Help support an effort to undermine the hard-Left “comics” who dominate the MSM

I got an email from the Media Research Center that I’d like to pass on to you.  I don’t usually pass these things on, but this harmonizes closely with what my sister-in-law and I have been saying for years:  Conservatives need to entertained people into supporting conservative values, just as Leftists successfully entertained people into supporting Leftist values.  (Ben Shapiro ably describes how this has worked in television from the 1960s through to the present day.)

Media Research </p><br />
<p>Center. America's Media Watchdog
Dear Supporter,,

I want to thank you for supporting the Media Research Center and our mission of exposing and neutralizing liberal bias in the so-called “news” media. 

But liberal bias also runs unchecked and unbalanced in the ENTERTAINMENT media. 

Specifically, in the world of TV comedy and satire.

I am asking all our supporters to invest in the MRC’s efforts to shatter the left’s monopoly on the entertainment media.

Humor and satire are integral to American popular culture. But all the late night comedians and their TV shows satirize our culture exclusively from the left!  

Comedians Bill Maher, Jon Stewart, David Letterman, Jimmy Fallon, Craig Ferguson, Jimmy Kimmel, and the whole crew of SaturdayNight Live advance a leftist agenda under the guise of comedy and brainwash America’s young people each and every dayIs it any wonder that the youth of America are turning into leftist Obama zombies? 

And David Letterman’s replacement next year — Stephen Colbert –- is even more liberal than Dave! He is a diehard, hardcore leftist activist.  This left-wing comedy/satire monopoly must be challenged and dismantled!

Mockery and ridicule are common and effective ways of marginalizing political opponents, and the left is great at it.  But liberals absolutely hate being mocked. They love to ridicule and deride people who think differently from them but they can’t stand it when they are the target.

When we started NewsBusted, we wanted to change that by creating at least one comedy show where socialism isn’t worshiped and where American values aren’t derided.

NewsBusted is the one comedy show where joke writers aren’t afraid to serve up the ridicule that Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Harry Reid, and Nancy Pelosi so richly deserve.

We have a specific goal for 2015 – to raise enough money to upgrade all aspects of the audio and video production of NewsBusted… it’s time for a major, high tech upgrade—in High Definition!

Quality television audio & video production doesn’t come cheap. For nearly seven years, our production team has been using the SAME standard definition camera, the SAME microphones, the SAME lighting system, the SAME editing bay, the SAME graphics package, and the SAME sound mixing board… NewsBusted is long overdue for a high tech upgrade and 2015 is the year to do it!

I need you to donate today so that we can start producing better sounding and better looking episodes of NewsBusted – in high definition!We need your generous contribution to keep the laughs coming!

NewsBusted is produced by the Media Research Center (an IRS-certified 501(c)(3) non-profit) which means that your donation will be fully tax-deductible under the law.

To help upgrade NewsBusted, please click here where you can donate via our secure form.

I hope I can count on your support as we challenge leftist orthodoxy in the world of comedy and satire.

Sincerely,


L. Brent Bozell III
Founder and President
Media Research Center

 

Charles Murray taught me libertarianism in a hurry

One of my favorite songs when I was young was Betty Hutton’s Arthur Murray Taught Me Dancing In A Hurry.  Because of the way my mind plays with words, the song always pops into my head whenever I think of Charles Murray, the deservedly famous libertarian thinker and writer.  The rhyming names are, of course, a facile connection between the man and the song.  The deeper, more meaningful connection is that Murray’s 1994 book, Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life, was one of the pivotal books that hastened my transition from knee-jerk liberal to thinking conservative.

Bell Curve was so relentlessly logical it dealt a death-blow to the cognitive dissonance that is a necessity for a moral, rational Jew who lives in the real world, but who continues to vote the Democrat ticket. I read the book in 1995 and became hungry for more and more books that inevitably destroyed my Jewish, San Francisco, UC Berkeley, PBS, New Yorker, New York Times world view. (Some of those books were Keith Richburg’s Out Of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa; Charles Sykes’ Profscam: Professors and the Demise of Higher Education; and, believe it or not, Arthur Schlesinger’s The Disuniting of America: Reflections on a Multicultural Society, in which an old Leftist mourned multiculturalism without realizing that he ushered it in America’s front door.)  It took until 9/11 before I was able to sever completely the cord between me and the Democrat party, but I never would have reached that state had it not been for The Bell Curve.

As always, there’s a point to one of my meandering introductions.  I was fortunate enough today attend a luncheon in San Francisco at which Mr. Murray spoke.  The theme of the speech was the same theme he sounded in his best-selling book, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010:  namely, that 21st century America is experiencing a class divide the likes of which has never been seen before in this country.

