Monthly Archives: May 2021

Mail Bag / Grab Bag [updated]

[update]: I swear, you cannot make this shit up.

Via Ace of Spades, and yes, it’s real. Homey killed a cop, in case you’re wondering. (Allegedly, I suppose I must add, allegedly). Do you think that’s why The Media gave him the full halo-and-wings treatment, or is it just one of those ironic coinky-dinks?

Remember, my friends, there was a time when we thought this

was grossly obvious agitprop. I never thought I’d miss the day when “a D+ art project from the Special Needs class of the Young Pioneers” would be a masterpiece of subtlety, but… here we are.


Because it’s Friday, I ain’t got no job, and I ain’t got shit else to do, here are some miscellaneous items from the email and the Intertubes.

Skedastic Racket asks,

What do you think about our wonderful ruling class starting a war with China? Any ideas about timeline, or what they will try to pass off into the media in order to make it come about?

Not to get all Hegel on y’all going into a long weekend, but the Current Year has proven that Reality is, indeed, dialectically constructed. It has to be. How else is it that a) our “President” can be bought and paid for by the ChiComs, but b) our rulers are trying desperately to start a war with them?

About the specifics, I have no idea. I can’t even begin to guess. The Current Year is so bizarre, the casus belli will probably end up being something like “Xi refuses to allow drag queen story hour in Beijing,” which apparently is a nuclear strike-level offense now. I do, sadly, think some kind of conflict is almost inevitable. I’m not an armchair admiral, so I’m not going to trot out some big geostrategic thing here. All I know is, China sees herself — and desperately, obsessively wants to be seen by the rest of the world — as the rightful hegemon of at least Asia, if not the globe. Taking her rightful place must necessarily entail knocking off the old hegemon. It’s not like Britain handing the torch to the USA following the world wars; this is a clash of cultures for real.

Here again, we see the horrifying idea that nobody’s in charge. Totally Legit Joe would never dream of going against his paymasters, but they don’t let Totally Legit Joe decide anything more than what flavor of pudding cup to have at snack time. The Media are all in Xi’s pocket, too, so they could all start demanding preemptive surrender. The Pentagon, though… there’s the wild card. It’s obvious they have no interest in fighting a real enemy, but without “fighting real enemies”-level money, they can’t afford to pay for the troops’ gender reassignment surgeries, so… who knows?


Via Pickle Rick, a tragedy in Pittsburgh:

Vigil Held At Penn Hills High School To Remember 4 Students Who Died Recently

That’s really the headline, y’all. Not, you know, poorly translated from Estonian or something. I’d advise not driving or operating any heavy machinery for a while after reading this, because… well, you’ll see.

PENN HILLS, Pa. (KDKA) — Penn Hills High School held a memorial service following a recent string of sudden deaths among students.

Over the past month, four 17-year-old students have died. Three of them were victims of gun violence.

The link, which I’ve preserved from the original, links to another story from the same website, this one headlined

Penn Hills High School Remembers Students Who Died Too Young

Digging many, many paragraphs down in that story, we find

The deaths have been happening since April, including two back-to-back. According to the district, one was a drug overdose and the other three were the results of gun violence.

Everybody got that? The results of gun violence. The deaths have been happening. Grammatically, that last construction is known as “present perfect continuous tense” (yeah, I had to look it up too), but I think we can just go ahead and mark all this down as “Jogger tense,” the kind of elaborate verbal jiujitsu you see when the writer really, really, really doesn’t want to admit the obvious. Which is this:

No pic of the fourth kid, so he must’ve been waving a Glock around in all his selfies.

But wait…. there’s more!! Two paragraphs down in both stories we find:

READ MORE:The Great Grill Debate: Do People Prefer Charcoal Or Is The Griddle Taking Over?

Now, I admit I don’t know how embedded ads work, so I acknowledge that a) this might be random, and b) it could change by the time you click on the links, but swearsie-realsies, as of the time I’m writing this, that’s the link that appears virtually at the top of two stories about four dead kids. That’s so perfectly tasteless, it might as well be tofu.

Continuing:

Gina Bigenho, Lott’s mother, told KDKA, “He was just a great kid. We miss him more than anything. Don’t think that you can try drugs. It was his first time and it killed him.”

You know, one of these days, I’m going to hear about a black kid’s mom who actually shares her kid’s last name. Whether that day will come before or after my first Sasquatch sighting is an open question, I ought to set up a betting pool, but in the meantime, I’ll take “things that didn’t happen” for $500, Alex, in re: the suggestion that this was the kid’s very first experience with drugs. Dreadfully uncharitable of me, I know, but, well… there it is.

But wait, it gets much better:

Ernest Ruffin of American Legion Post 17 said, “Get rid of that jealously, that envy, that hate, all those things that bound us from freedom. Martin Luther King and them did not fight for the struggle.”

Leave aside the fact that this is utterly incoherent (“bound us from freedom”? “did not fight for the struggle”? I’ve seen clearer statements on freshman papers obviously written dead drunk at 3am). Where the hell did “that jealousy, that envy, that hate” come from? I thought these deaths were just, you know, happening — that weird grammatical construction from a few paragraphs ago, carefully designed to admit no agency whatsoever. You just contorted yourself like a yoga master to imply that the Grim Reaper just pulled a few names out of a hat. Now you’re telling me there’s hate involved?

Oh, wait — now I get it. This is Andy Kaufman-style comedy, a performance art piece. Here’s the punchline:

Penn Hills Police Chief Howard Burton told KDKA that one major issue surrounding all of these teen shootings is that people are reluctant to come forward with information for fear of snitching. Anyone with information is asked to call the police.

Those three little angels were shot in a gang beef. I’d bet the entire dollar value of the next “COVID relief” package that, not only was the entire student body not in mourning (“filled with heartache,” as the story says), but nobody but the truant officer had any idea these four were even on the roster.

And, of course, it wouldn’t  be AINO without the input of the headshrinkers. From the earlier article:

A crisis response team has been providing counseling from an RV outside the school.

“The message has to be out there to the kids that we’re hurting. It’s OK. We’re going to help you get through this,” Hines told KDKA.

“Hold those memories close because those are the things that are going to bring a smile to your face. If you are upset or sad, reach out to somebody. We’re all here to help,” said Kostic.

The trauma response team will return to the school on Thursday. The district reminds students who are learning from home that services are available for them, too.

From an RV outside the school. Because of the Dread Coof, no doubt, but let that pass. What, exactly, are we supposed to be “getting through”? Did somebody drop some acid in my morning coffee, like they used to do at Langley in the MK-Ultra days? Not even Jogger Tense can disguise the fact that these kids evidently went to great lengths to get themselves killed… and that’s some kind of trauma, that “students who are learning from home” need to have a Zoom meeting with the “care team”?

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Current Year! Ain’t it a hoot? Makes you wish all that UFO stuff really was real, don’t it? Please come soon, saucer people — you’ll be welcomed as liberators.

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A Modest Proposal

programming note: if you’ve got questions for the Friday Mailbag, send ’em in. Otherwise, who knows what you’ll get? Probably some random crap about how much the 90s sucked. Nobody wants that.


I’m pretty sure every boy goes through an “I want to be a policeman when I grow up” stage, probably somewhere around age 5. I’m sure I did, too, when I was 5, but when I got a few years older, I really wanted to be a detective. It appealed to me for the same reason history does: The accumulation of evidence, the careful documentation of facts, the close reasoning… yeah, I’m a dork, I know. But unlike my schoolfriends, who went on to long and lucrative careers building stuff and writing code, I wasn’t primarily attracted to the “problem solving” aspect of it. Rather, it was the “human nature” part. It’s fun solving the mystery of who killed Colonel Mustard, but I always wanted to know why.

Which led, I suppose inevitably, to a brief fascination with serial killers. Nowadays, of course, any boy caught reading such books would be marked down for special handling, but our local library had lots of them in the stacks, and I studied them. The late 70s / early 80s was, of course, the age of the serial killer — Son of Sam, the Night Stalker, the Green River Killer, Jeffrey Dahmer, Zodiac, John Wayne Gacy… even guys who’d done their deeds years ago, like Ed Gein and Peter Kurten, enjoyed a renaissance (most famously Gein, who became “Buffalo Bill” in the 1991 movie (1988 novel) The Silence of the Lambs).

