URLs du Jour

2018-10-15

[Amazon Link]

  • At NR, Jim Geraghty notices that The Cable-News Crowd Denounces Kanye. Specifically: "the big talking point on cable news was that West was mentally ill."

    They make this accusation now? This is a man who voluntarily signed on to the constant drama circus that is life married to a Kardashian. This is a man whose surname is West — and then chose to name his daughter “North.” This is a man who recorded his debut single with his jaw wired shut after a car accident. This is a man who announced plans to run for president in 2020 back in 2015. This is a man who promoted his sneakers with nude models. This is a man who staged a “fashion show” on Roosevelt Island in New York City where most of the models were wearing translucent outfits and some fainted in the stifling heat.

    This is a man who stormed out of the American Music Awards after he didn’t win in 2004; declared himself the voice of his generation in 2008; declared, “My greatest pain in life is that I will never be able to see myself perform live” in 2009; declared, “I would never want a book’s autograph, I am a proud non-reader of books” in 2009; performed for the authoritarian ruler of Kazakhistan in 2013; declared, “Black people don’t have the same level of connections as Jewish people” in 2013; declared himself “the Steve Jobs of the Internet” in 2013 (wouldn’t the Steve Jobs of the Internet be . . . Steve Jobs?); described himself, “I am Warhol! I am the number one most impactful artist of our generation. I am Shakespeare in the flesh,” in 2013; followed up on his interrupting stunt with Taylor Swift with an aborted attempt to interrupt Beck in 2015; declared, “Everyone is a fashion insider, because it’s illegal to be naked” in 2016; contended that Jay-Z was threatening to kill him in 2016; depicted naked celebrities in a 2016 video; and declared himself “50 per cent more influential than any other human being” in 2016.

    And now the cable-news crowd deems Kanye crazy?

    Come on. Hugging Donald Trump as he’s sitting behind the Resolute Desk doesn’t even crack the top 30 craziest things Kanye West has ever done.

    I watched Saturday Night Live and they were pretty obsessed about it. Continuing their Kanye-obsession from the previous week. The message is pretty clear: Uppity boy, you step off the plantation, you're asking for trouble.


  • At Reason, Steve Chapman notes: With the Saudis, Trump Shows Timidity.

    If a foreign journalist living in America and writing about the Iranian government's noxious policies were murdered by agents of Tehran, the president of the United States would take it as evidence of the need for tough action. Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, however, was a Saudi writing about the Saudi government, which is a U.S. ally.

    After Khashoggi disappeared while visiting Riyadh's consulate in Istanbul, Donald Trump was a portrait in timidity. "We want to find out what happened," he bleated more than a week later. "He went in, and it doesn't look like he came out." What happened is pretty clear. Since Khashoggi entered the building October 2, he has not been seen or heard from.

    Bleated, Steve? Not howled, creaked, screamed, screeched, wailed, …

    Oh well. As far as I can remember, things worked out poorly the last few times we "got tough" with murderous dictators in that general area. Maybe things will work out better this time.


  • Hey, Senator Elizabeth Warren took a DNA test. What does it prove, according to David Harsanyi? Elizabeth Warren’s DNA Test Proves She Was Lying.

    As The Federalist’s Sean Davis points out, according to The New York Times, the average white person in America has nearly double the amount of American Indian DNA (0.18%) as Elizabeth Warren (0.098%), who claims to be Cherokee. […]

    I don’t much care about Warren’s ethnicity, but she is not, in any genuine sense, a racial or ethnic minority. Not in blood. Not in experience. Under her standards, how many Americans would qualify as Native American? Or put it this way: is being 1/1,024th African enough to claim “minority” status in a professional setting? I’m asking for the liberals who believe race-based hiring is an important means of facilitating diversity and ensuring fairness.

    I didn't know about the "average white person", and I'm way too old to see if I'd qualify for racial hiring or admission preferences. Still, those DNA tests sound interesting.


  • A (belated) entry from Jeff Jacoby about the Maine Senator much in the nwes: Collins falsely cries 'bribery!' in crowdfunded political theater. (Note: this was written last month, before confirmation.)

    Two liberal activist groups — Mainers for Accountable Leadership and the Maine People's Alliance — have launched a put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is crowdfunding campaign to pressure Collins into voting no on Kavanaugh. As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 49,500 people had signed up, agreeing in advance to donate nearly $1.4 million to Collins's as-yet-unidentified 2020 Democratic challenger. Nearly all the pledges are for $25 or less, and the donors' names are publicly posted. Their contributions have been made by credit card, with the stipulation that the charge will be processed only if Collins votes in favor of confirmation.

    So far, so normal. What could be more typical of democratic politics, after all, than lobbying elected officials, or working to defeat them if you disapprove of their performance in office?

    Yet to hear Collins and some of her supporters tell it, mobilizing donors to fund a future challenger isn't citizen activism, it's an illegal bribe. Or maybe it's attempted extortion. But in any case they're sure it's something illegal. They want the Justice Department to investigate the crowdfunding as a violation of Title 18, Section 201 of the United States Code, which makes it a crime for anyone to "corruptly" offer "anything of value to any public official" in order "to influence any official act.

    I'm glad Kavanaugh was confirmed, and glad Susan Collins voted to confirm him. But her efforts to quash political spending by her opponents are blatantly at odds with the Constitution she swore to support and defend.


  • The Google LFOD News Alert alerted us to an unexpected source: an interview with Karen Traister in the Nation titled The Politics of Women’s Anger. What's up, Karen?

    [Amazon Link]
    [Interviewer] Jon Wiener: The New York Times page-one headline after Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony read, “A Nominee is Rescued By a Display of Rage.” I wonder if you have any comment on that.

    Rebecca Traister: One of the things I write about in the book [Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger] is the issue of whose rage is taken seriously as politically valid and politically consequential. Of course, I finished writing this book months before the Kavanaugh hearings. I wrote about how the kind of political rage that we take seriously is the rage of powerful white men. Our founding lullaby is the founders’ rage, the anger that undergirded the American Revolution: “Give me liberty, or Give me death!” “Live free or die!

    Yeah, fine, Rebecca. It's exactly the same thing, I'm sure.

    But here's something I did not know: a phrase used at the time was rage militaire, usually translated as "passion for arms". Is there a useful distinction to be made between "rage" and "passion"? I think so, but that's inconvenient to Rebecca's thesis.


  • At his Minneapolis Star-Tribune perch, James Lileks asks the musical question: Does American cheese deserve to die?

    The millennials’ newest victim, according to Bloomberg News, is American cheese. Processed cheese sales have been down for four years. “The product, made famous by the greatest generation, has met its match with millennials demanding nourishment from ingredients that are both recognizable and pronounceable.”

    Those are peculiar criterion. “What’s in this cheese?” “Cyanide, dog hair, chlorine, lark sputum and melted Legos.” “Oh, I know those, and can pronounce them all! I’ll take a pound.”

    They can have my Kraft Singles American Pasteurized Prepared Cheese Product 1GSlices when they… well, OK they can have them. I'll just buy more.