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

Sunday, March 31, 2024

From Easter Bonnets To Flannel Chic And Back, The Odyssey Of A Good Catholic Girl

Alicia Parsons remembered the first time she felt she had a calling when Father Brophy read this verse from the Song of Songs, " You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you." At that moment she felt that God was speaking directly to her, only to her, especially to her, and she felt beautiful. 


'Beauty is as beauty does' is the old adage about vanity, and Alicia knew she had to guard against it.  Even though she felt anointed, she must not compromise her soul and must show humility, respect, and love for others even though she felt superior to them. 

She wrestled with this contradiction - did showing respect for others counteract the vanity of self-love? Or, in other words, if vanity was not displayed, was it a sin? But then again, shouted the voice across the room, if you can't show vanity, what good is it? 

And so she felt that showing off the grace of God - her beauty - was an act of goodness and charity, and she would never withhold it from anyone; and so it was that Alicia became the belle of the ball, sought after, pursued, and desired by men. 

Each time she came through the door, she was challenged by the tough girls in her class.  Girly girls were counter-revolutionary throwbacks and chattel. Get rid of the curls, eyeliner, and lip gloss and trade it in for jackboots and flannel, they said. Bernal Heights should be her Mecca not Hollywood.


Of course she paid no attention.  Boys were attracted to her like bees to flowers, she was God's primal gift, a sacred vessel, a Mary Magdalene, Bathsheba, and Esther waiting for a miraculous seed to be planted.  The butch women of Bernal Heights were the oddities.  Where on earth did they come from, Alicia wondered, and how had they missed the boat on loveliness? At the very least they could fancy up, adopt a Jodie Foster femme look, give feminine allure a whirl.  After all these women were still women.  The legacy of female beauty is long and storied.  There is no diversion from its standard from Nefertiti to today. Why diesel up? 

Now, to be honest there were girls who turned Alicia's heads, but they were, like her, feminine beauties, form and feature perfect with no sign of turning coat; but yet there was something appealing about the attraction.  What could be more significant than two perfectly feminine women joined in sexual congress, in a Lawrentian epiphany, a Kantian being and becoming?  Where did God say that her beauty had to be dispensed categorically? 


And so she and Arden Phillips began an affair 'among the roses' as Alicia put it in remembrance of the first time they kissed in the formal gardens of Dumbarton Oaks.  It was a sweet kiss, the taste of rose pollen on Arden's lips, her cheeks flushed and rosy, a miracle of God's bounty. 

Of course not being hardwired for that sort or thing, Alicia's romance with Arden was short-lived.  She missed the feel of a man inside her, not a lot of girly fingering, and kept thinking of the real men of the Bible who begat and fathered and begat again.  The entire Old Testament was nothing but begetting, whoring, and fertility.  No matter how the tough girls in her class might have raised Bernal Heights to the pantheon, where in the Bible did two women ever unite? 

Alicia went to church ever Sunday, but the old fire and brimstone of Father Murphy had been damped, and pretty boy Father Owens and his fussy chasuble and silk slippers made her leave mass before the Offertory.  She knew what was going on in the rectory, and it made her queasy.  

Yet, good Catholic that she was, she was not deterred by Father Owens or put off  by the Church.  God in his infinite wisdom created little gay boys like Peter Owens and they were blessed for it; but keeping her distance was no sin. 

As she grew older, her beauty remained.  While it no longer had that peaches-and-cream freshness, it had matured into 'woman' - a creature of seduction, wiles, and savvy intent.  There was much of the Eve about her - the first seductress, the very first woman who wanted a man and knew exactly how to get him; and all women after her could do the very same thing. 

Edward Albee had it right when he said that marriage was the crucible of maturity.  George and Martha flay each other to the marrow in a sexually existential fight for clarity.  Imagine two butch girls of Bernal Heights trying that out, Alicia thought. 

'Give flannel a try', said one of her colleagues in her K Street law firm. 'Come with me to San Francisco'; but Alicia knew what was what behind the offer, and she knew that as soon as her colleague stepped off the plane she would ditch her Armani suit and Gucci bag for work boots, flannel and Levi's.  

It was getting time for marriage and children, but her stunning beauty did not pay off dividends in that regard.  Men who would be faithful husbands, good fathers, and hard workers were intimidated by her; and the Casanovas, the men of absolute sexual confidence and will had no interest in anything but another notch in their belt. What was a woman to do?  At least lesbians did not have to worry about pull-by dates and could go off into their dotage without so much as a thought to procreation. 

Yet, there's a man for every woman.  Kate, Shakespeare's shrew, was destined for a life of bitter spinsterhood until Petruchio came along, a man of wide sexual interest and experience but looking for a spicy, fiery, willful woman and not the shrinking, adoring violets he had bedded in the past. 

Yet the longer the clock ticked on, the longer she felt apostatic - she had been given God's special gift and was squandering it.  Shakespeare again had it right in his Sonnets.  His young, beautiful man had a duty to procreate, a responsibility to his Creator. To while away his time in inconsequential, barren affairs was wrong.  She agreed.  Intelligence was a dime a dozen, but physical beauty? One in a million. Ugliness claimed inner beauty, but no one was buying. 

Every Sunday she prayed for opportunity, but none came.  While the parishioners of St. Maurice of the Fields wondered why on earth this gorgeous, appealing, suitable woman had not married, Alicia knew it was her own fault, and time to let down her guard. 

Yet when she did, the ragtag, gross bunch of suitors who showed up at her door were disgusting.  Better to keep her vessel closed, flowered, and intact than give it up to this lot.  Men!, she thought in a troubling moment.  Maybe she was turning the flannel corner. 

Most of us lost track of her after she took a job as a prosecutor in Nome and joked that having given up the ship, she was probably married to an Inuit sealer.  'What a shame', we all said, those of us who fell into the intimidated category, amazed at the woman's spectacular beauty but doomed by Freud to keep our distance; but an Eskimo? 


