August 31, 2008 - August 24, 2008
Monday, July 09, 2007
Global Warming Horror Show.
. It's not
news by now that the worldwide Live Earth concerts were a bust
It's not all that surprising either. Global Warming has to be the
dullest crisis ever, championed by the dullest demagogue ever. The
closest I came to watching it was sitting through the first half of a
rerun of the South Park Manbearpig
episode last night.
When I chanced this morning to hear an audio clip of Al Gore's pledge
speech (seven points!) at one of the concerts, he sounded exactly like
Stan and Kyle were trying to avoid.
What's really odd is that I think the South Park boys were actually on
to something with Manbearpig. The obvious absurdity masks a subtler but
nevertheless quite real absurdity. And mask is
the right word. The mask of
Global Warming is science, but the underlying passion that's driving it
is paganism. Manbearpig is a classic pagan god, two parts animal, one
part human, adding up to an archaic godhead. And Global Warming is
really an outgrowth of a pagan yearning. How else is it that this
cobbled-together -- and remotely consequential -- theory has
become part of a
cluster of 'progressive' causes that most notably include gay rights,
hard-line feminist rejection of 'the patriarchy' (excepting Islam, of
course), anti-Christian campaigns that are disingenuously positioned as
expressions of secularism and humanism, extreme sexual libertarianism,
an obsessive focus on health and nutrition as if they were morality,
and an irrational Luddite condemnation of all things technological
(excepting cell phones, the internet, and MP3 players)?
Would the scientists who think their rationalism is saving the planet
from mankind's baser instincts be happy to know that their most ardent
followers are the same people who wear crystals, read auras, channel
ancient eastern spirits, dance Wiccan spells naked under the full moon,
and perform imaginary Druid ceremonies at Stonehenge during the
solstices? Or that some of their most vocal fellow travellers are
defying the imperatives of evolution by engaging in non-reproductive
sexual activities which have been scientifically proven (more than
Global Warming, anyway) to reduce their chances of survival by 30 to 60
What's going on here isn't an enlightened transformation of medieval
superstition (Christianity) into rational planetary consciousness
(green progressivism). It's an act of reversion to pre-conscious
paganism -- a violent divorce of theology from morality, a sundering
whose ultimate purpose is 180 degrees antithetical to science. Why?
Because the opposite of science is magic, which is based on the notion
that purely symbolic actions can have an impact on matter at a
distance, without physical contact or logical cause and effect. What's
the difference? The cultures of antiquity (including the increasingly
self-righteous native peoples of North, Central, and South America)
employed human sacrifice as an act of magic, a brutal and bloody
transaction that had to be repeated every time Gaia or Quetzalcoatl
seemed to be punishing the earth. Christians elevated sacrifice to a
divine concept, one that was performed once, to perfection, and so
needed never to be performed again except in symbolic form. Because its
purpose was not to slake the appetites of a vicious nature god like the
sun or the storm, but to imbue the human spirit with an internal sense
of right and wrong and transcendant truth.
It was Christianity's focus on mind and spirit that liberated science
from the shackles the originating Greeks had constrained it with. The
idea of a relationship with the divine that was not based on
transactions but an aspiration to know the beauty of creation inspired
every scientist from Newton to Einstein. Now we are reduced, once
again, to the level of mere animals. Good is what makes us feel good --
sexual gratification, prolonged physical health, the comfort of rituals
that make no demand on minds that have grown weary of complexity. For
their excessive demands on our minds, the gods of complexity must be
destroyed, utterly, by the most potent and ancient of magic. All their
mores must be trampled. All their virtues must be mocked. Everything
must be turned on its head. Rich must become poor. Evil must become
good. Man must become woman, woman must become man, commandments must
be broken, and the rituals we perform must be magical, not spiritual.
So they accept the ridiculous magical notion that a concert can change
climate -- provided that we say and do all the right things along the
way, regardless of the facts. It's the performance that matters, not
anything like a chain of cause and effect as scientists might
What's actually amazing about all this is not the conduct of the
crazies, but the ambivalent reactions of the people you don't expect to
be crazy. That's where you see the real power of magic and paganism and
the irrational generally. I won't be forgiven for this (but who
cares?), and besides it was Camille Paglia in our time who has made the
strongest case for the theory that men invented rationality as a
defense against the native paganism of women, which is another way of
saying that if you want to see the cracks in the edifice of
rationality, look first to the women.