One thing I noticed right away is that serial killers seem to be the strongest possible argument for “nature” when it comes to the “nature / nurture” question. These guys were very, very wrong, right out of the box, and everyone knew it. That they often had horrific upbringings didn’t help, certainly, but lots of people have gone through worse and done just fine (and there are serial killers who lived normal to extremely posh lives as children).* And, of course, pretty much everyone has known that one creepy kid in elementary school. Not creepy in the “way too into unicorns” sense, but in the “you really can’t stand to have him sit behind you in class” sense…

The other thing I noticed is that these guys almost always get caught — IF they get caught, file that for later — because they want to, or thanks to what amounts to dumb luck. There’s a great bit of black comedy about it in Thomas Harris’s previous “Hannibal Lecter” novel, Red Dragon (1981). Quoting from memory, Lecter tells hotshot FBI profiler Will Graham “Since you caught me, that must mean you think you’re smarter than me.”

Graham: No, Dr. Lecter, I know I’m not smarter than you.

Lecter: Then how do you explain it?

Graham: You had… disadvantages.

Lecter: What disadvantages?

Graham: You’re insane.

The difference between novels and real life, though, is that in real life, all the hotshot “profilers” seem to be pretty much worthless. The details escape me, but I’m pretty sure one of the reasons the cops didn’t catch Ted Bundy for so long was because they were relying on a “profile” that said he was a twitchy, possibly disfigured loner, when in fact he was handsome and superficially charming. Same deal with all the high-profile forensic work — it’s only as good as its inputs, and the inputs come from a whole bunch of stressed out, overworked, in many cases not-very-bright cops who got hauled in from their regular duties to assist on something they don’t understand, don’t want to work, and find disgusting.

In fact, the whole thing seems to move as if on a track, or at best, via template — they start using standard criminal investigative procedure, then they bring in the specialists, but instead of going back to square one after realizing this is a different kind of investigation, they start shoehorning all the previous investigative work into the new frame. I’m certainly not blaming them for this — they’re just people — but it does tend to have unfortunate results.

For instance, a guy named Maury Terry wrote a book back in the late 1980s asserting that the “Son of Sam” was actually a widespread satanic cult, not just a lone man, David Berkowitz. As I understand it, Terry was either “a freelance journalist who got too close to his own investigation” or “a total crackpot,” depending on how generous you want to be, but he’s certainly correct that there were a LOT of anomalies in the Son of Sam case that would cause a dispassionate observer to wonder if maybe there was more than one man involved. Which certainly doesn’t mean there was some huge conspiracy involving the Manson Family, the “Process Church,” and whatever else — it’s all pretty lurid — but knowing what one knows about the politics of police work, especially in a place like New York, it’s not unreasonable to ask whether Berkowitz — who really was a crackpot who really did commit at least one of the Son of Sam killings — acted alone.

And then an interesting thing happened: Serial killers just kinda disappeared off the cultural radar. That’s not to say “serial murder” stopped in 1989. I trust Newsweek about as much as I trust the NYPD, but since that’s the only site I recognize in the search results for “active serial killers usa,” let’s go with it. They say that The New Yorker says it could be 2000, and they — The New Yorker — base this on the work of a single “archivist and researcher” who runs a nonprofit. That article also links to this article, from Vox, and by now, savvy readers like you have figured out where I’m going with all this, but please play along. Quoth Vox:

Aamodt and his researchers compiled and analyzed publicly available information — news clips, court reports, books — for thousands of these serial killers. Whenever a motive was specifically defined (through interrogation, investigation, or admission), they recorded it.

What they found is that the majority of serial killers simply kill for enjoyment.

Interesting. Note “enjoyment;” not “sexual gratification,” though every single serial killer I’ve ever heard of got off on it, to the point where it’s SOP in potential serial murder investigations to look for a sexual motive (for very nonstandard, frankly terrifying values of “sexual,” obviously). Anyway, do go on:

An IQ of between 85 and 100 is considered average in America. In general, criminals score half a standard deviation below that. But serial killers who concoct bombs average 140 — well into the realm of what is considered “superior.”

Generally, the messier and more direct the murder method, the lower the IQ score.

Yo, numbnuts — 100 is average. That’s how IQ works. Now, there are certain populations with an average IQ of 85… note that, we’ll return to it.

Gender-wise, victims are essentially split down the middle, with a slight lean toward women. (Note: There are naturally more women than men in the general US population, and this is only slightly more than proportional.)

Now that’s interesting. No doubt everyone at Vox has taken, and aced, more than one “Gender studies” course. They’re big believers in The Patriarchy, the Vox crowd. One would assume that the kind of “enjoyment” that culminates in murder would have some eensy weensy itty bitty connection to gender, particularly in the minds of the gonad-obsessed types who write for Vox… but, nope, nothing.

Across race lines, two-thirds of serial killer victims are white. But when gauged with US Census figures of the general population, black people are by far the most overrepresented: They account for 13.3 percent of the US population but a whopping 24 percent of all victims.

Ahh, here we go. World to end; women, minorities hardest hit. I think you’ve probably all figured it out by now, but stick with me. Let’s look at the dogs that aren’t barking in this article.

Blacks are drastically overrepresented as serial murder victims — of course they are; of course they are — but what about as perps? That Vox article gives us scads of data on all kinds of serial murder-related stuff, but the race of the perpetrators is never mentioned. Not once. I’ll give you one guess as to why:

[The FBI’s definition of “serial killer”] includes not just typical folkloric serial killers like Charles Manson, but also gang members and organized criminals — people who frequently commit repeat murders without much publicity.

Which really causes some big problems, you know? Because while Cthulhuvious down in the ‘hood would no doubt get a kick out of knowing the FBI considers him a serial killer — that’s my gift to you, rappers of America, may it bring you many record sales — that’s not what the public at large thinks when they hear the phrase “serial killer.” They think “Hannibal Lecter,” and the fact that the Vox writers certainly know it makes their rhetorical contortions that much more amusing….

…and stupid, because look, y’all, at long last, the payoff: If you’re really looking for a COVID replacement going into riot-and-murder season, what could be better than a good old fashioned serial killer?

What Vox takes such great pains to not say, but which everyone knows regardless, is that serial killers — the “real” ones, the Hannibal Lecter types — are White males. Pretty much universally. There have been a few known female ones — Charlize Theron got herself an Oscar for playing one in a movie, and try hard not to think about what that says about our culture — but they practically have to walk into the FBI field office and confess to get caught, because no cop in his right mind is looking for a female perp. A site called Ranker tells me there have actually been a lot of black serial killers, and a quick glance at that list seems to confirm they’re “real” ones, not gangbanger types, but for some reason those never really make much of a splash, publicity-wise (two of them were guilty of the Wichita Horror, which every dissident knows about but is completely unknown to Normies, again for some reason).

Since I’ve already done our nation’s rappers a solid — please don’t give me a shout-out in the liner notes, but please do send me the purchase price of a top-of-the-line dental grille — I’ll do the Rutabaga Joe administration one, too. This UFO thing you’re trying to push is a nonstarter, for all kinds of reasons, not least because at this point I think most of America would welcome an alien invasion — the current insanity only makes sense if the saucer people are behind it. If you really want people to keep cowering under their desks now that COVID is winding down, I’d go ahead and invent a real sick serial killer. It ticks all the boxes: White (everyone knows that); male (everyone knows that); of above-average IQ (see above; that “85 average” was just Vox eyewash); obvious sexual motive.

In short, the ultimate in CisHetPat villain.

Now, I can understand why this wouldn’t have worked in a saner age than ours. For one thing, you’re pretty much obligated to have your fictitious killer slay a few down in the ‘hood. Obviously there’s a reason White killers don’t work the ‘hood — if the cops wanted to shoot him, they’d have to stand in line for an hour or two. That’s just common sense, and until about the six month anniversary of “fifteen days to slow the spread” I thought even the American public wasn’t stupid enough to fall for the idea of some honky in Klan robes going all Dahmer down on MLK Boulevard. Alas, I was wrong on that, as I was on so many things regarding the Kung Flu. So… a big blonde White guy cruising MLK at three in the morning. Sure, why not?

