The Bookworm Beat 4-10-15 — the mother of all round-ups

Woman writingThis is it — the ultimate round-up, consisting of more than 20 links that I’ve collected over the past couple of days and wanted to share with you. Nothing works better at squeezing a nice long blog post than a series of legal pleadings I really don’t want to write. By the way, these squiblets aren’t in any particular order, so you never know what gems you might not find as you scroll down.

The weakening of the Leftist mind

In an earlier post, I wrote about the fact that our younger generation has turned into a passive, sheeple generation, meekly towing the Leftist party line. Astute readers pointed out that, aside from the 1960s children, who were spoon-fed their rebellion by communist spies, past Americans generations also weren’t given to a rebellion. That’s true — but at least past generations were taught analytical and reasoning skills. If they desired, they could analyze and challenge their era’s zeitgeist. Our current generation can’t.

And how do I know I’m correct in reaching that conclusion? Because my reasoning coincidences with Daniel Greenfield’s. In a post about the closing of the liberal mind, Greenfield explains how so-called “liberals” have reduced themselves to this state:

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The Bookworm Beat 4-7-15 — the time “thief edition” and open thread

Woman writingOy! Even my interruptions keep being interrupted today. Still, I managed to gather together a few very interesting things:

Heading into a another cooling period

Even as the Left gets increasingly hysterical about “climate change,” which has become an all-purpose excuse for everything from drought, to deluge, to prostitution, actual data reveals that, to the extent the climate is changing, it’s getting colder. This is really bad because, as the California drought is reminding everyone, the one thing we can’t do without is water.

During warming periods, water trapped in ice is released, making the world a wetter and therefore more bountiful place. During cold cycles, though, there’s less available water, which severely cramps human access to arable land. Just think of Greenland, which was actually fruitful during the warming Middle Ages. Today, “Greenland” is a serious misnomer:

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We’ve raised the “sheeple generation,” because today’s kids wouldn’t dream of questioning authority

SheepleI was a little girl when the phrase “Question Authority” became the mantra for teens and young adults. To give that generation credit, even as they stopped bathing and warped their brains with drugs, they really did make an effort to challenge the shibboleths that the academic establishment and the media sent their way. Unfortunately, all of their ultimate conclusions were absolutely wrong, but at least they tried.

These wrong conclusions have now become the academic, political, and media shibboleths of the 21st century. War is bad; the current “science” emanating from the liberal establishment cannot be questioned; Israel is an evil, apartheid state; whites created a corrupt America so that they and their misbegotten creation must be destroyed; illegal immigrants are all victims of white hegemony and need to be welcomed with open arms; Muslim terrorists are merely disappointed job seekers; etc.

What’s terribly sad about the current generation of teens and young adults is that they wouldn’t dream of questioning these authoritative pronouncements — and this is true despite the fact that they are the first generation to have at their fingertips a powerful tool that gives them all the information they need to ask questions and, perhaps, come up with different answers.

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The Bookworm Beat 3-27-15 — “The World Turned Upside Down” edition and open thread

Woman writingWord must have gotten out that I have a temporary hiatus in the endless mountain of legal work that’s overwhelmed me, because the phone hasn’t stopped ringing all morning. Every time my fingers get anywhere near my keyboard, the phone rings, I glance at the caller ID and, yes, it’s a call I need to take.

The most interesting call I received came in a short while ago from a delightful, interesting man who will be speaking to a local conservative group with which I’m involved. His topic: Israel. In past weeks, some in the group have been a little worried that this man, a Democrat and Obama supporter, might inadvertently antagonize our group. Speaking to him today, though, I think he and our group will be singing the same song.  He seems to feel, as I do, that  — Obama is doing something unconscionably dangerous in allying us with Iran while giving Iran the nuclear go ahead, and something profoundly evil by sacrificing Israel to achieve this unconscionable goal.

I am deeply, deeply disturbed when I think what Obama is doing in the Middle East. By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes. This is not ineptitude or misguided faith. Obama, dragging the United States along behind him, is deliberately embracing evil.

