22 May 2019

The Swedish Government Wants to Ban Runes – Norse Religion and Heritage Enthusiasts Are Upset

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Minister of Justice Morgan Johansson wants to ban Runes and other symbols of the Pagan Norse Religion.

Samhällsnytt:

(translated:)

The government is currently investigating the possibility of banning the use of Norse runes. It is reported that the Minister of Justice, Morgan Johansson (Socialist) is behind the initiative. Among members of the Asa-samfundet, the organization of contemporary followers of the Norse Pagan Religion, and people with an interest in the Norse cultural heritage, the outrage is great about what would amount to a restriction on, among other things, religious freedom. A petition has been started and on Friday a demonstration is planned outside the Parliament House in protest against the proposal.

The background of the proposal is said to be the consideration that neo-Nazis in Sweden use the so-called Tyr-rune as a symbol. The fact that this is is the case is something that neither Norse Pagan-believers nor those interested in cultural heritage are particularly happy about.

It is thought, however, that it is not reasonable to deal with this by banning an entire written language and to also violate the freedom of constitutional and convention-protected religion. When the government applies other meanings to the runic script than the real ones, it make the same mistakes as the Nazis, one points out.

“Our attitude is that prejudices and errors are best cured with knowledge and facts! It is not appropriate to try to ban the our symbols on the basis of their own prejudices. To forbid them would be to ban portions of our own history, culture and beliefs – and our right to express them because of political interpretations that have nothing to do with the Ancient Norse Religion!

Contemporary political activists have no right to destroy the expressions of a religion and culture as old as the first evidence of the first human residents of the Norse Region, posted the Asa-samfundet on its website.

According to the government proposal, ancient Norse symbols and jewelry would also be banned as inciting animosity against ethnic groups. This would apply to the Thor’s hammer Mjölner, Odin’s Valknut and the Vegvisir.

The Asa-samfundet has started a campaign against the government’s plans, called “The Rune Battle” with the slogan “Do not touch our runes”. A petition has been started which at the time of writing had gathered nearly 6,000 signatures.

On Friday, May 24, between 14:00 and 16:00, a demonstration is also scheduled at Slottsbacken in connection with which the petition will be submitted to the government.

Interest in the Old Norse has grown strongly in recent times, also internationally, including TV series such as Vikings, The Last Kingdom and Game of Thrones.

Anyone who wants to sign the petition for the protection of the Norse cultural heritage and the right to practice the Old Norse religion can do it HERE.

Anyone who wants to participate in Friday’s manifestation in Stockholm will find more information about the event HERE.

22 May 2019

Not Easy to Choose

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22 May 2019

San Francisco: Now a City Everyone Loves to Hate

The Washington Post updates the condition of the city by the bay which has more billionaires than any other location on earth and also more bums and winos crapping in the street.

San Francisco seems to be what you get when the piratical tradition of Gold Rush Capitalism somehow managed to interbreed with Hippy Dippy Gay Leftism.

Michael Feno stands outside Lucca Ravioli, his beloved pasta emporium on Valencia, a vestige of old San Francisco, puffing on a cigar while posing for pictures, his customers in tears.

Living in this city’s radically shifting landscape, veterinarian Gina Henriksen found comfort by telling herself, “Thank God, Lucca is still here. If Lucca goes, I’m going to have to leave San Francisco. What do we have left?”

Lucca is no longer here.

After 94 years, doors shuttered on the last day of April. The parking lot sold for $3.5 million. A three-building parcel, including the store, listed for $8.3 million and was purchased by — need you inquire? — a developer.

A few blocks away, in this neighborhood of shops hawking $2,600 electric bikes and $8 lemonade, Borderlands Cafe — a throwback with plants cascading from the ceiling — closed the same day after a decade in business.

Owner Alan Beatts couldn’t retain staff, even with a $15 minimum hourly wage. Who can live on $15 an hour in this city transformed by innovation?

How can Alba Guerra, co-owner of nearby Sun Rise restaurant, continue to charge $10.95 for the housemade vegan chorizo platter after her rent spiked 62 percent last year to $7,800 a month?

