A Little Mercy

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

What cowardice it is to be dismayed by the happiness of others and devastated by their good fortune. — Montesquieu

The Spectacle Du Jour a couple weeks ago focused on a four-star General and the women in his life which lead to more questions about other accomplished men and the women who loved and/or used them. I did not find it amusing. My concern, in the abstract, was that personal emails were being rummaged through by our government for what seemed like spurious reasons. Worse, I didn’t like the blackmail implications — not by the women (though, of course that was and is a concern) but by the government. By our president.

My thoughts wandered to Hitler and his use of blackmail to silence his political opponents. Say what you want, but I’m not keen about living in a country where our government rifles through the shopping cart of our lives and then decides to shame us publicly when they find the Twinkie or Big Gulp that offends them.

But that’s a digression.

What really sickens is how Americans reacted to the salacious stories. It is sickening to joke about the destruction of many lives — as if these people weren’t people at all. They became amusements. We on Twitter became members of the Forum jeering at the prisoner sent to face the hungry lions.

It’s been said that comedy is a tragedy that happens to someone else. And maybe with distance, those in the throes of marital woe and relational and professional disaster will see the humor, but I doubt it. And I doubt anyone doing the cat calling would find it funny to have their own personal sins blared in neon. Or on Twitter.

Lance Armstrong, as an example, is being brought low. Whether he did the drugs or not (and everyone was doing them so he wasn’t alone), the real motivation to bring him down seems rooted in envy and a desire to destroy greatness. Ha! Ha! He’s a failure, just like me. Now I feel better about myself.

Tiger Woods had some pathological emptiness that needed to be fed with women other than his wife. It’s sad that he’s lost his edge. The world is worse for his lost potential.

General Petreaus got caught up with a woman and like an errant ship, hit the shore of wreck and ruin. America is not better for this failure.

And we are not better for having made fun of these people. We are worse.

I remember when Oprah was shocked at an audience member who told her, “I liked you better when you were fat.”

Oprah: Why?

Audience lady: Because you were just like me.

Now, General Petreaus, Tiger Woods, Lance Armstrong are just like us. Feel better?

Ace alludes to the “feeling better”:

What I can’t understand is the simple hate, the hate for hate’s sake, the hate of The Other for the sake of Self-Affirmation. I especially can’t understand the hate coming from the sort of people who will insist to you, quite seriously, that they have essentially purged all primitive and dark emotion from themselves and now exist on an elevated Oprah/Chopra plane of pidgin Zen harmony and balance.

I see less of this on the right, but I’ve seen enough to make me uncomfortable. Still, it’s worth noting that philosophically, people on the right acknowledge their own base nature even as they succumb to it. The left seems to pretend it doesn’t exist.

Is it really all that wrong to laugh, though? It’s not hate, hate–as Whoopi says.

What’s the big deal about laughing at Petreaus or Armstrong or Woods? People who know all these men have said that they’re kinda pricks anyway. Probably. A single-minded determination to have mastery in one’s field tends to be born of a ruthlessly demanding nature, competitiveness and annoyingly narrow focus. These people are not like you and me in many ways–they refuse to compromise where you and I do and tend to have a messianic complex about their skewed priorities.

So, they deserve the scorn they receive, right?

Joking does have its place. In fact, court jesters performed this function–poking holes in the aristocratic class and giving the commoners permission to laugh at the foibles and hypocrisy of the ruling class.

Yet, why does this current trend at ruthless mockery leave a bitter aftertaste? Maybe it’s because Petreaus and Woods and Armstrong aren’t the ruling class. They didn’t get to their position by patronage or birthright. They worked to achieve their success. They bested their competitors. They worked hard and achieved greatness.

It seems like success itself is being mocked. These are our peers. They are people who started as nothing and made something of themselves. These are just common men who, through hard work, achieved the uncommon.

These are the people we’d like to be. These are people working to achieve what we would like to if only we had the talent and self-discipline to do it.

