Wednesday, April 25, 2018

BIBLE BEATOFFS.

Fundie wingnuts have a new HobbyLobbyhorse:
Could California Ban The Bible?
California Lawmakers Consider A Bill That Would Ban The Bible 
California Pro-Homosexual Bill Will Ban the Bible
This is, as you will have guessed, bullshit. The bill before the California lege would ban (or, rather, sharpen an existing ban on) the gay-straightening racket by specifying as illegal "any practices that seek to change an individual’s sexual orientation. This includes efforts to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic attractions or feelings toward individuals of the same sex."  

It certainly wouldn't make the Holy Bible itself illegal, as fact-checkers like PolitiFact and Snopes (with the weary tone I suppose they can't avoid, the times being what they are) patiently explain -- to which the wingnut response has been to cry, as has become their habit, that fact-checking sites are liberal black magic. About the best example is at (natch) The Federalist, by Robert Gagnon, entitled (and it helps to look at Gagnon's picture and imagine him reading it out loud) "Snopes Is a Sneaky Liar About California’s Bill To Ban Christian LGBT Talk."

His opening is a masterpiece of wingnut logic and I feel I must share:
If you haven’t already lost significant respect for Snopes as an impartial fact-checker, its analysis of a bill that bans all transactions involved in stating Christian beliefs about homosexual behavior should. That bill passed 50-18 on April 19 and is being considered in the state senate. Snopes’ insistence that California Assembly Bill 2943 would not result in the Bible being banned in California is akin to Snopes calling “demonstrably and clearly false” the claim that Joseph Stalin killed everyone around him.
I know, guys, but stay with it:
True, Stalin did not kill “all” around him. Indeed, so far as we know he never personally killed anyone. But he did have a great many people killed (estimates indicate that he was responsible for the deaths of 20 to 25 million people), sent many others to the Gulag, and generally terrorized both his own country and Eastern Europe for decades.
Sure, it is virtually impossible that California will immediately attempt to ban the sale of the Bible itself. Not even the hard Left in California has that kind of chutzpah. But citations of Bible verses in the context of declaring homosexual practice and transgenderism to be morally debased could indeed get one into serious trouble with the law if it comes in the context of selling or advertising a product or service. Here are the problems with Snopes’s case.
So it's "virtually impossible" (that is to say, impossible) that the law would lead to any Bible-banning, but in Gagnon's view that's just nit-picking -- like saying Stalin didn't kill everybody which is just what you liberals would say because you love Stalin. In reality, something close enough to it would happen, says Gagnon -- "you would be violating the law if you advertise that Christ can empower people not to engage in homosexual practice... or if you offer to engage or actually engage in efforts to persuade people of Christ’s power to transform in this area..." I guess Gagnon wants to give the impression that, should nice Mr. Christian innocently say "God bless you" when a sodomite sneezed, the Liberal Fascist Storm-Troopers would take it as conversion therapy and do a Cardinal Mindszenty on his head.

I think the brethren should switch tactics and instead insist that, if the law passes, showings of A Different Story will be considered a hate crime. At least that would have the happy side effect of reviving interest in the career of Meg Foster.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

PUBLISH MY THESIS, LIBS!

This essay is short by Kevin Williamson standards, but let me boil it down still further for those of you who wish to limit their contact (and I'll keep it short because I'm sick of writing about this asshole):

Williamson, famously fired by The Atlantic for telling its editor he did indeed believe, as he had previously averred, that women who have abortions should be executed, later got space in the Wall Street Journal to declare The Atlantic and everyone else who got mad at him a "mob" and to suggest this his abortion prescription was just rhetorical shtick, though he coyly refrained from saying what his real prescription was.

Ed Kilgore of New York magazine asked Williamson what his real prescription was, and Williamson responded with evasions and, when Kilgore insisted on an answer, insults.

Today at The Weekly Standard, Williamson reveals that he offered New York a full column (free!) in which he would finally give The Full Monty on how he would really deal with abortion sluts, and (he claims) New York's editor told him a few sentences was "as much on the subject of your views on this matter as we want to publish." Williamson denounces New York, calls Kilgore more names, sputters about the "prevention of discourse," etc. But he still doesn’t reveal his view on abortion and execution.

I suppose this crybaby is even now stalking more liberal magazines, demanding they publish his work at length lest he insult them in the rightwing press, then running to the rightwing press to insult them. I suggest he try the Village Voice. There is precedent, after all, and I bet my editor will love his rates.

Monday, April 23, 2018

NEW VILLAGE VOICE COLUMN UP...