For decades, this coruscating city of hills, bordered by water on three sides, was a beloved haven for reinvention, a refuge for immigrants, bohemians, artists and outcasts. It was the great American romantic city, the Paris of the West.

No longer. In a time of scarce consensus, everyone agrees that something has rotted in San Francisco.

Conservatives have long loathed it as the axis of liberal politics and political correctness, but now progressives are carping, too. They mourn it for what has been lost, a city that long welcomed everyone and has been altered by an earthquake of wealth. It is a place that people disparage constantly, especially residents.

RTWT

21 May 2019

Navy Changing Pilot Call Sign Protocol After Minority Aviators Report Bias

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CNN reports that the Navy is responding with new rules and “diversity and inclusion” counseling after two minority pilots who had been dropped from fighter training for inferior performance complained of Pilot Sign Protocol Bias.

The head of naval aviation has directed the creation of a new process for approving and reviewing pilots’ call signs after two African-American aviators at an F/A-18 Hornet training squadron in Virginia filed complaints alleging racial bias in the unit, from which they said they were unfairly dismissed.

In a formal endorsement letter signed May 13, Vice Adm. DeWolfe Miller, commander of Naval Air Forces, said he found the two aviators, a Navy lieutenant and a Marine Corps captain, were correctly removed from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 106 out of Naval Air Station Oceana due to “substandard performance,” despite errors and inconsistencies discovered in the grading and ranking process.

However, Miller said he did find inappropriate conduct by instructor pilots who did not treat the pilots-in-training “with appropriate dignity and respect,” using discriminatory call signs and having inappropriate and unprofessional discussions about them on social media.

He directed the Chief of Naval Air Training to have all training command and fleet replacement squadrons in the Navy formalize a call sign assignment and review process within 90 days, including appropriate peer board representation for minority and female aviators. And he recommended that multiple officers, including a Navy captain, receive rebukes, counseling or administrative punishment for their role in events substantiated by the investigation.

Miller also ordered that VFA-106 receive training on appropriate use of social media and that the unit bring in a “diversity and inclusion expert” to train the squadron on unconscious bias and stereotype threat. Similar training, he wrote, will also be added to the curriculum for prospective commanding and executive officer courses and commander training symposia.

RTWT

21 May 2019

How British Colonialism Ended

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“Buggins did it. It was Buggins who, once he got some power, thought he understood things which his dim little mind was never meant to even consider. The bloody little labor M.P.s, Bill this and Sam that, with their mouthings about the exploitation of the native peoples. What do they know about the work we’ve done? About the five years it might take to win over an African chief to the idea of giving up some barbarous and revolting custom, or about the other things in India. But roads, railways, hospitals, schools, hygiene. But Buggins has no use for that. It was done by gentlemen so it is no good. Baggins hates the gentleman because the gentlemen know the value of good things. Baggins is trying to destroy the good things we’ve done.” Through his clenched teeth he said, “God how I loathe and detest Buggins when he’s out of his place.”

— Gerald Hanley, “The Consul at Sunset,” 1951.

21 May 2019

Liberal Democracy is Dying

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Brett Stevens:

We have given in to mundane, socially acceptable evil that we now accept as good, and that starts with individualism/equality, which is the backdoor into the human psyche. All of the stuff that the far-Right detests — diversity, decay in behavior, shattering of the family, international finance, Idiocracy, mass/pop culture, ethnic crime — has its origins in equality or being used to justify equality as a workable program. We target the root, where everyone else is swatting at flies and missing the big point. …

The core of politics for me is realizing that most people mean well, but do not understand how their actions translate to reality. They see a thing, want that thing, and desire that some all-powerful force will make it so, but that is religious thinking, not leadership. Democracy means that whoever sells the most pleasurable lie wins, and as a result society has drifted Leftward. At the close of the twentieth century, however, it had become clear that the liberal West was dying just as the Communist East had done.”

and

CLS:

Successful civilizations lead to weak populations. Weak populations know they are inferior. They know this instinctively. They have no purpose for existing. They don’t articulate this directly. They act it out indirectly by throwing themselves into acts of symbolic importance because they are not capable of acts of importance.

