"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

When Town Meets Gown - The Felicitous Alliance Of Yale And The Mafia

New Haven has always been an Italian town since immigrants first arrived there from Amalfi and Sorrento in the late 1800s. Wooster Square was the epicenter of the new generation of New Englanders, and new arrivals never had to speak a word of English.  Butchers, bakers, and greengrocers all spoke Italian, and residents never had to venture beyond Olive and Grand Streets for anything.  The police were never called - all disputes were settled internally - childbirth was always at home, and serious illness simply took its course. 

 

The new arrivals found work in the many factories of the city - guns, locks, metalworks, tools, and hardware.  Their children swept barber shop floors, ran errands, shucked oysters, and cleaned the muck from gutted fish on the wharf.  School was a luxury that few could afford and few attended. 

The Mafia of course was an important institution on Wooster Square.  Serious disputes were settled by them, money was lent in return for favors, peace kept between landlords and renters, and the Irish police, judges, and prosecutors kept at bay thanks to generous remembrances at Christmas and a few unpleasant visits to chambers. 

 

In the early days of the new century as the demand for foreign labor increased, ships sailing between Naples and New York were filled with families from Vico Equense, San Moreno, and Cabrini Agricola, all of whom said farewell to the aunts, uncles and cousins they would never see again, and looked to l'America for their fortune.  

Don Cicci, the Mafia boss of Wooster Square in the 1960s, had risen in the ranks of La Cosa Nostra, and although he maintained his allegiances to the Italian community there, his business ventures extended far beyond.  Thanks to his timely help with the dock worker strikes in 1955, he was given 'adjunct' membership to the Bonanno family and then full partnership a few years later.  He spent most of his time at his New York brownstone with a young dancer from Bari whose position as a Rockette was thanks to him and his friendship with the manager of the troupe. 

Yale University of course needs no introduction.  One of the oldest institutions of higher education in America, established in 1701 after the vision of John Davenport, Puritan minister and founder of the New Haven Plantation.  Davenport, an original member of the Massachusetts Bay Colony had become disaffected with it and set off to create a more conservative Calvinist settlement.  He found the weather, the harbor, and the Indians congenial and he and the residents prospered.  A few years later Yale was on the New Haven green 

Yale in the 1960s was one of the richest, best endowed, and financially well-managed of all the Ivy League.  'The Vatican of North America' it was called, for like its Roman counterpart, Yale sat on billions. 

All of this was not lost on Don Cicci who saw in the credulous, patrician Yankees a goldmine.  Why was he to spend his entire life with the goombas of Brooklyn and the capo regimes of the Five Families when he could hob nob with the nation's elite and make a fortune.  Snookering these Cabots and Lodges who summered on the Vineyard and wintered in Gstaad would be a snap.  Although Don Cicci smelled profits in the university's plans for campus-wide renovation and the construction of two new colleges the real money would be made on Wall Street. 

Now, the town-gown relationship in those days was almost nil.  Thanks to Italo-Search, an initiative undertaken by the university to recruit and admit Italian Americans to Yale one or two Wooster Square boys were chosen.  'We want Italians to eat strawberries, not just serve them', said Alderman Benito Palumbo referring to the strawberry endowment at Trumbull College eaten by Cabots and Lodges and prepared in the kitchen by Petruccis and Garaffas. 

Other than that, the division between Yale and Wooster Square was as impenetrable as the Maginot Line or at least it was until Don Cicci and Harrison Putnam IV, descendant of John Davenport and Cotton Mather and an important Salem prosecutor, got together. 

Putnam had fallen on hard times.  Despite the family's pedigree and good intentions, it had lost millions in successive downturns of the market, bad investments, and a rather myopic look at American investment banking.  Add to that Putnam's drinking problem and frequent trips to Las Vegas.  

Once Don Cicci had got Harrison Putnam in his sights - intelligence on him was detailed, corroborated, and unimpeachable - and thanks to the intercession of Alderman Palumbo and the celebration of New Haven's founding to which Putnam was invited, a meeting was arranged.  With all his 'guinea charm' (patrician Yale was never shy about its characterization of Italian Americans), and subtle but unmistakable offers of financial salvation, the first steps to a town-gown partnership were taken. 

It is often assumed that Wall Street in those days was a fortress of patrician rectitude; and that the Enron scandals and the insider shenanigans that would lead to the financial meltdown in 2008 could never happen while the Cabots and Lodges were in charge.

Nothing of course could be further from the truth, and just as Don Cicci had identified Harrison Putnam as a weak link in an otherwise solid chain, so did his family locate an early Bernie Madoff at Bear Stearns. 

This trader was a hungry little man with no pedigree, no legacy, no entitlement who had gotten onto Wall Street with chutzpah, balls, and intimidation.  A rare bird in those days, but there he was, and before long Yale's money was being funneled through him into credit swaps and downstream Alabama bundled securities that later scammers could only admire. 

Putnam gave a big sigh of relief as his debts disappeared, a ten-bedroom mansion was built on Gay Head to replace his Menemsha cottage, and a longer lease negotiated for his Central Park South tower condo.

He remained in New Haven, however - remote work was far in the future - and with considerable skill and financial deftness kept the university in the dark, happy with the modest rewards he had engineered, and unsuspecting of the depth and extent of the scam. 

The relationship between the two men became cordial and then friendly.  For the first time in his life, Putnam set foot in Wooster Square, had an espresso at Cafe Napoli, and met Angela, Leona, and Lucinda.  'Notta so bad', he joked with Don Cicci as he expressed his thanks for the money, the freedom, and the delightful company. 

 

At the same time Don Cicci rubbed shoulders with the Vineyard's finest summer residents and met and drank with David Attenborough and Carly Simon.  The whole idea of town-gown relations had been expanded far beyond the New Haven green and Wooster Square.  

Both Putnam and Cicci were introduced to new worlds; and while Putnam still shot his cuffs nervously at some new Italian acquaintance of Cicci's; and while Cicci still smirked with irony when he met a Hart or a Chamberlain and listened to their stories of sailing and furniture, the match was a surprisingly good one. 

The best part of it all was that no one was the wiser, and the devilishly brilliant scheme went on for years.  The little greedy man made his millions and retired to Bimini.  A statue of Don Cicci was erected on Wooster Square in honor of the man who had done so much for the Italian American community; and Harrison Putnam was appointed Dean of Students - a post he declined, although appreciated, for he like the little greedy man wanted to retire and enjoy his fortune. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

'How Many Knights Of King Arthur's Roundtable Were Gay?' - The New York Times Goes For Broke

The journalists of the New York Times simply can't help themselves, pounding out one story after another about overcoming adversity - or, read another way, how people have overcome America's racist bigotry, misogyny, and ethnic hatred.  The stories are not so much about individuals, but the awful consequences of living in America. 

Take Operetta Jones for example, the granddaughter of a Mississippi sharecropper who had struggled with her sexuality ever since she was caught in the barn with her cousin, Miss Lively, her dress up and cornstalks in her hair.  Her pappy, Old Isaiah, gave her the beating of her life, sent Miss Lively back to Tupelo, and kept a watch on his baby's daughter from the front porch.

