Laughing.

There’s a quote from A Streetcar Named Desire that has stayed with me since I was a teenager seeing that old movie for the first time. Here’s the clip:

I, too, have depended on the kindness of strangers. I found great friendship on a conservative UK site; many of those folks have become family to me. I have found patient understanding right here on NEO. Not once – not once! – has anyone called me out or openly laughed in my face regarding this absurd problem I seem to have with proper names. Here’s a little list of proper names snafus for which I am apologizing: Pilot for Pilate; Shawn Hannity for Sean Hannity, President Barlet for President Bartlet. I’m certain the list is longer but my ego can only withstand just so many body blows.

I’m certain you’d be shocked to know that I ‘proofread’ (insert the sound of your laughter here) my essays at least four times before I submit them to NEO for approval. And when I get notification that an essay is going to post that particular day, I read it again – just to be ‘sure’. The only thing I’m ‘sure’ of anymore is that I need a sane person at my desk to gently guide me away from the idiotic mistake I’m going to commit in the next sentence.

Here’s something interesting to make you wonder at: our new priest was born and raised in Ghana, Africa. At some point in his life, he went to school in France – for how long, I don’t know. He’s a naturalized American citizen now. Each Sunday night or Monday morning, he sends me his sermon notes to edit (I heard that snigger, by the way!) and post to our various media. His writings are an odd combination of Gospel, stream of consciousness, a wide palette of colors (or colours as he will sometimes insist), and a wanton abuse of capital letters. I open the file he sends me and the first thing that comes to mind is, “Abandon hope, all ye who enter here”. Gosh! That’s not very charitable of me. Sorry – the truth hurts. I have, at times, become so mired in his ‘creativity’, that I’ve sent his sermons to our beloved Margaret – an endearing woman and inspiration; she writes for that UK site I mentioned earlier and had a career as an editor for newsprint companies in the UK. I get the most delightful replies from her! She thinks I’m mad to even TRY to edit his sermons and she can be downright hilarious in her ‘corrections’. She gives me hope and makes me feel better.

All that was to tell you that as bad – really bad! – as I am at proper names, I at least can get my point across in a fairly logical, chronological order. So; there’s that.

Listen friends – the next time you see a hopelessly mangled proper name, feel free to call me out on it. It could become a game, like ‘find the hidden object is this picture’. Be sure of one thing – I’ll be laughing.

 

Broken Eggs but no Omelet

Catholicism Pure and Simple tells us that Fr Thomas Haake, an eighty-year-old priest was assaulted outside his residence in Washington. Fr Haake was dressed in his cassock a praying the Rosary at the time. The assault was apparently carried out by BLM/Antifa (if there is any difference, which I doubt).

Well, I can think of few things more offensive and despicable than assaulting an elderly person, or a priest, let alone an elderly priest. As far as I am personally concerned, they should be put down permanently, there is nothing there left to save. Since it appears that Fr Haake will survive, the law is not that, which is probably a good thing, but increasingly, especially in our cities, we are seeing little to no punishment for such crimes. This will not end well.

It is also a stark reminder of Jacobinism, that brought France the terror, and little different from Mao’s Cultural Revolution or Pol Pot’s Killing Fields. The only real difference is that this time it is in the West, as it hasn’t been since Napoleon ended that nonsense with a whiff of grapeshot.


So what the hell is going on here? Gene Veith at Cranach found someone who thinks he knows.

Today I want to focus on Prof. Kaufmann’s discussion of the prospect of a “Second American Revolution” and his sociological and psychological analysis of what is happening today, as many of our cultural elite turn against their own culture.

Here are some excerpts from his article (bolding what I think is most significant):

Statues toppled, buildings renamed, curricula “decolonized,” staff fired. The protests following George Floyd’s killing have emboldened cultural revolutionaries in America and Europe. The iconoclasts are changing minds, and could be in a position to enact a root-and-branch reconstruction of America into something completely unrecognizable to its present-day inhabitants. Imagine a country whose collective memory has been upended, with a new constitution, anthem, and flag, its name changed from the sinful “America” to something less tainted.

