Archive for January, 2013
31 Jan 2013

“Hector Goes Hunting” (With the Scarteen)

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Ireland has some interesting television.

In this individual segment of a four-part series, Hector Ó hEochagáin (I think that would be “Hector O’Hogan” to you or me), as part of a personal investigation of important aspects of Irish life, goes out fox hunting with Ireland’s illustrious black-and-tan Scarteen pack.

Someday, we have to visit the Scarteen, too.

31 Jan 2013

Volkswagen 2013 Superbowl Commercial

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Some people think it’s racist.

31 Jan 2013

The Equal Marriage

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Some wag photoshopped the 1862 painting by Vasili Pukiriev, Неравный брак [The Unequal Marriage].

31 Jan 2013

More Social Pathology

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Sanctimonious Animal Rights advocates stage a protest in a Bay Area Supermarket. Lena Dunham’s confreres may not live the most well-balanced and responsible sort of lives, but that certainly never inhibits them from assuming all kinds of baseless authority to tell the rest of us how to live.

31 Jan 2013

Taking Lena Dunham Seriously

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The principal characters of Girls: Allison Williams (Marnie Michaels), Jemima Kirke (Jessa Johansson), Lena Dunham (Hannah Horvath), Zosia Mamet (Shoshanna Shapiro)

Kurt Schlichter, at Breitbart, issued a manifesto yesterday, demanding that conservatives take Lena Dunham’s appalling and bizarre HB0-comedy-series seriously.

There’s plenty about Girls to annoy conservatives, yet this often creepy, usually skeevy, critically-acclaimed HBO series is also a test for conservatives.

Will we finally heed Andrew Breitbart’s warnings about the importance of taking pop culture seriously or just keep fiddling as the culture burns?

If conservatives are going to be in the popular culture – and act to change it – they can’t simply ignore shows like Girls that capture the zeitgeist, even if the zeitgeist makes their skin crawl. Season two is well under way, and conservatives need to participate in the discussion.

Girls is about four young, aimless college grads living in New York. Think of Sex and the City, except Sarah Jessica Parker has doubled her weight, dresses like a potato sack and fancies herself the voice of some undefined generation. There’s sex and nudity – just not hot Homeland sex and nudity. This is the first show in the history of cable television where male viewers actively root for the heroine to keep her clothes on. …

So, why should conservatives want any part of this?

Great question.

The answer, if the fact that the show can be pretty amusing isn’t reason enough for you, is that conservatives need to be a part of big cultural events if they want to be a part of culture at large. But that begs the questions of why we conservatives would even want to be part of the culture at large. It’s a cesspool. And there’s an answer for that too – so we can participate in changing it.

I’m not sure what exactly Mr. Schlichter believes conservatives ought to do. Purchase half-an-hour of weekly air time after each Girls episode broadcasts to have some white male conservative of mature years offer a lecture on sexual morality?

Develop an alternative series, to be titled Good Girls, to be broadcast weekly on the Hallmark Network, depicting four religiously observant, socially conservative, and rationally behaving young ladies conventionally employed in Omaha, Nebraska or Salt Lake City?

Myself, I do undertake the effort (and it takes a bit of an effort) to watch the series. It certainly does have some moments of effective humor and amusement, but the life-style and perspective of the millennials depicted is actively embarrassing to watch. Lena Dunham’s frequent nude scenes and the regular depictions of inept, unsatisfying, and sometimes aspirationally perverse sex persistently gross one out. The viewer is left rather baffled at Dunham’s self-deprecatory exhibitionism, and winds up shaking his head and wondering: Do people of her generation routinely view themselves as that stupid and incompetent? And, if they do, why would they make a television program and tell everyone? There are no answers.

I suppose all we can do is write these sorts of editorials, marveling aloud, and wondering what the success and popularity of a television series like that tells us about just how far the Abendslands have Unterganged.

One correction: Oberlin is not, definitely not, an Ivy League school.

30 Jan 2013

1997 Commercial Pays Tribute to Gorbachev

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Via the Dish.

30 Jan 2013

Subway Humor

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Hat tip to Deroy Murdock.

30 Jan 2013

Lost in the Taiga

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Smithsonian describes how, in 1978, Russian geologists discovered a family of six Old Believers who were living in the most primitive conditions in complete isolation in a remote, and totally unexplored, region of Siberia, and who had been completely out of contact with the rest of humanity for 40 years. They had never heard of WWII.

