Chuck Thompson, in Outside magazine, describes the life of a member of a universally despised minority.
Being a picky eater is more than a simple nuisance or emasculating badge of shame. For someone like me, who has spent most of his adult life as an international traveler in search of adventure and work, it’s a flaw that has ruined dinner parties, derailed relationships, and led to countless hungry nights.
Economy class, parasites, and crappy hotel pillows I can handle. What torments me is the prospect of being the honored guest at some exotic native banquet, presented with a sizzling plate of halibut ovaries or octopus eyeballs. All watery creatures are on my verboten list—fresh-water and salt-water fish, shrimp, turtles, any form of mussels, scallops, ceviche, calamari—but it doesn’t stop there. A short version of my “No thanks, I’m good” food roster includes: eggs, ham, tofu, milk, jellies, jams, cocktail wieners, convenience-store pump cheese, game animals, inexplicably trendy vegetables (kale? seriously?), most things pickled, all face parts, the entire organ oeuvre, chicken thighs and legs, anything in casings, cream of whatever, cheeses that float in jars of cloudy liquid, wheatgrass shots, anything associated with lactation or reptiles, bok choy, raisins (would it kill someone in this country to make a plain oatmeal cookie?), the spines of romaine lettuce leaves, apricots, most plums, orange juice pulp (grapefruit pulp is OK), the last bite of a banana, green tomato sludge, and all mushrooms, which to me taste like soil and have the mouthfeel of sputum.
Then there are my maddening inconsistencies. Tomatoes are magnificent in pizza and spaghetti, edible as soup, fatal as a juice. Black beans are an impenetrable mystery. Sometimes they’re perfect, but sometimes they’re a pile of repulsive goop, and there’s no way to explain why to a layman.
Beef is fine, as long as it’s well-done. For you, steakhouses are places to reconnect with masculinity and big, bold cabernets. For me, they’re places to confront supercilious waiters who act like it’s an outrage to leave my goddamn $45 rib eye on the grill a few extra minutes.
So much for my reputation as a man of means on seven continents. If you’re ordering a dish with more than four ingredients, I’m probably looking for the exit.
Drew in Wisconsin, at Ricochet, has a go at inferring the correct hierarchy of interest groups.
Recent events help illuminate a few things on the left.
The Keystone XL pipeline demonstrates that environmentalists slot in above unions
The Trayvon Martin case shows that it’s blacks over Hispanics.
Reaction to North Carolina’s gay marriage vote last year suggests that Democrats favor gays over blacks.
Women over men is too well-established to even be questioned.
Any examples where gays come in conflict with unions or environmentalists? That would help us figure out who really takes the #1 slot.
I think some of the left’s constituencies just naturally lack opportunities for conflict, but it should be obvious that left’s status hierarchy is founded upon specifically upon ressentiment, the inversion of values by which the loudest whiner and the leper with the most sores gets the top place.
If gays were more reflective, they might start thinking about exactly what their current very high position in the left’s roll call of constituencies says about what lefties really think of them.
John C. Wright quotes the acute observations of his commenter Tom Simon.
Discrimination (to the Modern Leftist) is the ultimate sin. All cultures, all behaviours, all plans and courses of action, all people and all nations, are inherently equal. Therefore, no matter what anybody does, they ought always to get equal results. This does not happen. Therefore, there must be some swindle going on — in some unseen way (‘systemic’ is the usual word), those who succeed are taking away success from those who fail. To you and me, who look at facts and evidence and reason, it is obvious that a man who works twelve hours a day at productive employment will do better than the man who spends those twelve hours drinking whisky. But to the Modern Leftist, there is a priori no reason to prefer work to whisky; therefore the man who works is robbing the drunkard.