Prof. Kaufmann discusses the “social construction” of “harm,” how framing issues in a particular way can change the way they are perceived.  He uses the example of the teenaged girl who wore a Chinese dress to the prom and got savaged for it on social media:

Is a white woman wearing a Chinese prom dress complimenting or insulting the Chinese? Most Chinese would probably take the former view, but a left-modernist ideological entrepreneur can spin this as cultural appropriation and white colonialism. In effect, the left-modernist socially constructs “harm” and “racism,” spinning something positive into a negative and seeking to sensitize Chinese people to the “fact” that they should feel insulted rather than proud. Those inducted into the religion of antiracism get the message and signal their virtue online, helping to propel people toward the new norm. If this were to catch on in China, the emotions Chinese feel when seeing the image of a white woman in a cheongsam would flip from pride to anger.

The same sensitizing dynamic works for history, literature, film, statues, and even words. Like Red Guards with a hair-trigger sensitivity for sniffing out the bourgeois, today’s left-modernist offense archaeologists outdo each other in trying to reframe the world as racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist, and so on. Turning the principle of charity on its head, they insist on the most suspicious interpretation of a person’s motives when the subject matter is associated with their canonical totems of race, gender, sexuality. A Hispanic man flicking his fingers outside his truck window gets fired because this was photographed, tweeted, and spun as the “OK” white power sign. The result is an atmosphere where inter-personal trust is as low as humanly possible while discursive power flows to the accuser. The new cultural revolutionaries have constructed our emotional and conceptual reality.

Once “harm”, “racism” and other concepts become unmoored from reality, more of the world is remade. Statues which were long ignored become offensive. Complex historical figures like Jefferson or Churchill, who embodied the prejudices of their time, or elites like Columbus or Ulysses Grant, whose achievements had both positive and negative effects, are viewed through a totalizing Maoist lens which collapses shades of grey into black and white. If a historic personage transgressed left-modernist sacred values, their positives instantly evaporate and activists myopically focus on their transgressions.

Read Dr. Veith’s article and the linked one from Prof Kauffmann that is linked as well. The emphasis is Dr. Veith’s which I agree with.

It all sounds very possible doesn’t it, that this is what’s happening. Maybe so. Dr. Veith continues.

You should read the whole of Prof. Kaufmann’s article, which compares what is happening in the United States to the cultural destruction carried out by the Taliban and to the “Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution” of Mao Tse Tung’s China.  The different threads of this phenomenon lead him to conclude that a “second American revolution” could happen, unless it is countered by a revival of “cultural nationalism.”
What do you think?  Is a second American revolution likely?
I say, no.  The cultural revolutionaries are up against reality, and reality always–maybe not in the short term but the long term–wins out.
I agree with Gene here, there is just too much to destroy to manage it, certainly without government power, but most likely even with.
Plus, there is something so engrained in the American cultural DNA that would prevent a radical “deculturalization” (to use Prof. Kaufmann’s term):  namely, a love of liberty.  The cultural revolutionaries themselves hold to a version of it–they demand sexual freedom–and the original protesters of George Floyd’s killing were quite commendably demanding the protection of civil liberties for Black Americans.  This love of freedom, in fact, unites all Americans despite all of their differences.  And I think it will ultimately thwart the efforts of social control–including limiting free speech, the freedom religion, and the freedom of thinking– that the more radical progressives would like to impose on all Americans.
Again I agree with him, Americans have built too solid a structure of liberty and individual freedom for this to work, now or at any time I can conceive in the future. Sadly, that does not preclude the breaking of eggs, like Fr Haake, but is far more likely to lead to a horrid mess on the kitchen floor than anything resembling an omelet.
Something else BLM/Antifa, as well as our so-called cultural elites, should consider, is that as my less properly spoken friends are wont to say.

“Paybacks are a bitch!”

I Wish I was Neo.

As you well know, I am neither politically savvy nor a student of history. Far from, on both counts. But I admire those talents greatly and wish I had paid more attention in school and then throughout my life. But I didn’t and so I spend time playing catchup with folks like Neo who I will never even be able to see as the carrot in front of me because he is so far ahead of me.

Aside from voting for President Trump, and knowing and understanding the Republican Platform, the two years I’ve been retired have been my high school civics/government class. It’s been an eye-opener. I watched, from start to finish, a Supreme Court nominee’s confirmation trial – er, hearing, watched how a wrongly inspired and badly presented impeachment process is done, have watched unemployment across the board and especially in the minorities crash to very low numbers, saw the Market skyrocket, and watched mainstream media drop all disguise of being fair and impartial. Then the ‘you know what’ and I’m not even going to look at that. I don’t want to and you can’t make me.