We’ve all seen this divide in the responses to the previous and current occupants of the White House.  George W. Bush may have come from an old American family, and been educated at all the right (i.e., Ivy League schools), but he was considered a class traitor by the Leftist elite, who relentlessly mocked his speech (“new-cu-lar,” “misunderestimated,” etc.), and sought to portray him as an ill-educated yokel who squeaked into the Ivies because of family connections.  Meanwhile, Barack Obama, the stoner who drifted into the Ivies on a cloud of marijuana smoke and affirmative action, is held up to the world as the most intelligent president ever to occupy the White House (never mind his staggering ignorance about everything but Leftist cant), in large part because he plays the class game so adroitly.

I certainly saw the class divide in my own world when a liberal family member was horrified to learn that I admired Sarah Palin — a gal who didn’t go to the Ivies, who believes in God, and who shoots moose.  He didn’t even bother to challenge me on political substance.  He simply said, “She’s not one of us.”  We stared at each other over a giant chasm of value differences.  To me, she’s “one of us,” because she believes in American exceptionalism, distrusts big government, supports the Constitution, recognized the inevitable loss of freedom that comes with socialized medicine, supports Israel, supports the troops, etc.  While this relative disagrees with Palin on every one of those issues, her real crime was being a yokel.  If he was the bumper-sticker type, he’d have had one that said “We don’t vote for yokels.”

The point Murray made in his speech is that the Bush/Obama or Obama/Palin divides are more than just political.  He began with something simple:  marriage.  Upper middle class white people marry — 84% of them today, as opposed to 94% of them when I was born.  Lower class people have abandoned marriage — 84% of them were married when I was born; only 48% of them are married now.  The problem isn’t just an economic one, although the economic effects of single-motherhood are so catastrophic that even the New York Times has had to acknowledge it.  Two-parent families are the glue that holds a community together.

As Murray said, single dads don’t coach Little League and single moms don’t go to PTA meetings.  In Marin County, Tiburon and Ross moms bring their formidable energy and skills to scarily efficient and excessive PTAs and school plays, while in San Rafael and Marin City (Marin’s genuinely poor communities), those same Tiburon and Ross moms, as charity work, try to do the same in communities that have virtually no parental participation.

It’s not just that the rich are richer and the poor are poorer (although that too is a problem, because it means the middle is vanishing).  It’s that the rich and the poor live entirely separate lives.  Back in 1960, even in affluent neighborhoods, neighborhoods were more blended than they are today.  Incidentally, much as I hate to give any praise to my former law-prof and current-Massachusetts Senator, Elizabeth Warren, she diagnosed this problem almost a decade ago.  In The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Parents are Going Broke, she pointed out that the upper middle class drive for public schools that offer the same quality as prep schools drove up housing prices in certain areas, making it impossible for middle and working class families even to remain within the school district’s boundaries.  While Warren had the smarts to divine the problem, she’s so ideologically blinkered that she thinks government control and intervention is the solution.

Murray describes a lost American world in which the upper classes and upper middle classes sought to blend in, not to stand out.  They bought Buicks, not Cadillacs, because it was déclassé to flaunt ones wealth.  Nowadays, with stratospheric incomes propelled by information technology, you’re failing the new upper class if you don’t have the $100,000 Tesla.

Our children grow up untouched, not just by poverty, but by a connection to the blue-collar working class.  Many of the children in Marin have never met a parent who makes his living using his body (unless he’s a chichi personal trainer) as opposed to his brain.  I certainly know that’s the case for my little community.  I like to describe my delightful neighborhood as one populated by old people with young children.  This used to be a nice suburban working class neighborhood, with stay-at-home moms and blue collar or low-level white collar (i.e., teachers and clerks) dads.  Now it’s an expensive, upper class neighborhood where every adult has at least one degree, where all the fathers are professionals, and where the mothers were professionals before their income level gave them the luxury of staying home to raise their children.  All of us worked like the dickens in our 20s and 30s so that we could afford these homes in this top-flight school district for our late-in-life kids.

Popular culture has also divided.  As  I like to tell my kids, back in the 1940s, everybody listened to Bing Crosby and Benny Goodman, and in the 1950s, everybody watched I Love Lucy.  Now, our popular culture is divided up by 500 cable channels, God-alone-knows-how-many pop music charts, and movies targeted to micro-stratum demographics.  Murray saw this as a class issue, and I agree.  He pointed out that the audience before him watches Mad MenDownton Abbey, and Breaking Bad, while that other class is watching shows we don’t even know exist.  (Although I do know about Duck Dynasty and one day, if I can drag myself to the TV, a box I usually avoid, I  might watch it.)