Saturday, March 30, 2024

Where Have All The Heroes Gone? How Diversity Devalues Greatness

There used to be no doubt about America's heroes.  Washington, Jefferson, Hamilton, and Adams were the founding fathers of the republic - military heroes, inspirational leaders, and intellectual models - now all discredited, vilified, and swept aside.  They were all slave-owners, white grandees, elitist aristocrats whose 'greatness' was simply historical cover for their moral failings.  These men are not to be admired, but condemned for their anti-social, biased, Europeanism. 

The Enlightenment, Jefferson's inspiration for the Bill of Rights, was nothing more than an intellectual diversion, created by crypto-royalists and aristocratic wannabees.  Jefferson's abusive, manipulative relationship with his slave, Sally Hemmings, demonstrates the hypocrisy of the man's populism.  Popular democracy for whom, historical revisionists ask? The Constitution itself is a thinly-veiled paean to white, privileged rule. 

All men of power, say these revisionists, are ipso facto concerned with their political legacy and ignorant of the people they serve. It took Lincoln years before he rethought his early accommodating position on slavery, and his call for 'union' was little more than a negotiated agreement to let the reconstructed South live and let live.  He 'freed' the slaves only to consign them to de facto servitude as tenant farmers under brutal Southern Jim Crow rule. 

FDR may have engineered a recovery from the Depression, but his actions were clearly designed to restore Wall Street, financial privilege, and aristocratic wealth. 

Academics add another dimension to this disassembly of American 'influentials' (the term 'hero', considered antiquated and symbolic of corrosive individualism, has been retired).  Following European Deconstructionists like Lacan and Derrida who claimed that there is no such thing as inherent value let alone individual greatness.  Since all action is determined by prevailing social, economic, and cultural factors - i.e. a closed circle of valueless cause and effect - individual enterprise, artistic expression, and intellectual ability are meaningless.

The task of a reformist, progressive society, say these critics and their American followers, is to focus on the 'generative masses', and a neo-Communist sense of collective value. 

So, combining the current cancel culture with Deconstructionism the progressive Left wants nothing at all to do with heroes and everything to do about victims whom they transform into heroes.  Placards, photos, viral images, adulatory sermons, political speeches all turn uncredentialed, unnoteworthy, marginally socialized citizens into popular icons. The police are brutal macho lowlifes who enjoy the arrogation of power and obstruct the justice of the ordinary citizen. 

There is no such thing as war heroes since the Vietnam days when American soldiers were dope-smoking, genocidal murderers fighting an immoral, unnecessary war planned and engineered by racist leaders.  Johnson was amazed that these little, slope-eyed cretins in black pajamas could be such pains in the ass, and he and Nixon did their best to wipe them off the map.  The adventurism of the Bushes in Iraq and Afghanistan were anti-Muslim, arrogantly Crusading efforts to neuter Islam and to preserve the white status quo. 

Entrepreneurs like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg - men who have revolutionized American society, opening it to the almost unbelievable world of cybernetics, the Internet, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence - are crooks out to make a buck, marginally different from Bankman-Fried, Bernie Madoff, and the Enron Five.  Their untold billions are not a tribute to their savvy, intelligence, or intellectual fearlessness, but the wickedness of the capitalist system. 

Even Jesus Christ is not a hero, responsible as he was for fostering religion - an anti-progressive force stymying the move to a more just, verdant, cooperative society.  'Man cannot live by bread alone' was the first step towards creating the Vatican, an authoritarian, autocratic, hegemonic institution enslaving billions. 

It is perhaps progressives’ insistence on purity which is behind this reactionary, thoughtlessly ignorant posture.  Jefferson's obvious intellectual brilliance should stand alone and apart from anything else, let alone a commonplace dalliance with a beautiful slave. The Captains of Industry, Rockefeller, Carnegie, Morgan and Vanderbilt were indeed hungry capitalists in an age of laissez-faire economics who took advantage of workers; but they laid the foundation for a prosperous nation whose wealth would spread from coast to coast.  

Vietnam produced many heroes who showed bravery, unmitigated courage, will, and patriotism.  So did Iraq and Afghanistan.   There were many Confederate War heroes now forced to lie in unmarked graves, non-persons, without honor or recognition. 


Every policeman who acts courageously in the line of duty, every fireman who enters a burning building, every soldier who takes up arms, everyone who stands up and risks the censure of indoctrinated crowds, every craftsman, artist, and poet who refuses the intellectual prison of political censorship should be cheered, given a ticker-tape parade, feted and championed. 

Individualism is what must be recognized, not belonging, identity, or prescriptive behavior. The current ethos of a crowd differentiated only by race, gender, and ethnicity, must be replaced by one celebrating individual enterprise, individual expression, and individual genius.  

No more cooperative learning in schools.  Let the best and the brightest prosper, be given more attention, more reward, and more recognition than those who can only color within the lines.  Allow only the same best and brightest have access to American's top universities.  Give preference to excellence, not identity.  Encourage individualism, personality, and character. 

The Wild West, Manifest Destiny, free market liberalism, and private enterprise are not faded historical museum pieces. They are the heart and soul of America, the engines of prosperity and opportunity. Winners must be recognized, celebrated - new frontiers explored and settled by the fearless, cities built by unintimidated developers, scientific advances unmitigated and unchecked.  Darwin and Nietzsche should topple Derrida and Lacan.


'Who is your hero?', a well-known public figure was asked.  'My father', he said, dismissing his true hero, Winston Churchill, brilliant soldier, military strategist, strong leader, historian, and statesman, knowing that the naming of a colonialist, royalist aristocrat would get him in hot water.  His father? A pipe fitter from Akron who taught him how to throw a ball?


Progressivism is socially debilitating in many ways, but perhaps the most damaging is its focus on the unwashed - the masses that Hamilton dismissed, raised to political and social prominence - and its dismissal of the individual, the one human unit responsible for every bit of accomplishment since the first human settlements. 

