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« Fact for the Day | Main | DVD Journal: "Oldboy" »

April 08, 2008


Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Dave Lull spots the first review of Bill Kauffman's new book, and it's a positive one.

* Joan Collins learned how to play a bitch by observing Bette Davis.

* Perhaps Stonehenge was built by only one guy.

* As I've said before and hope to say many times again: There can be no such thing as too many photos of Monica Bellucci.

* A link meant specially for Peter. (NSFW, I guess.)

* Roissy and crew fantasize about the perfect woman.

* Fjordman proposes the creation of a European Indigenous People's Movement. Hibernia Girl signs up.

* An Irishman is told by an academic that Irishness is nothing but a social construct.

* Thanks to Barry Woods for pointing out this amazing collection of British public information films. That's one fascinating archive of material.

* Coming off of a round of chemo, Alan Sullivan watches some costume dramas.

* Steve discusses tribalism.

* Agnostic visits a dance club and analyzes the sociology of "the grind."

* Always on the alert for the role pathogens play in evolution, Agnostic should be pleased by a recent report claiming that the tendency some cultures have to promote individualism and the tendency others have to promote group-centric behavior might well be responses to local pathogen loads.

* Dark Party Review lists seven excellent movie fight scenes.

* Healthy people tend to be at their least-happy at the age of 44.

* Stuff Asian People Like includes Dance Dance Revolution.

* So maybe the globalization of culture does deliver some benefits:

Link thanks to the Communicatrix.

* MBlowhard Rewind: I offered a guide to understanding the French. Key lesson: Don't take their philosophizing seriously.



posted by Michael at April 8, 2008


Ohhhhh, I think Joan Collins knew how to play a bitch all on her own!

Posted by: annette on April 8, 2008 3:10 PM

Keith Preston, who got his start as an anti-apartheid activist, often gets criticism for his association with the European "New Right" and justifies himself by saying they're like any other indigenist movement. He also says that opposition to immigration is analogous to opposition to gentrification.

Posted by: TGGP on April 8, 2008 6:01 PM

That Stonehenge video has officially knocked my socks off.

Posted by: GFS3 on April 8, 2008 11:07 PM

Can't find much to disagree with in what Fjordman says, except to add that it's happening here too. As to why, my best guess is that our political, business, media, education, labor and religious elites sense that there's some sort of populist movement percolating below the surface - those uppity middle class Americans demanding accountability in their public and private institutions and whatnot. The best way to head that off, the reasoning may be, is to displace or at least marginalize the nuisance class, replacing them with a citizenry that will be more properly respectful, i.e. agreeable to a more overt patron/client sort of governance, and along with that less likely to worry about corruption. I have no doubt that there is at least a sizeable minority, if not outright majority in both politial parties who would trade the USA's prestige, standard of living, and unique culture in a nanosecond if it meant they could live like politicians south of the border do.

Posted by: c.o. jones on April 8, 2008 11:55 PM

In response to the "European indigenous" movement:

Why has the intellectual left in Europe and America become so resigned to the childless society? I know that this is a bit of an exaggeration, but it's hard to state this without exaggeration.

Before the lefties go crazy, let it be known that I am all in favor of having fun in bed.

The question is why it has become unfashionable, even a sign of intellectual inferiority, among the left to actually care about having a bunch of children? Re-populating the earth has been consigned to the lower classes and to those of a different skin color.

I state my own, very obvious, theory. In the aftermath of the Holocaust, liberal whites are overwhelmed with guilt. Lay on top of that the ever present self-abasement over the history of slavery in the U.S., and you've got a group of people who have effectively gelded themselves in an odd act of contrition.

Among the artsy crowd in places like Manhattan, complete nihilism rules. This is often portrayed as hedonistic individualism, but it isn't. I've lived there, and I experience it as complete despair. The hedonism exists, to be sure.

Hedonism has always existed. I keep trying to tell you this, Michael, but people don't stop being horny, wanting to fuck in a all sorts of weird ways, etc., just because they get married and have children. It's an odd notion of that childless society that this is (or should be) the case.

The proper stance for the white, hetero artsy fartsy male is this: "I don't really care whether I win the battle. I'm above it all. In fact, I think I'll sit it out in order to facilitate the great and glorious triumph of gays, women and blacks. No, I don't want a mess of children. Unlike those other, lower class men who just want to glorify themselves, I will dazzle you with self-abasement."