I’m very aware of the pop culture chasm, of course, because I have kids.  My blogging means that I know everything my kids know, which is very fortunate.  I’m usually a step ahead of them, and can deconstruct Miley Cyrus or “I kissed a girl and I like it.”  They wouldn’t listen to me if I just concluded that it’s “nasty” or “inappropriate.”  They do listen to me because I can describe the behavior in detail and, in the same detail, explain why it’s destructive.  Most parents, of course, don’t have the freedom to be as informed as I am, and the children pay the price.  They grow up in a pop culture world where it’s not just that “anything goes,” it’s that anything that is base, demeaning, and immoral is elevated and emulated.

I do believe, though, that children are beginning to see through the noise of a sleazy, degrading pop culture, and they’re recognizing that, no matter how much they’re forced to read a second-rate, civil-rights-era play such as Raisin in the Sun, that they’re being lied to.  Whatever pathologies may be plaguing today’s black community, they understand that systemic institutional racism is no longer an issue., especially when there’s a black man in the White House.

In other words, the fact that the Left controls the discourse in the media and the schools, so that children get a monolithic Leftist world view, also means that the cognitive dissonance grows and grows.  In this way, we’ve become like the Soviet Union, where people became cynical as they looked at housing shortages and hunger while the government trumpeted the stunning success of whatever iteration of Stalin’s Five Year Plan happened to be in vogue that year.  Our children too are struggling with cognitive dissonance.  It’s a slow process, as I know personally, but a real one.

All in all, it was a very good lunch.  The meal was delicious (perfectly prepared chicken, wild mushrooms, and fruit tart), and the intellectual food was just as good.  If you live in the Bay Area, I strongly suggest that you get on the Pacific Research Institute (“PRI”) mailing list.  The speakers that PRI brings to San Francisco are always worth hearing.

How did we get from there to here in just 100 years?

I’m not feeling very inspired today, so I haven’t posted anything original.  Thankfully, though, I read fine blogs and have been able to link to many wonderful things.  At The Mellow Jihadi, Ex Bootneck has written a truly wonderful (and very sad) post about the West’s devolution.  I won’t say more about it, because I don’t know how to describe it in brief without losing what makes it special.  Just check it out.  You’ll be glad you did.

NSFW VIDEO: “It’s not porn….”

I meant to include this video in my Robin Thicke Blurred Lines post, but forgot.  Thankfully, considering how often I forget things, I’m comfortable having “better safe than never” as my motto.

As you watch the video, keep in mind my point, which is that Robin Thicke’s song is consistent with the societal mores the Left has brought to America.  Or as Bill C elegantly stated, “Blurred Lines is just a song about seduction just like songs of the past.  But seduction has a different flavor when promiscuity is the default position of society.”

Please be aware that this video has a lot of graphic language, so don’t watch it at work or when children are within hearing range.  Having issued that content warning, the kicker at the end makes it worth watching.

Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines isn’t a rape song; it’s the depressing 21st century descendent of classic seduction songs

Robin-Thicke-Blurred-Lines-Ft-TI-Pharrell

It’s time for me to take a break from trying to save the world by using my infinitesimally small corner of the blogosphere to talk some sense into the Left (although, somehow, I don’t think they’re listening to me) and, instead, to leap to the defense of an unlikely pop culture figure:  Robin Thicke.  My thesis is that his song is not about rape.  It is, instead, both the lineal descendent of classic (and respected) American seduction songs and a depressingly insightful look into the schizophrenic nature of sex among American young people, which treats women like whores, but allows them to cry foul like delicate Victorian maidens.

One could say that Robin Thicke, riding high on the wave of one of the biggest hits of the year, a song called “Blurred Lines,” doesn’t need my help.  He’s raking money in hand over fist.  If I earn in my lifetime a tenth of what he’s earning on this song, I’d be a very rich woman.

Nevertheless, Thicke has incurred feminist ire because, they claim, Blurred Lines is about rape or, at least, it’s “rapey”:

Having already clinched the number 1 spot on Billboard’s Hot 100, Robin Thicke’s catchy single “Blurred Lines” is on the path to being the party anthem of the summer.

However, despite its popularity, the hit song — which also features Pharrell and T.I. — and its accompanying music video haven’t been sitting too well with some critics who say the tune is not just disparaging to women, but could be seen as “rape-y.”

