Best of February 2017

Another month has passed, so it’s time to list my 5 favorite thing that happened in February:

1.Favorite writer’s name of the month: While listening to Andrew Klavan’s excellent podcast, I learned about a feminist writer who contributes to the unintentionally hilarious Everyday Feminism (I would give the site two thumbs up, except that I’m sure for some reason that I cannot articulate that that would be really offensive in this context). The writer’s name, Klavan said, was “Tori Truscheit.” So I immediately went to the site, and flipped through several stories looking for Ms. Truscheit, hoping and praying that her last name was spelled as it should be. Only to be disappointed by “Truscheit.” Still, the homonym is pretty sweet. (And if there were ever a movie called “Looking for Ms. Truscheit,” I would not see it, even if it were on cable for free.)

By the way, during my brief search for the “Truscheit” (ha!), I learned a lot. For example, I saw an article entitled, “No, trans women are not ‘biologically male’.” (Invoking my invention, on the spot, of Simpson’s First Law of Grammar: if you find it necessary to deploy scare quotes around a phrase like “biologically male,” something has gone horribly wrong in your thinking and writing.)

I also learned that there is a numbered list for every occasion. For example, you probably didn’t know that there are “3 Harmful Ways Ableism Shows up in our Everyday Language.” (I didn’t read the article, but if it doesn’t include Joe Biden telling wheel-chair bound Missouri State Senator Chuck Graham to “Stand up [and] let ‘em see ya,” at a rally, I’d be severely disappointed.) (If you haven’t seen that video, you owe it to yourself to drop everything and watch it right now.)

And there are “9 Things Not to Say to a Non-Binary Person.” (But, I guess maybe those could be 9 things TO say to a binary person, if I remember my double-negatives rule correctly? Ugh, grammar!) And by the way, Everyday Feminism editors, if you’ve got an extra set of scare quotes lying around the office, how about rolling them out when you are discussing “non-binary” folks? I’ve got no idea what that means, but it’s got to be scarier than “biologically male,” doesn’t it?

2. Trump dress upends the charts: Joy Villa – which, though it sounds like a dandy little retirement community, is actually a singer whose latest release was sitting somewhere around 530,000 on Amazon. Then she wore a Trump-themed dress to the Grammys. I am not a fashion critic – I’m just a humble “biological male,” and a “binary” one at that, I think – but I know what I hate. And I hated that dress.

However, I love that after wearing it, her album (or release, or cd, or glip glorp, or whatever the kids these days call what we used to call “records”) went to #1. Beautiful! I almost went online and purchased a copy of her glip glorp myself, before I remembered that I have no idea how to do that. Also, that I haven’t liked anything recorded since Johnny Cash died. (Except for some stuff from Kings of Leon. Those guys are good. And I haven’t heard CO’s band, but I’d make an exception for them, too.)

Where was I? Oh yeah, Joy Villa. From 530,000 to #1 after wearing a Trump dress. Stick it, the rest of you marginally talented doofuses (doofi? Grammar!) who feel compelled to use your award acceptance speeches to virtue signal about politics. I hope you pass Joy Villa on your way down into the 530,000 rankings.

3. Terrorist Creep Dies: Original Twin Towers bombing planner and all-around terrorist scumbag Omar Abdul-Rahman — known primarily for his hate-filled jihadist screeds and for his much-loved imitation of Ray Charles in a Santa Claus hat (see his pic on Wikipedia) – died on 2/18.

I know that we traditionally have a moment of silence to mourn the passing of good and honorable people. So can we have a moment of raucous noise to commemorate the passing of this hateful, milky-eyed weird beard? I suggest that we make a recording of a jet engine, overlaid with the guitar open from the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage,” overlaid with wolf howling, overlaid with one of Yoko Ono’s (“She’s history’s greatest monster!”) hideous vocalizations. (On the other hand, let’s replace Yoko’s sample with a recording of two mountain lions in coitus, just to make sure that Yoko doesn’t somehow get a royalty out of this brilliant idea.)

4. A Day without Immigrants: In what parents throughout the saner precincts of the nation celebrated as the most teachable moment that their kids could ever have, the “Day without Immigrants” (2/16) was followed immediately in many areas (starting 2/17) with “A Future without Employment,” created when many employers decided that they could do without employees who don’t appreciate being employed. I know that many immigrants who participated aren’t here illegally, but many are – I mean, that’s the point, right? To show us how much we need all of the many workers who are living and working here illegally?

