The Bookworm Beat 9/19/16 — the “we’re still singing” edition and open thread

Woman-writing-300x265The miserable sexism of Hillary’s supporters. I’ve agreed with myself to disagree with Jonah Goldberg about Donald Trump, while still greatly respecting and deeply appreciating Goldberg’s take on just about everything else. In the wake of Hillary’s 9/11 collapse, followed by her dehydration, followed by the media castigating as sexist anyone who dared suggest the woman is ill, followed by her “oh, it’s just pneumonia,” followed by the entire media admiring Hillary for the strong female way in which she “powered through” things, Goldberg had this to say:

But here’s the thing. After weeks of bleating that it was sexist to raise questions about Hillary’s health, the immediate response from the very same people was an irrefutably sexist argument. Men are just a bunch of Jeb Bushes, low-energy shlubs laid low by a hangnail. But women are the Mobutu Sese Seko Kuku Ngbendu Wa Za Bangas of the species. (For non-longtime readers, this translates from the original Ngbandi, “The warrior who knows no defeat because of his endurance and inflexible will and is all powerful, leaving fire in his wake as he goes from conquest to conquest.”)

This raises a subject of much fascination to “news”letter writers who are fascinated by it. I don’t want to go too far out on a limb, because you never know if you’ll fall into raging torrent of angry weasels, but I gather that the word “sexist” is supposed to have a bad connotation. That was the sense I got taking women’s studies courses at a formerly all-women’s college. I’ve also drawn this conclusion from a fairly close study of routine political argle-bargle.

The problem is we don’t really have a word for observations and statements that simply acknowledge that men and women are . . . different. Not better or worse. Just different. If I said that dogs aren’t the same as cats, no one would shout, “Dogist!” Everyone would simply say, “Duh.” In fact, if I said to about 90 percent of normal people, of either sex, that men and women are different, the response would be “duh” as well.


The frustrating thing is that feminist liberals like to have it both ways (and not in the way that Bill pays extra for). Women are “different” when they think it means women are “better,” but when you say women are different in ways that annoy feminists — for whatever reason — they shout, “Sexist!” Lena Dunham rejects the idea that women should be seen as things of beauty, and then gets mad when she’s not seen as a thing of beauty. Women should be in combat because they can do anything men can do, but when reality proves them wrong, they say the “sexist” standards need to change. And so on.

Hillary Clinton is like a broken Zoltar the Fortune Teller machine shouting all sorts of platitudes about being the first female president, cracking glass ceilings, yada yada yada. She openly says that we need a first female president because a first female president would be so awesome. But she also wants to say criticisms that would be perfectly legitimate if aimed at a man are in fact sexist when directed at a woman. That is a sexist argument.

No campus safe spaces for Jews. “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,” said Ralph Waldo Emerson. I’m happy to report that when it comes to the aggressive special snowflakes on America’s college campuses, consistency is never a problem. You see, it turns out that the whole thing about safe spaces and microaggressions and triggers and political correctness doesn’t apply to Jews:

But little has been said about how the idea of “intersectionality” — the idea that all struggles are connected and must be combated by allies — has created a dubious bond between the progressive movement and pro-Palestinian activists who often engage in the same racist and discriminatory discourse they claim to fight. As a result of this alliance, progressive Jewish students are often subjected to a double standard not applied to their peers — an Israel litmus test to prove their loyalties to social justice.

You and I have been tracking this problem for years, but I’m hoping that Jewish parents will start realizing that there’s a problem on American campuses. As it is, in today’s world, I would have to say that the single biggest reason that American Jews are so hard left is that they are so likely to go to college, which they get exposed to the pernicious disease that is Leftism. This has been going on for at least 40 years — I was exposed in Cal, although I was eventually able to build an immunity — but it’s gotten worse of late.

