxes Are

The reaction to Rachel Maddow's format by people with TV trained short-attention spans is almost as interesting as the Trump tax documents she published are. But I am not a tax expert, such as her guest and the man who was sent the documents, David Cay Johnston, so I'm not going to pretend I understand as much as he does about the numbers.  The news that he pays a lower tax rate on a massive income than people who make less than a living wage is outrageous enough to begin with.

David Cay Johnston's speculation that Trump might have sent him the document for some reason which might be rationally understood or out of some Trumpian unreality-nonlogic, tells me that both he and Rachel Maddow understood that they might have been being played, and that's the way that people like little Donald Trump jr. are playing it.  Though who knows how this is going to turn out in the end.  That's one of the problems with Trump world, you don't know if you're being played by master tacticians or people who have as little concept of reality as big Donald.  I doubt Trump jr. understands it as well a Maddow and Johnson.

But, when I turned on my computer this morning, the news that came up at the top of the page were that twitterers were disappointed that she didn't present it as old CNN Balloon Boy coverage but rolled it out after setting out the context of why it's important.  I clicked on several of the dismissals of the story, in which I found out that the people expressing disappointment were those like a reporter for the sports cable network ESPN, media reporters whose beat is America's Top Chief, not people who would generally listen to Rachel Maddow, at least if their career in ersatz journalism is any indication.  I'm wondering why stories by them and others like the Ivy Leage, NYT twerp Michael M. Grynbaum, Jay Yarow from CNBC, junk from CNN and others working at competing networks who are, I read, getting clobbered by Maddow since the elevation of Trump, why are those appearing the top of the page this morning? Is there some Putin-Republican-fascist hacking of search engines going on?

I looked around at a few leftish blogs and read the same annoyance that Rachel Maddow didn't give them the excitement and thrills of a video game at a pacing they wanted.  And those are the allegedly higher end blogs.  I know they're higher end because I've been reading their regulars say that about themselves for going on two decades.  Just about all of them went to college but I'm betting not many of them have recently exercised capacities for paying attention to complicated stuff.

I can say that if these documents don't set the Trump on fire or lead to more, they will probably be used to try to turn Rachel Maddow into a joke among the stupid, the attention deficit and the just stupid that so many have become.  I would suspect that, since they discussed the possibility that Trump leaked his own taxes to Johnson that would have figured into their decision to release them as they did.  It looks like a bit of a gamble on their part.

If they do lead to other revelations, perhaps others in a position to release more information releasing it, great.  I think we have a right to know about the business interests, associations, actions and history that impinges on whether or not the trust given them should have been or should continue.  If Maddow releasing them leads to that, it should get her and Johnston the thanks of the American People, something most of their colleagues, such people as young Grynbaum and Yarrow will certainly never earn.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Russia! Russia! Russia!

When Will I Learn To Not Find These Things Out

Here's something for me to be thankful for, I didn't know who Hitler and Trump supporter Tila Tequila was until I made the mistake of hitting one of those "Celebrities That Supported Trump" links.  

Something to not be thankful for, I know who she is now and why she's "famous".  If there were some place safe to send her to, I'd say deport her, Rupert Murdoch, and Nigel Farage if that piece of garbage is in the country as I type this. 

If I suspected that celebrity didn't mean anything in terms of quality anymore, I know it, now. 

Update:  Apparently my trolls are upset with me for not being a Tila Tequila fan.  Or maybe it's because I dissed Nigel Farage.  Or maybe it's the status of "celebrity" which some of them like to pretend they've got. 

Update 2:  Re his alleged "musical career" I can't remember who said it the week of the installation of Trump but "If I knew the names of any 3 Doors Down songs I'd make a joke right now."

The Middleman Out - Dick Riley

I think my description last Saturday of this really good radio play might have put some people off of it.  I like it so much that I'm going to post it again without the prejudicial description.  I like the song, written for the production by Lonnie Knight.

Gutting Health Care Will Kill Americans

For some reason the original posting of this video was taken down when I checked this morning, it has been reposted.

Two Concepts Of Democracy One Which Endures And One Which Devolved Into Fascism, America Was Corrupted Into Choosing The Second One

Last night as I was tossing and turning and obsessing over the chaotic horror our country and the world are living through in the Trump regime, the product of the progressive downward spiral the United States has been in from the high point in our democracy of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts,  I came to the conclusion that we're seeing a contest of two conceptions of democracy and only one of those is a viable conception that will result in democracy, the other will result in fascism.

