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Our Last 50 Referrers

« Patrick Allitt's "The American Identity" | Main | Two Wheels »

November 02, 2006


Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* John Derbyshire confesses that he has given up on Christianity and become a Colin McGinn-style Mysterian. Rod Dreher, who experienced his own religious crisis recently, comments.

* The well-groomed, everything-goes-with-everything-else modern woman needs this product.

* Keely has a plausible theory about what has made her so popular. (NSFW)

* Thanks to Scott Chaffin for pointing out these astounding photos.

* Here's a lovely waste of good money: How about using Federal funds to try to prevent people in their 20s from having sex?

* Jazz fans will be in pig heaven exploring the videos uploaded -- 556 so far! -- by Bob Erwig. Clark Terry, Bud Powell, George Shearing, Buck Clayton ... And I've only worked my way through the first 20 of them. I'm now Bob's 449th subscriber.

* Larry Auster calls Tamar Jacoby a "liar."

* QuietBubble turns 30 and treats himself to a special meal.

* Helen can't see that "The Devil Wears Prada" is up to much.

* Shouting Thomas has begun working out at a new gym.

* If you don't record the act on video, then what's the point of doing it at all? (Extra NSFW)

* One of the day's sadder ironies ...



posted by Michael at November 2, 2006


From the Derbyshire article:

"At 20," goes the old quip, "I was obsessed with what people were thinking about me. At 40, I'd stopped being obsessed with what people were thinking about me. At 60, I finally realized that nobody had ever been thinking about me at all!"


Posted by: ricpic on November 2, 2006 5:40 PM

Auster wrote in response to a comment on his immigration post:

Whatever immigration advocates may say is their reason for wanting mass immigration, in reality their chief motivation is to end America as a white country. Once you understand this, their irrational and inconsistent positions start to fall into place.

Or we might simply disagree on the merits of pro- and anti-immigration arguments, you putz.

I haven't read Auster before, but the above statement by him is such obvious, ad hominem, overgeneralized nonsense that I find it difficult to take him seriously.

Posted by: Jonathan on November 2, 2006 5:50 PM

Auster's statement is spot on, putz!

Posted by: ricpic on November 2, 2006 6:37 PM

OK, I've been meaning to ask this for some time.

What does NSFW stand for? As an acronym, it's not elf-evident to me.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on November 2, 2006 8:20 PM

NSFW = Not Safe For Work. In other words, it contains nudity or other sexual content.

Those photos of the Space Shuttle lauch from the International Space Station seem sort of odd. They seem to have been taken from a much lower altitude than the ISS.

Posted by: Peter on November 2, 2006 9:16 PM

Oh, that "pubic hair coloring" for women must be a joke. Most women today have no pubic hair and therefore have no need for coloring.

Posted by: Peter on November 2, 2006 9:19 PM

Michael - the astounding photos you linked to were not from the ISS. They were taken from somewhere within the atmosphere. Here's a discussion:

Posted by: Ethan on November 2, 2006 9:23 PM

Michael - I saw the Derbyshire piece earlier. Thought it very interesting in the light of earlier postings here on religion. I was surprised to see how clearly Derbyshire documented his declining faith.

Peter - NSFW = Not Safe for Work, e.g., an explicit photo or web site.

Posted by: Alec on November 2, 2006 9:31 PM

Those shots of the shuttle launch definitely weren't taken from the ISS, as they're labeled. They're from high up, but not that high. Not only is the angle wrong, but the ISS would have moved much further along between the two shots. I believe that they're from a high-altitude observation place in place for each launch. Spectacular pictures, nonetheless.

Posted by: Derek Lowe on November 2, 2006 9:33 PM

ricpic wrote:
Auster's statement is spot on, putz!

I'm an immigration advocate. My motivation comes from my strong belief that the USA benefits greatly from high levels of immigration. My motivation has nothing to do with "end[ing] America as a white country" or any similar racist claptrap. But you and Auster know more about my motives than I do, right?