All I can think of lately, and you’ll see why as you read further, is the British military band in 1781, at the Surrender at Yorktown, playing “The World Turned Upside Down.”

Don’t just blame Lena Dunham; The New Yorker published her

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When it comes to campus fascism, revolutions always eat their own

Charlton Heston on political correctnessOne of the truisms I grew up hearing is that “revolutions always eat their own.” I have understood this to mean that, in any revolutionary movement, the second generation, having been marinated longer in the revolutionary brine, is more extreme than the first generation and invariably purges that first generation. Both the French and the Russian revolutions prove this point.

We in America have had a revolution too. It’s been a very slow-moving revolution of the kind that the British used to call a Fabian Revolution. It involves advancing revolutionary goals, not through violence, but through slow, reformist means.  As Ferguson shows, the violence then comes after the revolution. Indeed, Ferguson is one of the best manifestations of that revolution.

The other obvious manifestation is the American college campus. On campuses throughout America, a Nanny state fascism is the norm. That didn’t happen overnight. It happened through Fabian gradualism, with hard-Left revolutionary principles being slowly introduced in the classrooms (increasingly open, aggressive Marxist teaching), in the administrative buildings (read Heather MacDonald’s Multiculti U for the best discussion about the hard Left Fabianism in college administration), and in the dorms (which had a slow Progression away from same-sex dorms, same-sex floors, same-sex bathrooms, and same-sex rooms, which a completely unsurprisingly commensurate uptick in rape claims).

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The Bookworm Beat 2-26-15 — the evening edition and open thread

Woman writing

Alan Dershowitz challenges the talk about boycotting Netanyahu’s speech

Read and enjoy Alan Dershowitz’s fiery denunciation of the Obama administration’s efforts to get Democrats — especially black ones — to boycott Netanyahu’s speech about the existential threat Obama’s policies pose to Israel.

I won’t comment on the article — it speaks for itself — but I will comment on a couple of peripheral things. Dershowitz is a Democrat, but he’s also an ardent Israel supporter. I therefore can’t help but think that, as Obama prepares to break with Israel and ally America with Iran, it’s not a coincidence that Dershowitz suddenly found himself swept up in the pedophile sex scandal involving Jeffrey Epstein.

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The Bookworm Beat 2-23-15 — Post-Vegas edition and Open Thread

Woman writingI do like Vegas. I love its manic energy, crazed corporate imagination, over-the-top shows, brilliant colors, and flashing lights. And then, after three days, I’m desperate to get away from the noise and smoke and, often, the desperation floating above the casino floors. In other words, I had a great trip there and then was glad to come home again. This time, coming home also meant going through about 800 backed-up emails (a lot of people got heartfelt apologies from me for delaying so long before responding to them), and finding some awesome things to share with you.

A glowing French eye-view of American troops

When we think of the French, we tend to think of hyper-critical people who look down upon Americans. That stereotype might be true on the Île-de-France, but it turns out to be untrue in the theater of war, at least as to one French soldier who served with American troops (Echo Company) in Afghanistan. If this doesn’t make you want to stand up and salute, I truly don’t know what will:

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The schizophrenia of American colleges

College GradsOn the one, you have this kind of crap coming out of American colleges:

Another day in academia, another twist in the bizarre world of identity studies. The Center for the Study of Sexual Culture at the University of California, Berkeley, is presenting a talk next week on “Queering Agriculture,” dedicated to the proposition that “it is absolutely crucial queer and transgender studies begin to deal more seriously with the subject of agriculture.”

And on the other hand, you have College Humor:

Mt. Holyoke, The Vagina Monologues, and why “The Coming College Decline” is a good thing *UPDATED WITH PERFECT POSTER*

The Vagina MonologuesRonald Brownstein, in a National Journal article entitled “The Coming College Decline,” has noticed that the college bubble is getting near bursting.  He thinks that’s a bad thing for racial reasons. According to him, the ones dropping out of college are minorities, who will be the youthful majority in a couple of decades. When that time comes, we’ll be back to a pre-baby boom society, one in which the largest share of working adults have not gone to college. To Brownstein, this demographic change is a reason to take Obama up on his offer to give people “free” community college. We know, of course, that only the moon and stars are free; for everything else, someone’s got to pay.