Therefore, the Modern Leftist is committed always and everywhere to favour those who fail over those who succeed. It is a five-year-old’s view of reality, if five-year-olds were susceptible to paranoia and capable of advancing complicated conspiracy theories. If somebody has a pony, he took it away from somebody else, and that should be my pony, and I want my pony, I want my pony, I want my pony! The fact that ponies come from somewhere, and not everybody automatically has one, does not impinge upon these people’s consciousness. It cannot, because that knowledge contradicts the doctrine of equal results and is therefore thoughtcrime. The idea that actions have consequences, the idea of cause and effect, the idea that ponies are in limited supply and you have to do some particular thing to get one — these ideas are anathema; they are Kryptonite to the Modern Leftist mind, and they will contort their thoughts into the most idiotic forms rather than admit these things.
HuffPo passed along the rapidly-going-viral photograph of a restaurant check originally posted by PhoenixSongFawkes on Reddit.
Apparently, certain single moms can dine out on a sufficiently lavish scale to run up $138 restaurant tabs, but consider themselves so disadvantaged and worthy of special consideration that they feel no obligation to conform to the general custom of adding a 15-20% gratuity (which actually represents the principal portion of the compensation received by restaurant servers).
This particular woman’s spectacular sense of self-entitlement has won her a well-deserved 15 minutes of fame on the Web.
This mentality is sufficiently prevalent in educational circles that it has provoked the creation in response of a satire site called OK HOLD ON LET ME CHECK MY PRIVILEGE.
I thought that if we just awarded an undeserved presidency to an African-American nobody from Illinois, whose only life-time accomplishment was writing a memoir after graduating from law school, that all our racial problems and divisions would vanish and the whole era of racial grievances and complaints would be finished and done with. Whatever happened to the deal that liberals kept promising?
Mark Judge recently lost both his bicycle and his white guilt:
That’s when I lost it. I had been carefully educated by liberal parents that we are all, black and white, the same. My favorite movie growing up was “In the Heat of the Night.” Yet that often meant not treating everyone the same. It meant treating blacks with a mixture of patronizing condescension and obsequious genuflecting to their Absolute Moral Authority gained from centuries of suffering. It meant not treating everyone the same.
It meant leaving valuable things like a bike in a vulnerable position in a black part of town because you didn’t want to admit that the crime is worse in poor black neighborhoods.
Hearing the kumbaya song from my liberal friend, I immediately thought of a phrase Piers Morgan had recently used when he was debating the tiresome black liberal journalist Touré about the Trayvon Martin case. Touré had accused Morgan of not “fully understanding what’s really going on here and what’s really at stake for America.” To which Morgan replied: “What a load of fatuous nonsense you speak, Touré, don’t you? You think you have the only right to speak about what’s serious in America? You think I don’t have the right as somebody from Britain who spent the last six or seven years here to address the story like this with the seriousness it deserves?”
Score one for the Queen. In that moment, I had a change of consciousness. Why was I assuming that the kid who stole my bike was acting out of some terrible pain, as if he had been directly under the lash of Bull Connor? What if he has a car, a nice apartment, a hot girlfriend and good health?
What if he is just a selfish asshole?
I decided that I’m just going to let go of my white guilt. We’re all human, we all experience pain in our lives. And black pain is no different than white pain.
It felt good to say it: Black pain is no different than white pain. I’m tired of people using the moral authority of past generations for their own personal gain and self-aggrandizement. Soledad O’Brien, a Harvard graduate, acts like she just stepped off the Amistad.
Talking Points Memo, the Bolshie blog, uploaded this excerpt from Monday night’s debate hoping to shock voters by demonstrating that some Republicans actually would not pay the medical bills for you that you declined to pay yourself.
If you feel so bad about your hypothetical sponger, Wolf, you pay for him.
Girls read magazines like Self, about how to improve themselves in order to be more attractive to us. What a deal!
Gwyneth Paltrow, in the manner typical of celebrities, cranked out her own cookbook, My Father’s Daughter, and got right to work promoting her book with a cover shot, photo spread, recipes, and lifestyle tips in the May issue of Self.