I've previously commented here on the peculiar response of the famous Ann
to Al Gore's idiot Global Warming movie. Today, we have
her equally ambivalent response to the Live
. Yes, she knows the whole exercise was silly. But:
I watched some of the show. I TiVo'd
everything, then fast-forwarded
through most of it. I enjoyed Crowded House and the Red Hot Chili
Peppers. And everyone likes Madonna now. She works so hard. She's still
willing to get out on the dance floor flat on her belly and writhe
until we are entertained.
Everyone likes Madonna now? No. Sorry. Not everyone does. Some of us
think Madonna is as much of a woman as Al Gore is of a man, and we're
not comfortable with either of them. And the idea that time somehow
alchemizes old vice into present-day respectability is uniquely female
-- and definitively amoral. Men who once thought Madonna physically
attractive but whorish haven't changed their perception of anything but
her attractiveness. Once a whore, always a whore. It's only from the
women that you hear the excuses and qualifications -- but she's been so
successful, for so long, and she keeps reinventing her.... what? Her
To most men I know she's reached the worst stage of whorishness --
she's reached the stage of kidding herself that a bunch of superficial
makeup -- a British accent, authoring children's books, playing the
grande dame expatriate from her native Queens -- will somehow undo the
nights she spent cruising Manhattan in her limo picking up gigolos for
wanton sex. That's an act of magic that makes sense to a large number
of women, but not to men. To men, you are what you do. To women, you
are what you can convince other women you are.
And if Madonna is somehow slowly transmogrifying -- like other English
women -- into a man, women are also strangely comforted, it seems, by
the fact that so many men, Al Gore included, are gradually morphing
into the sitzenpissers
of Germany. To the pagan mind, which resides deep in the minds of many,
this is the ultimate victory against rationalism, a milestone in the
return to the prehistorical times that are supposed to have been
matriarchal, when the Eleusinian Mysteries prevailed, and men were
subservient to women throughout the course of a single, endlessly
repeated year in which no history occurred, no writing disrupted the
cycle of the moon, no manufactured art competed with naked breasts, and
the earth was a merciless mother who still managed to screw every man,
woman, and child like a satyr.
Deep down, though, that's what most women still want. The Return.
Scroll through Ms. Althouse's site
with special emphasis on her photography, and then look at this
. Then take a
look at this
, and tell me
how much faith you have in women to rescue western civilization with
their more highly evolved values.
actually thinks he's winning. You can take it from me, he's
losing the house, the barn, and the car.
A new controversy
And more yuck.
Keith Richard? No.
But we all love her now, right? Right.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Eskin. An illuminating archetype of liberal smarts.
En route to a July 4th event yesterday, I happened to be listening to WIP/AM
Philadelphia and was treated to a kind of epiphany by talk host Howard
Eskin. I'll tell you all about it, but first some background.
We've had all this blabber lately about the Fairness Doctrine, which
gives liberals a chance to show off just how little they actually know
about talk radio and its most influential conservative personalities.
Since they can't bring themselves to listen to Limbaugh, Hannity,
Hewitt, Ingraham et al, they make up their impressions of the shows out
of whole cloth and never learn their mistake because all their liberal
friends who also don't listen have exactly the same unsubstantiated
impressions. That's why they keep saying the same things over and over
again -- conservative talkers are fact-free propagandists, servile to
Republican politicians, vicious to political opponents and callers who
disagree, and sustained on the air by hopelessly uninformed idiots.
Never mind that right-wing talkers have displayed an independence
from the party line you'll look for in vain on Air America, which bores
its few listeners to death with a changeless diet of Bush bashing and
rote recitals of Dem talking points.
In recent years conservative talkers have attacked their party and
their president for profligate spending, the Harriet Miers nomination,
the Dubai ports deal, and almost nonstop on immigration. And their
policy arguments are hardly fact free. Indeed, even the dumbest of the
syndicated conservatives, Sean Hannity, helped sway the senate vote on
the late immigration bill by humiliating Ohio Republican George
Voinovich in an on-air
that exposed the senator's disgraceful ignorance of the
content of the bill and its projected costs, as well as his
paranoid view of the conservative base.
It's true that Hannity may be among the sharper tongued of the most
popular talkers, but he also has two regular features that illustrate
the principal misconceptions liberals have about the medium. Hannity
has a hate-line, a permanent voicemail system on which the liberals who
despise him can record their hostility in whatever terms they prefer.