When the warm days do arrive, though, the taiga blooms, and for a few short months it can seem almost welcoming. It is then that man can see most clearly into this hidden world—not on land, for the taiga can swallow whole armies of explorers, but from the air. Siberia is the source of most of Russia’s oil and mineral resources, and, over the years, even its most distant parts have been overflown by oil prospectors and surveyors on their way to backwoods camps where the work of extracting wealth is carried on.

Karp Lykov and his daughter Agafia, wearing clothes donated by Soviet geologists not long after their family was rediscovered.

Thus it was in the remote south of the forest in the summer of 1978. A helicopter sent to find a safe spot to land a party of geologists was skimming the treeline a hundred or so miles from the Mongolian border when it dropped into the thickly wooded valley of an unnamed tributary of the Abakan, a seething ribbon of water rushing through dangerous terrain. The valley walls were narrow, with sides that were close to vertical in places, and the skinny pine and birch trees swaying in the rotors’ downdraft were so thickly clustered that there was no chance of finding a spot to set the aircraft down. But, peering intently through his windscreen in search of a landing place, the pilot saw something that should not have been there. It was a clearing, 6,000 feet up a mountainside, wedged between the pine and larch and scored with what looked like long, dark furrows. The baffled helicopter crew made several passes before reluctantly concluding that this was evidence of human habitation—a garden that, from the size and shape of the clearing, must have been there for a long time.

It was an astounding discovery. The mountain was more than 150 miles from the nearest settlement, in a spot that had never been explored. The Soviet authorities had no records of anyone living in the district.

Hat tip to Vanderleun.

29 Jan 2013

Country Versus City Gun Control Dialogue

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The Lamoille Valley Fish & Game Club shooting range.

The local Fish & Game Club in a rural town just outside the urban community of fashion’s key outpost in Vermont, in response to recent Gun Control moves by Burlington’s left-wing administration and city council, told Burlington that its city police should go find some other facility to use for training and range qualification.

Burlington Free Press:

Burlington’s mayor and the police department are using the same word to describe a Lamoille County firing range’s edict that city officers are unwelcome to train there in a dispute over gun control:

“Unfortunate.”

Reached Thursday evening, Mayor Miro Weinberger told the Burlington Free Press that the ban on city police use of the facility is “an unfortunate response to the beginning of a process by the City Council to attempt to protect Burlington’s children and community.”

Said Burlington Police Department Deputy Chief Andi Higbee: “It is unfortunate that this important and much-needed community dialogue regarding gun control currently under way in the City of Burlington and across the Nation has resulted in this action.”

At issue is a decision this week by the Lamoille Valley Fish and Game Club Inc. to order a halt to Burlington police officers’ use of the Morrisville facility. The action is a response to the City Council’s advancing a measure to ban semi-automatic rifles and large-capacity magazines in Burlington.

The City Council’s action threatens constitutional freedoms, Robert Boivin II, board chairman, wrote in a letter to the police department and to city and state leaders.

That letter, dated Tuesday, was obtained Wednesday by the Burlington Free Press, which broke the news of the expulsion on its website Wednesday night.

The club’s executive board “can no longer support the City of Burlington with such a prejudice against our club and its members, and has voted to suspend the City’s use of our range for its law enforcement. This action is effective immediately,” Boivin wrote in the letter.

“We hope that the council reconsiders its actions and redirects its efforts towards perpetrators of violent crimes and security issues,” Boivin continued.

The city’s exclusion from the range likely would affect how and when officers train with firearms, Burlington Police Chief Michael Schirling told the Free Press on Wednesday night.

“Training facilities are limited in the area,” Schirling said. “It’s unfortunate that a polarized discussion of this nature has this kind of impact.”

The Burlington City Council voted 10-3 earlier this month to direct its charter change committee to craft a ban on assault-type firearms and large-capacity magazines. The meeting was marked by a high turnout by the public, virtually all of whom were opposed to such a ban.

Glenn Reynolds responded:

“Oh, it’s dialogue that you’re seeing. That’s what you don’t like.”

29 Jan 2013

Color Photographs of 1914 Paris

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Porte de Paris, August 14, 1914.

It is always a bit disconcerting to be reminded that the distant past existed in brilliant colors and not simply in the sepia tones of of the black and white photos we are accustomed to seeing.

