LITERALLY a Metaphor

Kids these days can’t process figurative speech.  Literally can’t process it, which is why they say “literally” all the time.  If you’re under 30, it’s like… like…

I’m sure there are cog-sci studies on this, if anyone cares to plow through PubMed one rainy afternoon.  I’m going off my observations interacting with, and attempting to instruct, college kids.  So, yeah, it’s all anecdotal, but the sample size is decent.  I see the following types of communication:

Undigested Metaphors.  E.g “Donald Trump is literally Hitler.”  George Orwell nailed this back in 1946, and as this post is really just an attempt to update “Politics and the English Language,” you should probably skip this and go read that.  Should you choose to soldier on, this is the essay with the famous quote “The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies ‘something not desirable’. ”  The rest of the paragraph is equally instructive:

The words democracy, socialism, freedom, patriotic, realistic, justice have each of them several different meanings which cannot be reconciled with one another. In the case of a word like democracy, not only is there no agreed definition, but the attempt to make one is resisted from all sides. It is almost universally felt that when we call a country democratic we are praising it: consequently the defenders of every kind of regime claim that it is a democracy, and fear that they might have to stop using that word if it were tied down to any one meaning. Words of this kind are often used in a consciously dishonest way. That is, the person who uses them has his own private definition, but allows his hearer to think he means something quite different. Statements like Marshal Petain was a true patriot, The Soviet press is the freest in the world, The Catholic Church is opposed to persecution, are almost always made with intent to deceive. Other words used in variable meanings, in most cases more or less dishonestly, are: class, totalitarian, science, progressive, reactionary, bourgeois, equality.

We don’t use Bolshevik jargon like “reactionary” or “bourgeois” much anymore, but the others are very much with us.  In Orwell’s day they at least still had vestigial meanings — even the commie trying to justify Stalin’s gulags would make a nod to Plato when asked “what is justice?”(1)  These days, we’re in the odd position of throwing around words and phrases that have never meant anything.  Whites being racist towards other whites in favor of blacks, as compensation for the supposed racism of other whites towards other blacks — all of whom have been dead for 100+ years in most cases — and calling anyone who notices the blatant self-contradiction “racist”… that’s the kind of thing I mean.  Kids who call Donald Trump “literally Hitler” don’t know any of Trump’s policies and couldn’t recognize a Nazi if he anschlussed their ass with his jackboot.  It’s just a metaphor that passes through their speech undigested, kinda like corn in… well, that’s another metaphor, so I won’t confuse any Millennial readers with it.  The point of Undigested Metaphors is to express disapproval, with an implied threat of legal action.

Voice-to-Text.  This is an expression of disapproval without the implied threat of legal action, as most VtT phrases could themselves be actionable.  E.g. “ur a fag,” the standard putdown of “noobs” (or whatever it is now) on the internet / video games / whatever.  It might as well be an emoji, and had voice-to-text technology progressed slower, it probably would’ve been, e.g. 8=>.  It doesn’t occur to users that words like “fag” actually mean something — it can’t, as the people who throw around homosexual slurs the most are Social Justice Warriors, who at every opportunity proclaim themselves the BFFs of every sexual orientation except straight.

Tweets. A cant(2) phrase intended to be retweeted / upvoted, i.e. virtue-signaling.  As any actual information content would almost always destroy the intended effect, Tweets are effectively anti-communication. E.g. “love trumps hate!,” followed immediately by “DIAF Republicans!”  In the dark ages before social media, this was called bumperstickerese — see, for example, any Subaru Outback in any college town in America, where “Coexist” bumper stickers nestle quite comfortably next to calls for the eradication of entire classes of people.

Tinfoil Hat Prose.  According to feminists, everything that’s wrong with a feminist’s life is the fault of The Patriarchy, even though nobody knows any patriarchs.  Same goes for White Skin Privilege, Heterosexuality, and all the other “social constructions” — if they were true, we’d never know about it, because all the chicks, gays, blacks, etc. would still be on the plantation(3).  Phrases like “social construction” give the veneer of academic respectability to what are essentially hare-brained conspiracy theories.  It’s easy enough to detect one — just ask, “who is society (a patriarch, etc.), comrade?  Point to a specific member of the set.”  As the whole point of Tinfoil Hat Prose is to keep everything in the passive voice — “women are oppressed by the patriarchal reification of capitalism” instead of “women are oppressed by Steve” — the same technique refudiates it.