Has anyone heard Robin Thicke’s new rape song?” blogger Lisa Huyne wrote in a post in April. “Basically, the majority of the song…has the R&B singer murmuring ‘I know you want it’ over and over into a girl’s ear. Call me a cynic, but that phrase does not exactly encompass the notion of consent in sexual activity … Seriously, this song is disgusting — though admittedly very catchy.”

Before I get any further into examining the claim, let me note that the people who are claiming the song is “rapey” overlap to a significant degree with the women who advocate something called “gray rape.”  Gray rape is consensual sex right up until the woman says it isn’t.  The catch with gray rape is that the woman doesn’t have to say “no” before or even during the actual sex act for it to be rape.  She can decide hours or days later that, despite her drunken “yeses” and gropings, in retrospect she really didn’t want to have sex with that guy, so it must have been rape.  Talk about “blurred lines.”

You’re a classy crowd, my dear readers, and I suspect many of you don’t have children in their teens and twenties.  I’m therefore willing to bet that many of you, even if you’ve heard of the song, haven’t actually heard the song itself or, if you heard it, it was in the context of Miley Cyrus’ twerking and tonguing.  (I have to admit that the twerking was indistinguishable to me from the vulgar dancing that characterizes all modern popular music performances.  It was that tongue . . . that loathsome, snake-like tongue, that seemed to have an independent life force.  Ick.)

You might also have heard about the song because of the unrated video with the topless women (and don’t forget the repeated boasts about the size of Thicke’s  . . . er.  Never mind).  Or maybe you just heard about the yucky allusions to all sorts of perverted sexual practices in the mainstream video (the one your kids and grand-kids watch), which is filled with nudge, nudge, wink, winks about everything from bestiality to bondage.  Both videos are nasty enough I don’t want them at my blog.

But I don’t want to talk about the videos.  I want to talk about the song’s lyrics, which are “rapey.”  Just to be clear, here “rapey” song lyrics are bad.   Drugging and sodomizing a protesting 13-year-old girl, as Roman Polanksi did, isn’t bad because it’s not “rape-rape.”  Presumably, if Polanksi had sung to the protesting teen while he had his wicked way with her, that conduct would have been “rapey” and therefore bad.  It”s important to keep these details straight….

My first point about Thicke’s song is that it’s just the latest in a long line of American seduction songs.  Let’s do a little time travel . . . back to 1949 when Frank Loesser wrote the classic Baby, It’s Cold Outside.  It is such a great song.  My favorite version is the one with Johnny Mercer and Margaret Whiting, and I have no fear about sharing it with you here:

Were this song to be released today, it would definitely be called “rapey.” I mean, the sleaze is telling the protesting woman how attractive she is and assuring her that she wants want he has to offer. You can see how coercive — e.g., rapey — he’s being when you study the lyrics. In the words that are not in parenthesis, you know that she’s conflicted (blurred, maybe?) and desperate to escape, while in the parenthetical words, you can see how this sleazy octopus groping her, assuming that she wants what he’s offering her, and not taking “no” for an answer. Rapey!!!

I really can’t stay
(But, baby, it’s cold outside)
I’ve got to go ‘way
(But, baby, it’s cold outside)
This evening has been
(Been hoping that you’d drop in)
So very nice
(I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice)

My mother will start to worry
(Beautiful words you’re humming)
And father will be pacing the floor
(Listen to the fireplace roar)
So really I’d better scurry
(Beautiful, please don’t hurry)
Well, maybe just a half a drink more
(Put some records on while I pour)

The neighbors might think
(But, baby, it’s bad out there)
Say, what’s in this drink?
(No cabs to be had out there)
I wish I knew how
(Your eyes are like starlight now)
To break the spell
(I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell)

I ought to say no, no, no sir
(Mind if I move in closer?)
At least I’m gonna say that I tried
(What’s the sense of hurtin’ my pride?)
I really can’t stay
(Oh, baby, don’t hold out)
Ah but it’s cold outside
(Baby, it’s cold outside)

I simply must go
(But, baby, it’s cold outside)
The answer is no
(But, baby, it’s cold outside)
The welcome has been
(How lucky that you dropped in)
So nice and warm
(Look out that window at that storm)

My sister will be suspicious
(Gosh, your lips look delicious)
My brother will be there at the door
(Waves upon a tropical shore)
My maiden aunt’s mind is vicious
(Gosh, your lips are delicious)
Well, maybe just a cigarette more
(Never such a blizzard before)

I got to get home
(But, baby, you’d freeze out there)
Say, lend me a coat
(Its up to your knees out there)
You’ve really been grand
(I’m thrilled when you touch my hand)
Why don’t you see
(How can you do this thing to me?)