Some of the images go back as afar as 1909, a few are as recent as 1920 even 1930. The great majority are all from 1914.

Curiouseggs reposted them from Paris 1914.

28 Jan 2013

Confederacy of Warsaw

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Édouard Debat-Ponsan, Un matin devant la porte du Louvre [One Morning before the gates of the Louvre], 1880, Musée d’art Roger-Quilliot, Clermont-Ferrand

The painting above depicts Catherine de’Medici and members of the French court admiring the bodies of murdered Protestants following the Massacre of St. Bartholemew’s Day, 23 August 1572.

One month earlier, King Sigismund Augustus, the last member of the Jagiellonian Dynasty of Poland-Lithuania died, “leaving no heir, but Liberty.”

The king had arranged, before his death, for a strengthening of the alliance and personal union between the two countries via the Union of Lublin which merged the separate Polish and Lithuanian Parliaments and which provided for his own succession by an electoral monarchy. Henceforward, the king of the Commonwealth of Poland-Lithuania would be freely elected by the nobility of both nations.

On 16 May 1573, Henry Valois, third son of King Henri II of France and of Catherine de’Medici, Duke of Angoulême, Orléans, and Anjou was elected King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania.

Several months prior to his election, on January 28, 1573, the Polish Parliament in Warsaw went out of parliamentary session and into the mode of a Confederacy (in order to preclude the use of the Liberum Veto.

The Confederacy of Warsaw pledged the entire nobility of Poland-Lithuania not only to refuse to enforce any measure by state or church undertaking to compel religious conformity, but to resist actively any such measure by armed force.

[W]e swear to each other, on behalf of ourselves and our descendants, in perpetuity, under oath and pledging our faith, honor, and consciences, that we who differ in matters of religion will keep the peace among ourselves, and neither shed blood on account of differences of Faith, nor punish one another by confiscation of goods, deprivation of honor, imprisonment, or exile.

During the debate, Crown Chancellor Jan Zamoyski is reported to have said: “For the heretics [Protestants] to return to the True Faith, I would give half my life’s blood, but to defend their right to obey their own consciences, I would give all my life’s blood.”


The original text of the Confederacy of Warsaw bearing signatures and wax seals.

28 Jan 2013

Well-Dressed Saluki

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Winter is harsh in Finland, on the Hoherodskopf peak in the Vogelsberg Mountains in Hesse, Germany. (photo: Jutta Rübesam) (click on photo for larger image)


But Jutta Rübesam’s Nhubia is stylish and prepared, complete with muffler and overcoat. (photo: Jutta Rübesam)


(photo: Jutta Rübesam)

27 Jan 2013

Australia Day (Belated)

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Yesterday, January 26, was Australia Day. (Who knew?) But better late than never, here is a hilarious performance of “Down Under” by the Russian Alexandrov Red Army Choir.

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This original version hasn’t got quite the same brio, but it is subtitled. Unfortunately, I still don’t understand most of what they’re saying.


Living in a land down under
Where women glow and men plunder
Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover!

26 Jan 2013

On the Idea of Women in Combat


Protestant theologian John Stephen Piper

I’m a skeptic and a scoffer, and am generally far more in favor of sin than I am of religion. So I doubt I’d agree with John Piper on too many things (besides voting Republican), but on the subject of women in combat, in an editorial a few years back, he won my admiration and regard by stating so perfectly the views on this subject of any right-thinking man.

If I were the last man on the planet to think so, I would want the honor of saying that no woman should go before me into combat to defend my country. A man who endorses women in combat is not pro-woman; he’s a wimp. He should be ashamed. For most of history, in most cultures, he would have been utterly scorned as a coward to promote such an idea. …

Back in the ’70s, when I taught in college, feminism was new and cool. So my ideas on manhood were viewed as the social construct of a dying chauvinistic era. I had not yet been enlightened that competencies, not divine wiring, governed the roles we assume. Unfazed, I said no.

Suppose, I said, a couple of you students, Jason and Sarah, were walking to McDonald’s after dark. And suppose a man with a knife jumped out of the bushes and threatened you. And suppose Jason knows that Sarah has a black belt in karate and could probably disarm the assailant better than he could. Should he step back and tell her to do it? No. He should step in front of her and be ready to lay down his life to protect her, irrespective of competency. It is written on his soul. That is what manhood does.

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