Search Box

Monday, May 27, 2019

How I fell in love with Patti Lupone.... listening to Madonna.

I was at the local library's book sale the other weekend, and (hurriedly, since the sale was about to close) picked up a bunch of CD's to listen to in the car. Among them was the soundtrack to Evita. I used to enjoy my Evita cassette; but try finding a cassette player these days.

Later, upon closer examination, I found I'd picked up the soundtrack to the movie version, which featured Madonna. Having gotten used to the Lupone version, the CD was frustrating to listen to: Madonna could reach neither the high notes nor the low ones, and she doesn't have the powerful voice called for in this role.

I'd heard in the past that Madonna was actually not a particularly good singer. I'd never listened to her much, so had no opinion on that. But this apples to apples comparison made me appreciate how great Lupone had been.

When I used to listen to Evita, I mostly marveled at the genius of composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, and the cleverness of lyricist Tim Rice. I had just taken Lupone (and Mandy Patinkin) for granted.

No more.

Later that evening I told my son, also an Evita fan, that the movie soundtrack (which also featured Antonio Banderas) was about halfway from that of Lupone and Patinkin to someone just reciting the lyrics.

He said, "You idiot, you always have to get the OBC."

"What's that?"

He said, "The original Broadway cast version. You didn't know that? You sound like some stupid hetero."

Lupone doesn't quite have Shirley Bassey's power and brass, but she can hit the high notes in a way Bassey couldn't, which makes her, in her own way, just as great.

Friday, May 3, 2019

One-upping the out-flankers

To the casual observer, it may seem that all of the contenders for the Democratic nomination are engaged in a desperate battle to outflank each other on the Left. It's as if they all think that whoever ends up furthest Left will win the nomination.

I'm convinced I can play this game even better. So, I'm throwing my hat in the ring.

You may be surprised to find that I've decided to run as a Democrat. But this game is simply too much fun to resist. So, herewith, my platform.

To celebrate sexuality in all of its forms, some on the Left have introduced a panoply of new pronouns to accommodate every shade of gender identification. It's hard to remember all of them, so simplification is called for. Under my administration, the first and second person pronouns, "I" and "you," will still be allowed. But "he" and "she," which, unintentionally or not, enforce existing stereotypes, will be banned.

Henceforth, the only allowable third person pronoun will be "it." For instance, if you refer to my campaign, simply say, "It is running for President."

Hollywood discriminates against the ugly all the time. To cast only thin people is blatant looks-ism, and strict guidelines guarding against this will be instituted. From now on, all TV shows and movies must features actors and actresses who look like America, with one third overweight, and another third morbidly obese. And they cannot just be used as comedic sidekicks, either: they must be given their fair share of the romantic lead roles.

Jenny Craig, Weight-Watchers, and all other organizations which implicitly fat-shame by imputing a negative value to obesity, will be banned.

Barack Obama tried to make campuses safer for women by making it near impossible for male students to defend themselves from charges of rape. And feminists say that all victims should be believed. I would go a step further: if a woman claims a man raped her, he goes straight to prison, no questions asked.

Some of my opponents have suggested that the legal voting age be lowered to 16. But that would discriminate against those who are only 15. And so on. Children should be allowed to vote from the minute they're born.

Similarly, we must eliminate the discrimination implicit in the minimum drinking age.

But this pervasive prejudice cuts both ways. From now on, every NFL and NBA team must field a squad with at least 20% of the players over the age of 60.

The SATs, ACTs, MCATs, GMATs, LSAT, GREs, IQ tests, and every other form of standardized testing should be banned. The proof of their inherent racism is that year after year, without exception, Hispanics and African-Americans score lower than whites. Such instruments of racial oppression have no place in a fair society.

Whites must wake up to the fact that they need to be on the right side of history -- the losing side.

My opponents have said that requiring an ID is a form of voter suppression: of course it is. Requiring a photo ID to cash a check, board an airplane, and drive a car is similarly discriminatory against minorities, and, under my administration, will no longer be required.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez -- our very own Che -- has proposed free college and medical care for everyone, including every noncitizen who makes it to our shores. I would take this a step further: the government should simply give a million dollars to everyone who does not yet have that amount, and this includes everyone who can manage to set foot inside our borders.

If everyone is a millionaire, this will make for a much happier country.

And that will be even truer if we institute a 100% wealth tax on any assets over a million dollars. Equality isn't just a vague ideal to be paid lip service.

My fellow Democrats want a ban on fracking. My administration would put an immediate ban on the use of all fossil fuels.

The Green New Deal proposes banning all cars and airplanes in ten years. I would add bicycles to this list: smelting the steel and aluminum that goes into them causes pollution.

I would not only abolish ICE, I would abolish the police. Once everyone is a millionaire, crime will stop, and there will be no need for oppression. I will also abolish the military: once we have open borders, we'll have no need to defend them.

Several of my opponents have called for the impeachment of President Trump. I say, let's just clap him prison right now. As far as I'm concerned, he's guilty on every count we can think of until proven innocent. 

A few of my opponents want to do away with the electoral college. I would take it a step further, and let only coastal cities with populations over two million vote. We must leave no stone unturned in our efforts to achieve the desired result.

Some of my opponents, frustrated with the current Republican majority on the Supreme Court, want to increase the number of seats to fifteen, and stack those with Democrats. I would go further, and simply make it illegal for Republicans to be on the Supreme Court.

After every instance of Islamic terrorism, my opponents' biggest worry is that this might lead to Islamophobia. My administration would not even allow newspapers to report such attacks: people need to get woke.