Then there’s the fact that Karen will be baying for police protection, which really puts a cramp in your “defund the police” style. And at first blush, that’s a problem, I admit — I’m told that the NYPD used to joke that the Son of Sam was the best thing that ever happened to them, as a bunch of officers who had just been laid off were immediately rehired to staff the dragnets. But that’s easily overcome with a little statistical jiujitsu and a few tactical redeployments. Karen doesn’t actually care about the police one way or the other; she just wants to see police cars prowling her neighborhood. Those police cars, natch, can be used by the cops to harass law-abiding Whites, which is pretty much the sole purpose of the “police” anyway in the wake of St. Floyd. All you have to do is promise to hire a zillion more officers to patrol the ‘hood… and then stage a hit on some White girl out in the ‘burbs. In other words: you don’t actually have to hire more cops, dummy, you just have to say you’re going to.

The last knock on this plan is that it seems to involve the horrific slaughter of innocents…. hahahaha, of course I’m kidding, that’s a feature not a bug. One less White person in the world, am I right Kamala? And anyway, who says you have to actually do it? You’re the crew, after all, who rigged the Iowa and SC caucuses**, cloned a bunch of “participants” for Kamala’s Zoom townhall meeting, and so forth, not to mention the really obvious bullshit like “Russian hacking” and “COVID.” Shutting down the entire country is nothing for you guys, and all of the above, plus “global warming,” proves that “no, you can’t see the evidence, and you’re a h8r for even asking” is a perfectly valid PR strategy.

What’s not to like? Dahmer that shit, boys… Dahmer that shit. And if you want to throw me a few billion in the next “aid package” for doing you a solid, well, I won’t object. Just make sure all the bills have pictures of Harriet Tubman on them.

 

 

 


*Right, technically Leopold and Loeb weren’t serial killers, since they only killed one person, but I trust you take my point. Side note, not germane to the post, but noteworthy: Holy tap-dancing Allah, how culturally illiterate are we? Let me quote Wiki’s opening paragraph:

They committed the murder—characterized at the time as “the crime of the century”—as a demonstration of their ostensible intellectual superiority, which they believed enabled and entitled them to carry out a “perfect crime” without consequences.

That’s the plot of Crime and Punishment. And yet there’s no mention of Dostoyevsky anywhere in the article, though Wiki takes great pains to inform us that the Leopold and Loeb murder inspired an episode of Matlock.

**But obviously NOT the presidential election, no siree, and how dare you suggest otherwise?!?

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Signal Decay

Of arms and the man I sing… of arms covered with tattoos, that is, and of the “man,” or not, they’re attached to. There’s actually a white pill attached to the end of this, comrades, so I ask you to bear with me.

The ongoing discussion about “bikers,” below, got me thinking about the Ludicrous Speed process of signal decay we’re seeing now. The problem is, “biker” is something of a contentious identity, and though that in itself makes it pretty much the perfect illustration of what I’m talking about, I get the impression that the Harley lifestyle is a lot like Cat Fancy — if you use the common term for it, people have this idea in their heads that keeps getting in the way of the facts on the ground, so we need a different one.

For instance, I lived for a time next door to a couple who definitely would’ve called themselves “bikers.” They had all the stuff, rode to Sturgis every year… hell, they went so far as to get married wearing their Harley shit. And yet, both of them were software engineers. They were young enough that this wasn’t a contradiction for them, whereas I’m old enough that it made me laugh every time I thought about it. You people think you’re bikers? Remember the bar scene from Terminator 2?

Do you have enough testosterone and meth coursing through your system that you think it’s a good idea to stub out your cigar on an enormous nude bodybuilder who just walked up to you and demanded your clothes, your boots, and your motorcycle? In other words, do you know what the term “bath salts” means, but you’re so chemically altered yourself that you don’t care? That guy’s a biker, and unless you answered “yes” to all of the above, buddy, you’re not. Certainly my neighbors, who undoubtedly spent their non-riding hours watching Dr. Who marathons, weren’t…. but they’d probably try to hit me with their spastically-flailing, soy-enfeebled fists if I told them they weren’t real bikers, and do you see what I mean?

So let’s consider fake Mob guys. I know, I know, “fake Mob guy” isn’t really a thing that exists in any measurable numbers, for obvious reasons that tie into the main argument that we’ll get to in a bit, but for now just go with it. Despite not existing, I’m pretty sure that if I told you I dressed up as “a Mob guy” for Halloween, you’d all have basically the same picture in your heads. Fedoras are probably involved, though, so I want you to picture the kind of outfit that, if you went out wearing it, would cause people to joke “What, are they holding auditions for a Sopranos reboot?” Everyone got it?

That’s a look that’s fairly easy to pull off, though it does manage the bewildering trick of “being pretty expensive to buy” and “looks like shit” simultaneously. [For European readers, imagine the standard Eastern Bloc Eurotrash track suit, which is also popular with our homegrown hoodlums. I have no idea what they wear in the Pacific Rim, guys, sorry]. Point is, you could do it with a moderate cash outlay, and… that’s about it. Mob guys are famously porky — Tony’s weight problems were one of the best running gags on The Sopranos — so you don’t even need to look particularly physically skilled. You’ll need a facial expression that says “I am stupid and mean and just itching to take offense at imaginary slights,” but all you have to do is pretend you’re a lesbian and you’re all set.

Everybody with me? Ok, point #1: Though I’m cracking jokes, I’m really not kidding about this. I don’t truly expect “fake Mob guy” to become a common prefab identity, but who know? Cf. “biker,” above. I’m old, y’all, but I’m not ancient, and well within my lifetime nobody in his right mind would call himself “a biker,” even if he rode his Harley every spare minute of the day. He would call himself anything at all; that’s the point. If you asked him about it, he’d call Harley-riding his hobby, and though he’d wear a motorcycle jacket and boots (those things exist for a reason), he’d be horrified at the thought of anyone mistaking him for one of the Sons of Anarchy. “Biker” meant “lowlife” and everybody knew it… and yet, here we are.

Point #2 is, imagine what real Mob guys would do if “fake Mob guy” became an Instagram thing that spilled over into real life. As MBlanc46 said about “bikers” in the previous post:

Now about the biker-perception. I’d think that that would be a very dangerous pose to assume, if you didn’t actually live it. Because, as you say, those guys could stomp us into the dirt, and would, in a heartbeat, if they got the urge.

But that’s the thing, isn’t it? The number of bikers-who-would-stomp-your-ass-for-calling-yourself-a-biker-if-you’re-not is actually quite small, which is why the non-ass-stomping-kind-of-bikers can get away with it (and all the hyphens, obviously, are why we’re going with “Mob guy”). Though I haven’t personally experienced both kinds, I imagine it’s pretty easy to tell if you’re in a real biker bar, the ass-stomping-kind-of-biker bar, versus one of the T.G.I. Friday’s-type. In fact, I’m quite sure that the real kind don’t advertise, in the same way the kind of meat markets real Mob guys hang out in the back rooms of don’t advertise that they’re Mob hangouts….

In other words, I’d say that the perceived “danger” is largely the point of the pose. You get to be a badass by proxy. Seriously, ask yourself: Do you know any Mob guys? Do you know anyone who knows any Mob guys? I wouldn’t even know where to begin to start looking for Mob guys if I wanted to find one. So if I wanted to pass myself off as a “connected” guy, all I’d really have to do is buy the track suit, memorize a few bits of lingo (like “connected guy”), and there it is. So long as I don’t wander into an FBI field office or an ongoing RICO trial, I’m totally safe… but I get to look dangerous.

In other words, the signal “biker” / “Mob guy” / dangerous lowlife type is so degraded, it’s almost meaningless…. almost, but not quite, because lets pscircle back, Psaki-style, to the question: What would real Mob guys do, if all of a sudden “fake Mob guy” was a thing?

