Tag Archives: Media

Stupid Argument

13 Feb

I recently caught a segment of a local radio talk-show featuring an argument that has, by my own count, been going on for at least a decade. It apparently comes around every year: the question of whether hunting is, or has ever been, a sport.

Now, the argument that hunting deer includes no trace of fair competition has some basis. But, regardless of what modern language has done with “Sport”, my understanding is that Sport originally almost always had to do with killing animals, or trying to kill people. Hunting or training for war. All less bloody sports came later. That’s simply how it is. Until very recently a “Sportsman” was a man with a gun (or a crossbow) over his arm.

So, can we debate whether hunting deer is humane? That’s an argument with two sides that actually make some kind of sense. Leave whether it is “Sporting” out of it. It may be that “Sport” has come to mean something else, but its origins were bloody. If the people arguing that deer hunting is bad were saying that it isn’t a sport as we now understand the term, it wouldn’t bother me so much. The assertion that it has NEVER been a sport betrays the encyclopedic historical knowledge of a mollusk. It is the kind of smug, ‘don’t you understand that I’m smarter than you?’ argument I am used to from certain elements of the Left that enrage me because they reveal the appalling ignorance of the speaker and taint a serious issue with idiocy.

Advertisements

The First Amendment Is Offensive

23 Jan

The problem with believing firmly in the First Amendment is the company it keeps. There is a blogger in jail in Alabama. I’m not going to name him, because his personal situation isn’t what I want to talk about. From everything I have read he is a raving twit who makes hysterical accusations against anyone he dislikes. He has been sued for that. Further, he has been uncooperative with the Judicial process, to the extent of not showing up for a hearing or hearings. Nevertheless, as matters stand he should not be in jail.

He was jailed because he defied an injunction ordering him to cease blogging about the plaintiff in the suit against him. Mind you, the trial has not taken place. When it does I have scant reason to doubt that this pillock will lose, and will have behaved badly enough that a jail sentence is a real possibility. But the trial has not yet taken place. The Injunction he is in jail for defying is attempting to prevent his from publishing what has not YET been ruled to be defamatory and actionable. The Injunction is clearly a violation for his First Amendment rights.

It’s tempting to just dismiss this. The blogger in question is a poisonous little twerp. The content that the fuss is over seems unlikely to be true, and likely to be found outside of the umbrella of opinion. The dweeble deserves to be in jail or fined. He’s in jail. What’s the problem?

The problem is that prior restraint of free speech does not just keep dweebles from posting fake stories about infidelities they fantasize that their enemies commit. It keeps perfectly decent people from exposing government wrongdoing, before the exposure of a trial. And if you wait until the people whose First Amendment rights you are defending are perfectly decent people, you will be behind the curve and wrestling against a weight of case law put in place to “get” dweebles, and other offensive jerks. A First Amendment that does not protect offensive speech is worthless, if only because it is almost always possible to find somebody who is offended at anything.

So we who care about Freedom of Speech end up defending jerks like Larry Flint, the KKK, The American Nazi Party (can you imagine the door prizes?), and this blogger from Alabama. And washing afterwards.

 

Witch Hunt

9 Jan

One of the keystones of the Liberal version of 20th Century history is the 1950’s Anti-Communist Witch Hunt. Books have been written about it, films made about it, children are taught about it in school. It is an important part of the Liberal/Progressive collective self-image.

It is also largely bushwah.

The public perception of the Salem Witch Trials is based largely on the play THE CRUCIBLE in which teenage girls make baseless accusations against innocent people and cause their deaths. In point of fact the actual historical Trials had both more complicated causes and more complex endings. But THE CRUCIBLE, which was deliberately written to echo the author’s perceived persecution at anti-communism hearings, is routinely taught in public schools, and thus strongly influences the public perception of the Trials.  When something is described as a “Witch Hunt” it is tacitly understood that no actual “Witches” exist, and that anyone caught up in the hunt is an innocent victim. We Modern Educated People are invited to feel superior to those stupid Puritans who believed in witches, and to make the jump to believing that in the modern “Witch Hunt” we are being asked to condemn, there also isn’t any actual quarry. And in the case of the “Anti-Communist Witch Hunt” that simply isn’t so.