KISSes.  New writers are commanded to “Keep It Simple, Stupid,” and this is the only type of prose modern kids can handle.  In my experience, you can’t make instructions simple enough.  Your sentences can’t be too short, too clear, too declarative.  If you leave any room for interpretation at all, you will be misinterpreted, in hilarious ways you couldn’t have forseen in a million years.  This is literally — literally!!! — the only way to communicate with Millennials.

More as the mood strikes me.

 

(1) n.b. to any Millennials reading this: “What is justice?” was the central question of Plato’s Republic, which used to be required reading in any college humanities class… often in the original Greek.  Here’s a summary.

(2) n.b. to Millennials, not a typo (though how would you know?).  “Clear your mind of cant” isn’t an uplifting slogan about being all you can be; it’s about thinking for yourself.  “Cant” is dogma, things “everyone knows,” the rote bullshit you had to memorize for every test you’ve ever taken in your entire lives.  Rosa Parks is the patron saint of cant.

(3) no, really, homosexuals used to be confined to lavender plantations, which were located in closets.  That was the point of the Stonewall Riots.  Pick up a history book, why dontcha?

Alternative Facts

I gotta admit, that one did bug me.  What the hell do you mean, “Alternative Facts”???

I thought a clarification was in order, especially since it was jumped on so quickly.  And hey, you know our side would have jumped on it, too.  It was just too juicy.  She set Chuck Todd up for a spike.  Oh, and he friggin’ buried that ball.

If they really were going that route, yeah, it sounded a bit Orwellian.  But I think I’ve got it sorted out now.

And in their defense, no clarification would ever have been acceptable anyway.  Stop digging, right?

But now that I’ve gone and tracked down what was said and in what contexts regarding crowd size, audience size, and the use of the term “Alternative Facts” … this is what it looks like to me.
 
1) At first, Trump claimed there were 1.5 million people. Somebody in his camp probably told him this. This was a faulty estimate based on how many people different sections of the mall holds.  From the angle most people on stage see it from, it would have appeared that the mall was full. They didn’t have the advantage of the higher angle from the cameras on the more famous photos that were produced later.
 
2) The photo at 12:01pm clearly shows that the mall was not, in fact, full, that there was quite a bit of sparsely populated, even almost empty space.
 
3) Spicer revised the assertion (without retracting the claim about attenedees) to “I have a right to say if you add up the network streaming numbers, Facebook, YouTube, all of the various live streaming that we have information on so far, I don’t think there’s any question it was the largest watched inauguration, ever” — which while it isn’t indisputable, even liberal outlets admit that this may very well be true.
 
4) Kellyanne Conway, when talking about the situation used a term which she will never live down in her awkwardly worded response. “What — You’re saying it’s a falsehood. And they’re giving Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that.”
 
It’s clear, after going over what was said and when it was said that by “alternative facts” she meant “alternate facts”. An “alternate fact” would be another fact that they choose to focus on instead of that one. One that, if you substitute it for the first, r1935belated fact, might underscore the idea they were trying to get across. The fact that it was Da Biggesssst™.   …. audience …. um … around the world, physical and electronic. She may have been ineloquent but she isn’t stupid. It wasn’t some Orwellian attempt to say that the crowd on the mall wasn’t smaller because they had an “alternative fact” that it was actually larger because they said so. Though there’s no doubt they were trying to gloss over the fact that the physical attendance was smaller (and this is important, why?). They were glossing over it by painting with a broader brush, a different fact which still had to do with audience, just not physical audience present at the event. A related fact, a fact in the same family that didn’t negate the fact that there were fewer people present, but deflected it by talking about a bigger picture.
 
So it’s much ado about nothing in the end. But it was yet another foot-in-mouth moment for the Trump camp which has never been known for its eloquence.

“Academia Discriminates Against Women”

so says some feminist professor (so says Stacy McCain).  I have a question:

Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!

No, wait, make that

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

That is literally the funniest thing I’ve ever heard a feminist say.

Ok, ok, if I’m being honest, it’s only the second-funniest.  The funniest thing was way back in grad school, when the chicks in our department — who were the clear majority of our department — started bitching that women didn’t have enough leadership positions.  So, as always, the PTB convened a blue-ribbon commission, staffed by these chicks themselves…

….which found out that not only did women hold the majority of leadership positions in the department, they held every single blessed one of them.  The report stated this….