You would think the ladies would be grateful for the inspirational advice, but Gwyneth’s somewhat self-congratulatory homily actually seems to have lit Ursula Hennessey’s fuse.
[C]heck out this article about Gwyneth Paltrow and her fitness. Or, I should say, her mommy fitness.
I’ve found what works for me. I know if I put in an hour and a half, five days a week, I’m good. If I’m on vacation and, like, “[Expletive] it, I’m not working out,” I know what to do when I get back. A lot of women think, “Oh, my God, I could never get there,” but I don’t think that’s true. It’s simply relative to how much you put into it.’
…’It’s not an accident. It’s not luck, it’s not fairy dust, it’s not good genes. It’s killing myself for an hour and a half five days a week, but what I get out of it is relative to what I put into it.
...’The reason that I can be 38 and have two kids and wear a bikini is because I work my [expletive] [expletive] off.’
No fairy dust? Oh really, Gwynnie? How about the fairy dust of your birth? How about the neat coincidence of having Steven Spielberg for a godfather? How hard did you have to work for that?
How about the fact that you probably never have to vacuum your floors, Clorox your bathroom, or mingle with the plebes at Shop’nStop on Saturday mornings, with one whiny-walker and another sick toddler in the cart?
Lemme guess, Gwyn, you have a little babysitting help, right? Or do Moses and Apple just sit by, calmly sharing their toys and not getting on anybody’s nerves while you work out for an hour and a half, five days a week. What mother with young children, whether she works inside the home or out of it, has a spare 7-and-a-half hours per week for sweatin’ to the oldies? That’s a full work day.
The reason you can be 38 and have two kids and wear a bikini is because (and this is just a guess because I don’t know you personally) you’ve never worked all that hard to get to a place where there’s piles of money for your various whims, where everyone does all the “icky” things in life for you, and where you’re able to escape on said “vacation” any time you wish. Listen, Gwyneth, it’s perfectly okay to say, “I’m grateful for all the help I have. I’m thankful for the money to be able to pay trainers, babysitters, and housecleaners. I couldn’t be a 38-year-old bikini-wearin’ mum without that.” Let’s get real.
Is Gwyneth beautiful and admirably fit? Yes. Talented? Yes.
Successful because of blue collar hard work rather than fairy dust?
I think not.
Personally, I find Ursula’s rant amusing but a bit leftish.
The Bookworm has some thoughts on the morality and practical consequences of returning antiquities from Western museums to their lands of origin.
The narrative has long been in place: For centuries, the predatory West raped the ancient world — Egypt, Greece, the Fertile Crescent, Persia — of her culture. Greedy treasure hunters and archeologists stole her mummies, her statuary, her carvings, her jewels and her wall paintings. Their museums gained world renown because of these ill-gotten gains, while the countries of origin moldered, deprived not only of their natural riches, but also of their historic legacy. With the end of colonialism after World War II, the situation started righting itself, as now-properly abashed Western countries began returning these stolen treasures to their true homes.
The actual story is a bit different. The cultures that had created those treasures had long vanished by the time the Western collectors showed up and started sniffing around. Where once had been glory, now was abysmal poverty. More than that, there was a profound disinterest in the past. The citizens of Egypt, Greece, the Ottoman Empire, etc., cared nothing for the treasures beneath their feet. Those that they couldn’t see, they forgot; those that they could see, they recycled. They broke down ancient structures and used their stones to build their homes; they melted down ancient jewelry, and refashioned the gold in modern design. The Egyptian mummies to which thieves had easy access had long since vanished — some within days of being interred — especially since their wrappings made good paper and, for centuries, their dust was thought to have curative powers.