Under Stalin, the USSR’s intelligence apparatus ran dozens, possibly hundreds, of agents in the United State both during and after the Second World War. This is irrefutable; we have proof from Soviet era records as well as from contemporary intelligence intercepts. The American Communist Party was substantially funded by the USSR for years. Anger Hiss and the Rosenbergs were demonstrably guilty. Many, if not all, of the “victims” of the “Hollywood Blacklist” were passionate Stalinists who worked seriously, if probably ineffectually, for a Communist Revolution.

This isn’t to say that Senator Joe McCarthy was a hero. He was almost certainly a political bully and general jackass and any damage he may have done to International Communism seems likely to have been accidental. But to the Political Left he was an absolute gift. If he hadn’t been real, they would have needed to invent him.

Because, you see, without the myth that the hunt for Communist agents in the United States was an unjust persecution of enormous proportions the Left would have to face the fact that the Communists of that era were a selection of moderately stupid dupes of a genuine Monster. That, in turn, might force them to examine the stupidity of the later dupes who fell headlong for Mao, who was , if anything, an even bigger monster. And much of their cherished air of Moral Superiority would evaporate like morning mist on a hot summer’s day.

The facts are that there was some justification for various Leftist Socialist delusions at the beginning of the 20th Century, but that by 1950 anyone who wasn’t at least dimly aware that the USSR was a brutal dictatorship was ideologically blinded, or exceptionally stupid, or both. The Intellectual Left embraces Communism and related impositions because such systems hold out the mirage of a society run by Intellectuals. And never mind that the Intellectual Class of any nation that suffers a Communist Revolution is almost instantly liquidated by the thugs and psychopaths that always seem to end up actually running things.

The Western Intellectuals have been allowed to wrap themselves in false Moral Superiority for far too long. They are no improvement on any other self-selected elite of would-be aristocrats. They have not, in the West, ever, suffered anything like the persecution they deserve for promoting a system that spreads death and misery the way Communism does. They should be told in no uncertain terms that their Witch Hunt narrative is hogwash, their Moral Superiority bushwah, and their suitability to tell other people how to live as illusory as a syphilitic Bishop’s.

Teen Music

19 Dec

Each generation has its own popular singers who warble, in an adenoidal whine, about the angst of being young. This is as inevitable as the pain of childbirth or the decay of the grave.

No generation has much patience with the whine of any other generation. This is as it should be.

No generation pays the slightest attention to the criticism of its whines by any other generation. This is also as it should be.

No, I am not going to go into detail about which particular whine of which generation it was that set me off. It doesn’t matter.

Vice

31 Oct

I’d like to talk a little about Vice. I’m for it. Or, rather, I’m against being against it. The older I get the less persuaded I am that the laws intended (ostensibly) to rein in Drug Use, Alcoholism, Prostitution, and, Pornography do any good in any way commensurate with the harm that they cause.

And the thing is, there are people clamoring to add things to the list of Vices that say volumes about the impulse to control that motivates the Crusaders. People are Crusading against Genetically Modified food, against High Fructose Corn Syrup, against Sugar. A Crusade against Tobacco has been going on nearly as long as I’ve been alive. Some of these Crusades appear, for the moment, to have  some  basis in fact, but many of them are simply the prejudices of the Crusaders, which they want to impose on everybody.

Now, this is hardly new. Read just a little history and you are sure to encounter previous Morals Crusades; factory owners who forbade this and that, Prohibition, and so on. And, often, we take a very superior attitude toward these moralizing ancestors. And then go right out and do the same thing in the name of “The War On Drugs” or “The Obesity Epidemic”.

(Aside; how the hell can we have an Obesity Epidemic? An epidemic is a widespread occurrence of a communicable disease. Is that why the thin people are so hysterical? They think they’re being exposed to Fat Germs?)