I have to part ways with Brownstein. I think that it would be a wonderful thing if the bubble collapsed and fewer Americans went to college. Why? Because colleges don’t teach anymore, they corrupt.

Today’s example is Mt. Holyoke, an iconic 19th century women’s college. Mt. Holyoke, like most American colleges, has made a sacrament out of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues. If you’re feeling left out that you haven’t seen the play, don’t be; be grateful instead.

The show, which consists of several women sitting on stage telling stories about their and other people’s vaginas is quite awful. It’s also incredibly creepy because it’s got a whole section devoted to lesbian pedophilia. As originally written, the gal who had her vagina thoroughly appreciated by a lesbian was 13 when it happened. When I had the misfortune to see the show, the gal had been aged to 15, but was still having lesbian sex with an adult. Even as amended, therefore, it was still selling statutory rape and pedophilia. Let’s just say that the whole show is pretty much consistent with this kind of ick factor.

Because feminists have so embraced The Vagina Monologues, it’s become a staple across America. Young women at college are so into celebrating their vaginas that, at many campuses, Valentine’s Day, once about hearts, flowers, and romance, has been turned into V Day, to celebrate . . . yes, the vagina, complete with endless re-stagings of The Vagina Monologues. Funnily enough, none of the colleges have followed this to the logical conclusion, in line with Title IX, by having a celebratory P Day so that all can ruminate about the glories of the penis.

Or even better . . . stay with me, because this is good, the colleges should have their own D-Day. Just think about the D-Day that we older folk commemorate on June 6.  It’s so chauvinistic and brutal, with its celebration of men and war.  It’s time to revitalize that sexist, violent day, by bringing it in line with Title IX’s mandate for full sexual equality on college campuses.  Henceforth, it should be a true D-Day — one on which we celebrate the male dick.

I can just see it now.  Every June 6, men could parade around campuses singing hymns to the glories of their own personal biological wonder. I mean, think about it. Not only can it enable its owners to pee standing up (something women really do envy), it has a cool switching device, like a fancy train junction, that allows it to deliver different fluids without cross-contamination. It also lets its user show his true emotions, putting the lie to all those women who say men don’t communicate their emotions well.  In the same way we admire dogs and cats because their tails, ears, and whiskers talk to us, shouldn’t we have an annual day to celebrate the amazing communication abilities of the male dick? This new D-Day even harmonizes with the original D-Day, because all those men storming the beach, seasick, frightened, often drowning because of heavy equipment, and running straight into bullets and cannons, had . . . yes, dicks!

D-Day, friends. It’s time has truly come. Or maybe not. You see, Mt. Holyoke is doing away with the play that started it all. You heard me right. They’re canceling The Vagina Monologues.

This ought to be good news, but it really isn’t. Instead, it just furthers my strong belief that America’s higher education institutions have become hopelessly corrupt swamps of radical Leftism, abandoning logic, common sense, history, and the intellectual apex of human development and, instead, rolling around in the brainless, hysterical, paranoid mud of victimization, biology denial, suicidal multiculturalism, and extreme misanthropy.

On the surface, the decision to jettison The Vagina Monologues looks good.  It turns out, however, that someone realized that the play is unfair. Hearing this, some of you might be thinking “Hey, that’s okay. It’s high time that the feminists and Leftists on American campuses realize that it is unfair to men to go around rubbing their noses in vaginas.” (Well, that came out sounding wrong, but you know what I mean.)

Vaginas and men

Except that this kind of equitable, non-sexist thinking is not what drove the Mt. Holyoke decision.  Instead, the great minds at Mt. Holyoke decided that sanctifying the play is unfair because it sidelines men who want to be women, i.e., transsexuals.  To the extent these transsexuals lack biological vaginas, The Vagina Monologues, say the powers that be at Mt. Holyoke, is a discriminatory form of microagression (or something like that):

Since the 1990s, students from Mount Holyoke College, an all-women’s school in Massachusetts, have staged an annual production of The Vagina Monologues. Not this year. The college is retiring the ritual over concerns that the play—penned by Eve Ensler in 1996 as a way to “celebrate the vagina” and women’s sexuality—is not inclusive enough.

