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Politics

Camille Paglia on 2020 and beyond

Sunday, 9 December, 2018

We are sleep-walking through the “graveyard of liberalism, whose once noble ideals have turned spectral and vampiric,” says author, academic and thinker Camille Paglia. Speaking to Spectator USA, she discusses, inter alia, 2020 and Trump. Snippet:

“If the economy continues strong, Trump will be reelected. The Democrats (my party) have been in chaos since the 2016 election and have no coherent message except Trump hatred. Despite the vast pack of potential candidates, no one yet seems to have the edge. I had high hopes for Kamala Harris, but she missed a huge opportunity to play a moderating, statesmanlike role and has already imprinted an image of herself as a ruthless inquisitor that will make it hard for her to pull voters across party lines.

Screechy Elizabeth Warren has never had a snowball’s chance in hell to appeal beyond upper-middle-class professionals of her glossy stripe. Kirsten Gillibrand is a wobbly mediocrity. Cory Booker has all the gravitas of a cork. Andrew Cuomo is a yapping puppy with a long, muddy bullyboy tail. Both Bernie Sanders (for whom I voted in the 2016 primaries) and Joe Biden (who would have won the election had Obama not cut him off at the knees) are way too old and creaky.

To win in the nation’s broad midsection, the Democratic nominee will need to project steadiness, substance, and warmth. I’ve been looking at Congresswoman Cheri Bustos of Illinois and Governor Steve Bullock of Montana. As for Hillary, she’s pretty much damaged goods, but her perpetual, sniping, pity-me tour shows no signs of abating. She still has a rabidly loyal following, but it’s hard to imagine her winning the nomination again, with her iron grip on the Democratic National Committee now gone. Still, it’s in her best interest to keep the speculation fires burning. Given how thoroughly she has already sabotaged the rising candidates by hogging the media spotlight, I suspect she wants Trump to win again. I don’t see our stumbling, hacking, shop-worn Evita yielding the spotlight willingly to any younger gal.”

Where is Oscar Wilde when we need him? He cut through “the insufferable arrogance and preening sanctimony in his era’s self-appointed guardians of morality,” says Paglia and someone similar is badly needed now to expose and ridicule the virtue signalers and social justice warriors who are determined to destroy civilization.

Camille Paglia


Diarist of the Day

Monday, 26 November, 2018

26 November 1992: “A perk of the place [House of Commons] is a free medical check-up. The doctor (thirty-something, a touch insipid, a specialist in ‘occupational medicine’) comes in two or three times a week and is available in a small, airless makeshift surgery located in the Cromwell Lobby. He did all the usual tests and I was given the usual verdict. ‘A little more exercise probably wouldn’t do any harm. Most people put on a stone or so when they come here. You haven’t done so badly. Moderation in all things.’ My cholesterol is at the upper edge of the range. Why did I lie about my alcohol consumption? I said half a bottle of wine a day and it must be two-thirds. (I assume everyone lies and when you say half a bottle he puts down two thirds.)” Gyles Brandreth


Smartphones are almost everywhere

Sunday, 18 November, 2018

It’s estimated that 40 percent of the world’s population now has a smartphone. For three billion people, writes Alan Taylor in The Atlantic, “these versatile handheld devices have become indispensable tools, providing connections to loved ones, entertainment, business applications, shopping opportunities, windows into the greater world of social media, news, history, education, and more.”

Here, Nigerian refugee Aicha Younoussa poses with a smartphone in front of her tent in a refugee camp in southern Chad.

In Chad

Here, attendees take photos of President Donald Trump as he attends the 2018 Young Black Leadership Summit in the East Room of the White House.

President Trump in the White House

Here, three women take selfies in the Piazza del Duomo in Milan.