The Z Man once recommended Diego Gambetta’s Codes of the Underworld, and I’ll second that wholeheartedly. I read it decades ago in grad school, so lots of the details escape me now, but the main thesis is simple enough: While Western Mob guys (and other assorted lowlifes) don’t go as far as Russian criminal gangs and the Yakuza do with their tats, lingo, etc., all of that stuff is designed to be a closed communication system. All it communicates to outsiders is “this man is dangerous,” but to the guys inside the system, it’s elaborate heraldry. It’s designed to weed out fakes — undercover law enforcement agents, obviously, but also free riders and poseurs. That’s where the ass-stomping happens, and it gets worse proportional to the degree of fakery — the ass-stomping kind of biker might let the software-engineer kind of biker off with a beating if the latter should somehow end up in the former’s territory…

provided the software engineer was just a garden-variety poseur. If, in other words, his elaborate sleeve tats didn’t ape real, ass-stomping-biker tats. Your jacket says “Harley Davidson” on the back? Hell, maybe they’ll let you off with a stern talking-to. It says “Sons of Anarchy” on the back? It’s shallow grave time. “Fake Mob guy,” if it existed, would result in something similar. You imply you’re connected? Ok, fine, maybe you get a verbal visit. You come right out and say “I’m a made guy in the Tony Soprano crew”? Cement shoes for you, paisan. Since the consequences of really living the life are often mortal, the consequences of faking it must absolutely be.

The white pill in all of this, comrades, is that thanks to social media, pretty much all prefab identities are starting to work like that… except one. It’s possible to fake being a member of pretty much every single behavioral subgroup out there, with almost-nonexistent actual risk. It’s more expensive to fake “biker” than “Mob guy,” and “Mob guy” is more expensive to fake than, say, “SJW,” but all of them amount to little more than clothes, tats, and lingo. Indeed, the signal for “SJW” is so far decayed that being #woke is nothing more than a Twitter purity spiral — “Titania McGrath” is a parody, I’m told, in the vein of “Godfrey Elfwick,” but really, who can say? The signal has been completely lost in the noise, and almost all behavioral subgroups are suffering the same fate in the social media age…

…except one. You can change your clothes, comrades. You can certainly change your “gender,” and you can even change your “sex.” But one thing you absolutely cannot change is your skin color. Real blacks, like real bikers or Mob guys, have known this for a long time, which is why guys like Obama and Colin Kaepernick are so obnoxious — they’re not really black, and they know it, because the real blacks themselves let them know, every minute of every day. So, too, soon enough with the other skin color.

 

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I Don’t Care [updated]

[update]: Just for grins, I checked in over at Ace of Spades, and coincidentally found two more things I will never have to care about again:

“Antisemitism.” As much as I hate the (((triple parentheses))) shit, Jews as a group are hard Left. No one single group cheered harder for, say, the importation of a zillion foreigners to our shores. So now I’m supposed to be bothered when the primitives they couldn’t wait to haul over here are attacking them in the streets? Hey, rabbi, what the fuck did you think was gonna happen? Unlike the rest of us, you have a place you can go, where they enforce borders with minefields and make no bones about keeping undesirables out. If I had such a refuge, I’d go there in a heartbeat.

“Facebook.” Apparently they’re stealth-banning people who aren’t 100% on board with the vaxx. Eh. If you’re still on social media, you deserve what you get. At best, social media is like booze — I like a drink as much as the next man (if the next man likes it a hell of a lot), but nobody in their right mind thinks drinking several hours a day is anything but bad for you. If y’all haven’t figured that out yet, you never will, so go ahead and get shadowbanned. Then real-life banned. I won’t lift a finger to help you, because you too stupid to live.


I have to admit, there are some real upsides to life here in AINO after the Pudding Cup Putsch. Yeah yeah, a few more years of clown world followed by an unimaginable bloodbath are almost inevitable now, but in the meantime, enjoy your glorious freedom, comrades! And I don’t mean that in the “freedom is slavery” sense, either. Consider the following:

I’m told Hamas is firing rockets at Gaza, and that Israel is striking back. I don’t care. I used to care what happens in the Middle East, on the not-unreasonable theory that the total destabilization of the planet’s most oil-rich region, and a massive international trade hub, is the kind of thing that starts world wars. But dressing your airborne troops in red high heels, ordering strongly encouraging your embassies to fly the “black lives matter” flag*, and instructing your ambassador to publicly take a dump on his own country are also the kind of things that start world wars, so what’s the diff?

Needless to say, I also used to care about what happened in the Middle East on the theory that one should try to uphold civilization and resist barbarism, but I knew that was foolish even as I was doing it. Hamas et al might be stone-age savages, but all they want to do is commit genocide. I heard some egghead advocating five ideas more repugnant than that every day in the ivory tower. Needless to say I consider genocide bad, but at least Hamas knows which bathroom to use. From the perspective of “the long-term survival of the human race,” which is worse? We lost the “uphold civilization” battle the minute we started subsidizing student loans.

I’m also told that Putin, or his proxy in Something-Unpronounceable-Stan, forced down a commercial flight and arrested a journalist, who later made some suspiciously Cardinal Mindszenty-ish statement about how well he’s being treated to the press. Supposedly this is also bad, not least because unlike the totally imaginary “Russian hacking” stuff, this is Putin doing something bad that really happened. And again, I’m supposed to care… why? This is SOP in the non-Western world, because non-Western leaders are stupid. Putin really ought to get with the program, and do what the Democrats do. There’s no need to arrest and torture journalists, Vlad. Just have a nice meeting with them and tell them how very, very, very special and smart they are for seeing things your way! They’ll roll right over and start licking your shoes.

Hell, Vlad, your guys in the KGB invented that shit! Everybody in Our Thing has read up on that defector, whose name I forget, outlining the KGB’s long-term plan to destabilize the West. Bullet points included stuff like “infiltrate higher ed” and “subvert the media” and “encourage homosexuality.” Well, congrats, buddy — you won. It worked like a charm. Give it a whirl back home; pretty soon your Media will treat you like Our Thing treats you.**

Last but certainly not least, I no longer have to worry about the carnival side show called “politics.” I still check in on Ace of Spades fairly frequently, just to see what the Normies are up to… but y’all, that shit’s just plain exhausting. Wiser heads than mine have been saying for a long time that none of it matters, it’s all a show, you can do your “civic duty” until you’re blue in the face, but none of it matters. Your “candidates” are still Tweedledum and Tweedledee, and no matter what positions they run on, the Swamp always gets what it wants. Do you want abortions for all, and then open borders? Or must we open the borders first, before issuing abortions to all? What’s your opinion on trannies — are they great, or extra super great? How many feet should we wash, all of them, or all of them twice?

I’m going to be bipartisan here, and split the credit between Bad Orange Man and our totally legitimate, not at all fraudulent President, Rutabaga Joe. Trump made them show their hand; Rutabaga Joe has empowered them to drop even the last vestiges of trying to hide it. Wiser heads than mine have been saying it for years, indeed decades, but thanks to those two, much dumber heads than mine can’t help but see it now. There are some heads so dumb that they will never, ever see it — yeah, “moron horde,” vote harder… vote harderrrrr!!!! — but increasing numbers of us have tuned in, turned on, and dropped out, Irish democracy-style. I have no doubt whatsoever that “mandatory voting” is next on the agenda — after all, forcing people to mark a ballot is the only way to preserve our democracy — and won’t that be a hoot, but for now, I don’t have to care at all. It’s quite liberating.

It’s nothing next to the freedom that will be coming soon — zeks of course receive totally free housing and medical care — but until then, enjoy it!

 

 


* How great is it that “Black Lives Matter” has a flag, and that there’s such a thing as the “Black National Anthem”? Back in my day — you know, in the nation-state system we’ve been running since the Peace of Westphalia — having a national anthem and a flag meant that you consider yourselves a sovereign state. Which is great and all, I wish you the best of luck with that, but since you’re acting as agents of an obviously hostile foreign power within our national borders, doesn’t that mean we can expel you as enemy aliens? Food for thought.