My opponents say that our country has too much gun violence. I agree: under my administration, every one with a legal gun will be required to turn it in within a month. After that, they'll be shot on sight.

My opponents have supported an end to mass incarceration. I would free all prisoners. (Except male rapists and Donald Trump.)

Bernie Sanders recently said that all prisoners, even Muslim terrorists, should be allowed to vote. I say, let each newly freed prisoner -- under my system -- vote twice, since they deserve recompense as victims of our unjust criminal "justice" system.

Elizabeth Warren has said we should forgive all student loans. My administration would forgive all loans. No more metaphorical debtor's prisons -- that's not who we are.

Cory Booker believes in reparations. I say, forty acres of their choosing, be it in midtown Manhattan or Beverly Hills.

I would like to take this opportunity to affirm my absolute, unswerving commitment to free speech -- but not to hate speech.

My goal as President will be to transform the entire country into a safe space.

May the boldest Democrat win!

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Guess it wasn't MAGA country after all......

This entire Smollett affair, from its sleazy beginning to this sleazy end, has been an absolute blessing for the Right. 

People on the Left and Right will never change their minds about anything. But those in the center are going to be outraged by all the dishonesty, posturing, and high level influence-peddling this affair has brought forth. 

Which is actually a great way of turning purple states into MAGA country.

Dr. Dre, then and now

Rapper Dr. Dre (real name Andre Young) was in the news Sunday for boasting on Instagram about how his daughter had gotten into USC "all on her own."

Most of the articles went on to point out that in 2013, Dr. Dre, along with Jimmy Iovine, had donated $70 million to USC to fund the Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Technology and Business of Innovation.

There ensued widespread mockery of Dr. Dre's ridiculous claim.

Yesterday, he was in the news again for having deleted that Instagram post.

But what seems almost as jarring as Dre's self-delusion is the glaring difference between his earlier pose as a gangsta and his new sensibilities.

Deleted or not, Dre's Instagram post calls for a revision to the lyrics of some of his old rap songs: so I've added an extra line to reflect his new priorities. (His original lyrics are in italics; the only italics in the new lines are for emphasis.)

To appreciate the contrast, you have to imagine him rapping his own lines in a threatening "We're comin' to gitcha!" voice, then imagine the new line spoken like a bitchy white Real Housewife of Beverly Hills.

From Let Me Ride:

Creeping' down the backstreet on Deez
I got my Glock cocked cuz niggaz want these
Now soon as I said it, seems I got sweated
by some nigga with a tech 9 train' to take mine
ya wanna make noise, make noise
I make a phone call to call my niggaz coming' like the Gotti boys
bodies bein' found on Greenleaf
with their fuckin heads cut off, motherfucker I'm Dre

Oh, and by the way -- what were your daughter's SATs?

From Fuck Wit Dre Day:

Yeah, Mista Busta, where the fuck ya at?
Can't scrap a lick, so I know ya got your gat
Your dick on hard, from fuckin your road dogs
The hood you threw up with, niggaz  you grew up with
Don't even respect your ass
That's why it's time for the doctor, to check your ass, nigga

Oh, and Mister Busta -- where is your daughter going to college?

From Nigga Witta Gun:

44 reasons come to mind
Why you motherfucking brothers hard to find
He be walking' on the streets and fuckin' with mine.
Stupid punk can't fuck with a mastermind.
See I never take a step on a Compton block
or LA without the AK ready to pop.

Well, my daughter got into USC -- but quite frankly, I'm a bit concerned about the neighborhood it's in.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

The temperature of the populace

Yahoo News is a typical propaganda outlet whose articles constantly demonize Trump and his supporters in any way they can. So it's a little surprising that they still allow comments after their articles, since most of those comments lean in the other direction.

This morning's article on Yahoo about Jussie Smollett's arrest was not written by Yahoo News, but is simply a reprinting of a straightforward ABC News report. (It would be hard to put a Leftist spin on this piece of news.)

It has -- as of this writing -- 3731 responses. If you click on "View reactions" at the bottom of the article you'll get a sense of how people feel about this case. Virtually every single one flies right in the face of Yahoo's ideology.

It's hard to escape the conclusion that the constant propagandizing by Yahoo News and its ilk that has pushed readers rightward.

It's almost beginning to seem that this prodding is by design.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Observe a sociopath in action...... watching this interview of Jussie Smollett by Robin Roberts on Good Morning America from a week ago (before the information on his two Nigerian accomplices surfaced). You needn't watch the entire sixteen minutes to get a sense of how sociopaths operate.

Note how heartfelt Smollett's delivery comes across. There's absolutely no sheepishness or furtiveness on his face, and no catch in his voice to betray him.

Note how reasonable and calm he appears.

Note how he characterizes his doubters as "offensive," and "unfair." (There's no better way to put your opponents on defense these days than to claim "offense.")

And listen to Smollett's noble words: "We have the right and responsibility to make something meaningful out of the things that happen to us, good and bad.....I just want members of the LGBTQ community, I just want young black children to know, how strong that they are." (See? He doesn't care about himself, he only wants to do right by the downtrodden!)

Note the tremulous passion in his voice as he says these things.

Note how the tears come to his eyes as he recounts the attack. What a traumatic memory that must be for him! (Sociopaths can summon tears at will, as we have seen here and here.)

Note how gentle he seems. (No wonder Kamala Harris described him that way!)

It's enough to make you want to stand up and chant, "Justice for Jussie!"

That is, if you can suspend your disbelief -- which a number of Presidential candidates were apparently willing and able to do.

