Archive for June, 2017
24 Jun 2017

Russian Lit Bingo Board

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24 Jun 2017

Leftism Dead, But Refusing to Lie Down

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Bret Stevens contends that we are living in a time of broken politics because the Left petulantly refuses to face the reality that its ideas have all failed.

[T]he Left is playing a new game which involves trying to mentally separate the concepts of “neoliberalism” from the rest of the Left. They do not want to own the disaster they created, so they came up with a scapegoat: capitalism. In Leftist symbolic reality, capitalism took over the Left and created “neoliberalism,” where True Leftists resisted.

Perhaps the bigger story is that they do not want to point out that they created a managerial society, applying the tactics of business and the military toward ordering people around. This is what the Left do, because they are oriented toward control, or everyone doing the same things all the time so that those in power are secure.

This is typical of the one-dimensional categorical order in which Leftists think. To them, there are the True Believers who know what is right and must be done, and then the masses who must be ordered around. Instead of a hierarchy with multiple levels, for them there are only the controllers and the controlled.

Their strategy is utilitarianism, which is the opposite of having purpose. Utilitarians ask people what will make them happy, and people respond with short-term answers, scapegoats, justifications and the other products of the usual flow of neurotic insanity. They never connect the dots and see that having a thriving, stable civilization is what they need, and everything else are personal problems that they as individuals need to fix. Government cannot do that.

24 Jun 2017

The School of British Accents

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First preview episode of a new YouTube video series in which seven native speakers teach immigrants to Britain how to speak Cockney, Scottish, Scouse, Welsh, Wes Country, Yorkshire, and Geordie.

HT: Karen L. Myers.

23 Jun 2017

Interactive Tour of Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights

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22 Jun 2017

Tattletales Went Sneaking to Prigs at Harvard

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The Tab has examples of the naughty jokes posted in a private Facebook group that led to ten students admitted to the Harvard Class of 2021 having their admissions rescinded.

We learn, too, that the authorities at Harvard found out about the offending postings in the first place because a number of fellow future Harvard classmates tattled to the Admissions Office.

Wow! Maybe having one’s admission rescinded and not attending college for four years with certain sanctimonious little shits isn’t such a misfortune after all. Me, if I were running that Admissions Office, I’d have rescinded the admissions of all the little sneaks who ratted out their classmates.

Wyatt Hurt, another member of the Class of 2021, said: “I wasn’t surprised by the actions of the administration and I thought that they were the right actions to take. Other students I’ve talked to, from Harvard and otherwise, all generally agree that it was the right action as well.

“Harvard is one of the schools that is shaping the leaders of the future – it’s absolutely a privilege to attend, and when those students posted such hateful material it became clear that they weren’t honoring that privilege.

“As far as how administration found out, I know that a few other admitted students sent screenshots to the admissions office.”

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Apart from our contemporary era’s loss of consciousness of the sense of loyalty and group solidarity that, in the past, would have regarded informing on a fellow classmate as contemptible and dishonorable, reading all this caused me to reflect once again that the Great Big Brains running our most illustrious Establishment institutions are not only fascist prigs, they are just plain stupid.

The people running the Harvard Admissions Office demonstrably not only lack senses of humor, they clearly do not understand how humor works.

To regard posting memes based upon transgressive humor as a punishable offense, you would have to be taking the joke literally, as an authentic statement of a real proposition or opinion, which is, of course, absurd. Humor works in a variety of ways. One pretty well-known kind of humor is the genre of transgressive humor, a category that would include the “dirty joke.” There is no mystery here. Everyone ought to recognize the kind of jokes I am referring to. Minority and Gay and Left-wing comedians all make very much a specialty of using jokes which cross taboo lines, jokes which violate propriety and conventional bourgeois sensibilities.

This is actually perfectly natural in comedy. One basic way that humor works is by the reversal of the audience’s expectation, what Gilbert & Sullivan, who in their comic operettas amused audiences by having respectable principals humorously disclose the basest and most cynical motivations in song, referred to a Topsy-Turvy-dom. There are all sorts of ways of reversing the audience’s expectation to get a laugh. One can have a cartoon cat chase the dog, the rabbit defeat the hunter, the roadrunner best the coyote again and again. And, another standard technique of humor is to deliberately cross the boundaries of proper language, sexual reference, or propriety. In our own age, in which political correctness is a potent force, violating PC by mocking or expressing negative attitudes toward minority sacred cows is obviously a potential gold mine for improper humor.