To some extent, among the aristocratic distrust of government of, by and for THE PEOPLE, and the poison pills inserted into our Constitution to prevent Lincoln's tripartite purpose of government happening, there were some legitimate concerns that if you allowed people to vote then what they voted in might be a product of them wanting the worst of what they wanted instead of what was morally defensible a being right.  And that phenomenon has, in fact, proven itself to be a very real and very dangerous thing about the form of democracy, the election of office holders by people whose motives could be anything from the highest, least selfish, most informed choice for the common good and the protection of minorities to the kind of ignorant, bigoted, superstitious, greedy, envious covetous motives of the worst of the Trump voters.

Around the world the tragic phenomenon of people who escape colonial or Marxist oppression who hold their first and last truly free election is terribly common.  In the United States we might find that it's possible even for a country well-practiced in conducting democratic elections to do what they have done, given sufficient corruption of the culture and minds of enough voters to have that effect.  Here, in the United States, that was done last year through the combined efforts of our free press with lies told about the massively qualified candidate, Hillary Clinton, in every venue from the sub-FOX lie factories up to the Washington Post and New York Times.  That was how the collective American public came to their conception of her candidacy, with appeals to sexism being another thing featured throughout the media.  The other candidate was a total and complete creation of the free media,  Donald Trump, "reality" show star, TV celebrity, the beneficiary of billions of dollars worth of publicity given him by alleged news shows and, we now know beyond any doubt, the ratfucking of the media and the internet by a foreign despot, the foremost promoter of criminal fascist regimes around the world.

All of that was entirely legal in the United States under the First Amendment, as interpreted by courts from the very year I mention above, 1964 in a case brought by the New York Times which resulted in the permission of the media to tell those lies, which also led to the election of Ronald Reagan who got rid of any requirement of the media to not just tell the lies it liked but to air opposing viewpoints.  That later action was praised by the "civil liberties" and "free speech" industries as a great boon for freedom in the United States.  That it has favored the Republican-Party and its dive into overt fascism is something I have yet to hear those lawyers and advocates of such "freedom" even admit to.  And what is not legal about it will probably be made so on a defacto basis by Republicans in the Congress and in the courts.

The real contest is here and now.  The contest which will determine if we have an egalitarian democracy or a fascist country with a pantomime of elections, indeed, even a country in which the very concept of truth as opposed to useful lies or, in fact, any morality matters.  It is here, now, it is upon us.  We are entering into government by nihilist fascists. That's the reality of it.

Democracy which means, merely, that the wants and whims of a majority of voters* is what has led us into Trumpian fascism.  It has been brought to us by the very media which feeds lies and thrilling sensation to us, more effectively than it gives us Samantha Bee and Stephen Colbert - look who's in control of the government, friends.  Real democracy is far more than the fact that one of the cabloids has a few hours set aside as a liberal ghetto.  Even if they're finding that such hold-overs as Rachel Maddow are attracting the largest audiences in her career.

Democracy is either that expression of amoral appetites or it is a government produced by responsible adults who have the kind of morals that produce egalitarian democracy, who are prepared to forego things that they want which are not moral or which will result in Trumpian fascism instead of egalitarian democracy.   Not all supposed systems of morality will produce egalitarian democracy, it's possible to have what is called democracy with even the most grinding of slavery and subjugation of women, we had it here in the first century and, really, aren't entirely shut of it, today.  It is what the Republican-fascism is trying to reimpose.

The decision that liberals must make is to choose the right thing, in which case they will need to change their rote, knee-jerk support of the liberalish-libertarian stands that played such a decisive part in bringing us to Trumpian fascism.  If they don't and don't bring enough voters along with them, then American democracy is a tragic failure, the victim of its vaguely defined meaning and goal and the absurd faith that it could just happen without the requisite moral precursors being followed intentionally and in a way that would defeat the nihilistic pantomime of liberalism.