So leave it to the reliably thick-headed Atlantic magazine to publish an article on the topic, with the subtitle, “Around 100 workers were reportedly fired for participating in last week’s strike. Whether that’s legal remains to be seen.“ Yep. We’re not sure that it’s legal to fire people who are working here ILLEGALLY. Yikes. You keep doing you, brilliant leftist magazines.

While I don’t usually enjoy seeing people lose their jobs, I certainly used this example to give a little “this is how the world works” life lesson to my two now-teenaged daughters. Not that they needed it, however. When my second daughter was born, my oldest was 4, and I had the talk with her that I’m sure all good dads have with their kids: “Honey, we now have an auxiliary daughter. Should you be unable to carry out the duties of the primary daughter, your mother and I are going to move her up to the gold medal stand. Now get back to your pre-K homework, because those state capitals and days of the week are not going to memorize themselves.”

I can only hope and pray that soon we will see a “Day without Lawyers,” followed by “A Day without Federal Bureaucrats.” I would wish for “A Day without smarmy leftist Air America hosts,” or “A Day without President Hillary Clinton,” but then I remember that EVERY day is a day without those. And I can’t stop giggling.

5. Sweden proves Trump right: After Trump made a mis-statement on the troubles “last night” in Sweden on Saturday, 18 February, a bunch of nice folks in a few Swedish “migrant suburbs” (and yes, I think those scare quotes are justified!) start rioting, burning things and assaulting people. The beauty of that schadenfreude-tastic (word copyrighted by me, right now) turn of events was in the timing. Because the cherubic immigrants didn’t start rampaging for 36 hours, which gave the US leftist media just enough time to work themselves up into a frothing lather of sweet, sweet Trump-hatred, before having the (Persian) rug pulled out from under them. I love the image of a couple of smirking leftist commentators interrupted mid-bloviation:

Leftist Hack 1: “I’m sure that the few adult Republicans in DC are mortified by President Cheetoh’s latest delusional statement about non-existent social tensions in the earthly paradise that is Sweden.”

Leftist Hack 2: “You’re absolutely right. How much longer can we endure the world’s well-justified contempt for our Islamophobe-in-Chief before saner heads prevail, and we get on with the inevitable impeachment proceedings?”

Hack 1: “I know, right? How dare he suggest that uncontrolled immigration from unstable Islamic theocratic states would produce anything other than an Edenic multi-cultural social tapestry of joy and—“

Hack 2: “Our producer is telling me we have a breaking story. Apparently, Malmo is in flames.”

Hack 1: “Oh my God! The red puppet character beloved by children everywhere has been burned?”

Hack 2: “No. That’s Elmo. This is Malmo.”

Hack 1: (pause) “What’s a Malmo?”

Hack 2: (fiddling with his earpiece) “I’m told that it’s a city.” (much more quietly) “In Sweden.”

Hack 1: “Oh s—t!” (slaps the desk in disgust, then composes herself) “Well, it’s probably happening in a hotbed of tall, blond, white, neo-Nazi right wingers, right? All wound up by Trump’s hate speech until they started to—“

Hack 2: (swallowing) “I’m told that the rioting and violence is taking place in a ‘migrant suburb.’”

Hack 1: (shuffling some papers, then coughing) “Migrants from Norway?”

Hack 2: “Migrants from Syria, and several of the other countries mentioned in Trump’s evil and unconstitutional executive order.”

Hack 1: “Son of a– ! Come on!”

And, scene.

Advice for my Lefty Friends: How to React to Donald Trump

No, none of my lefty friends has asked my opinion on this topic. But should that stop me from giving it?

After all, no sentient being anywhere has ever asked, “I wonder what Ashley Judd thinks about this political issue?” or “Why won’t alleged funnyman Al Franken give us his criteria for a successful cabinet pick?” or “How long must we wait for Meryl Streep’s next condescending lecture?”

Yet those savants have shared with us their deathless wisdom. So why shouldn’t I do the same? Here goes:

Tip 1: If you start with the outrage meter pegged to 11 for every garden-variety bonehead comment that Trump makes, you’re going to lose your voice, burst a blood vessel, and be thoroughly ignored when Trump does something truly egregious. One of my favorite Simpson’s moments was when the mayor unveiled a presidential statue; the townspeople expected Abraham Lincoln, but Springfield could only afford Jimmy Carter. When the statue is revealed, one character points and says, “He’s history’s greatest monster!”

Trump is likely to be an inconsistent president, but he’s not going to be a Stalin, or a Mao, or an Asmodeus, Destroyer of Men. Don’t be the boy who cried Carter.