Of course Operetta, a feisty, determined girl who knew her own mind and followed no one else's, found ways around the front porch.  There was Beauty, Grace, and Esther - a surprising sexual 'genius cluster' in this small Delta town which was a model of white propriety and black church-going, God-fearing rectitude. Although there were talks of infidelity - rumor had it that Marshall Evans and Mable Filbert, both married with children, had sex in the tobacco shed - it was right and proper infidelity.  Anything other than normal heterosexual sex was unheard of in Blythe, Mississippi. 

Yet, under a giant flowering magnolia tree Isabel Perkins and Betty Lou Unger coupled and rutted every Thursday evening like clockwork, having walked the Greenville Road for two miles to their out-of-the way trysting place down a red dirt road leading through the cotton fields to where this magnificent tree stood. 


 

The stories of Isabel and Operetta alone would have been good enough for the Times - lesbian love in both black and white Southern communities - but when the reporter learned that Operetta and Isabel had become lovers and told her editor about the find, the paper rushed to print. 

Now, in Blythe, Mississippi, like in most places in the small town South, there was a pleasant congeniality between black and white.  Not exactly integration, but a nice accommodation that added to the easy, untroubled life of the town; and it was within this peculiar and quite particular social environment that the two girls found each other and began their scandalous affair.  The idea of sexual doings between black and white was bad enough, but between two young women?? Unthinkable; and of course the makings of a feature article for the Times. 

The reporter's own sexuality was never deciphered, and because of that mystery, it was assumed to be something on a sliding scale and thus very much a part of the paper's sexually diverse ethos.  She was also of indeterminate race - certainly not really white and certainly not black, but some mysterious mixture of both; and the fact that she did not give anything away added to her allure. She would be the perfect person to follow up on the story. 

The story checked every box of the woke New York Times. Once the white girls' affair had been found out, all the sub rasa racial  of the prejudice of the South, its meanness and unreconstructed racial hatred, came to the surface.  Mississippi was what the Times editorial board had always suspected - it had not changed since the days of Jim Crow. 

The presumptions about small town Southern disgust of same sex relationships were confirmed, but even the reporter was startled at how when race was thrown into a heady sexual mix, the hatred was exponential.  The tender love that the girls had for each other was overlooked in twisted, typically American maliciousness.  

However most of the story as reported by the Times was fiction.  Most of the white residents of the town, anxious to get Donald Trump elected, cared less about who did what to whom, and Hiram Filbert, the white girl's father was a shabby man to start off with.  As far as the black girl was concerned, 'who knows what lurks in the dark breasts of the South?' was the popular meme of the region, so both white folk and black just paid no attention to the rutting in the barn. 

Although the reporter found a surprising indifference to the whole affair, no one down here read the Times anyway.  Not exactly preaching to the choir, her editor said, but more a reinforcement of progressive thought. So the reporter gussied up the story and by the time she had finished, it was a reader's delight - all the miasmic hatred of the unreconstructed, slave mentality of the South was there in spades.

 

All of which is a preamble to the real story - 'How Many Knights of King Arthur's Round Table Were Gay?' - a feature that the Times was about to publish based on medieval scholarship and a comprehensive review of the historicity and/or mythology of the legend.  The Times had been convinced by noted scholar Trent Livingstone of Harvard that Arthur did indeed exist, that his knights were not creative inventions by a credulous English peasantry, and that many of them were gay. 

Based on Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, an early 1400s epic poem in the Arthurian tradition and the sonnets of Petrarch, and manuscripts found in the crypt of St. Robert the Martyr at Kings College, Cambridge, the New York Times recruited a gay medievalist to research the topic and to write the first draft of a multi-page article which would be edited and completed by professional journalists. 

The gay medievalist, as expected, confirmed that Sir Galahad and Sir Gareth and Sir Ector and Sir Kay were lovers.  Whether or not all four exchanged lovers is uncertain but probable. The camaraderie of the Roundtable was well-known.  The knights were not only known for gallantry and bravery but fellowship.  It was only a short leap to assumptions about their sexual relations. 

The New York Times had outdone itself this time.  Not only was it probable that King Arthur and his knights never existed, but that these imaginary creations were gay added fiction to fantasy - a double scoop cone of invention.  The credulous gay academic and the equally subjectively hopeful editorial staff, delighted to find evidence of gayness in high places, plowed ahead despite the warning signs.  

One female journalist on the Time's staff - one of the few straight women at the newspaper, called the story into question.  'It sounds like malarkey to me', she said.  'Where's the beef?', but she was roundly silenced.  What would a woman know of these affairs, journalist or not? and the rush to publication went forward. 

The story was leaked - not the story about Sirs Galahad and Gareth itself, but about the Times' impatience to publish it - and when it first hit the Media section of Orange County Register, a local paper more used to covering yacht racing and the Padres and written by a young intern who had been a Classics and Medieval scholar at Yale, and later picked up by the Federalist, the affair went viral. 'Gay Jousting - The Outing of King Arthur by the New York Times'; 'Gay Footsies Under The Roundtable'; 'Gay Goings On When The Armor Came Off ', and much more. 

Needless to say, the publisher of the Times pulled the story before it got published.  It was bad enough that his paper was hemorrhaging readership and advertising revenue because of its woke editorial policy, becoming the laughing stock of the media confraternity would be too much to swallow. 

The editor in charge of the story was dismissed, the entire newsroom went on strike because of the paper's systemic homophobia, but a warning shot had been fired over the bow, and for a while the paper at least tried to stick to the facts. 

Monday, June 10, 2024

When The Switch Won't Turn On The Lights - Joe Biden's Delightful Flights Of Fancy

 'Joey....Joey!' the President heard his mother call. 'Time for dinner'; and with that Joe picked up his beach toys, did one last dig of the moat around the sand castle, and ran up the stairs to his mother, the simmering pot roast, and the nearest thing to heaven he could imagine. 

'Joe...Joe!!' he heard again but this time not his mother but that other woman - the shrill one, the bothersome one.  The soft evening light of the a Rehoboth summer evening faded, and he slowly began to realize where he was - not with his mother at their summer cottage, but in this huge, overstuffed, garish place...Oh yes, remembered, The Presidential Suite, his bedroom, and the shrill loud voice was that of his wife Jill. 

'Sweetheart', she said much more kindly, it's time to get dressed.  The President of Azerbaijan is coming to dinner tonight'. 

'Who?', the President said, and then remembered.  'Another Arab...why didn't the Turks finish them off when the could, or was that Armenia?'  

He remembered his mother telling him about the Terrible Turks and how if he wasn't a good boy they would come and take him away.  That image - turbaned wild men with scimitars and lances coming after him - had stayed with him to this day, although softened by Ayesha Baikal the Istanbul movie star who had paid him a visit on Republic Day.  The most beautiful woman he had ever seen, a vision out of the Arabian Nights, a wife of Sultan Ahmed waving like Juliet from the balcony of her bedroom in her husband's luxurious palace on the Sea of Marmara. 