There’s bound to be talk tomorrow
(Think of my lifelong sorrow)
At least there will be plenty implied
(If you caught pneumonia and died)
I really can’t stay
(Get over that hold out)
Ah, but it’s cold outside
(Ah, but it’s cold outside)

Where could you be going
When the wind is blowing
And it’s cold outside?
Baby it’s cold, cold outside

With those classy, elegant, seductive lyrics in mind, please take a look at the lyrics to “Blurred Lines” and you’ll see that, while they’re more graphic, the tone is identical:  He’s telling her she’s hot, he’s assuming he knows what she wants, and he’s not taking “no” for an answer:

Pharrell & Robin Thicke Intro:
Everybody get up, WOO!
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey

Robin Thicke Verse 1:
If you can’t hear what I’m trying to say
If you can’t read from the same page
Maybe I’m going deaf
Maybe I’m going blind
Maybe I’m out of my mind

Robin Thicke Bridge:
Ok, now he was close
Tried to domesticate you
But you’re an animal
Baby, it’s in your nature
Just let me liberate you
You don’t need no papers
That man is not your maker
And that’s why I’m gon’ take a

Robin Thicke Hook:
Good girl
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
You’re a good girl
Can’t let it get past me
You’re far from plastic
Talk about getting blasted
I hate these blurred lines
I know you want it
I know you want it
I know you want it
But you’re a good girl
The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty
Go ahead, get at me

Robin Thicke Verse 2:
What do they make dreams for
When you got them jeans on
What do we need steam for
You the hottest bitch in this place
I feel so lucky, you wanna hug me
What rhymes with hug me
Hey!

Bridge

Hook

T.I. Verse 3:
Hustle Gang Homie
One thing I ask of you
Lemme be the one you back that ass up to
From Malibu to Paris boo
Had a bitch, but she ain’t bad as you
So, hit me up when you pass through
I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two
Swag on ‘em even when you dress casual
I mean, it’s almost unbearable
In a hundred years not dare would I
Pull a Pharcyde, let you pass me by
Nothin’ like your last guy, he too square for you
He don’t smack that ass and pull your hair like that
So I’m just watching and waitin’
For you to salute the true big pimpin’
Not many women can refuse this pimping
I’m a nice guy, but don’t get confused, this pimpin’

Robin Thicke Breakdown:
Shake your rump
Get down, get up-a
Do it like it hurt, like it hurt
What you don’t like work
Hey!

Robin Thicke Verse 4:
Baby, can you breathe
I got this from Jamaica
It always works for me
Dakota to Decatur
No more pretending
Cause now you’re winning
Here’s our beginning
I always wanted a

Robin Thicke Hook

Pharrell & Robin Thicke Bridge:
Everybody get up
Everybody get up
Everybody get up
Hey, Hey, Hey
Hey, Hey, Hey
Hey, Hey, Hey

Pharrell & Robin Thicke Outro:
Everybody get up, WOO!
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey
Hey, hey, hey

I’m not comparing the quality of verse.  Loesser’s song is sophisticated and charming, with delightfully light, intelligent lyrics.  Thicke’s song has a catchy (very catchy melody) but the lyrics are crude.  They reflect the realities of culture that celebrates “Hooking up” as a sign of female liberation, even while blurring lines about what constitutes a “nice” girl, a “girl in touch with her sexuality,” a girl who enjoys what voters in Colorado and Washington say should be her inalienable right to pot, and a “girl who’s going to cry ‘gray rape'” the next day.  There are no boundaries in this world — both the world of the song and the sexual world in which we’ve placed our young people.

Yes, the T.I. line that “I’ll give you something big enough to tear your ass in two” is absolutely revolting, but for high-school-aged kids this is their reality.  At high school dances across America, the only dance the kids do is “freak dancing.”  For those unfamiliar with it, freaking is kind of like twerking, except that the girl doesn’t bend over.  Instead, she writhes erotically while the guy stands behind her and rubs himself against her butt (not near her butt, but against her butt).  As I described it the teenage girls I know, take away the “transgressive glamor” and all that freaking means is that a strange guy masturbates against your butt.

My children tell me that this is the only type of dancing done at their high school.  If you don’t want to freak, you don’t get to dance.  Yet another blurred line in today’s sexual culture.

To the extent there’s anything wrong with Thicke’s vulgar, yet catchy song, the problem isn’t with the song, it’s with the culture that gave rise to the song.  (You can read whole books on the subject: Sex and God at Yale: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.) Within that context, the song simply describes the myriad kinds of sexual activity in which America’s young people are encouraged to engage, with the only limitation being a woman’s right to cry rape at any time, before, during, and after apparently consensual intercourse.