Gabriel Malor linked to this piece by Jody Foster when she defended teen idol Kristen Stewart after her very public “gotcha” moment:

In my era, through discipline and force of will, you could still manage to reach for a star-powered career and have the authenticity of a private life. Sure, you’d have to lose your spontaneity in the elaborate architecture. You’d have to learn to submerge beneath the foul air and breathe through a straw. But at least you could stand up and say, I will not willfully participate in my own exploitation. Not anymore. If I were a young actor or actress starting my career today in the new era of social media and its sanctioned hunting season, would I survive? Would I drown myself in drugs, sex, and parties? Would I be lost?

I’ve said it before and I will say it again: if I were a young actor today I would quit before I started. If I had to grow up in this media culture, I don’t think I could survive it emotionally. I would only hope that someone who loved me, really loved me, would put their arm around me and lead me away to safety.

Kristen Stewart, a young actress, heartrendingly in my opinion, shared her grief and sorrow through People Magazine at having harmed her relationship with her boyfriend. She prostrated herself publicly, asking forgiveness.

The world jeered.

Social media and blogging and all this technology has democratized communications. It has changed the world for the better, in many ways.

It has also given megaphones to what used to be localized mob behavior.

Today, it’s Mayim Bialik’s divorce. I was tangentially aware of Bialik. She is very funny on the hit TV show Big Bang Theory. Less known to me, but a big deal to moms, is that she uses “attachment parenting”. In this form of parenting, a mom wears, sleeps with and generally is around her babies a lot. Women hated her. Well, some did.

Any woman who felt guilt for bottle-feeding when she could have nursed or in some other way felt guilt when she heard or looked at Ms. Bialik now feels triumphant. See?! Her ideas suck so bad they resulted in a divorce!

Oprah’s fat! Tiger has a 15 handicap! Lance Armstrong can’t compete in Ironmans now! General Petreaus won’t lead America’s security efforts!

The gods have been brought low. And rather than mourning the loss, Americans celebrate the fall and delight in the sorrow.

No mercy.



The Hunger Games And Children: Who Should See This Movie?

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

The Hunger Games premise is not for the faint of heart: children are offered up as sacrifices to appease the central government gods who control 13 districts. [See more about an explanation of the movie in Part I of my Hunger Games Series.]

Here are the tributes:

You’ll note that some are babies. And, in fact, in a wrenching scene one of the youngest of them dies a brutal death. And the protagonist Katniss Everdine gives the child funeral rites even though she is a competitor.

The kindness in the midst of the brutality causes a riot in the dead girl’s district.

It is a lot to take in for an adult. For a child? Well.

Not all children should see this movie. In fact, children under 10 – 12 shouldn’t see the movie no matter their constitutions. There is some good reasoning here as to why.

One of my older children (14) is especially sensitive and won’t be seeing the movie either until it’s on a small screen, the movie can be stopped, and the issues explained. Also, the books must be read first.

My twelve year old daughter did see the movie. She’d read all the books and didn’t seem to grasp the horror of forcing children to fight each other to the death.

She sat curled into my arms at a couple points during the movie. Seeing is believing, evidently.

While the filmmakers did their best to minimize the blood and gore, the graphic nature of kids breaking necks, stabbing and slashing, poisoning, etc. disturbs all but the most detached.

The books are actually more graphic and distressing. As I shared in my previous post, I was so sickened by the premise that I put the book down.

Many books deal with children as protagonists in life and death situations — Lord of the Rings (in the books the Hobbits were coming of age), Ender’s Game (6 year old protagonist), Black Beauty, Lord of the Flies, etc.

Children read these books, evaluate them, and process them on a different level. Their lack of life experience is a help here. In books, one imagines what one has experienced and apply it to the reading.

The movie gives no such room. The violence is there to see.

There is great risk watching the movie Hunger Games of becoming the voyeur watching the reality game. The American audience, especially, weaned on Survivor, the Bachelor, etc., can be immune to the human difficulty and suffering.

Children are used as pawns and killed while, as a friend stated, trying to hold on to their humanity. This is a subject only the more mature can process. Beware of robbing your child’s innocence with this movie.