When a person tells a travelling salesman joke, it actually does not mean that he literally despises farmers and their daughters, or that he really thinks farmer’s daughters are readily seducible. When someone repeats an ethnic or racial joke, it does not mean that the person literally believes its contents to be true, or that he is a bigot or a racist.

Indulging in improper, off-color humor can be a way of letting of steam, or a way of expressing momentary boredom with the obligations of propriety. It can even be a way of reinforcing group solidarity, by causing members of a group (a bunch of the men at a party or some group of soon-to-be-entering Harvard freshmen) to collaborate in mischievously and covertly violating social norms. This, of course, is why, a few years ago, the DKE initiation at Yale had pledges stand outside the Feminist Center and chant: “No means yes!”

When adult authorities at places like Yale and Harvard routinely mistake mildly rambunctious adolescent speech in obviously humorous contexts for authentic forms of thought crime, I would contend, it demonstrates that levels of both mutton-headed stupidity and sanctimonious self-righteousness on the part of the people running things in those places have risen to intolerable levels.

22 Jun 2017

Ossoff Lost George 6th

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22 Jun 2017

Quotation of the Day

“No matter how much you feed the wolf, he will always look to the forest.”

— Marina Tsvetaeva, Eight Essays on Poetry, 1932.

HT: Karen L. Myers.

21 Jun 2017

Partitioning Illinois

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Illinois pols gave government employee unions the key to the vault and the state is now bankrupt and without a plan. John Kass has a modest proposal for what to do next.

Dissolve Illinois. Decommission the state, tear up the charter, whatever the legal mumbo-jumbo, just end the whole dang thing.

We just disappear. With no pain. That’s right. You heard me.

The best thing to do is to break Illinois into pieces right now. Just wipe us off the map. Cut us out of America’s heartland and let neighboring states carve us up and take the best chunks for themselves.

The group that will scream the loudest is the state’s political class, who did this to us, and the big bond creditors, who are whispering talk of bankruptcy and asset forfeiture to save their own skins.

But our beloved Illinois has proved that it just doesn’t deserve to survive.

So why not let our friendly neighbors like Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri and Kentucky just take the parts they want?

As you can see by the excellent “Kevorkian Illinois” map that accompanies this column, this plan is visionary.

The alternative is hell. Illinois hasn’t had a state budget for years. The state continues to spend money it doesn’t have, and the state’s credit ratings have dropped, increasing the cost of borrowing more money we don’t have to keep the rotten shebang going.

Bills pile up; Moody’s Investor Service says taxpayers are on the hook for $251 billion in unfunded public union pension liabilities.

Boss Mike Madigan, king of the Democrats who control things, wants tax increases but no real structural reform to bring stability to The Venezuela of the Midwest.

And the whispers of bankruptcy won’t help the average (remaining) taxpaying chumbolones like you and me who don’t want to leave our homes but who’ll get stuck with the bills.

Since our neighboring states are doing better, taking Illinois jobs and businesses and Illinois workers and taxpaying families, they might as well just take the rest of Illinois, too, dammit.

Wisconsin can have Chicago and begin calling it “South Milwaukee.”

Naturally, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel will fight this. He needs a job. And he’ll most likely beg his friends at The New York Times and the Washington Post to write angry editorials to save him. And these will be full of concern for the republic and those dispossessed Midwestern salt-of-the-earth taxpaying Americans, as if.

Sadly, Wisconsin probably won’t want Rahm, either. So to spare hurt feelings, I propose carving out 40 acres around the mayor’s home so Rahm might be prince of his own country:

Rahmonia.

And Cook County Board President Toni “Taxwinkle” Preckwinkle will fight it, too, so she needs something to soothe her ambitions:

A grant of land as large as a case of the soda pop she taxes, so that she might stand on it and proclaim herself Queen of Taxwinkletopia.

If there are portions of Illinois that the other states don’t want, they may be left as federal territory, a wilderness where only the strong survive and peasants and friendly propagandists kneel and beg for crumbs.

RTWT

21 Jun 2017

Georgia Runoff Election

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From Harriet Lublin.