Friday, March 29, 2024

Fear And Loathing In Washington - Insurrection Redux And The Return Of Donald Trump

January 6th was a farce - Spring Break revelers in fright wigs and Viking helmets ready to party - and only the Left took it seriously.  It wasn't just an unruly, drunken Mardi Gras extravaganza, they say; it was an insurrection planned and directed by former President Donald Trump. 

Nothing in the record or anything in the investigation of the lead-up to the events of the day has proven any complicity or encouragement by the President.  It was the work of crazies, mountain men, idolators, crackers, zealots, and nothing more.  The Capitol Police were unprepared, the Secret Service and FBI woefully ignorant, and the DC police AWOL.  

It was a Keystone Cops clown show, a bullying parade of backwoods losers and peckerwoods with no clue about revolution, coups, or overthrow.  It was an avoidable mess, the greenery should not have been trampled, the halls of Congress not pissed on and honorable Senators not disrespected.  But a serious, planned, strategic attempt to take over the government of the United States?  

Citizens of Nicaragua, Angola, El Salvador, Mozambique, Uganda, Argentina, Chile, and a hundred other minor Third World countries laughed when they heard the news.  They had suffered bloodshed, civil mayhem, and a social disorder that was uprooting, destructive, and lasting.  Haiti is now going through a period of total, complete anarchy - a country without a government, a chaotic post-apocalyptic nightmare of murder, savagery, and disaster.  

Heads rolled under La Veuve, the Widow-maker, the guillotine of Robespierre's thugs, thousands were slaughtered in the Russian Revolution, and perennial brutal changes of power are the history of Europe.  January 6th, a revolution?

Joe Biden and his handlers have decided to beat this dead horse during this year's Presidential campaign. 'Democracy Matters' is the martial drumbeat signaling the coming Armageddon.  The avant-garde phalanxes are in place, thousands of progressive Paul Reveres are riding through towns, villages, and hamlets warning people that Trump, the Idolater, the Insurrectionist, the Anarchist is coming. 

This particular hysteria, this political flim-flam, this systemic fever has been around for a decade with no effect.  Trump was elected once, narrowly defeated a second time, and well-positioned to take the White House again.  His supporters are paying no attention to the howls of the Left but instead deconstruct their man's words and focus on the chaos on the southern border, defund-the-police race-baiting erosion of civil order, trillions of dollars of walkin' around money - unaccounted-for, sure to be diverted and spent on good times money -  gender idiocy, and lollipop and cotton candy foreign policy. 

The howling and breast-beating of the Left have had no effect whatsoever.  In fact, the Left's witch trials, railroading, and gotcha courtroom scams have had just the opposite effect. The more we harp on the evil of Donald Trump and expose him as the anti-Christ, say liberals, the more the message spreads, the more people will see the vanity and moral corruption of the man and will return their good, honest, caring President. 

'Just listen to what he says', shouted a liberal Democrat over a spoiled dinner, referring to the incendiary words of the former President but ignoring completely the methods of the man.  Outlandish statements, outrageous remarks, and exaggerated claims are nothing more than stand-ins for policy, hyper-memes to infuriate his opponents while getting the message across to his supporters.  

Hot references to child-abusing, criminal, dope-dealing Latino gang members pouring across the unsecured border are hyperbole, yanking the chain of diversity-loving progressives for whom all comers are good people, refugees from misery, hardworking guest workers and highlighting the essence of illegality and the importance of civil order. 


Trump's Borscht Belt comedic insult of those ‘alternately sexed’ does not mean, as his opponents claim he would intern, punish, and neuter them Nazi style.  His words, loud and outrageous as they are, mean only to alert the electorate to the flaming idiocy of sexual diversity.  

His offhanded dismissal of the dysfunctionality of the ghetto and the unregenerate hypocrisy of Black Lives Matter championing racial rights instead of racial responsibility is not racist but indicative, time to call a spade a spade, to look objectively at corrosive social ills. 

Of course Trump, as a son of Hollywood and Las Vegas, a performer, vaudevillian, and big tent revivalist in the old American tradition, doesn’t mean what he says.  He says what he means.  His is a political circus act with a semiotic foundation.  Crazy as a fox and as smart as a whip, he speaks a firestorm but is as rational – more rational in fact – than his opponents who speak in platitudes, shopworn nostrums, and old-fashioned appeals to righteousness.

The Left listens to his words and takes them at face value, but Trump is smarter, more savvy, and a genius at rhetoric, a Mark Antony, a Hamlet, a Demosthenes; and ironically the embodiment of Derrida and Lacan, deconstructionists who insist that the words of a text don't matter, only the hidden content, the pernicious and persistent catalogue of social injustice behind them.

Deconstructionism has had its day, although because of tenure there are many academics who will preach this secular animism until the day they die.  All texts are equivalent, they say.  There is no such thing as artistic genius, and the works of Shakespeare, Aeschylus, and Dostoevsky should be read only within the narrow context of  race, gender, and ethnicity.  Hamlet and Macbeth are nothing more than plays about political power, the corrupt nature of elites, and the alienation of the many to serve the powerful.

If one reads text carefully, deconstructionists say, one will discover the true meaning behind the words which are mere and artificial constructs of individuals who can but express political zeitgeist and the particular configurations of social, economic, and cultural conflict.

So where are these deconstructionists when it comes to parsing the stump performances of Donald Trump? Why are they so literal in their interpretation of his words?  How could they assume that his hot button rhetoric is anything more than getting sinners to walk up the aisle and accept Jesus as their personal savior? 
This myopia is not surprising, for despite progressives’ claims to objectivity, rationality, and on-the-one-hand-on-the-other tolerance and consideration of differing opinions, they intend no such thing.  Their canon of diversity, race-gender-ethnicity, and social liberalism is as enshrined as any.