The special irony behind the Left’s dominance in today’s America. Your garden-variety Leftist is phenomenally stupid. So it was that a Leftist website boasted that President Obama, with a mere signature, had just protected Planned Parenthood foreverI admit to being confused at first because I hadn’t recalled that Congress had passed a bill enshrining Planned Parenthood’s place in the American panoply, which bill Obama then signed. In fact, I was not confused. Leftists are:

While the nation was preparing to wax emotionally about the terror attacks on 9/11 and Donald Trump was gaining appreciation for “political correctness” in assailing Hillary Clinton’s “bucket of deplorables” remarks, they missed a very important announcement from the Obama Administration. As has been the case throughout his tenure in the Oval Office, Barack Obama took unilateral action to protect women’s constitutional rights from a rabid and toxic religious Republican attack on Planned Parenthood. It is curious why there has been little to no reporting in the main stream media, because the President’s announcement of a brilliantly simple new rule was actually, as Vice President Joe Biden would say, “a big f*cking deal.”

The “BFD” is a new rule regarding Title X funding that affects the most basic preventive health care and family planning services for over 4 million low-income Americans, 85 percent of whom earn under $23,500 annually. About a third of those patients are served by Planned Parenthood that receives roughly $70 million annually in Title X grants for contraceptives and cancer and sexually transmitted infection screenings. Of course Title X forbids using even one penny for abortion services for any reason.

Yes, after lauding Obama’s repeated extra-constitutional actions in the face of voters who clearly preferred Republican values (some would call that tyranny), this slightly incoherent writer thinks that a regulation is permanent. Now, I will admit that, once a regulation is in place, it’s hard to dislodge it (although I hope Trump gives it a try), but a regulation is not a law. It can vanish in an instant.

As I’ve said before, if women’s health is so important to Democrats and Planned Parenthood is so contentious, why not make it easy by giving the money to another organization that just provides healthcare without abortions? The obvious answer to that question is that Planned Parenthood’s virtue is that it does perform abortions. After all, money is fungible. If you use all the government money to pay for pap smears, then you have a lot of extra money — from patients and donors — for abortions.

The most racist people I’ve met are Europeans.  We went to Europe in around 2005 or 2006. I was already fascinated by politics then, so I duly noted the fact that Europe, which had been pretty much European the last time I was there, was heavily populated by Africans, Moroccans, and Turks (depending on which European country I happened to be in at any given time). Speaking to native Europeans while on buses, in stores, or on trains, I was flabbergasted by the straight-out racism they expressed. Already then, they were disturbed that their continent was being overrun by these “dirty,” “lazy,” “welfare-sucking” people. Things that no American would have dared to say since 1970 or so were on the lips of a lot of Europeans.

It’s worse now. These videos from Paris show immigration that is exponentially worse in scope than the immigrant patterns I saw a decade ago while traveling through a broad swath of Western Europe.

When it comes to sex, is there any meaningful difference anymore between Progressives and Puritans? Well, sure, there is some difference. Progressives approve of all kinds of sex — straight, gay, lesbian, bi, tri, quatro, bestial, robotic, fuzzy pony people, etc. Puritans approved of sex within traditional marriage. But if you look at the way both Progressives and Puritans pry into and try to exert total control over sexual relations, you’d discover that the Progressives are the Puritans’ direct descendants.

Progressives don’t change words, they destroy them. One of the constants with Progressives is that they often change the meanings of words in order to sell their ideas. My father, although not a homophobe, never forgave homosexuals for deleting the word “gay” from the average vocabulary. “It was such a nice word,” he explained. I, on the other hand, am more resentful about the fact that they co-opted the rainbow. I like rainbows and resent their having been permanently assigned to a sexual identity.

Patrick O’Hannigan has written an article — interesting, as  his articles always are — examining the damage that the Progressives have wreaked on the word “community.” When you and I grew up, a community was an organically grown coming together of people who shared things: geographic proximity, school-aged children, or a passion for golf. No longer. Community is now about artificially designed categories for purposes of vote-getting:

Eventually, economic growth meant you no longer had to elect amateur politicians into legislatures because there was no shortage of people willing to kiss babies and do each other favors for a living. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot returned to jobs they understood better, and medieval guilds left politics to the professionals. Then community organizers came into their own, with starry-eyed idealists and con artists each learning how to influence politicians.

By highlighting self-interest and sorting people accordingly, you can imply strength in numbers even where there is none. People in power can then turn around and co-opt that energy by mouthing platitudes about how we’re “stronger together,” as long as we’re in the right basket.