...about the Starbucks bias incident, and the training the company ordered afterward -- which offended conservatives waaaay more than the bias incident.

Among the outtakes I wished I had room for was this bit from Jonah Goldberg's America's-not-that-racist essay:
In 1958, 44 percent of white Americans said they’d move if a black family moved in next door. Forty years later, that number had dropped to 1 percent… When the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964, only 18 percent of white Americans said they had a black friend. By 1998, that number was 86 percent.
If you’re wondering why Goldberg picked 1998, twenty years ago, as his ebony 'n' ivory golden dawn (oddly, during the Clinton Administration), it may just be that this Brookings study was easy to find, but there may be more than one reason — for instance, maybe 86 percent of white Americans had a black friend in 1998, but a 2014 PPRI poll showed it was down to 75 percent. Also, the blacks-next-door number in 2017, according to the World Values Survey, was not 1 percent, but 6 percent. (In fact Goldberg actually cites the 6 percent figure later in his essay. Well, when you get really big in his world, you don’t need editors.)

Goldberg's on a tear lately -- his next column is about how people who pretend to be transgressive and whatnot aren’t the real rebels; “a real rebel talks out loud in an Ivy League classroom about how Jesus Christ is his or her personal savior.” If you saw the scene in Where Angels Go Troubles Follows where Rosalind Russell talked down the bikers, you pretty much got the gist.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

NO RACIST, NO RACIST, YOU'RE THE REAL RACIST!

How far has National Review come since its days as an explicitly segregationist magazine? Well, they have no fewer than three columns on Starbucks' admirable decision to hold a day of diversity training in response to a well-publicized racist incident in one of its stores. Want to guess how they feel about it? Here's David French:
There is near-universal consensus that the Starbucks employee’s actions were racially motivated. Starbucks apparently agrees, and given that the company knows more about its employees than I do, I’m not going to question its conclusion.
Sounds pretty sulky, doesn't he? Can't blame him -- everyone's bought into this racism-exists madness, even the big corporation -- and they're supposed to be on his side! French is pissed that Starbucks is "forcing more than 175,000 employees to undergo 'racial bias' training" (yeah, I bet those baristas are real upset they have to sit on their ass and get trained for a day) but especially that their training will address "so-called unconscious bias," which French calls "Orwellian junk science." Imagine -- thinking people might be prejudiced without even knowing it! Next you'll be telling him about all that stuff the eggheads say we do without knowing about it, like Freudian shits.
Starbucks is a private company and as such it has a right to make this mistake. It can shutter its stores for a day and re-educate its employees. But to the extent it’s teaching them about unconscious bias, it’s teaching nonsense, and when it comes to the fraught issue of American race relations, nonsense always inflicts a measure of harm.
French doesn't explain, but from his previous writings I guess he means if you try to make people less racist, they just naturally get more bigoted and vote for Trump, so you see it's really your fault for hassling them, you Orwellian junk scientists.

Let's see what NR's Kyle Smith has to say:
At a glance, what happened at that Philadelphia coffee shop last Thursday looks like racism. But there’s little context. Does the manager also routinely call the police on white people who loiter in the shop? If a white manager called the police on two white guys hanging around a coffee shop, it wouldn’t make the news, much less become a national obsession.
This guys are really suspicious about the incident that everyone involved agrees happened. Maybe Starbucks and the liberals are in cahoots to make people think racism exists!
The incident is making people unhinged. When the “racism” circuits in our brain get activated, we stop thinking clearly. We go out looking for someone to chastise, and one low-level staffer isn’t enough. We want a larger target suited to the strength of the frenzy. It affects our judgment the way being drunk does. This is your brain. This is your brain on race.
And you sheeple thought racism was bad! Nothing's as bad as anti-racism, except maybe drinking.

Now, Jim Geraghty:
I suspect you can trace the country’s unexpected path to this mindset on racial controversies by following the twists and turns in the career of Al Sharpton.
Shorter version: This Starbucks thing reminds me of some famous black guy I don't like.