Piazza del Duomo


You’ll never be the drama critic for the NYT…

Sunday, 4 November, 2018

…If you’re a “deplorable,” that is. The author of Bullshit Jobs, David Graeber, observes:

Conservative voters, I would suggest, tend to resent intellectuals more than they resent rich people because they can imagine a scenario in which they or their children might become rich, but cannot possibly imagine one in which they could ever become a member of the cultural elite. If you think about it that’s not an unreasonable assessment. A truck driver’s daughter from Nebraska might not have very much chance of becoming a millionaire — America has the lowest social mobility in the developed world — but it could happen. There’s virtually no way that the same daughter will ever become an international human rights lawyer, or drama critic for the New York Times. Even if she could get into the right schools, there would certainly be no possible way for her to go on to live in New York or San Francisco for the requisite years of unpaid internships. If the son of a glazier got a toehold in a well-positioned bullshit job he would likely be unable or unwilling to transform it into a platform for the obligatory networking. There are a thousand invisible barriers.

Bullshit Jobs


Venezuela: The sadism of 21st century socialism

Saturday, 3 November, 2018

Apologists for the sadistic socialism now being lived out in Venezuela include Michael D. Higgins, Ireland’s cracked President; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the crackpot US Democrat; Jeremy Corbyn, the sinister leader of the UK Labour Party and Oliver Stone, the deranged Hollywood director — “one of Latin America’s most dynamic countries.”

For them, and their many fellow travellers in academia, the media and the arts, this BBC report: “Venezuela crisis: Mothers giving away babies, children living on streets.”

“Extreme poverty has jumped 40%, deaths related to child malnutrition are on the rise, and millions have fled the country in the past two years… Mothers and children have been among those hit hardest, as the BBC’s Vladimir Hernandez found when he spent time in the capital, Caracas.”


Political correctness has deranged the Democrats

Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

Tyler Cowen, host of the economics blog, Marginal Revolution, identifies PC as the cause of the derangement of the Democrats in this Bloomberg column:

“Imagine the perfect political and intellectual weapon. It would disable your adversaries by preoccupying them with their own vanities and squabbles, a bit like a drug so good that users focus on the high and stop everything else they are doing.

Such a weapon exists: It is called political correctness. But it is not a weapon against white men or conservatives, as is frequently alleged; rather, it is a weapon against the American left. To put it simply, the American left has been hacked, and it is now running in a circle of its own choosing, rather than focusing on electoral victories or policy effectiveness. Too many segments of the Democratic Party are self-righteously talking about identity politics, and they are letting other priorities slip.”

Political correctness is harmful, and not just to the deranged Democrats. It has led to the creation of a new entitled class: professional “victims” who demand to be protected from any offence. And it has also produced a suffocating atmosphere in which we must all walk on eggshells in case we commit a language “crime”.


Lionel Shriver: Time’s up for #MeToo

Saturday, 20 October, 2018

Speaking at Cheltenham Literature Festival, the author of We Need To Talk About Kevin said that the ongoing movement against sexual harassment has “run its course” and is having a negative effect on relationships between men and women.

According to The Times, Shriver said that that the movement had been “important to begin with”, having exposed “some of the real malefactors” such as Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein. However, she added: “Then it took a turn and suddenly we were talking about bad dates and bad taste or making crass remarks and it trivialised itself and I thought that was really regrettable.” Quote:

“I don’t like the feeling that now everyone has to have their story of some kind of terrible sexual abuse in order to be able to have an opinion about any of this stuff. I don’t want younger women to locate their sense of power in their weakness, in their fragility. I think the movement has run its course and we can pretty much call time on it now.”

In today’s febrile climate, it amounts to an act of bravery to speak sensibly. Lionel Shriver is sensible and brave.


The known unknown Plantagenet House of Saud

Friday, 19 October, 2018

What Do We Really Know about Saudi Arabia? That’s the question posed by Kevin D. Williamson over at National Review. Good line: “It’s one of the few extant monarchies that seem serious about keeping the mon in their archy.”

Good point: “Khashoggi wasn’t just a troublesome journalist; he was, as the New York Times puts it, a man who had had ‘a successful career as an adviser to and unofficial spokesman for the royal family of Saudi Arabia.’ A businessman who has spent many years working in the Middle East says: ‘I don’t think the Saudis would send 15 assassins to chop up a ‘mere’ journalist, but they would send 15 assassins to settle some internecine family feud.’ He also cautions that the Middle Eastern tendency to resort to conspiracy theories to explain complicated relationships is likely to muddy the water.”