The real question is how to reverse this. How to we change the intellectual artsy fartsy males? How do we get them to get back in the fight for glory and children? How do we undo the damage and get these guys back in the fight for their share of the pussy and the kids?

The start is to ditch the notion that whites suffer from some special sort of guilt. Genocide isn't a fetish of whites. Everybody's done it. Slavery wasn't invented and practiced only by whites. In fact, whites created the only societies that systematically condemn slavery. Evil exists and will always exist. It's part of the game. You don't abandon the game because of the existence of evil.

White men need to become braggarts and hustlers and fighters again. I mean, intellectual white men. I've been fed up with the culture of pussification and apology of the last 30years. It isn't enlightened. It's stupid beyond imagination, and it's damned boring.

I want to live to see a white guy who's as studly, pushy and determined to win as Lebron James. I want to see white guys fight to get their hands on all the pussy they can handle. This isn't about rational thinking or about proper politics. Artists aren't supposed to give a fuck about that stuff anyway. They're supposed to be concerned with whether, in the future, somebody thinks they're important enough to merit a bronze statue in the public square.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on April 9, 2008 10:39 AM

Annette -- Snicker. I suspect you're right.

TGGP -- Tks, I hadn't been aware of Preston before.

GFS3 -- Who needs drugs, eh?

C.O. -- That's a lot of shrewd thinking. I wonder if the fact that normal people can now make their opinions and preferences public via the web is going to have much of an impact. Will popular discontent and preferences be heard and heeded? Or will the web largely be just a way for people to blow off steam?

ST -- Another great rant. To take on two points of substance ...

You write, "I keep trying to tell you this, Michael, but people don't stop being horny, wanting to fuck in a all sorts of weird ways, etc., just because they get married and have children." I'm not sure where I've said that people *do* lose interest in sex just because they get married. My point in linking to sexual stuff isn't to put down middle America. It's to suggest that there's an actual culture of sex out there, much in the way that there's a culture of food, or movies. It's there to be explored, if only in imagination. I suspect -- could be wrong! -- that many people who are busy with schools, jobs, grocery shopping, etc, simply haven't run into stuff like Suicide Girls or neo-burlesque or I Shot Myself. I have, so I pass the info along. Fun to know that there are kids and artists who are doing crazy-sexy things, or so I hope.

I have a, ahem, deeper argument going on there, which is the whole "culture of sex" thing that I should probably spell out better than I do. It's sex as culture -- sex as a field like art or food or music or wine, something with its own history, rules, mythology, etc. I could be wrong, but I think that most Americans treat sex like they treat food -- they reach for packages, they gobble, they don't give it much thought. Once the oomph of the teens and 20s have passed, sex wanes in importance. But what if sex is something like wine or music -- a huge field that is endlessly fascinating and endlessly rewarding? No one has to become a wine connoisseur or a foodie, god knows. But on the other hand, letting go of the usual American fixation on corporate culture and opening up a bit to the larger culture of food or wine or music (or sex) can be very rewarding. So yeah, I'm arguing that too.

As for the having-kids things, I know what you're talking about and enjoy the rant. But I've got a different interpretation of all that. Whatever my many reservations about the boho set, I don't think it's any kind of problem that a small sliver of the population doesn't reproduce. That's been true through all Western history -- gays, priests, pirates, women who became nuns or were barren or who ran away from giving birth. I've seen figures saying something like 80% of women reproduced and only 50% of men did thru most of Western history. Yet the population grew. It wasn't a species-wide or race-wide problem that 35% (if I'm doing the arithmatic right) of the population didn't have kids -- it didn't stop the general population from thriving numerically. Humankind can flourish numerically even when 35% of the population isn't reproducing.

So what's different now?

I pick it apart this way.

1) Prosperity. It seems that when nations hit a certain level of prosperity, they start popping out a lot fewer kids per couple. This tendency isn't just a Western tendency, so we might as well take it as a general rule of life.

2) Absolute numbers. It seems that when prosperous nations hit a certain level of crowdedness they back off on having so many kids. This seems so common that we may as well accept it as a general rule too.