20 May 2019

Next Up For Britain: Spoon Control!

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The Regents Park Police recently proudly posted a photograph of the arms cache collected from a local charity shop, and destined for destruction so that they will not fall into the wrong hands.

I see a large number of undoubtedly dull used paring knives, a few old and cheap chef’s knives, a lowest quality used carving knife, several bread knives, two sharpening steels, two carving forks, a letter opener, a cheap tourist-trade replica barong, a cheap and inaccurate tourist version of a tanto, one fencing foil (these are all blunt), a cake frosting spreader, and a spoon (!).

Now, thank goodness, with that deadly spoon safely off the street, citizens of Regents Park can sleep safe in their beds.

19 May 2019

Bad News: Swiss Give in to EU Gun Control Demands

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Shooting is a popular sport in Switzerland, where families often can be seen heading for the range, carrying their rifles.

Polls predicted that the Swiss would surrender to EU demands for strict controls on semi-automatic firearms for fear of losing membership in the Schengen agreement bloc, which allows people from 26 European nations to enter any of the countries without passport control. The EU has demanded that the Swiss comply with Brussels’ new firearm restrictions if they want to remain in the borderless zone.

BBC:

What the EU wants:

    Under a Revised Firearms directive, a ban on weapons capable of rapidly firing multiple rounds

    Automatic and semi-automatic weapons would either be banned or heavily restricted

    Each owner of such a weapon, and the weapon itself, are known to police across Europe

    All essential weapon components should be clearly labelled and registered electronically

Switzerland has an estimated 2.3 million guns, with a population of 8.5 million.

That figure could be much higher, as only guns acquired since 2008 (when Switzerland first joined Schengen) have to be registered.

The EU wants to ensure that automatic and semi-automatic weapons are either banned or heavily restricted, and that each owner of such a weapon, and the weapon itself, is known to police across Europe.

For non-EU member Switzerland, the idea of Brussels interfering in hallowed Swiss gun traditions is awkward.

The Swiss government wants voters to back the EU directive, but it has also lobbied Brussels hard for exemptions which might make it more palatable. Those semi-automatic army assault rifles, for example, will still be allowed at home if Swiss militia soldiers want them.

The government argues that gun lovers won’t notice the new regulations, while at the same time Switzerland will have preserved its membership of Schengen.

Business leaders say Switzerland’s Schengen open borders have been good for the economy. Police point to data-sharing on crime in the Schengen information system.

Immigration officials warn that if Switzerland votes No and drops out of Schengen, it will lead to a spike in asylum requests from people turned away by neighbouring countries.

That is because it would no longer be covered by the rules under which asylum seekers can only apply to one EU member state for protection.

Switzerland’s political establishment is united in support of the EU’s restrictions, and latest opinion polls show voters may go along with them.

The deciding factor in this vote is likely to be Swiss women, for decades the most vocal campaigners in favour of gun control.

—————————-

And, despite the absence of any Swiss mass shooting problem, and despite Switzerland having a lower crime rate than any of its European neighbors, and despite their own traditions, the Swiss voted by a 63.7% margin to surrender.

Swiss Info.CH:

Voters have endorsed a controversial reform of Swiss gun law to bring it in line with European Union rules.

Final results show the reform winning 63.7% of the ballot on Sunday. The result was much closer in rural regions and voters in canton Ticino rejected the legal amendment.

Ownership of semi-automatic weapons will require regular training on the use of firearms and a serial numbering of major parts of some guns to help track them. …A broad alliance of gun clubs, militia army officers, hunters and collectors, supported by the political right, tried to overturn a decision by parliament last year that limits notably the use of semi-automatic firearms.

The government and most major political parties warned that a rejection of the legal amendment would deny Swiss authorities access to a Europe-wide criminal database and lead to the exclusion of the country from a joint EU security system under the single border Schengen agreement.