I’m not trying in this post to excuse rape.  I am saying only that Thicke and his team, in addition to writing the 21st century version of a “seduction song,” have unwittingly exposed something deeply disturbing about young America’s sexual culture.  It’s a sick Faustian bargain in which boys get virtually unlimited sex, provided that they’re willing to take the risk that the girl who writhed against them Saturday night, got stoned and drunk with them around midnight, and apparently willingly engaged in all kinds of variations on old-fashioned male/female sex with them in the wee hours of Sunday morning, can claim later that, hey, she was just blurred, and her real line was “no.”

An unofficial contest: Translating what Lena Dunham was talking about

This is an unofficial contest, because there’s no prize beyond the satisfaction of trying to figure out what one of the more talented and morally lacking voices of the young generation meant in a tweet:

What in the world does Dunham mean by talking about a “twelve year old genetic male”? Is she referring to what we used to call an adolescent boy? And if she is, is she making a sarcastic pop-culture reference to the modern world of identity politics (which Leftists have untethered from biology) or is she perfectly serious? Oh, and here’s another question: Why does he need her? Is she referring to the endless stories about morality bereft female teachers in their 20s, 30s, and 40s who keep cropping up in the news because they’ve seduced adolescent boys entrusted to their care, or is she just promising him that she can teach him how to wax his ‘stache?

Help me, please. I’m lost in this modern world of ours.

Three degrees of separation

I enjoy reading my Liberal-Lefty friends’ Facebook posts because they are so insightful into the mindsets of the Left.

One insight that I have gained over time is that the differences between us conservatives and the Progressive/Left are so profound that they are unlikely to ever be bridged, barring some cataclysmic, life-changing events. What I have tried to do is understand why this is so. I share this with you because I greatly appreciate the insights that Bookworm group has to offer on such issues – be it “yay” or “nay”.

Our disagreements appear to come down to three levels of separation.

1) First, there are objective facts (OK, I am being deliberately redundant here). These are easy enough to resolve. Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock world has arrived: everybody is so overwhelmed with information that we can’t absorb and process all there is to know and we therefore choose our facts selectively.

As Ronald Reagan said, ““It isn’t so much that liberals are ignorant. It’s just that they know so many things that aren’t so.”

In discussions, factual disputes are easy enough to resolve: my typical response to Liberal /Lefties is simply tell them to “Google it”. Amazingly, many apparently don’t know that you can Google entire texts or sentences. A good example was the recent George Zimmerman trial…many people with whom I disagreed told me outright they were too busy to bother looking up facts. The Left operates on so many facts that just aren’t so.

2) The second level of separation involves our assumptions or premises. These are tougher to resolve, because we assume and presume events based on our past experiences. I suspect that we humans are hard-wired to build assumptions (true or false) as a defense mechanism: for example, my cave ancestors probably assumed that to allow a saber-tooth tiger to stand in their path was not a good thing and that such assumption is one reason why I stand here today.

We go through life building mental templates on how the world works in order to short-circuit decision making and evaluation. Otherwise, we would soon be overwhelmed with indecision. As long as our world templates work for us, we continue to hold onto them. Many formerly Liberals (e.g., David Horowitz, Bookworm) only became conservative when one or more events (e.g., 9/11) rendered their previously comfortable world views untenable. For me it was Reagan’s second term, when his policies led to the collapse of the Soviet Union and an economic resurgence. I, young man at the time, knew then that my Democrat world template had been very, very wrong.

I use the word “comfortable” deliberately, because our templates represent our comfort zones. Losing that comfort zone is terrifying. Imagine if all of a sudden nothing in the world made any sense to you; you would feel totally deracinated and quite possibly insane. You would also feel a deep sense of personal failure, as in “how in the world could I have been so deluded?”

And, the older you get, the more frightening that sense of loss, confusion and failure would be. So, the older we get, the more desperately we defend our mental templates, selecting and force-fitting “facts” to fit our own perceptions of reality. I believe this is where modern Liberalism and Progressivism are today (Google “Paul Krugman”). As Thomas Sowell put it, people of the Left expect the world to conform to their misperceptions. Eventually, however, reality hits like a 2 x 4 between the brow…as in “Detroit”.

I believe that this dynamic also explains the sheer viciousness expressed by many on the Left when the presumptions of their world templates are threatened (as by Sarah Palin or by black conservatives, for example). This is also the reason why I believe that world Islam will fail, because it doesn’t work and eventually people in Muslim worlds, aided by the internet, will eventually realize this (some of my Middle Eastern friends assure me that many already do). Reality is a harsh mistress.