** I was asked my opinion on Putin a while back. In case it wasn’t clear, I “like” Putin because a) he actually seems to like the country he’s in charge of, which is a refreshing change from the American political class, who hate us with a fervor the Iranian Revolutionary Guard can only dream of; and b) he annoys the Left, which is both a good in itself, and so ironic it gives Alanis a stiffie, because he’s an old KGB hand from way back. But that’s as far as it goes; otherwise, I think he’s your bog-standard Soviet Bloc thug, same as it ever was.

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I Am the #Wokest!!!

Well, maybe not, but I’m demonstrably WAY #woker than BLM. Via Vox Day, a head honcho in the BLM movement — who got shot in a gang-related drive by, if you can believe it, I mean, what are the fucking odds of that?!?* — declared that there should be

a national register of alleged racists that would ban them from living near people from ethnic minorities.

Which I think we can all agree, kameraden, isn’t nearly enough. No, much more radical action is needed! In fact, as BLM types have taken such great pains to assure us, America — all of it, stem to stern, from the very first settlement right down to the Current Year — is irredeemably racist. Which means there’s simply no place. no place at all, in the whole of America where blacks can live free from the troubling possibility of alleged racists.

There IS, however, a very large area — continent sized, in fact — where there are no honkies to be seen. I think the only moral, sensible — indeed, the only socially just — thing to do is to send them all there. It’ll be hard, comrades, but we must make every effort. Spare no sacrifice. We owe it to them, and I personally am willing to give up everything but the very lives of myself and my family to make it happen.

Who’s with me?

 


*Funny, too, how you have to go to the British tabloids for this kind of thing. Why, it’s almost as if the American Media had some kind of partisan interest in what it chooses to cover…

 

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Identity Fetishism

For my lunch break yesterday, I stopped by the convenience store to grab a burger. The store is located right next door to a post office. Just as I’m getting out of my car, this guy roars up on a Harley. He looked exactly what popped into your head when you read “roared up on a Harley” — big dude, bandana over his hair, beard down to his sternum, leather vest, sleeve tattoos, earring, greasy jeans, roach-stomper boots….

….and a mask. A bright blue disposable one, the kind they used to hand out at doc-in-the-box if you came in with the real flu. This tiny little patch of corrugated blue fabric looked so incongruous on that big hairy face that I almost burst out laughing — “yo, big kahuna, that little bitty bit of cloth surrounded by beard makes you look like a centerfold from the 1970s.” But I didn’t, of course, because this guy would kick my ass…

…or, at least, that was the impression his entire getup was designed to achieve. If you were playing dress-up and had to convey the idea “I will come into a dive bar for the sole purpose of picking a fight,” this is what you’d choose. He was heading into the post office. The burger can wait, I thought, I gotta see where this is going. So I followed him inside, and watched him…

… go to a PO box, unlock it, pull out his mail, close the box back up, lock it, and walk back out. That’s it. And here’s the kicker: The place was deserted. Not a living soul in the lobby; you couldn’t even see the postal workers behind the counter. The echoes of this dude’s giant bad boy boots stomping around sounded like sledgehammers.

His mask stayed up the whole time.

Try as I might, I couldn’t come up with a rational explanation for this dude’s behavior. I mean, ok, sure, maybe if he had to actually go up to the counter on some crucial Sons of Anarchy mission or something — even outlaw biker gangs need stamps, I suppose — I guess I could see it. He had to get those stamps, or the Sinaloa cartel couldn’t ship his boys their drugs and weapons; he couldn’t risk being refused service, so he wore the mask. But no, he was just checking his PO box.

So ok, maybe that’s the designated Sons of Anarchy drop box, where they send all their contraband, and he’s trying to avoid the cameras… except the whole rest of his getup was a dead giveaway. Any old passerby — me, for example — could’ve fingered him based just on the elaborate tats. The cameras had him dead to rights, mask or no mask, not to mention the custom paint job on his hog…

Try as I might, I could only come up with two explanations. The first was that this guy really believed the Kung Flu Kraziness. I know, I know, but people believe lots of shit, in all apparent seriousness, that runs directly counter to their lifestyles. In my academic career, for instance, I was surrounded by people who would run screaming in terror if you offered them a cigarette — so unhealthy!! — but smoked unfiltered ditch weed daily. So maybe Billy Badass, though trying his damnedest to give the impression that he’s the kind of guy with a knife in his boot, really was worried about catching The Coof.

The other, of course, was that he’s faking, and all that shit — the custom-painted Harley, the sleeve tats, the boots, the beard, all of it — is just cosplay.

It’s pretty elaborate, if so, but you have to admit, it fits the facts better than any other alternative. And there’s some precedent. This is going to sound really weird, but bear with me: I’d like you to check out Muscle: Confessions of an Unlikely Bodybuilder, by Sam Fussell. It was written in the early 90s (I think) describing the bodybuilding scene of the mid-1980s, and when I first read it, twenty-odd years ago, it came off like the tale of a recovered alcoholic, or more accurately a well-controlled schizophrenic — the male version of all those mental illness memoirs the chicks were into back then (Prozac NationGirl, Interrupted, and so on). Certainly Fussell himself pitched it that way — he says that even bodybuilders call their thing “the disease.” From the Current Year’s perspective, though, it looks a lot more like the leading edge of an increasingly common phenomenon that I’m going to call “identity fetishism.”

Fussell is almost embarrassingly frank about why he got into bodybuilding: He was terrified. A scrawny, desperately insecure guy, he just couldn’t handle the social pressures of life in New York. He saw muscles as armor. If he made his exterior so intimidating that no one would want to get close to him he’d never have to get close to anyone. The whole thing is a sustained exercise in fremdschämen — Fussell is a hard guy to like before his transformation, and frankly repulsive afterwards. It’s a short read, and fascinating, but it’s not an easy one.

Do slog through it, though, and I think you’ll see what I mean. The thing that prevents so many of us from really getting into the Left’s headspace, I think, is sheer exhaustion. Forget hardcore SJWs for a sec; just think of what it must take to be, say, a hipster. I mean, seriously, just look at this fucking hipster. The time, the money, the sheer goddamn effort it must take! I’m bushed just writing about it, and that’s nothing compared to what Fussell did.

If you’re a weightlifter, you know. If you’re not, trust me, you don’t want to know. Same deal with endurance athletes, of course, and so on — I’m sure “runner’s high” is real, and it’s great, but son, I really don’t want to experience it. I have experienced “the pump,” famously described by Arnold himself as “like cumming,” but trust me, drugs are a lot better if you just want to get high, because getting to “the pump” fucking hurts. A lot. See Fussell for details.*

Much easier, then, to invest all that time and energy and money into an outward show that, though it no doubt costs as much — perhaps more! — isn’t nearly as painful (I’m sure getting elaborate tats hurts, but if the choice was between that or legs day, I’d be The Illustrated Man). Best of all, of course, is one that doesn’t take anything but time — you know, like, say, Twitter…

All that no doubt seems like a long ride for a short payoff, but unlike my infamously lax attitude towards “the Classics,” I’m going to insist that if you want to get the point of this one — and I consider it important enough to have invested all these words in it — you’re really going to have to go read the book. Fussell is self-aware enough to see himself for what he is, and the Twitterati are of course oblivious, but the psychology is the same. It’s a fetishized identity, and it’s terrifying, because those are our rulers.

 


*Worst of all, you don’t get it during “legs day,” the most excruciating part of weightlifting, which is why so many guys skip it. It’s nothing but pain. I was never more than a moderately serious weightlifter back in my youth, but that’s the sole criterion of seriousness — do you skip legs day? If yes, then get back to Planet Fitness, you poseur.

 

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“Studies”

Via Vox Day, UC San Diego pretty much confirms what we all knew:

Papers in leading psychology, economic and science journals that fail to replicate and therefore are less likely to be true are often the most cited papers in academic research, according to a new study by the University of California San Diego’s Rady School of Management.

Published in Science Advances, the paper explores the ongoing “replication crisis” in which researchers have discovered that many findings in the fields of social sciences and medicine don’t hold up when other researchers try to repeat the experiments.

The paper reveals that findings from studies that cannot be verified when the experiments are repeated have a bigger influence over time. The unreliable research tends to be cited as if the results were true long after the publication failed to replicate.