Such political and philosophical absolutism ipso facto requires blinders.  In an a priori world where right and wrong are pre-determined and absolute there is no room for due consideration or rational debate.

It is very clear – except to progressive deniers – that Donald Trump was a revolutionary president, even more so than Ronald Reagan.  Reagan, it must be remembered, challenged the legacy of FDR, LBJ and the American liberal establishment when he said, “Government is not the solution.  Government is the problem”, and went on to challenge the received wisdom of liberal America.  He tossed liberal accommodation and concession aside when he stood up to the Soviet Union.  

Donald Trump was as radical as Reagan in his challenge of the culture of entitlement, diversity, and cloture of free speech.  The Trump presidency was welcome not only in political quarters where the final internment of liberal progressivism was applauded; but in intelligent quarters whose residents were happy to see the last remnants of dire, extremist, post-modernism buried along with it. They are even happier now.

The Trump presidency gave lie to many things – the arrogance of the liberal Left which has refused to acknowledge the realities of the white, working poor; the isolation of liberal academics who talk a great story about equality but who reject the legitimate claims of the middle class in favor of the oppressed and put-upon minorities; and the absolute myopia of progressives who refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of a conservative populist president.

And the next Trump presidency will be even more sanitizing, a final cleansing of the Augean stables, a dismantling of the attempts to redefine sexuality, glorify racial separatism, give away the store for made-for-corruption infrastructure schemes,  and search for ‘compromise’ with implacable enemies. 

Thursday, March 28, 2024

In Praise Of Creeps, Weirdos, And Freaks - Diversity's Missing Links

Arthur Hicks was just shy of run-of-the-mill, but those little oddities, each insignificant in and of themselves, when rolled up into one - a slightly prognathous chin; hair that despite the Frizz Away goop that Sal, the barber, sold him still looked thatched and corn stalky; eyes slightly off kilter; and a rabbity sniff - put him far east of the mainstream. As these things are wont to do, they gave him a complex, and in addition to being a package of curiosities, he became withdrawn and creepy. 

He had grown up in an age when bullying was a not tolerated; but his classmates found ways to make their eyes look goofy, spike their hair into chicken tail feathers, and twitch their noses into the salad without any teacher seeing.

He was a a good enough student, but when he turned thirteen his voice took on a growling timber, a guttural, phlegmy croak that made 'Jefferson' sound like 'Jowly Edison' and discounted all his right answers to D's. 

The priest paused before giving him Holy Communion, salesladies balked at making change, and the only place he felt completely at home was Jimmy's Smoke Shop where Arthur thumbed through girly magazines in Jimmy's back room with all the married men who didn't want to be seen. 

Jimmy liked Arthur, but that was probably because he was just a younger version of himself, a Picasso face with features that didn't belong where God had put them, but perfect for running a store which sold palm buzzers, flies in plastic, whoopee cushions and copies of 'Cunt' and 'Slit'.  

'Howzit goin'?' Jimmy said to Arthur when he came in to buy a Tootsie Roll and have a look at the latest edition of 'Come'.  Arthur could have been busted for letting Arthur back there, but as I said, he liked him and gave him a bit of running room. 'What's it to be today?'. 

Jimmy knew quite well exactly what it would be, Tootsie Rolls and the back room, but liked to humor him and somehow felt sorry for this misshapen, twitchy kid who had nothing to do with his Saturday mornings except Tootsie Rolls and smarmy sex pix.  

'Got a girlfriend?', Jimmy once asked Arthur as Marfa Peters and Billie Fehr brushed past him on their way to the toiletries. He only wished that they would brush up against him. 

'Huh?', grunted Arthur unwrapping his candy bar.  'Hopeless', thought Jimmy. 

Now, the point of this story is not about Arthur per se - there must be thousands of misshapen oddities like him in Connecticut alone - but about that collection of weird bits of God's creation farther off the beaten path of normal human beings than Arthur could ever be. Who would have ever thought that in this small New England town, known for its Puritan legacy - John Davenport and his Massachusetts Bay Colony dissenters had stopped there on their way to New Haven, spent a particularly bitter winter, and fathered the great-great grandfathers of the captains of industry still alive and well today - there would be drag queens, gangsta-rolling pimps, and transsexual hookers?  

How did 'diversity' (Jimmy hated that word and always said it with inverted commas) ever come to this? Every bizarre, outlandish freak got invited to the show while the true oddities - the dumb, the clueless, t and the mentally obtuse  - were left out. His shop was the real big tent of 'diversity', not that three ring circus in Hartford organized last year.  'A Summer of Diversity' they called it, a hodge-podge of every alteration to the American norm you could imagine. 

They had even invited Pequot Chief Johnny Horsetail, CEO of Foxcroft, the first Indian casino in America, multi-millionaire with just enough Indian DNA to get him the biggest tax free moneymaker in the state - his great great aunt, Silvana, had been abducted by one of White Wolf's Comanche raiders in 1890, sold to the Pequots for pirated gold, married a Pequot brave, and went on to have five children, one of whom was the direct ancestor of Johnny Horsetail. 

Alongside him on the dais were descendants of freed slaves from Virginia, bartered and sent North along with other beneficiaries of Jefferson's manumission.  They too had thin strands of genetic legacy to qualify them as 'diverse', but the organizers wanted to display not just black people, a dime a dozen in Hartford alone, but real black people with cotton-pickin' slave roots.  

Gay men and lesbian women were a dime a dozen as well, so the organizers wanted to speckle the spectrum with a more interesting mix. Bullard Fence was a transsexual man who had undergone the most radical transformation in Connecticut history. Thanks to advanced hormonal therapy and aggressive surgery, he had emerged from the pupa and chrysalis of a quiet, lovely, sweet Victorian lady to the macho man - a hairy, muscled beast, frilly seamstress turned pipe fitter and posthole digger with underworld connections. 