3) The effects of prosperity. Once bare survival is assured (or it feels assured, anyway) many people turn from battling-the-odds by spawning as often as possible to focusing on getting more out of life, pleasing themselves, indulging whims, exploring things, etc. Some of them may take this so far that they fail to reproduce. The self and the experience of the self (and pleasing and exploring the self) start to feel more important than the struggle for survival.

In any case: prosperity plus leisure plus security plus culture seem to lead to a certain set of behaviors, which don't include reproducing at a rate that leads to ever-growing numbers. It isn't the fault of some downtown artists who are full of shit. They are indeed full of shit, often. But people generally are making their own choices, and living the lives they choose to live.

My conclusion: If the general outcome of all this is population numbers that stabilize or even shrink some, that's OK with me. Why shouldn't it be? When the population level of the US stabilized in the early '70s, for instance, that seemed to me like people saying, OK, numerically we've grown enough. Let's pause here.

I can see that it can be a problem if mainstream people take bohemian attitudes too seriously, or adopt them for themselves. Life patterns that suit gays and artists and such probably aren't going to serve suburban mommies and daddies very well.

But if it's a problem that Suburban Mom and Suburban Dad are taking Downtown attitudes too seriously -- I'm not convinced it is, but *if* it is -- that's hardly the fault of Downtown people. Downtown people are just doing what Downtown people do. It's the fault of the people (suburban moms and dads) who are taking the boho set too seriously.

Easy solution for the squares: Get the creative-bohemian thing in perspective. Don't imitate it. Bohos supply a lot in the way of entertainment and experimentation, but what they're coming up with isn't and shouldn't be seen as role-model stuff. Be amused by them. (Or not.) But don't go and do likewise.

And an easy solution to the fact that other cultures are breeding like mad: Keep 'em out. If we have a nice thing going here, and if our numbers are stabilized, and if we're enjoying life and getting the chance to be a little more casual and experimental than people generally have been able to be through most of history -- well, that's a great thing, something to be cherished and be grateful for.

If other cultures want to go berserk with numbers, so what? We may well need to take steps to defend ourselves against them. But otherwise their troubles and insanities are none of our business.

IMHO, of course.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on April 9, 2008 12:19 PM

Michael and ST:

Rapidly falling birth rates are by no means just a Western phenomenon. Rates are dropping all over the world, in rich countries and poor ones, in countries where women have high status and in those where women have low status, and in countries of all different religions and cultures. The only exceptions are some very poor African countries with high infant mortality rates (though many other African countries are part of the general worldwide trend) and a handful of outliers like Afghanistan and Yemen. It's a trend that seemingly defies explanation.

As for the other point, you'll find no one who agrees more than me that white men, at least those of middle class and above, indeed have turned into a collection of wimps and sissies. It's truly pathetic and disturbing.

Posted by: Peter on April 9, 2008 12:49 PM

MB - I think you'll see attempts at censorship if the high-and-mighty start to feel as if their prerogatives are under threat. My guess is that if a Democrat wins in November and the Dems pick up seats in Congress, it's a slam dunk that the Fairness Doctrine will be brought back to put Limbaugh out of business. Once he's out of the way, then someone will suggest that well, if it's appropriate to regulate talk radio (they will not call it censorship, trust me) then certainly the internet is fair game.

And once the censorship ball starts rolling no one will want to be left out of the deal-making. I think you'll see mini-despots and killjoys of all types both left and right get together to see if they can get rid of talk radio, bloggers, and porno (even soft core erotica) all at the same time. Bipartisanship at its best! It probably would not get past the Supreme Court, but it doesn't mean they won't try.

Posted by: c.o. jones on April 9, 2008 12:50 PM

ST, Peter -- Oh, right: I agree totally, far too many white guys have become wusses. What's with that?

C.O. -- That sounds like all-too-plausible a projection! Maybe another scenario is that the bipartisan powers-that-be let the rest of us amuse ourselves with our gadgets while they put the gadgets to work creating ever-more-efficient ways of fleecing the rest of us. Or maybe all the above, eh?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on April 9, 2008 1:10 PM

Wallyhenge was lovely: but a cynic might think that if ever he needed to build a Stone Age monument he'd now know how, as long as someone else provided a concrete plinth.