This level of separation helps to explain why Liberals and Conservatives usually talk past each other. We try to rationalize our positions to each other, but our rationalizations only make sense if the other party shares the same assumptions and understandings of how the world works. We operate from completely different templates.

3) Faith. This the most difficult and potentially dangerous degree of separation, because it addresses fundamental values that are non-negotiable. Our “faith” defines how we perceive ourselves and our place in the world, irrespective of facts, logic and reason. I cannot, for example, “prove” the veracity of my Christian faith. Environmental extremists and atheists cannot “prove” the righteousness of their positions. We just “know” that what we believe to be true is true. There is no logical argument that I know of that can challenge faith-based values. Our values define who we are and how we perceive the world to be. Utopian fascist ideals (Progressivism, Nazism, communism, Islamism, etc.), for example, are defined by a faith in a future to come – they require no proof. Abortion is a similar issue of faith and values – there is no middle-of-the-road compromise if you believe abortion to be murder and that murder is wrong (a value proposition). Psychologists have claimed that only very powerful shocks to the system can challenge faith.

I have no dealing with the first degree of separation. I admit, however, that I am totally stumped on how to address (2) and (3). Any ideas?

Porn, comedy, and an increasingly jaded culture (but don’t give up all hope)

I overheard two women talking the other day.  One told the other that her teenage son was looking at internet porn.  Worse, her husband wouldn’t help her stop this behavior because, as he said, “I used to read Playboy when I was his age, and it didn’t hurt me.”  Is it really possible for the father of a teenage boy to be that clueless? This daddy’s ignorance about internet porn is so great that it may prove that reading Playboy when he was a teen did hurt him.

Playboy nudes were wholesome.  I know this sounds like an oxymoron, but the Playmates were like the girl next door, except without clothes.  For at least the first twenty or more years of Playboy‘s history, these gals were an every man (or boy) fantasy brought to life.  The teens and young men perusing the pages could easily pretend that Miss January was that cute brunette down the street, or that Miss July was the hot girl you admired on the other side of the classroom.

Marilyn Monroe Playboy picture

Eventually, though, the pleasure centers in male consumers’ brains stopped getting a thrill from “mere” nudes.  They started gravitating in greater numbers to magazines such as Penthouse or Hustler that showed women who were not only undressed, but were also engaging in sexual acts.

With the advent of the internet, though, the old-line magazines, both hard and soft core, couldn’t keep up with the gravitational pull of the internet.  And in the internet world, where porn is king, purveyors had to keep on-upping each other if they wanted to keep traffic coming to their sites.  Changes to content, instead of happening in human years, over the course of decades, happened in fruit fly years, over the course of weeks or even days.  If I’m a porn site mogul, I show nudes, but lose traffic to the guy who shows nudes playing with themselves, so I up the ante by showing two nudes playing with each other, so he ups the ante by adding two men and, perhaps, a dog or two. And so it goes, with each competitive iteration getting more perverse in a never-ending effort to catch the attention of an increasingly jaded viewing public.

Eventually, you end up with scenes such as this one, which I’ve censored appropriately to remove any and all pornographic or distasteful images: [Read more...]

Education for the brainwashed generation

I know I’m just grumpy, but this promotional mailing from Ithaca College rubbed me the wrong way:

Ithaca flier

Ready to write environmental wrongs.  Ithaca College will turn your academic passions into unforgettable experiences — and make you ready for the adventure of your life.

I know that the first sentence is meant to be a clever pun, but it’s not.  At first glance, I thought it was a typo or blatant grammatical error.  On second reading, I thought Ithaca was promising to teach students how to plan to create environmental wrongs.  On third reading, I realized that Ithaca is offering to teach students how to “list” environmental wrongs, although I suspect there’ll be a fair dollop of creative writing (i.e., anthropogenic climate change) thrown in.

The whole thing — with the smug girl and the promise that documenting, or making up, environmental wrong is the “adventure of your life” — made me queasy.

Am I overreacting?  I probably am.  But as Kurt Schlichter said about Lena Dunham’s and HBO’s vile, nihilistic show Girls, we need to know what’s out there, because it is out there, and it’s aimed at our children.

Too tired to work

Had an interesting conversation at Church today. One of my friends, a Polish immigrant and self-made millionaire was discussing the immigration issue with a upper-middle class, white-bread soccer mom (let’s call her “Nice Liberal Lady”. My entrepreneur friend and I both agreed that some form of legalized immigration was needed for people with low educational skills because, sadly, too many Americans are unwilling to do jobs that demand physical labor.