Little people had their own concession - miniature, low-level stands for autographs and pictures, a convention of Armani-suited dwarves who had left their offices at Chase and Travelers to represent their growing number.  Some of the more risky in vitro fertilizations were turning out little people by the dozens and genetic testing had not caught up.  Not that parents were encouraged to abort a little person.  Not at all.  Just like the profoundly deaf who formed a culture of their own and resisted cochlear implants, little people's culture was yet another example of America's unusual social tolerance.

'Bullshit', said Jimmy when the read over the invitee list published in the Hartford Courant in its special Diversity supplement; and wondered what Arthur Hicks, deep into the June issue of 'Crack', would think of all this. There should be break-out sessions for people like Arthur who, ironically, were so clueless that they wouldn't know how to register let alone find their way to Bushnell Park. 

Some politician had coined the term 'silent majority' to reflect the tens of millions of ordinary Americans who had no voice in national affairs.  These carpenters, plumbers, farmers, housewives, and clerks were nothing out of the ordinary and because of their quiet citizenship were largely overlooked.

Arthur Hicks and his ilk were a subset of that silent majority - the oddballs who added verve and flavor to the run-of-the-mill.  Good, solid Americans who had some pieces missing and bounced around in their own particular St. Vitus dances.  They were the real diverse America, not this side show assembly of prescription outliers 

'When does the next 'Cunt' come out?' asked Arthur on his way out of the shop.  Poor kid, thought Jimmy, a bit of litter on Broad Street blown in with the Peter Pan transit passengers on their way to Boston.  Unrecognized, unsung, completely unnoticed. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Abortion - Getting Rid Of The Little Ankle-Biter Before He's Born

'Having children is a bummer' said Jennifer X who watched her sister squeeze out three of them, lost sleep, sex, and income because of them, and was tethered to Kinder, Küche, Kirche like any hausfrau of the Fifties, a dishwasher, shit-cleaner, pablum feeder, and all around scullery maid.  'I want no part of it'


Of course her nieces would grow up and go to Harvard, graduate summa cum laude and go to Yale Law School, marry money, live in Cold Spring Harbor, and sail to Nantucket in the summer, so all that nuisance will pay off in the end; and at the very least her sister would have bragging rights, my son the doctor, and my daughter calls me every day kind of pride, recompense and recognition - a reflection of her top-flight genes, schooling, and upbringing. 

All that was just scrim barely hiding the bald fact that bringing up children is a bloody bore and the payoffs scant.  'How sharper than a serpent's tooth to have a thankless child', Shakespeare wrote in King Lear, and if there were ever an example of such thankless children, it would have to be Goneril and Regan who put the senile old man out to pasture, took his palace, his horses, and his gold.  

That was the rule in families, not the exception, thought Jennifer thinking of her friends' children who at best waved a fond goodbye before heading out the door, and at worst giving a parting shot with all the pent-up, nasty reasons for doing so.  

When you come to think of it, Jennifer reasoned, there was no reason in this modern, secular, socially secure age to have children at all.  What was the point?  You didn't need them to light the funeral pyre or to take care of you in old age.  Their cost was certainly far more than the benefit, so what was left? 

And then after one careless, drunken night, she got pregnant.  It one fell swoop there was womanhood, motherhood, life, sin, legacy, all wrapped up in one.  Scrape it out, D+C here I come was not so easy. No matter how much she had become used to the idea of pregnancy being nothing more than the rooster's contribution to her egg (God, how she hated that word) that combined to produce a bit of flesh that was her and not her but certainly of no account to anyone, she couldn't dismiss the fact that it was alive, or at least had the potential for being alive, and the thought was troubling to say the least.  

'I am not a cow', she said, rutted and fertilized, teats full like a bloody udder, splashing out this slimy thing after hauling it around for nine months, and then having it crawl up my stomach and start sucking away at me.  No thanks!

She had grown up in the heady post-feminist days of Girl Power, and the last thing those women counselled was motherhood.  Sister, you have come all this way just to be chattel again, tied and bound to the most insignificant, commonplace, patriarchal thing ever - childbearing?  Get real, get a job, become all you were meant to be. 

Yet with all that heady feminist Neo-Darwinism in her brain, there was no denying the....what should she call it?  Embryo, baby, fetus, thing?...  inside her demanding attention.  Her first thought was, ugh! Get rid of it, flush it down the toilet like a piece of leftover meat, gone, over and done with, forgotten, it never happened.  Her second was, hold on a second...

Her hesitation went against her every instinct.  A woman was not an ungulate, a fat cow, a breeding machine despite her XX, her reproductive design, her organic nature. So what, uterus and womb? 

Of course, if carried to its logical extreme, this anti-reproductive notion could only lead to a more class-divided society - let the least socially able produce offspring for the most able; a nation of surrogates paid a living for trucking around with a loaded trailer for nine months.  Or some AI in vitro virtual system for repopulating the world.  Just not me! I refuse to be rammed, fed, and delivered. Let someone else do the heavy lifting. 

Then there was that religious thing, that Biblical thing where Aaron begat Rebekka who begat Isaac ad infinitum ad nauseam in Kings and Deuteronomy and then the Holy Family nonsense where the only sensible factoid was the virgin birth.  If women had to have children better to have it neat and clean with no man involved and no messy consequences.  

Yet, at the same time, as unsure as Hamlet or Brutus or Orestes had ever been about murder - for, let's face it, as justified as it might be given the rights and new privileges of women, abortion was not the death of a fly - she knew that she had a principle to uphold.  The Right to Choose was a civic, moral right.  Individual freedom, personal integrity, and the will to action trumped any second thoughts about 'murder' which of course abortion could never be. 

Or could it?  Again the niggling, anti-progressive, anti-feminist thoughts kept her up at night.  With one swallow of mifepristone, her troubles would be over.  Nothing excised, nothing cut out, the thing inside her would simply disappear.  Woman, pregnant, fertile, woman, reproductive, pregnant....all night long. 