 

'Joe', the President's wife said more sternly. 'It's getting late', and those words reminded him of his mother again, calling to him after the sun had set and he was still making sand castles, 'time to come in'.  It wasn't his mother calling but Jill, and the vision of Ayesha, Turkish princess, her pasha, his harems, and the flashing scimitars of Mongol hordes sweeping down the steppes disappeared. 

The President was getting very scratchy and unpleasant about these state dinners arranged by his staff as a show of his international diversity.  'All second rate', he mused thinking of Amin el-M'bele president of some African state loaded with the oil and rare earths we wanted to get, a tinpot dictator who strutted in in a white military uniform dripping with medals and surrounding by a coterie of young women like the Caryatides of Greece, scented with sandalwood, dressed to beat the band, attractive an African sort of way but nothing like Ayesha Baikal 

The harsh fact was that the President's staff didn't trust him any more with power hitters like Macron, Netanyahu, or Modi.  Their last mistake was inviting Giorgia Meloni, the young, beautiful President of Italy.  Biden simply couldn't take his hands off her, gave her a kiss on the forehead and wandered off, back to Delaware as she explained in rapid fire the consequences of a Leftist victory in the upcoming EU elections, 

No it would have to be the minor leagues at least until the election in November, then God only knew what the President's second term would be like.  The way he was going he might have forgotten his own name by then. 

Ah, Georgina, the President remembered, a child barely out of diapers and the President of Italy! Or that Marion Marechal, even younger, even more beautiful and primed for high office, should invite her here; but his staff objected.  She was a far right bigot who wanted all Muslims out of Europe and back to where they came from, recalling Roncesvalles and the decisive victory of Charlemagne and Roland who defeated the Saracens and sent all Muslims back to the Maghreb, keeping Europe safe and Christian. 

'Can't have her here', the President's chief aide said, and Joe reluctantly agreed.  What was needed around here were some of Europe's blonde beauties, not in the Oval Office of course, for that was reserved for him, but on the staff.  This diversity thing had gone too far.  Why there was every possible combination and permutation of human being in here except no beauties - no Marions or Georginas?

He looked at the briefing folder left for him by his chief of protocol - what to do and what not to do with the President of Azerbaijan, including some talking points, refresher notes about his country's high points - the National Carpet Museum, for example, or the Mausoleum of Yeddi Gumbaz -and of course the only real reason to have the man here - oozing Caspian Sea oil, barrels and barrels of it in a bidding war with Russia, Turkey, and Western Europe. 

But first the President would have to get through another long day, a lightened load because of the evening's activities, but still more than he wanted to face.  Another ladies' tea in the Rose Garden, these old crones from the DAR had a permanent place on the White House calendar, something to do with Lexington and Concord, relatives of Paul Revere or Benjamin Franklin, a boring, tedious affair but deemed necessary to show his patriotism. 

LaShonda Phillips and the White House Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.  These women never were satisfied, always wanted more, and hectored the President day and night for more women of color, more transgender this and that, more impossible set ups he never could have imagined as a young boy on the beach at Rehoboth. 

Armand Luck and his binders of charts, graphs, and impenetrable numbers - all chicken scratch to the President even in his better days, but now totally, utterly meaningless. 

Somehow he got suited up in his tuxedo and made it to the head of the receiving line.  The President of Azerbaijan insisted that every last one of his coterie of beautiful young women meet Biden, so one by one these bejeweled, dark-eyed, scented, perfectly gorgeous women shook his hand, bowed, smiled invitingly, and moved on

Ah, thought the President, if only....if only....but standing before him waiting for a handshake was the first of old, grizzled Arabs, the other half of the Azerbaijan contingent - cousins, brothers-in-law, tribal chieftains, investors.  The evening dragged on forever. 

By the time the band played the Presidential Recessional, Biden was dazed, confused, and disoriented.  Jill knew that look - the vacant, despairing one - and took her husband by the arm and led him out through the honor guard, security and to their bedroom. 

She tucked him in, read him one of the Robert Louis Stevenson poems he liked from A Child's Garden Book of Verse, and waited until he fell asleep before she made her toilette. 

Sunday, June 9, 2024

Elements Of Style - How Donald Trump And Low Bourgeoise Took Over The White House And The Nation Cheered

Camelot is what Americans called the Kennedy White House.  For plumbers to the elites of Beacon Hill and Park Avenue, this was an affair to wonder at.  The praises of Pablo Casals and Robert Frost, artists that the average Joe had never heard of, were sung in Bay Ridge and the Tenderloin. 

'Jeez, look at that', said pipe fitters, grouters, and roofers who felt better about themselves than ever before.  Now they knew that there was more to America than bar fights and Walmart. 

 

The Kennedys never apologized for their elitism.  Jack wanted only Harvard and Yale in his cabinet, la creme de la creme of American intelligentsia; and Jackie wanted no less in her salons.  Only the most avant-garde artists were invited to her teas, soirees, and their formal dinners. It was America's answer to the courts and courtiers of Europe.

However the Chagall and Miro originals had hardly been affixed to the walls in the Oval Office before that rube, that backcountry clown, that brush-clearing, steer-roping Texas cowpoke Johnson filled the office with junk.  Camelot was over, done with, and finished.

 

Johnson wanted to be Everyman, common folk, a good, decent, wholesome, God-fearing American. Bridles and lassoes replaced the Braques and Picassos, the scents of sagebrush and loblolly pine replaced Lanvin and St. Laurent.  No more of the airy-fairy, Europhile wigs-and-lace version of America that those fey Kennedys were all about. 

The country got what it deserved with Nixon - a real prick if there ever was one - then finally a nativist, popular hero in Ronald Reagan, followed by the demure patrician Bushes and the trailer trash Clinton until it finally got one of their own.  

Donald Trump, star of Hollywood, Las Vegas, and the mean streets of New York, filled the seat of the Oval Office with girth, presence, and an ebullient, fuck you Americanism.  

Trump was all glitz, glamour, décolleté, and arm candy.  Yachts, mansions, moguls, and moneymakers. Blonde and blue eyes in, bling and jive out.  His was a White House of majority America, not minority. More than anything, it was the place of low culture, bas bourgeoisie, and a final end to Russian Hill, Rittenhouse Square, and Park Avenue. 

Then came the Dark Ages.  Happiness in a time of trouble was distasteful.  With a nation so threatened by right wing terror, insurrection and a rollback of progressive ideals, laughter was a sign of political treachery. 

The Biden White House was a collection of diverse misfits. Not only did the President insist on a coterie of black men, lesbian women and transgenders, they were the unseemliest ever recruited by central casting. It was a deliberate in-your-face, take-it-or-leave-it diversity, an aggressive move to make the electorate see beyond the usual facades of identity and see reality for what it was. 

By the time Donald Trump had ascended to the presidency for the second time, the American people had had enough, sick and tired of having to watch a cavalcade of misfits and cultural dwarves parade on Pennsylvania Avenue. This was the republic of Jefferson, Hamilton, and Adams? Never more; and then their savior arrived. 

Trump in a Richard III cleansing of the palace got rid of all his Lancasters and Yorks - the traitors that had hounded him for four years - but when that exercise was over, he turned to remaking.  The White House would be America's once again - not that Biden  potpourri of cross-dressers but good white, Christian, middle-of-the-road Americans.