In a school-wide email from Mount Holyoke’s student-theater board, relayed by Campus Reform, student Erin Murphy explained that “at its core, the show offers an extremely narrow perspective on what it means to be a woman … Gender is a wide and varied experience, one that cannot simply be reduced to biological or anatomical distinctions, and many of us who have participated in the show have grown increasingly uncomfortable presenting material that is inherently reductionist and exclusive.”

Students haven’t grown uncomfortable with The Vagina Monologues because it’s a creepy, masturbatory, misanthropic celebration of a body part, complete with lesbian statutory rape and pedophilia. Instead, at one of America’s most expensive and (peculiarly) prestigious education institutions, the play is out because “the show offers an extremely narrow perspective on what it means to be a woman” — not because it focuses solely on women’s vaginas, but because it doesn’t focus on men who wish they had women’s vaginas.

(Yikes!  That last clause didn’t come out right.  I don’t mean heterosexual men who like their vaginas on women (?), but transsexual men who would like women’s vaginas on them (?). Oy! it seems that my grammar, logic, and writing skills are not up to the task of dealing with fluid gender identity and self-selection.  I seem to be hopelessly heteronomative.  My humblest apologies.)

I don’t think we can wipe out the stain of America’s higher education culture fast enough. Looking at the degradation of education at these institutions, which have turned against the classic principles and knowledge of a free people, I keep being reminded of the Children of Israel trekking for 40 years through the Sinai with Moses. It wasn’t that Moses, an experienced desert-dweller, couldn’t find the Holy Land. It was that the generation that had once been slaves had to die out so that a new generation, one that had always been free, could create a new generation. Our own nation won’t be free until we see the final end of America’s toxic university culture. An economic meltdown would be a good place to start.

The Bookworm Beat 1/12/15: Two completely random thoughts about narcissists and college

Woman writingI know a narcissist.  One of the interesting things about talking with her is that she takes very personally things that are, to non-narcissists, manifestly impersonal.

For example, while talking about clothes, I might say to my narcissistic friend something along the lines of “I’m not a big fan of these new infinity scarves.”  Unbeknownst to me, she likes infinity scarves.  At this point, a normal person would say, “I actually like infinity scarves.  I think they look pretty, they’re easy to use, and they go with pretty much everything.”  But she’s a narcissist, so what she says is, “What do you know about fashion?  Your dress is disgusting.  I can’t believe you left the house that way.”  When I protest about the vicious, personal nature of her attack, her response is “You did it first.”

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The pathetic case of the poor Princeton freshman with the problematic regional accent

Princeton UniversityLet me begin by saying that, whatever Princeton once was, it isn’t any longer. Any university that has both the execrable Paul Krugman and and the even more execrable Peter Singer on its roster has long ago parted ways with decency, intelligence, and data. Should we be surprised, then, when its admissions process, aided by its  — ahem — “education” process, results in people like Newby Parton, a Princeton freshman who shot to unexpected fame by complaining that he’s the victim of microagression because he pronounces “wh” as “hw”?

Parton’s article, which appears in the Daily Princetonian, is either a pitch-perfect satire of every Leftist attempt to claim victimhood, or it is an honest piece that represents the nadir of higher education in America. Either way, this is what you need to know about: Parton introduces himself as a young man who comes from a small region in America that still pronounces “wh” the old-fashioned way, as “hw.”

I actually found Parton’s discussion about this regionalism an interesting bit of linguistic history, one that could, in a sane world, have led to a light-hearted an educational look at lingering speech differences across America despite television’s homogenizing influence. Parton, though, had bigger things on his mind.