Obscenities are bleeped, but the comments are otherwise unedited and
used as a bumper going to and from commercials. Their abuse is far uglier and more personal
than any Hannity deals out to callers. Hannity also has a weekly
segment in which he sends one of his producers onto the streets of
Manhattan to ask the residents of that overwhelmingly Democratic city
questions like, "Who is the Vice-President of the United States?" and
"How many senators are there in the U.S. Congress?" He often asks them
about their party affiliation, too. The far-and-away most common answer
to questions like the first two is "I don't know," and the usual answer
to the third is "Democrat." The segment is only entertaining to
Hannity's listeners because they do
know quite a bit about politics and politicians. Otherwise, it would be
about as soporific as watching endless reruns of the exact same episode
of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" It gets dull anyway because after a
while you know they don't know anything about the government or the
Constitution and then they'll boast about having voted for Kerry.
The dirty secret that explains the popularity of conservative talk
radio and the utter failure of liberal talk radio is that except for
their high-profile elitists in academia, the mainstream media, and the
public sector (10 percent of the base? 5 percent?), Democrats are much much
more ignorant and uneducated
Which brings us to Howard Eskin. He hosts the number-one rated local
talk radio show in Philadelphia, another overwhelmingly Democrat city.
But WIP isn't talk radio of the Limbaugh-Hannity sort. It's sports
talk. All sports all the
time. Or it's supposed to be. The listeners are the people -- mostly,
but not all, men -- who pay attention to nothing in public affairs but
the fortunes of the Eagles, the Phillies, the Sixers, and the Flyers.
To them it doesn't matter if Texas is burning, California is breaking
apart along the San Andreas fault, and another European capital is
counting bodies after the latest riot or terrorist attack; they are
pitiful performance last night by the Phillies bullpen. And Howard
Eskin is their favorite. Why? Most of the other WIP hosts are
reasonably friendly and polite to callers. Eskin is merciless. He tells
them they're stupid, he interrupts them, he interrogates them to expose
further ignorance, he makes fun of their lame strategies and diagnoses,
and he hangs up on them in mid-sentence, all while sounding
continuously bored to death with his job and the teams it's his
responsibility to cover. And they love him for it.
Eskin's only real expertise is in-depth knowledge of Philadelphia's
teams and their histories. This he gets from being a born Philadelphian
(nobody can mangle the pronunciation of the letter "P" -- as in 'WIP' -- like a Philly
native). He also has learned the mysterious feature of talk radio Phil
has exploited to become a cult phenomenon. The people who call
in to a radio show are a tiny subset of those who listen, and the
callers will keep calling and keep being as stupid as you dare them to
be. Eskin's bread-and-butter fans would never call him because his
whole shtick is torturing callers for the entertainment of those who
listen for the easy pleasure of feeling
smart; i.e., smarter than the tireless victims who don't ever
get the joke. Unlike Hendrie's application of this principle, which is
creative, funny, and sometimes inspired, Eskin's exploitation of dim
bulbs is akin to masturbation. His whole act is designed to solicit
calls only from the dumbest rocks in the box, and putting them down
strokes his own insecure ego on a continuous basis.
The real genius of Hendrie, who makes up his own on-air guests and
argues with callers as both host and
guest, is that he makes no secret of what he's doing. He talks about
his systematic deceptions on his show
sometimes at length, and he's even been known to perform the whole
charade in front of a large audience. But the callers keep calling,
outraged anew every day by the shocking positions taken by Hendrie's
fictitious interviewees. Eskin is no genius and he never lets anyone in
on the joke. Why? Because his non-calling listeners don't entirely get
the joke either, that is, the part of it that's also laughing at them.
Like Eskin, they're feeling smart because they're smarter than the
inexhaustible parade of self-selecting numbskull victims. Unlike Eskin,
they don't realize that he has just as much contempt for the listeners
who don't have the guts to call. In his own mind, he's a smart guy
because he's smarter than all of them. Could there be any shorter
yardstick of intellect?
And so, you see, Eskin really is
bored to death almost all the time. He talks about sports because it's
his job, but even the idea of a radio audience that is obsessively
concerned with sports and nothing else repels him. Groucho Marx once
said he'd refuse to belong to any club that would have him as a member.
That's Eskin's plight, too. Which explains why, every so often, he
can't stop himself from doing what he did yesterday -- use his air time
on WIP SportsTalk to rant about politics.
Eskin permitting himself to talk politics is a mistake. A HUGE mistake.