Pop stars, country singers, line dancers, crooners, and runway divas were invited guests, Texas BBQ and home brew on the menu, hard liquor and pairing off in West Wing bedrooms the ordre du jour. Finally the self-absorption of Joe Biden was gone and left on the curb. 

Trump appointed one white face after another and straight, macho men in a move to recalibrate the country towards the norm.  He appointed by demographics. 

'This is not what America looks like', howled his detractors. 'Yes it is', the newly elected President replied, and with that he invited pole dancers and strippers to his first formal dinner. 

The second Trump presidency was a celebration of America like no other,  It was an efflorescence of American low culture - a recognition of every backcountry holler, every forgotten nook and cranny of the American outback, every Walmart greeter, McDonald's burger flipper, and pizza delivery boy in the country. 

'A travesty...a retreat into darkness...a vision of hateful prejudice and exclusion...', howled the defeated and the newly marginalized Left, but the Trump juggernaut had only just gotten started.

Not only were former White House cadres removed, replaced, and sent packing; but the new hires were jubilantly installed.  It was their time, America's time. 

'Where has Camelot gone?' lamented a New York Times reporter covering the White House. 'Where is the culture, the sophistication, the worldly-wise European taste?'

'Nevermore, Nevermore' replied the National Review, cheering a return to true American social democracy; and so it was that the second Trump administration closed the door on progressive cant, lamentation, and historical myopia.

Just Showing Up Wins No Prizes - In Praise Of Darwin, Competition, And Total Victory

Alexa Thomas was one of the most competitive children her kindergarten teacher had ever seen.  Despite her attempts - following school administration guidelines, to promote inclusivity, cooperation, and respect - the little girl insisted on being the first, the best, the most recognized.  The thing of it all was that she was indeed more talented, more intelligent, and more coordinated than her peers.  She had already learned to read, could do advanced arithmetic, could faithfully draw animals, people, and flowers, and could run faster than anyone in her class. 

When field day rolled around, Alexa was ready.  She would enter all the most difficult events, and by the fourth grade she could throw a baseball far over the back fence and run like a sprinter.  For this, she got no recognition - everyone got a medal.  Just showing up was enough.  

‘How could that be?’ said the precocious Alexa sitting in the gallery of District Court while her mother made mincemeat of the defense, a no-holds-barred, scorched earth, Genghis Khan prosecution that few could match. 

"You want to see what Mommy does for a living?', she said to her daughter, and saw it she did in all its majestical fury.  

Whether Nature or Nurture - probably both - Alexa followed in her mother's footsteps.  There was no alternative to success regardless of what her teachers said.  What was this nonsense of 'multiple intelligences' when only one - the rational, disciplined, cognitive one - counted? 

In fifth grade the school district adopted the principle of 'cooperative learning' where the brighter students were to take the slower learners under their wings, help them along, give them a hand up. 

It was an educational disaster.  The slow students were born slow, raised in intellectually indifferent families, got coopted by the street at an early age, and couldn't put two sentences together; and it was these students that Alexa was charged to tutor. 

Even at her young age, she understood the bell curve.  No matter how much her teachers insisted that everyone was equal, reality was far different.  She could understand the logic behind number theory while Jamey and LaShonda couldn't add 8+6.  They were holding her back.  She was wasting her time. School was a joke. 

 

Her parents were quick to see it was time to make a change.  The public school was a nice idea, just up the street, all her pre-school friends were there, etc. but when she learned about the non-competitive course of study, the absence of grades or honors, and the misery of cooperative learning, Alexa was out and in one of the city's most prestigious private schools. 

The Marshall Friends School was known for its academic rigor and challenging curriculum.  Its administrators were proud of the percentage of graduating seniors who got acceptance to Harvard, Yale, MIT, and Stanford every year. 

Ironically this highly academically competitive school was miserable on the sports field. Excellence at that kind of competition was frowned upon by the Quakers.  It was team camaraderie, the fresh air, and the sheer physical joy of physical exercise which mattered, not winning.  

Coaches were told to play everybody, not just the good athletes, so players bumbled and stumbled on field and court, and were welcomed on the sidelines to hugs ('Good job!!') and cheers.  Each Marshall team went 0-fer every season, every year, and the school was proud of the record. 

By the time Alexa started her studies there, the school, under pressure from parents and a more competitive private school market decided to raise the level of sports performance and in a cynical two-fer maneuver combining affirmative action with sports recruitment, filled their rosters with inner city kids who could not add a column of numbers but who could run rings around the opposition; and soon Marshall was at the top of all-Met teams. 

The hypocrisy of it all was too much for the super-bright Alexa whose parents opted for private tutoring.  Finally the girl was taught at her level.  The city was home to some of the nation's best universities and finding students who could work with their daughter was the perfect solution. She now could compete only with herself - and for an extremely driven, competitive girl like her, it meant only excellence day after day. 

Harvard accepted her without a second thought, early acceptance, all privileges granted; and Harvard Law School was the logical next step.  Finally she was in an environment which not only accepted competition as a normal expression of human enterprise, but embraced it.  While the miasma of affirmative action and its post-SCOTUS legacy marginalized and ghettoized a small percentage of students, striving for the top was the ethos of the university and the law school. 

Now, despite the professional example set by her mother - the indefatigable victor of District Court - Alexa chose Wall Street.  There, in the closest thing to pure, laissez-faire capitalism in America and in the most purely competitive arena imaginable, she would thrive. There were no gold stars or blue ribbons handed out on Wall Street, only nine-figure salaries.  

Success and being at the top were measurable, and in a short time she was there.  No investment banker had seen such a prodigy, such a native talent, a born trader.  She had no fear, no hesitation, and no compunction.  A marvel, a pure marvel, The Demon of Wall Street. 

In her off hours - even she had a few to spare - she played competitive squash and was the champion of the Harvard Club and the inter-Ivy squash league of New York.  There simply was no end to her competitiveness, no draw-down of aggressive reserves, no relaxation of desire or ambitious enterprise. 

Her social life was no different, but given her well-established priorities, the trolling for a like-minded mate would certainly yield a prize catch; and so it did.  Harrison Porter III was a scion of New York society, as well-bred and -educated as she, and as driven and brilliantly successful as a real estate investor as she was on Wall Street (the Fifth Avenue Porter Tower was the jewel in his crown). 

Where were the chinks in the armor, jealous snipers asked? An expensive divorce was sure to come, side deals and insider trading scandals would inevitably surface and jail time would be in the offing...but no such luck,  Alexa and her husband continued their remarkable trajectories of unparalleled success, had two beautiful, blonde children who followed in their footsteps. 

It all started in kindergarten, Alexa reflected, bursting out of babyhood with elan, unstoppable from the very beginning.

In the course of all this skyward thrust, she was never dismissive of those left behind.  They were only marginal points on the bell curve, the natural distribution of intelligence and ability.  Human society had always been thus - there had always been great hunters and those gored and trampled by the wild game they were after. Penthouses and tarpaper shacks, all part of the same curve.  

