Comic genius

I have had my difficulties appreciating The Donald’s sense of humor, but during his Presser yesterday, he was cool, calm, measured … Presidential, and delivered one of the most brilliant set up lines in history. He made the press look like a bunch of dyspeptic gibbons. Admittedly, a low bar.

“Why do you keep calling this the ‘Chinese virus’?” the White House correspondent asked. “There are reports of dozens of incidents of bias against Chinese Americans in this country. Your own aide, Secretary Azar, says he does not use this term. He says, ‘Ethnicity does not cause the virus.’ Why do you keep using this?”

The president responded, “Because it comes from China.”

“People say it’s racist,” Vega continued.

Trump answered, “It’s not racist at all. No. Not at all. It comes from China. That’s why.”

That was just battlespace preparation…

“At least one White House official who used the term ‘Kung flu,’ referring to the fact that this virus started in China,” PBS’s Yamiche Alcindor said in reference to CBS News’s Weijia Jiangan, who alleges that a member of the Trump administration used that term in her presence.

“Is that acceptable?” Alcindor continued. “Is it wrong? Are you worried that that having this virus be talked about as a ‘Chinese virus,’ that that might help – ”

The president interjected at that point to ask for more details regarding Jiangan’s “Kung flu” allegation.

“Do you know who said that?” he asked.

“I’m not sure the person’s name,” said Alcindor, “but would you condemn the fact —

“Say the term again,” the president asked.

Alcindor obliged, saying, “Kung flu.”

“‘Kung flu’?” Trump asked.

“Say the term again?”
Brilliant. Hilarious.

Then he gets to repeat the dreaded term. Deadpan!

I don’t think Alcindor yet knows how thoroughly she was pwned.

Movie review

BUMPED. Update at the end.

The Rise Of Jordan Peterson

I bought this because of my interest in Jordan Peterson and because it received some good reviews as a dispassionate presentation of how a University of Toronto psychology professor suddenly became a world famous, polarizing “public intellectual.”

I was disappointed. I found it superficial and unenlightening. There are a lot of interleaved, ten second soundbites: Pro/con, “He is the ultimate father figure.”/“So, you’re anti-justice. Are you a Batman villain?” There’s a “what” to this documentary, but we are left to wonder why anyone holds such opinions.

This film doesn’t help in understanding the virality of a intellectual cultural phenom whose dozens of 2.5 hour University lectures attract ~5 million views each on YouTube. Or why an assistant professor of sociology will grade any paper mentioning Peterson with an “F;” seeming to confirm one of Peterson’s criticisms of the modern University.

Strictly as a documentary, it very nearly does manage to take no position. As an examination of Peterson’s ‘rise’ it is short on context or background.

Peterson’s objections to Bill C-16 gave him a viral blip when he publicly objected to compelled use of whimsical, invented pronouns: His corpus of prior work made him a phenomenon.

In fact, it’s the hundreds of hours of video he already had published that protected him from the SJW mob (and, until the Bill C-16 blip, was the motivation for the filmmakers to create this movie). There is no sign in this history of the patriarchal, sexist, transphobic, authoritarian, fascist thinking with which he is charged. A point which is not made evident in the film, despite a few truncated clips of his earlier work.

There’s much, much, much more explanation of Peterson’s rise in the video record preceding his tussle with the Canadian nanny-state. Peterson’s rise was propelled by the fact that he is a charismatic speaker and a powerful teacher.

The filmmakers’ attempt at even-handedness may be sincere, but the overall impression is more that Peterson promoted a free speech controversy as a way to enrich himself, not that he was risking his career. For an American audience, without a sense that freedom of speech in Canada is clinging to a cliff by one hand, the film is simply puzzling.

Supposed allies are shown expressing trepidation about Peterson’s outspokenness. This objection is to be expected from most Canadians, whose government has an uneasy relationship with freedom of speech and who are congenitally uncomfortable with controversy. See Mark Steyn, Lindsay Shepherd, etc..

And there are unanswered, factually incorrect slurs. A former supporter turned critic finds evidence of authoritarian impulses in Peterson’s collection of Soviet-era art (prominent in the movie). The reasons for this art are precisely the opposite of what is implied. If Peterson was asked for a response, it’s on the cutting room floor. Here is that response from an interview of Peterson:

[Tyler] COWEN: Let me start with a very lateral question. Why do you collect old Communist memorabilia and propaganda?