One of the giveaways to Smollett's dishonesty is that he repeatedly prefaces his statements with the word "honestly." And at one point, he refers to his doubters as having made "false, inaccurate" statements (one of those words would have sufficed), demonstrating typical sociopathic overuse of adjectives (and sometimes adverbs), as we saw here and here

Note how Smollett tells his doubters, "You don't even want to see the truth," though that advice would actually be better directed at his supporters.

And when Roberts asks him what people need to hear the most, Smollett replies, "I think what people need to hear is the truth. It's just the truth."

The gentleman doth protest too loudly.

Keep in mind, this isn't even a particularly intelligent sociopath. (If he were smarter, he would have come up with a more plausible story.) A smart one is more slippery, and gets further with his lies.

And a really clever one can even get elected President.

Monday, February 11, 2019

A modern day lynching

It's now all but certain that the attack on Empire actor Jussie Smollett two weeks ago in Chicago was nothing but another hate hoax. Although practically his entire walk that night was captured by security cameras, there is no footage of him being accosted.

It took place at 2AM, on a night when it was 6 degrees, a temperature which tends to inhibit outdoor criminal activity.

It seems highly unlikely that some hate-mongering white supremacist gay-bashers would actually recognize Jussie Smollett (who claimed they called him "that Empire f----t n----r"), in the middle of the night, when he's presumably bundled up to ward off the extreme cold.

Jussie Smollett himself still refuses to release his phone records from that night to the Chicago police.

The "noose" which was found tied around Smollett's neck was not tied in a hangman's knot, but rather the way a necktie is. (What self-respecting lynch mob would ever use a Windsor or four-in-one knot?)

And when Smollett, after his "ordeal," showed up at a friend's apartment, he still had the "noose" around his neck. (Wouldn't your instinct be to get that thing off you as soon as possible?)

Immediately following the reports of the attack, Presidential candidate Kamala Harris released a statement saying, "@Jussie Smollett is one of the kindest, most gentle human beings I know. I'm praying for his quick recovery. This was an attempted modern day lynching. No one should have to fear for their life because of their sexuality or the color of their skin. We must confront this hate."

Presidential candidate Cory Booker, our modern day Spartacus, released a similar statement: "The vicious attack on actor Jussie Smollett was an attempted modern-day lynching. I'm glad he's safe. To those in Congress who don't feel the urgency to pass our Anti-Lynching bill designating lynching as a federal hate crime – I urge you to pay attention."

Both candidates are undoubtedly regretting their hasty words. But both are correct, in a sense. What happened that night in Chicago was in fact a "modern day lynching": the kind that never took place.

Historically, lynchings are a blight on this country. Between 1882 and 1968, roughly 3500 blacks and 1300 whites were killed this way.

Now things are different. I don't have an exact number, but it does seem that a high percentage of the most dramatic instances of white-on-black "hate crimes" so breathlessly reported on by the media in fact turn out to be hoaxes.

The mainstream media, of course, splash the initial reports all over their front pages, but then, as they are debunked, are content to let these stories quietly die.

I've explained before how hate hoaxers have Munchausen's Syndrome, which is nothing more than an offshoot of sociopathy. Except that these days, instead of falsely claiming to be victims of cancer, that time-honored sociopathic scam, they choose to be victims of "hate crimes" instead. Gays will pretend to be victims of gay-bashing, and blacks will pretend to be victims of racially-motivated hate. (Jussie Smollett claimed to be a victim of both.)

The one thing that all of these "victims" have in common is that they're sociopaths. (No one else would even consider such a scam, let alone keeping it going with ongoing lies for as long as they can.)

Given which, Kamala Harris's description of Smollett as one of the "kindest" people she knows seems a severe misjudgment of character.

Such a mistake is forgivable: we all make them, especially with sociopaths. (At the time it just seemed surprising that Harris would know Smollett so well: do their social circles really overlap that much?)

We can hope that a President Harris would learn from her mistake and be a tad more circumspect about the next such "hate crime." Maybe she'll even acknowledge that black-on-white violence is far more prevalent than the reverse, despite what the media would have us believe.

But that seems unlikely.

And perhaps a President Booker might, along with his demand for an anti-lynching law, also consider a law against hate hoaxes, given how they stir up so much hate.

But that, too, seems unlikely.

And perhaps even the kind and gentle Jussie Smollett himself -- our modern-day Emmett Till -- will feel guilt-ridden about his hoax.

But, once a sociopath, always a sociopath.

But it's not just sociopaths. For the most part, no one ever changes.

So probably the stupidest mistake of all was for me to think I could ever sway anyone's thinking in the slightest by explaining the truth about these things.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Gays as signposts

A young man told me the other day that no nightclub is really worth going to unless the clientele is at least 10%, maybe 20%, gay guys.

He explained, "First of all, they attract a lot of young model-types who assume that wherever the gay guys are must be fashionable and trendy." 

"Second, they add a certain air of degeneracy that makes the club feel like Weimar Berlin or something." 

"And third, maybe best of all, they drive away the dumb frat boys and Wall Streeters who always ruin a club. All those guys ever want to do is impress their friends with how smart and cool and tough and good with women they are, and inevitably, they're none of those things."

Everything the young man said rang true.

I was never a nightclub denizen, but listening to the young man made me wish I had been. I was always a little too self-conscious to hang out in a place where every opening line, no matter how well-disguised, inevitably translates as "Wanna fuck?"

Maybe my problem was that I was never much of a drinker. Alcohol has been called a lot of things -- a scourge, an addiction, and a crutch, among others -- and it is all of those things. But in the short term, that crutch can do wonders for the self-confidence and nerve (the definitions of which, now that I think of it, have about a 90% overlap).