Alexa's children had children so the genes, breeding, and innate drive for excellence was passed on to yet another generation; and so it would be - the competition for reproductive mates would assure that excellence would continue, accelerate, and spread. As it should be. 

Saturday, June 8, 2024

Climate Change, Siva The Destroyer, And More Beach Time - Why Worry?

Climate Change is off the front pages.  Other than Chicken Little worriers most people have lost interest.  The world is not us against them in some epic Ramayana battle - man the Environmental Destroyer against Gaia, the Earth - but one integrated unit.  Man acts and is acted upon in a universal swirl of cause and effect.

The Trimurti is the trinity of supreme divinity in Hinduism, in which the cosmic functions of creation, preservation, and destruction are personified as a triad of deities - Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer.  The universe is an eternally changing place.  There is no Utopia, good and evil are only relative, life's bits and pieces are all interchangeable in the larger scope of things, and attempts to engineer change, to put a human stamp on the inevitable cycles of creation, preservation, and destruction are vain and misplaced. 

The Hindu tradition perceives the existence of cyclical nature of the universe and everything within it. The cosmos follows one cycle within a framework of cycles. It may have been created and reach an end, but it represents only one turn in the perpetual "wheel of time", which revolves infinitely through successive cycles of creation and destruction. Within this cycle of creation and destruction of the universe, the soul (atman) also undergoes its own version of cycle called samsara, the cycle of rebirth in which individual souls are repeatedly reincarnated (Based on the Rig Veda 10:129, 1-7)

 

Yet environmentalists refute this millennia-old notion.  Of course positive change and progress towards a better, more verdant, peaceful world is possible; and only our lack of commitment stands in the way.  Man is indeed the enemy of the Earth, not simply a part of it. 

Yet Nature has had and will always have its way.  Man, currently atop the phylogenetic pyramid may through his own environmental priorities wipe out thousands of species, but he as a species may be wiped out as well.  

The lesson of unintended consequences has not been learned by Westerners, but Hindus understood the folly of arrogant assumption five thousand years ago when the Aryans first came down from the steppes to Mohenjo-Daro.

Given this perspective it is hard not to be amused by the St. Vitus's dance of environmentalism; and why climate change comes and goes off the front page with regularity.  It is not nor will ever be the existential crisis it has been made out to be. Human adaptation to universal cycles is fitting - neither arrogantly presumptuous that Man can control them, nor defeatist.  Agriculture will simply move to northern Saskatchewan and Siberia.  

New York will be a neo-Venice with extensive canals and wetlands, Miamians will live high on stilts. 

DNA recombination will make adaptation to higher temperatures and protection from UV rays the norm.  Settlements may move underground or to Arctic and Antarctic regions. Digestive, nerve, musculo-skeletal, cognitive, and physiological systems will all be in play.  Lungs will be adapted to high levels of carbon dioxide, thinner oxygen, and thicker methane.  Hearts and arterial systems reconfigured to take on newly-moderated blood flow.  Brain power will be augmented to parse the slightest fissure in knowledge and make sense out of it. 

In all the kerfuffle about climate change and the predictable either-or sides taken about it, adaptation and human adaptability is always ignored.  Regardless of how the climate is changing, human societies will figure out ways to live within it.  In the long term, a la Siva the Destroyer and the Hindu Trimurti, human life will come and go, replaced by this or that ad infinitum; but for the time being life on earth will not be the miserable, intolerable existence environmentalists would like us to believe it is.  More beach time is the operational meme.  

Who ever said that human beings will not evolve? Of course they will, perhaps not in the environmentally incremental way that Darwin envisioned, but in quantum leaps.  Whoever said that the cockroach, the shark, and all other species that have navigated their way through millennia without  change should be the model for human evolution? 

‘Post-human’ is the term used to describe the life form that will result thanks to scientific modification.  The term, however, is not quite accurate.   Genetically-modified, part-organic and part-non-organic human beings will certainly not resemble the creatures of today, for they will have simply evolved, albeit it through a more deliberate, focused an efficient means than Darwin ever imagined, to a more modern, capable, resilient, and powerful form.

What currently defines human beings – cognitive, intelligent, sentient, imaginative, spiritual, and creative – will still be appropriate and meaningful but more expansive, with more potential, and with more promise.

No amount of global warming, Ice Age cooling, or variant climate change will be of any consequence.  Just as agriculturalists are genetically modifying plants to be resistant to drought, pests, and soil depletion; so will human engineers be able to modify the human genome to adapt to environmental conditions.

Cities will not have to be changed to accommodate global warming.  Human beings will change.  The ability to thrive in water, to breathe different compositions of air, and to live well in either colder or warmer climates will be easily programmed.  Environmentalism will die as a movement, and human modification will be the focus of all attention.

Human evolution is nothing if not a history of adaptation in a war of competing biological and social interests.  No sooner were major epidemic diseases eliminated when new ones emerged.  HIV, Ebola, and Zika are only the latest incursions of the micro-biological world; and there will certainly be others.  Now that microorganisms have developed a resistance to even the most powerful antibiotics, there is sure to be an epidemic of non-treatable infections until gene therapy reaches the market.

Every scientific advance has in it the seeds of destruction, since in an increasingly complex world, everything has consequences.  Man and nature will continue to dynamically interact with unforeseen consequences. 

And yet the climate change juggernaut keeps rolling on, and with each new ground covered those who are pushing it become more more insistent, less open, and more rabidly passionate.  Even if climate change is happening and is a result of human activity, no one is likely likely to stop it.  Most importantly, man, even more adaptable than ever and part of a dramatic, revolutionary biological alteration, will survive easily and well. 

Climate change prophets are like their wild, Old Testament forbears, burning with the word, howling to the heavens, and preaching conversion and true belief. Mankind will soon be extinguished, self-exterminated, not in a watery slushy mess but in a a fiery, Biblical Armageddon. 

What galls these prophets most is the denial.  Otherwise intelligent people whisking climate change from the table like a housefly on the food, a nuisance, pesky and hard to get rid of, buzzing around despite swipes and slaps, ruining the meal.  How could they be so stupid? 

Reform hysteria has always been part of the American psyche - nothing is ever good enough - and when coupled with religion, divine or secular, it is a sight to behold. Climate change activists who are convinced that the world is heading for an early Armageddon are everywhere, not a temperate, circumspective, philosophical one in the bunch. 

Fewer and fewer people are paying attention, for continued hysteria always becomes the new normal, and most Americans have more sense than to fall for the outer space, science fiction version of reality. Theirs is the philosophical perspective, the wisdom behind 'more beach time'.  Man is part of universal cycles, so if the climate is warming, enjoy it. 


Friday, June 7, 2024

When The Lights Went On Again In The White House - Doom And Gloom Gone With The Flip Of A Switch


The Biden presidency has been a morose one.  Progressivism's march to Utopia is a parade away from a dark, troubled, penitential place. We are a nation, progressives say, of racism, homophobia, and misogyny. The shades of the White House are drawn. How can anyone fill bright and chipper when so many people are living in misery, drawn, poor, left aside by neo-colonial, racist white elites, governed by the law of unbridled capitalist extortion, and destined to founder, lost and misguided unless....