In my Cranky opinion the difference between a Victorian Christian busybody pestering people about drink and church attendance and a Modern Secular busybody who wants to restrict what people eat is not visible to the naked eye. I can understand some genuine concern about Prostitutes and Drug Users, but the laws that are used to “Help” them don’t seem to achieve much good, and do appear to have all kinds of unpleasant fallout. The War On Drugs costs huge amounts of money, is the primary cause of most of the SWAT raids gone bad that you can read about on the internet, and attempts to ‘close loopholes’ that previously allowed people the authorities were “sure” were guilty have brought us “Asset Forfeiture”. And Asset Forfeiture is, frankly, the return of the Sheriff of Nottingham without the colorful Medieval costumes. I can accept that drugs like Cocaine, Heroin, and even Marijuana ruin lives. So does alcohol, but it only took us thirteen years to realize that banning that was a huge mistake. Why can’t we drop this idiotic “War? If legalizing everything is a mistake, we can always ban it again.

The current panic about “Human Trafficking” is simply a long discredited Victorian Witch Hunt being recycled by modern Feminists (look up “White Slavery”), and actually accomplishes little other than to place women accused of being prostitutes into the paws of people who absolutely will not listen to them, unless they stick to the Human Trafficking Hysteria script. Who does this actually help? Is it mean of me to suggest that the driving force behind it is a bunch of crabby women who are waking up to the realization that some men would rather pay for sex than put up with THEM?

As for Gambling, where do agents of the Law get the unmitigated gall to raid poker games when every state in the Union is running a Numbers Racket? That’s what a State Lottery really is, except that the traditional Mob run racket offered better odds and probably had more honest books.

Vice isn’t crime that one person visits on another. Vice is what we do to ourselves. It arguably isn’t good for us, but the history of Government attempts to stifle it isn’t impressive. In fact it’s often revolting.

The progress of civilization is seen in the degree to which the common man is able to tell all the people who want to order him about (for his own good) to climb a tree. Anti-Vice Crusades do not forward civilization.

Censorship and Porn

17 Oct

I was born in 1961, which means that I started to be interested in nude girls during the period when the standards for ‘girlie mags’ was shifting from the Playboy standard (no pubic hair, early 1960’s), to the Penthouse standard (soft focus pubic hair, 1969), and thence to the Hustler standard (sharp focus genitalia, 1974). For a while it looked like we’d be up the plumbing with a camera probe by the end of the ’70’s. Of course, as an adolescent I couldn’t buy these magazines. And if you think that stopped me (or any other motivated boy) from getting my hands on them, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I’d like to sell you.

The feminists of the day hated this. They asserted, with some justice, that pornography was demeaning to women. It’s hard to argue, but a lot of everyday things are demeaning. Ask anybody who’s worked in fast food. If they had merely called Playboy, Penthouse, Hustler, and all their imitators tacky and in dreadful bad taste I would agree with them. I’d still look at porn, mind you, but I don’t pretend that it’s Great Art.

The problem is that they want to censor pornography. They want the government to ban it lest their tender sensibilities get hurt. Which means they have learned nothing from the history of the women’s movement; the governments of the past have routinely used censorship of pornography to punish those who want to educate about birth control. Censorship is not a power to grant to the State lightly, because once the State has that power over a category of expression, all manner of material that the State finds bothersome will be classified as belonging to that category.

And banning nudie magazines, or x-rated films, won’t do away with them. Certainly not in this day of cheap printers and digital video. All that it will do is hide it, to a degree, from the feminists, while removing any legal protections from the women who, for whatever reason, pose for it.

I have scant patience for feminism, as a rule. The vast majority of its champions strike me as upper middle class nitwits concerned almost exclusively with their own comfort ahead of anything resembling justice, or common sense. And they seem to religiously avoid anything really difficult, such as the treatment of women in Islamic countries.

I willingly admit, however, that The Sexual Revolution was for the most part NOT to their advantage. There is a song by Stephen Stills called LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH, and every time I hear the line

“there’s a girl sitting right next to you
And she’s just waiting for something to do”,

I cringe. I may not LIKE Andrea Dworkin and her sisterhood of “all heterosexual intercourse is rape” feminists, but when I consider that LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH was performed by a notorious Liberal, I can begin to understand why they are as mad as so many March hares on the subject.

