Thursday, July 6, 2017

Before The Deluge...

     ...of wine, that is. The C. S. O. and I are about to head upstate for our annual Adventure in Bibulosity. Accordingly, expect posting to be light – no, I’m not saying that it will be light; I’m saying that you should expect it to be – until the middle of next week. (Also, expect anything from your humble Curmudgeon to be rather light-hearted and only intermittently grammatical.) Accordingly, it’s time to clear the Future Columns folder.

1. Fake It Until You Make It!

     There are parodies and parodies. Some have the power to excite laughter, which is valuable all by itself. Others have the power to excite useful reflections on the nature of genuine expertise and the ubiquity of self-conferred authority:

     That video is damned near perfect -- as an instructional tool: both in how to “fake it” when in point of fact you have nothing much to offer anyone except treadless platitudes, and in how to recognize when some nonentity is “putting on airs.” Study it – and enjoy the many excellent and highly relevant comments!

2. Charity.

     Regular Gentle Readers who took an interest in this emission and this follow-up will find longtime reader and friend Linda Fox’s citation of causes stunning:

     I'd either forgotten, or never knew, about the activities of the FALN - the Puerto Rican terrorists, that were funded by the Episcopal Church.

     Yes, the Episcopal Church.

     Kind of puts that release of the Puerto Rican terrorist freed by Barack Obama, into context, doesn't it?

     Fellow Christians of a charitable bent: I implore you:

Never Donate Cash!

     Cash is too easily diverted to a purpose other than the one you wanted it to serve. Give survival goods: food, clothing, heating oil, maybe a voucher for temporary shelter. A great deal of the harm done in this world is done with the unwitting assistance (and cash) of well-intentioned persons with noble hearts.

3. Walls.

     Some time ago I penned a defense of national borders that excited a lot of anger among the pseudo-compassionate types of the Left. The core of the thing ran thus:

     Borders matter because people matter. Borders are important because there must be a limit on every man's responsibilities for others, and on every nation's, too. Every political system binds its citizens in a web of mutual responsibility. Not for everything, but for the really big things commonly delegated to government: the defense of the realm, the maintenance of order in the streets, a common, generally comprehended legal system, and above all the protection of individuals' rights to life, liberty, and honestly acquired property. Israel granted the Palestinians autonomy within their zones, or, as Eric Frank Russell once put it, "the right to go to Hell in their own fashion." Now that they've chosen their course, they should be allowed to follow it to its conclusion, out of respect not only for their right to do so, but the right of Israelis not to be involved in it. Likewise, America did not agree to shelter or employ the whole world. If our borders were better secured, not only would our streets be safer, but Mexicans' interest in reforming their own polity would be greatly increased.

     This morning, writer Alma Boykin reminds us that that was once far better understood. Her thrust:

     Humans make borders and walls. This is mine, that is yours. These are the city limits, the laws are different here than they are in the county. My country starts here and has these laws about who can come and for how long. Your country starts there and you can decide for yourself who stays. It goes very far back and there’s nothing unnatural about borders and lines and walls.

     Exactly. Please read it all.

4. Female “Empowerment” And Its Discontents.

     “You can never do only one thing.” — Marc Stiegler

     The one and only law that operates at all times and in all contexts, and is guaranteed to piss you off is The Law of Unintended Consequences:

     A dearth of marriagable men has left an “oversupply” of educated women taking desperate steps to preserve their fertility, experts say.

     The first global study into egg freezing found that shortages of eligible men were the prime reason why women had attempted to take matters into their own hands.

     Experts said “terrifying” demographic shifts had created a “deficit” of educated men and a growing problem of “leftover” professional women, with female graduates vastly outnumbering males in in many countries.

     Every cause has more than one effect. More to the point, at least one of the effects will be undesirable. In this case, the movement of women into the white-collar workforce, coupled to feminist horseshit about “rape culture” and “patriarchal oppression” and the enormous hostility of higher education toward young men, has produced a situation in which women are discovering, en masse, that:

  1. Yes, they really, really want to have children;
  2. Wage employment can exhaust their fertile years;
  3. “Marrying up” has become far more difficult;
  4. Many “eligible” men won’t tolerate their crap.

     And so it turns out that there are reasons for the traditional division of responsibilities between the sexes! Whoda thunk it?

5. If There’s Anyone Guaranteed To Tell It To You Straight...’s the redoubtable Mike Hendrix:

     [T]he REAL question is: is it desirable to find “common ground” with those who seek to rob us of our birthright of freedom and enslave us? As I’ve said so many times here: if you wish to compromise with the Left, which of your basic rights and liberties are you willing to give up? Free speech? The 2A? Trial by jury of your peers? The Ninth and Tenth both are already dead letters, and the Progtards want ’em all.

     Compromise? Been way too much of that already, if you ask me. Especially if by “compromise” you mean “rolling over and giving the Left what it wants, and getting absolutely NOTHING in return,” that is. Which, up till now, is what it ALWAYS means.

     Please read it all. Mike is a blunt sort – I know, that’s like calling the Pacific Ocean “a large body of water” – but he leaves no doubt about the width and depth of the “divide” in America, nor about whether there can be such a thing as a workable “compromise” between those of us who cherish freedom and those who want to see it extinguished.