My other class of note has been West Wing. Let me just defend myself by saying I love the writing, the snappy smartass remarks that still make me laugh, even in my fifth binge. I like the characters and I like the human interest stories that seem to people most episodes. The three episodes of President Barlet being shot still gets me upset and teary (actually, the result of too many mandatory ‘active shooter’ videos at the last place I worked). There is really nothing I don’t like about West Wing. Except for Democrat policies. The writers understood the Democrat Platform (they could never produce this program today – socialism in its current form is far more frightening than the socialism of the period 1999-2006 during which the series was written and filmed. Today’s socialism is so crass, so over-the-top, so unhinged that today’s West Wing would have be shown after 11 o’clock at night.

Here’s the most notable thing: the members of the Barlet Administration are highly principled, incredibly intelligent and educated, and willing to risk their professional lives to push for whatever stupid policy they believe to be important for ‘the people’. I have seriously given this thought. If I had to name one person to whom I could apply the above attributes within the Democrat Party, there is not one person who stands out. Not one. It seems this Democrat Party is the amalgamation of horrible people with no principles that do nothing but enhance themselves over their constituents. There is no love of country. There is no respect for American history. There is no regard for anyone or anything that is not them and their twisted, sick, dark view of the future they would create is so frightening, so scary, I can’t even pretend to look at it. Like Medusa, I’m afraid if I look at it, I’ll turn to stone or go insane.

Instead, I get my updates and hat straightened when I read Neo posts. When I read the wonderful comments by the historians who reside here at NEO. But truth to tell, I sometimes wish I was Neo.

An afterword from Neo.

I’m very flattered, Audre that you would think you would. But like us all, I’m a product of all my yesterday’s. And many of mine have been hard indeed, not excluding ridiculously long hours, poverty, job loss, a bit of homelessness, a lack of family, and much more.

Have I learned from all of it, the bad, the worse, and the better? Sure, but it has left me a cynical curmudgeon, who recognizes he got exactly what he deserved. I spent most of my life dealing with power that might kill you quick, but more often left the careless, sloppy, or even just unlucky worker screaming in pain in the burn ward for months before dying from it. I knew some of them, some were friends. Some of the people I worked with over the years would have joined them if I and others hadn’t watched out for them. It left me a hard-ass supervisor with a fetish for doing things right the first time. But that is not really career or life-enhancing these days, even if it does allow one to sleep at night.

My love for history, and its current interpretation in politics, is also a legacy, from my family and some really good teachers, again tempered by life experiences nobody should have. It too has left me cynical, detesting almost all politicians, and their sycophants in big business, big labor, and all the other ‘bigs’ only slightly less. My contempt for the utterly clueless who mostly teach these subjects these days is bottomless. There are of course exceptions, the historians and buffs who hang about here are amongst them. But teachers as a class have become amongst the most cowardly people in society while clinging to the status that real teachers won decades, even centuries, ago.

So, count your blessings, dear Audre, you are not me and that is a very good thing. Reminds me that Jess once said she had no desire to be equal to men, why would she demean her self so?

Sunday Funnies, Implosion Edition

As the west implodes, it’s still important to laugh – even if wryly.

The Greatest Man in the World – according to King George III of Great Britain

BTW, if you’ve forgotten, that 1969 code was for the mission to the moon.

Shit Happens

Not on my Watch.

Let’s start with an aside, I, personally, was very pleased when yesterday’s article from Audre showed up. There is a lot going on this summer, and much of it is bad, some very bad, and so like Pontiac said, it’s very good to smile and perhaps laugh. That’s one, although not the only, reason why I value her contribution here so much. We all need that, and blogging like almost anything else concerning current events tends towards, ‘If it bleeds, it leads”. But there is a lot more to life, and we need to remember to take the time to enjoy the good things.


Now then, we’ve had many hard things to say about various and sundry politicians, especially governors this year, and with cause, as they have caused our elderly to be put in harm’s way, with little or no protection, and they caviled and hid like the cowards they are from their responsibilities and all the rest. But not all of them.

In my neighboring state of South Dakota, they have perhaps one of the greatest governors of the last few generations, and surprising no one except the left, she is a woman, Kristi Noem.

When almost everyone was panicking and shutting down their states, Ms. Noem said:

 that South Dakotans are free Americans, not subject to arbitrary orders from politicians. They are also smart: South Dakotans can look after their own health better than any government can. So her administration has put out a steady stream of data and advice, but she has refused to order anyone to do anything. And guess what: South Dakota has a very low level of COVID fatality and, last time I checked, the lowest unemployment rate in the country.*

That’s what should have been done across the country. If people want to compete for Darwin awards, well, it’s their life, to waste if they choose. Of course, that doesn’t do much to aggrandize a politician’s power, like controlling every jot and tittle of citizens’ lives. But it decidedly is the American Way, the way of freedom to choose.