Worst of all she had gotten herself into this mess, pregnant without a husband.  She would have to take care of 'it' all by herself.  Her decision would be double indemnity - or (she was still Hamlet and Orestes) a treble vote for birthing the thing, adding to the value of the act because she would have to go it alone. 

Jennifer was not alone in her dilemma.  Thousands of women, no matter how much they denied it, could not simply get rid of 'it', flush it away down the drain.  They might march on the Mall for abortion rights, yell, stomp, and demand an end to male patriarchal decisions about their bodies, but they were women after all. 

Her decision was not an easy one, and one could just as easily see her walking into Planned Parenthood or suckling a newborn.  Men are lucky they do not have to face such existential, moral questions.  But then again we are the first to be sent off to war. 

Monday, March 25, 2024

When Sadie Velveteen Came To Washington - Trump II And The Burlesque Queen

The Biden presidency had been one thuddingly boring affair - a dour, morose, inglorious four years - and Americans were ready for a change and a return to the glitz, glamour, arm candy, yachts, and mansions of Donald Trump's first term. We are not a nation of turn-down-the-heat, sensible-shoed, penitential, compassionate sissies, his supporters said and voted in their President a second time. 

'Not him!' shouted the Left.  'Not him again!' wailed Biden claques.  After four years of catapulting hot oil, cannonades, and withering fire, the man was still standing. Despite the rage; in spite of show trials, witch trials, and calls for his head, Donald Trump was again coming to Washington. 

The nation watched as Joe Biden had turned the White House into a half-way house for black and brown people, Aleut and Hopi Indians, gay men, and reformed alcoholics.  A melting pot without a star.  A collection of half-breeds and outliers. 

'This is America', said Biden's Vice President who had taken to the podium on Day One four years before to announce the coming of the Biden Collective, 'and we will prevail'. And so it was that the portraits of America's heroes were turned to the wall.  Thomas Jefferson, miscegenist slave trader.  Hamilton, proto-Wall Street capitalist. Jackson, racist, genocidal tyrant - gone in a heartbeat.  The Oval Office was to be a working man's factory shop, the West Wing tenements for welfare mothers, the East Wing an immigrant sanctuary. 

The meme was dark and cautionary - the climate was warming, democracy in danger, racism systemic and virulent, homophobia insidious and hateful, black people still living in misery and incarceration.  The rich profit from the wages of the poor, the nation is no longer one of democracy but of crass capitalist manipulation and extortion. 


So, after four years it was no wonder that The Donald drew crowds in the tens of thousands. A champion of ambition and opportunity, an unabashed deal-maker, a fast talking image-maker; a man tuned into Hollywood and Las Vegas, Bimini, and Palm Beach.  

He was for everyone in America because he was the American, the middle-brow, showtime, runway-ready American who had no use for the projects, the bathhouses, and the slums.  America's ace-in-the-hole was and had always been enthusiasm - bright, glittering, starlit enthusiasm - not a muddy, weekday 'compassion'.  Champion winners, he said, and everyone wins. 

This would be the ethos of the second Trump administration, a reprise of Ronald Reagan's shining city on a hill but tarting it up, giving it the glitz, glamour, and sequins of stardom. It was time to put tinsel and sequins back, put some color on the North Portico and some lawn furniture on the South Lawn. 

Which is where Norma Barker, aka Sadie Velveteen comes in.  Trump knew Norma in his Hollywood days when she was a chorus girl at the Sands in Vegas.  He had met her at a cast party for The Apprentice, a splashy affair - starlets, glitterati, and New York investors.  She was his kind of woman - showy, forward, high makeup and gold lamé, come-hither sensuality, not quite right for his show, but somewhere.  They became friends in fact, and spent time together at Mar-el-Lago.  Melania liked her, found her particular style and forwardness attractive, and suggested that somewhere along the line she might be useful to her husband. 

She went back to Vegas and the chorus line, moving up but never to top dog, left the can-can and stockings routine and went off on her own and soon became a feature at the high-end burlesque shows on the Strip.  Burlesque wasn't much of a move up from the chorus line, still a lot of can-can and ooh-la-la, but she could be a performer, a star in her own right. 

She developed quite a following as Sadie Velveteen, and accepted the many offers to show her a good time, i.e. trips to St. Barts, Rimini, and Martinique on gentlemen's private yachts.  Life was good, she was treated well, and wanted for nothing. She was brilliant at managing her admirers with careful husbandry of her affections, treading the fine line between consort and lover, never greedy, always attentive, and brilliant.  After a few years her net worth - all in jewels, gold, and platinum - was in the millions, all safe and sound in an offshore bank vault, retrievable and convertible through agreement and wire transfer. 

She contacted Trump in the White House, and he eagerly invited her for a visit.  He was right for the Oval Office, she thought, very impressive and suitable.  The whole place was nothing like she imagined, for she like most Americans thought of it as a historical place, inhabited but never lived in; but Donald Trump has made it his own.  There was activity everywhere, people coming in and out - beautiful people, she noted, young women with leather briefcases and Armani suits, a kind of political cocktail chatter that was surprising, but somehow typical of her friend, the President. 

'Would you like to work here?', he asked her; and of course she said yes, but unfortunately the President's term was near an end and the four years of national penance was about to begin. 'Maybe next time', he said; and when he once again sat in the Oval Office, he had his associates call her. 

She was appointed as the White House Cultural Attaché and was responsible for 're-culturing' the White House, whatever she considered necessary to transform its appearance, its themes, its ethos into something very classy American; something ordinary Americans could relate to, a place of fancy and popular appeal.  

Who better than Sadie, as quintessentially this type of American as anyone, a woman who appreciated show, staging, lights, and music and knew how to combine them in an orchestral...no, operatic pageant. 

So the meaningful photographs of the dust bowl, farm workers, and community activists were 'archived' and replaced by Marilyn Monroe, Hedy Lamar, Taylor Swift; Sixties memorabilia, Dale Chihuly glass bibelots, and American flags. It was an eclectic Hard Rock Cafe meets Hollywood kind of place. 