If you doubt your child’s ability to handle it, wait.

[More about the cultural relevance in the next installment.]



An Indictment Of Right Leaning Journalism By Ben Domenech

Wednesday, November 16th, 2011

Ben’s Transom newsletter was particularly good today and he saved the best for last. It’s so important I’m sharing it here.

Here’s the nutshell: The Left-leaning journalism investigates the right. The Right-leaning journalism provides commentary and (and Ben doesn’t say this, but I am) when they do rarely investigate, investigates the right after being given oppo research by someone on their own side.

The right is resource-deprived and lazy with the resources they do have.

Here’s what Ben says [subscribe here]:

RISE OF THE CONSERVATIVE THUMBSUCKER CLASS:

David Freddoso isn’t wholly wrong here, but I think his career is instructive in the real failings of conservative journalists. http://vlt.tc/cu Freddoso is one of a number of solid shoe-leather investigative journalists with a conservative bent – he’s now at the Examiner as an opinion page editor. Phil Klein was the same – now he’s an opinion columnist at the Examiner. So was Tim Carney – same deal. The general trend among conservatives is to ditch the investigative thing and move into what we might call Novak-lite opinion writing; they talk to sources and cover events but rarely break news. They take the second or third bite out of something, not the first. And they generally leave it to Gawker to file the FOIA requests. http://vlt.tc/da

There’s a whole class of people in DC who live this trend, wasting writing talent on minor league punditry which ought to be applied to keeping politicians accountable and rooting out scandals on the other side. Instead of offsetting in some small way the overwhelming advantage the left has among investigative journos, the sights of these writers are nearly always trained on their own party (Carney, for example, criticizes both sides, but much of his aim is at remaking the right into a less big business friendly entity). At the same time, the big publications on the right have gravitated toward three kinds of stories: the thumb-sucking or humorous rehash of what’s in the news; the big think-piece commentary about some social or political meme; or the throw-off profile of a friendly Republican politician. The effect is that these publications have little or no impact on the left or the broader conversation – their influence is limited to the right and stays there.

This trend is a real shame, and it’s one of the reasons that story-breaking on the right about the left has been almost entirely conceded to the amateur or semi-pro class online. The biggest story of the year on the right is Solyndra – a story broken by ABC News. The second biggest story of the year on the right is Fast & Furious, which is now resulting in Congressional investigations and calls for Eric Holder’s resignation – it’s a story broken by CBS News. In a just world, these stories would’ve been broken first on the cover of a major conservative publication. But that hasn’t been true since, well, the days of David Brock.

At the Redstate confab in South Carolina (this was pre-Solyndra) I pointed out onstage that Obama’s administration had been to that point remarkably scandal free. I pointed out that scandal had followed the Chicago team for decades, and that we’d learn about the scandals eventually, but likely only after everyone was out of office. This is an indictment for every journalist on the right who has the capability to investigate but spends their time on opinion writing instead. It’s no longer debatable: Andrew Breitbart has done more for the cause of conservative investigative coverage than any of the right-leaning outlets under Obama (Schweizer works . And that’s something the DC-NY conservative professional thumb-suckers should be ashamed of.

As for Freddoso – who’s no more than an acquaintance, but again I genuinely like his work – yesterday is a bad day for him to be throwing this stone. He spent a good hour on Twitter deriding Rick Perry for calling Sam Brownback “John” at an event based on a Twitter report from a Bloomberg journo, a report which turned out to be completely false – Perry was referring to John Archer, a candidate for Congress who was in attendance at the government reform event. http://vlt.tc/cv It’s not that there’s anything wrong with that –but the point is that the Examiner doesn’t have anyone covering that event to correct him, and neither do any of the right-leaning outlets. It’s a different problem from the lack of investigative-focused stuff, but it illustrates the same truth. Writers on the right mostly don’t do journalism; they do play-by-play.

So much of the investigative work is being done by bloggers and they are under-funded and often over-worked.

One thing Ben doesn’t mention is how the right-leaning DC journos don’t want to be hated. They hang out with other journalists and want to be included. The social pressure in DC is liberal. Always.