PETERSON: Well, part of it is dark comedy. Really, I spent quite a bit of time on eBay for a number of years. And I had read this article by a psychologist named James Pennebaker. He said that the past turned into history at 15 years. That’s when you start to see people commemorate events in the past. At that point, it was 2004, and I thought, “Oh, that’s interesting. It’s 15 years since the Soviet Union collapsed. Maybe I can go online and see what historical memorabilia is left over.”

So I went on eBay, looking up Soviet artifacts, and I thought that was so comical because there isn’t anything more capitalistic than eBay, right? Seriously, that was completely unrestrained capitalism. And then all this Soviet-era stuff was for sale. I thought it was absolutely comical that I could buy paintings of Karl Marx discounted on the world’s most intense capitalist platform…

Some of it is intensely propagandistic, and I’m interested in that because I’m interested in propaganda… So it was interesting to surround myself with these works that were battlegrounds between art and propaganda.

Here’s a vastly better look at Jordan Peterson from the Claremont Review of Books: The Jordan Peterson Phenomenon and it takes less time to read than it takes to watch the movie.

I was quite disappointed, and it caused me to wonder if those cancel culturists pressing theaters to scrub scheduled showings (that link also has a positive review, for contrast) had any idea what was in it. They couldn’t have watched it. Maybe that was just a marketing ploy by the producers.

2 stars anyway, because I learned more about his parents and his family via of the access Peterson granted.

**************

Update: March 10th, 2020
I’ve watched a Q&A with the filmmakers arranged by Columbia University (the filmmakers have established a presence on thinkspot, Peterson’s Patreon replacement), wherein they explained how they approached the filming. And where they answered some of my objections. I was impressed with their commitment to truth. I withdraw my suspicion of ‘marketing ploy.’

I can be persuaded by speech to change my speech.

So. I re-read the favorable review at Quillette. I watched the film again. I’m changing my rating.

If your expectations are informed by some knowledge of Peterson: That the pronoun controversy only triggered ‘The Rise,’ and that that ‘Rise’ would have been a two-day wonder, and only in Canada, and flaming out in a dog-pile of SJW hatred except for the preexisting, deep background of his lectures – then the movie is well worth watching for the peek into his life and family.

I’ll give it 4 stars on that basis.

Jordan Peterson was always the guy who would calmly expose Cathy Newman. We just would never have known it but for Bill C-16.

John Kerry, belatedly, proven right

Qasem Soleimani, deceased commander of the Quds Force (Iran’s amalgam of the CIA and Navy Seals), a division of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps – designated as a terrorist organization last year – has a long history of conducting war against the United States.

He helped plan the attack on our Benghazi diplomatic facilities. He armed dozens of militia groups enabling them to kill hundreds of Americans. He was responsible for the Dec. 27th attack near Kirkuk that killed an American contractor. He organized the recent attack on the American embassy (i.e., American soil) in Baghdad by Quds Force proxy Kata’ib Hezbollah; who raised their flags on its walls.

He had been sanctioned by the previous administration in 2011:
Flashback: Obama Sanctioned Soleimani for Attempted Terror Attack in Washington, DC

“Under Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, Soleimani was to be removed from international sanctions after eight years, though then-Secretary of State John Kerry promised that sanctions against Soleimani would be in place “forever.””

Now, John Kerry is right. If not about the sanctions he was thinking about.

Soleimani was traveling when he died after a very short illness.

Our Maim Scream Media is describing Soleimani as a “revered figure” and a “war hero.” One Progressive wag suggested Soleimani’s demise was like the killing of Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Captain America “all in one.”

This person was referring to the sentiments of Iranians, most of whom, au contraire, are glad the asshole is in pieces. Still, I can’t help but consider that promoting such concern over a terrorist is like the Confederate press favorably noting the North’s mourning of Lincoln’s assassination, the British press happily detailing celebrations of Washington’s victories, and the Red Skull posting excerpts of Captain America’s eulogy on his blog.

So, the parallel with the American press is accurate.

They make fun of me, too

Business Insider has a glacial news day. Still needs clicks.