Williams says this GUBU (Grotesque, Unbelievable, Bizarre, Unprecedented) Saudi spectacle is “a platinum-plated Shakespearean succession drama in the desert, with schisms within the royal family and between the royal family proper and other centers of power.” Sadly, the Saudi’s don’t have a Shakespeare, but neither does the rest of the world right now. Still, the template is there because the 14 Plantagenet monarchs who ruled England from 1154 to 1485 inspired Shakespeare to write eight “Plantagenet plays,” from Richard II to Richard III via the two parts of Henry IV, Henry V, and the three parts of Henry VI. In Plantagenet England, murder was the order of the day, and it’s no different today in the land ruled by the House of Saud.


Those Daft Democrats

Tuesday, 16 October, 2018

Peggy Noonan nails it in the Wall Street Journal:

“A word on the destructive theatrics we now see gripping parts of the Democratic Party. The howling and screeching that interrupted the hearings and the voting, the people who clawed on the door of the court, the ones who chased senators through the halls and screamed at them in elevators, who surrounded and harassed one at dinner with his wife, who disrupted and brought an air of chaos, who attempted to thwart democratic processes so that the people could not listen and make their judgments:

Do you know how that sounded to normal people, Republican and Democratic and unaffiliated? It sounded demonic. It didn’t sound like ‘the resistance’ or #MeToo. It sounded like the shrieking in the background of an old audiotape of an exorcism.

Democratic leaders should stand up to the screamers. They haven’t, because they’re afraid of them. But things like this spread and deepen.

Stand up to your base. It’s leading you nowhere good. And you know it.”

Not just daft, then. Howling and screeching daft.


Aristides the Just in Bavaria

Saturday, 13 October, 2018

Bavaria is booming. Unemployment is under three percent and the sun has shone almost every day since April. Easy peasy then, you would think, for the CSU, which has ruled the southern German state with an absolute majority for most of the post-war era. The party won nearly 48 percent of the vote at the last regional election, in 2013, but change is in the air. For the first time in living memory, the CSU appears almost certain to fall well below the 40 percent mark in tomorrow’s election, an outcome that would send shockwaves all the way from Munich to Berlin.

What’s up? Frustration with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s moralistic migration policy is one issue; infighting within the CSU and in the coalition government in Berlin is another. People are looking for alternatives. Despite the extraordinary prosperity and stability that the CSU has helped bestow upon Bavaria, the voters are restless. The situation reminds one of an incident recounted by Plutarch in The Life of Aristides the Just. Note: An ostracon (plural ostraka) was a shard of pottery upon which the ancient Greeks wrote short messages:

“Now at the time of which I was speaking, as the voters were inscribing their ostraka [to determine which politicians would be expelled from the city], it is said that an unlettered and utterly boorish ostrakon fellow handed his ostrakon to Aristides, whom he took to be one of the ordinary crowd, and asked him to write Aristides on it. He, astonished, asked the man what possible wrong Aristides had done him. ‘None whatever,’ was the answer, ‘I don’t even know the fellow, but I am tired of hearing him everywhere called ‘The Just’. On hearing this, Aristides made no answer, but wrote his name on the ostracon and handed it back.”

In the most recent polls, CSU support has fallen to 33 percent. In much of Europe today, that would be a dream result for a centrist party, but given the CSU’s almost permanent reign, such an outcome would be treated as a disaster. Stay tuned.


Snogging, partying, snoring — and champagne

Tuesday, 2 October, 2018

The illiberal left has given us a glimpse this past fortnight of the kind of Orwellian Dystopia it wants to create on earth. All youthful indiscretions and errors will be punished in their brave new world and woe betide those who indulge in alcohol, for theirs is the path to perdition.

Raucous parties and drunken antics have been part of the wild world of privileged youth for generations and the British variety is brilliantly depicted in the photographs of Dafydd Jones, who was engaged by Tatler in the early 1980s to snap the society weddings, debutante dances and the Hunt Balls of the season. The printed result is The Last Hurrah, which is being promoted with an exhibition at the Photographers’ Gallery Print Room in the Soho district of London. The book is an exuberant cocktail mixed with a good dash of humour and the Dafydd Jones photograph here shows Benita Douglas-Robertson with Matt Gomez at the Blizzard Ball in the London Hilton on 3 January 2001.

Dafydd Jones