Journalists are people (most of them). They want to be liked, included and respected. The way to be a skunk at a garden party is to criticize Democrats or investigate them.

Note also: bloggers and commentary from outside DC tends to be a lot more strident, and, I’d like to add, truthful. That social pressure isn’t there. It’s difficult to write about friends.



Abnormal Psychology Exists: You Are A Woman If You Give Birth. Period.

Monday, February 1st, 2010

Woman who wants to be an ugly man will be giving birth. This time in Britain:

Congratulations, it’s a boy – who will give birth next month.

Two proud papas are expecting a baby boy in February, London’s Daily Mail reports, in what will be the world’s second known case of birth by a “pregnant man.”

“We know some people will criticize us, but we are blissfully happy and not ashamed,” Scott Moore told the newspaper.

Moore and his husband, Thomas, were both born female and have undergone surgery to change their sex. The transgender California couple is legally married, as Moore still has his female birth certificate.

Baby “Miles” has two brothers waiting for him, 10-year-old Logan and 12-year-old Greg, Thomas’ children from a previous relationship with a woman who has since passed away.

Moore, born Jessica, told the paper he first realized he wanted to be a man when he was 11.

“When I told my family, they thought I was crazy, but they gradually realized I was serious and allowed me to start taking male hormones when I was 16 years old,” he said.

His parents eventually paid for him to have his 36DDD breasts removed, the paper reports, but he could not afford the high cost of full sex reassignment surgery.

Moore still has female reproductive organs, and got pregnant using the sperm of a friend in June 2009, the Daily Mail reports.

You know, there is such thing as abnormal psychology. This is NOT NORMAL. It is one thing to move to Funky Town. It’s another thing to start a family there and bring children into this disordered environment.

Pretending that this is not so is akin to the government pretending that a dude with the name Mohammed who acts weird, says he wants to blow things up and then does it, isn’t a terrorist.

Society cannot function if we don’t have some agreement on what is acceptable social norms. Freaks do not tend to build society, they tend to be around the edges eating away at its success.

Now, I’m libertarian enough not to want to get in this lady’s business, but I also don’t equate tolerance with approval. I don’t approve. No one should. It’s not good for her body (it’s self-mutilation on a massive scale). It’s not good for her children. It’s not good for society.



Is Yelling The New Spanking? Yes.

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Morally superior Gen X moms and dads seem entirely reasonable until they see the limits of “limits” like time-outs, banal blabbing and gentle cajoling. Kids regard their parents with utter contempt. Well, some do. Depends on the kid’s personality. And parents, once exasperated, go there. No, they might not spank their child. They’ll yell. Or arm yank. Or threaten. Or push. Or thump (thwack in the head with fingers). Or pinch. Something, anything, to reorder the disordered relationship–the one where the kid is running the show, and the parent feels drug around by the nose by a two and half foot troll.

The New York Time’s takes on the “overachieving” parents’ angst via Instapundit:

Parental yelling today may be partly a releasing of stress for multitasking, overachieving adults, parenting experts say.

“Yelling is done when parents feel irritable and anxious,” said Harold S. Koplewicz, the founder of the New York University Child Study Center. “It can be as simple as ‘I’m overwhelmed, I’m running late for work, I had a fight with my wife, I have a project due — and my son left his homework upstairs.’ ”

Numerous studies exist on the effect of corporal punishment on children. A new one came out just last month. Led by a researcher at Duke University’s Center for Child and Family Policy, the study concluded that spanking children when they are very young (1-year-old) can slow their intellectual development and lead to aggressive behavior as they grow older. But there is far less data on the more common habit of shouting and screaming in families.

Something jumps out at me: as the child of parents who viewed spanking as their Christian duty (spare the rod and all that), I can assure the researchers it is not like yelling is new. Yelling happened in the bad old days, too.

Re: parenting styles: Kids are resilient. An occasional “losing it” moment isn’t going to scar a child for life.