I'm happy to argue about immigration or any other topic with reasonable people who disagree with me. However, it is not reasonable or appropriate for you to impugn my motives. By doing so you create a strong impression among intelligent observers that you don't have enough evidence or logic to support your position, because if you did you would address my argument instead of going ad hominem. But you already know that, don't you?

Posted by: Jonathan on November 2, 2006 10:04 PM

Rick, would you say the supporters of immigration who allowed your [Jewish, as I recall] ancestors into the US, were trying to end America as a white country?
Unless they [the ancestors] were Ethiopean Jews...

Posted by: Tat on November 2, 2006 11:02 PM

" end America as a white country."

As an immigration supporter, I find it curious to have such motives imputed to me, by someone who apparently claims to be a mind-reader. But, actually, I am indifferent to whether or not somebody thinks America is a "white country" now and wants to keep it one. It isn't. It never has been. It was 20% Black at the time of the founding, to pick one numerical fact. It is a multiracial country. It has a lot of black and brown and yellow people, all of whom are Americans. That is part of what is so great about this place. What I would like to see "end" is the kind of thinking that employs categories like "white country".

It is so weird to find myself to the left of somebody on something.

Posted by: Lexington Green on November 3, 2006 12:26 AM

Heigh heigh heigh, ho ho ho, Western Civ has got to go. Ring a bell?

The whole leftist agenda is anti-White in the sense that White = European/Western Civilization-Bourgeoise Values-Protestant/Christian Morality.

To the extent that the Left can weaken what remains of the (White) West by flooding the country with diverse-multi-racial-multiculturalism, to that extent they can more quickly usher in the pagan swamp in which we are all foundering.

P.S. Part of the strategy is the use of the word, racist, to freeze anyone who opposes their agenda.

Posted by: ricpic on November 3, 2006 5:41 AM

If you don't record the act on video, then what's the point of doing it at all?

Strangely enough, having sex in those fitting rooms seems to have become something of a rage in the Netherlands. Some shops even have put warnings up, that they don't allow it. The excitement of doing something for which those people can get caught, seems to add something extra.

And, especially the ladies' underwear departments in huge department stores seem to attrack lonesome men, who 'll have a quick wank there.

It's a weird world out there.

Posted by: ijsbrand on November 3, 2006 7:22 AM

I hate to be a pedant, but the Rod Dreher character's response to John Derbyshire includes the phrase: "The word the Romans used is piety." I don't think it was.
He surely means "Pietas," and She was not just a word, She was also a Goddess. Someone who writes for something called "Beliefnet" ought to have more respect for the old religions, however antiquated they be, especially since that quality of admiration is exactly what he so admires about Derbyshire's renunciation of Christianity.
Speaking of which, a small sin to confess: I'm a liar - I actually really, really enjoy being a pedant.

Posted by: stephenesque on November 3, 2006 8:50 AM

ricpic wrote:
Heigh heigh heigh, ho ho ho. . . . [blah blah blah]

Another nonresponsive response from the mind reader. We disagree with him, therefore we are leftists, and for our edification he will now point out the flaws of leftist thought. Won many cases lately, Sherlock?

Posted by: Jonathan on November 3, 2006 10:08 AM

Tweeet -- A timeout for a quick reminder of the house rules. Vigorous debate is good. Mild name-calling ("putz" is kind of cute) and irascibility are tolerated. But the loose flinging-about of the word "racism" and all its variants is strongly discouraged. Why? Mainly because I find it overused, boring, and (worse) a conversation stopper. A bit eccentric on my part, but what the heck, c'est moi qui pays the bills around here. So humor your blog-host, OK? No more loose accusations of racism, please.

Now, on with the show!

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on November 3, 2006 10:26 AM

BTW, Jonathan and Lex? I think Larry Auster's really discussing not "white America" in some awful way. (He's Jewish himself.) I think he's talking about "traditional America." That's my reading anyway. Larry's an interesting guy whose ideas and p-o-v I always get something out of wrestling with, no matter whether I end up agreeing with him or not. He doesn't write with a light hand, that's for sure. But he's a substantial and brilliant guy, I think.