You see, poor Parton is picked on:

There is a town in that band that I call home, so I say my “wh”-words in the traditional way. I never thought twice about it before coming to New Jersey. Here, my peers make a spectacle of it. “Say Cool Whip,” they’ll tell me, in reference to the Family Guy gag in which one character pokes fun at another for his /hw/ pronunciations. I’ll say “Cool Whip.” They’ll repeat it back to me with exaggerated emphasis on the /h/. I’ve been pulled into this conversation several times now, and each time I grow a bit more self-conscious. Very few people like to have their speech mocked.

Poor Parton knew what was happening to him.  He had become a victim of microaggression.  

Micro aggression, you ask? Here’s the story: Having successfully used political correctness to stifle all overt speech that disagrees with Leftist precepts, Lefties have had to go to the next level, which is to argue that unstated anti-Leftist premises still linger in American speech and these too must be stifled.   (Daniel Hannan provides a helpful updated dictionary for those struggling to avoid microaggression in their own speech.)

Growing up, I was constantly picked on about my speech patterns, which were (and still are) a confusing amalgam of American, San Francisco, Jewish, and vaguely European.  I countered by teasing my own friends, all of whom brought an Asian touch to their English.  We all thought it was funny.  Parton, as I said, gets what was (and is) really going on when people get teased about regionalisms or other speech variations.  It’s hate.  Hate pure and simple:

A friend of mine whom I quite like had put me through the “Cool Whip” routine, so I waited awhile and texted her this: “Making fun of regional speech is a microaggression.”

But don’t cry for Parton, please. His indocrination, er education has taught him that, although he’s clearly a victim of hatred, he’s so privileged he has no right to complain.  Apparently the 21st century white man’s burden is that you’re not allowed to whine when your friends tease you:

[T]is is not very important to me. I am a male and I am white, so I get less than my fair share of discrimination. I am ashamed to say that I have complained when I have had such fortune, but I must confess that I did.

Moreover, Parton celebrates the fact that his intense emotional anguish nevertheless serves as a teaching opportunity (or do I mean a learning opportunity?) for young Parton and one, moreover, that allows him to abase himself completely before those Lefties whose cool victimhood he wishes he could emulate:

She [the friend to whom he complained] really did not understand that she had caused any offense, even after I had plainly told her so. That is fine with me, and I don’t blame her one bit. If I were her, I am afraid I would not have understood either.

I mean it when I say I am afraid. I am afraid that I have spent eighteen years not understanding when I have said something offensive. I am afraid that I have unwittingly hurt the feelings of people so accustomed to microaggression that they did not bother to speak up. I am afraid that I would not have taken those people seriously if they had made a stand. And I am afraid I will do it all again. I am afraid because microaggressions aren’t harmless — there’s research to show that they cause anxiety and binge drinking among the minority students who are targeted.

I’m sure you know that expression, “Pardon me, but I just spit up a little in my mouth.”  I find that weak.  For things such as Parton’s pathos, I really feel like going the full vomit.

Keep in mind that Parton is one of the few and the proud who makes it into America’s Ivy Leagues. After all, these universities, deservedly or not, get to troll amongst the top, top graduates of American high schools — and Parton is what they picked. Not only did the admissions office see promise in the boy, the student newspaper quite obviously felt that Parton had something worthwhile to say.  (Or alternatively, the editors hate him and saw this as the perfect opportunity to hold him up to nationwide opprobrium.)

A friend of mine, who was trained in a harsher school of life than the emotionally fragile Parton, summed up nicely what I would have said in a dozen bloviating paragraphs:

Especially like the fact he is a freshman. Self-flagellating, mewling worms with zero life experience need to stop their micro-aggressive assault on my senses. Only sissies deal in so called micro aggression. When I do it, it’s on purpose and there’s nothing micro about it. As I went to bed last night it dawned on me that our popular culture has so glamorized victimization that this poor sap had to dig deep to manufacture a way for him to be in the club with the cool kids. He has to blame someone. That would be as opposed to seeking responsibility

Yeah! What my friend said.

(Oh, and while I’m on the subject of personal responsibility, here’s a different take, and one with which I wholeheartedly agree.)