Tip 2: Stop calling yourself The Resistance. It’s creepy, and self-dramatizing, and it makes you sound like a 15-year old. (And not a popular, well-adjusted 15-year old.) Trump is not a Star Wars villain or a dictator, and he didn’t come to power by force. He’s there largely because the right track/wrong track numbers last year were upside down, and you ran a shrieking harpy with the personal warmth of a dyspeptic time-share saleswoman and a plan to double-down on the policies that had produced the afore-mentioned ballooning wrong track numbers.

Look in the mirror. Wait, first pull off your ski mask, and then look in the mirror. Doesn’t that black trench coat look ridiculous? The Resistance? Really? C’mon.

Tip 3: Don’t think you are going to get any mileage with most Americans by pointing out how badly Trump is treating the press. Do you not know how despised the press is? Their approval rating is just above ISIS, and below testicular cancer. (The internals are even worse: CNN is only ahead of chlamydia because of Jake Tapper, and his numbers are eroding, so…) Work on improving the accuracy of press coverage, and you might eventually earn a public hearing again.

Until then, the press is the anti-Sally Field: We don’t like them. We really don’t like them.

Tip 4: Consider not insulting everyone you are trying to persuade. Most people voted for Trump not BECAUSE he made crude comments or verbal gaffes or behaved boorishly, but DESPITE those qualities. He promised to reverse the direction of the last 8 years, and you need to come to grips with why so many people found that prospect enticing enough that they would vote for someone with Trump’s flaws, as the first step to a mature reconsideration of your own past actions and positions.

Or, you can just scream that we’re all racist/sexist/bigoted moronic evil-doers, and see how that works. (Spoiler alert: President Trump.)

Tip 5: We remember Obama. And we remember that you spent the last 8 years getting him his pipe and his fuzzy slippers, and giving him a soothing tongue-bath each time he said something like, “I’m going to stop the rise of the oceans,” and “I don’t know the difference between a rectal thermometer and the other kind, but I’ve come up with the best health plan ever,” and “I don’t know what makes a rifle a semi-automatic, or which end goes in the rectum, but I know exactly how many guns you should have,” and “Thank you for this well-deserved Nobel Peace Prize.”

If you now complain that Trump is a narcissist, we are just going to laugh at you.

Leftism Doesn’t Work

In this season of political argument and division, I can understand arguing over relatively minor differences, like optimal tax rates or the details of how to best vet would-be immigrants. What I can’t understand is how we can still argue about the big picture, which (at the risk of oversimplifying just a wee bit) is that leftism doesn’t work.

Since the Russian leftists pulled off their revolution in 1917, we’ve had a century to watch the competition between the big ideas of the left (a gigantic, centralized government controlling most aspects of life from the cradle to the grave that will allegedly give the most help to most people) and the right (that government is best which governs least).

The leftist cause looked good on paper in 1917, and sounded more compassionate, but in real world practice, it was a dumpster fire.

Speaking of dumpster fires, look at the American cities that have been governed almost exclusively by leftist policy for decades – Detroit, Baltimore, Chicago, New Orleans, DC. Sure, parts of each town are nice, and there are good people in all of them, and God bless them for swimming against the tide. But would you put your kids in the public schools of any of them? Would you buy property in any of them?

Look at the bluest states: NY, CA, IL, MA, NJ. Even with everything they’ve got going for them, they’re bleeding productive citizens, and their budgets are as unbalanced as Ashley Judd with a microphone in front of her.

Look at nations. When a free market democracy builds a wall it’s because tons of people want to get in; when a socialist workers’ paradise builds a wall it’s because the workers want to get out. When socialists take over an island nation, there is soon a small flotilla of desperate people scissor-kicking out into shark-infested waters, pushing vessels that look like Gilligan and the Skipper made them out of coconuts and twine.

And you can’t get a better empirical experiment than the one that happened in Germany. The same people – with the same culture, history, language and ancestry – are divided in two, with the East being run on leftist principles and the West on at least quasi-free market ones.

Forty years later, the West was prosperous and advanced, and crawling with BMWs and Mercedes. The East was an impoverished rust belt with gulags, crawling with… less pleasant crawling things. (And even those crawling things were crawling toward the wall, hoping to get out.)

In the West, adorable brunette lip-syncing women were going on about 99 luft balloons in a German-language video that you should all stop and watch on Youtube right now. I’ll wait.

There. Was I wrong about her being adorable? Sure, she spells “Nina” wrong, and the guys in her band have horrible 80s clothes and haircuts. And the keyboard player is a poor man’s Leif Garrett at best. (And has anyone anywhere ever been damned by fainter praise than “the poor man’s Leif Garrett?” Leif Garrett himself was the poor man’s Leif Garrett. He was seven iterations down the talent scale from Peter Frampton, and Nena’s guy was a notch below him. But in East Germany, the second-rate Leif would be a rock god.)