Posted by: dearieme on April 9, 2008 1:11 PM


I know that you enjoy a good rant. So, I'm glad you found mine entertaining.

I just took a trip home to Chicago for a family reunion. The non-hip wing of the family is producing children like crazy. At the gathering, about 15 kids were running and screaming like warriors. It was great.

I think that a whole lot more is going on in the burbs than you imagine.

You've got to remember. The folks that you left back home in the un-hip sectors of America are looking to you for leadership and inspiration. I try to do my bit by revving up my macho and hetero side.

In general, I'm ready to raise hell. I'm headed straight for the grave anyway. Already reserved my place right next to Myrna. I'm going to do her proud.

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on April 9, 2008 2:47 PM

You know, it's a helluva lot of work to raise kids. And it's expensive. Very little surplus energy or discretionary income left when raising kids. Maybe soft people, and those whites raised upper-middle or even middle class are mostly incredibly soft, maybe they make the calculation that it'll just be too hard and so, no thanks. I think that's much more the reason for childlessness or just one child than any historically induced guilt.

Posted by: ricpic on April 9, 2008 2:54 PM

The sheer amount of paranoia and projection around here is sometimes stunning.

First, as someone who has spent most of his adult life around artists of various sorts I can assure you that, with very few exceptions, hetero-males of the Arts Clan are more than mildly interested in sex. Perhaps the best-known poster guy for the phenomena was Pablo Picasso, but he was far from unique. Members of the New Class, especially corporate execs, may be known for their trophy wives, but they have nothing on artists, many of whom sport stunning younger women as fashion accessories. Think of musicians rather than painters if it helps get you past this particular erroneous notion. Google Billy Joel or Mick Jagger + wife + girl friend and see what you find.

And c.o.'s fantasies about Democratic initiatives toward censorship are misplaced. He needs to take a better look at the GOP's right wing if he's looking for censorship advocates. Take the Bush administration's gag rules regarding discussion of abortion among health care workers as a place to begin. In fact, Rush himself often seems eager to support those forces interested in banning speech deemed "unpatriotic" or "lewd".

As for the Fairness Doctrine it was based on the notion that, since the airwaves are not owned by broadcasters, but rather belong to the public and are merely licensed to avoid overlapping signals that might make the broadcast spectrum useless, when a broadcaster allocated time to politically contentious programming it was FAIR to allow dissenting voices equal time in the public interest. Curiously enough, in the years since the Fairness Doctrine has no longer been in force it is only liberal (for want of a better label) broadcasters that I've ever known to regularly grant equal airtime to those who wish to avail themselves of it. I doubt it will be Democrats clambering for censorship.

I am increasingly curious as to how the vehement anti-immigrant voices around here view the whole of human history. From all the evidence home sapiens has been picking up and moving on since Day One. Do you want to select a point in time ... 1880 ... 1656 ... 1088 ... 2,345 B.C. ... and demand that everyone go back to wherever their ancestors were as of that date? Or convene a global convention to divvy up the planet along some sort of racial/religious/whatever basis and insist that all humans must report to their newly designated homelands? I also suspect that most of those who seem so opposed to immigration believe that they themselves should be allowed to move to anywhere on the planet they wish, whether for a week's vacation or permanently.

At the risk of beating a dead horse, let me again point out that I favor tighter borders and better policies for dealing with immigration, I just think that too much of the ire and venom is misplaced. There is a xenophobic component that to me misses the point of how the global elites are using "free trade" and lax borders to their advantage at the expense of the rest of us, including Mexicans et al.

Posted by: Chris White on April 9, 2008 4:23 PM

Isn't it great... having internet friends and internet enemies?

Chris, you make a great internet enemy. I can always count on you to display just the sort of idiocy that makes me wretch.

You've done it up! Somehow, you've turned the readers of this blog into Bush supporters! Once again, you've invoked the first principle of liberalism: Everything is racism! And you are a paragon of racial understanding and benevolence! I smooch your holy butt with my unclean lips!

The censorship bit was priceless. The left doesn't believe in censorship! No, just "hate crimes" and "hate speech."

You are exactly what I was writing about in my rant. Your holiness and reasonableness stinks! Were leftist men always such vile saints? I remember, way back in my youth, when leftist men seemed like adventurers and rogues.

