Category Archive 'Decadence'
07 Aug 2019

The Real Problem With America’s Elite

, , , ,

Natalia Dashan brilliantly explains why the Radical Left is winning at elite schools like Yale and everywhere else in the National Establishment.

Western elites are not comfortable with their place in society and the responsibilities that come with it, and realize that there are deep structural problems with the old systems of coordination. But lacking the capacity for an orderly restructuring, or even a diagnosis of problems and needs, we dive deeper into a chaotic ideological mode of coordination that sweeps away the old structures.

When you live with this mindset, what you end up with is not an establishment where a woke upper class rallies and advocates for the rights of minorities, the poor, and underprivileged groups. What you have is a blind and self-righteous upper class that becomes structurally unable to take coordinated responsibility. You get stuck in an ideological mode of coordination, where no one can speak the truth to correct collective mistakes and overreaches without losing position.

This ideology is promulgated and advertised by universities, but it doesn’t start or stop at universities. All the fundraisers. All the corporate events. The Oscars. Let’s take down the Man. They say this in front of their PowerPoints. They clink champagne glasses. Let’s take down the Man! But there is no real spirit of revolution in these words. It is all in the language they understand—polite and clean, because it isn’t really real. It is a performative spectacle about their own morale and guilt.

If you were the ruler while everything was burning around you, and you didn’t know what to do, what would you do? You would deny that you are in charge. And you would recuperate the growing discontented masses into your own power base, so that things stay comfortable for you.

Yale students, if they weren’t powerful when they came in (and most of them were), they gain power by being bestowed a Yale degree. What would you do with this power? You don’t want to abuse it; you’re not outright evil. No, you want something different. You want to be absolved of your power. You are ashamed of your power. Why should you have it, and not somebody else—maybe somebody more deserving? You never really signed up for this. You would rather be somebody normal. But not, “normal,” normal. More like normal with options and vacations and money “normal.” Normal but still powerful. Or you want to be something even better than normal. You want to be the underdog. There is always a certain strange sense of pleasure in being an underdog. Expectations are lower. Whenever you accomplish anything at all—it is an accomplishment. You would rather have a narrative story of “coming up from the bottom.” Someone who not only does not have the responsibility of power, but someone who has a right to feel resentful of those who do. And better yet—someone who can use this resentment as a tool for self-interest.

How do Yale students give up their power? They do this in one of two ways. One way is termed selling out. This usually means taking a high-paying job at an institution that is at worst blatantly unethical, and at best not intentionally idealistic. A consulting job, a meaningless tech job, or a position at an investment bank. This is generally seen as the selfish route.

But there is more to selling out that nobody talks about. These jobs are the dream jobs of the middle class. They’re not supposed to be jobs for the sons and daughters of millionaires and billionaires—these kids don’t actually need the money. They want independence from their parents and proof that they can make it on their own—and prestigious work experience—but they have wealth acquired through generations that they can always fall back on. These people are generally as harmless as the middle class—which is to say completely harmless. They keep to themselves. They quietly grow their bank accounts and their 401ks. And just like the real middle class, they don’t want to risk their next promotion through being too outspoken. They have virtually no political power. This mindset is best encapsulated by: “I’ll go with the program. Please leave me alone to be comfortable and quietly make money.”

They effectively become middle class, because there is no longer any socially esteemed notion of upper class. They have a base of power, of f-you money, that they could use to become something greater than just another office worker or businessperson. But there is no script for that, no institutional or ideological support. What would it even mean to be an esteemed, blue-blooded aristocrat in 2019? So they take the easy and safe way.

How else do Yale students give up their responsibility?

They go in the other direction. These are the people who call themselves idealists and say they want to save the world. They feel the weight of responsibility from their social status—but they don’t know how to process and integrate this responsibility into their lives properly. Traditionally, structurally well-organized elite institutions would absorb and direct this benevolent impulse to useful purpose. But our traditional institutions have decayed and lost their credibility, so these idealists start looking for alternatives, and start signalling dissociation from those now-disreputable class markers.