But here’s the thing: our bands had haircuts and clothes that were just as bad back then. Those were the best we could do, for some reason.

But how were they doing in leftist East Germany? Who was the (really, really) poor woman’s Nena on the other side of the wall?

Nobody. Because they couldn’t afford skinny jeans, or lip gloss, or sparkly, dangly earrings. (God, I love Nena! Has anything ever been cuter than the way she says, “Captain Kirk?” She brings an erotic frisson to German song lyrics. Which is a phrase connecting two things that you’ll never hear together again if you live to be 106.) Or smoke grenades. Or reliable electricity to power up that wicked keyboard. Or even balloons.

That’s the measure of leftism vs. free markets in a nutshell. Leftism produced a grand total of zero Nenas. And capitalism produced one, which is just the right number. (I mean, she was singing about her fears that the West was going to start a nuclear war, or something. Which is why no one has ever said, “As a sophisticated political thinker, that Kierkegaard is no Nena.”)

Anyway, I know that my leftist friends will dispute my contention that leftism produces a barren, post-apocalyptic wasteland entirely devoid of Nenas, and thus does not work. But even they, when confronted with the old, hoary chestnut about “If you could choose to be born anywhere in the world, which country would you pick?” would have to admit that they wouldn’t pick a country run entirely by their fellow leftists.

Thus, I will close with my illustration of that point, in the form of a conversation between God and a soon-to-be-born baby:

God: I’ve got two options for you. The first is The People’s Republic of—
Baby: I’ll take the other one.
God: What do you mean?
Baby: Let’s go with door number 2.
God: But you don’t even know what that second country is. Don’t you at least want to know its name, or where it is?
Baby: What difference would that make to me? I’m a baby over here – we’re horrible at geography.
God: Okay, we’ll just call it Country X. But aren’t you even a little curious about what daily life there is like?
Baby: (thinks about it) All right. What would be my over/under on life expectancy?
God: 22 years.
Baby: How is the infrastructure?
God: Dirt roads and open sewers.
Baby: What would I eat?
God: Plantains and crickets.
Baby: Would I get any skin diseases?
God: Probably.
Baby: Any local animals?
God: Two baby-eating big cat species, and a breed of snake that the locals call the “crib strangler.”
Baby: Yikes. What’s the local language.
God: A series of clicks and whistles.
Baby: GDP?
God: Three goats and an iron cooking pot.
Baby: Wow. How about entertainment options?
God: There’s a local game played with rocks and sticks. But there are seasonal stick shortages. So…
Baby: Ouch. Any colorful indigenous music?
God: No. But cover bands sometimes tour the mid-sized village that’s a two-day walk away.
Baby: Cover bands?
God: Yes. Myron Goldsteen and the Z Street Band came through last fall, and everyone is looking forward to the Fred Nugent tour this summer.
Baby: So if I make the two day walk, what kind of venue will I be able to see Fred Nugent in?
God: Well, it’s a crumbling concrete open-air soccer stadium, so the acoustics aren’t great. And don’t ask them to play “Stranglehold” or “Cat Scratch Fever,” whatever you do.
Baby: Because of the strangling snakes and dangerous big cats?
God: Exactly. It’s always too soon for infant-death-related lyrics in Country X.
Baby: That doesn’t sound so good. Any chance I could see Buddy Holly and the Bilingual Entomologists there?
God: No way – they’re huge. But they’ve got a cover band who came through last year. “El Chirpo.”
Baby: Are they any good?
God: Not really. There were a lot of walk-outs, and afterwards some of the locals said they should change their name to “Click whistle click click.”
Baby: What’s that mean?
God: That’s the sound the indigenous crickets make in an empty open-air soccer stadium. Right before the hungry local children devour them.
Baby: (skeptical) Are you sure this place isn’t a people’s republic?
God: I’m sure.
Baby: Because it sounds like a people’s republic.
God: I know. But it isn’t.

Baby: (after a long silence) Okay, let me make sure I understand. I’ll be choking down crickets, trying to keep from scratching my skin lesions, fighting off an angry panther with a series of menacing clicks and whistles and any sticks that might be in season, and my best case scenario is that I can walk for two days on a dirt road alongside an open sewer to see Fred Nugent play a bunch of B-sides, and I drop dead at 22?”
God: Yes.
Baby: But it’s not “The People’s Republic of X?”
God: Nope.
Baby: I’m in.

And, scene.