And who knows, with a drink or two in me, I might not have been as put off if one of those gay guys had made a pass at me.

If I'd been smart enough to choose the right nightclubs.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

What job experience qualifies one for higher office?

When Donald Trump was campaigning, many pointed out that he had no political experience, and was therefore unqualified for the Presidency. But he had name recognition, the advantage of being a unique candidate in a crowded primary, and he knew how to harness the widespread disgust with political correctness.

What exactly are the right qualifications for higher office? There's no set list of prerequisites one must check off before running. There seems to be a general consensus that certain types of expertise help.

Many politicians have law degrees. This makes sense, as the purpose of Congress is ostensibly to pass laws. That said, a legal background seems to be regarded as less of a necessity than it used to be. And, one need not know the intricacies of the law to know which policies one favors.

Previous political experience also helps: it's generally assumed that the best qualification for higher office is time spent in lower office, though some, like our current President, have managed to bypass that tedious process.

Military service has always inclined the electorate to regard one favorably. A willingness to put one's life on the line for one's country presupposes a certain self-sacrificing patriotism and nobility, qualities which will theoretically not desert one once in taken office. (Though the list of former military people who've been tempted to cash in -- last exemplified by Ryan Zinke -- is a long one.)

Being successful at one's previous occupations is a plus: an electorate will generally assume that such implies future success as a legislator. This generally mean more in a primary than in a general election, where most people just opt for whoever will be a reliable vote for their side. (How many people do you know who've voted for the opposing party's candidate simply because he had a more impressive resume?)

Then there's the "charisma" factor: is someone good-looking, and does he have a pleasing voice?

Finally, does the candidate have the right ethnicity for his electorate? People do like to vote for their own. (The one notable exception here is white people, some of whom see the opportunity to signal virtue even in a voting booth.)

Trump, if he lacked for legal, military, and political experience, did not lack for life experience. And even if he failed in more businesses than he succeeded at, he ended up wealthy. And the case can be made that anyone who has successfully negotiated the incredible sharp-elbowed worlds of real estate and television is ready to take on anyone.

In fact, Trump's Presidency might be characterized as that of a man who's not only willing to take on anybody, but actually wants to take on everybody. At the same time. For better or worse.

This brings us to another politician who's received an inordinate amount of press.

Spending five years waitressing and bartending generally isn't generally considered the ideal background for a legislator. Nonetheless, an ebullient young woman from the Bronx was recently elected on the strength -- or, at least, despite the weakness -- of that resume. But, she was the right ethnicity for her district, and she is comely. Those two attributes, in the eyes of Bronx voters, outweighed the obvious holes in her skimpy resume.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's lack of life experience is evident in her proposed policies. She has recently come out in favor of a Medicare for all, free college tuition, and a universal guaranteed income. She also wants open borders.

The idea that the US could afford such giveaways with people streaming across our southern border seems a bit unrealistic. If her plan were actually put into effect, our population (currently 325 million) would exceed a billion in very short order. When you propose unlimited goodies for an unlimited number of people, the numbers don't add up.

Who knows, maybe one night a few years ago she scribbled some magical formula on the back of a cocktail napkin which somehow makes those numbers work. But it seems unlikely.

Certainly, no one in the press seems in the least inclined to explore the question of her qualifications, or her numeracy. In fact, their "You go girl!" attitude implies that she will be the savior of our nation.

It's probably safe to say that no one since Trump himself has received such outsized media attention. This disproportionate attention, like her candidacy, seems to be largely a result of her looks. Though whenever I see a picture of her, I'm usually struck by the size of her mouth --

-- which seems metaphorically apt.

When she decides to run for even higher office, she won't suffer from lack of name recognition. And by then she'll be able to say she's had experience on the House Banking Committee.

Ocasio-Cortez will turn 30 in October. By then she'll have a little bit more life experience. Admittedly, "life experience" is often just another word for "old." But will AOC's experience on the Banking Committee make her more numerate?

As far as her supporters are concerned, it probably doesn't make any difference.

In the meantime, she does seem to be suffering from overexposure, which she has done her best to encourage. And it's hard not to escape the feeling that the amount of (mostly) uncritical attention she has received so far will eventually backfire.

She has already started to receive criticism from those in her own party, and she hasn't been at all reluctant to lash back.

She's actually not unlike Trump in her brashness, outspokenness, willingness to pick fights, and complete confidence in her own righteousness.

The difference is that before he came to office, Trump dealt with movers and shakers in real estate, television, the garment industry, airlines, banking, and sports. He's negotiated with labor unions, foreign governments, politicians, and probably even the Mafia (he was in the New York real estate business). So he has a pretty good sense of how to deal with politicians.

AOC, by contrast, is really only qualified to fetch them drinks.

Monday, November 5, 2018

The personal vs. the political

The other day I dropped a relative off at the entrance to a hospital, then drove off to park in the designated lot. While walking back to the hospital I saw a car idling at the exit to the lot; the driver was apparently having a hard time figuring out how to pay.

As I walked by the car, the driver, who looked Central American, gestured at me and asked for help. I walked over, and he communicated to me in broken English that he didn't have a credit card and therefore could not pay. I ended up paying the $2 fee with my credit card and he handed me two one dollar bills. Afterwards, he thanked me profusely.

As I was walking backing toward the entrance where I'd dropped my relative off I saw that the Latino was waiting for me at the corner leading into the street. He gestured at me once again, and offered me a ride to wherever I was going. I thanked him and said I didn't need a ride.

