Archive for March, 2018
30 Mar 2018

What Was Actually in the Briefcase in “Pulp Fiction” (1994)?

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Kind of a disappointment really.

30 Mar 2018

The Immovable Heart

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29 Mar 2018

Another World

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Ledbury Hunt meeting at the Feathers Hotel on Boxing Day of 1909.

RSH forwarded this photo, and wrote:

“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

29 Mar 2018

Wouldn’t It Just Have Been Simpler . . .?

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The Sun glowingly describes the latest breakthrough development in human relationships in Britain’s Brave New Progressive Society.

Transgender Army officer Hannah Winterbourne has married actor Jake Graf — who used to be a woman.

Captain Hannah, 31, who spent her first few years in the Army as a man, wed Jake, 40, in London.

The delighted bride said on Monday night: “I never thought when I was younger this could happen to me. It was always a pipe dream.”

The couple tied the knot with a romantic white wedding — saying: “We’re just like any other bride and groom.”

Captain Hannah wed Jake in a ceremony that she described as “like a Disney movie”.

Hannah who will now be ­living with Jake in Army married quarters near her barracks, added: “To me, I’m just another girl married to another guy. As you transition and meet someone new you kind of forget about your past.” …

Actor Jake, 40, said: “We’re just the same as everyone else, with our flaws and ups and downs — but a little bit different.”

Hannah and Jake revealed they first got together because of a Sun front-page story in January 2015 telling of her courageous decision to become a woman while still on Army active service. …

But the fact that Jake was also transgender made things easier.

Hannah, who is in the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers, said: “I didn’t have to explain myself. He knew how to deal with it. I’ve got a low voice but he understood. …

Now they are married, Hannah and Jake are eager to start a family.

She said: “We want kids sooner rather than later. I’ve definitely got broody since turning 30. A lot of my friends have got kids now. We’ll go for surrogacy in the first instance and see how it goes.”

Myself, I self-identify as a Scottish duke with a castle, 60,000-acres of grouse shooting, 6 miles of good salmon water, and a gun-room full of Purdeys and Bosses. When can I start transitioning?

29 Mar 2018

An Irish Farmer’s Story

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The Guardian published a moving excerpt from extract from The Cow Book: A Story of Life on a Family Farm by John Connell. (Not on sale in the U.S., but you can buy it via Amazon.UK.)

It has been a busy week and I am tired, for between the days and nights I am but a servant to the cows. Sometimes I have wondered what it is all for. I do not earn money doing this work: the farm pays for itself and no more. To make a living through farming is hard work, and there are few full-time farmers in the area; most men have other jobs, as builders or tradesmen or teachers. Da is one of the few full-time farmers, but that was not always so. For more than two decades he was a builder with my uncle John, but he retired 10 years ago, for the work had grown too hard and, though he was still young, it had aged him. …

I take the calf in both my arms and the adrenaline is such that I do not feel his weight. I carry him to the fresh bedding, jack, ropes and all. I must move quickly , for we have lost calves with fluid on their lungs before. I pour water in his ears and he shakes his head and comes to life. But then he coughs, and I can hear the fluid, so I take a breathing tube with a mask on its end and fit it over the calf’s muzzle. You extend the pump and its vacuum pulls the fluid up and, in theory, the calf should cough up the fluid. I do this three times, but the fluid does not come up, and he begins to wheeze. I cannot lose him. I pick him up with a roar and carry him over to the gate and sling him across it.

I have seen this done before, but the calf has always been lifted by two men, so I must have found new strength. I massage his lungs and give him a slap, and soon I see the mucus emerge. He lifts his head and I know that he is won. I release him down into my arms and carry him back to the fresh bedding, alive and safe. And with that, the half-door opens – it is my father, bright and smiling.

And I know now that something has happened. I’ve passed a test of some kind, and I am glad. He opens the half-door and walks in. He is in his jobbing coat, which is his blue velvety coat for the mart. My uncle Davy follows behind, along with my young cousin, Jack.

“There’s money being made here,” says Davy, and we laugh. I stand up now and they admire the calf. He is a fine wee bull. I unloose the cow and leave her and her newborn to each other. She licks him, gently and softly, despite her size. Nature will do the rest. I am 29, but I feel so much older tonight. …

When the weanling calves had reached 14 months and put on the required weight, Da decided it was time to sell them. There are just four calves left now, too young to sell; we will fatten them on spring grass soon. Walking through the shed, I miss the presence of the others, their noise and smell and rumble. But they are the payment to the bank for the land. They are money embodied, nothing more. That is what Da says.