And, incidently, the Monsanto bit in your previous post was priceless. Tweak a leftist about corporations and you'll get a Monsanto rant in reply. Does somebody send out a monthly rant sheet on Monsanto? Back in the 60s it was Dow. How did Monsanto become the paragon of evil?

You are, indeed (as all liberals have become) a Prince of Unction.

The final bit... We must organize! Jesus Christ! I dreamed I saw fucking Joe Hill last night! The commie dream never dies, does it? In my 58 years on this earth, I have experienced exactly zero comradeship and solidarity among humans. Well, excepting my wife. Do you really believe this crock of shit?

Posted by: Shouting Thomas on April 9, 2008 5:14 PM

Chris -

Maybe I should have been a little clearer: I'm not fantasizing about what might happen when all 3 branches of the government come under control of the Democrats - prominent members of the party have actually said that this is what they're going to do. Some of them have even made it clear, if not explicitly, then certainly by implication who the primary target of their ire is. My conjecture is based on the above, and the natural tendency of politicians to overreach.

And don't underestimate the censorious leanings of either the left or the right. Religious conservatives will work with militant feminists if they think it will rid the world of those horrible dirty pictures that men and adolescent boys like to look at. Both sides will get what they want, and the feminist crowd will probably get enhanced hate crime and thought crime statutes in addition to getting rid of people who say stuff that hurts their feelings.

Posted by: c.o. jones on April 9, 2008 5:25 PM

Vile Saints: coming to a theater near you, soon.

Posted by: ricpic on April 9, 2008 9:19 PM

"In my 58 years on this earth, I have experienced exactly zero comradeship and solidarity among humans."

Finally an answer to the question I never bother asking: What exactly has crawled up this Shouting guy's ass?

"Somehow, you've turned the readers of this blog into Bush supporters!"

Just like the way you cast your massive net trying to piss off anyone who dares to think of himself as liberal:

"The question is why it has become unfashionable, even a sign of intellectual inferiority, among the left to actually care about having a bunch of children?"

I don't think most of "the left" gives a rat's ass what artists in New York city are doing or not doing.

Posted by: i, squub on April 9, 2008 9:43 PM

As I said, The sheer amount of paranoia and projection around here is sometimes stunning.

ST – Can you read one of my comments and deal with what it actually says instead of what you think I supposedly (in my evil traitorous commie pinko bleeding heart) mean? You ask, "How do we undo the damage and get these guys (white, hetero artsy fartsy males) back in the fight for their share of the pussy and the kids?" I point out that most hetero guys I know in the arts are more than enjoying their share of pussy and procreating just fine, thanks. Whether they are braggarts & hustlers isn't the point. That only has to do with your own insecurities and need to project ... kind of like the Goth kids who adopt a scary persona to overcompensate and hopefully keep from being beaten up by the jocks. And that said, I've known plenty of white hetero artsy fartsy guys who are braggarts and hustlers, too.

I never suggested that readers of the blog were Bush supporters, just that if c.o. is looking for examples of governmental censorship, he would do better to look at the Bush administration, not the Democrats. I think you may be a bit touchy about "hate speech" and "hate crimes" because you just might on occasion be accused of engaging in the former. As a staunch Free Speech and First Amendment supporter I'm going to tell you that you are a rude and ignorant bigot when you spout what I think is rude, ignorant, bigoted nonsense ... but I'll defend your right to say whatever you want. I find you often go overboard and don't like the way you personally attack me (and sometimes others) on this blog but after my initial distress I've gotten over it. Now I've come to view your worst rants as just bad comedy. Or is this yet another example of my execrable reasonableness? Would you prefer it if I simply called you a [insert obscene sexually demeaning insult here]?

Monsanto became the new Dow when it began suing farmers whose crops were contaminated by their GMO product line for patent violations and then suing local dairy operations for advertising "No artificial growth hormones." Is that supposed to be the "free market" at work? Or a great example of a corporate bully gaming the system to enhance its monopolistic aspirations?

Did I mention Joe Hill and organizing? Or was that just another of your fever dreams?