Opponents collected the necessary signatures to challenge the decision by parliament, saying the reform was “dictated by the EU” and would lead to “disarming” Switzerland through “useless, dangerous, un-Swiss” measures.

They said that tougher controls on semi-automatic guns and improved traceability of firearms go too far in a country with near-universal conscription, a high rate of gun ownership, but a low crime rate.

Supporters of the amendment argued that the government secured sufficient opt-out clauses in negotiations with the EU, and that Brussels has taken into account Switzerland’s tradition of self-defence and national identity that includes a well-armed citizenry.

“The legal reform respects Switzerland’s time-proven gun tradition,” Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter assured in the run-up to Sunday’s vote.

A majority in parliament, backed by the cantons and the business community, said failure to adopt tougher controls could have serious consequences for police as they risk being cut off from a crucial European database on criminals and suspects.

Supporters were also concerned that exclusion from Europe’s single-border area could complicate cross-border traffic and hamper tourism.

RTWT

19 May 2019

“When Some Films Are Banned, Only Outlaws Will Have Banned Films”

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Walt Disney’s “Song of the South” (1946).

As the Brave New World of 5G Streaming rapidly approaches, films on DVD are facing doom. Who wants to buy and store a gigantic pile of movies, when Amazon, Netflix, and other sites are a remote-click away and ready to stream your movie for you?

But, as Brian Watt points out, your monthly subscription fee is not going to be the only price you pay for convenience at the hands of Our Woke Corporate Overlords.

It should be apparent that the number of movies on discs are already beginning to disappear from brick-and-mortar retailers (Costco, Best Buy, Walmart) even as some brick-and-mortars themselves are beginning to disappear. If you accept the idea that the prerecorded disc market will disappear then you should have the same concerns about censorship that you already have about social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube (Google) because streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and soon Disney and Apple have already established their social justice/politically correct wokeness.

Depending on the continued rise and prevalence of SJW-tinged groupthink by those who run some of the largest media and tech companies, it seems highly likely, for example, that content that runs counter to a Left-leaning political agenda will eventually begin to fade away and be impossible to find in streaming libraries. As with the social media giants, their CEOs and ministers of information will talk a good game about how even-handed and fair they are to all content creators even as they quietly blacklist and censor filmmakers and keep their work from being seen. Amazon has recently curtailed its relationship with Woody Allen in its #MeToo wokeness and will no longer fund or release his new films. Just as others in the academic and social media domains (Brett and Eric Weinstein, Dave Rubin) have found, the authoritarian inclinations of their “liberal” brethren can be quite disturbing, Woody perhaps at some point will admit that he and William F. Buckley may have had more in common than he realized.

There are several older Disney films that already run afoul of today’s SJW zeitgeist. Song of the South will likely never make it to Disney’s soon-to-be-available streaming service. Four years ago, a very woke writer for VH1 listed other Disney films she felt were racist including Peter Pan, Dumbo, Lady and the Tramp, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, and even The Princess and the Frog.

Amos n’ Andy and Uncle Remus have been missing for quite a while. The jive-talking crows from “Dumbo” recently simply got erased, just like fallen members of the 1930s Politiburo.

How much longer will it be before James Cagney’s mysogyinistic grapefruit disappears from “Public Enemy,” and Sam Spade no longer slaps Joel Cairo around, telling him he’ll take it and like it?

John Wayne represents a tall-in-the-saddle affront to everything politically correct, from the full-throated patriotism of all those war movies, to the brawl with Victor McLaglen in “The Quiet Man,” to Maureen O’Hara’s spanking in “McClintock.” How long before the most objectionable John Wayne scenes are deleted and spectacles of white male oppression of Native Americans (“The Searchers” and “The Cavalry Trilogy” and of persons of color (“Sands of Iwo Jima and “The Alamo”) vanish from the catalogs?

RTWT

18 May 2019

That’ll Teach Them!

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Actress and Model Emily Ratajkowski certainly showed those “25 old white men” in the Alabama State Senate who voted for the new Anti-Abortion Law. She punished them, and the rest of the male reactionaries in America, by posting the above photograph of herself on Instagram.