But the capacity to really think through what an alternative should look like, and create one, is so rare as to be effectively nonexistent. Instead, idealists are forced to take the easy way of just going along with dominant ideological narratives of what it means to do good. They feel guilty about their wealth and privileges, and feel that they won’t be doing their part unless they do something very altruistic, and the idealistic ideologies reinforce these feelings. So they go overboard, and rush headlong into whatever they are supposed to do. They purport to speak for and be allied with underprivileged groups. They get their professors fired for minor infractions. They frantically tear down whatever vestiges of the old institutions and hierarchies that they can, and conspicuously feel guilty about the rest.

These are the people who buy clothes from Salvation Army and decline your Sunday brunch invitation because it’s too expensive, sometimes with the implication that they are saving their money to donate to more effective causes, if they aren’t pretending not to have it. They are the people who might attack or cut off their friends for ideological reasons. They discharge their personal responsibility by sacrificing everything outside of their distant mission, including friendships and social fabric.

It’s an understandable impulse. After all, given the state of legacy institutions, what else are you going to do with the energy of idealism? But ultimately, by going along with the narratives of an ideology that can efficiently capture these impulses, but has no structural ability to deliver on its promises, just diverts more energy from what a normal benevolent elite should be doing.

These people might sometimes say that they are “tired of fighting”—but this is not the full truth. Fighting is fun. It is always very fun to be a warrior—to have something you believe in that guides you. To be part of a tribe, working for the good of mankind. To be revered and respected for being on the bleeding edge of the paradigm.

Especially when you’re winning.

A must-read.

04 Aug 2019

Progress!

, , , ,

23 Jun 2019

California

,

HT: Vanderleun.

21 Jun 2019

Would Hemingway Have Ever Worn Perfume?

, , , ,

Not a bloody chance in Hell.

But here, in the Age of the Millennial, there are scrimshankers out there marketing a line of “Hemingway Accoutrements,” including, no less, a 1.7 oz (tiny!) bottle of “Ernest Hemingway Signature Eau de Parfum Cologne” for $65!

There’s clearly too much money in Brooklyn and in Portland.

Catch the ad copy:

The one-of-a-kind fragrance of the Hemingway Accoutrements Signature Eau de Parfum Cologne is a transcendent fragrance that will keep you returning time and time again.

Each satisfying inhale calms the soul with its rich, deep and sophisticated blend that opens with a surprising yet satisfying aroma of grapefruit. Very much like the citrus notes of the Daiquiri named after Ernest Hemingway himself.

While the grapefruit note lightly persists throughout it generously gives way to a complex fusion of deep bourbon, classic cedarwood, and rich full grain leather.

Underlying that richness, you’ll enjoy the warmth of honey-like amber, smooth sandalwood, fine tobacco, and Madagascar vanilla.

As you savor each whiff, you can’t help to think that this must have been the aroma that permeated the atmosphere of Papa’s Havana home.

What! no Hoppe’s Number 9?

21 May 2019

Liberal Democracy is Dying

, , , ,

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.

23 Apr 2019

Camille Paglia: “The Movement Towards Androgyny Occurs in Late Phases of Culture, as a Civilization is Starting to Unravel”

, , , , ,

“The movement towards androgyny occurs in late phases of culture, as a civilization is starting to unravel. You can find it again and again and again through history. In the Greek art you could see it happening. All of a sudden the sculptures of handsome nude young men, athletes, that used to be very robust in the archaic period, suddenly begin to seem like wet noodles toward the end. And the people who live in such periods (late phases of culture) — whether it’s the Hellenistic era, whether it’s the Roman Empire, whether it’s the Mauve decade of Oscar Wilde in the 1890s, whether it’s Weimar Germany — people who live in such times feel that they are very sophisticated, they’re very cosmopolitan: “homosexuality, heterosexuality, so what, anything goes, and so on…” But from the perspective of historical distance, you can see that it’s a culture that no longer believes in itself. And then what you invariably get are people who are convinced of the power of heroic masculinity on the edges. Whether they be the Vandals and the Huns, or whether they’re the barbarians of ISIS, you see them starting to mass on the outsides of the culture. And that’s what we have right now. There’s a tremendous disconnect between the infatuation with the transgender movement in our own culture and what’s going on out there.”