Early in my blogging career, in response to listening to the then often heard Fred Wertheimer, most famous as the head of Common Cause,  I came up with the label "process liberal" to describe their kooky concept that liberalsim and democracy don't rightly have ends to work to that should determine our stands and actions.  It is an echo of the absurd idea that things were just going to come out by the same natural means that worked in physics and chemistry.  It is a product of atheist-secularist faith but which is evidenced nowhere in human history.   I understand that a lot more now than I did when the idea first came to me.  Rejecting that superstition is one of the essential things we need to do to save democracy.

* And under our lunatic Constitution, with its aristocracy protecting features, such as the Electoral College - which obviously doesn't work to protect democracy,  we got fascist rule through an actual minority of the voters.

Stephen Reaches Out To President Obama Via Microwave

Spend A Little Time Slamming The Scummy Paul Ryan, Third In Line Behind The Impeachable Trump and the Likely Impeachable Pence

Paul Ryan is is a sadist as all libertarians, deep down, are.  All libertarians are gutless kick down, kiss ups, that's what sadism is all about and what libertarianism is.   Remember the Bob principle, that no one could continually do things that have the effect of hurting people without it being intentional, Paul Ryan's political career consists of little else than A. advocating doing to the least among us the worst things he can do, including things that will end up with them dead, B. doing to the richest among us whatever he can to get himself power so he can screw the poor, the sick, the lame, and, most of all children.

That Paul Ryan who never saw an entitlement program he didn't want to destroy benefited enormously from Social Security as a healthy teenager is all anyone needs to know about him to see he is a huge hypocrite of exactly the kind who fill the Republican congress, Trump regime and, when Gorsuch is rubber stamped, controls the Supreme Court.

In what we've found out about the obvious crimes of those around Trump which all seem to point to him being impeachable and indictable and, if not that, his treasonous collusion with Vladimir Putin makes it likely that, eventually, he will be removed from office,  Paul Ryan's position as Speaker of the House and, so, third in line of succession to the presidency makes it worth while to attack him now.  That's especially true in that we're finding out that Mike Pence has lied about how much he knew about the things Mike Flynn was doing that lost him his job and other things that could make the second in line to succeed the impeachable Trump far from certain to fill out a term as president.
While my dream scenario would be the Democrats winning really big in 2018 and a Democrat being third and fourth in line, President Pro Tempore of the Senate, presently the odious Orin Hatch,  and then we get rid of the Republican-fascist criminals in the Executive, I wouldn't bet on it.  A better bet is to make people more familiar with Paul Ryan in real terms instead of the fawning characterizations of him that Samantha Bee showed on her sow last week, making him as unpopular as he deserves to be and, so, politically weak.

I am betting that, like so many in the House, if people outside his district got a good look at Paul Ryan, the healthy young buck who got Social Security but who wants to throw old folks off of it, etc. he would be about as popular as Ted Cruz.  Really, they share a lot in common, being asshole brown noser types (she pointed out Paul Ryan was voted the biggest one in his high school) and those guys aren't the most attractive type.

If Democrats don't take back the House in two years, the United States is finished.  I don't just mean as a democracy, I mean as a viable country.  If Republican control the government in four years, I'm betting a lot of people in a lot of places will be agitating for secession from the neo-Confederate, Putin-Puppet state it is becoming under Republican-fascists.

Monday, March 13, 2017

What Happens When You Diss A Scribbler Of Adolescent Pulp

The hipster's swelled up with lividity 
And spouting a line of stupidity,
With posed perspicacity 
But full of mendacity 
Commanding conformist rigidity.

As Kellyanne Conway Reveals That Barack Obama Can Turn Your Microwave Oven Into A Camera

Apparently she really did claim that Obama has used his fiendish powers to turn the nation's microwaves into his own secret police force.  

I suspect that as Trump is watching political fiction at FOX she's watching some of the lower end sy-fi programming on cable. 

Just to prove I'm not a total enemy of the old pulp magazine market, here's a superior writer for them, one of my favorites, Clifford Simak, with his tale of appliances made aware and turned on their human masters

I Think I'll Go Back And Read Her Essays Instead Of Another Who-Done-It

As I've gotten older I find that the change back and forth from Standard to Daylight time takes more out of me than used to be noticed.  On top of that we're expecting the big storm that's coming our way and my trigeminal neuralgia is horrible.  I'm going to take some Tylenol with codeine and try to get some sleep.  