On this we do not agree. I cannot see them just as products. They are animals, not mere steak-holders. They may carry flesh but they carry personality too – memories and feelings. But to go down this route is not businesslike. And farming above all is a business, I am told.

The reality of beef farming is that the cows live so that they can be killed. They are here so that they may die. If we did not eat meat, they would not exist, or not in such great numbers. All our cows on this farm will be killed at one time or other; they shall get old, or reach their weight, and all shall know the butcher’s knife. But even knowing this, and even for the businessman-farmer, I do not believe it is solely about the money, nor that he sees the animals only as future beef. If it were, I do not think he should get up so instinctively in the middle of the night to deliver a new calf or tend to a sick lamb. There must be nature in the man for the beast, nurturing in the human for the non-human.

Through its relationship with man, the cow has been transformed into a carefully programmed “product” in the food chain. Where once the cow was man’s most valued companion from the natural world, now its value in some nations depends on removing it entirely from this world. It has lost its sentience, it seems, in the minds of those involved in the industrial process.

In the west, the break with farm and butcher is nearly complete. As consumers, we buy most of our meat from supermarkets, packed and sealed. Sometimes it is dyed with red colourant to make it more appealing, or injected with water to add extra weight. Few children have seen farms other than on television, or in a bedtime storybook. Most people have never seen a slaughterhouse or a cattle carcass. When we are so alienated from the living source of our food, it is perhaps inevitable that the next step is to cut out the cow altogether. …

There may well come a day when cloned meat is available in the supermarkets of London and the delis of New York, when steaks are grown in labs and test tubes from stem cells. But we have a choice over whether we want this future.

And yet, even as some manufacturers are taking these radical steps towards an artificial future, other farmers are following an alternative path. The organic and grass-fed movement has allowed a small group of growers and farmers to survive corporations, conglomerates and cloners. Organic beef or grass-fed beef may be more expensive to the consumer, but the beast has had a better life, one free of housing, confinement and stress. We raise them to die, but they live a life of peace and nature. Our way of farming here in Ireland – our family’s way of farming – may be seen as a backward step, but it is a way in which the animal can live with dignity, and in which the farmer has retaken the old and respectful role of custodian of the land and the environment for the next generation.

RTWT

Nobody wins the fight against the iron laws of Economics in the long run. Nobody. But you can’t help rooting for John Connell, who is perfectly right, aesthetically and morally. Human beings have an ancient, countless millenia long, relationship with our domestic animals and fulfilling our role as their servants, masters, friends, and admiring associates makes us and them both happy.

Alas! the world only gets older, stupider, and more urbanized. The middlemen get all the money, and farming is either an impersonal heartless, soulless, factory operation or a personal hobby supported by the farmer’s real job. But the consumer gets cheaper meat. The cruel god of Economic reality giveth as well as taketh away.

John Connell is essentially the same kind of thing as the Jacobite rebels of the 18th century: sure to lose, a doomed cause, but a cause you cannot help rooting for.

28 Mar 2018

Touché

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(Planned Parenthood pulled the original for some reason.)

28 Mar 2018

A New Kenneth Clark Biography and the Subsequent Decline of the West

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Remember Kenneth Clark’s magisterial tour d’horizon of Western Art, the thirteen-part Civilization documentary television series that appeared on the BBC in 1969 and in America on PBS in 1970?

The New York Review of Books is reviewing the 2016 James Stourton biography, Kenneth Clark: Life, Art and Civilisation, just being released now in the U.S.

Kenneth Clark is an interesting biographical subject, a talented and fortunate fellow who lived a rich and glamorous life devoted to the appreciation and explication of the Fine Arts. But I was even more struck by the reviewer’s, Richard Dorment, a former Art Critic for the British Telegraph, bald opening discussion of just how far contemporary academic fashion has left behind Kenneth Clark and the Civilization he so brilliantly described.

Once the most celebrated art historian in the world, Kenneth Clark’s star began to fade in the 1980s when a new generation of scholars rejected the object-based scholarship he epitomized and began to study works of art using Marxist, feminist, and psychoanalytical theory. When Clark placed a painting or a building in its historical setting it was to understand more fully how and why it was made, and what it meant to those who first saw it.