Bad enough, but drilling down a little further, we find:

Serra-Garcia and Gneezy analyzed data from three influential replication projects which tried to systematically replicate the findings in top psychology, economic and general science journals (Nature and Science). In psychology, only 39 percent of the 100 experiments successfully replicated. In economics, 61 percent of the 18 studies replicated as did 62 percent of the 21 studies published in Nature/Science.

In other words, though the econ and actual (kinda-sorta) science studies replicated slightly better than a coin flip, the psych studies failed over 60% of the time. Note too that n=100 for psych, vs. 21 papers for “science” and just 18 for econ. Gosh, that’s funny, by which I mean totally predictable. Flaming leftoids telling other libtards exactly what they want to hear, for fun and profit?

WATFO, baby, WATFO — what are the fucking odds?

If you’ve done any academic work at all, in any field — scratch that, if you’ve done any competent, diligent work in any field — you’ve experienced the frustration of the “phantom cite.” This is where you see a startling assertion in Jones. You check his footnote — see Smith. You go pull Smith off the shelves, and his footnote says “see Williams.” Williams cites Parker, Parker cites Adams, Adams cites Rogers, until finally, you pull Rogers and… nothing. Not the “oh gosh, I’d have to travel to the British Museum to check this, and it’s in Medieval High Bulgarian anyway” kind of nothing, but the bald-ass assertion kind of nothing.

Happens all the time. There are a couple of reasons for this. Being as charitable as I possibly can, I’m going to call one “survivorship bias.” I’m sure you’ve seen this:

Since, again, we’re being extremely charitable here, this isn’t actually a case of “just tell ’em what they want to hear.” I’ll illustrate from my own research experience.* My dissertation asserts that General Ripper, commander of the 43rd Imaginary Infantry in Au Phuc Dup province, Republic of Vietnam, was convinced that the local provincial governor, Long Duc Dong, was a Communist infiltrator. Now, this is a 100% true fact, that Gen. Ripper believes Long Duc Dong is a Communist. Armies are awash in paperwork, and moreover Gen. Ripper was an obsessive letter-writer and diarist, so you can find hundreds if not thousands of citations stating it directly: “I, Gen. Ripper, believe that Long Duc Dong is a Communist.”

Which explains quite a bit about why Gen. Ripper made the decisions he did, which in turn is why this 100% indisputably true fact — that Gen. Ripper thought Long Duc Dong was a Communist — features so prominently in that study of the dynamics of command in the 43rd Imaginary Infantry.

The problem, though, is that some other historian comes along, looking at something very different — say, the effectiveness of anti-Communist propaganda in the IV Corps operational area — and comes across my dissertation. From this, he writes “So ineffective was the anti-Communist propaganda campaign that even the governor, Long Duc Dong, was strongly suspected of being a Communist infiltrator.” And from that, another historian, looking for the prevalence of pro-Communist sentiment, concludes that “despite the Americans’ best efforts, the extreme south of the RVN was so thoroughly indoctrinated that even the Governor, Long Duc Dong, was a Communist.”

Now, all of that is true except for the last bit. It is not, in fact, proven that Long Duc Dong was a Communist. Gen. Ripper sure thought he was. And Gen. Ripper continued to think so, even after the anti-Communist propaganda campaign, which means that the campaign indisputably failed in Long Duc Dong’s case — he carried on acting like enough of a commie to keep Gen. Ripper’s suspicions up. But thanks to the thicket of citations, it’s the last bit — the assertion that Long Duc Dong was, indisputably, a Communist — that has by far the most footnotes attached to it. Hell, the footnotes probably cite all the same things I did — the truckloads of letters and documents from Gen. Ripper saying “Damn that Long Duc Dong, he’s a Communist!!”

That’s because he lifted them straight from my dissertation, all impeccably footnoted — by which is meant, giving ME full credit — and do you see what I mean? None of the historians involved had any obvious axe to grind, no viewpoint to push. It’s just that everyone’s bibliography is a hundred pages long, and nobody has the time to read every page of every book in those hundred pages. Jones just skimmed Smith’s index, looking for names of commies. Smith did the same thing with my index, of course, in which he found “Dong, Long Duc, Communist sympathies of,” with dozens of page numbers referenced.

When we stop being extremely charitable, of course, things get even murkier much faster. As it happened, I had to fight tooth and nail for my assertion that “Gen. Ripper thought Gov. Dong was a Communist” to even make it into my dissertation in the first place. For, you see, historians DO have axes to grind and viewpoints to push, facts and objectivity be damned. And in this case, Gen. Ripper got tipped to Long Duc Dong’s Communist sympathies by… wait for it… wait for it… the CIA. Boo! Hiss!!!

No, really, I’m being 100% serious here. I had to go to the mattresses for my assertion that “based on information passed to him by the CIA, Gen. Ripper came to believe that Long Duc Dong was a Communist.” Not because it wasn’t true — I can show you several pages’ worth of Gen. Ripper saying, verbatim, “The CIA has convinced me that Long Duc Dong is a Communist” — but because the tip originated with the CIA. Again, swearsie-realsies, this happened. This idiot on my dissertation defense committee (without whose approval I wouldn’t pass, and would be stuck in grad school forever), couldn’t get it through her fat head that it didn’t matter in the slightest where Gen. Ripper got the idea, that the only important fact is that he did believe it, and indeed, nothing he did — including large, highly destructive military operations — made sense without this belief.

No no, it’s just that the CIA is bad, and because they’re bad, they’re lying, and their lies have besmirched the reputation of that upstanding Communist, Long Duc Dong.

And all this, in the most recondite field imaginable (you’ll recall that my academic work isn’t on the Vietnam War, but rather on UNIX programmers of the Ugandan Lowlands in the Early Victorian Era). Now imagine how it must be when all the eggheads are really invested in the outcome…

[not really germane to the main post, but in case you’re wondering, the way I finally got my critical, no-book-without-it, 100% totally true fact about Gen. Ripper past the Idiot Cat Lady was: I had to write a very long “sources and methods” digression in which I asserted that the CIA are of course all incompetent, malevolent buffoons who only want to murder innocent, noble, and — dare I say it? — sexy Persyns of Color like Long Duc Dong at the behest of their genocidal reich-wing masters in the Military-Industrial Complex.

That Idiot Cat Lady undoubtedly loves the CIA these days, since they’re protecting her from the hordes of Hawaiian-shirted insurrectionists no doubt gathering at the WalMart just down the street from her house, is so ironic that it’s giving Alanis Morissette a chubby, but again, not really germane].


*which needless to say I am completely making up, but I’ve had something similar happen in my actual field. Everyone has.

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Friday Mailbag: Civilization, the Video Game

It’s Friday, I ain’t got no job, and I ain’t got shit else to do, so here’s the mail. Remember to send your questions to rcseverian@protonmail.com. Two big, interrelated questions this week. First, from Andy in San Francisco:

After the Cold War ended, Harvard professor Samuel Huntington wrote a book called “The Clash of Civilizations.” His thesis was that the Cold War era “pro-U.S.,” “pro-Soviet” and “non-aligned” groupings would fall away, and the world would revert to being organized in civilizational blocs (Western, Islamic, etc.).

Huntington also said that certain countries are “torn countries.” Turkey, for example, because its political class (looking west) is at odds with its people (looking east). Given the hostility of the US political class to white America, do you think the US is now a “torn country?”

Absolutely. As loath as I am to say this as an historian, there are some new things under the sun, and the organic “revolution from above” we see in AINO is one of them. There are lots of cases of a ruling regime simply not caring what the ruled think — cf. “most of human history.” Roman Emperors and medieval monarchs didn’t care what “the People” thought about anything, because “the People” weren’t in any position to do any real damage to the regime. What were they going to do, create a new Empire? So long as the army and/or the nobility stayed happy, the king could rest easy(-ish) on the throne.

There are also well-documented cases of tiny cliques of radicals at the top, who don’t care what The People think. That they always carry out their revolutions in The People’s name doesn’t matter, since their idea of what The People need is utterly irrelevant to the real needs of actual people. See e.g. the Bolsheviks. It also doesn’t matter if a large segment of the people did support them, at least initially, e.g. the Nazis. These ideological revolutions always take on a life of their own.