But thinking about the celebration by the sciency, materialist-atheists of the alleged "inconsequentiality of human beings"* in relation to the lit'rary brawling over the weekend, reminded me of what was the crucial brake with pseudo-liberalism for me, the horrible tornado in Moore, Oklahoma and the cruel, mocking, illiberal comments to it on several lefty blog comment threads that night, within hours, perhaps even within the hour when people were killed, injured, trapped, their families torn apart, their friends and neighbors killed and injured, their homes, neighborhoods etc. destroyed in minutes.

Which led me to remember I wrote about that once before in a post which contained a link to an essay which, re-reading it just now, makes me think it's exactly what we need in the Trumpian Age of Lies, ever so much more so than the snarky snobbery of The Rude Pundit.

I was also surprised to find that it began much the same way this post does.

"It is simply not possible to act in good faith toward people one does not respect, or to entertain hopes for them that are appropriate to their gifts."

I am aching all over this morning and need to get some sleep.  I will post something new later.   I have to confess that it was fun to turn an atheist's quote, widely quoted by atheists, back onto an atheist who was doing exactly what old Bertrand Russell said stupid men do. I'm not perfect by a long shot.  If I have the time I'll plow through the book to try to put it into a wider context.

Till later, I'll leave you with another essay by Marilynne Robinson, Imagination and Community,

And if you don't have the time to read every worthwhile sentence of it, with its both remarkably keen criticism of the United States and, at the same time and through her criticism, a refreshingly unaccustomed kind of clear eyed, unromantic generosity about the United States, here is a passage that has been haunting me for the past week.

I have talked about community as being a work of the imagination, and I hope I have made clear my belief that the more generous the scale at which imagination is exerted, the healthier and more humane the community will be. There is a great deal of cynicism at present, among Americans, about the American population. Someone told me recently that a commentator of some sort had said, “The United States is in spiritual free-fall.” When people make such remarks, such appalling judgments, they never include themselves, their friends, those with whom they agree. They have drawn, as they say, a bright line between an “us” and a “them.” Those on the other side of the line are assumed to be unworthy of respect or hearing, and are in fact to be regarded as a huge problem to the “us” who presume to judge “them.”

This tedious pattern has repeated itself endlessly through human history and is, as I have said, the end of community and the beginning of tribalism.

At this point in my life I have probably had a broader experience of the American population than is usual. I have been to divinity schools, and I have been to prisons. In the First Epistle of Peter we are told to honor everyone, and I have never been in a situation where I felt this instruction was inappropriate. When we accept dismissive judgments of our community we stop having generous hopes for it. We cease to be capable of serving its best interests. The cultural disaster called “dumbing down,” which swept through every significant American institution and grossly impoverished civic and religious life, was and is the result of the obsessive devaluing of the lives that happen to pass on this swath of continent. On average, in the main, we are Christian people, if the polls are to be believed. How is Christianity consistent with this generalized contempt that seems to lie behind so much so-called public discourse? Why the judgmentalism, among people who are supposed to believe we are, and we live among, souls precious to God—300 million of them on this plot of ground, a population large and various enough to hint broadly at the folly of generalization? It is simply not possible to act in good faith toward people one does not respect, or to entertain hopes for them that are appropriate to their gifts. As we withdraw from one another we withdraw from the world, except as we increasingly insist that foreign groups and populations are our irreconcilable enemies. The shrinking of imaginative identification which allows such things as shared humanity to be forgotten always begins at home.

I remember, reading around the blogs on the evening of the Moore, Oklahoma tornado, being shocked at the mean, nasty things being said about people whose lives had been shattered within the hour, many people dying, many people injured, many people losing members of their families, their friends, their homes, their neighborhoods and their communities.   The derision, the lack of respect and the judgdementalism on display that night, among alleged liberals, most with a higher education, was a kind of great divide opening up between us before my eyes, the chasm that I noticed for the first time, the exact difference between liberalism and its opposite which was being expressed by alleged liberals.

"It is simply not possible to act in good faith toward people one does not respect, or to entertain hopes for them that are appropriate to their gifts."  If there was ever a worth while sentence summing up the absolute prerequisite for any kind of liberalism, for any kind of democracy, that would be it.   It is worth everything that I've ever read from the hands of Jefferson or Madison and fully as essential as any of the best that came from Abraham Lincoln.  America lost that in the past century and more.  It's the reason we have devolved into a corporate oligarchy in which Barack Obama is far more the servant of the oil industry than he is of The People, the reason that The People tolerated having George W. Bush and Dick Cheney imposed on us by a corrupt Supreme Court and an even more corrupt press.