And here of course what passes for a positive mantra begins - only when the black man is finally installed in his rightful place on the human pyramid, when the hegemony of heterosexuality is replaced by gender diversity, when the air and skies are as pure as Elysium, when wealth is distributed equally can the curtains be opened wide and the shades lifted. 

The country is rotten, the air is foul, whiteness is a curse, and capitalism a scourge. We live in a desperate, dark, and dangerous age. 

Now that Donald Trump is back in the White House after his tumultuous victory which few people expected.  Not only did he win, but he won big, and exit polls told the story why - voters were tired of being hammered and badgered; tired of hearing the harping and whining of a dour, shuffling old man who went around shutting off the lights. 

 

'What happened?', the President said to his wife after his decisive loss. 'We're the good guys', but despite all the campaign talk about the Left's being the only hope for America, the savior of democracy, and the hope for all people, few people were paying attention. In fact, it was the cant, the interminable liturgy of sin and desperation, and the constant bowing and bending before the wailing wall that threw even the most convinced supporters over to the other side. 

They were not disappointed.  The new president's inauguration was worth the wait.  It was an extravaganza all glitz and glamour.  There were showgirls from Las Vegas, diamonds and emeralds galore, tinsel and bright lights, color, verve, and delight.  It was Gatsby-esque.  It had aura, it announced the disposal of the old, shabby, lace curtain and antimacassar Biden days.  It was marvelous. 

Within months the entire cadre of the White House had changed - everything from upholstery to paint, from decor to cuisine.  The place was unmistakably his - it was the image of America that all but ornery old Bostonians, Upper West Side Jews, and Delaware shopkeepers wanted.  Americans were Trump - all show, glitz, sequins, tinsel, and bright lights; big yachts, Mar-el-Lago, arm candy, and above all the details of America.  No more electric cars, recycling, and political correctness.  

The air-conditioning was turned up in the summer, no-sweater heat in the winter.  Long dresses, sparkle, and tuxedos were de rigeur, Cadillacs and Lamborghinis, Dior, Lanvin, and Armani.  

Within weeks the White House was demographically proportional - seventy-five percent white, overwhelmingly heterosexual, religious, and middle-class to the core.  There was nothing racist or homophobic about the transformation.  The new president simply reconfigured the White House to actually look like America - not some liberal fantasy of what it should be.  

Portraits of Jefferson, Washington, and Hamilton were again on display in the corridors.  Tableaux of Versailles, Buckingham Palace, the Crusades, and Notre Dame were in conference rooms, anterooms, and foyers.  Clerical collars were commonplace and prayer breakfasts renewed.  Trump, a master of image and meaning, let the White House speak for itself...and for America. 

Dinner parties were reinstated and frequent.  Being American was a celebration, and no expenses were spared to throw the most sumptuous affairs possible.  Again with Gatsby-esque flapper era glamour and pzazz, White House organizers planned the most visibly rich and fanciful affairs. 

The Left, gobsmacked and incredulous licked its wounds but kept on howling.  The hated, reviled low bourgeoisie was now in residence in their White House. Their seriousness, rectitude, and Utopian purpose had been replaced by cheap women, garish displays of wealth, and tasteless decor. 

The Trump victory wasn't so much a question of politics or policy but culture - in that and only in that were Bidenites on target.  Donald Trump's political conservatism - tight borders, militant foreign policy, economic nationalism, historical recognition, and foundational values - was not the issue.  It was the return of a middle-American, Fifties self-assurance, staidness, and personal conservatism. 

While Trump supporters valued these core political beliefs, they were even happier that the old, dark, moroseness of the Biden administration was one; and instead of a doddering old man fed lines and political pablum by his handlers, they would get an outrageous tummler - a Wild West, individualistic, rough-and-ready virile man ready to take on all comers. 

Hillary Clinton and the progressive Left couldn't believe they had been defeated by Trump in 2016.  It was inconceivable, impossible, unheard of that such a hateful, despicable man could possibly sit in the Oval Office; and so for four years they howled foul and engineered a campaign to discredit and neuter him.  Even with the election of Joe Biden, the Left was still mortally afraid of Trump and set out to get rid of him once and for all. However  'Democracy is in Danger', lawfare, charges of insurrection, autocracy, and moral corruption never caught on and Trump won handily in 2024.  The Left had no clue that the election had more to do with culture and personality than Utopian ideals.  

The Left actually thought it could win on the issues and always believed that their lifeless, errant President was a match for the cultural potency and personal charisma of his opponent. Wrong and wrong again. Biden was fooling no one; and his claques' hysteria about democracy dying, and the end of liberalism only added energy and passion to Trumpists. 

So, the lights are on again at 1700 Pennsylvania Avenue, and a brand new American era is about to begin. 

Thursday, June 6, 2024

Dick And Jane In The Back Seat Of The Ford - Normal Sexual Doings Out The Window In A Woke Age

Bobby and Lucinda loved each other - or at least that was what they imagined as he looked down her sleeveless dress in English class and got a glimpse of the garden of earthly delights; and she wondered what 'it' would look like 'engorged', as the sex manuals described his 'desire'.  Neither one of them knew much more than  that behind the imaginings was a sexual potency that neither one could articulate.  They just knew that they wanted to touch each other, kiss each other, feel each other and....

Their parents, church, and community stopped them right there.  Good boys and girls did not invite the devil.  He would be there soon enough.  A girl's reputation was worth the gold of Persia and the boy's honor was of knightly value.  

Yet they could not keep apart, kept brushing against each other in the cloak room, on the stairs, and on the way to class.  It was a love that was meant to be.

And so it was that Bobby and Lucinda tumbled into the back seat of his father's Ford and did it.  Why had no one told them that this was indeed the be-all and end-all, the finality, the blind purpose of living? Why had it been kept from them? Cunts, pricks, sucking, fucking as well as...well, Romeo and Juliet, Petrarch, knights and their fair maidens, and the Sonnets. 

 

D.H. Lawrence had it right - sexual complementarity, a polite word for the balance between male power and female submission, or vice versa, was what described human nature best. 

Nietzsche had said that the expression of individual will was the only validation of life in a meaningless world, but Lawrence and the Hindu Tantrics knew better; and Freud understood that reproduction was what drove sexual desire.  The 'longevity imperative', he said, was behind orgasm.  The entire bio-psycho-physiology of sex was rooted in fertility.  It was all well and good to consider 'protection' but contraception would always limit any Lawrentian epiphany.  

Bobby and Lucinda thought of none of this as they groped and fondled in the back seat of the Ford, and that was the whole point of Lawrence and Freud.  Thinking neutered sexual desire.  Most sexual liaisons might end unhappily, but the ones that succeeded would rise to epiphany, catharsis. 

This is all by way of preamble, for the rest of Bobby and Lucinda's classmates had been roped into 'sexual identity'.  Rather than pair off, lick and suck like teenagers had done since, before, and despite Victorian censoriousness, they diddled and dithered about who they were.  Am I a bull, a femme, a girly boy, a trannie, a neutrino, a butch, or any one of a hundred other options on the gender spectrum?  I cannot climb into the backseat of a Ford until I know who and what I am. 