But, hold on, said Nice Liberal Lady. Her son, it seemed, lived at home with his unused college degree because working in a fast-food restaurant or other similar menial job would only distract him from his career path. Not so, responded my entrepreneurial friend – “when my father died when I was young, I worked any job that I could get – even two or three jobs at a time, just to get money on the table. We Polish people know that when times are bad, you work extra hard instead of preoccupying yourself with feeling sorry for yourself (I am paraphrasing, but that was pretty much the gist).

Whoa, said Nice Liberal Lady: “I have a problem with that, especially having grown up with a workaholic father. The fact is, I am too exhausted to be constantly looking for a job or working more-than one job.” She let it be known that she really resented the implication that she should be expected to go out and work hard to earn her own financial support. The proper solution, it appeared, was that is was therefore OK to let other people exhaust themselves to pay benefits to the members of our perpetually exhausted non-working classes.

I pointed out to my friend, afterwards, “the reason that you were able to rise up and take on all these jobs is because you did not begin with the assumption that you were owed a certain standard of living.”

We really do live in two very different and irreconcilable worlds.

Ironically, a headline article in today’s Chicago Tribune focused on Polish people in Chicago returning to Poland in search of better opportunities. ’nuff said.

Greg Gutfeld’s book about the “Tyranny of Cool.”

Thanks to a handy-dandy Amazon gift certificate, I just bought myself a Kindle copy of Greg Gutfeld’s The Joy of Hate: How to Triumph over Whiners in the Age of Phony Outrage.  It sounds like a book that is simultaneously important and enjoyable.  I’ll be reading it with a close eye, because his ideas about challenging Hollywood’s pop culture feed into the ideas that Lulu and I are playing with.

Aurora and our deadly sins

Is the media to blame for the Aurora shootings?

I would like to make the case that it is, not for any specific action that any specific media outlet has taken, but by its very nature.

In 1970, Alvin Toffler published his seminal work, Future Shock, in which he predicted that one of the big challenges that we would face in the here-and-now is an over-saturation of media-mediated information stimuli. I believe that he predicted this more accurately than even he imagined.

I propose that the most pernicious damage wrought by the media is the way that it amplifies the worst in human nature. Our Judeo-Christian heritage likes to emphasize the seven deadly sins destructive to our nature and our relationship with God, to whit: gluttony, greed, anger, envy, sloth, lust and pride.

We live in an unheard of access to wealth and information. It isn’t hard to see how our material cornucopia enables the sins of Gluttony and Greed. We are a society, as Dinesh Dsouza famously remarked, where even the poor can be fat. Sloth, well…we have a welfare state that does its utmost to protect our citizenry from the consequences of sloth, so naturally we have more of it. Anger? We enjoy a world of violent sports, video games and cinema and our media rewards demagogues for whipping-up resentments based on race or class. Flash mobs, anyone? What about Lust? Even small children have ready access to pornography in popular magazines, the cinema or from the internet…it’s being normalized. Envy? Messages that stoke peoples’ sense of entitlement to other peoples’ labor and possessions find a ready audience. The media constantly reminds us of how much “the other” has that we don’t.

The most deadly of sins, according to the ancients, is pride or vanity. It is pride that drives people to seek fame, be it by demanding the latest fashions, coloring their hair, decorating their bodies, performing on American Idol or filming themselves having sex or beating up innocent people. Pride or vanity is the craving to be noticed and acting out violence for the Videocam lense is vanity writ large.

This, as the ancients point out, has always been the case. Two hundred years ago, however, it was much harder for people to gain social approval for their worst human excesses or to get noticed for committing mass murder. First, it was hard to get the one’s primal pride messaged out beyond one’s immediate locale. Second, community involvement and trip-wire taboos imposed strict guidelines on and early intervention into aberrant human behavior. Third, when self-control failed, retribution tended to be swift.

Today, by contrast, people are encouraged by our media environment to act out (is there anything more narcissistic than “reality TV”?). We live in a Kardashian society where even young kids are encouraged to seek media fame.

People can now project their worst sinful excesses onto vaste audiences with minimal effort. Once having done so, they are guaranteed 24/7 news coverage, book rights, movie scripts and the protective umbrella of the modern justice system. Whoo-hoo! The Joker rules!

Holmes, like a string of mass murders before him, wanted fame. He wanted to be noticed. Because his pride got the best of him. Our media culture provided all the tools that he needed to amplified the worst consequences of his human nature. Take away our media-saturated environment and there would not be nearly the incentive.

So, what say you? How do we fix this?

“It was pride that changed angels into devils; it is humility that makes men as angels” – St. Augustine of Hippo.