….and in the very next sentence started bitching about how the disproportionate burden of occupying all these leadership roles was keeping them from pursuing their training, thus holding them back from completing their degrees.

You really can’t make this stuff up.  You really can’t.

QUILTS: Sailer’s Law

A whille back, I half-facetiously created a category called QUILTS: QUestions I’d Like To See asked.  It’s an acronym in the great tradition of the greatest secret club in the world, G.R.O.S.S.:

32a1391d1e4bef8b67bee68cb0afe242That’s the facetious part.  The half part is, I really would like to hear someone address these questions to the buffoons who control public discourse these days.  Anyway, in the spirit of jokes, truth, and shameless blog-whoring, I address QUILTS #3 to HuffPo columnette Jen Bosse, via Stacy McCain.

Every day that I go out into the world, I am forced to worry about my safety. Every day, I am ogled or honked at or loudly talked about by men from all socioeconomic and racial backgrounds. I have walked through a parking lot with my children and had men three times my age undress me with their eyes. Some of you may say, “What does that even mean? That’s completely subjective.” To you, I say, “If it’s never happened to you, you’ll never know exactly what that feels like.” But I can tell you that every woman I’ve ever met has.
I have been followed. I have been harassed. I have been grabbed at and “accidentally” brushed against and was even almost abducted once. I was 10 when the harassment began. 11 when the grabbing began. 18 at the time of the attempted abduction. Followed at 23. I could go on.

McCain takes xyr more seriously than xyr deserves (by, for example, asking if it’s true she gets ogled by men from ALL socioeconomic and racial backgrounds.  Surely some ogle more than others?) But I’ve got an even more basic question for her:

Bullshit.

No, really – that’s my question.  Bullshit.  Bull-shiggedy.  Bullshit of the purest ray serene.  Bullshite, if you wanna get cockney about it.  Bullsheeeeeeeit, as the Hon. Clay Davis might say.  I don’t believe for one second that you get ogled “every day.”  I don’t doubt it has happened — are we not men? — but every day?  This I doubt.  I doubt it here, I doubt it there, I doubt it loudly from my derriere.  I think what we have here is a blatant case of Sailer’s Law of Female Journalism:

The most heartfelt articles by female journalists tend to be demands that social values be overturned in order that, Come the Revolution, the journalist herself will be considered hotter-looking.

All this “I was ogled!” feminist humblebragging is just whistling past the twin graveyards of The Wall and menopause.  “Oh noes!  I’m still hot enough to get eye-banged by pervs!  Woe is me!”

But I have a real question for the fellas out there: Have y’all ever seen this?  I mean, ever seen it?  I don’t spend a whole lot of time hanging around construction sites and NBA shootarounds, but I have never in my life heard a woman wolf-whistled.  Have I leered at a few in my day?  Of course, and it’s one of life’s little moments of everyday humor when you catch the eye of another dude across the room who’s been been blatantly checking out the same girl…. good times (are we not men?).  But I’ve been at frat parties galore, and came up in a traditionally misogynistic industry where one of the unspoken but obvious bennies of being a supervisor was first crack at the new crop of interns… and I’ve never seen, or heard about, anything close to what this woman describes.  N.b. that the interns in our neck of the woods all wanted to be in marketing, so they were all ex-sorority sisters, average hotness 7.9 on the Prichter scale.  And yet the Jennifer Bosses and Jessica Valentis and Loryn Brantzes of the world are constantly getting fondled on the job?

What say you, gentlemen?

Pop History

I have another half-assed theory about how to evaluate a period’s history: Pop culture.

This is hardly new in itself — there are historians whose entire specialty is pop culture (and an entire “discipline,” so-called “American Studies,” where dorks who couldn’t cut it in a real history program write long jargony “dissertations” about comic books and South Park).  But their productions are of limited value, because as you’ve probably guessed, it always turns out that CisHetPat Capitalism is at the root of everything.