Get a grip man!

c.o. – Do you see a difference between me and Shouting Thomas exchanging insults and some thugs kicking a "faggot" to death or lighting a homeless guy on fire because they believe their victims are less worthy humans? Our legal system has a long history of taking into account the mindset of the perpetrator (e.g. manslaughter vs. 1st, 2nd, & 3rd degree murder). Why then is it not reasonable to include racial, sexual, or other hatred as a component of a crime?

As for the Fairness Doctrine (which I admit I'm philosophically in favor of), it made little significant difference in the broadcast market when it was in effect and I doubt it will have much effect if it is brought back, which I highly doubt. It is not about censoring anyone but rather is about providing the opportunity for equal time to opposing views. Just as right-wingers make overblown speeches that appeal to a given part of their base that they know they are unlikely to ever be able to follow through on, so do liberals. Most liberals are anti-censorship, pro-First Amendment.

Posted by: Chris White on April 9, 2008 9:47 PM

Chris -- I join you in your loathing of the right-wing thought and speech police, but why be naive about the leftwing thought-and-speech-police crowd? Here's a lovely bit about Canada's Richard Warman, who has recently been making a career (often with the help of Canada's Human Rights Commission, prosecuting evil-thinking Canadians. Here's more about Warman. Dworkin and MacKinnon ... The epidemic of "sexual correctness" from the late '80s and early '90s ... The kind of right-thinking that the mainstream media were able to impose until the internet starting blowing their control apart ... The leftie side of the room hasn't exactly covered itself in glory recently where freedom of speech and freedom of thought are concerned.

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on April 9, 2008 11:30 PM

Chris -


I am not commenting on the homeless guy who gets set on fire or a hate crime involving a gay victim. FWIW, my brother in law is gay and has lived with his partner for 25 years. I happen to think that they should be able to enter into a marital contract before the state, if not before whatever god they believe in. OK? And I am sure it will offend someone here that I'd rather have a couple of gay guys live in my neighborhood instead of an (illegal) immigrant family with multiple cousins, children, and assorted hangers-on. Gays increase property values; impoverished, semi-literate immigrants depress property values.

Posted by: c.o. jones on April 9, 2008 11:53 PM

Michael – In the context of this blog I've found being even handed when discussing various issues is often taken the wrong way ... just check out ST's view on "reasonableness" above. I'll agree that there are plenty of lefties and radical feminists who fall on the wrong side of freedom of speech issues and I'm happy to add my voice to a condemnation of Warman, Dworkin, MacKinnon, et al. However, in the context of this thread there aren't any loopy liberals or feminazis calling for a gag order on Roissy, just paranoia about the possibility of governmental censorship of talk radio and the internet if the Democrats gain both the White House and Congress. In the first place, it's a real stretch to equate the Fairness Doctrine with censorship. In the second, censorship in the U.S. is not only historically more likely to be favored by the hard right than the left, but in certain areas (e.g. reproductive health) has already been implemented in limited ways by the Bush administration with the acquiescence of the Congressional GOP and conservative Supreme Court.

c.o. – Sorry if I misunderstood, but I was responding to your opinion that "the feminist crowd will probably get enhanced hate crime and thought crime statutes in addition to getting rid of people who say stuff that hurts their feelings." If thugs assaulted your brother and his partner for no other reason than their sexual orientation, do you think that there should be any legal calculus to judge the crime more seriously than, say, an assault that occurs when an argument between fans of rival sports teams gets out of hand?

Posted by: Chris White on April 10, 2008 7:51 AM

Chris -- So, if playing on a team appeals to you, why not align yourself with the "freedom of expression" crowd rather than the Dems and lefties?

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on April 10, 2008 9:24 AM

Chris White,

The reason why so-called "hate" crimes are meaningless and different from the various degrees of murder is that such motivations are really irrelevant to the commission of the crime.

So you "hate" somebody because of their skin color--and you rob them. How's that any different from robbing them without the race angle? None. Same crime, same violation of rights. Do you like somebody and rob them? Probably not.

The different degrees of murder are just there to establish premeditation, because people who plan out crimes are more dangerous than those who commit them in the heat of the moment.

And besides, how do you distiguish motive if somebody hates another and it has nothing to do with skin color are all, but politics, or looks, or some other attribute that you can't legislate against?