But it was touching how his gratitude for such a minor favor was so palpable. He was obviously a genuinely decent fellow, and it occurred to me that no white person in that situation would ever be nearly as grateful.

It was almost enough to make me feel guilty for favoring The Wall.

The next week we switched cable services, and had two different men -- both Jamaicans -- come out on separate days to install first the satellite dish, then the phone and internet service.

Both men were efficient and polite. And after I'd chatted with each, they were friendly and exuded congeniality in a way that whites in that situation almost never would. (I've said before on this blog that when blacks are friendly, there usually seems to be an actual spirit of genuine goodwill, whereas when whites are friendly, it's usually just a matter of observing social proprieties.)

It was almost enough to make me feel guilty for having written honestly about race and IQ.

I mentioned these experiences to a guy I know who is a bit of a white nationalist. He laughed and said, "On an individual basis, almost everyone is better than whites. But that doesn't mean they should come here."

I knew exactly what he meant.

Whites, per capita, seem to have a far higher rate of pretentiousness and phoniness and entitlement. Instead of being genuine, they'll almost always just say whatever it is they think they're supposed to say in a certain situation, unless they're angry or drunk. ("In vino veritas" was an expression coined by whites.)

On the other hand, people of color don't seem to be capable of producing the sort of society -- well-functioning democracies with technological innovation, state of the art manufacturing, high literacy rates, and low infant mortality rates -- that white people are. (Before you call me racist, name a country that is majority Amerindian or black which fits that description.)

The phoniness and pretentiousness of white people may be best illustrated by virtue signaling. Consider how many of them will deny the obvious truths of the above paragraph, while simultaneously congratulating themselves on their moral superiority over those who do not.

In any case, that seems to be the choice we're facing. We can become more of a warm, friendly, welcoming country -- albeit with a higher murder rate -- or we can remain a First World country.

Did you know that Beto O'Rourke's father-in-law is a billionaire?

A friend just forwarded this article, which I found absolutely astounding. I'd had no idea that O'Rourke's father-in-law was worth $20 billion.

In all the accounts you've read of the skate-boarding, free-spirited, youth culture-representing, Kennedy-evoking, good-looking, hero-of-the-downtrodden Beto O'Rourke, have you read a single one which also described him as gold-digging?

Think the little factoid that his father-in-law is a fabulously wealthy real estate developer might possibly be relevant to his candidacy?

And, do you think the fact that O'Rourke may have married for money might provide an insight into his character?

The MSM obviously does, otherwise why would they remain so deafeningly silent about it?

Sunday, November 4, 2018

A tale of two blondes

Megyn Kelly has had an interesting career trajectory. First she was a star-in-the-making at Fox. Unlike most of the perky blondes who populated that network, she seemed to actually think for herself. The execs there were impressed, and after Bill O'Reilly was #MeToo-ed out of his career, she was given the prime 8PM slot.

Then came that fateful Republican debate in which she pointedly asked Donald Trump about how he had treated women in the past. This seemed a legitimate enough question, given his history. And if she hadn't asked it, there were certainly plenty of other people who would have -- and did -- during the course of the campaign.

But, that was the beginning of the end for her at Fox.

The brass at NBC, however, seemed to take her question as proof that she was on their side, so they hired her, with great fanfare, to be a soft news host on their 9AM slot. But to their dismay, she continued to demonstrate independence and outspokenness, and not just at Trump's expense.

Jane Fonda had talked publicly of her plastic surgery earlier; but when Kelly asked her about it, it was considered a gaffe. When Kelly cut off Tom Brokaw because they were up against a commercial break -- a reality that has to be dealt with on every talk show -- that too was considered another gaffe. On other occasions, Kelly was criticized for her awkward dancing.

The last straw for NBC, as has been widely reported, was when she said that kids dressing up in blackface was not necessarily that bad. Her exact words:

"But what is racist? Because you do get in trouble if you are a white person who puts on blackface on Halloween, or a black person who puts on whiteface for Halloween. Back when I was a kid that was OK, as long as you were dressing up as, like, a character....There was a controversy on The Real Housewives of New York with Luann, and she dressed as Diana Ross, and she made her skin look darker than it really is and people said that that was racist. And I don’t know, I felt like who doesn’t love Diana Ross?"

But the news outlets which reported her comment for the most part didn't analyze exactly what she said, but simply implied that she had condoned Al Jolson-style blackface done for the sake of racial mockery rather than refer to a specific instance of what was essentially a tribute.

So, she's out of a job. 

Meanwhile, it turned out that NBC's own Jimmy Fallon actually dressed up in blackface as Chris Rock. Jimmy Kimmel donned blackface to portray Karl Malone. And NBC's Al Roker donned a wig of straight white hair to portray fictional character Doc Brown. (Roker later said his version was okay because he didn't wear facial makeup; decide for yourself how fine the line being drawn there was.)

None of them, of course, suffered any ill consequences.

Once again, "racism" is defined as however you can hurt your political opponents, hypocrisy be damned.

Elizabeth Warren's claims of Indian ancestry have been well-publicized; you're undoubtedly familiar with that saga. It's certainly harmless enough to mention that one's family lore includes rumors of an Indian ancestor a few generations back. But listing oneself as Native American on the Harvard University faculty when that is obviously untrue is another matter.

Warren is, for all practical purposes, Rachel Dolezaal, Jr.

But instead of being given the Dolezaal treatment -- shameful ignominy -- she is still being touted by the Left as a possible Presidential candidate. (Admittedly, that talk has died down a bit since the latest iteration of her tale.)

