Sunday, September 3, 2017

Laugh Lines

     Laughter, they say, is the best medicine. I’d imagine that it depends upon the malady, but we’ll let that pass for now. Beyond all question, there’s such a thing as healthful laughter – healing laughter, that dispels the splenetic and bilious accumulations we all suffer as we navigate the thickets of life. But what to laugh at is worth consideration as well. Every now and then, the importance of laughing at the right things rises to eclipse all other subjects.

1. Pinning the Irony Meter.

     This article, written by some nonentity I’d never heard of and probably never will after this, lays out an exhaustive (and exhausting) case for the Democrat Party to nominate – girls, hold on to your boyfriends – Mark Zuckerberg for president in 2020. It’s laced with denigrations of Donald Trump and imputations about his rise to the presidency that cannot be substantiated. It’s written in a gratingly superior, parent-to-unruly-children style that made my hackles rise from the opening paragraph. Yet I forced myself to finish it...and the reward at the end made it all worth while:

     Of all the virtues they need in this political moment, the one Democratic leaders need the most is humility.

     I nearly fell out of my chair. “Democrats” and “humility” in the same sentence? And after an article that lectures them like a first-grade class? Was the article meant to be a parody? Who’s trying to kid whom?

2. “Liberals” and “Liberty.”

     Neo-Neocon is occasionally worth reading, but the clinker she dropped yesterday makes me wonder who these “liberals” are that she’s referring to:

     I’ve referred to liberty as “the great dividing line,” and noted that some liberals value it and others don’t...

     “Liberals” who actually value liberty – i.e., freedom from coercion or constraint in all matters that don’t involve force or fraud — have been extinct for more than a century. We’ve had sightings of trilobites and dodos more recent that that. The card these “pro-liberty liberals” palm on us goes like this:

     “Yes, I believe in freedom, but to be free, people must [insert lots and lots of claims on others’ money, property, or freedom here.]”

     The rest is an exercise for my Gentle Readers.

3. Horse or Cart?

     God Bless Sarah Hoyt for her wee-hours labors at Instapundit. I don’t think I’d ever have read the New York Post if not for her. But now and then she cites a real howler from those pages:

     Thanks to cheap sex, marriage may be doomed.

     The share of Americans ages 25-34 who are married dropped 13 percentage points from 2000 to 2014. A new book by sociologist Mark Regnerus blames this declining rate on how easy it is for men to get off.

     Regnerus calls it “cheap sex,” an economic term meant to describe sex that has very little cost in terms of time or emotional investment, giving it little value.

     Oh, come on! How about all the massive disincentives to marriage that confront the young man of today? How about the reduction in his personal latitude, the commandeering of his home, the diminution of his disposable income, the constraints imposed on his non-sexual interactions with women other than his wife? How about the revocation of the original marital bargain: that he shall gain sexual access and a mother for his children in return for his fidelity and material support of his wife and children? How about the threat to his future from divorce law and the wholly unbounded and unConstitutional Family Courts?

     But wait; there’s more! This “scholar’s” real target is exposed, if you’ll pardon the choice of words, only toward the end:

     Self-love for men and women is at an all-time high. A 1992 study found that 29 percent of men (and 9 percent of women) masturbated at least once a week. In 2014, 49 percent of men (and 32 percent of women) confessed to doing it at least once in the previous six days. Unsurprisingly, “as frequency of [watching] porn increased, so did masturbation.”

     Glory be to God! Why date except in the hope of marriage? American women’s contempt for men has reached levels that defy all analogies or comparisons...and the great majority of them are shockingly open about it. Is there any real mystery about why so many men would rather relieve themselves by “choking the chicken” than go looking for a date?

     Have a “hollow laugh” here, Gentle Reader. The regular sort would be inappropriate.

4. Realism with a Chuckle.

     I think I’ll be keeping an eye on this site. Among other things, its proprietors don’t take themselves too seriously, which is always an appealing characteristic. The most recent emission is most heartening. Here’s a taste:

     Once more, the national press is suddenly acknowledging what the wretched conservative scum have been saying for a while. Antifa is a violent criminal organization.

     The Media mandarins can’t actually come out and say conservatives are right, of course, because conservatives are never correct about anything.

     However, note that in the Politico story linked above, the violence is ultimately the fault of Trump supporters.

     “…reports appear to bolster Trump’s insistence that extremists on the left bore some blame for the clashes in Charlottesville and represent a “problem” nationally. But they also reflect the extent that his own political movement has spurred the violent backlash.”
Yup. By daring to seek different solutions to the problems they see confronting the nation, Trump supporters forced Antifa to mob them.

     Savor the rest at your leisure.

5. Some Useful Tips.

     Finally for today, a serious article from the most admirable Mollie Hemingway, which I overlooked when it was fresh, on how to read the “news.” The whole article is worth while, but here’s the part to commit to memory:

  1. In the immediate aftermath, news outlets will get it wrong.
  2. Don’t trust anonymous sources. If democracy dies in darkness, anonymity is not exactly transparent or accountable. Unless someone is willing to put his or her name with a leak, be on guard. Pay attention to how well the reporters characterize the motivations of the anonymous leaker. All leakers have motivation. Does the paper seem to have a grasp on how the motivation affects the veracity of the leak?
  3. If someone is leaking national security information in order to support the claim of a national security violation, be on guard.
  4. If someone is claiming a serious national security crisis but not willing to go public with the claim and resign in protest of same, be on guard.
  5. Compare sources willing to put their name and reputation on the line.
  6. Big anti-Trump news brings out the fakers.
  7. Pay attention to the language that the media uses. Is a story about something unimportant being written in such a way as to make it seem more important?
  8. Beware confirmation bias. Everyone has the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories. Be on guard that you don’t accept critical or exonerating evidence to match your political preferences.
  9. Pay attention to how quickly and fully editors and reporters correct stories based on false information from anonymous sources. If they don’t correct at all, it’s an indication of a lack of respect.

     True value from a true journalist.

     That’s all for today, Gentle Reader. I’ll be off now to do my laundry and write fiction, neither of which have exhibited the smallest inclination to do themselves. Enjoy your Sunday.


Joan of Argghh! said...

Just stopped by to say hello!

North Korea is still on the map as of this moment as are the rest of us, praise God.

Peace to you and yours, Francis.

Col. B. Bunny said...

Neo-neocon has much on her conversion to the rightist way of thinking but I grew tired of reading her. These are times that call for a certain crispness of opinion and landing on a new square, after a great epiphany, that's got "neocon" somewhere in its name isn't much of a shift.