20 Jun 2017

Cats Have Enslaved Humans For Millennia…

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The Atlantic has an article describing a DNA study apparently determining the geographic and temporal origins of the feline conspiracy to use mankind to do all the work of providing food and shelter.

Sometime around the invention of agriculture, the cats came crawling. It was mice and rats, probably, that attracted the wild felines. The rats came because of stores of grain, made possible by human agriculture. And so cats and humans began their millennia-long coexistence.

This relationship has been good for us of course—formerly because cats caught the disease-carrying pests stealing our food and presently because cleaning up their hairballs somehow gives purpose to our modern lives. But this relationship has been great for cats as species, too. From their native home in the Middle East, the first tamed cats followed humans out on ships and expeditions to take over the world—settling on six continents with even the occasional foray to Antarctica. Domestication has been a fantastically successful evolutionary strategy for cats.

A comprehensive new study of DNA from ancient cat skeletons and mummies spanning 9,000 years traces the spread of cats from the Middle East to the rest of the world. …

Modern domestic cats appear to have all originated in one of two places. The first was Anatolia, which roughly corresponds to modern-day Turkey. These cats spread to Europe as early as 4,400 B.C.E. A second domesticated lineage appears to have begun in Egypt and then later spread through the Mediterranean. And wherever the cats followed humans, they also interbred with the native wildcats already there.

This DNA exchange went both directions along the trade routes, too. That led to what, at first, seemed like baffling results in the ancient DNA. For example, a 2,000-year-old cat in Egypt had DNA sequences typical of wildcats in India. Claudio Ottoni, another member of the research team now at the University of Oslo, remembers thinking it was a mistake when he first got the sequences back on his laptop. In fact, that cat was found in an ancient Roman port city called Berenike, which was directly connected to trade routes in the Indian Ocean. Humans brought cats onto ships to catch mice and, in the process, spread cats all around the world.

Compared to many other animals, cats have also changed very little in the domestication process. Behaviorally, they’ve become more tolerant of humans. Physically, though, they’re still about the same size and shape. They still like to pounce on small prey. “Cats have done since before they were domesticated what we needed them to do,” says Leslie Lyons, a feline geneticist at the University of Missouri. In other words, unlike dogs that herd sheep or hunt badgers, cats didn’t need humans to breed them to become good mouse hunters.

RTWT

20 Jun 2017

Act of Terrorism?

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USS Fitzgerald

John Steele Gordon explains that the collision of that Philippine cargo ship with the American destroyer USS Fitzgerald may very well have not been an accident.

What happened? It was 1:30 in the morning, to be sure, but the night was clear. Ships not only have watches, they have running lights and radar. They also have transponders so other ships in the area can know exactly where they are. And destroyers, unlike cargo containers, are extremely nimble ships, capable of both high speed (over 30 knots in the Fitzgerald’s case) and quick maneuvering. It’s what they’re designed for.

The container ship was to starboard and so had the right of way. But the officer of the deck and the rest of the watch should have had no trouble whatever keeping clear, even in the very crowded waters near one of the world’s great harbors. If it was just hugely incompetent seamanship, then heads, including the captain’s, will roll.

But was it? It seems almost impossible to imagine such incompetence in a highly trained U.S. Navy crew. (How highly trained, is shown by the fact that they were able to keep the ship afloat after being rammed at considerable speed in the middle of the night.)

And, indeed, there are reports that make it seem that something far more sinister might have been afoot. The AP is reporting that the crash, originally reported as happening at 2:20 AM, after the Japanese Coast Guard was notified by the container ship at 2:25. But it now seems that the event happened at 1:30 AM. The Fitzgerald was fighting for its life, but what kept the container ship from reporting something so serious for nearly an hour?

Further, there is at least one report, by Tom Lifson at the American Thinker, indicating that the container ship had had both its running lights and transponder off. Since that would have severely compromised its own safety, it’s hard to imagine anything but intent to ram the Fitzgerald.

It’s far too early to be sure of anything. But the only two explanations for this would seem to be extraordinary incompetence on the part of the Fitzgerald or evil intent on the part of the container ship. If it’s the latter, then we have a phrase for that: asymmetric warfare.

19 Jun 2017

Recurring Cycle

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