For instance, with his "traditional America" idea? I think his point is that it's been something about traditional America that has enabled the country to support the kind of immigration and prosperity that we've enjoyed. Our constitution, our history, our ethnic mix. It's America being America that has enabled us to be as generous and dynamic as we've been. If we change the composition of America to the point where it stops being traditional America, Larry argues, then we're likely to lose whatever it is that has made America able to be what it has been, including being as welcoming as it has been towards immigrants.

We seem to be well on our way to such drastic changes already -- already Hispanics outnumber blacks (a major change in our makeup). Is this a good idea?

Agree with Larry's conclusions or not, I'm unable to find anything not-serious, let alone heinous, about asking such a question. If America turns into a half-Hispanic country of 600 million, will it really be able to be the place it has always been? I don't really know, you don't really know, and Larry doesn't really know. But it's a legit response to a legit question to say, "Why take the chance?", no?

BTW, Ricpic? Lex and Jonathan are anything but lefties. And the rightie business-at-all-costs class deserves as much blame for current immigration policies as the nutty lefties, no?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on November 3, 2006 10:35 AM

it was a fun way to start a morning, to see Lex acused of being a leftie, and a multiculturalist at that.

Well, in this place I was [alternatively] called:
-a military feminist lacking in bed activity
-a communist importing her ideology from Russia
-a NKVD Jew with blood on my hands
-and various other things, can't remember now.

Stephen, how right you are: it's an asylum.

Posted by: Tat on November 3, 2006 10:44 AM

There isn't much special about that fitting room video, but I'm really excited to find that site.

By way of thanks, here's another amateur type video from a good site:

Posted by: Noumenon on November 3, 2006 10:48 AM

I'm happy to have the term "new mysterian" to replace the old "agnostic," which was getting pretty barnacled. And I'm happy to discover John Derbyshire, whose interpretation of the world is pretty much like mine except that I'm kind of a nature sensualist. Incidentally, my "travel sermon" used to be about those sudden "numinous" experiences people have and always afterwards people came up to tell me about their own. They did indeed interpret them differently but testified that they were intense and memorable.

As for the color coordination "thang," it makes me think about the woman who for medical reasons had had her vagina painted with purple gentian by a doctor. Shortly thereafter she was raped. When the suspects were rounded up, an up-close-and-personal inspection revealed the culprit. Sort of like those exploding dye bombs the banks put in stolen boodle.

Prairie Mary

Posted by: Mary Scriver on November 3, 2006 11:12 AM

A blowhard in the fitting room?

Posted by: raymond pert on November 3, 2006 1:31 PM

"If we change the composition of America to the point where it stops being traditional America,"

Is America what it is because of its racial composition, or because of shared, majoritarian beliefs about basic moral, ethical and economic precepts? I'd say its the latter.

Why do immigrants come to America? Some come to escape the brutal and often life-endangering oppression of their native country. Most, I think, come here hoping to better themselves economically. Both motivations exist independent of race.

What do most native born Americans want? A fairly broad measure of personal and economic freedom and opportunity.

Seems to me that most everyone here, no matter where they com from, share the same fundamental values.

Show me how the changing racial composition of America changes that.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on November 3, 2006 7:50 PM

Peter -- If you left the US as is, institutions and laws and infrastructre, etc, but you removed all the people and replaced them with, say (I dunno), Kurds, would it be the same country? And would it be able to carry on and function in the same way?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on November 3, 2006 8:03 PM

" stops being traditional America."

The essence of America is to stop being traditional America. We bulldoze traditional America over and over again and we always have. No other society has ever been so dedicated to creative destruction.

