The Bookworm Beat 5-22-15 — the “no more doctors, please!” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265My post title notwithstanding, I am well, I have been well, and I expect that I will continue to be well. It’s just that I’ve spent between five and fifteen hours every week for the last few weeks in doctors’ offices thanks to my mother and my kids, all of whom are well, but who needed a variety of maintenance appointments. I’m all doctored out. Politics, however, still interest me:

Obama’s ego is all that stands between Israel and destruction

Obama sat down for an interview with his go-to Jew, Jeffrey Goldberg. Goldberg worships at the Obama altar, but periodically manages to sound as if he cares about the welfare of Israel and the Jewish people. I used to be fooled. I’m not anymore.

In any event, James Taranto caught Obama in a fascinating narcissistic moment in that interview. First, here’s what Goldberg wrote:\

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Feminist claims that bad consensual sex equals rape victimize women just as surely as the McMartin trials victimized children

retro-mcmartin-preschool-videoSixteenByNine1050Do you remember the McMartin preschool case in the mid- to late-1980s, when the owners of a small, family-run preschool found themselves accused of satanic sexual debauchery with the children in their care? Although the McMartin case was the most widely publicized, and therefore the most memorable, case, there were similar cases popping up all over the United States.

Each case would begin with a mother reporting that her child had said something that indicated he or she was the victim of sexual abuse at the preschool. Investigators and child therapists would move in and, next thing you knew, scores of employees and owners were suddenly being accused of the most heinous crimes.

Significantly, these accusations didn’t even stop with ordinary sexual molestation. Instead, they invariably included additional bizarre behaviors such bestiality, animal sacrifice, and even human sacrifice. Looked at objectively, without the accompanying media-fed hysteria, the charges sounded every bit as ridiculous as the claims made almost three hundred years before in Salem, Massachusetts.  Needless to say, as in Salem, a lot of lives were irrevocably destroyed before the hysteria finally ended.

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[MUST SEE VIDEO] Oberlin College choir responds to the Christine Sommers controversy (brilliant)

You remember what happened when Christina Hoff Sommers went to Oberlin and Georgetown, don’t you? If you don’t, these pictures, all showing these schools’ special snowflakes, will refresh your recollection:

Sommers Oberlin 1

Sommers Oberlin 3

Sommers Oberlin 4

Sommers Georgetown 2

Now, a group purporting to be the Oberlin College choir has uploaded its response. It is brilliant:

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 feminist focus on microaggression meets romance in the book world — a view from inside

Reggianini_Vittorio_Seduction_Oil_on_Canvas_on_Masonite-largeSome of you may recall that, a couple of years ago, I did one of my periodic posts about romance novels, arguing that the real “porn” part of the novels is the relationship, not the sex. One of my readers, Judith Lown, wrote me to say that there are traditional romances still out there and, in fact, she had written one: A Sensible Lady: A Traditional Regency Romance.

When I went to Amazon to buy A Sensible Lady, I discovered that I had already bought it, read it, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s no insult to Lown that I didn’t quite remember it.  I read around 250 books a year (all kinds of genres) and lose track of those I’ve already read.  I enjoyed Lown’s other novel, A Match for Lady Constance, just as much.

Although I am a few years removed from having read Lown’s books, I know that what charmed me was the same thing that charms me about Georgette Heyer novels: the lead characters are people you wish you could meet, and the intellectual relationship between the protagonists is witty, fun, and understandable. In other words, Lown is a very good writer in the traditional Regency romance style: elegant, funny, and restrained.

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The Bookworm Beat 1/17/15 — Supplemental edition and Open Thread

Woman writingSince I wrote the preceding Bookworm Beat, two things showed up on my computer that I wanted to address.

You’re not brave if there’s no risk

In 2006, as part of Project 2,996, I wrote about New York Fire Fighter Brian Ahearn. I spent a lot of time on the internet looking for the ghosts and traces of Lt. Ahearn, and ended up feeling as if I really knew the man who, despite a lovely and fulfilling life, bravely raced into a burning high rise hoping to rescue people from the destruction. Lt. Ahearn was never seen again. In my post about him, I thought a lot about his raw courage and it was this idea — this courage — that opened my post:

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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 decline and fall of American feminism; or You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby!