He decided we would all benefit from hearing his views on Bush's
commutation of the Libby sentence. As he rolled through his spiel, I
realized I was finally hearing a pure example of what liberals claim
conservative talk radio is -- fact-free propaganda delivered with
maximum rhetorical abuse and so little relation to any foundation of
learning, facts, or actual ideas that it becomes an oxymoron -- dead
air that is nevertheless annoyingly unsilent. He kept referring
to the commutation as a pardon, which it isn't. He raged repetitiously
about the "appearance of corruption," without referencing a single
definable act of corruption. He repeated ad nauseam his personal
demand that George W. Bush should be impeached. "Impeached and
removed." Impeached for what? Exercising a presidential prerogative
that is clearly delineated in the Constitution? Removed how? By radio outrage? If he chooses to, the
President of the United States is legally entitled to grant a full
pardon to a child-raping serial killer and we can disapprove all we
want, but he can't be impeached for it. At no point did he mention the
Constitution, the mechanics of the impeachment process itself
(indictment in the House, trial in the Senate, two-thirds majority
required for conviction), any specific charges that might constitute an
impeachable offense, or the inconvenient conflict-of-interest liberals
have on the questions of perjury and pardons in the context of recent
history, as laid out in a New
Jersey newspaper editorial
Eskin undoubtedly didn't, and wouldn't,
Reasonable people can debate whether
the crime of perjury for which Libby was convicted warranted more or
less than his sentence of 30 months in federal prison. But is it too
much to ask the president’s critics to show at least a minimal respect
for logic and consistency?...
[N]o GOPer is making as much noise as the chorus of the nation’s most
prominent Democratic leaders, some of whom should have Googled
Clinton’s commutation record before opening fire on Bush and his Libby
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, for example, accused Bush of
“betraying the American people” and then added that “he has abandoned
all sense of fairness when it comes to justice, he has failed to uphold
the rule of law.”
Pelosi had a much different understanding of fairness, justice and the
importance of upholding the law back in 1999, when Clinton commuted the
sentences of 16 imprisoned members of the Puerto Rican terrorist group
FALN. The House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a resolution
of disapproval, but Pelosi said she would have voted no had she been
present for the tally. Pelosi was thus defending Clinton’s commutations
of sentences received for seditious conspiracy, conspiracy to make
bombs, bank robbery and illegal possession of stolen firearms, among
other things. Between 1974 and 1983, FALN mounted numerous attacks
against this nation’s police and military, killing six people and
maiming many others.
Then there is Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., who saw in Bush’s Libby
commutation “a clear signal that in this administration, cronyism and
ideology trump competence and justice.” Clinton touts her years as
first lady among her qualifications for being president, but she has
never publicly repudiated either her husband’s FALN commutations or his
pardons of Susan McDougall, convicted of mail fraud, and Marc Rich, the
stock speculator convicted of tax evasion. McDougall was a former
Clinton business partner, and Rich was the former husband of Denise
Rich, a major Clinton fundraiser, both of whom clearly qualify as
Read the whole thing, because it also includes fair criticism of
Republican defenders of the commutation, although it should be noted
that conservatives in particular are hardly unanimous in backing the
president's decision. Some, indeed, despise it. They're against a president condoning lying under oath. Just as they were nine years ago. Go figure.
Of course, Howard Eskin would be exempt from this admonition if he had
ever criticized Bill Clinton's perjuries and pardons in the same terms
that he attacked George W. Bush, whom he declared, without a single
factual citation of any kind, to be "the worst President in the history
of the United States." Do you think he ever handed it out to Clinton
like that? You be the judge.
exhibiting a rare (very) bashful smile.
What was funny as hell about the rant was that my internal prediction
about it came immediately true. The first caller after his eight-or-ten
minute solo tirade wanted to talk about the Phillies. Eskin brushed him
off quickly and resumed his rant, waiting long minutes before the call
board showed him a caller who wanted to talk politics.
The second caller agreed with Eskin about the "pardon." He cited what
he'd heard from other people he knew who believed "in that right-wing
stuff," because even they were saying Bush was incompetent. This
inspired Eskin to shout that Bush was "incompetent, an idiot, the worst
president in the history of the United States." Again.