Theory-based art history takes the opposite approach: broadly speaking, the scholar is interested in the work of art not as an end in itself but for what its making might tell us about the society that created it, particularly its attitudes toward subjects like race, gender, and social inequality. This kind of art history is taught in most universities on both sides of the Atlantic today. The scholarship Clark represented survives mainly in some museums and exhibition catalogs. Whereas his books were once required reading in undergraduate courses, many are now out of print. Civilization, the television show that introduced millions of people around the world to art history and lit the spark that led to the mass popularity museums and galleries enjoy today, is largely forgotten.

RTWT

One shudders in horror to realize that it has come to this, that it is our fate to live in such a time, when the enemy of Civilization is not only within the gates, but occupying all the leading academic chairs and in control of all the leading museums, cultural institutions, and even the book reviews.

Kenneth Clark would shake his noble head in annoyance, then smile ruefully and say: “Oh well, after all, this, too, shall pass!”

28 Mar 2018

Trump: Photographed With Prostitutes!

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27 Mar 2018

Interpreting the Bolton Appointment

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John Bolton’s entry in the 1970 Yale Old Campus (the kind of entering freshmen yearbook that inspired Facebook). “CC” means he was in (the recently renamed) Calhoun College.

Charles Hugh Smith offers some over-the-top, and consequently amusing, speculations on the meaning of Bolton’s National Security Advisor appointment.

This wing of the Deep State, unquestionably in charge until the election of Donald Trump, finds Trump, well, interesting. Trump can congratulate Vladdy Putin on his shoo-in re-election one day and eject a bunch of Russian diplomats the next.

This sort of non-linear, non-ideologically pure “policy” (or lack thereof) discombobulates the Deep State, which is accustomed to presidents rubber-stamping their agenda and supporting their narrative.

They’re having a tough time controlling Trump, as it’s difficult to read how best to play him: is Trump a master of the Crazy Ivan or is he just winging it? Assuming the latter leaves those acting on that premise vulnerable to a Crazy Ivan once Trump has extracted whatever value he sought from the person or policy.

So how do we decrypt the appointment of Bolton? Here are two possibilities:

1. Trump appointed bete noire Bolton to do the dirty work of cleaning house and ridding the National Security Council and staff of any loyalists to previous presidents or cliques. This Bolton seems prepared to do with both alacrity and relish. This appointment also throws a bone to those demanding a harsher, more interventionist foreign policy.

Once Bolton has cleaned house and disrupted or fired the status quo holdovers from the Obama administration, he’ll be fired like everyone else. Crazy Ivan!

2. The neo-liberal /neo-conservative /neo-colonial wing of the Deep State has given up trying to evict Trump from the White House or manage him. Both of these strategies carry high risks and the assessment has likely been made that both have not just failed, they’re increasingly counter-productive, eroding the legitimacy of those pushing them.

So perhaps the dominant wing of the Deep State is finally willing to cut a deal with Trump: Trump appoints Bolton, whom the Deep State views as the adult supervising the playground, and in return, the Mueller investigation goes away and the Clintons will finally lose the protection of the security agencies. (They’ve become enormous liabilities anyway, and there’s no benefit to the high cost of continuing to protecting them.)

RTWT

27 Mar 2018

Send Marx to the Ash Heap of History!

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Ana Stankovic, coming from formerly Marxist Yugoslavia, is awfully sick of people living comfortably in the capitalist West speaking favorably of the philosophy of Karl Marx.

Call me a killjoy but I am sick to death of hearing about Karl Marx. I am sick of his name, his -isms, his undoubted genius, and his “philosophy.” I am sick of him “having reason,” as the French say, or “being right.” But most of all I am sick of his “relevance.”

As someone whose parents were born and grew up in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and who missed the same fate by the skin of her teeth, I know perfectly well what Marx’s relevance amounts to. Marx gave it a name, even if for him it meant something else than it did for the people of Yugoslavia. I am talking about the oft-quoted and seldom understood “religion of everyday life.”

In post–World War II Yugoslavia, Marx’s “relevance” was to be a member of the ruling communist party. Outside of that supra-religious institution no substantial share in the social wealth was possible. …

I have a suggestion to make. Given the un-tragic wrongness of Marx’s thought, why not make a case for the great man’s contemporary irrelevance? After all, is there today anything more incongruous, perverse, and patently absurd than the call by self-styled communist philosophers like Slavoj Žižek for a Marxist-communist renaissance or “idea of communism,” which looks suspiciously like the idealism or “German ideology” that Marx spent his youth meticulously taking to pieces?