However, when a parent creates an environment where he or she is consistently out of control, where he chooses to respond to a child in anger, rather than reason, the child realizes the child is in control. Someone owns the buttons. Either, the parent is controlling the nuke button or the kid is. I would suggest that the kid will grow increasingly insecure when he can’t count on mom or dad to be in charge. He doesn’t want to be in charge. He wants to relax into well-known boundaries.

So, parents need to keep an eternal guard on their emotions. Some kids are very smart and manipulative and get a kick out of mom and dad being as easy as a wind-up toy. Teenage boys seem to especially enjoy spinning old mom like a top. The parent teaches disrespect for both himself and the child.

I hate to burst the bubble of New Agey parenting types who scream at their kids for not eating the lentils, you’re no better than the out-of-control spankers of yore. The key is who is in charge? Screaming just declares your impotence just as reckless spanking indicated a desire for immediate control without thought. In both cases, it’s the easy way.

Parenting is brutally difficult. It is a constant personal challenge. The big picture: What is right for the kid? is lost in a personal haze of fatigue, hormones, blood sugar, emotional misery or whatever. Every parent realizes his personal limitations almost immediately–a crying, inconsolable infant is often the first test of many.

So yellers need to knock it off and grow up. Someone has to be the parent. It should be the parent.



Standards of Decorum: Real World & Internet Version

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

87% of Houstonians polled say that politicians should be held to a higher standard when it comes to rhetorical decorum. Turns out that Rahm Emmanuel has a potty-mouth and Joe Biden routinely says “f*ck”.

And then there is the internet. I have passed along “adult” language tweets. When I write on Twitter, I assume a more adult audience. That is, while I don’t want to be foul, sometimes language can be…flowery. That has lost me followers here and there who are averse to a little salt. One expressed shock and said that I wasn’t kid-friendly. Why are kids following my Twitter stream? Personally, I don’t think kids should watch the nightly news. It gives such a false and skewed perspective on the world…no bad words necessary.

This is what one blogger at Suburban Oblivion said about a chiding mom:

I received a message on a social media site recently asking that I tone down the language on my blog. Seems she feels what I write is not fit for young eyes.

Hey please watch the profanity i have young kids in my family that are on facebook and are on my page and i dislike being chewed out by there mothers and fathers for profanity on my page.

thanks for understanding, B

First I started to laugh. I have NEVER claimed what I write is child-friendly. Given the number of times a day I use the word ‘fuck’ on Twitter alone, I think it’s pretty clear I will never hit less than an ‘R’ rating. My humor is for adults, not children, clearly.

Then she follows with this:

As a parent, it is your job to keep your children from reading adult content on the internet.

As a parent, it is your job to not visit sites containing said adult content if you cannot keep those children from hanging over your shoulder and reading.

As a writer, it is not my job to censor myself so you don’t have to do your job (see above).

Seriously people..grow the fuck up and parent your kids, and quit expecting everyone on the internet to change their way of doing things just so you don’t have to.

So, I’m wondering. Is there two different standards? I’m pretty much the same in the real world as I am online. Every once in a while I’ll say ass or shit at home and get a scolding from my kids. Same thing happens online.

And while everyone is kvetching about naughty words, I think it’s important to have some perspective. This is an example of real nasty language. Bad words might be offensive to some, but what should really bother people is disgusting lies, obfuscation, and purposeful disseminating of disinformation.



Spanking Lowers I.Q.

Friday, September 25th, 2009

Well, that will disappoint some of the readers here. Oh wait! Not that kind of spanking. Here’s the study:

The results of a survey of more than 17,000 university students from 32 countries “show that the higher the percent of parents who used corporal punishment, the lower the national average IQ,” Straus wrote in his presentation.

In looking at spanking just in the United States, Straus and a fellow researcher reviewed data on IQ scores from 806 children between 2 and 4 years old and another 704 kids aged 5 to 9.

When their IQs were tested again four years later, children in the younger group who were not spanked scored five points higher, on average, than did children who had been spanked. In the group of older children, spanking resulted in an average loss of 2.8 points.