The railroad. Henry Ford's mass produced automobile. Radio, film, television. The birth control pill. The computer. These all were massively disruptive technologies that turned society upside down, and there were others almost as disruptive. But few people seriously want to undo technological change or stop technological progress. These were immensely more disruptive than the infusion of masses of Irish people, supposedly unassimilable, my ancestors. Much more than the supposed sub-normally intelligent Jews from Eastern Europe. Much more even than the Mexicans who live near me here in suburban Chicago, who are trying to do what everybody else is trying to do -- get a decent house, get their kids into a decent school, get a decent job, get into a safe neighborhood. It is the same story all over again.

The idea that white, Protestant Americe = America is not one that I accept. It is a historical falsehood. I'm not Protestant, and not sorry not to be, and I am just as American as anyone who is. We could go through other supposedly traditional ethnic or religious or racial criteria and find them similarly lacking as definitions of America. America is a culture, and you adopt it, and in the process it changes to some degree as new groups bring something of their own to it.

The things we have retained through over more than two centuries of head-spinning changer are political and legal institutions which facilitate a society based on freely chosen activities, freely chosen cooperation, competition in the economic arena within legal bounds. We derived all this from our Anglospheric roots -- but you don't have to be an Anglo-Saxon by blood to be part of that culture. Culturally there is a norm which is pretty much: Stay out of the other guys business, mind your own, don't be a hassle or a burden to other people. I see most of our recent immigrants looking happy to live this way -- it beats the Hell out of what is available back home. Moreover, they want to get ahead and they want their kids to get ahead, so they want to learn the rules and play by them.

Funny, to seem leftist to someone. I actually belive in strict border security. But that to me is a matter of national sovereignty and respect for law. I also believe in high levels of legal immigration, and that we should be encouraging people with skills and education to come in here more than poor people. I agree with Michael that hte business community is behind the excessive tolerance of a massive increase in illegal labor in the USA, and they are wrong to do so. I also agree that there are higher crime rates among illegal immigrants. So, enforce the law more vigorously, and deport anyone who doesn't belong here who gets mixed up in any crime. No problem. But, none of it is driven by some fear that "traditional" America will go away. It's already gone, and it always has been.

Blame the damned Irish if you want -- by 1850, they had wrecked the place and destroyed our traditional way of life. And, actually, they did. But we rewove our way of life to include them, and they adapted themselves to it, pretty successfully, over a few generations. The process can still work if we have cultural confidence, believe in what is good about our country, and demand that others who want to live here live up to it.

Posted by: Lexington Green on November 3, 2006 11:39 PM

Comparing Irish to today's immigrants is a fallacy in so many ways, and exploded as such over and over.

One of the things that allowed the assimilation of European immigrants was intermarriage.

With today's mulitracial immigrants, large scale intermarriage will not happen; it took Poles and Italians 80 years to intermarry with Americans, but blacks, who had been here for 300+ years, still remain a distinct group.

And so I think that importing people of very different appearance will simply balkanize us more.

Posted by: PA on November 4, 2006 11:11 AM

"Peter -- If you left the US as is, institutions and laws and infrastructre, etc, but you removed all the people and replaced them with, say (I dunno), Kurds, would it be the same country? And would it be able to carry on and function in the same way?"
Posted by Michael Blowhard at November 3, 2006

Of course it wouldn't be exactly the same. To the extent that Kurds are motivated primarily by a desire for economic and personal freedom, then the country would function pretty much the same way. I honestly don't know enough about the Kurds' dominant cultural and religious traditions to be able to know what the central animating principles of the average Kurd are.

The anti-immigration movement seems motivated primarily by a dislike of Hispanic immigrants, who currently make up the majority of those entering the country. I certainly agree that there are very valid reasons for limiting immigration-population growth, drain on environmental and social resources, etc.

But it seems to me that what motivates the anti-immigartion movement is largely the racial or ethnic makeup of the more recent immigrants.

If the majority of immigrants in the last twenty years or so were Germans or Swedes, there would be no anti-immigrant fervor.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on November 4, 2006 6:22 PM

Michael – Re: If you left the US as is, institutions and laws and infrastructre, etc, but you removed all the people and replaced them with, say (I dunno), Kurds, would it be the same country? And would it be able to carry on and function in the same way?