Who should or can a transitioning male-to-female have sex with?  Did male desire die with the assumption of femaleness?  Without a cunt what biological male could become a vessel? Without a prick what femme turned bricklaying macho could really rut and hammer home? 

William Brighton, heir to a Boston and Newport family fortune, and recently become Willa Brighton, found himself betwixt and between.  His childish desires to be like his mother had led down a dark alley, a dead end, a trash-strewn sexual gulag. Despite his requests to up the progesterone and advance the reassignment surgery, he couldn't rid himself of the shameful, prurient dreams which woke him.  On top of his mother, ramming his desire home, he was father, brother, son, Everyman 

His was a case of 'devoid wokism' - that awful state of having tried to become a useful, integrated, diverse person, but left high and dry on the curb, with neither tuxedo nor pinafore

Amanda Coulter, granddaughter of Phelps Coulter, captain of industry, entrepreneur of note, billionaire, and patriot, had wanted a volte face. She wanted to be the rightful, proper heir to her grandfather's reputation and fortune, and only gender assignment would right the ship. 

Yet, after such reassignment, Amanda still found herself masturbating to images of her grandfather, Casanova and Lothario of immense proportions, lover of many women and sire to hundreds, on top of her. 

Bobby and Lucinda had or wanted none of this gender rot, and Saturday after Saturday they rolled and rutted as best they could in the back seat of the Fairlane.  They watched Willa Brighton swish and sashay in the auditorium, and the formerly Amanda Coulter, now dressed in biker leather and chains, spit, scratch, and hitch her balls on the athletic field, but paid them no mind. 

In fact, they had to distance themselves from the juggernaut of sexual reform which in its multi-genderism, excluded them.  They were considered pariahs, sexually retrograde nobodies. They were East Bornean mud men, slathering each other up to have sex in the jungle, troglodyte dinosaurs, primitive, unevolved animals.  

They were, ironically, like Old Testament prophets.  Deuteronomy and Kings spoke of little more than who begat whom, Jews having sex with cousins and second cousins, furthering the line of Isaac and Jacob and Ezekiel, taking and rejecting like lamb or sturgeon

 

Once again neither Bobby or Lucinda gave a thought either to the Bible or to the flouncy, chirping girly girl likes of Willa and Amanda. 

Of course Lucinda got pregnant - whether expressed or not, this was what both she and Bobby had wanted all the time.  No dry fucking, pulling out, coitus interruptus - that would have spoiled the absolute heterosexuality of their union; and what happened to them, the baby, or the rest of their mini-culture is irrelevant.  

The incident of their backseat love never was reported lost as it was in the super-soaker reality of the Folsom Street Fair, a carnival of leather, chains, bull whips, and gay carousels.  Normal, sucking and fucking the right persons and things never gets any ink these days; but Bobby and Lucinda earned their unacknowledged, unfeted place atop the heterosexual pyramid. 

Let Jose And Maria In! Oops, Too Many Of You, Said Joe Biden

Nothing has been more ludicrous than the free-for-all at America's southern border.  A political disaster in the making from day one, a profound error of political judgment, a maxed out distortion of progressive policies of diversity and inclusion, and a foolish, absurd way to tell Americans that their legitimate citizenship means nothing. 

 

Thousands of illegal immigrants have poured over the border, greeted by INS police and credulous citizens welcoming the wetbacks with hot tea and biscuits.  'We Love You' said signs along the Rio Grande held by Americans who had bought the meme that these were asylum-seekers, the poor, the hungry, and the marginalized.

Residents of Texas and Arizona felt differently - especially its legal Mexican-American and Latin American residents who had dutifully followed the long, bureaucratic, path to citizenship.  We have paid our dues, they said, angry at a government that turned its back on legitimate enterprise and opened its doors to all comers.  The juntas, autocracies, and corrupt governments of Latin America - like Cuba and its Mariel Boatlift years before - were happy to open their prisons, clean sweep restive barrios, and march people towards El Norte where they would finally be off their hands. 

Happiest were the Sinaloa and Tijuana drug cartels.  Having operated with impunity South of the Border for decades, they were now getting a free ride on the other side. The drug trade would now be a piece of cake with no border controls, a credulously welcoming American citizenry, and the creation of Sanctuary Cities. 

'Can you imagine that?', said a senior member of Sinaloa watching the open-arms welcome given to his comrades as they got off the bus. A carte blanche to do business not only in San Diego but New York!  A bonanza, an early Christmas gift.

The gang-bangers of Mara Salvatrucha in Los Angeles would no longer rule the roost, and Salvadorans on early release from prison made their way to Chicago and Philadelphia. 'We are transnational', said Jose Miranda, capo regime of Salvatrucha in Los Angeles.

 

It wasn't just the posses and prison rats that came north - tens of thousands of Salvadorans, Hondurans, and Nicaraguans crossed Rio Bravo just for American largesse.  Illegals who had just arrived texted relatives back home to say that they were staying at the Waldorf Astoria with room service and a free lunch.  So Jose, Maria, and Juan packed up their serapes and black beans and headed north.  No need for expensive mules, hiding in culverts, and dodging INS rubber bullets and Dobermans. 

'Our first maid was Irish, of course', said President Biden to a group of Rose Garden tea party ladies, 'a wonderful woman, a second mother to me, a bog-Irish princess who primped and ironed the lace curtains, cooked the dickens out of a corned beef, and took us to church when Daddy was too drunk to go'.  

The President's aides, never far from their charge these days, watching the clock and his reveries - he was more and more apt to go off message, and while his chat with the tea party was as informal and off the record as you could get, these old ladies would go back home and sail into a man who had reinforced every prejudice they had ever had about Irish priests and corned beef cabbage.  

Of course the new Ireland was no longer the miserable peatbog and thatch place it had been in Biden's time, but there is was, Angela's Ashes all over again, leaky roofs, moldy basements, cadged bits of coal, and being buggered by Fathers Brophy and Mullins.

'Ah, what a woman was Bridey Murphy', Biden had said, speaking in the same Corkish brogue that he learned from Bridey, 'a saint'.

 

'We had maids after her', the President went on, remembering Carmen, the pretty young thing whom he watched from his bedroom closet as she bent over to clean beneath his bed and dabbed dry her breast, sweet-smelling and damp from the summer heat, 'but they were nothing like Bridey. 

 'Carmen gave me a taste for the Latino immigrant', the President went on, 'and that is why I have welcomed her sisters and brothers from South of the Border.'

 

What would we do without Latino leaf-blowers, lawn-mowers, painters, landscapers, and nannies, the President mused, thinking of his Northwest Washington White House neighborhood? He could see little Jose, Juan, and Pedro clipping the hedges on the South Lawn, raking leaves, and tending to the chrysanthemums; and there in Lafayette Park, just across Pennsylvania Avenue were crews of them sweeping, cleaning, and dumping. 

Now this was diversity, the President thought, never quite happy with black people despite Barack who wasn't really black in the first place, more like that mullet chicken necked ambulance chaser Al Sharpton Obama insisted on inviting to the White House; or Lashonda Washington, foisted upon him by his Chief of Diversity, a high-shelved ghetto redemption project....Whoa! Can't go on with these thoughts. 