Likewise, for Harvard Law School to have proudly proclaimed that Warren was their first "woman of color" on the faculty was simply dishonest.

Given all of which, it was a little surprising to see this early picture of Warren as a brunette:

(She must have dyed her hair blonde later on to emphasize her Indian ancestry.)

You can say that as a media personality, Megyn Kelly should have anticipated that her comment would be taken out of context and willfully misconstrued. You can say that no one should feel sorry for someone as wealthy as her. And you can say that her rumored behind-the-scenes diva-like behavior alienated coworkers. All of those things are probably true. But it's also true that her biggest crime, as far as her detractors are concerned, is to show a common sense and honesty which have gone out of style. (Bear in mind, her independence offended those on the Right as well as Left.)

Elizabeth Warren went a step further than blackface, and actually claimed to be what she is not.

Which is worse?

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Elon Musk = Donald Trump

This hasn't been Elon Musk's best year.

Back on May 2nd, at Tesla's quarterly earnings presentation, two analysts dared to ask impertinent questions, and Musk responded by saying, "Boring, bonehead questions are not cool" and "These questions are so dry, they're killing me." (The analysts were simply asking the hard questions about Model 3 production that they were supposed to be asking.)

There was that well-publicized incident with the "pedo guy" who dared to call Musk's offer of a submarine to rescue those Thai soccer players a publicity stunt. Musk's PR people convinced him to apologize, but then, a month later, Musk repeated the insult.

On August 2nd, Musk Tweeted that he was pondering taking Tesla private, and had "funding secured." The SEC let him off for that lie with a slap on the wrist: a $20 million fine means little to someone worth $20 billion, and stripping him of his chairmanship while allowing him to remain CEO left him firmly in control. Nonetheless, Musk couldn't even let this "insult" pass, and Tweeted this past week that the SEC now stood for "Shorts Enrichment Commission."

The common thread with all these incidents is that they were sparked by Musk's inability to take an insult without returning one. Musk will get into a spat with anyone, from Wall Street analysts to Pedo guy. None of these people are nearly as rich or famous or powerful as Musk, but that doesn't deter him.

Every time Musk responds to criticism with an insult, it's hard not to be reminded of Donald Trump, who considers no target too small to be the recipient of a scathing Presidential insult delivered via Twitter.

Musk's promises of imminent profitability for Tesla seem farfetched, given that their backlog is diminishing, consumer tax credits are coming to an end, and their cash is being rapidly depleted. There have been production difficulties as well as safety issues at those Jerry-rigged "factories" (some of which are housed in tents). And far fewer Tesla cars pass their initial inspections than at a normal automobile manufacturer (roughly 20% as opposed to 80%).

Musk's other promises regarding the cost of the Hyperloop and having Space X settle Mars starting in 2024 also stretch credulity.

(Trump, too, is given to hyperbole, though he's been far better about delivering on his promises.)

Though it's easy to dislike Musk, he doesn't seem to be a sociopath. There's a certain lack of subterfuge, a certain guilelessness in the way he lashes back at his critics. (Again, like Trump.) A sociopath would be far more likely to disguise his insults as left-handed compliments. And a sociopath would be far more calculating about the image he presented to the public.

There are differences between the two men. Trump, like many relatives of alcoholics, won't touch the stuff. Neither does he take illegal drugs. And it's hard to imagine Trump breaking down and crying during an interview the way Musk reportedly did during an interview with the New York Times in August.

Nonetheless, the parallels are hard to miss. Both men are textbook examples of narcissistic personality disorder.

But neither man lies about who he is, and neither pretends to be something he's not, which is the essence of sociopathy.

Both basically say, here I am, warts and all -- and if you don't like me, screw you. While those warts may be unsightly, at least they're not surreptitiously hidden from view.

Another thing to consider: if they hadn't been narcissists, neither man would have accomplished what he has.

It takes a certain grandiosity to create as many companies as Musk has. And it takes a bold, confident -- perhaps overly confident -- man to think that he can win the Presidency while scoffing at political correctness and antagonizing the media.

So maybe we should just resign ourselves to the fact that a lot of public figures are going to be insufferable.

It pains me to point out the similarities between the two men, as support Trump politically while I think Tesla is headed south. But the likeness in personality is striking.

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Sexual politics

The nation's attention has been riveted by the Brett Kavanaugh nomination saga, which we'll probably never know the truth about with absolute certainty. Most people's opinions on the matter seem to fall along political lines. Yet politics ought not to bear on the veracity of what may or may not have happened in a suburban bedroom over 30 years ago.

It's certainly possible Ford is telling the truth and Kavanaugh did lay on top of her and try to remove her bathing suit while in high school. The soft-faced Kavanaugh does not appear the sort of overbearing, high testosterone, aggressive guy you'd normally associate with such behavior. But, looks can be deceiving.

In any case, the Kavanaugh situation is not the point of this post. The point is that sex, by its very nature, is an awkward, messy business rife with the potential for blunders, embarrassment, hurt feelings, misinterpretation, insecurity, frustration, and regret.

And, the circumstances surrounding such first time encounters are often sodden with alcohol.

So the politicization of sex is fraught with the potential for misleading tropes and willful misinterpretation.

Consider the idea of an "unwanted sexual advance." That could just be a shy guy who at the end of a date timidly leans forward for a goodnight kiss, and the girl pulls back. Voila, an "unwanted sexual advance." If you want to view it in that light.

You may have heard of "regret rape," when a woman who willingly has intercourse later regrets it, often because the man never phoned her again, so decides to file rape charges.

In a sane world, it would be the filing of those charges, not the sex, which would be regarded as a possible crime.