6. The CNN “Outing” Foofaurauw.

     Everyone and his halfwit granduncle Herman has weighed in on this. I haven’t. My reason is idiosyncratic, as you might expect.

     It’s a tenet of my creed of public engagement that if you want others to take you seriously, you must stand behind your words. No anonymizing monikers. When you speak or write, do so over your full and correct name. Be prepared to defend your sentiments – or to admit, once “the results are in,” that you were wrong.

     Just recently, CNN’s masters were highly exercised (pardon the choice of words) by a short video that showed Donald Trump body-slamming a wrestler whose head was overlaid with the CNN logo. That video was fabricated by an anonymous YouTube user. The network had been on the ropes (pardon the choice of words) for a while owing to its many factual and editorial missteps about Trump and his administration. No doubt the reason was Trump’s success in pinning (don’t pardon the choice of words; see if I care) the “Fake News” tag to CNN with such success.

     Apparently the wrestling-parody video was the last straw for CNN’s powers that be. They elected to pursue the maker of that video and “out” him: i.e., to reveal his identity to the world. Many persons were outraged that such behavior would issue from a “respectable” news organization.

     I do disapprove of what CNN did. There are Internet users with good reasons to keep their real names a secret. Certainly the maker of that video was within his rights to travel under an anonymizing moniker. However, allow me to say that:

  • I have much more respect for persons who don’t hide their identities when they express themselves;
  • Had this fellow traveled under his right name, CNN would have been unable to do him any harm.

     I understand that in our time, a policy of openness about who you are and what you believe is double-edged. Those who find your thoughts persuasive will respect you more than otherwise. However, those who find your sentiments (or you personally) offensive or threatening will be able to target you. If you regard yourself, or persons you love, as too vulnerable for my policy, I understand your decision.

     But remember the breadth of the Internet, and the tissue-thinness of the concealment an anonymizing moniker provides. What CNN did to that video maker, it can do to you. For that matter, it takes far less clout and far fewer resources than those possessed by CNN to do it.

     Just a quick thought. Feel free to dismiss it as the blather of a man who probably has “nothing to lose.” Except that if you really knew how much I have to lose, and how often vicious persons have threatened me and it, you might sing a different tune.

     That’s all for today, Gentle Reader. Whether or not I’ll be around to fill your eyes and ears with my inane drivel, enjoy your next few days. If you have the bandwidth, offer an extra Hail Mary for the safety of an old man and his almost-as-old sweetie. We’ll be gallivanting around New York at excessive speeds in an entirely age-inappropriate vehicle while sampling all the “treasured children of the grape” New York has to offer – and brother, let me tell you, there are a whole lot of them!

     An ancient writer said that, if there were no flowers and moon and beautiful women, he would not want to be born into the world. I might add that, if there were no pen and ink and chess and wine, there was no purpose in being born a man. -- Chang Chao


KDKong said...

Safe travels and try the grape pie

Dystopic said...

My reply on the CNN thing, re: anonymity, turned into a post of its own.

Aggie said...

You ah... you ARE takin' the Vette. Right?

Linda Fox said...

I hid my identity for a long time, on the belief that I could lose my job over it. I taught, and, there were too many cases of teachers being hounded out of, not only their job, but any possibility of future employment.
At the time I made this decision (and, after having been quite open about my name), I was far from home, new owner of a house, and essentially on my own. My husband would later join me in our new location.
I'd seen coaches fired for relatively minor offenses against community standards. I had been warned about drinking with dinner in town (it looks bad, I wa told). Even arguably legal activities/opinions had resulted in teachers being dismissed in nearby states - Facebook posts hoisting a glass of wine at a wedding, for example.
So, my concern wasn't without some foundation.
When I neared retirement, I finally said - Enough!
I took back my name, and posted without fear.
And, nothing happened.
My great concern - being out of work, possibly losing my license to teach - had proven to be a mirage.
The moral of the story?
Don't give the B@$t@rd$ more power over you by cringingly caving into pressure.

Jonathan H said...

As an educated man who wants to get married, I either find educated, VERY pushy/ bossy women who want their way in everything, who will push for a relationship after I have said Not Interested multiple times, or much younger women who don't know what they want, who push to jump into a relationship and then break it off after 2 or 3 weeks and can't (or won't) explain why.
I met one women recently who at 35 really, really, wants to have kids - but doesn't know what she wants in a husband and has a long list of specifics on how she sees her future family. She admitted I met all but one of the items on her list but that was enough for her to write me off.

It seems to be like the goal/ target keeps changing, not just in relationships but in many areas of life - what happened to making a goal and following through? What is wrong with the methods that have succeeded over the years?
Aargh! It is ALMOST enough to make me give up on women, but so far not quite!

Francis W. Porretto said...

Jonathan, as one who was alone for a very long time, I sympathize deeply. It can be very difficult, and you might be forced to settle, according to which of your desires are dealbreakers. In your position, I'd look among younger women and not be too fixed upon a particular educational level. A wife is not necessarily there to provide stimulating conversation or a challenge to one's intellect -- and be damned to the harpies who claim that to seek a wife whose intellect and education are not on a par with one's own is somehow demeaning your target.