In one generation, we went from this:

I am woman hear me roar

To this:

Teaching rape is microaggression

But my experience at Harvard over the past couple of years tells me that the environment for teaching rape law and other subjects involving gender and violence is changing. Students seem more anxious about classroom discussion, and about approaching the law of sexual violence in particular, than they have ever been in my eight years as a law professor. Student organizations representing women’s interests now routinely advise students that they should not feel pressured to attend or participate in class sessions that focus on the law of sexual violence, and which might therefore be traumatic. These organizations also ask criminal-law teachers to warn their classes that the rape-law unit might “trigger” traumatic memories. Individual students often ask teachers not to include the law of rape on exams for fear that the material would cause them to perform less well. One teacher I know was recently asked by a student not to use the word “violate” in class—as in “Does this conduct violate the law?”—because the word was triggering. Some students have even suggested that rape law should not be taught because of its potential to cause distress.

However, according to today’s women of color, not all rapes are equal, and shouldn’t even be considered part of the rape spectrum:

White women can't be raped

Which means that today’s “feminists” are weaker than this:

Woman Fainting

And meaner and more racist than this:

kkk-rally

You’ve come a long way, Baby

Straight talk about Lena Dunham’s “rape” and the indignities of being black in America

film critics association arrivals 160111Political correctness demands that I agree with Lena Dunham that she was raped and that I agree with blacks, race hustlers, college students, and communists that the race problem in America is a white problem, not a black one.  To hell with political correctness.  I hereby pronounce myself unfettered, and am going with the truth as I see it — which is that young woman and American blacks need to own the problems about which they protest so vehemently — and that the situation won’t change until they change their behavior.

Here’s the truth about Lena Dunham: Lena Dunham was not raped. Lena Dunham was stupid.

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The Bookworm Beat 12/8/14 — Monday evening wrap-up and open thread

Woman writingNo time for an intro. I’ll just head straight for snark and links:
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The Bookworm Beat — August 16 Saturday Night Special

Woman writingYesterday, the phone or the doorbell rang every 10-20 minutes all afternoon and evening. We had a rotating cast of characters for dinner, one of my dogs hid for the day, and the other dog barked itself into laryngitis. I have no complaints, as I like a social house, but there’s a lot to be said for just a little less sociability.

Today has been relatively quiet, so I was able to do six loads of laundry and take care of a good 300 emails. I still have my snail-mail inbox to clear out, but overall I feel remarkably productive. The dogs are happy too.

I don’t know if a review of the news will result in any happiness, but it’s still a task I feel compelled to perform.

Ferguson reveals seemingly intractable problems in modern American cities

The more I read about events in Ferguson, the more I know that two principles I hold are correct, even though I don’t know how much either principle applies to the specific events in Ferguson. The first principle is that the police are and should be people’s servants, not their military masters.

Separating military and police

The second principle is that the “wilding” that blacks turn to when the police offend them solves nothing about their dismal situation throughout America’s Democrat-controlled cities, but definitely makes it reasonable for police to seek protection behind military gear.

Police brutality and Slim Jims

This is a nasty chicken and egg dance, with blacks complaining (illogically, but it still drives their behavior) that police brutality drives them to resist arrest and run riot through cities, effectively destroying their own communities, and police complaining (more credibly) that with blacks running riot, the only way a sane person would become a police officer is to bury himself behind massive armor and weaponry.

Mark Steyn certainly finds much to blame on both sides of the dispute raging between Ferguson’s blacks and its police force.

Even as cops and blacks blame each other, both should be blaming Democrat/Progressive Big City politics

The only place that neither blacks nor police are looking in order to place blame is the one place that ought to be blamed: The urban Democrat/Progressive political machine. Kevin D. Williamson, who has traveled to most of America’s major cities, the vast majority of which are Democrat-run and being run into the ground, explains just how badly the Progressive experiment is playing out in these places:

Progressives spent a generation imposing taxes and other expenses on urban populations as though the taxpaying middle class would not relocate. They protected the defective cartel system of public education, and the union money and votes associated with it, as though middle-class parents would not move to places that had better schools. They imposed burdens on businesses, in exchange for more union money and votes, as though businesses would not shift production elsewhere. They imposed policies that disincentivized stable family arrangements as though doing so would have no social cost.