What made these remnants of the past valuable was the interest the West had in the ancient world’s past. To the Middle East, they were raw material; to the Westerners, things of beauty and wonder. And so the West took them away, to museums and private collections. In terms of what was happening in the Middle East 200 years ago or 100 years ago, Western activity was akin to digging in the garbage to collect someone else’s discards. The only thing that bespoke value in the regions themselves was gold, so the archeologists figured out that, if they gave to the fellahin who unearthed the ancient gold a sum of money equal to that object’s weight, the latter cheerfully parted with their cultural past.
The relics, once in the West, were treated with a reverence denied them in the lands from which they emerged. They were cleaned, restored, maintained, studied and much visited. And of course, as their status rose, the people who had so cavalierly parted with them realized that they had lost something of value. When they had achieved some measure of moral power, they demanded them back. Often, the West complied with those demands. ...
[M]any ended up back at home, in lands governed by dictatorships. These, no matter how long they last, invariably seem to end in a welter of violence, flames, vandalism and theft. Is it a surprise, then, that when a dictatorship ends, it’s often the case that the treasures, once ignored and abused, then revered in foreign lands, and then returned to their natal soil, should be amongst the first casualties?
Statue of 18th Dynasty Pharoah Akhenaton, circa 1336 BC, recently looted from Egyptian museum and found two weeks later discarded beside a garbage bin.
Riding a wave of liberal guilt and political correctness, Egyptian officials have demanded that Western museums generally empty their Egyptian exhibitions and return antiquities recovered by Western scholarship. Targets for such demands have included the Rosetta Stone currently in the British Museum, the Berlin Museum’s bust of Queen Nefertiti, and a number of reliefs depicting a journey in the Afterlife from the Louvre. Only the Louvre has so far capitulated to Egyptian demands.
It ought to have been obvious that irreplaceable art objects and antiquities are more accessible to larger audiences and to scholars, and considerably safer, in museums located in the West.
Hyperallergic has a collection of photographs of the damage to the Egyptian Museum from Aljazeera.
This Red Alert from the security consultancy Stratfor suggests that security forces might have been behind the (clearly limited) vandalism to the museum, attempting to create a pretext, and support, for a crackdown on demonstrators.
The Egyptian police are no longer patrolling the Rafah border crossing into Gaza. Hamas armed men are entering into Egypt and are closely collaborating with the [Muslim Brotherhood]. The MB has fully engaged itself in the demonstrations, and they are unsatisfied with the dismissal of the Cabinet. They are insisting on a new Cabinet that does not include members of the ruling National Democratic Party.
Security forces in plainclothes are engaged in destroying public property in order to give the impression that many protesters represent a public menace. The MB is meanwhile forming people’s committees to protect public property and also to coordinate demonstrators’ activities, including supplying them with food, beverages and first aid.
On Sunday morning, elite Israel commandos armed with paintball guns, and carrying pistols they were forbidden to use, roped down to the deck of a Turkish NGO ship, the largest vessel in a six ship flotilla attempting to break the Israeli blockade of Gaza. The soldiers were attacked and beaten by the activists using metal clubs and knives.
So much for restraint.
Israeli naval vessels surrounded the Mavi Marmara and fighting broke out between soldiers and activists. 7 Israeli soldiers were wounded and 19 activists were killed.
The NGO organizer of the “Freedom Flotilla,” İnsani Yardım Vakfı, aka IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation (The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedom and Humanitarian Relief) is a Turkish Islamic charity founded in 1992 to supply aid to the Muslim Bosnians and is part of a group of Saudi-funded Islamic charities with a record of providing support for Hamas and al Qaeda.
Israeli Defense Force 1:01 video showing non-violent activists beating Israeli soldiers.
Al Jazeera 1:28 propaganda video reporting from “on board the ship which holds 600 activists, parliamentarians, women, children, and the elderly, all of whom are civilians.”
Andrew Sullivan provides the perfect example of the predictable leftwing Western response:
The violence by the activists is pretty abhorrent. These are not followers of Gandhi or MLK Jr. But the violence is not fatal to anyone and it is in response to a dawn commando raid by armed soldiers. They are engaging in self-defense. More to the point: they are civilians confronting one of the best militaries in the world. They killed no soldiers; their weapons were improvised; the death toll in the fight is now deemed to be up to 19 – all civilians.