That's when my better half reached out and changed the channel on the
radio. "That's enough," she said. And she was right, as usual. So I
can't prove to you that subsequent callers kept trying to reintroduce
the one true topic, sports, and the despicable machinations of Phillies
owners and Sixers management, etc ("Yeah, Bush is a big dumb a**hole,
but do you think there's any chance the Sixers could get Iverson
back?...), but I have an educated guess that Eskin didn't have a great
deal more to add to his political analysis. For example, I found this gem
-- from a lefty, no less, in May of this year -- in no time flat:
We had an interesting ride into the
office tonight: We were bopping back and forth between the lunatic
anti-immigrant ravings of Susanne LaFrankie on WPHT -- "possibly the
greatest crisis facing this country" -- and WIP's Howard Eskin, who was
having one of his occasional "political" shows, in which he was
(mostly) anti-Bush on the privacy stuff.
We have very mixed feelings when Eskin goes political. Despite the
stereotypes about "sports guys," most of the talkers on WIP range from
center-left to flaming-lib, and Eskin is no exception, so we
agree with his broader point. George W. Bush is, as Howard would say,
"a dope." [emphasis added]
But the devil in in the details. And when it comes to facts about
American politics, Eskin has less information than your cab driver who
just arrived here from Uzbekistan three weeks ago. Tonight, we switched
over just as a caller was comparing what's going on the Bush
administration to George Orwell's "1984," but Eskin wasn't sure he'd go
"That book came out, what, about 15 years ago?," Eskin asked.
The caller seemed stunned -- pausing for a moment before noting that in
fact Orwell published it in the late 1940s... (To be exact, 1949 --
here's Wikipedia's article on the book.)
We would have been speechless -- especially because "about 15 years"
ago would have been 1991, or seven years after the real 1984. It's very
hard to write a futuristic novel about a time that was two-thirds of a
decade earlier. If Orwell had written "1984" 15 years ago, he would
have had to put in chapters about the Cubs' collapse in the NL playoffs
and a whole riff on Walter Mondale. Probably wouldn't have been as good
Then there's the whole problem of Orwell dying in 1950, but we won't
even go there.
Suffice it to say that Howard has a large "memory hole."
We come full circle. The author of this blog item is obviously one of
the 5 or 10 percent of the Democrat base which works so hard to
maintain the image that lefties are smarter, better informed, and
better educated than Rush Limbaugh's ditto-heads. The emotion on
display is embarrassment. What's missing is any honest insight about
what it means. My own belief is that in Howard Eskin and his sports
ditto-heads we can get a glimpse of the real
Democrat base, people who pay
no attention whatever to politics until some local or categorical issue
(health care, ethnic entitlements, the economy) induce them to go to
the polls on voting day. They vote for Democrats because Democrats
promise them the most and are ever so much better at demonizing the
evil rich Republicans. In fact, they're so ignorant that they don't
even know how often their preferred political party is working against
their own interests in day-to-day politics. (Where is Jesse Jackson to
declare his outrage that illegal aliens who work for less than minimum
wage are directly increasing the already sky-high 9.7 percent
unemployment rate of African-American males? He's greenmailing
corporations. Where is NOW to protest the same catastrophic effect on
unskilled single mothers? They're promoting lesbian marriages on TV.
Where is organized labor to denounce precisely the same impact on union
membership and bargaining clout? They're working out how to funnel more
money under the table to Dem candidates. Phooey.)
There are lots and lots of these people, Democrats by pitiful,
traditional default, but they don't want to listen to political talk
radio at all. Ever
. When you
don't even know the names of your own congressman and U.S. senators, how can
you possibly care about specific provisions of a bill or policy being
chewed to death by procedural maneuvers in the Congress? Howard Eskin
is, in this instance, simply a first among equals (that's primus inter paribus
elitist lefties), the figurehead spokesman for a bunch of know-nothing,
do-nothing idiots who think they are smart because if you asked them,
what do you suppose they would tell you?
Liberal talk radio already exists, and it's enormously popular. It
consists of NPR for the privileged few and Sports Talk for the immense
dumb majority. If you're a lib and you want to experience the paradise
of equal time for your side, just work your way along the AM dial till
you hear the name of the major league baseball team nearest you. (You
can look your team up on the internet if you don't know who it is). You'll
be home then. And they probably have their own ignorant, ill-tempered, arrogant
clone of Howard Eskin. Enjoy.
Thanks, Howard. It all makes sense now.
Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Lest we forget...
In my home county today, there will be only one parade and one
fireworks display. That's pitiful. Hopefully, an aroused citizenry will
fill in the gap with uproarious and illegally loud celebrations of
their own. Unless our huge government has so eaten out their substance
that they no longer remember why this day is still worth celebrating.
Let's hope not.
Happy Independence Day, everyone.