Instead, I think you can get a pretty good line on a culture by looking at its most escapist entertainment forms, and assuming the opposite.  Take horror movies, for example.  Stephen King floated this idea in his weird, self-indulgent, obviously cocaine-fueled nonfiction book on horror, Danse Macabre.  You don’t have to be Marshal McLuhan to see that the “big bug” movies of the 1950s were, like Godzilla, responses to our anxieties about nuclear technology.  And techno-anxiety in general is one of the wellsprings of horror, starting with Frankenstein, both novel (1818) and movie (1931).  But King takes it a step further in his discussion of The Amityville Horror movie (1979).  At the depths of Carter’s stagflationary malaise, King heard an audience member behind him gasp “think of the bills!” as the demon wrecked the house.  What an odd reaction!

But it makes sense in the context of the times.  And watch what happens next — Carter’s out, Reagan’s in, and all of a sudden horror movies are about unstoppable spree killers: Friday the 13th (1980); A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).  Notice the overlap, too — an early spree killer movie in the last of the Carter years (Halloween, 1978), and a bill-busting haunted house movie in the early Reagan years (Poltergeist, 1982).  And a few techno-horrors as the nuclear clock stays set at 11:59 — The Thing (1982); The Fly (1986).  Even Romero’s zombie movies Dawn (1978) and Day of the Dead (1985), though usually read as critiques of consumer culture, are just as much about social breakdown — a whole world overrun with Jasons and Freddie Krugers.

Fast forward to the War on Terror years (notice how few true horror movies there were in the nice, safe, prosperous 1990s!).  It’s either torture porn (Saw, 2004; Turistas, 2006) or demon possession (The Conjuring, 2013; Drag Me to Hell, 2009), or social breakdown (28 Days Later, 2002).  They’re all about mere survival, against evil entities with no motivation except pain for its own sake, who strike anywhere, anytime, for no reason.  Sound like anything in the Bush years?  And they’re still going strong — cf. It Follows (2014).

Pop music follows a similar pattern.  When there’s war, either actual or likely, you get nice bright shiny happy music – rock in the 50s and 60s, disco in the 70s, techno in the 80s, hedonistic tween pop now.  But when things are great — as in the 1990s — you get songs about how awful everything is (grunge, nu metal).  The only caveat here is that you have to look at what’s actually on the charts, not just what you think is going to be there — Hendrix and Jefferson Airplane never sniffed the top 10, and the only Doors songs to do so were treacly pop crap like “Touch Me.”  Acidy stuff was there, but most “Sixties” music shared chart space with, and usually lost out to, crap like “Harper Valley PTA” and “Sugar Sugar” (the top song of 1969, the very year of Woodstock!).

It’s not perfect, but it’s a decent metric.

Question-Flipping

One of academia’s handiest bullshit-masking tricks is question-flipping.

One of Rotten Chestnuts’ four regular readers (I think it’s Nate Winchester; please correct me if not) likes to quote Jonah Goldberg’s pithy insight that it’s not poverty that demands explanation, but wealth.  I’d like you to imagine yourself captured by an evil genie, who tells you he’s going to insert your brain into either A) a modern trailer-dweller, or B) any famous historical figure from the 19th century or earlier. Pick whomever you like — Queen Victoria, Julius Caesar, Ramses II, Genghis Khan, Cesare Borgia, Shakespeare… anyone, so long as his life ended in 1900 or before, or choose Tornado Acres Trailer Park.*

If you know anything about history, you take the trailer.  If for no other reason than trailers have aspirin, antibiotics, and air conditioning.  Those three things alone make modern life unimaginably more comfortable than even royalty experienced back in the days.  If you don’t believe me, try it — wait until a nice sultry summer’s day, then turn off the a/c and lock your medicine cabinet.  I bet you don’t make it past lunchtime.

This is a simple, obvious, irrefutable point, but as Goldberg keeps pointing out, almost nobody ever makes it, or thinks through the implications.  Politics in 21st century America assumes a baseline of material prosperity that goes well beyond the wildest dreams of science fiction from even the Fifties and Sixties.  Where on earth do we get this idea?

Part of it is simply that familiarity breeds contempt, of course, but some of it is much more insidious.  You’ve probably heard of “postcolonialism,” for instance, and even if you haven’t heard the term, you know the arguments — the Third World is so screwed up because the white man wrecked the place; anything that’s wrong with, say, Mexico is due to the “legacy of colonialism.”  It’s one of the pillars of Obama’s worldview, for instance.