RTWT

26 Mar 2018

Scary Stuff

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JV on Facebook posts:

Two disturbing tales from this weekend:

After Parkland, one friend posted about perhaps joining the NRA out of spite (“I’m tempted to join the NRA if only to fight the ridiculous group think”). This post, which contained absolutely nothing threatening, was anonymously reported to his local police department who dispatched a detective to interview him.

Another friend received a phone call from a high school friend, whom he had not spoken to in many years, who expressed deep concern for his worsening “radical conservative’ views. “We’re very worried about you.” She made it sound like a number of people were discussing this concern behind his back and clearly wished to help him mend his ways.

How did we get here?

Join the NRA… today!

26 Mar 2018

The NFL Uses an IQ Test — Who Ever Would Have Believed It?

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I bet Kaepernick failed. From Steve Sailer:

When I was young, Sports Illustrated would run literary essays about marlin fishing with gentleman adventurers, but now they just run nine-part series on the NFL draft prospects of Baker Mayfield, the Heisman Trophy winning quarterback from Oklahoma.

    At some point during the NFL combine, between the MRIs and the 15-minute team interviews and the early-morning drug tests, almost every prospect takes a little-known test known as the AIQ, or Athletic Intelligence Quotient. Dr. Scott Goldman and Dr. Jim Bowman have spent the last 15 years developing the exam, administered on a touchscreen and intended to improve upon the methodology of the Wonderlic test, the longtime benchmark for intelligence testing at the combine still in use today.

    You’ve probably never heard of the AIQ, and that’s by design; two teams are under contract with Bowman and Goldman’s company—Athletic Intelligence Measures—and purchase the rookie data in full. (The company does not disclose the names of its clients.) About a half dozen additional teams each year buy portions of the data (typically, the test scores for the Top 100 prospects on their boards). The company has administered more than 4,000 tests across each of the major American sports leagues, and started administering the test at the combine in 2012.

    “Years ago, we discovered the Wonderlic was the only test that was used to measure intelligence at the combine, and that was based off a theory from 1934,” Goldman says. “It’s language-dependent, and it has socioeconomic and cultural biases. So we spent years looking at all the forms of intelligence and cognitive abilities that impact unsolvable puzzles.”

    They debuted the test with the NFL in 2012, testing on a limited basis at the combine, and for the last two years they’ve tested each prospect invited to the combine. Now that they’ve tested thousands of future pros, they’re beginning to see results.

    “I’m proud of this,” Goldman says. “We’ve found a statistically-significant correlation between our test and on-field performance, and this is the first test I’m aware of that has found that in the NFL. Players with a high AIQ tend to get on the field sooner and stay on the field longer.” …

    Goldman declined to confirm the performance of specific players, but did acknowledge a QB prospect this year scored in the Top 100 on the AIQ all-time—out of more than 4,000 tests—and is the second-highest scoring quarterback out of 63 who have taken the test since 2012. Two league sources, who asked for anonymity to discuss the testing results of a prospect, confirmed it was Mayfield.

26 Mar 2018

Just in Case You Thought the United States Was Badly Off

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Journalist denied entry to UK to interview right-wing politician and to film her boyfriend, a founder of an Austrian right-wing group “Generation Identity,” giving a speech in Hyde Park, because “her planned activities.. bear a serious threat to the fundamental interests of society.”

Vox Day admires all the grammatical errors, which suggests to me that the person in authority and laying down the decision on who might or might not enter the country was someone not a native speaker of English, and then proceeds to quote John Derbyshire on the ironies of current British entry policy:

Young Ahmed sneaked into Britain hidden in a truck that brought him through the Channel Tunnel from France. British immigration officers intercepted him. Ahmed told the immigration officers he had trained with ISIS.

Let me just repeat that: He told the immigration officers he had trained with ISIS.

But Ahmed was not refused entry. Instead, he was given free accommodation, first in a charity shelter, then in a pleasant middle-class foster home. [Betrayed by the ‘shy and polite’ boy they took into their home: Iraqi asylum seeker, 18, is found guilty of trying to blow up 93 Parsons Green commuters with bomb built with his foster parents’ Tupperware while pair were on holiday, Daily Mail, March 16, 2018] He was sent to school, at British taxpayer expense of course. His teachers reported him telling them it was his duty as a Muslim to hate Britain.