The Golden State continues its slide into dross. I know that I probably don’t have actual memories of California’s Golden State heyday. My fully formed memories tend to be more of dirty hippies and navel-gazing 1970s seekers but — and I know this sounds ridiculous — I have an emotional memory of that golden time. California’s best years died during my childhood, but I still have flashes of ladies in hats and gloves in downtown San Francisco; of clean Brady Bunch-esque suburbs; of schools that hadn’t yet collapsed dramatically; and of a sense of importance and worth that seems to hover over my childhood.

Those days are long gone, of course. California, once the leading edge of the American experiment, is now a near-bankrupt basket case, the victim of every Leftist experiment known to man. Most of them fail; all of them are expensive. It turns out that, to have Scandinavian-style outcomes, you need a Scandinavian-style population: small, homogeneous, and governed by long-standing traditions of support in a cold, cold land. Even for the Scandinavians, of course, there are variables: Throw in North Sea oil and things get even better; throw in Muslim refugees and the system breaks down.

California never had a Scandinavian population, we’ve practically made oil illegal, and we’ve allowed our state to be inundated by populations with traditions antithetical to the American traditions that drove California from Hollywood’s heydays through to the early 1960s. So things are bad here and about to get worse:

Gov. Jerry Brown, in Bill Maher’s assessment, “took a broken state and fixed it.” There’s a political lesson being injected here, as well, as blue organs like The New Yorker describe California as doing far better economically than nasty red-state Texas.

But if you take a look at long-term economic trends, or drive around the state with your eyes open, the picture is far less convincing. To be sure, since 2010 California’s job growth has outperformed the national average, propelled largely by the tech-driven Bay Area; its 14% employment expansion over the past six years is just a shade below Texas’. But dial back to 2001, and California’s job growth rate is 12%, less than half that of Texas’ 27%. With roughly 10 million fewer residents, Texas has created almost 2.8 million jobs since the turn of the millennium, compared to 2.0 million in California.


This dependence on one region [Silicon Valley has been driving the California economy] has its dangers. Silicon Valley has only recently topped its pre-dot-com boom jobs total, confirming the fundamental volatility of the tech sector. And there are clear signs of slowing, with layoffs increasing earlier in the year and more companies looking for space in less expensive, highly regulated areas.


Outside the Bay Area, where tech is weaker, the situation is much grimmer. In Orange County, the strongest Southern California economy, tech and information employment is lower today than in 2000. In Los Angeles, employment has declined in higher-wage sectors like tech, durable goods manufacturing and construction, to be replaced by lower-wage jobs in hospitality, health and education. A recent analysis by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp. predicts this trend will continue for the foreseeable future.

Things were going so well and the Left just couldn’t leave well enough alone.

The danger of do-gooders to your children.  Years ago, I wrote one of my personal favorite posts about Child Protective Services, which I labeled as “Causes Parental Suffering.” My point was that too many people employed in Child Protective Services believe that parents are always in the wrong and find it easier to go after middle-class parents than they do to go after parents in less comfortable neighborhoods. What I did not include, or at least highlight, in that post was the fact that CPS gets a boost in these middle-class environs from busy-bodies who look at perfectly healthy, happy children doing things that were normal just 15 or 20 years ago, and shout “child abuse.” It’s a terrible symbiotic relationship between busy-bodies in the private sector and the government, and the children are hurt most.

Beautiful  nature.  The photo at this site will do your heart good.

More people singing.  My post caption promised more people singing, and that’s what you shall get. One of the most evil things about YouTube is that, when you watch one video, there’s a sidebar suggesting all sorts of other videos you might like too. Follow that sidebar and you’ll emerge several hours later wondering what the Hell happened to your time. So it was that, when I went looking for a link to yesterday’s posted version of “Do You Hear The People Sing?” from the 2012 movie, I couldn’t resist glancing at the sidebar, which is how I found this awesome version, with 17 different men from 17 different countries, all of whom played Valjean on stage, and all of whom contribute to a great version of the song:

I don’t care about the grim polling news out of Pennsylvania. I’m inclined to side with the spooky Scott Adams and think that there’s something happening here. The people are singing.

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