Question-flipping, Goldberg-style, is the only way they can get away with this.  The obvious question should be, “well, if Whitey screwed it all up, why was life so much better when he was in charge?”  Tanzania, for instance, had a pretty good standard of living back when the Germans ran the place.  The average Indian peasant was obviously better off in the Raj’s glory days than in all but the last few years of independence.  The difference between Ian Smith’s Rhodesia and Mugabe’s Zimbabwe is too gruesome to mention.  Ditto South Africa pre- and post-apartheid.  How many Average Joes, do you think, would happily invite Whitey back if they knew this?

The point of this exercise isn’t to show that wogs are incapable of self-governance, or some other Victorian-era bullshit.  I simply want you to see the disconnect between what reasonably informed, but non-indoctrinated, people would conclude from this set of facts, versus what the ivory tower concludes.  Because it’s obvious that Whitey wasn’t running everything out there in the colonies.  One of the most cited figures in Postcolonial Studies — and you’ll never find a more wretched hive of fact-avoidance than “___ Studies” — is that Britain ran the Raj with something like 100,000 full-time white folks…. at most.  Clearly there were a LOT of talented, dedicated, hardworking Indians making the Raj go.  Why, then, did it all go to shit in 1947?  Ditto just about any colonial possession of just about any European power — grotesqueries like Belgian Congo aside, most everywhere was run mostly by natives, most all of the time.  Where did they go?

That’s the question you’ll never see asked, because the answer is “they swallowed Leftist ideology, which is as utterly destructive of personal integrity and work ethic as it is of infrastructures and economies.”  Pick any country you like.  Tanzania elected Julius Nyerere, who is still the collectivist wet dream in many parts of academia.  He managed to ruin the economy and start a famine within a few years.  And Nyerere was just dumb and ideology-blinded; he wasn’t batshit insane like Idi Amin or Mobutu Sese Seko or Francisco Macias Nguema.

But question-flip it, and you can have a long and lucrative career flogging Whitey with 50 cent words.

 

*yeah, I know, Queen Victoria died in 1901.  Forget it, Hoover, he’s rolling.

 

Fun with Polls

Ace of Spades has spent many years making himself into a nearly useless establishment shill.  Here he is again, telling us Trump is finished for about the 77th time:

This is the wrong trajectory for a guy who’s winning the nomination. As I’m sure you’ve heard, this is the point at which the front-runner begins gaining support, as people take a second look and decide, “Okay, I can live with him. Let’s rally around him.”

The opposite is happening with Trump. Yes, he still leads, but his lead is now single digits over Cruz in a new ABC News poll as well, and Cruz’s get out the vote organization exists, whereas Trump’s does not.

Yup. So just for giggles I looked up “Obama electability March 2008” and came up with this. Ain’t it a doozy?

…recent indisputable polling data by Gallop [sic], USA Today, and Pew Research Center that show up to 15-20 percent of today’s Democrats say they would defect to Senator McCain if [Obama] were the nominee of our party vs. half or less that amount would defect if Senator Clinton were the nominee. This potential latest generation of “Reagan Democrats” — literally perhaps the children of the 1980s version, who are likely to be called “McCainocrats” — is something serious to worry about if Senator Obama is the nominee.

To repeat what I said in my prior blogs: I know Senator Obama shows strength among independence/declines to offset these current defections in the Democratic base. These polls show Senator Clinton and Senator Obama ahead of Senator McCain or in a dead heat with him by approximately the same margin. But I continue to worry — and Ms. Cocco’s piece below increases my concern — that independence/declines are a fickle group of voters to rely on, especially when they say they are for a candidate such as Senator Obama early in March 2008 about whom they know virtually nothing.

This clown concludes, of course, that Obama shoud drop out of the race for the sake of the party.

And that took me all of six seconds.

Note for the autistic: Yeah, I know there are differences between then and now, Cruz is not Hillary (and Trump sure as hell ain’t Obama, etc.).  But the point is that we’ve seen a bruising primary fight, very recently, and yet nobody seems to look at how that played out, even with all the resources of the internet right there at their disposal.  Ace’s “he should be trending up” argument only makes sense in the context of more typical primaries, where the anointed one fends off a stage-managed “challenge” from some overhyped clown.  Think Ron Paul, Huckabee, etc. winning in Iowa, or — best example — GW Bush crushing “Maverick” McCain on Super Tuesday 2000.

This isn’t a typical election, but it’s far from unprecedented.  Am I the only one who can remember what happened just a few years ago?  Are we all Progressives now?