The parties were reminiscent of Studio 54, New York's watering hole for the hip rich, the Andy Warhol, Factory crowd, a La Coupole west, everyone who was anyone showed up and was shown off, fabulously glamorous with affairs, the talk of the town. 

So along with his political, economic, and social conservatism; fiscal responsibility, strong Machiavellian foreign policy, small government, and financial restraint, a true American culture came to the White House - a Las Vegas one, a burlesque one, a tinselly, glitzy, showy one.  It was as though all of the American iconic pieces came together in one place. The Wild West and the OK Corral. J.P. Morgan, Rockefeller, and Andrew Carnegie.  Free enterprise, Hollywood, soap operas and Patti Page.  America was finally rid of the downbeat, musty, faux diversity of the Biden years. Washington was a happy place.


The Left didn't know what hit them.  They had been convinced that the Trump days were over and done with, forgotten and dismissed forever.  But not only did The Donald dismantle all their programs of diversity, equity, and inclusivity, free the private sector, and unleash the military, he turned the White House into a cheap burlesque show - a classless, empty, garish place.  Everything good, holy, and sensible down the drain. 

'I'm back!', said the smiling Donald Trump after his resounding electoral victory. 'Get over it'.  

Sunday, March 24, 2024

Electric Vehicles And Recycle Bins - The Holy Grail Of Environmental Crusaders

The First Crusade, under Pope Urban II and led by France's most heroic knights, was a sight to behold - thousands of armored, caparisoned soldiers on the finest horses of the land, the flags of Christianity held high as the troops thundered towards Jerusalem on their way to liberate it from the infidel, the armies of Islam.

A manuscript discovered in the Church of the Redeemer in a village near Lyon written by a Franciscan Friar, Lucius de Moncourt, told of the pageantry and the splendor of the army of God.  

Never before in God's great earthly kingdom, has such a spectacle been seen.  Christian soldiers, the emissaries of Jesus, riding for the cause of righteousness and carrying the standards of glory were nothing less than a holy crusade, a vision of the Second Coming and the returning majesty of Our Lord.

The travesty, the defilement, the pagan and barbaric occupation of His homeland and the very place of His glorious transfiguration, would not stand.


There has always been a compelling nature to collective action.  The Crusades were not just armies of the West marching to Jerusalem to rid the Holy City of its Muslim infidel; but a militant statement of the power, glory, and rightful place of Christianity in the world.  They were different from the marauding armies of Genghis Khan who rode out of the steppes with a hundred thousand horsemen, laid waste to and then conquered the world from Europe to Asia.  They were the instruments of God’s will.  

Image result for images crusades

That this phenomenon should be alive and well today is no surprise.  Environmentalism has become a secular religion and little different from the millennialism of the past.  Sins against the Earth must be atoned for, and our fate will be brutal and punishing.  Salvation for ourselves and the Earth is however possible but only through prayer, good works, and most of all militancy. 

We need belief, the causes that support it, and the will to defend it.  The climate is changing, say environmental activists, and if it is not stopped, it will lead to a fiery Armageddon, the earthly preliminary to the Last Judgment. Just as in the Crusades, there is no doubt in the minds of those marching off to war. Saving the planet, as secular as the mission might be, is still doing God's work, protecting his Creation. If we apply ourselves we can avoid another Flood and another Sodom and Gomorra, God's retribution and angry destruction of us all. 

The age of Stoicism has come and gone.  Traces remain in Buddhism, but the idea that the world is simply constantly changing, an interwoven complex of actions, reactions, and results without purpose or value, has little currency today.  We must save the planet.  It goes without saying.  It is received wisdom, an a priori right, a duty, an obligation. 

Within this philosophical perspective, the whole idea of saving the planet is a silly affair, hubris at its worst, vanity and self-absorption at best; so it has instead simply become the rubric under which disaggregated goals have been established. Saving the planet can be achieved not in one fell swoop, but by individual, discrete, noteworthy actions - like the Electric Car, the EV. 

There is absolutely no reason to buy an EV except for the principle of the thing.  It is expensive, has a short fuel range, operates without much of a supportive infrastructure, is no snappier in design than its gas-powered counterparts; but because of its environmental image, it is in demand. 

Of course EVs are not carbon-neutral. Some fossil fuel has to generate the electricity, the rare earths needed for its batteries have to be mined with all the attendant environmental hazards the activity has always entailed, and disposing of the batteries is a tricky business and an unsolved headache.  

Given the advances in automotive pollution control, the constantly improving energy efficiency of the internal combustion engine, and the introduction of hybrid vehicles, the rush to EV's seems an exaggerated expression of higher purpose; and many consumers are getting the picture.  

Demand for EVs has softened considerably.  The attempts by government to distort and disturb the free market which has already responded to an adjusted to consumer demand for efficiency and clean air are intrusive, politically driven and unnecessary. 

Yet the true believers, the heirs to the Cross, are undeterred.  Showing the flag of environmentalism is like flying the banner of St. George on the way to Jerusalem.  The Tesla is their standard. 


The spotted owl and the snail darter, two early symbols of American environmentalism were too invisible as tangible symbols of the movement, hotter summer days were always followed by unusual cold spells, mild winters followed by brutal snowgeddons; but the EV?  Now, here finally was an out-front, clear, unmistakable symbol of doing the right thing.  A Tesla in the driveway statement. 

So have the recycle bins in the alley. Always filled to overflowing with properly sorted, peach pit free, rinsed and cleaned bottles and cans, they beggar the ordinary trash bins beside them.  They are another physical, visible display of environmental responsibility. Where and how this recyclable trash is used, sold, or reused is irrelevant.  It matters not that most of it is barged to Third World offshore dumping grounds, it is out of the way.  Right has been done. 