05 Apr 2019

First World Problems

,

Tam complains:

Bobbi’s working the weird shift this week, which generally means we eat lunch together, but then she goes to bed and I shift for myself for dinner.

Having put on pounds again during The Year Without A Summer, I’m back to watching carbs and tracking calories and stuff like that. Also, I’ve generally stopped drinking for a bit, since there are low-carb ways to drink, but those are all super calorie dense.

(Another change this triggered is going to caffeine-free sodas after about 6PM and some melatonin right before bed.)

Anyway, last night after the cats got their 6PM feeding I toddled over to Fresh Market on foot for some nigiri and those tasty coconut snacks. It had gotten warm enough that I was a little leery of walking home with the nigiri, but I figured I’d just buy an Amy’s cheese enchilada frozen dinner and toss that in the bag to keep the fish cold for the eight-minute walk home.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to worry about that, since the sushi counter was all out of nigiri, and they were sold out of both the coconut snacks and the Amy’s cheese enchiladas.

“Jesus, I live in a food desert!” I muttered, as I bought some manchego cheese and a bag of organic sprouted pizza flavor almonds as a consolation prize and trudged home.

HT: Glenn Reynolds.

23 Mar 2019

I Didn’t Make this Culture, I Just Report on It

, , ,

Tyler Durdin tells us that looking poor is hip this year, but looking poor can also be expensive.

A pre-soiled, distressed pair of Gucci sneakers will set you back $870.

03 Mar 2019

We Are the Barbarians Living in the Ruins of a Superior Civilization

, , , ,


Yale’s Brutalist Art and Architecture Building, designed by Paul Rudolph 1963.

“How did it ever happen that, when the dregs of the world had collected in western Europe, when Goth and Frank and Norman and Lombard had mingled with the rot of old Rome to form a patchwork of hybrid races, all of them notable for ferocity, hatred, stupidity, craftiness, lust, and brutality—how did it happen that, from all of this, there should come Gregorian chant, monasteries and cathedrals, the poems of Prudentius, the commentaries and histories of Bede, the Moralia of Gregory the Great, St. Augustine’s City of God, and his Trinity, the writings of Anselm, St. Bernard’s sermons on the Canticles, the poetry of Caedmon and Cynewulf and Langland and Dante, St. Thomas’ Summa, and the Oxoniense of Duns Scotus? How does it happen that even today a couple of ordinary French stonemasons, or a carpenter and his apprentice, can put up a dovecote or a barn that has more architectural perfection than the piles of eclectic stupidity that grow up at the cost of millions of dollars on the campuses of American universities?”

— Thomas Merton, “The Seven Story Mountain”.

HT: Vanderleun.

20 Sep 2018

Self-Abolition of Western Man

, , ,

Malcolm Muggeridge:

“So the final conclusion would surely be that whereas other civilisations have been brought down by attacks of barbarians from without, ours had the unique distinction of training its own destroyers at its own educational institutions, and then providing them with facilities for propagating their destructive ideology far and wide, all at the public expense. Thus did Western Man decide to abolish himself, creating his own boredom out of his own affluence, his own vulnerability out of his own strength, his own impotence out of his own erotomania, himself blowing the trumpet that brought the walls of his own city tumbling down, and having convinced himself that he was too numerous, laboured with pill and scalpel and syringe to make himself fewer. Until at last, having educated himself into imbecility, and polluted and drugged himself into stupefaction, he keeled over–a weary, battered old brontosaurus–and became extinct.”

13 Sep 2018

“Diversity is our Strength”

, , , ,


Hussein Khavari, murderer of Maria Ladenburger.

Mark Steyn addresses the nonsense.

    This [via a commenter], from Breitbart London and dated 9/11/18, pretty much sums up where the West is at since 9/11: ‘Austria has rejected the asylum claim of an Afghan national who claims to be fleeing persecution for being homosexual after not being able to find any gay pornography on his mobile phone.’ It sounds like the Babylon Bee, but isn’t.

Just so. When historians are poring through the rubble of our civilization, that one sentence will pretty much cover the entirety of the situation in 2018. In fact, denying asylum claims on the grounds of insufficient gay porn on applicants’ telephones may be the best shot Trump has at getting any meaningful immigration policy past the average District Court judge. Although maybe he should add trans porn, too.