But ideological cliques claiming to represent the people, who keep getting elected by the people, who still seem — against all evidence and reason — to believe in their legitimacy? That’s new. As pretty much everyone on this side has pointed out many times, if The People had actually been consulted about anything of importance at any time between 1964 and The Current Year, the USA would still exist. It would be a White Christian nation.

The current ruling clique seems to believe that, though they personally might be in danger — all that razor wire and armed soldiery around the Capitol is there for a reason — their regime isn’t. They’re carrying on like those Roman Emperors and medieval monarchs. In other words, they’re betting that the revolt, when it comes — and I think everyone pretty much takes that as a given now, as terrifying as that is — will be like Wat Tyler’s Rebellion or the Jacquerie. That is to say, an orgy of pointless violence that is messily, though fairly easily, suppressed. What are they going to do, create an entirely new nobility? Ha ha ha.

So onward they stumble, secure in their self-righteousness, soothing each other with their fantasies of competence. The People, meanwhile, increasingly withdraw their consent, “Irish democracy”-style. What could we possibly be consenting to, in any case? See above — we’ve never been consulted on anything of importance. Our rulers — and, increasingly, our “neighbors” — are aliens. They don’t speak our language. They practice bizarre customs. Like all despots, they require our adulation, but they’ve convinced themselves that their blatantly rigged “elections” are proof that The People love them. Look for a push to make “voting” mandatory in the next year or so, just in time for the “midterms.”

Yeah, “torn” is one way of putting it. “Broken beyond all hope of repair” is another. You choose.


Pickle Rick writes, of our overlords’ animating fantasy:

It’s Puritanism. That being said, is Puritanism, both in its religious guise and the modern secular version a singular Western phenomenon? I don’t particularly think that old Greek, Roman, Celtic, German/Norse pagans, Orthodox Christians, Islam, Hindus or Buddhists have the Puritan heresy. Sure, they’ve got ascetic sects, but none have the aggressively militant, intrusive prying into your heart, mind and soul that Calvinism/Puritanism has. They’re not satisfied to do like a Catholic or a Muslim, to perform the rituals. They’re obsessed with a never ending quest to perfect the unperfectable, in their own mind, which drives them to force others to do the same.

Puritanism is another new thing under the sun. I keep thinking about putting Michael Walzer’s The Revolution of the Saints on the RC Reading List, and I always come down against it, because while his thesis is vital, the supporting evidence is fearsomely academic — as in, you need to be a field specialist to grasp a lot of it, and who here is that?

Early Modern history is not unfamiliar to me. I’m an “Early Modernist” in the same sense I’m a “Sovietologist” — a well-informed amateur; I can fake it in front of most people, but I wouldn’t last five minutes in a room with someone who really knew what he was talking about. All of which is my long-winded way of saying that since I personally can’t walk you through it — since a lot of it is over my head, too — I can’t in good conscience recommend it….

…and yet, the thesis is crucial. It’s basically what Pickle Rick describes, the totally inward reorientation of social thought. Lots of revolutionaries have been obsessed with the state of their own souls, but only the Puritans have been worried about it. Skim Walzer, then compare with Norman Cohn’s The Pursuit of the Millennium, a book I recommend without reservation. The Brethren of the Free Spirit were obsessed with the condition of their souls, too, but, crucially, they were certain that they were the Elect. All pre-Puritan millennial movements were essentially Gnostic — they, the Elect, knew the Truth, and they were the Elect because they knew the Truth. Their job was simply to tell everyone the Truth (and, inevitably, kill everyone who disagreed), and that great truth-telling / cleansing of the sinners would basically force Jesus to come back, thus ending the world.

The Puritans were something new. Translate their elaborate, Latinate prose into the parlance of our times, and they sound exactly like SJWs — at once unbearably self-righteous and cripplingly insecure. They were almost certain that they, personally, were among the Elect… but since the only infallible sign of being Saved was “an irresistible attraction to Puritanism,” they were caught in exactly the same vicious purity spiral as our modern SJWs. Who, truly, can say xzhey are #woke, when there’s always the possibility of someone, somewhere, being #woker? If you want a slightly easier passport to their heads, try Perry Miller’s The New England Mind. It was written in the 1930s, so be prepared — surprisingly little untranslated Latin, since the Puritans wrote mostly for themselves, but still fairly ornate prose.

Put it this way: The Wiki summary of Miller’s life quotes a colleague: “Perry Miller was a great historian of Puritanism but the dark conflicts of the Puritan mind eroded his own mental stability.” He died of alcoholism.

The Puritans’ saving grace, if they had one, is that they were men of the world. They had to be. Guys like Max Weber would say that those two things had a dialectical relationship — Puritanism IS “the Protestant work ethic” IS “capitalism” — but that’s not necessary for present purposes. My point is simply that the Early Modern world could only support a tiny number of professional intellectuals, and the “managerial class” was all but nonexistent. Through Cromwell and his mini-me’s in Salem gave it the old college try, it’s simply impossible to run an Early Modern government Puritan-style.

That’s obviously not the case now. We have a huge (and ever-growing) managerial class, all of whom are the most fervent Puritans. Unlike Cromwell and the boys, though, they can — and, of course, DO — life in perfect isolation from the affairs of the world they’re supposedly managing. Put simply, but not really unfairly, they live on Twitter — their carefully curated list of social media “friends” is, in a very real way, their entire world. Imagine Oliver Cromwell, Zeal-of-the-Land Busy, and Cotton Mather tweeting at each other, all day every day.

We’re ruled, then, by a scurvy collective of solipsists, which somehow isn’t a contradiction in terms. In some way far, far above my pay grade, instant information velocity has rewired their heads, such that “their Twitter friends list” and “the real world” and “their own pwecious widdle selves” have all become one and the same. And since the “real world” isn’t really real to them, they’re free to shape it however they like. Ever played that old video game series, Civilization? Who hasn’t done stupid, wildly counterproductive things in that game, just for shits and giggles? Why not try running a modern economy as a brutal theocracy? Why not invade Russia in the winter? Why not nuke Gandhi, because seriously, fuck that guy.

Sure, you might “lose” the “game,” but at least it won’t be boring. And, really, what’s the diff? Win, lose, you can always just reboot the system and start again from the last save point… right?

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Why I Hate Them

Walking to my car this morning, I saw a baby bird on the side of the road. I think it had a broken wing, but either way, it was too young to fly. It was flopping around helplessly.

I thought about what to do. I couldn’t put it back in the nest — I couldn’t see one in any case, but even if I could, mama bird would smell my human stink all over it and simply push it back out. I’m in no position to take care of a baby bird, even if it didn’t have a broken wing. The vet would just laugh at me if I took it in. No nature center would take it — it’s a robin or something, not some endangered condor. In the end, I just scooped it up and put it on the grass, where at least it won’t get run over… but I wondered, and still wonder, if it would’ve been more merciful to simply crush it underfoot.

And then I thought, what a wonderful world this is! A world where I have the mental and emotional reserves, not to mention that physical security, to agonize over the fate of a baby bird. Not a single sparrow falls to the ground without Our Lord knowing it, St. Matthew informs us, but we sinners miss countless small tragedies like this every day. Birds fall from their nests all the time; there’s nothing different about this one, save that I saw it.

The rest of the passage from Matthew, comrades, is why I hate the Left:

28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.

To the Left — those who most certainly can kill the body, and would absolutely kill the soul if they could — we’re not worth more than many sparrows. We’re not even worth one. In the world they’re trying with all their might to bring about, not only will I not have the mental and emotional energy to care about a sparrow, I won’t have the physical wherewithal, either. Indeed, if the Left get their way, before long I’ll be looking at that sparrow as nothing more than a snack.

The world the Left is trying so hard to tear down — the one they’re convinced is irredeemably evil — is, in fact, the closest thing to paradise a mortal will ever know. The same world in which a fallen sparrow is a moral quandary is the only one in which nose-ringed kids with dreadlocks can blather on about “systemic racism.”

