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September 2012

Elsewhere (71)

Mark Steyn marvels at progressive poster girl and prodigious contraceptive user Sandra Fluke: 

Sandra Fluke… completed her education a few weeks ago - at the age of 31, or Grade 25. Before going to Georgetown, she warmed up with a little light bullshit in Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies from Cornell. She then studied law at one of the most prestigious institutions in the nation, where tuition costs 50 grand a year. The average starting salary for a Georgetown Law graduate is $160,000 per annum - first job, first paycheck. So this is America’s best and brightest - or, at any rate, most expensively credentialed. Sandra Fluke has been blessed with a quarter-million dollars of elite education, and, on the evidence of Wednesday night, is entirely incapable of making a coherent argument. She has enjoyed the leisurely decade-long varsity once reserved for the minor sons of Mitteleuropean grand dukes, and she has concluded that the most urgent need facing the Brokest Nation in History is for someone else to pay for the contraception of 30-year-old children. 

For some, being a liberated feminist apparently means being dependent on the state for as much as possible for as long as possible, even in the bedroom. And so the radical thing, the righteous thing, is to demand public subsidy of your sex life, and to do this with pride

Some of you may recall the bizarre racial odyssey of Elizabeth Warren, whose claims of Cherokee exoticism provided some amusement for readers with cruel, blackened hearts. Elephants Gerald steers us to these tweets by Ace of Spades, in which he poses some questions for academia’s very own Fauxcahontas

Here’s one. Here’s anotherAnd a third

Theodore Dalrymple on Daniel Hannan’s book, A Doomed Marriage: Britain and Europe

Without the European Union, they say, there would be no peace; when it’s pointed out that the Union is the consequence of peace, not its cause, they say that no small country can survive on its own. When it is pointed out that Singapore, Switzerland, and Norway seem to have no difficulties in that regard, they say that pan-European regulations create economies of scale that promote productive efficiency. When it is pointed out that European productivity lags behind the rest of the world’s, they say that European social protections are more generous than anywhere else. If it is then noted that long-term unemployment rates in Europe are higher than elsewhere, another apology follows. The fact is that for European politicians and bureaucrats, the European Project is like God - good by definition, which means that they have subsequently to work out a theodicy to explain, or explain away, its manifest and manifold deficiencies.

And Thomas Sowell ponders sleight-of-hand and class war economics: 

We have heard many times from President Barack Obama how he plans to raise taxes on “millionaires and billionaires,” but not on the middle class. Apparently, if you don’t happen to be a millionaire or billionaire, you don’t have to worry. But the numbers say otherwise - and say so big time. The actual tax increase plans being proposed by Obama do not start with people who have an income of a million dollars a year. They start with people with incomes of $250,000 and up. According to the Internal Revenue Service, there are more than 2,700,000 people who earn $250,000 a year or more - and fewer than one-tenth of them earn a million dollars or more. So more than nine-tenths of the people who would be hit with the higher taxes supposedly aimed at “millionaires and billionaires” are neither. When businesses advertise one thing and then actually sell something else, that is called “bait and switch” advertising. That is exactly what President Obama is doing with his proposed tax increases on “millionaires and billionaires.”

As regulars will know, even taking everything those evil rich people have earned – every last dime – still wouldn’t balance the books. But then Obama has said that “fairness,” as he imagines it, is more important than optimising revenue or balancing the books. If punitive taxes on those deemed rich have counterproductive effects – say, by reducing tax revenue and job creation – an effect noted and studied by some of Obama’s own staff - this can be overlooked in the name of so-called “fairness.” And if class war rhetoric makes envious people vote for him regardless, that’s what matters. Hope and change, people. 

Feel free to add your own links and snippets in the comments.

Friday Ephemera

Man pulls gun after neighbour’s aggressive flatulence. // Big baby potty has horn to signal task completion. // Customs declaration of note, 1969. // What happens when 600 lbs. of lava, at a temperature of 1371 degrees Celsius, meets ice? // Which US president would win in a knife fight? (h/t, Dean Cardno) // Worst boyfriend ever. // Why parents rarely want their children to be artists, part 3. // Baby hedgehogs. // Hamsters discover physics. // One-handed condom wrapper. // Tragedy. // An animated guide to teachers’ unions. Yes, the teachers’ unions are a blessing to us all. // You know, for kids. // At last, a Yuri Gagarin face-hugger toy. 

Spanking One’s Own Arse

Robert Wargas on letting others know you’re insufficiently black:

Since progressivism is largely a status game, in which people compete for social prestige by repeating a set of approved phrases and opinions to other status-seeking mandarins, it’s not surprising that some will go to sado-masochistic lengths to remain part of the alpha group. By now, the increasingly creepy tendency of using the word ‘white’ as a glib insult has become well established in left-wing commentary… One must continually prove oneself to be part of the correct crowd. Purity, you see, comes from ritual self-abasement, from flogging oneself in columns and blog posts and from swearing through gritted teeth that you love every minute of it.

See, for instance, our thrilling series Agonies of the Left. Or this. And yes, it can get quite heated and competitive. In the process, some will indeed tie themselves in rhetorical and emotional knots. And so we learn that the way to get past small differences in physiology is to continually fixate on small differences in physiology. And those who choose not to do this and aren’t terribly interested in a person’s pigmentation are to be denounced as “neo-racists.” Because “to ignore race is to be more racist than to acknowledge race.” It’s very clever. Guilt in all directions. Why, it almost sounds like a trap.

But as illustrated here some time ago, pretentious guilt must be cultivated if you want to get ahead, at least in certain circles:

One needn’t be a cartoon Tory to marvel at Decca Aitkenhead’s classic Guardian piece, Their Homophobia is Our Fault, in which she insisted that the “precarious, over-exaggerated masculinity” and murderous homophobia of some Jamaican reggae stars are products of the “sodomy of male slaves by their white owners.” And that the “vilification of Jamaican homophobia implies… a failure to accept post-colonial politics.” Thus, sympathetic readers could feel guilty not only for “vilifying” the homicidal sentiments of some Jamaican musicians, but also for the culpability of their own collective ancestors. One wonders how those gripped by this fiendish dilemma could even begin to resolve their twofold feelings of shame. It’s important to understand these are not just lapses in logic or random fits of insincerity; these outpourings are displays – of class and moral elevation. Which is why they persist, despite getting knottier and ever more absurd. Crudely summarised, it goes something like this: “I am better than you because I pretend to feel worse.”

Self-exaltation via ostentatious self-abasement. Even self-emasculation. It’s not for everyone, I know, but it is very often the progressive way.

It would of course be a pity to let all that pretentious guilt go to waste. After all, it can buy you so much leverage over idiots. Why not memorise – then accuse others of using – an ever-growing catalogue of new racial code words? A subject on which Mark Steyn offers to act as guide:

On MSNBC, Chris Matthews declared this week that Republicans use “Chicago” as a racist code word. Not to be outdone, his colleague Lawrence O’Donnell pronounced “golf” a racist code word. When Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell observed that Obama was “working to earn a spot on the PGA tour,” O’Donnell brilliantly perceived that subliminally associating Obama with golf is racist, because the word “golf” is subliminally associated with “Tiger Woods,” and the word “Tiger” is not so subliminally associated with cocktail waitress Jamie Grubbs, nightclub hostess Rachel Uchitel, lingerie model Jamie Jungers, former porn star Holly Sampson, etc., etc. So by using the word “golf” you’re sending a racist dog-whistle that Obama is a sex addict who reverses over fire hydrants.

If you’re still unclear on this, Michelle Malkin has a list

And don’t forget this master class in hallucinating racism