“How often parents spanked made a difference,” Straus said in a news release from the university. “The more spanking, the slower the development of the child’s mental ability. But even small amounts of spanking made a difference.”

I think the study writers were beaten as children.

First, when looking across cultures, how does one control for something like spanking? All Australian children eat vegemite, or however you spell it. Does that make an IQ difference? Do spanked children who eat vegemite have higher or lower IQs?

Not to mention, this statement, an obvious one, invalidates the whole study:

Those findings are plausible and make some sense, Briggs said, but she added that it’s difficult to tease out all the other factors that could play a role in IQ scores — including poverty and parental education.

Ya think? How about the parents being morons themselves since IQ is highly heritable?

Second, the presumption is that spanking a child is an out-of-control parenting experience:

Dr. Stephen Ajl, a child abuse pediatrician, director of pediatric ambulatory care at the Brooklyn Hospital Center and medical director of the Jane Barker Brooklyn Children’s Advocacy Center in New York City, said that “spanking and other forms of corporal punishment mean that someone has lost control, and if that goes on on a chronic basis, it may affect some part of children’s psychological well-being.”

And though some people believe that they can use spanking as a form of punishment without losing control, Briggs said that’s very difficult to do all the time.

“When you’re physical with your child, you open that floodgate, and the likelihood that it could veer into where you don’t have as much control increases,” Briggs said. “Plus, if you’re just spanking, you haven’t taught your child anything.”

You can’t tell me the culture of beating a kid with a stick for every response is the same as a parent who spanks a kid for running into the street. Even if the second parent is out-of-control or angry, sometimes it’s not bad for a kid to get “rebooted” now and again.

This study was put forth for political reasons. Liberals don’t like spanking. They think it’s barbaric. They also believe everyone can be rehabilitated. Ironically, the children who never learn consequences as a kid grows up to being surprised, and in jail, dealing with consequences.

Can a child grow up without ever being spanked and turn out fine? Yes. Can a child receive corporal punishment and turn out fine? Yes. The bigger thing is love being the foundation.

Also: Spanking is NOT hitting. There is a huge difference between the two. Beating is another whole level of abuse. Liberals like conflating these things because nuance scares them. They want a rule for parents to follow, but the fact is, every child is different. Family personalities are different. Parents must make different choices with different kids.

Bottom line, libs need to butt out.



Podcast: The President, Little People, The Press, Levi’s Palin Penis Johnson

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

Stephen Green joins me to discuss the Obama-Education talk controversy. He takes on AllahPundit with wit and style. [I would have asked AllahPundit to be on the show had I thought the man would come out of hiding.] We talk about Obama’s cult of personality. We also discuss The Moment President Obama’s presidency went off the rails.

Brandon Vidrine also joins me to discuss the evolution of news online and the new tools to keep people informed.

Finally, Levi Johnson’s …johnson. Sorry, couldn’t help it. I talk about the press’s Levi-erotica. It ain’t pretty. And then, there’s the Cougars. Growl….

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When Melissa isn’t on the radio, you can find her at melissaclouthier.com and on Twitter. Her username is MelissaTweets.

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*** click here to grab the latest Out in Right Field show ***



Inglourious Bastards Basterds–UPDATED

Wednesday, August 26th, 2009

Inglourious Bastards might be Quentin Tarantino’s best movie so far. As expected, it’s full of gruesome violence, gratuitous splattering blood, and revenge fantasies. For the subject, it’s all to the good: Nazis die.

Tarantino has some messages for everyone though and they aren’t politically correct. First the trailer. Here are some of the lessons from the movie:

1. Enhanced Interrogation works: The reason William Wallace from Braveheart fame was so remarkable was because he didn’t break. Nearly everyone, eventually breaks. When one gets a bad guy to spill the beans, good guys get saved. It ain’t pretty. But sleep deprivation, psychological discomfort, and in Tarantino’s case, a public head bashing are very effective means of extracting information.