As PowerLine also reported:

When looting and arson erupted across the U.S. following the death of George Floyd, a riot began in Sioux Falls. Within minutes, Noem called out the National Guard to suppress criminal behavior. “Rioting and looting will not be tolerated in South Dakota,” she said.

And now when terrorists are threatening the public display of our heritage, Governor Noem, whose state is home to Mt Rushmore, the epic sculpture of four presidents, of which the making is an epic of its own, her comment is just as apropos “Not on my watch”. Not as an exclamation just as a matter of fact. And if South Dakotans need any help, which would surprise me, it won’t be far away. I can think of quite a few guys and girls, in Stetsons and boots carrying hardware made by Winchester and Colt who would be proud indeed to help. Truly, this is an American thing.

We’ve dealt with this before, this is the attempted undoing of the story told by John Ford in Who Shot Liberty Valance. And the ending will be the same.

Too often people forget, this is America, and we bloody well built it, and if a bit of remodeling might be in order, we’ll take care of it.

As is said these days, “You go, girl”, and we’ve got your six.

*via Powerline as is the picture.

Random Observations.

Walking among the flowers and thorns of YouTube, I discovered some things I thought I would share with you.

You can tell it’s summer. Shawn Hannity and Tucker Carlson have sunburns. Tucker’s looks really painful; Shawn’s is not so bad. We can tell there are no makeup employees because they wouldn’t be radiating that ‘glow’ if there were.

Lon and I are tall therefore, ergo, we don’t have a noose on our garage door.

“Where are the police when you need them?” Right where you put them – out of the picture and leaving in droves. Didn’t take much thought to figure that out.

The Biden Polls are wrong. Well, as we used to say, “No sh–, Sherlock!” Listen, folks here’s the thing about polls. They only count the number of people who respond to them. So what is being measured is a finite group of folks who were so ‘moved’, I guess, to take the poll. The reason no one saw Trump coming is because people like me – millions of them – don’t do ‘polls’. The only poll that matters happens on election day.

Black Lives Matter and Antifa are Marxist groups. Ya think???

Dave Rubin used to be a minor voice on YT. He studied at the feet of Jordan Peterson for a year, traveling with him, appearing with him, worshiping him. Now ‘he’ is the voice of reason. Umm … ok.

Democrats Block GOP Policing Policy. Ok – and you’re surprised why, exactly?

There’s a young father in Oklahoma who videos his home farm (not like real farmers, but he’s into chickens, pigs, that sort of thing). I watch his videos because he kinda-sorta looks like my son who lives in Texas and whom I miss dearly. When he goes into the porch or into the kitchen for whatever reason, the place (a pretty big house, actually) is stuffed, crammed full of STUFF. Would drive me crazy but I’m kind of a neat freak and I try to remember they have three children but it’s not toys that fill that house. Yesterday, he posted a video that they have purchased 40 acres and going to go off-grid. I started laughing – how are ya gonna power up that camera, sport? But he plans on solar panels and windmills. (Still laughing) Ok, then! I will continue and watch this debacle as it unfolds.

There’s a 30-something gentleman on YT who does ‘reaction’ videos to music he’s never heard before. I enjoy him because he’s funny, winds up loving the music of MY generation (can you imagine being almost 40 and hearing Meatloaf for the first time???) and because he’s got a good heart and a gentle soul. George Floyd came up in a ‘special’ video. I was so afraid to listen – he gives me so much joy and laughter, I didn’t want to have to write him off. But I forced myself to listen. He was spot on. What he said was folks who watch his videos are black, white, American, international, young and old. And that on his channel, all we’re going to see and hear is peace and love. He’s right; that’s all we get and we’re grateful for it. Love you, Jamel.

Since ‘quarantine’ or lockdown, or ‘shelter in place’ – depending on what it’s called where you are, there have been no new bigfoot sightings. All I can imagine is the ‘foots are tickled to death to be able to scratch their behinds, take the kids out for a walk, and get a little romantic in the privacy of their woods. But I miss you, buddy! Recordings of your vocalizations are simply not enough.

So that’s my take on this morning’s romp around YouTube. I wonder what kind of observations you’re making. Maybe list them in the comments below?

 

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