One of the current battlecries is, "No always means no." You're not supposed to say this, but in reality, it doesn't always mean that. Sometimes it just means "I want to preserve my self-image as a good girl, but if you keep trying, I'll probably give in."

Or, it can mean, "I want you to think me more chaste than I actually am, since you make good money and seem like a good prospect for marriage."

Or, "I love the way you keep coming at me, it validates my attractiveness!"

If these interpretations didn't have a basis in reality, the word "coy" wouldn't be in the dictionary. To deny that some women play these games is simply to be blind to human nature -- in all its wondrous diversity.

Of course, there are times when "no" does mean no. No man is justified in using physical force to overpower a woman. But persistence, or an advance, are not the same as assault, and some of the accusations -- and effectively, convictions -- of the #MeToo era have conflated the two.

There's another basic contradiction which is a little hard to reconcile: who, for the past decade, has been the number one fictional sex object for women? The hero of Fifty Shades of Grey. Would Christian Grey have passed a Senate confirmation hearing? Seems doubtful.

Especially if he'd been nominated by Donald Trump.

It's telling that the men who most vociferously condemn aggressively heterosexual men fall into two main categories.

Some are homosexuals, like Ronan Farrow, who's made his name by exposing the predatory nature of certain men. Or Barack Obama, who did his best to institute kangaroo courts to combat the "campus rape epidemic."

It's hard not to think that the reason they are so vociferously condemnative of heterosexuals is because they have no sense of the types of games some -- not all, but some -- women play. There may be a little resentment against heterosexual men in general at work there as well.

And some are heroic defenders of feminism like Eric Schneiderman, the New York State Attorney General from 2011 to 2018, who in February 2018 brought a civil rights lawsuit against the Weinstein Company for failing to protect its employees from sexual harassment. Turned out his righteousness rang a little hollow.

In fact Harvey Weinstein himself, before his downfall, had long presented himself as a strong supporter of women in the film industry.

As Asia Argento found out, posing as Joan of Arc comes with its own set of risks.

This is not to say there aren't men, like Harvey Weinstein or Bill Cosby or Bill Clinton, who belong in jail.

Certainly, trying to force yourself on a girl the way Christine Blasey Ford claimed Brett Kavanaugh did would be shameful. But in the world most of us grew up in, not going for sex can result in social shaming as well. How many high school boys have you known who boasted of their virginity? (Though Brett Kavanaugh seems to have been reduced to that.)

To ignore the intrinsic awkwardness of sex, especially among the young and inexperienced, is to set an impossible standard for most men to follow.

Which may, of course, be the entire point of weaponizing #MeToo. To the Left, the beauty of this movement may be that there will always be something to hang someone with.

If there isn't, you can always just make something up. After all, as the feminists say, "I believe women."

But the idea that possession of a vagina confers credibility is as ridiculous as thinking that possession of a penis does the same. (Imagine the silliness of a t-shirt which stated, "I believe men." And, imagine the outrage with which such would be greeted.)

What's most wrong with the politicization of sex is that it ignores the very nature of sex: the physical attraction, the flirtation, the double meanings, the conversational subtexts, the messiness of it all. And most importantly it ignores the hesitancy and awkwardness, or conversely, the pushiness sometimes required for it to happen. And it ignores the forbidden fruit appeal sex can sometimes have, as well as the nature of arousal.

Most men, while having -- or attempting to have -- sex, have thoughts like the following going through their brains: "Look at those beautiful, perky little nipples....that ass is so cute...Yes, she's really juicy!.....Mmm, that feels good."

Apologies for the graphic content. But for sex to occur, these have to be the types of thoughts going through a male mind.

Here, by contrast, are some thought that don't go through men's minds at such times:

"Hmm, I wonder what Gloria Allred will make of this situation in a few months."

"Do third wave feminists approve of spanking?"

"Was I perhaps a touch too aggressive in my initial approach?"

"Is there any chance if I don't phone this woman back there might be repercussions?"

Were these the thoughts consuming men every time such situations arose, arousal would not occur, and the human race would come grinding to a halt.

To make someone's history of awkward teenage groping the crucible upon which suitability for higher office is to be determined is to open up a Pandora's Box of recriminations, petty revenge, half-truths, and outright lies. And it means willfully ignoring human nature.

That no public figure is willing to point this out because they are afraid of becoming the mob's next target shows just how out of control the mob has gotten.

A few decades ago, school administrators used to warn their students that whatever they did in high school would go on their "permanent record." This warning subsequently turned into a sort of joke, and the excessive seriousness with which it was taken was looked back upon with a sort of mirthful regret.

Funny thing, those warnings turned out to be true.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Deleted comments

My apologies, I just deleted the last 200 or so comments that were made on this blog, including all the nice comments people made after the post announcing that this blog was more or less coming to a close. It was an accident. I thought I was just deleting them from an internal control section, but it turned out I deleted them entirely, and I can't figure out how to restore them.

For any of you who made those comments, if you happen to look at this blog again, take my word, it was nothing personal, just a function of stupidity on my part.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Senatorial President

Traditionally, a United States Senator's job has been to do the best he can for his home state's constituency -- if need be, at the expense of other states. Senators lobby to land government contracts for companies located in their states, and to get laws passed which will be favor for their states' industries. An effective Senator will bring home as much federal largesse as possible. 

Donald Trump seems to see himself as the Senator from the United States. Right now he's trying to get fairer trade deals for our country, especially with China. He's looking out for the interests of his constituency, which is basically America's middle class, and is trying to bring companies and jobs back home. 