And they did so while adhering to a political philosophy that holds that the state, not the family or the market, is the central actor in our lives, that the interests of private parties — be they taxpayers or businesses — can and indeed must be subordinated to the state’s interests, as though individuals and families were nothing more than gears in the great machine of politics. The philosophy of abusive eminent domain, government monopolies, and opportunistic taxation is also the philosophy of police brutality, the repression of free speech and other constitutional rights, and economic despair. Frank Rizzo was not a paradox — he was an inevitability. When life is reduced to the terms in which it is lived in the poorest and most neglected parts of Chicago or Detroit, the welfare state is the police state.

I would recommend Williamson’s article as a must-read and, if your Leftist friends can be brought to read something published in — gasp! — National Review, it’s an article that you should share with those who haven’t already seen the conservative, individualist, small government, small-l libertarian light.

Resisting arrest is asking for trouble

Bob Weir, a former police officer, explains that “brutality” is not an unreasonable response to get from a police officer if you make the decision to resist arrest.

And of course, there’s always the media to fan the flames

Sadie send me this image, along with some of her pungent, trenchant commentary:

The media's role in all this

A reprise of the Trayon Martin summer hit of 2012. Rev. Al and Rev. Jesse once again, play themselves. Benjamin Crump, Esq. has been recalled to the stage. Rioters, looters and extras, against a backdrop of staged outrage are seen running, dancing, shouting – looting included. Audience members and media are encouraged to bring a cell phone to record the experience.

Ferguson is making for some pretty strange political bed fellows

A young Marine friend of mine (who grew up in an incredibly liberal Marin household) posted this excellent Matt Walsh article saying that the police officers aren’t to blame for the anarchy in Ferguson. A young entrepreneur I know here in Marin, whose Facebook posts hew liberal, but who has a libertarian streak, liked the article, commenting that you have to “suck up reality.”

Events in Ferguson are making for some strange political bedfellows. Perhaps we might see a paradigm shift coming soon….

Obama, the bored, disaffected, disenchanted, disengaged American President

I’m not a Joe Scarborough fan, but I agree with Pete Wehner in thinking that Scarborough was correct when, on the Hugh Hewitt show, he stated that Obama has simply checked out of the presidency. Although motives are irrelevant — all that matters is the fact that Obama’s not playing president any more — Wehner still speculates as to his motives, and I still find the speculation interesting:

What could possibility explain this attitude? It may be that Mr. Obama was drawn to the job not for the right reasons but because he viewed the presidency as a new mountain to climb, a prize to win, as a way to feed his unusually large ego (even for a politician). It may also be that Mr. Obama, with his presidency crumbling, is like a petulant child who wants to pick up his marbles and leave. He was fine serving as president when he was adored and well liked; now that things are going south he appears to have emotionally “checked out,” to use Scarborough’s phrase.

The curse of the golf course

Daniel Greenfield has noticed that Obama starts wars when he’s on vacation near a golf course, while bad actors seem to time their bad acts to coincide with Obama’s golf game. The incessant golf games, which once were a sore point only for grumpy conservatives, are beginning to dismay everyone.

There’s something unseemly about our president’s obsession with golf. Of course, the golf games are perfect fodder for political cartoonists, who see the golf course as a metaphor for Obama’s singular absence from and disinterest in a world in flames around him. Don’t believe me? Just check out Steven Hayward’s cartoon round-up for the week.

The terrorist negotiating strategy

No, I haven’t forgotten poor, beleaguered Israel, even though I chose not to lead with it in this round-up.

My very first item about Hamas put me strongly in mind of Jeff Dunham’s Achmed The Dead Terrorist, whose catch-phrase whenever things don’t go his way is “Silence! I kill you!”

Hamas has now issued an ultimatum regarding its peace talks with Israel.  Paraphased, it amounts to “Accept all our conditions or we kill you!” Last I heard, that’s not how good-faith negotiations are supposed to work.

The world doesn’t care about dead JEWISH kids

A bereaved Israeli mother, whose teenage daughter died in a terrorist attack during the Second Intifadah, reminds us that the world doesn’t inevitably shed tears when children die in war. For example, when her precious daughter was one of hundreds who died in attacks deliberately targeted at Israeli/Jewish children, the world had nothing to say.

The IDF has a photo-gallery summing up this summer’s war

The IDF has collected 17 photographs summing up the reality of the Israel/Gaza war. Some of them show the bombs bursting in air over Israel and how frightening and destructive those bombs are, Iron Dome notwithstanding. Others show Gazan residents lined up as useful idiots and human shields for Hamas, as well as the fact that Israel treats these poor fools with incredible decency. Still others show the depth, breadth, and imaginative destructive power of the Hamas armory in Gaza.