Incidentally, for a Pushtun goatherd or whatever he is, the Afghan guy isn’t the least bit stupid: He’s smart enough to know that claiming to be LGBTQWERTY gets you into the express check-in, so why not give gay taqiyyah (tagayyah?) a whirl?

Yet there is also a tragic, suicidal and sacrificial quality to our diversity stupidity:

    ‘We took him in as if he were a son,’ the girl’s father said, according to the Bild tabloid newspaper. He has lost his only daughter. She was stabbed and killed by her former boyfriend, an unaccompanied refugee from Afghanistan.

And there is also a decadence to our stupidity. When Maria Ladenburger was raped and murdered by another fake “child migrant” from Afghanistan, her father, a senior official at the European Commission, asked for donations to be made in her memory to a “refugee charity“.

I hear echoes of poor Maria Ladenburger’s case in the reactions to other recent killings: we are tiptoeing very close to conscious child sacrifice in the cause of “diversity”. As I reminded Louise Arbour and Simon Schama in the Munk Debate, with regard to their own societies, the differences between Quebec francophones and Ontario anglophones or between Irish Catholics and Protestants are, in the scheme of things, peripheral and footling. Yet they have caused profound intractable divisions that echo down the centuries. But relax, the differences between, say, secular Swedes and Afghan Muslims are gonna be a breeze …because “diversity is our strength”.

RTWT

05 Sep 2018

WSJ Reviewer Eats a $180 Steak Sandwich

, , ,

Somebody has to try these things for the rest of us. Jason Gay did.

I ate a $180 steak sandwich. Not for me; don’t be ridiculous. I did it for journalism.

Let’s dispense with the obvious: A $180 steak sandwich is an indefensible purchase. It is a foodstuff strictly for vulgarians, a decadent symbol of 21st-century gluttony and the over-luxurification of everything. To buy it is to wallow in one’s privilege, one’s shameless indifference to the plight of humankind.

Other than that, it’s pretty tasty. …

Unlike, say, the beignets at New Orleans’ Cafe du Monde, the Don Wagyu $180 sandwich seems to be less of a foodie’s bucket-list experience than a freak-show curiosity: How could a sandwich cost as much as a plane ticket to Florida? This is, after all, the type of thing that makes the rest of the planet think New Yorkers are out of their minds. Was the $180 sandwich a legitimate food experience or some kind of commentary on late-stage capitalism?

I should call the sandwich by its real name: the A5 Ozaki. The “A5” is a reference to the summit-grade of Japanese beef, and “Ozaki” is the farm from which Don Wagyu gets the meat (the only U.S. establishment to receive it, the server says while I’m there). Don Wagyu also serves more affordable Katsu sandos—there’s a $22 off-menu burger, for example—but the $180 Ozaki is the cleanup hitter at the bottom of the menu. It is served medium-rare.

Ordering the A5 Ozaki is not a showy experience. The lights do not dim, the kitchen does not clap; it does not require much more of a wait than a turkey club at a diner. A slice of beef is encrusted with panko, fried, placed on toasted white bread and served quartered, like a preschooler’s PB&J. Nori-sprinkled french fries and a pickle spear are the only accompaniments.

Breaking news: I liked it. I’m not a food critic. I hardly know my cuts of meat, and I cannot offer a detailed analysis of why the A5 Ozaki is $100 more of an event than the closest-priced item, the A5 Miyazaki. I will not try to justify paying such an absurd amount for a single piece of food, especially one that can be tidily consumed in the space of five minutes. But the A5 Ozaki was light and buttery to the point of being almost ethereal, as if the sandwich knew the pressure of delivering on its comical price.

Which, of course, it does not. There is no sandwich that is possibly worth $180. But that’s the thrill (and the crime) of extravagance, is it not? Eating this thing felt right and completely wrong—more like a caper than a lunch.

RTWT

Your are browsing
the Archives of Never Yet Melted in the 'Decadence' Category.











Feeds
Entries (RSS)
Comments (RSS)
Feed Shark