The country has a scant few months left before the banging of pots is over; before the crusading hysteria of environmentalism will have had its day.  Under a conservative Republican administration and Congress, the more intrusive forays of government into the marketplace will be halted, and the demand for energy re-mediated and re-configured.  The crusaders will return to their stables. 

Of course the howling from within will continue.  Thousands of environmental Electras and Cassandras will shout and curse and prophesy; but the age of environmental hysteria, always febrile and unhinged, is over, and with it will go all the other palsied St. Vitus' dances of America's true believers. 

Saturday, March 23, 2024

A Weak Sister In The White House - Biden, Machiavelli, And The War To End All Wars

World War I was 'the war to end all wars' described not so much in the Machiavellian sense of geopolitical victory but as a hopeful lesson to mankind that such carnage, such inhumanity should never again occur. 


The war was fought over a hundred yards of open terrain, a bloody stalemate of gatling gun slaughter, phalanxes of soldiers mowed down like overgrown weeds, left to lie in the mud, frozen corpses, detritus to be trampled over by the next wave. 

Wars are for winning, explained Machiavelli, and undertaken only to achieve self-interested ends. There should be no adventurism, vain political ambition, or superficial, hopeful assessment of the enemy - only concerted, determined, absolute commitment to annihilation of the enemy to attain clear, well-defined goals. 

Given human nature - aggressive, territorial, ambitious, and violent - Machiavelli also knew that wars would be continual, for 'self-interest' is more often subjective and venal than rational and defensible; and only when military parity has been achieved or when victors' control over conquered territory is complete and absolute, will wars 'end'.  


Stalemate was one answer to violent territorialism. Empire was another.  Pax Romana, the only extended period of peace the world has ever known was thanks to the Roman Empire's brilliant combination of military strength, administration, infrastructure, and savvy mutually beneficial contracts with the ruled. 

After World War II with the unconditional surrender of Germany and Japan, America was the only world power and sought to consolidate its position and authority; but it was not long before the Soviet Union exerted its own desire for hegemony and world presence.  The forty plus years of peace was the result of a stalemate, the nuclear standoff of the Cold War.  

Yet this particular Pax was short-lived.  Once the Soviet Union disintegrated, the world went back to war.  Conflicts in the former Yugoslavia, the Caucasus, and the Middle East began again. Asymmetrical war was the new paradigm, but it was still brutal and bloody. 


The world's major powers - America, China, and Russia - are all hoping to re-establish world hegemony, to restore their former empires, and outwit and outmaneuver their adversaries.  Proxies are used from East to West in this ongoing struggle, and wars continue apace. 

However configured and however neatly conflicts may fit within the intellectual paradigms of Machiavelli and other global strategists, wars will continue one way or another.  Although the 21st century has not yet had the cataclysmic wars of all previous centuries, they are sure to come; and meanwhile minor conflicts persist. 

War is a permanent feature of human society, and always has been.  Hopes for a new, loving, compassionate, considerate, and verdant world are vain and illusory.  Not only that, but such fantastical idealism deflects countries from the real business of geopolitics - preparing for conflict, endorsing war as a way of promoting self-interest, never hesitating to engage in military battle, and insisting on winning at all costs. 

The United States lost its will for victory in Vietnam  Its concern for 'hearts and minds', avoidance of civilian casualties, and a policy of limiting American military casualties lost the war.  The Vietnamese were pure Machiavellian and had only one goal - total victory, defeat of the foreign aggressor, and complete control of a unified country.  The hearts and minds of the Viet Cong controlled villagers were assured through fear, intimidation, torture and murder.  There is no morality in a war for survival. 

Union General William Tecumseh Sherman understood this lesson well as he marched through Georgia and South Carolina in the last phases of the American Civil War.  He not only would defeat the South militarily but would lay waste to the Confederacy, spare no one from his absolute conviction that the South would never, ever rise again. 

Israel, too, has learned and applied the lesson in its recent war with Hamas.  This enemy, implacably determined to wipe the state of Israel off the map and to kill all Jews must be summarily, completely, resolutely and permanently destroyed. 

The United States under the Biden Administration has most definitely not learned this lesson.  It is prevaricating, dilating, and turning its back on the only unshakeable ally in the Middle East if not the world, Israel.  Without Israel the region would be all that ISIS has hoped - a fundamentalist Islamic caliphate with growing economic, political, and military power. 

In a misguided hearts and minds policy, the United States has once again gone wobbly, worried more about the civilian population of Gaza than Israeli victory over a genocidal, destabilizing, fanatical Islamic regime.  

'Ceasefire', Biden implores, while such a pause in fighting will only enable Hamas to regroup, rearm, and return fire. The American progressive Left has taken up the cause and rallied its supporters to condemn Israel, to lionize the 'victimized' Palestinians, and to assure continued war in the Middle East. Make peace with the mullahs, progressives suggest. Give negotiations a chance, show a kinder, gentler face. 

Of course nothing would better please America's most hostile enemy, Iran, a country which salivated over Obama's famous 'nuclear treaty' an agreement which made no mention of its proxy wars and allowed it to pursue its nuclear arms industry after a short ten year period, now over.  Iran wants to join the club of restored empires - Persia after all was the equal to Imperial Russia and China; and Turkey, mindful of its Ottoman past will find ways to regain its own geopolitical influence. 

Only the United States, it seems, is willing to sit back and let events take their course, hoping for peace and conflict resolution while its enemies prepare for war.  The ambitions of Russia, China, and Iran are obvious; and yet the United States hesitates.  Russian victory in Ukraine is a foregone conclusion and has been from the start. There is no way that the US will confront a nuclear armed Russia directly. 

Israel faces extermination without American support.  Iran simply watches, waits, and backs its proxies Hezbollah and Hamas; and China, never concerned about American saber-rattling will take over Taiwan and complete its hegemony over Tibet and the Uighurs in good time. 

Give peace a chance and give it time, say progressives; but everyone but the most deceived, garden book idealist knows that hell will freeze over first.