21 December 2009
20 December 2009
18 December 2009
12 December 2009
Mr Pack has obviously been paying close attention to his surroundings while growing up and probably well into adulthood. He apparently grew up in Roundup and at least some of the story seems to be autobiographical. The narrator is anxious to get out, first of all to Billings and then to Silicon Valley. Recent history is deftly woven into the story.
Most of the characters are wounded in one way or another and they manage to pass along their hurts to the next generation or those around them. I am worried that some of these characters might have played around with some of my savings in the 80s and 90s. If there is any truth to the story and I suspect there is, then I didn't realize the connection between big money and sex, which observation probably confirms that I haven't been paying close attention.
BY FAR the most significant thing about the case against Benjamin and Sharon Vogelenzang was that it reached a court of law in the first place. This evangelical Christian couple who run a hotel were accused of making derogatory remarks about the religion of one of their guests, Ericka Tazi, a Muslim convert, and thereby spreading religious hatred and contempt.
Mrs Tazi was found to have exaggerated the couple’s verbal abuse grossly but the fact that the case was thrown out of court should not blind us to the insidious and creeping reign of terror that the Government has introduced in Britain by facilitating this kind of prosecution.
While the criminal justice system actively promotes real crime by its refusal to repress it vigorously, it attempts to make criminals of Mr and Mrs Vogelenzang because they expressed forthright Christian beliefs.
For myself I do not much care to be buttonholed by religious enthusiasts but in a free country that is a situation with which citizens must be expected to cope on their own without resort to the courts.
Apart from this, however, there is the strong suspicion that if the boot had been on the other foot, if the Vogelenzangs had complained about remarks made by Mrs Tazi about their religion, no case would have come to court.
THE reason for the difference in approach is an officially-sponsored indifference or hostility to anything which might be considered part of the European and British cultural and religious heritage, combined with a tender regard for any non- European and non-British cultural heritage.
This is now so marked a trait that it could almost be called racist. No British minister would go to Brick Lane in East London and say it was horribly Bangladeshi but a British minister had no compunction at all in complaining of an institution that it was “horribly white”.
British intellectuals, as George Orwell once remarked, have long harboured a hatred of their own country and its culture. This attitude has deeply infiltrated the political class and has therefore come to affect legislation. All cultures are equal except ours, which is the worst.
The first thing to notice about this attitude is that it is insincere. Those who adopt it are not genuine admirers of other cultures, for genuinely to admire other cultures it is necessary seriously to study them. To know another culture is not just a matter of slipping down once in a while to a restaurant that serves its cuisine: it is very hard work indeed and the more different that culture is from one’s own the harder the work it is.
So when members of our political class express their adherence to multiculturalism they are not expressing their love of other cultures, they are expressing hatred of their own and it is this which explains the discrepancy in the way a Christian who derides Islam can now expect to be treated by comparison with a Muslim who derides Christianity. The hatred of that section of the political class for their own country’s culture, traditions and past is insincere in another sense also.
By expressing that hatred they imagine themselves to be exhibiting their own moral superiority for all the world and especially the intelligentsia, to see. Their hatred is actually moral exhibitionism. We all know the kind of odious patriot who believes everything in his own country is best merely because it is his own and who therefore despises every thing about all other countries, from their language to their cooking to their way of dress.
Our political class is a mirror image of this kind of person but preens itself on being morally superior to him.
There is a yet more cynical reason for the political class’s hatred of their own culture: it is politically advantageous to them. The mass immigration that has been permitted into Britain in the last few years, with the concomitant ideological glorification of the multi cultural society, has had as its purpose the production of a permanent change in the nature of the British population, which can be relied upon to vote for ever for the kind of politicians who brought it about.
It is one thing to encourage immigration because your commerce is so strong that there is a labour shortage but quite another when neither of those conditions obtains. Our commerce was never strong and there never was a labour shortage. We imported people while there was still mass unemployment (admittedly disguised as sickness) merely to create a vote bank for those who brought this about.
NO ONE wants a blind or bigoted patriotism that manifests itself as xenophobia and ignorant rejection of all that is foreign. It is good to be open to others but self-hatred is neither attractive nor constructive. It is not only insincere but unjustified, as a walk through the National Portrait Gallery would prove to anyone with an open mind.
We are fortunate enough to be the inheritors of a tradition as great as (though not necessarily greater than) any that exists in the world. Why should we reject it? I write these words from India, where it is far easier to find genuine and knowledgeable admirers of British culture than it is among our own political class. This surely is the saddest possible commentary on our condition.
This is a short essay by a British society doctor who is traveling in India. It was published in the Daily Express. Theodore Dalrymple is one of his pseudonyms. This Wiki article lists a number of Dr Daniels' themes. One of the most important is:
The root cause of our contemporary cultural poverty is intellectual dishonesty. First, the intellectuals have destroyed the foundation of culture, and second, they refuse to acknowledge it by resorting to the caves of political correctness.