It's a job which previous Presidents seem to have considered beneath their dignity. Most of them preferred to see themselves as statesmen, or grand visionaries, or, perhaps, leaders of the free world. And they all had a sense of the ruffled feathers and potential chaos that trying to level the economic playing field would bring. So none could be bothered to disrupt the status quo. 

Certainly all of the implicit threats of trade wars emanating from the Trump administration have been creating havoc in the financial markets. And Trump's own shoot-from-the-hip, freewheeling, keep-the-opponent-off-balance negotiating style has not been reassuring. 

But we have long been regarded as a pitiful, helpless giant by other countries which have wanted to protect their own industries while being allowed more or less free access to our markets. And Trump wants to end that imbalance. 

He's also annoyed by the fact that other countries don't pay their fair share for NATO, and is trying to rectify that. He's trying to get a better deal for the US. Which, as our President, is what he should be doing. 

Trump's ego is as obtrusive as a second head on his shoulders, and Presidential decorum ranks low on his list of priorities. But, again unlike previous Presidents, he seems to have meant everything he said while running, and is doing his best to make good on his campaign promises. 

Trump is our Senatorial President. 

Obama seemed to view his job as President as if he were the head of the world's largest foundation, with the power to dole out lots of goodies to his favored constituencies, both here and abroad. He seemed to have little sense of how the money which funded the foundation was originally made. And for that reason, he never seemed to quite get why capitalism is more effective than communism. 

This country is better off with a Senator than a foundation head in the Oval Office. 

A true feminist

A lot of feminists pay lip service to the idea that "whatever a man can do, a woman can do better." But the women who are most inclined to chant that slogan often seem to be those least inclined to live up to it. They are not the ones who join the military, start corporations, or act as the breadwinners for their families.

Instead, they prefer to participate in protests, hold placards, complain about how they are oppressed by the patriarchy, lecture others, and regard themselves as morally superior.

So it's reassuring to see that one woman, Samantha Ray Mears, has actually taken that maxim to heart, and has made an honest effort to outdo men at their own game.

Actions speak louder than words.

Friday, March 2, 2018

The time has come....

I probably won't bring this blog to a complete halt, but I plan to slow it way, way down. The posts, if they come at all, will be much less frequent.

I started it ten years ago as a way to let off steam, and I've done that. But for the last couple years I've found myself saying the same thing over and over, in only slightly different ways.

Maybe more to the point, blogging has recently felt like a chore.

Check back in a month, or a year, I'll probably have written something. And who knows, I may feel the need to vent more than I expect. (Signing up for the email alert will save you the time you'd waste coming here to see if there's anything new.)

To those of you who are newcomers, you should still find plenty of entertaining stuff in the archives.

A big thank you to those of you who've been regular readers, and an even bigger thank you to those of you who've been regular commenters. One of the most gratifying things about writing it has been the high number of smart people -- many smarter than me -- who've read it.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The solution to our Muslim immigration problems

A young man recently suggested to me that the way to solve all the problems that seem to arrive with immigrants from Muslim countries is to accept only their gay men and their hot young women. 

It would be justifiable because gay men are certainly discriminated against in those countries -- to the point of being thrown off rooftops. And women are obviously second class citizens in any Islamic society. So both of these groups can more creditably lay claim to be fleeing persecution than all of those aggressive young men we seem to get stuck with. 

From our point of view, gay men would probably be less prone to violence, and they certainly wouldn't go around raping Western women. Instead of having a repeat of that infamous mass molestation in Cologne, they could have mass fashion critiques instead. ("Plaids and stripes in the same outfit? May Allah be with you!")

As far as the hot young women, well, that's self-explanatory. 

The young man knows, of course, that there's no chance such a policy will be instituted. 

But that's not to say the West wouldn't be far better off if it were.

Monday, February 26, 2018

It's more fun to be black

Black people have a much more appealing, enjoyable way of being.

When blacks laugh, their entire bodies will often convulse, and sometimes they'll even jump up and down to express amusement. The few occasions when I've actually laughed so hard that tears came to my eyes, and the one or two occasions where I literally fell on the floor because I was laughing so hard, were definitely high points in my life.

On a few occasions, I have gleefully and unabashedly and celebrated some personal triumph, not entirely unlike a running back doing a victory dance in the end zone. Others may have resented my display, and I may have later wished I'd been a little more circumspect, or displayed some false modesty. But when I was in the moment, I was unquestionably having a good time.

Being in that moment is harder than it sounds, especially for someone like me, who tends to spend a lot of time thinking about the past or future. But I'd like to be more like Lamar Odom.

I've said it before, but it bears repeating: when blacks are being friendly, I've always sensed more genuine goodwill than when whites are, since blacks tend to be more uninhibited about saying what they think, whereas with whites almost always feel obliged to put on some sort of (more or less false) socially acceptable face. On those occasions when I've actually felt warmly towards those I'm with, as opposed to having to feign friendliness, I've enjoyed myself far more.

Inhibitions may be good for keeping people on the straight and narrow path, and for getting them to fulfill their social responsibilities. But they don't make for a good time.

Think of it this way: white people drink in order to become more like black people. They may not think of it in those terms, and they likely don't want to actually be black; but they want to be more like them, i.e., uninhibited.

It has often been noted that when there's a large group of blacks, the noise level tends to be louder. You may have noticed the same of white cocktail parties: the volume gets turned up.

If you could have the relaxed feeling of having had a couple drinks, without the physical side effects, would you not opt for that condition?

How many of your most fun times seem to have come when you've had a couple beverages? Would it not be preferable to just be high on life?