2. There are bad guys. Now, in this politically correct world, only the Nazis may be used as bad guys. Don’t mention the barbary of Native Americans or current slave traders, or Hugo Chavez. Hell, don’t mention the barbaric acts of actual barbarians–the Barbary pirates. These days, the only acceptable bad guy is of German extraction. Anyone who is labeled “bad” is labeled Hitlerian. For fun though, when you go see the movie, just put an Islamist in the place of the Nazi. Every time. Just imagine a freedom hating terrorist biting it hard. It’s profoundly satisfying. If Tarantino were really that edgy, he’d have chosen a more relevant bad guy, but in these times, naming evil is passé.

The movie wins points artistically. The dialogue amusing. Among the blood, guts and nonsense, the story pushes forward with anxiety-producing anticipation.

What made me love the movie most, though, didn’t occur on the screen. The packed theater that made my vengeance-loving heart glad.

So, Americans still hate villains. Americans still want evil doers to pay. After years of mushy, morally ambivalent tripe like Crash, a movie comes out that’s pure good and evil. Well, not so pure. Because war isn’t pure. It’s messy, bad things happen, good people die and sometimes the best soldiers are just this side of normal. Righteous vengeance though, is satisfying. People want evil, innocent-killing psychos to pay–preferably with their lives.

Primal? Uncivilized? It’s pretty to think so. More like, normal people recognize that tolerating evil encourages evil. You know, like the Iranians who repeatedly raped a young boy who defied the Iranian leadership during the protests. That evil.

So, while I’m still waiting for Quentin Tarantino to show some real courage and portray the monstrosity that is Islamofascism–the psychotic Muslim element who carry around Mein Kempf for moral encouragement–I’ll take what I can get. And right now, a movie where the bad guys get incinerated is profoundly satisfying.

It’s nice to see the good guys win. It’s nice to see the bad guys suffer and die. I’m hoping that Inglourious Bastards starts a trend. Now, to choose a more timely enemy.

P.S. Brad Pitt is hot. And the way he says “Nazis” makes me smile. I’m saying it that way from now on. Nat-zees.

P.P.S. This is why I feel no shame about vengeance fantasies. There is no death painful enough to balance the inhumanity of what some evil bastards will do in the name of their despicable cause.

The moral equivalence crowd can shove their sanctimony up their collective ass. There are people right now who loved seeing Americans die in the World Trade Center. They relished it and still do. The Lockerbie bomber, Al Qaeda, the Taliban all glory in their death cult. No reasoning, no gentleness will change their black souls. Just as Nazis felt justified in their abject cruelty, so do the Islamofascists who carry out their modern mission of freedom killing violence.

The only solution? Kill the killers.

After reading Rachel’s post, I’m going to screw up my courage and go visit the site of the Twin Towers. Even though just typing this post makes me angry enough to cry at the injustice, I will see it. And when I go to Germany, I’ll do that heinous visit, too.

There is a reason America continues to fight this pesky foe. It’s us or them. Let it be them.

UPDATED AGAIN:

Actual, real live Inglourious Basterds courtesy Winston Churchill. I love him even more:

Some were in the Brigade – a unit set up by Prime Minister Winston Churchill in 1944, made up of more than 6,000 volunteers. He said: “It seems to me indeed appropriate that a special unit of the race which has suffered indescribable treatment from the Nazis should be represented in a distinct formation among the forces gathered for their final overthrow”.

The following year, the Brigade was in the front line for the Allies’ final push against the Nazi menace and worked with the rest of the British Army in the immediate aftermath of the war.

Official orders dictated that any Nazis captured should be interrogated, not executed. But the revenge squads within Brigade ranks had other ideas.

Go read the whole thing to get an idea of how the Nazi hunters exacted justice.

By the way, to the liberals out there: Was World War II a revenge fantasy? Because technically, the European theater wasn’t “our” war. I mean Germans didn’t attack us. And that war cost a lot of money. And hell, we still have troops stationed in Europe. I mean, it’s like totally a waste, ya know?