“Getting the Pithy up There in the Post”

This started as a reply to Nate Winchester, here, but I want to expand on the history biz a bit.

What bugs me when some libertarians & conservatives say “go learn yourself” is that they don’t seem to realize that the left has learned if they can’t control the information, that drowning the truth (especially with “accepted wisdom”) is just as acceptable.

This is true, and it’s often quite difficult — especially with academic history — to tell where the facts end and the interpretation begins.  But you don’t really need as many facts as you think you do.

I’m not being anti-intellectual here.  I’m not arguing that you should charge blithely into battle completely unarmed.  But facts quickly pass the point of diminishing returns.  The example Nate uses is “was Hitler a Christian”?  There’s no way to “win” this “debate,” because Hitler was both a human and a politician.  Humans’ beliefs change over time.  Lucky for most of us, we’re not on record.  Politicians are.  Hitler was probably the Pope’s best buddy when talking to Catholic Bavarians, and a Thor-worshiping neo-pagan while addressing SS officers.  Hell, he was probably both of those things, and seventeen other things besides, in his own head half the time.  As he was a public figure, though, we have him on record opining about the state of his soul, and we can use those “facts” to construct whatever argument we wish….

…And notice what just happened there.  We’ve slid between two different applications of the word “fact.”  When we say “Hitler told a gathering of SS officers that Christianity is nonsense in a speech on 9 November, 1938,” the fact in that sentence isn’t

  • Hitler thought Christianity is nonsense;

it’s

  • Hilter said Christianity is nonsense to a group of SS officers on 11/9/1938.

The fact that he made the speech is part of the construction of the opinion that he wasn’t a Christian.

Again, I sound like I’m belaboring the obvious, but this is how the process works.  And it’s why facts, as such, quickly pass the point of usefulness.  We can’t simply add up all his statements pro and con, subtract one from the other, and look at the result.  People are just too complex for that.  The archives, alas, are not a magic bullet.  There will never be a smoking-gun statement that will prove a claim like that (and even if there were, would the other side ever accept it?  No true Scotsman and all that).*

Now, academic history — the stuff argued over in portentously-titled tomes from micro-presses — may well turn on one or two facts unearthed from dusty archives.  And things “everybody knows” in the biz** are routinely challenged and disproven (that’s one of the ways you get tenure).  But that’s not particularly useful for our purposes.

I’ll give you an example.  I’ve been arguing in these pages that the 2016 campaign has been a weird mishmash of the 1852 and 1856 presidential elections, with Donald Trump in the John C. Fremont role.  I claim national defense (= borders + Muzzies) now is equivalent to slavery back then — the only thing ordinary people wanted to talk about, and the one thing both political parties wouldn’t talk about under torture.  I say Trump is Fremont because both Trump and Fremont, are, quite frankly, lunatics — but they’re straight-talking lunatics who won’t shut up about the one issue the public actually wants to hear, and who promise action.

Fremont was a sort of gentleman-adventurer back in the 1830s and 40s.  He got rich by shady means, which included seizing control of a nominally independent country, the so-called “Bear Flag Republic” of California, while serving as a US Army officer. He got a bug up his ass about slavery, which was the appeal of the new Republican Party, and though cooler heads like Lincoln prevailed as the party’s public face after 1856, Fremont remained a major force, so much so that Lincoln had to give him a military command in the Civil War… which he used to unilaterally free all the slaves in his AOR, nearly torpedoing the Union war effort before it got started.

Now, any competent first-year grad student could tear that argument apart.  Hell, a humorless internet pedant could, in about five minutes, using nothing but facts — the border isn’t slavery; Operation Iraqi Freedom wasn’t the Mexican War; there’s no Know-Nothing Party***; etc. etc.

To which I say, look at Trump’s popular appeal.  “Because he’s got game” is a stupid fucking reason to vote for a politician, but lots of people are sympathetic to burn-it-down, shit-flinging nihilism.  And when the party system is so obviously a fatcat-protection racket, when the party boys who are our rulers so obviously despise the ruled, a protest vote for the shit-flinging nihilist seems like the only sensible option.  If my official choices are Jebillary or Hilleb, a hearty “fuck you” is emotionally satisfying.  An Aztec will still have my job, the Thought Police will still be on my case, I’ll still have to maintain constant vigilance against the day some amnestied towelhead blows himself up at the local mall… but I can at least kinda sorta hold my head up as a man for one more day (until the shrieking harpies in Congress finally get around to passing the Castration Act of 2017).