But that doesn’t make them right. Pitiable, maybe. But not right. The spread of porn may be annoying, but it is far less dangerous than a State that believes it has the right and duty to censor what its citizens see.

So, I am against preventing the publication of images or writing that disturbs, annoys, or even demeans people. I do think that local populations should have some degree of control over what is displayed publicly. If a town wants to mandate that “Adults Only” publications must be sold in plain wrappers, I think they should be allowed to. I DON’T think that any local groups should be able to decide that people may not buy ‘filth’ over the internet, or view internet sites that feature it. I DO think that they should be allowed to limit what can be accessed on computers in publicly owned buildings, such as Libraries, because then it isn’t the viewer paying for it, it’s the taxpayers (at least in part). And nobody should be required to pay for something they consider demeans them, unless it is explicitly within the purview of the State (such as War; it’s right there in the Constitution.).

And, having said this, I’m not sure than there is a legal and constitutional way for local populations to do what I think they should be able to do. It needs thought. More thought than simply “Ban it all” or “No Censorship”.

Vulgar

3 Oct

I should like to propose a renaissance of Vulgar. Not of Vulgar things, of which there is an ostentatious oversupply, but of the idea we can say that something is Vulgar, meaning; common, tacky, unartistic, and tiresome.

The thing is, in the culture wars every time something is said or shown that people don’t like, they reach for the Nuclear Option of claiming Offense and demanding that speech be silenced, ads be renounced, and so forth. Now, in the first place, since when did being un-offended become a Right? In the second, do we really want to give to some specific governing body the authority to remove the offensive? What if they decide that they are running things and they are offended by US?

The problem is the we have, as a society, abandoned the idea that it is possible to condemn speech without censoring it. The Free Speech radicals of the 1960’s shouted so loudly and to such effect that we aren’t prepared to draw the line anymore, for fear of being called names. And I, for one, propose to grit my teeth and accept the charge that I am unhip.

The problem with Rap Music isn’t that it crosses the line into what should be censored for the common good; for one thing I’m not convinced that such a line exists. The problem with Rap music is that it is tiresome, crude, and the opposite of clever. In a word; vulgar.

The problem with NEA exhibits like Andres Seranno’s PISS CHRIST isn’t that they are blasphemous. If God is insulted, Serrano will have a chance to explain himself in person before too long. The problem is that a group of self-appointed Intellectuals have decided that it is Art; which is absurd. It is an annoying attempt by a profoundly adolescent mind to get attention by attacking religion in an unoriginal manner with bathroom humor. In a word; vulgar.

The problem with the pronouncements of the Westboro Baptist Church isn’t that they are terrorists, or even that they are Bigots. Many a well spoken Bigot has had a long and successful public career (I’m looking at YOU Al Sharpton). The problem is that they are grating, boring, unoriginal, unintelligent …. vulgar. They don’t deserve to be spotlighted; they deserve to be identified and dismissed.

The term Vulgar just punctures SOOO many overinflated pretensions. It condemns and dismissed as unimportant at the same time.  It doesn’t trespass on people’s right to Free Speech; it simply proclaims the equal right of the people to ignore (or refrain from paying for) the speech of the adolescent, the tiresome, the crude, and the tacky. It is especially wonderful when applied to the so-called Fine Art that the Progressive Art World has inflicted on us for the past three quarters of a century or so. PISS CHRIST isn’t Fine Art; it’s a three dimensional political cartoon, of the type usually published by practitioners of what used to be (rightly) called Gutter Journalism. The claims that it is Art don’t even deserve the courtesy of debate; they are absurd and indefensible. Nothing like PISS CHRIST, that could be duplicated by a low grade moron in an afternoon, qualifies as Art. There is no craftsmanship in it. It is vulgar. It shouldn’t be censored, it should be ignored.

Join me. Call something vulgar today.