Not content with this trifecta, National Review has chosen also to run this:
Enoch Powell’s Immigration Speech, 50 Years Later
I shit you not -- they do indeed mean the "Rivers of Blood" speech, which I believe was last celebrated in NR's pages by John Derbyshire, not long thereafter defenestrated for Making It Too Obvious. If you're guessing this new review is less obvious but highly sympathetic, collect your prize at the door. There are some mealy-mouthed qualifiers, but nothing the typical NR reader can't see through -- when author Douglas Murray says "some portions of [the speech] cannot but induce an intake of breath and a considerable wince or gulp" -- referring to the more overtly ooga-booga passages about "pickaninnies" and so forth -- you know conservatives for whom "politically incorrect" is the highest possible accolade will take it as a recommendation (and so, I assume, does Murray). And anyway, says Murray, none of these PC drags talk about the good parts -- why, "some of the questions [Powell] addressed are questions that understandably gnaw away at us still" -- f'rinstance:
...some of the issues he raised — however well or poorly — remain so pregnant. 
As I wrote in my latest book, imagine you had been a speechwriter for Enoch Powell in 1968, or an adviser or friend. And imagine if you had said to him then, “I have an idea, Enoch. Why not use your speech to say that if immigration into the U.K. goes on at these rates, then in 2011 the official census will reveal that people who identify as ‘white British’ will be a minority in their capital city of London.” Had this been said, Powell would most likely have dismissed the person as an inflammatory madman. Yet that was indeed one of the things that the 2011 census showed. And the news came and went as though it was just another detail on just another day.
London's full of sooties and wogs; the man was a prophet! Ahem, I mean "questions remain."

Welp, looks like National Review's capitulation to Trumpism and its corollary -- that conservatives can be elected with zero support from black people, so why even bother -- is complete. But then, they never really had that far to go.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

PUTTING THE "CHRIST!" BACK IN CHRISTIANS.

Rod Dreher doesn't get why other Christians are being such saps about these so-called "refugees":
A journalist asked the two presenters how we determine how many migrants we are to allow into the country. Sister Norma [a nun] responded by saying that she was speaking to a group of kindergarten students at a Catholic school, and asked them what they thought we should do about all the migrants at the border who are fleeing terrible conditions at home. 
The children said, “Let them in,” the nun said. She added, “I don’t know that Jesus would leave anybody out.” 
And that was it. This is not thinking. This is emoting — and it is emoting just as much as the kind of rhetoric that Trump and his ilk use when he discusses immigration. Sister Norma is a vastly more genial person than many of the anti-immigrant hotheads are. But it’s still substituting emotion and sloganeering for hard thought about difficult questions.
Jesus actually said "Shaddap, the little children," and also "Fuck the Samaritans -- they don't vote for us."  Later, in an update:
I’m halfway through approving comments, and it is frustrating how so many readers believe that Sister Norma’s simply telling stories and asserting that Jesus would probably agree with her approach was sufficient.
"Come on, Jesus, what do you mean 'the last will be first, and the first will be last'? I've already written a 9,000-word post explaining why that's not rational. Why won't you engage my argument?"

Maybe Dreher's right to moan about Christian persecution, because real-life followers of the Man from Galilee seem rather thin on the ground.


Thursday, April 12, 2018

FRIDAY 'ROUND-THE-HORN.


Chuck McCann in a slightly more restrained role.
I wonder if Albert Brooks ever saw this?

• When I was a kid, there was a ton of children’s shows on TV, and near as I can remember they all had their charms. But my favorite, ever and always, was Chuck McCann, who had a show on WPIX Sunday mornings and who died last weekend. The show seemed long to me — not because it was boring, but because it felt big, like something you could stretch out and live in, with many different things going on and many different characters, nearly all of them played by Chuck. I think even as kids we knew the show was cheap and largely improvised, just as we knew it about Soupy Sales; the music was canned, the sets wobbly, and the costumes obviously pulled out of a musty back room, but that didn’t matter because Chuck poured a lot of energy into it, mugging and flailing as if a single moment of rest would bring the whole thing crashing down. What really hooked me was Chuck reading the Sunday comics, a bit he swiped from Fiorello LaGuardia — but, unlike LaGuardia, he read each strip as one of its characters, and, lemme tell you, talk about committing to a bit: to play Little Orphan Annie he put on a big belted dress and fright wig, and he stuck round pieces of white cardboard in his eye sockets to emulate her pupil-less look, and spoke in a screeching mockery of a little girl’s voice. The white circles kept popping out of his eyes, which he sometimes apologetically acknowledged and sometimes shamelessly ignored, and when the camera cut to the newspaper I assume he removed them to read the text but, at the time, I just imagined him sitting there, squawking away with sightless cardboard eyes. He was childlike and wild and felt like our friend and, if the show wasn’t Peabody Award bait, who cares; Mr. Rogers was a decent human being, too, but Chuck McCann was someone you would want to play with. In a way he showed us how to play -- how to take something simple like a comic strip and make it into an extravaganza. I hope he knew at the end what a gift he gave us all.