Your comments here are perhaps unintentionally ironic, but also perhaps unintentionally condescending and insulting. The Kurds of Iraq have established the most stable and democratic sections within the chaos of Iraq, and have been among the more consistent and reliable of our allies in that region, despite our own mixed signals and lack of consistency since even as far back as the First Gulf War.

Stepping back a bit, the largest democracy in the world is, of course, India, whose people had no problem understanding, accepting and adapting the concept despite their own ancient and seemingly incompatible traditions. And despite all the blather in this post about tradition or the false notion of America as a “white” country, the plain fact is that democracy and Christianity were originally ideas of the Ancient Mediterranean and Middle East, again ideas which were later accepted and adapted by people who were entirely different from the Greek and Jewish originators. Hell, there are people here right now who believe themselves to be “real Americans,” yet who believe that the Constitution should be subordinate to their vision of true religion, and that the US, its institutions, laws, infrastructure, etc., should be based on what they think that Jesus whispered into their ears last night.

So, yeah, I’d put money on the Kurds over a whole lot of people who call themselves Americans, any day.

PA- Re: One of the things that allowed the assimilation of European immigrants was intermarriage.

This really doesn’t wash historically. Poles, Italians, and especially the Irish, assimilated as they defined themselves as Americans and fought against the “Know Nothings” and others who feared them because they weren’t Protestant or Anglo Saxon. Intermarriage was just icing on the cake.

Re: And so I think that importing people of very different appearance will simply balkanize us more.

There have always been conflicts among ethnic groups, even very similar groups, but there has also been co-operation and mingling. I have noted before that, especially in California, there is a great deal of intermarriage among Asians and other groups, especially whites. And yet, here we have come far from a sentiment once echoed by Justice Harlan in his dissent to Plessy v Ferguson:

“There is a race so different from our own that we do not permit those belonging to it to become citizens of the United States. Persons belonging to it are, with few exceptions, absolutely excluded from our country. I allude to the Chinese race.”

People who get hung up on fears of balkanized country just lack imagination. But this is of course, a long American tradition.

Posted by: Alec on November 4, 2006 10:24 PM

Alec, how about these differences between then and now:

- Emigration was forever. There was no internet, satelite TV, cheap airline travel. Leaving the mother country meant you it's dead to you. (incidentally, I am an Eastern European immigrant who came here in the late 70s, and even as late as then there I had that feeling of irreversability with my coming here.)

- There was no institutional multiculturalism. No one was "sensitive" about Irish or anyone else's delicate sensibilities.

- A corollary to above: America had a strong, confident sense of self. Rigorous English-only schooling etc. None of the demoralizing multi-culti nonsense we have now in schools and in the culture in general.

- There was no welfare. Immigrants came here to work hard in various industries, sink or swim.

- There was the 1924 immigration cut-off, which allowed the assimilation of everyone who came earlier; no new blood coming in.

- Immigrants were white, European. I'm sorry I noticed, I know that race doesn't exist to liberals (except when they're buying a home) but that is kind of a significant factor, no?

- Native-born Americans had robust birthrates, while today they are rather anemic. So immigrants today are seen more as displacing the Americans rather than assimilating into them.

- The country back then was larger, roomier, more decentralized. Today, there is a sense that immigration is making entire swaths of the U.S. uninhabitable.

- Then, assimilation worked. While "off the boaters" often seemed alien, their children assimilated. Today, it's the first generation that's meek, hardworking, while their children and grandchildren join gangs or La Raza.

Posted by: PA on November 5, 2006 8:33 AM

PA – You’re pretty much wrong in all your assertions. People tend to re-read history to smooth out the more complex realities, and to create a more stable continuity or tradition than really occurred.

- “Emigration was forever.” It is true to some extent that easy travel and communication makes it easy for people to maintain their connections with their home countries, but since you can’t undo this, you just have to accept this and move on. Still, I have noticed that some immigrants are eager to create new connections here, and are relieved that they no longer have to put up with old country ways.