It staggers me to read defenses of what the Israelis have done. They attacked a civilian flotilla in international waters breaking no law. When they met fierce if asymmetric resistance, they opened fire. And we are now being asked to regard the Israelis as the victims.
This is like a mini-Gaza all over again. The Israelis don’t seem to grasp that Western militaries don’t get to murder large numbers of civilians because they don’t like them, or because they could, on a far tinier scale, hurt Israelis. And you sure don’t have a right to kill them because they resist having their ship commandeered, in international waters. The Israelis seem to be making decisions as if they can get away with anything. It’s time the US reminded them in ways they cannot mistake that they cannot.
Startfor’s George Friedman observes that the Turkish IHH has effectively copied the Zionist “Exodus” scenario for a major PR victory at Israel’s expense.
It is difficult to imagine circumstances under which public opinion will see Israel as the victim. The general response in the Western public is likely to be that the Israelis probably should have allowed the ships to go to Gaza and offload rather than to precipitate bloodshed. Israel’s enemies will fan these flames by arguing that the Israelis prefer bloodshed to reasonable accommodation. And as Western public opinion shifts against Israel, Western political leaders will track with this shift.
The incident also wrecks Israeli relations with Turkey, historically an Israeli ally in the Muslim world with longstanding military cooperation with Israel. The Turkish government undoubtedly has wanted to move away from this relationship, but it faced resistance within the Turkish military and among secularists. The new Israeli action makes a break with Israel easy, and indeed almost necessary for Ankara.
With roughly the population of Houston, Texas, Israel is just not large enough to withstand extended isolation, meaning this event has profound geopolitical implications.
Public opinion matters where issues are not of fundamental interest to a nation. Israel is not a fundamental interest to other nations. The ability to generate public antipathy to Israel can therefore reshape Israeli relations with countries critical to Israel. For example, a redefinition of U.S.-Israeli relations will have much less effect on the United States than on Israel. The Obama administration, already irritated by the Israelis, might now see a shift in U.S. public opinion that will open the way to a new U.S.-Israeli relationship disadvantageous to Israel.
The Israelis will argue that this is all unfair, as they were provoked. Like the British, they seem to think that the issue is whose logic is correct. But the issue actually is, whose logic will be heard? As with a tank battle or an airstrike, this sort of warfare has nothing to do with fairness. It has to do with controlling public perception and using that public perception to shape foreign policy around the world. In this case, the issue will be whether the deaths were necessary. The Israeli argument of provocation will have limited traction.
Michael Ledeen (who does not know how to spell Yalie) contemplates the impact of sympathy for the underdog, what Nietszche referred to as ressentiment, on the perspective of the media and the elite in the conflict with militant Islam.
I think the first time I grappled with this question was in an undergraduate philosophy course. The professor was a Yaley (sic), very very smart, and loved to provoke us. His job, after all. So one day, when a famous person had died, he said in his flippant way, “obviously this man was much more important than Joe Schmoe down the block, and the society should value him more, and try harder to protect him and tend to him if he’s sick, etc etc.”
And so we debated, in the way of young students. Who is to say that one man’s life is worth more than another’s? Maybe Mr Schmoe was a better husband/father than Einstein, where does that go in the balance scales of life? Yes, we will long remember Einstein, and no one remembers Schmoe except maybe his dear ones, but still…
In a way, there’s nothing to debate, because Einstein had a far greater effect on far more people than Schmoe did. But one of the great achievements of Western civilization is our conviction that every human life is precious, and that belief underlies the entire Judeo-Christian enterprise. So, while Einstein will live forever, as they say, Schmoe was endowed with the same fundamental rights, and in that sense Schmoe was as important as Einstein. ...