Our country is broken because the The People are broken and discouraged and encouraged to disrespect and be suspicious of each other.  It won't be fixed by cynicism, fashion and the pursuit of status at the expense of other people, not in the country, not in international competition.  It certainly won't be fixed by becoming more the serfs of the international oligarchs.

*  What they really mean is the inconsequentiality of other human beings. Like those who pretend to believe all kinds of things demoting the mind, cognition, free-will,... those who make those claims never live their own lives as if they believed that about their lives and the lives of those they feel something like love for.  I say "something like love" because I'm beginning to believe anyone who could love the idea of human inconsequentiality probably doesn't really love much of anyone other than, possibly, himself.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

I went to my spam file and counted, yesterday and today I received 31 pieces of seething, angry hate mail over what I said yesterday.  

That's enough fun on this topic.  

Update:  Best one line book review I ever read (of the Tolkien Ring cycle ) was, 

"Not another f****ng hill!"

Update 2:  It is so hilarious for someone who has been libeling me as an antisemite for the past five years to whine that Edmund Wilson had the gall to point out that the viciously racist, antisemitic, old-line WASP nativist, homo-hating, (you just know he'd have voted for Trump and read if not written for Breitbart if he were around today) H. P. Lovecraft was a crappy writer.  Here's the news, bunky, he was. 

I think the elevation of even low level pulp writing to some kind of status as high lit, something that's supposed to be some expression of social leveling is, in fact, it's opposite.  It's an insistence that crap read mostly by mid-brow college grads who don't read a lot be given some kind of canonical status.  

If I'm luke warm on most who-done-its the horror racket is even worse.   It's just stupid, vulgar and in poor taste.  Make believe horror? No, the news is horror BECAUSE IT'S REAL. 

Update 3: I found the Hitler or Lovecraft quiz online.  I got two wrong but, then, I've read a lot of Hitler in researching my eugenics series.  

Update 4:  I'd suggest you look up the topic of Lovecraft and, racism antisemitism, etc. only when you do that you'll come to neo-Nazi websites that quote him.  He sounds remarkably like Steve Bannon and his ilk.   He'd fit right in on the neo-Nazi end of thing today. 

Update 5:  I asked a friend of mine, a well respected expert on science-fiction what he thought of Lovecraft,  "A few of his stories are OK, he wrote them badly.  He wasn't a very good writer."  

I also looked into his late - life, alleged repudiation of his bigotry and found it was far less that than it was the kind of regrets that a 46-year-old man who knows he's dying of cancer might have for some of the nastier things he said, right up till the time he was not much younger than that.  I think he knew he was dying and he was hedging his bets if his atheism turned out to be wrong.  I read an apologetic article written by a fan about how, as he was in dire straits in Providence, he as so many others, became a fan of Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal.  Lots of people in the arts and in the "arts" had a similar, self-interested conversion.  I think the article is rather weird in that it credits Robert E. Howard, another racist pulp writer, with broadening his New England WASP parochialism, though I think the author is trying to make bricks without straw in this case.  If Lovecraft moderated some of his viciousness in some of his late letters - the one that is held on to like a life preserver was, apparently, to a stranger to whom he might not have wanted to vent so unattractively - it does force the question of how his often racist writing from earlier when he wrote the horrifically racist letters is, somehow, cleansed of that.  Which was, actually, something I was going to touch on in a piece I had planned on posting on Saturday but which hasn't been finished yet.  Maybe next weekend. 

I think a writer has to have more virtue than that he influenced later writers in a really low-level literary genre.  Someone brought up Poe's tales of horror which I've never liked.  He was a great poet, one of the most original and great American poets of the 19th century,  but other than leading to other horror writers, I don't see anything great about much of his stuff.   He wasn't as great a poet as Whitman or Dickinson.  I like Whitman's prose better, too. 
No, that's not my pet peeve.  If you want to see a pet peeve for me, people who think a four-leaf clover is a shamrock.  Especially Irish Catholics who don't know the difference.  Geesh, talk about stupid. 

Image result for st. patrick holding a shamrock