It’s like a joke . . . “This Travis County D.A. walked out of a bar, dead drunk….”

The Rick Perry indictment is a joke. That’s no surprise to me, frankly.  Travis County is famous for its corrupt legal system.

Back when I was in law school, three Texas Supreme Court judges were under investigation for accepting bribes. Indeed, at our annual musical review, which spoofed the movie Grease, I distinctly remember that one of the songs had lyrics that referred to a scam in which attorneys appearing before the court had bribed the judges with lavish trips:

We go together like V&E [Vinson & Elkins], F&J (Fulbright & Jaworski), and Jones & Day
We’re graduating and going on to sweat and cram for the July bar exam
We’ll clerk for judges and
Fill their briefs with legalese, and Vegas trips with attorneys.

I mean, jeez, if an Obama stalwart like David Axelrod is unimpressed by the indictment, you know it’s shaky. For more solid legal reasons, Eugene Volokh also thinks the indictment is unsustainable. So good for Rick Perry to fight back, and I hope he fights back hard.

For those of you new to this story, Rosemary Lehmberg, the Travis County D.A. got arrested for drunk driving, pleaded guilty, and served 45 days. I’ll let Duane Paterson pick up the story:

Rick Perry thought her to be a disgrace, and wanted her to resign. She didn’t. So he took the next step and threatened to veto funding for her office. In response, a grand jury handed down an abuse of power indictment for coercive use of a veto late this afternoon. So the woman who was belligerent and intoxicated stays, Rick Perry is the bad guy and needs to go. Right. Got it.

By any standard, Lehmberg’s behavior was disgraceful. She pleaded guilty to a .23, almost .24, blood alcohol level (almost three times the legal limit), was oppositional with the arresting officers, and tried to use her political heft to avoid the charges.

Here’s the arrest video:

And here’s the video of her doing her “do you know who I am and who my friends are?” routine:

And for those who aren’t conversant with that blood alcohol level, Ace has a handy-dandy (and funny) cheat sheet.

Gene Simmons fights back against political correctness and in favor of immigrants learning English

I hate Gene Simmons, the KISS rocker. (It was the snake-like tongue that did it for me. I hate the tongue in Miley Cyrus too.) However, I very much admire Gene Simmons, the American immigrant who courageously speaks truth to political correctness. His latest outburst is about the criminally wrongful act of insisting that immigrants to this country shouldn’t be forced to learn English.

As a sort of aside about political correctness, my daughter said that she tried to watch Robin William’s movie Hook. She thought that the premise — Peter Pan returns to Neverland as an adult — intriguing, but hated that the casting was manifestly done to meet a racial quota. There were carefully calibrated numbers of Asian, black, white, and Hispanic boys. She said “The acting was awful, even for a 90s movie, so it was obvious that they didn’t choose the best actors; they just chose actors to be the right race.”

All I could do was agree with her. I found the movie unwatchable back in the day and for the same reason. I added, because I can never resist moralizing, that political correctness destroys everything it touches: art, humor, free speech, creativity, education, etc.

What patriotism used to look like in the mainstream

Back in 1970, John Wayne hosted a July 4th special celebrating America. Can you imagine something like this being made nowadays for mainstream TV, staring mainstream stars? I can’t. It’s simply impossible to imagine:

Modern feminism has nothing to do with freedom or equality

My wonderful sister-in-law reminded me of a Tumblr site I’d meant to mention, but then forgot. It’s called Women Against Feminism, and has women explaining why they feel empowerment comes about when they’re not feminists.

I was speaking to a young Swede today who expressed surprise that I chose to stay home as much as possible to raise my own children, rather than go to work and have the state pay for some other women to raise my children. He said that, because of “equality” women are expected to work. He was even more surprised when I suggested that forcing women to work is just as bad as the old days, when women were refused the right to work. Both deny women the freedom of choice. That thought had never occurred to him.

Pictures

(Thanks to Caped Crusader for this amazing picture round-up.)

The Tea Party Conspiracy

Hamas speaks to Israel and CNN

Obama tells tales about Iraq

Slavery in Africa

Emperors foreign policy

Eisenhower on total security