11 December 2009
It looks like we can uncross our fingers. But get your immunizations anyway. It is true we were trying to frighten you earlier in the epidemic but that was because we were doing it for your own good, so it's OK.
09 December 2009
Following a long tradition where some person or group, having been called something in a derogatory way, Governor Palin then adopted that term and brandished it on the cover of her book. Apparently it had the expected effect of irritating her political opponents to the point that some of the more shit-headed of them came out with a crude knock-off sub-titled "Going Rouge."
Of course, when Palin's book is mentioned by her sworn enemies they usually say that obviously she couldn't have written it, but forget to compare it with the way she talks and to contrast it with the political memoirs of the other three jokers that ran on the national ticket with her. Had they done that they might have seen that there was a fairly close correlation between what she says and what she writes, and that there was often a surprising dis-connect betweeen the voice and the page in the memoirs of the other three.
08 December 2009
2 December 2009
This was a fun book to read. Especially if, like me, you were alive and paying attention to the peculiar presidential political melee during the summer and fall of 2008. There were a lot of dogs that didn’t bark and thus the whole thing was more than a little puzzling. This book appears to be an effort at explaining some of those puzzles. It does not speak to the main puzzle however, which was the almost total absence of any journalistic efforts to tell us commoners who Barack Obama was, other than he was somewhat black and spoke like a white man most of the time.
The main-stream media masters that I have heard, and their lesser kin out in the boondocks, obviously did not read this book. They say she didn’t write the book; that one of her editors did. And yet, the book sounds very much like Governor Palin talks, whether you like that or not, and as far as I know, almost every writer except for a few politicians always give credit to their editors.
Governor Palin is a journalist in the sense of writing journals for much of her life. She draws on these for a summary of her earlier life: Normal kid growing up in normal places, and yet they were exciting places—at least in her memories and in her journals, and would probably be that way for the rest of us if we had been smart enough to write in them and keep them for later use—weren’t all of our childhoods exciting places and times? Then she got interested in local politics after a normal education and a normal early family life. Eventually she became the mayor of Wasilla Alaska. Then, a little later she ran for governor against the good old boys of Alaska, and she won.
Probably the high points of the book are her descriptions of her feelings when she discovers she will be the mother of an extra-chromosome baby boy (Down Syndrome) and then soon after, another bolt of lightning strikes when John McCain picks her for a short and tumultuous life as a vice-presidential candidate.
I thought at the time it was a brilliant choice because Joe Biden had already been chosen to be the Democratic choice for vice-president. What a splendid contrast: old Senator Jack S Phogbound from one of the corrupt one party states of the East versus the bright young reformer Sarah Palin from small town western America. While writing the last sentence it suddenly occurred to me that just as we have heard some institutions are “too big to fail,” maybe there are some states that are too small to avoid corruption, in that their cities and the lordly people that congregate in them tend to over balance the more ordinary rural folk, where much of the common sense of the country resides.
But even better, of course, was the fact that the vice-presidential candidate for the Republicans had more real experience at governing than the presidential candidate for the Democrats. This was delicious irony or so it seemed to me. Of course, with our main-stream media (MSM) in bed with Obama it was difficult to make that clear, though Palin did make an effort at the convention when she likened being mayor of Wasilla as something similar to a “community organizer, though with actual responsibility.” That might have been the best line of the campaign. No wonder our MSM types really had to scramble to put down this upstart nitwit from fly-over country. Well, you know what I mean.
The peculiarities and deficiencies of the campaign, which made some of us wonder who was actually playing the part of The Manchurian Candidate, are explored, at least from Palin’s point of view. We are all waiting for some explanation from the McCain point of view. Well, maybe not.
8 December 2009
I meant to get up early today but I forgot to set the alarm last night. So it wasn’t until about 8:30 am that I got over to Borders’ book store to check out the crowds coming to see Sarah Palin, perhaps give her some encouragement, and get their copy of her book signed.
The crowd seemed fairly normal and moved along steadily and cheerfully I thought, with a few signs, but mostly just bundled up against the bitter cold temperatures. If nothing else these temperatures may well have kept at least some of the riff-raff huddled in the nearby coffee-shops. At 8:30 am the crowd, about 3-4 abreast stretched back from the front of the Borders store to the entrance to the IHOP restaurant. It may have gone back even further than that before they started moving around 8 am when the store opened.
It looks like a lot of Billings people are going to make room on their mantles this Christmas for a copy of Governor Palin’s book, alongside the Bible and their guns of course. Or maybe they will put a small bookshelf alongside the gun rack in the back of the pickup.