Today, Friday, March 16, 2018, Ahmed was convicted of making a bomb and trying to detonate it in a London subway train last Fall. Fortunately, the thing didn’t explode properly; but it still left 51 subway passengers with serious burns.

Let me just repeat one more time: He told the immigration officers he had trained with ISIS.

Enoch Powell got it right: “Whom the Gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.”

25 Mar 2018

The Driverless Car Killed Its First Human This Week

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“When you are asleep at the wheel you never see the junkie with the bicycle sliding into the road.”Vanderleun.

The automobile is both a prime symbol of, and the practical tool that makes possible, the freedom of the individual American. Jump in your car and just drive and you can put behind you all the bonds and troubles and obligations of ordinary human life. Get in your car, and you can be a thousand miles away, experiencing a completely different region and landscape, enjoying a completely different climate. The old mill closes down, and you’re thrown out of work? Hop in the car and drive off to somewhere that the jobs are.

But, of course, this experience of freedom and empowerment is only for rural and suburban Americans and the rich. People living in cities usually cannot keep cars. Parking is expensive and just plain unavailable in most parts of town. A car in the city is only an expensive nuisance and a hostage to fate. Take your eye off it, and somebody will rob the battery, the air bags, and the radio, possibly also your tires. Park in the wrong place, and the city will tow you, introducing you to a genuine, real-life Circle of Hell experience.

No wonder city-types so bitterly resent the automobile and the freedom others have that they don’t, and that undoubtedly has a lot to do with the ideology of junk science targeting the internal combustion engine so maliciously.

If you can’t simply ban the automobile altogether, forcing everyone (everyone not rich or part of the Nomenklatura, that is) to queue up, identity papers ready and at hand, to ride jammed together like sardines, breathing each other’s breath, smelling each other’s body odors, on public transportation, the grand egalitarian experience, then, the next best thing has got to be the self-driving car.

If Jones’s papers are not in order, if his fees and taxes aren’t paid, if his internal passport doesn’t give him permission to visit Peoria, well! Alexa will simply decline to carry him. If Jones is wanted for questioning or a new course in the proper language of Diversity, Alexa will fetch him directly to the police station with no nonsense about choice of destination.

It is only too easy to understand why the Left absolutely loves the idea of the driverless car. Personally, I think, for many of us, it will come down to actual armed resistance before we give up control of the wheel ourselves.

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Spengler despises the crude scientism of it all, and he thinks we ought to be getting the torches and pitchforks ready.

That’s why Hollywood grinds out movie after movie about computers coming to life, programmers falling in love with their avatars, and so forth, starting with Steven Spielberg’s ghastly “AI” (2001). The liberal techno-utopians of Silicon Valley believe they are beneficent Dr. Frankensteins, creating the New Man.

And now we have video of the man behind the curtain.

The video shows a woman walking her bicycle across the highway: the Uber car was going at a good clip and coming over a rise. Not quite three seconds pass between the first sight of the pedestrian and impact, enough time for an alert human driver to spin the wheel. The human driver in the car was supposed to correct for machine errors, but the video shows one Rafaela Vasquez a/k/a Rafael Vasquez staring downwards until the moment of the crash. Reports Arizona’s 12News:

    According to records from the Arizona Department of Corrections, the safety driver sitting in the front seat of a self-driving Uber in Tempe at the time of a fatal pedestrian crash is a convicted felon.

    The driver, 44-year-old Rafaela Vasquez, served several years in prison under the name Rafael Vasquez. She was charged with unsworn falsification and attempt to commit armed robbery. She was released from prison in 2005.

The Wizard turns out to be an obese and indifferent minimum-wage employee with a prison record pretending to work while Uber pretends to pay him or her, as the case may be. …

It will take more than the avoidable death of Elaine Herzberg to persuade the public to light their torches and march on the castle of the Frankenstein wannabes. Nonetheless the disaster offers a teachable moment. The liberal obsession with arbitrary self-definition rests on the pseudo-scientific premise that we are the determinate, machine-like outcome of physical processes. Destroy this premise and the whole artifice of liberal thinking will crumble.

RTWT

HT: Vanderleun.

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