Do I seem angry to you?  A little deranged, perhaps?  Good.  This is the headspace of a lot of your fellow citizens.  It’s why Trump is leading in the polls, and why a serious candidate who says what he says will finally end this ridiculous farce sooner than later.

Facts, as such, don’t capture that.  You can find the same seething anger, the same unhinged rhetoric, on the pages of any newspaper in the country circa 1858.  But the fact is that they’re talking about slavery, which we don’t have.  You can point out, quite rightly, that the Republican Party platform which so many found appealing was tailored to economic and social conditions so different from our own that it may as well have been written on Mars.****  One can even point out, as at least one of our regular readers does, that the GOP is kicking ass right now if you look at election returns; winning parties don’t generally go out of business overnight.

It’s easy to get lost in those kinds of facts — missing the forest for the trees.  The more you read up on Fremont, say, the less he looks like Trump.  The past really is a different country.  But… how did we get here from there?  It’s still possible right now, in AD 2015, to shake hands with men who shook hands with men who fought in the Civil War.  1858 was just yesterday, but facts won’t tell you that.

 

*A great example of the problem with archives, using a similar example, is Richard Evans’s Lying about Hitler.  The problem is that there’s no smoking-gun order for the Holocaust over Hitler’s signature in the archives.  This has allowed sick fucks like David Irving to pretend that the Holocaust never happened, and/or that whatever number of Jews died — I think he admits to low six figures — Hitler had nothing to do with it. Nazi Germany didn’t work that way, of course, and the evidence we do have is irrefutable and overwhelming.  But nobody can wave a piece of paper around and say it disproves, 100%, the crackpot theories of the Holocaust deniers.  It’s a good read.

**which are not things “everybody knows” in real life, alas.  If you want to claw your eyeballs out, read some of the “debates” over just how capitalist slavery was or wasn’t in the Old South.  In academia, “everybody knows” that slaveholders just had to be eeevil capitalists, because “slaveholder” and “capitalist” basically mean the same thing.  But the facts on the ground keep contradicting that, and so every time some grad student writes a dissertation on slavery in Frog Wallow County, Georgia, 1832-1834, the entire profession has to re-litigate the whole thing in the reviews.  Nobody in the real world gives a shit.

***The current GOP in fact knows nothing, but they’re not Know-Nothings.  Alas.

****The fun irony, for those who like such things, is that the best book on the early Republicans is still Eric Foner’s Free Soil, Free Labor, Free Men.  Foner is an out-n-proud commie, but his book is top notch.

UPDATE:  And hey, whaddaya know, just as I’m finishing this up, I see this.  Fremont’s “coup” worked, but I leave the respective levels of crazy involved as an exercise for the reader.

 

Obamify Democrats Pathetic Meme

Obamify DemocratsOf course, it’ll work if nobody counters it.

Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to counter.

When you take office at the low point of a the kind of recession caused by the housing bubble popping and things rebound naturally, you would expect this. After the stock market fell by 2/3, it WILL rebound back to where it was … usually in 18 months or so. Why did it take 6 years under Obama?

Same thing with unemployment, with the added benefit of so many people just plain giving up and leaving the job market altogether skewing the numbers downward to help you out.

Presidents rarely have jack to do with gas prices – and this is particularly rich from a guy who WANTS energy prices to “necessarily skyrocket”.  Because ManBearPig.

Bush_Obama_Deficit_2014At best, the Obama deficits are now about the same as Bush deficits were before the big TARP bailout — which Obama voted for — which drove the deficit tremendously high just before Obama took office – and also drove the *average* Bush Deficit up as a result. Pretty rich to blame your predecessor for something you voted for, then take the credit for NOT borrowing as much in subsequent years — because you have the benefit of the graft you blamed on your predecessor to fall from. The graph tells the story.

insuranceInsurance … insurance … Obamacare… 57% of those ENROLLED in Obamacare plans were previously uninsured according to this study.  I can see where the mathematically challenged might take that as half of the uninsured are now insured.  But really, it’s only half of the enrollees were previously uninsured.  That’s different.  In reality, it’s only dropped the “uninsured” rate by 2-3%.  Not half.  And at what cost?  We haven’t even begun to see what this is going to cost, especially after the unintended market consequences kick in.