Back in that southern California classroom, plenty of us developed a real affection for Schmoe, and resented Einstein’s importance. It somehow felt wrong to say that, if you could only save one of them, it had to be the great genius. What’s wrong with rooting for the underdog? And so terrorists get a sympathy vote, just like Schmoe.
A lot of ideology rests on the love of Schmoe, even if he turns out to be a very nasty piece of work and wants us dead. At about the same time we were debating in our philosophy class, Norman Mailer was extolling the virtues of criminals, which had long been a staple of anti-bourgeois literature, especially in France, where the Marquis de Sade somehow became a culture hero. The nihilists couldn’t care less about Einstein; they wanted to blow up the entire society that made him possible. The Communists wanted Schmoe to become part of a new proletarian dictatorship, where Einstein could work, to be sure, but his work wouldn’t be any more important than Schmoe’s. The Nazis wanted Einstein dead because he was a filthy Jew, while if Schmoe had a few generations of Aryans to his record he’d be hailed as a member of the Master Race. In many corners of the Islamic world today, Schmoe’s in good shape if he’s a Muslim, while Einstein gets blown up or beheaded.
You see where I’m going, don’t you? After all these years, it seems more and more that my prof was right, most evidently in those cases when Schmoe, as he does so often, is trying to destroy a society that’s clearly better than his own. Do the lives of Daniel Pearl and his executioner, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, have the same value? I don’t think so.
Yet it’s notable how often Schmoe wins popular sympathy. All those “anti-war” people, for example, end up supporting killer Schmoes against our best, indeed the world’s best: the men and women of the American military. And while the anti-warriors are usually careful to tell us how much they “respect the troops” (which they don’t), it’s pretty clear that they consider a terrorist to be worth at least the same as a U.S. Marine.
Which is nuts.
In the “great debate” over Iran, you hardly ever hear any great concern over the fact that Iranian killers and their proxies are murdering and maiming American soldiers most every day. As if nobody really cared about our guys, who are defending a superior society and a superior culture against the depredations of terrorists from a tyrannical and fanatical regime that glorifies misogyny, stones adultresses to death, kills its critics, and rapes its prisoners as a matter of course.
A lot of the talk about the “Arab street” (which does not even exist), for example, is a reprise of the glorification of the weak, downtrodden working class (which does not exist either, although perhaps it did, once upon a time). They shouldn’t be glorified. They should be freed.
James Lewis, at American Thinker, identifies precisely what Barack Obama is all about.
The United States today has slipped toward race-based socialism: That’s the true name for an overwhelming bias for one race above others, in employment, promotion, and educational opportunities. Our media are constantly stirring the witch’s brew of racial grievances, constantly making black people feel aggrieved and white people feel accused. Our schools drive that lesson home with young and innocent kids in a totally ruthless way. Repeat that for twelve years of schooling and TV, and you have a brainwashed kid.
That is what European socialists have done with class envy for the last hundred years: whip up the poor against the middle and the rich. It’s in their standard bag of tricks. The American Left has just added racial grievances to class anger and resentment, always feeding more and more power to the racial socialists to buy peace for the very grievances they have whipped up in the first place. ...
We are no longer a society run by talent, work, and opportunity. Like ancient Egypt and Sumer, we are a society where the ruling class exploits its productive workers by taxing their labor, talent, and ability to recognize and use new opportunities.
Barack H. Obama is the logical outcome of racial socialism. You can see it in his words and actions, and his very physical stance, all signaling his sense of superiority, the flip-side of feelings of inferiority he is reacting against. Obama’s core support came from the Leftist alliance of grievance groups in spite of his total lack of relevant experience. Obama is objectively the least qualified person to be elected to the presidency. But the media could not say that, because it would have been non-P.C. to tell the truth.
Obama’s election was a kind of guilt propitiation by the American people for the history of slavery. But that is bizarre. Living people are not responsible for what others did two hundred years ago.