Many Italians and particularly the post-1840s Irish immigrants to America retained their European connections and, according to the recent PBS series “Irish in America,” returned home in surprising large numbers (don’t have access to the text, so cannot give a precise statistic). Eamon de Valera, one of the most dominant politicians of 20th century Ireland, and one of the author’s of its Constitution, was born in New York City.

- “There was no institutional multiculturalism.” There was institutional bigotry (e.g., the platform of the “Know Nothing” Party) vs sometimes militant immigrant organizations like the Fenian Brotherhood, not to mention the large numbers of ethnic gangs. Was this really better than institutional multiculturalism? Here’s a bit from a recent documentary on Chicago:

“In 1855 Chicagoans elected Dr. Levi Boone mayor on an anti-immigrant ticket. A descendant of Daniel Boone, Dr. Boone had been a city physician during the cholera epidemic -- which he blamed on immigrants. As mayor he banned drinking on Sundays -- a slap at the Germans. To curb Irish drinking, he raised the license fee on saloons from 50 to 300 dollars. He allowed the native born to enjoy their whiskey in private clubs.”

- “Rigorous English-only schooling etc.” Oddly enough, English-oriented public education and assimilationist ideas came from liberals. Traditional conservatives often just wanted immigrants out, especially Catholics and Eastern Europeans. However, foreign speaking ethnic enclaves persisted up until World War I, when reaction to that war forced many Americans and British to shake off their European connections.

German Americans have been among the first and largest immigrant groups here. But Pennsylvania and other states subsidized German language schools. Joseph Pulitzer first worked for German language newspapers. And according to the Wikipedia,

‘ "The overwhelming evidence ... indicates that the German-American school was a bilingual one…. By 1914 the older members were attending German language church services while the younger members were attending English services (in Lutheran, Evangelical and Catholic churches). In German parochial schools the children spoke English among themselves, though some of their classes were in German. In 1917-18, nearly all German language instruction ended, as did most (but not all) German language church services.’

- “There was no welfare.” Actually, there was lots of welfare, including religious charities.

- “There was the 1924 immigration cut-off, which allowed the assimilation of everyone who came earlier; no new blood coming in.” Again, assimilation was more a reaction to World War I than to immigration policies.

- “Immigrants were white, European.” Irish immigrants were regularly portrayed as monkeys in political illustrations of the 19th century. Eastern Europeans, and of course Jews, were considered to be the scum of Europe. You’re on a mighty high delusional horse if you are of Eastern European ancestry and are not aware of the extent to which your antecedents were viewed as being from the lowest rungs of the white race. It’s only modern revisionism that views whites as a non-ethnic clump. And today, some of the IQ crowd acknowledge that East Asians and Jews are the cream of the crop, and Eastern Europeans as a group are not nearly as desirable as immigrants.

- “Native-born Americans had robust birthrates, while today they are rather anemic.” Between 1820 and 1860, one third of all immigrants to the United States were Irish Catholics, and in the 1840s, they comprised nearly half of all immigrants, and native born Americans were gnashing their teeth over their reproduction rate.

- “The country back then was larger, roomier, more decentralized.” People feared that immigrants to big cities like Boston, New York and Chicago would make those places uninhabitable. And they did, for a time. We got over it. We always do.

- “Then, assimilation worked. While "off the boaters" often seemed alien, their children assimilated. Today, it's the first generation that's meek, hardworking, while their children and grandchildren join gangs or La Raza.”

La Raza ran out of steam 30 years ago. Also (something that is missed by people outside of California) it is the darling of a narrow, pseudo-progressive strain of Middle Class Mexican Americans, and is derided by most Mexican immigrants, and all Central American immigrants, since Guatemalans, Salvadorians and other non-Mexican Hispanics would be excluded from the Mexican nativist fantasy of “reconquista.”

And of course, even though they are smaller in number, here in California, gangs and organized crime rings founded by Eastern Europeans are far more vicious than many of the Latino gangs. Go figure.

Posted by: Alec on November 5, 2006 1:06 PM

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