You “got” Bin Laden largely because of efforts you opposed. Word has it you could have gotten him much sooner, but you were hesitant to pull the trigger and others basically pressed the issue until you said “yes”.  Either way, it’s not like it was some sort of bold decision.  Well for YOU maybe.  But I’m pretty sure any normal president at war in this kind of war would have taken out the enemy once found.

IRAQ-SYRIA-UNRESTYou also managed to lose everything that was gained in at least one of those wars, leaving a power vaccuum into which ISIS has stepped. In addition you’ve agreed to drop sanctions against Iran if they’ll promise (*snicker*) that they’ll stop working on their nukes for a while – while retaining their capacity to do it. And not allow anyone to check to see if they’re even holding up their own tiny end of the bargain.  I think we’ve seen this movie before.

The housing market crash was a market correction, so of course it stablized. It crashed to back to a relatively stable position. And there are signs of a new housing bubble building. This is what happens when you fail to address the underlying issues that led to the previous one.

As for the redefinition of marriage — of course you wanted it and your allies campaigned hard for it, calling it “marriage equality”. What it really is is the re-definition of a social institution, and it was done in response to a majority of people in several staLyingtes voting to keep their social institution defined the way they wanted it rather than to have courts impose a different one on them. So it went to the Supreme Court where the intense activist political pressure caused 5 judges to invent a new “right” out of thin air — which will ultimately lead to the de-definition of family. But that’s what Big Brother wants ultimately, anyway. Surprise!

FAIL. All around. But this is the kind of naked spin community organizers do every day.

I Have a Right!

Education is a human right. Share if you agree.

So this came across my desktop yesterday.

I think my head is going to explode.

Oh yeah. It’s free. *If* you’re accepted. And that’s a big IF.

Even in Europe, you have to be put in an academic track school by about age 12 to hope to make it in to one of these colleges.

Since this “Free in Finland” word has gotten out, Finland has had to clarify that while tuition is free, you have to pay your own way for room and board. And hey, if education is a right, aren’t food and shelter yet more basic rights?

Why does Finland HATE students????! “Finland Starves Students – Leaves Them in the Cold!” That would be the community organizing headline from the Chicago school of politics.

All colleges in Germany have had “free” tuition since way way back in … October. Jury’s probably still out on how sustainable it is, or the effect it will have on the quality of education you can get. As it stands, America pretty much has a headlock on top universities in the world so maybe there’s something to this not-so-public approach.


I think the main difference between America and elsewhere has been that your education was something you were expected to get — so much so that state charters mandated that a certain size plot of land in every township be set aside for a school which would be funded by the community. But the attitude was that an education isn’t something that is given to you or provided to you — since we as a people have required that you get one from the beginning, we’ve considered it a duty of society to provide the opportunity – up to a point.

I’d argue that we don’t have to provide you an opportunity for a degree in “Gender Studies”.

occupy girl2

It’s not “your” car anyway, because you didn’t build that.

This provision of opportunity is there with the expectation that you will be obligated, if physically and mentally able, to go out and pull your own weight when it is said and done – and perhaps if you do well enough create something that will help others pull theirs. But to the people at “US Uncut”, it’s about “rights”, not “obligations”. “Rights” mean somebody OWEs *me*. “Obligations” are for chumps. Now feed me or I’ll cr*p on your car. It’s not really “your” car, anyway, because you didn’t build that. Oppressor!

We do have an over-emphasis on a college degree as a credential in our society. College is fine — you can get a great education if you want one, and you can get lots of financial help getting one if you need it and show an aptitude for it. And I think there is something to a Financial/Education complex where they rub each others’ backs. Universities cost 5x more than they did in 1985, but inflation has “only” cut they buying power of a dollar in half. I think Universities charge more because they can get it, and banks make the loans because they can make money off the interest. Kind of like what health insurance did to health care costs.

The whole “10x what ‘they’ charge banks” thing is just emotionally charged rhetoric that takes advantage of, as someone once put it, “the stupidity of the American voter”. Any amount banks get charged for loans to them is ultimately passed on to the consumer, and student loan rates aren’t out of line with most other loan rates.

I think Mike Rowe & his Mike Rowe Works is on to something. Degrees are overrated, and inflated – in grades, cost, and subject matter. There is lots of honorable, even decent-paying work out there that does not require a college degree, and it’s work that needs doing.