We’re bad. We deserve it. She needs to punish all of us some more.

18 May 2019

“Susan Sontag Was a Monster”

susansontag10

Lauren Elkin, in Aeon, pays tribute to the late Susan Sontag’s “monstrous” appetites for thinking, culture and the arts, and living la vie de la Bohême.”

There are things it has taken me two decades as a serious reader and writer to become aware of or to articulate, things that Sontag noticed straight off the bat in Against Interpretation, at the age of 33. Skimming her essays today, I’m struck by the sharpness of their insights and the breadth of their references. Dismayingly, nearly 20 years after I first read her, I still have not caught up to Sontag, and neither has our critical culture.

You won’t find Hegel, Marx, Nietzsche, Hume or György Lukács nonchalantly dotting the page in criticism today; it is supposed that readers aren’t up for it. But Sontag charges in and dares to distinguish between their good and mediocre work. She isn’t afraid of Jean-Paul Sartre. Writing on his book on Jean Genet, she notes: ‘In Genet, Sartre has found his ideal subject. To be sure, he has drowned in him.’ She stood up to men held up as moral giants. Albert Camus, George Orwell, James Baldwin? Excellent essayists, but overrated as novelists. In 1966, Sontag checked an America that was in thrall to realism and normative morality, demonstrating how to respond to the ‘seers, spiritual adventurers, and social pariahs’ as she put it in her essay on the French dramatist Antonin Artaud.

Her special brand of monstrous relentlessness saw her go in search of paradox. Moderation, and those who practised it, never interested her. It seemed to her like a cop-out. And she believed that only the immoderate rose to the level of the culture-hero: people who took things to extremes, who were ‘repetitive, obsessive, and impolite, who impress by force’, as she wrote of the French philosopher Simone Weil. Sane writers are the least interesting writers, and Sontag had that stripe of insanity, like that grey thatch of hair, that made you sit up and listen, and also made you a little nervous. Her pungent public personality won her a reputation for being, as Sigrid Nunez put it in 2011, ‘a monster of arrogance and inconsideration’. She was a monster – for art. She read everything, watched everything, listened to everything, went to see everything. How did she fit it all in? It’s as if she lived several lives in one. She sat in the middle of the third row at the cinema, so that the image would overwhelm her. She would not, could not, relax. Art was too important. Life was too important.

Look across her many books: she simply does not let up. Every sentence is a new challenge; there is no filler. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve read On Photography (1977), and every time it’s like I’m reading a new book. There’s something very constructed and Germanic about her sentences; I find myself reading her cubistly, not left to right only but also up and down, piecing together what she’s saying chunk by chunk instead of line by line. She quotes very infrequently, and is less interested in local textual moments than in building up a global reading of an author’s work. She frequently revised her opinions, so no sooner have I got a handle on On Photography than she’s off on another tack in Regarding the Pain of Others (2003), further refining it in ‘Photography: a Little Summa’ (2003). She was uninterested in boiling down her views to an easily citable argument; she resisted simplification in every aspect of her life and work.

‘Boring, like servile, was one of her favourite words,’ writes Nunez in Sempre Susan (2011), recalling her time as Sontag’s assistant and her son David’s girlfriend. ‘Another was exemplary. Also, serious.’ The word ‘serious’ and its variants (‘seriousness’, ‘seriously’) appear 120 times in Against Interpretation, a text of 322 pages. That’s every 2.6 pages. For Sontag, seriousness was an all-encompassing, even physical way of being in the world. ‘Yet so far as we love seriousness, as well as life, we are moved by it, nourished by it,’ she wrote in her essay on Weil. ‘In the respect we pay to such lives, we acknowledge the presence of mystery in the world – and mystery is just what the secure possession of the truth, an objective truth, denies.’ Mystery is missing from all that is sage, appropriate, nice, fitting, obedient. Notice Sontag’s emotive, personal choice of words: we are moved by seriousness; it affects her (and, she presumes, her reader) on a primary, physical level.