I do not regret that America took the war to the terrorist murderers. A sense of moral outrage should determine foreign policy. Barack Obama’s bland indifference to the people of Iran is telling. Should we go to war there? That can be disputed. But what cannot be disputed is that Iran is a totalitarian, fascist regime that wants to exterminate a whole race of people. IT IS EVIL. To not be affronted by their disgusting philosophy and actions is to show indifference to innocent, freedom-loving people.

The left resisted efforts to get involved in WWII. They didn’t want to see the atrocities of Japan, Germany and Italy, especially, because it didn’t fit their never ending selfish narrative.

Either freedom or tyranny is on the march. It is never static. And freedom must be bought or lost.

UPDATED:

The U.S. declared war on Japan December 8, 1941 in direct response to being attacked. Revenge? The next day, Germany declared war on the U.S. FDR offered monetary support to the British, stepping away from neutrality before this. However, one could argue that going to Europe was taking the fight to the enemy. Perhaps America should have simply played defense. It was not as though Germans were storming Manhattan en masse.

Also, for the “brown people” straw man argument: By defending the Iranian people against their psycho tyrant, I’m suggesting defending “brown people”. What did the war in Iraq become, if not a defense of brown people against Saddam Hussein and his sons and minions? What was the war against Iraq to begin with but a defense of the brown people in Kuwait?

Good grief. There’s evil people of every color. That racism card, though, that trumps everything.

UPDATED AGAIN:

In praise of the Bear Jew:

An old friend just attended the wedding of Eli Lake’s younger brother. I wrote my friend:

Do me a favor, really. Shake Eli’s hand and say thanks to the “Bear Jew” from another Brooklyn Jew, me. He did it Brooklyn style, the way I grew up. Some may have f**ked with me, but none came away unhurt, and never did again.

My old friend sent me this email:

Bruce,
I read your email to Eli and his parents- they all loved it and
that led to the handshake pictured here.

Also, I wrote a follow-up review of Inglourious Basterds here.



Reading Attention-Span Demanding Books In A Digital ADD World

Monday, August 10th, 2009

James Joyner writes that he reads books less, now, and non-fiction at that, because he is reading all day in front of the computer:

I read non-fiction almost exclusively and have gone from being a book person to an article person. The efficiency of getting 85 percent of the point in eight pages that I would get in 300 pages has made it so that I seldom read books cover-to-cover. Even very fine books, such as David Kilcullen’s The Accidental Guerilla, are hard to finish because my inner editor quickly says “yeah, yeah — you’ve already said that in a slightly different way in the previous chapter.” To be sure, each new case study reveals additional nuances. But everything beyond the introductory chapter presents a very high work to reward ratio.

His whole post is worth a read. Ha!

Here’s what I’ve noticed: Now, I have to force myself to read outside of my computer time. Since working, writing and blogging on the computer, I find salient information more easily but the over arching big picture can get lost. That is, it is very easy to major in the minors when immersed online.

To step back, I’ll read non-fiction, sure. Before my intense online time, that’s almost exclusively what I read, but I have found my mind craving a different sort of information. When in Chiropractic college, majoring in the minors was also a problem. My intellectual life was broken down into biochemistry, microbiology, anatomy, physiology, embryology, pathology, etc. Likewise, today, my intellectual life is broken down into health care, taxes, economics, energy, and a myriad other policy choices. What I need is big picture.

Big picture ideas often come from two sources now–fantasy literature and magazine reading. What magazines? Certainly not Newsweek which has all the information of any propaganda. I lean toward magazines like Architectural Digest and Scientific American. Seems unrelated, right? But really, there are “big” ideas in both. What is new and different? What expands my world view? That’s what I hunger for in the age of bytes and bits.

So while I do feel my attention span has changed, I will sit for a good book or a good picture or a well-thought out article that expands my thought-scope. My patience for shoddy writing has dwindled. I just don’t have time to sit through a marginally good book. (I will read culturally relevant books on vacation–I should have been paid money to read the Golden Compass trilogy, for example. And those books won awards. Blech.)

Far from destroying my reading ability (except for limited time), the internet age has refined and shaped my leisurely reading desires. The internet has made me expect more.