Just keep the crime defined the way it is. Either you violated somebody's rights or not, period. The rest is simply the making of thoughts into crimes. Its totally antithetical to freedom of thought and expression, and it leads to people being arrested in places like England for calling somebody else a "homosexual" or the like. Total nonsense and totally Orwellian. We are all entitled to think freely, even if you don't like the result. Deal with it. You're not making the world any better with this nonsense, you're making it a whole lot worse.

Posted by: BIOH on April 10, 2008 10:59 AM

Concerning hate crimes, I'm something of an agnostic. Here I generally agree with BIOH (will wonders never cease?) that charging the perp with the crime of assault or whatever is usually sufficient and their motivation is not particularly germane. I am certainly against criminalizing speech alone; calling someone a faggot or a feminazi or whatever should not, in and of itself, be a crime. However, I also see that society has a stake in levying further punishment for those crimes that are clearly committed based on hatred ("All – fill in the blank – deserve to suffer and/or die.") ... just as it should and does treat more leniently crimes when it considers extenuating circumstances. The case of kids who vandalize a high school in an act of class spirit run amok should be treated differently than skinheads who vandalize a synagogue in an act of neo-nazi anti-semitism.

Michael – playing on a team has never particularly appealed to me. I've never joined any political party and in high school my sport was cross country, not so much a team endeavor as a bunch of guys running against their own best times. With that caveat I am pretty well aligned with the 'freedom of expression' crowd. When it comes to U.S. national politics and figuring out who is more likely to favor freedom of expression, I'll generally bet on the Good Cop Party (Dems) over the Bad Cop Party (GOP). Push come to shove I'll fess up to being more of a leftie than a neo-con, not that that should come as a surprise by now.

And another thing Michael, on a more serious note, you're right, there can be no such thing as too many photos of Monica Bellucci.

Posted by: Chris White on April 10, 2008 3:27 PM

BIOH clearly expressed my - OHMIGOD! - our rationale for opposing hate crime legislation.

Posted by: Peter L. Winkler on April 11, 2008 4:03 AM

"In my 58 years on this earth, I have experienced exactly zero comradeship and solidarity among humans."

Finally an answer to the question I never bother asking: What exactly has crawled up this Shouting guy's ass?


And anyway, do you, ST, oh champion of large broods, have any kids of your own? I, a limp-wristed commie leftist, have 3 boys who do, in fact, run around screaming like warriors most of the day. My other lefty faggot friends, almost to the man and woman, have multiple kids.

Posted by: JV on April 12, 2008 1:48 PM

I'm with CW on being somewhat agnostic on "hate crimes." I can see the intent of such legislation, in that a crime committed against someone because of what they are (black, white, gay, etc.) is an individual act meant to represent a greater desire, namely collective punishment of a specific group of people. That kind of crime creates ripples of fear in a community on a much greater order of magnitude than a crime committed on, for lack of a better term, a more personal level.

However, the difficulty, as always, comes in determining the intent of a crime. It's easy if someone spray paints swastikas to say OK, this is a crime based on hatred of an entire group of people, but most cases aren't as clear cut as that.

It's a tricky issue, and I tend to lean towards the side of just treating crimes as crimes. But I do see the intent of people who favor hate crime type legislation.

Posted by: JV on April 12, 2008 2:14 PM

Wally Wallington and his neo-Stonehenge project kicks butt!

I do recall, however, that somebody got a group of Boy Scouts together in Britain and got them to quarry and move for several miles stone blocks as big as those used at Stonehenge, although I'm not sure if they set them in place. And I think a similar demonstration was performed for blocks of the type used in the Egyptian pyramids. (Which doesn't exactly eliminate a bunch of other fascinating questions about these megalithic projects, I know.)

I guess the next challenge for Wally would be to build another Machu Picchu in his backyard; then he could replicate Inca techniques:

With meticulous care, solid stones were carved from the gray granite of the mountains, revealing structures that are today, architectural wonders. A great many of the building blocks weigh up to 50 tons or more, yet they are sculpted so precisely and knitted together so exactly, there is no need for bond or mortar to unite them.

Or maybe he could recreate the fortress at Sacsayhuamán, where the single biggest stone weighs in at 120 tons!

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on April 13, 2008 8:27 AM

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