This is what her detractors so often miss in her work. ‘Mind as Passion’ she called her essay on Canetti. Style. Will. Mind. Passion. These are also words that recur throughout her work. She wasn’t just serious: she was passionate about the mind and its possibilities. The mind, to Sontag, was a feeling organ.

RTWT

I read Against Interpretation during high school, in the 1960s, back in my provincial Pennsylvania small town where films by Bresson and Godard were never shown.

I was already very much on the opposite side of the Culture Wars, but Sontag’s brilliant, deep readings of the cutting edge products and doings of the opposite camp made for fascinating reading. I could not resist falling in love with her intelligence and passionate engagement. I actually traced the cover photo (above) in pencil, and produced a drawing of Sontag of my own and hung it on my wall.

I met her, by accident, years later, and we talked at length, and thereby actually became friendly regular acquaintances. I ran into her frequently at major cultural events in New York in the late 1970s and early ’80s. We always saluted each other, and we sometimes sat together and exchanged comments during a performance. I saw several films in her company at the Bleeker Street Cinema, having run into her by accident. Karen and I sat with her and Lillian Gish during the NYC premiere of the restored print of Abel Gance’s Napoleon (1927), and a merry time was had by all. During the intermission, Sontag introduced us to Steven Spielberg and Gary Lucas with whom she was seeing Hans-Jürgen Syberberg’s Parsifal (1982) at Lincoln Center.

She was certainly the greatest critic of contemporary arts and culture generally of her time. Despite her limitless ambition, she was clearly much less successful as a novelist and director. Her taste and capacity to distinguish and appreciate excellence in the work of others was unsurpassed, but she could not do everything at the same level of excellence. Who can?

I would say that her opinions, life, and work were somewhat adversely affected by the inevitable influence upon a passionate young girl of her ethnicity and background of the culture of her time. But, then, as I’ve previously noted, I am myself a perennial critic and opponent of precisely that culture.

Nonethless, despite her born membership of the Left and her admiration for, and association with, the subculture of Perversity, I still liked and admired her personally. And I do still read her with pleasure.

She was guilty of a couple of very unfortunate political statements and, like all the rest of the community of fashion, she was wrong on Vietnam and wrong on pretty much everything politically, but still, in the early ’80s, she condemned a number of Communist atrocities and seemed teetering, for a while, on the edge of breaking with the Left. I won’t tell you the whole story now, but I know that it could have happened.

16 May 2019

Papa Hemingway’s WWII Expense Report: $187,000 in 2019 Dollars

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Looking for his lighter, somewhere in France, WWII.

Hiring Hemingway as War Correspondent could be expensive, as Collier’s learned the hard way: “His expenses in London included $680 (about $9,700 in 2019 money) for hire of a car and chauffeur, $220 ($3,100) for laundry, newspapers and tips, and a total of $1,824 ($26,000) for entertaining officers, meals with fighter pilots and three dinners with British politicians and newspaper proprietors. … He charged the magazine for things that got lost or destroyed, including $350 ($5,000) for field glasses ruined in Schnee Eifel and a typewriter destroyed at St. Lo. His entertainment budget for this segment of the trip ran to $2,200 ($31,000).” And so on.

Columbia Journalism Review:

Collier’s, a glossy weekly with a circulation of 2.8 million, was known as a forum for stellar writing. It was perhaps the most prestigious magazine in America, rivaled only by The Saturday Evening Post. It had commissioned Hemingway to cover what are now some of the most famous events in history, including the western Allies’ invasion of France and the collapse of the Third Reich.

We might have remembered that reportage alongside the best of his fiction. But we don’t—because Hemingway’s stint at Collier’s was a disaster.

His editors in New York were unimpressed with the six articles he filed. They were heroic portrayals, as requested, but of himself as much as of the protagonists in the epic events he was covering. Though he’d proven himself a capable war correspondent in Spain, China, and elsewhere, he had grown to dislike journalism. The relationship with Collier’s was cursed from the outset, and by the end of the war it had descended into a spat over an expense claim for about $13,000—or $187,000 in today’s money.

RTWT

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