URLs du Jour

2019-02-19

[Amazon Link]

  • I've put the Bulwark into my reading rotation, since it seems to have moved off monotonous conservative never-Trumping. An example is Robert Tracinski's article: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the Left's Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

    A lot of people, myself included, have toyed with describing Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as the left’s Donald Trump because they both rely so heavily on exaggerated promises and bluster. There’s something to that, but I think I’ve found a better analogy: She’s the Democratic Party’s Manic Pixie Dream Girl.

    Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. AOC is an MPDG, and if we had political satirists worthy of the name, NBC would already have brought in Zooey Deschanel to play her on Saturday Night Live.

    The Manic Pixie Dream Girl is a stock character first classified by Nathan Rabin in a 2007 review of Elizabethtown, a film he described as “The Bataan Death March of Whimsy.” “The Manic Pixie Dream Girl,” he wrote, “exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.”

    Copy that. Since the MPDG species has been identified, I've seen a lot fewer examples in recent movies. I miss that. Fortunately, there's AOC.


  • At City Journal, Heather MacDonald observes that Elites bought Jussie Smollett’s story because it confirmed their cherished narrative about a hateful America.

    The Jussie Smollett case, in which a young black, gay actor has apparently concocted a tale of being attacked by two white men wearing MAGA hats and shouting anti-gay slurs, is just the latest example of how desperately media elites want to confirm their favored narrative about America: that the country is endemically and lethally racist, sexist, and homophobic, and that the election of Donald Trump both proves and reinforces such bigotry.

    The truth: as instances of actual racism get harder and harder to find, the search to find such bigotry becomes increasingly frenzied and unmoored from reality.

    Smollett made a not-irrational wager that a patently preposterous narrative about an anti-black, anti-gay hate crime at 2 a.m. in subzero Chicago would be embraced by virtually the entirety of the mainstream media, leading Democratic politicians, Hollywood, and academia, with no one in these cohorts bothering to fact-check his narrative or entertain even armchair skepticism toward it. He also presumed, again with good reason, that to claim victim status would catapult him to the highest echelons of public admiration and accomplishment. And he was right. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker called it a “modern-day lynching.” Joe Biden warned that “we must no longer give this hate safe harbor,” his implication being that we need to stop winking at such racist attacks. If Beale Street Could Talk’s Barry Jenkins lamented, “This what all that hateful mongering has wrought. Are you PROUD???”  Good Morning America interviewed Smollett without asking a single critical question about his story.

    An interesting take for those of us who wonder WTF was Jussie thinking? from the CBS TV affiliate in Chicago. A "racist letter" sent to the studio producing "Empire", the TV show Jussie is (probably: was) on, failed to get a "bigger reaction".

    Reading between the lines: that letter was probably cooked up by Jussie too.


  • There's a much told tale about attendees at a Soviet meeting in the 1930s giving Stalin a standing ovation. Bad enough, but it went on interminably, because nobody dared be the first to stop clapping.

    Here in the land of the free, a story illustrating our current culture comes from National Review and Kevin D. Williamson: Merciless Sympathy.

    Jussie Smollett’s phony hate-crime story could have been taken apart in 24 hours, except for one thing: Nobody wanted to be the first to call bullsh**.

    Who will bell the cat?

    Not the police, and I don’t blame them. Smollett is a vocal critic of President Donald Trump who checks two protected-category boxes: He is gay and he is black. No police officer comes out ahead in any encounter in which he has to explain that he isn’t a racist or a gay-basher.


  • At Econlog, Bryan Caplan has a suggestion for those who lecture the Rest Of Us on "inclusion". How about Including the Renegade?

    In the last six months, I’ve found myself stuck in two separate Sermons on Inclusion.  These were public events.  Neither was branded as left-wing.  Both, however, gave the floor to speakers who explained the supreme value of making everyone feel included in the community.

    In each case, my mid-sermon reaction was the same: “I don’t think I’ve ever before felt so excluded in all my life.”

    Why would I react so negatively?  It’s not because I disagree with the one-sentence summary of the sermons.  Sure, be friendly to people.  Make them feel welcome.  It’s common decency.  So what’s the problem?

    I’m tempted to blame the glaring hypocrisy.  It was obvious that the speakers had zero interest in making Republicans, conservatives, macho males, traditional Christians, veterans, or economists feel included.  In fact, the Sermons on Inclusion were full of thinly-veiled accusations against members of these groups.

    Nope, that's not it. (Although Bryan is lucky that the sermonizers' accusations were even thinly veiled. In some cases, the accusations aren't veiled at all.)

    Instead, Bryan was put off by the implication that he is a creature whose nature is largely dictated by the pigeonholes (race, class, culture, sex, etc.) that the sermonizers dictated. And his hackles are raised at that. I can sympathize.


  • And the Google LFOD alert rang for a Concord Monitor op-ed from Jeanne Hruska of the NH ACLU: Why cannabis legalization advances racial justice.

    House Bill 481, which would provide for the legalization, regulation and taxation of cannabis, presents a chance for our state to acknowledge the racial injustice caused by cannabis prohibition and begin to right this wrong. It also honors our state’s “Live free or die” mentality and continues our state’s bipartisan commitment to economic justice and criminal justice reform.

    I am all for pot legalization, but because of alleged "racial injustice"? Not so much.

    Jeanne supports her case with the usual stats, e.g.: "[A]lthough black people accounted for only 1.2 percent of the state’s population in 2016, they constituted 6.5 percent of the prison population."

    I.e., ignoring the simple fact that — even in NH — "black people" might be committing crimes at a higher rate than the general population. Not an honest argument, even for the ACLU.

  • And Michael Ramirez notes another "national emergency":

    [National Emergency] Yup.


Last Modified 2019-06-14 5:21 AM EDT