I surely don’t want to live in a world where my first thought, on seeing that baby bird, is how best to fry it up. Nor does the Left, but they’re too stupid and, yes, utterly fucking EVIL to see it.

I hate them, comrades, I hate them. I can do no other.

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Misreading the Market

Z Man had a bit on college football yesterday, which got me thinking about my own experience with semi-sorta-bigtime athletics. Over the years I taught scads of players of every conceivable collegiate sport (male and female) some of whom went on to the majors (even, in one memorable case, to the WNBA). I never got to see “behind the curtain,” though — nobody ever asked me to fix a grade or anything — so all I’ve got is anecdotes about the kids themselves, and, well… they’re kids. Take away the “college athlete” physique, and I most likely never would’ve been able to tell.*

But in one of my tours of duty at “Flyover State” (which you’ll recall is an amalgam of several places), I got hooked up with the minor league baseball team in a nearby small metro. One of the really cool parts about professing, one I enjoyed almost as much as the actual teaching, is that you get to help kids with their careers by writing rec letters.** The kid who asked me for one was majoring in “sports management” — which, god help us, is really a thing — and despite his goofy useless major was a bright, hardworking kid, so I gave him a glowing letter. The team’s GM called me up soon after (this was the very low minors, obviously), we had a nice chat about the kid, and through a long and boring process I won’t subject you to, I ended up unofficially coaching the kid through his “media relations” (or whatever it was) internship…

…which, being that this was the very low minors, meant that I soon enough ended up “coaching” a LOT of kids through a LOT of internships, because the team was dependent on “sports management” majors (and high school kids) for almost all their seasonal labor. The GM and I had a good relationship, and so inevitably I, too, ended up doing a lot of scab labor for the team (you’ll recall that academia is a 24/7 job — 24 hours a week, 7 months a year — and so I had a lot of free time, especially during baseball season). I’ve written lots of press releases in my day, and though I’m not going to say I’ve written a whole bunch of articles that the local newspaper’s sports reporter just slapped his byline on and published as-is, I will strongly imply it. It was fun, I learned a lot, and I got to hang around the ballpark for free all summer, and even hit the road now and again on the team’s dime.

But I’m sure you see where this is headed. The GM, being good at his job, was soon offered a better job (in a different sport, because that’s how pro sports works), and the new guy, while happy to have a whole bunch of high(-ish) quality free labor, was far more mercenary than the old GM. And here’s where that “misreading the market” stuff from the title comes from. The old GM, though he could run the hell out of a minor league ball club, is no doubt still toiling in the lower minors, because he understood the nature of the biz and was focused on the club. The new GM, though he hasn’t hit the bigtime yet, undoubtedly will in some capacity, because even though he destroyed the team (which has since folded), he was great at promoting himself. (Last I saw, he was something like the Assistant Athletic Director at a D2 school; I don’t doubt he’ll be running the show at a big school by the end).

What the old GM understood, but the new GM tried his damnedest not to learn, is that minor league ball can’t exist without the community. As COVID has shown us, the majors can run their teams without fans in the stands if they have to. In the minors, though, that all-business approach always fails. You can play major league baseball entirely for the cameras, because baseball fans will always tune in to see a big name player. You simply can’t do that in the minors, no matter how hot a prospect you have on the roster, because — and if you’ve seen any minor league ball, you know — even the hottest prospect frankly sucks when he’s playing at the lower levels.

Ok, yeah, he’s obviously head-and-shoulders better than the other guys out there (or maybe he’s not, but let’s keep it simple) but the other guys out there are, not to put too fine a point on it, pretty bad. Some minor league manager way back in the days infamously told his locker room “[big league prospect] is the only guy here who’s worth anything. The rest of you are only here because [prospect] needs eight other guys in order to play.” Harsh, but true, and you don’t have to watch too many low-minors games to see it. Moreover, despite baseball attempting to follow football’s lead and make its amateur draft a big media show, none but the most serious fans know any but the very biggest prospects (if that). Worse yet, since the minors are widely distributed, geographically, you very often have a situation where the local team in Toad Suck, Nebraska, belongs to the big club in Philadelphia… so even if you’ve got some big-name prospect for the Phillies, you’re not going to get a whole bunch of Phillies fans in the stands, because “the stands” are in Toad Suck, Nebraska.

Old GM understood all that, so he focused on the fan experience. He sent Hoppy, the official mascot of the Toad Suck Hoppers, into the elementary schools to push reading programs and physical fitness classes. He had at least some control over his roster (despite it all, I still don’t quite know how player distribution works), so he made sure that at least some of the “you’re only here so Hotshot has a team to play on” guys were quality kids, and he constantly sent them out in the community doing stuff. The GM himself was always out there, and I mean always — you couldn’t open a used-car dealership without him showing up and making a little speech; the man had the patience of Job. He’d make sure that every local business that would let him in the door had a bunch of pocket schedules to hand out, and so on.

In short, he made it such that you went to a Hoppers game to see The Hoppers. It was a community ritual in its way.

New GM, by contrast, went all-in on “this club is exactly like the Majors in all respects.” His marketing consisted entirely of “come see Hotshot, the Big Club’s first round draft pick.” We’re running long here, so I’ll just say that if you know anything about sports in general, and baseball in particular, you know how well that worked out. Generally, Hotshot is some high school pitcher who can throw a 95 mph fastball but couldn’t find the plate with a GPS shoved up his ass. It totally cratered attendance — again, who cares about Hotshot, especially since if he really IS any good, he’ll be gone by the 4th of July?

From New GM’s perspective, though, it all made perfect sense. If Hotshot really was the Next Big Thing, then he, New GM, would get all the credit for “developing” him. And if Hotshot wasn’t the next big thing, well, the Phillies get another first-round pick next season, don’t they?

Needless to say, this post is not about baseball.

 


*And as for that… I vividly remember grossly, though of course unintentionally, insulting the Big Man On Campus [BMOC] at one of those infamous Small Private Liberal Arts Colleges(TM). Please be advised that, as with lots of stuff here on RC, this is probably way too long a walk for far too short a payoff, but what the hell, you get what you pay for…

You probably don’t know that lots of these SPLACs have football programs, and if you don’t know that, you definitely don’t know that they take their pigskin very seriously indeed for some reason. Anyway, this kid comes in wearing number 90. For non-American readers: in pro football, the defensive line wears jersey numbers in the 90s, and the number 90, in particular, is associated with some of the great defensive ends — that is, the pound-for-pound strongest, fastest guys on the field.

Though colleges generally follow the same numbering system as the pros, they don’t always, and indeed part of the fun of college football is that, while following the NFL’s system is “strongly encouraged,” kids can pick their own numbers if the coach lets them get away with it, or if it’s traditional for a certain position to wear a certain number regardless of the “official” system. The point is, had this kid been a pro, I’d know that #90 was a defensive end, but since this was college, I had to guess… and based on his physique, I said something like  “hey, that’s cool, I love these little small-college traditions. So tell me, why is a wide receiver wearing number 90?”

The kid gets super-pissed, because of course he IS a defensive end… and not just any old defensive end, but the star of the defense, and indeed the holder of several school records. Fortunately I was able to smooth it out with him after class, because although he was the BMOC with a certain rep to maintain in public, in private he knew there was a reason he was balling in the NAIA, and that reason was: A guy like myself, who had just come off a semester at a huge, though not very good, State U with a D1 (though not very good) football program, could easily mistake him for a wide receiver at a real program. Seriously, the kid weighed maybe 220; the punter at Flyover State outweighed him (and could probably out-bench him, because the punter was one of those kids I taught who went on to a decent pro career).

**That most tenure-trackers and ALL tenured faculty hate writing rec letters tells you a lot about the kind of people they are. I always looked at it as a great possible access point for some character building. Most kids would just say “thanks,” of course, and leave it at that — whaddaya gonna do, they’re kids — but the savvier ones would say something like “I owe you one.” I loved that, and had a little canned speech prepared about how no, you don’t. This is my job as the grownup in the room, and the only thing you owe me is to remember that I did this for you, and why, so when it’s your turn to be the grownup in the room, you really listen to the kid asking you for a letter, and do your honest best to help him.

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