'We better shore it up', Mr. President, advised his Chief of Staff.  'November is just around the corner', and with that an a quick executive order, 'asylum seekers' would no longer be allowed automatic entry into the United States. 

Of course the reaction of the American public was just like that of the people of London after Buckingham gives his transparent, self-serving, wholly improbable defense of the plotting murder, Richard III - nothing doing; and of course the Biden end run had just the opposite effect.  Voters saw through this feeble election year ploy and laughed.  

 

Yeah, right, they said knowing that the damage had already been done.  Thousands of illegals sapping municipal reserves and testing taxpayers' patience.  Many residents of New York were saying, 'Send them back to where they came from' while a few diehard Upper West Side Jews were urging tolerance and compassion.  'Give them job training', they said. 

The damage had been done.  No one wanted wetbacks in the first place, and Biden's Johnny-come-lately electioneering order would not change their minds.  Only those deeply attached to Biden insisted they would still vote for him; most others said, Phooey, enough pretty little pinafore dances and Croise Devant at the border.  Basta!

No one expects a politician to be truthful or honest - trickery, backtracking, and bald faced lies go with the territory, but this border thing was beyond the pale. Of course no one on either side of the border felt that this executive order would do anything to stem the tide.  Sinaloa, Tijuana, and Mara Salvatrucha kept drug running and mayhem going strong, El Norte was where money, big money was to be made, and no dimwitted president would make any difference whatsoever. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

For Love Of Hated Places - Colonial Empires, European Kingdoms, And The Old South

The old and ancient empires of the world were magnificent expressions of high culture, art, science, and philosophy.  The Roman Empire was responsible for infrastructure, language, and the sophisticated amalgam of Greek and Roman art and intellectual achievement.  The Persian Empire was as sophisticated and almost as extensive.  

 

In Persepolis pashas and their harems ruled from palaces of untold, unimaginable luxury.  The British Empire reformed an undeveloped often primitive world and gave it law, administration, and the foundations of civil society.  India, the jewel in the crown, was perhaps the best example of latter-day empire, transformed from a collection of warring states into a colonial union, the foundation for a modern state. 

The Russian Empire under the tsars was not so extensive as that of Rome or Persia, but still grand.  The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg chronicles through art the centuries of Slavic culture, royalty, and rule. 

 

The reign of Louis XIV, the Sun King, was responsible for a flowering of high-culture and its art and architecture.  The Palace of Versailles, the Louvre, and the Tuileries are testaments to imperial vision and power. 

Each European kingdom, small or large, shared the same value of royalty and aristocracy.  Imperial cultures cannot survive without a cultural core protected and preserved, and the Bourbons, Hapsburgs, Romanoffs, and Tudors were guardians and caretakers of culture. The legacy of these empires and kingdoms is Western civilization, the embodiment of the principles of governance, culture, and society since the ancient Greeks. 

 

In America, European civilizations are being dismissed as irrelevant reminders of a predatory, racist, and exclusive past.  The Greeks, Romans, and Persians were all slave-owning societies; and later Europeans turned slavery into a commercial venture for which they cannot either be forgiven or acknowledged for their accomplishments.  A cancel culture is monolithic, with monocular vision, lack of historical perspective, cribbed and crabbed, accusatory, and presumptuous. 

In Europe, after much of the same insistence of diversity, countries are finally admitting their mistakes.  Marion Marechal of France, Giorgia Meloni of Italy, Gert Wilders of the Netherlands, and the presidents of Hungary and Poland are but a few who have shouted basta! and reviled the corrosive, destructive influence of Muslim immigration.  

 

They unlike their American counterparts have no difficulty is blaming the religion of Islam for this invasive, insidious influence.  The cries of Allahu Akbar are not incidental.  The calls for an Islamic caliphate not one-off political slogans.  Muslim immigrants to France have been unequivocal about their hate for Christian, French culture and demand separatism.  Marion Marechal says No Mas!

I do not want my daughters, she says, to grow up in a Muslim-dominated country where sharia law, burkas, headscarves, genital mutilation, and the incarceration of women are the norms; and I will fight for the return of France to its uniquely Christian, Western roots. 

Of course the Left howls racist! xenophobe! cultural imperialist! but Marechal is undaunted.  The victory of Charlemagne over the Muslim Saracen invaders at Roncesvalles in 778 which earned the right of France to call itself 'the eldest daughter of the Catholic Church', the savior of Christianity is recalled by Marechal proudly.  We must return to Roncesvalles, she says, for the Muslim invasion of today is no less determined and dangerous. 

American historical myopia is universal and destructive .  Not only do progressive revisionists want to remove all traces of European empire from America's legacy, but native ones as well.  Everything relating to the Southern antebellum period, the Civil War, and Reconstruction must be removed.  References to the English cavalier culture which gave the Old South its particular, unique culture of graciousness, manners, civility, and honor must be removed

Yet the Old South cannot be ignored nor forgotten.  As much as many would like to think that it never existed or at best should be consigned to the dust bin of discredited history, it will not go away.  Rhett, Scarlett, pocket doors, mint juleps, cotton plantations, and Reconstruction cannot be wished into oblivion, airbrushed, and forgotten.  

The great antebellum mansions of the Old South not only existed but still exist, visited every year at Southern pilgrimages, tributes to a simpler, more sophisticated,  graceful, and elegant way of life.  Residents of South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi may have moved on from the civil war and Northern occupation, but they have not forgotten Southern traditions.

Image result for images antebellum mansions

Manners, hoop skirts, formal dances, broad lawns and civility are not a thing of the past, but a living history, a present, and a permanent piece of both Southern and American history, a vital and essential piece of our past.

Yet there are many in the North who would like to airbrush the entire South – to remove it from recollection and significance.  According to them slavery is the only criterion for social judgement; and no matter how much the  Southern, English, cavalier ethos may have contributed to American culture, its livelihood of human bondage must never be forgiven, a mark of Cain which can never be removed. 
No amount of penance can forgive the horrors of slavery.  

 

So the names of military forts, schools, parks, avenues, highways and street recalling Confederate leaders are removed. A major artery in Northern Virginia, Jefferson Davis Highway, will soon be changed.  Jeb Stuart High School is no longer, Fort A.P. Hill retired.  Statues of Confederate-era statesmen and battlefield generals have been taken down, melted and forgotten.  Complete erasure of the South and Southern history is the goal. 

Yet one can never understand American history without a knowledge of Southern history, nor can one observe and understand the black diaspora and its persistent dysfunction without a look at the Southern past.  It is not enough to cry racism! and artificially raise the black man atop the human pyramid without looking honestly at his origins. 

The South was not some penitential gulag, a reviled, nasty place.  It in fact was similar to the civilizations of Europe whose aristocracies were responsible for the continuation of high culture, breeding, manners, and sophistication.

The revisionist cancel culture of 21st century America is ignorant, divisive, and profoundly corrosive to the nation.  In its presumptuousness, historical arrogance, and defiant ignorance of the wider breadth and scope of culture, it is a far greater threat to democracy than any leveled at the Right. It is time for Americans to listen to Meloni and Marechal.