This was published the day after Speaker Pelosi said she had asked the six Democrat committee chairmen investigating Trump to draft articles of impeachment:
Trump’s salt and pepper shakers tower over everyone else’s. Obama, Bush, and Clinton used the same size shakers as their guests.

You’d think they could have saved the salt and pepper jokes for later, in case Biden and Kamala end up as nominees. And they shouldn’t even attempt competition with the Babylon Bee.

In addition to the extended headline – clearly intended to compare Trump unfavorably to Obama, Bush, and Clinton – BI speculates that “it could also be another power move, alongside his fierce handshakes and bulky suits.”

And nothing about eating dogs, mispronouncing nuclear, or creative uses for cigars. Sad.

They can’t even perpetrate a hit job properly. They couldn’t find anybody to interview who’d contend larger salt and pepper shakers are compensation for the size of Trump’s penis? Couldn’t somehow extrapolate to a dinner of fried chicken, collard greens and watermelon for Texas Rep Al Green? And where was Pamela Karlan when she was needed for more hysterical riffing on Baron’s name?

I admit I feel sympathetic to the President. I have, at bare minimum, two similar quirks. These two are not exhaustive, they just come to mind immediately and unbidden.

1- My wife and I own some high quality, yet everyday, stainless-steel-ware she favors. From a purely visual esthetic standpoint, she’s right. Functionally, not so much.

This is the default guest silverware (sorry, everyone), unless we trust them enough to bring out the actual silverware AND we’re having a State dinner. This happens rarely anymore.

I vastly prefer a set of older, cheaper, thinner, more utilitarian eating utensils. These are kept in a separate drawer from the ‘good’ everyday cutlery. To demonstrate, I suppose, that when I reach into ‘that drawer’ my Philistine tastes do not represent the refinement of the rest of the household. That would be my wife.

Oh, there are jokes and chuckles from the rest of the family about it, too. When they gather to eat my turkey, for example, it’s been unaccountably described as ‘baby silverware,’ though most humans under the age of twelve can’t even lift the ‘good’ set, nor fit a supposed teaspoon in their mouth if they did manage it.

This, even though I keep my silence when they reach for the grinder containing pink Himalayan ‘sea salt.’

2- If I get a pepper shaker (usually this is in a restaurant, since I know which domestic pepper dispensers actually dispense) that delivers only a few flakes every minute even with violent shaking, I unscrew the top so I can get a heaping teaspoon or so on my cottage cheese before the Universe succumbs to entropy.

As a guest at someone’s home, I carefully consider my relationship to my hosts, but unscrewing the top in such cases is not unheard of. I have a reputation for it.

IAC. You might, if you were BI, speculate that I prefer thinner eating utensils because I’m trying to demonstrate humility to my guests, or that I use a lot of pepper as a power tripping display of my macho masculine toxicity. Or, that we couldn’t afford a whole set of the ‘good’ kind.

Well, BI would be wrong. I don’t like my wife’s favored silverware because it’s very handle heavy, tending to balance poorly on the edge of a plate. To get it to balance, the handle has to be shoved into the mashed potatoes, and the business end of the tablespoon is just slightly too wide to be effective at the speed with which I wish to engage my piehole.

As to pepper… on some foods I just like what many consider an overdose. Cottage cheese, for example, is pretty bland and, to my lingual papillae it has some mysterious property that neutralizes the taste of pepper. You need a lot.

I can’t speak to Trump’s fierce handshakes or, necessarily, to bulky suits. I find the dominance handshake pathetic, and I wouldn’t notice whether a suit was bulky. The ‘necessarily’ because I have owned suits which fashion neutral, friendly male observers have described as “horse blankets.” I do not dispute this comparison. In fact, I rather liked it.

President Trump may have similar reasons for his salt and pepper shakers, his hair style, and his skin tone. So? Let’s impeach him.

The only surprise? Green and Castro didn’t blame Russia

Barack Obama was elected President despite a significant black racism controversy.

Hillary Clinton came within a hair’s breadth of becoming President, and is still adored by a significant portion of the Democrat electorate. This adoration lingers in the interminable attempt to impeach President Trump.

One might expect Democrats to point to these facts as evidence that, 1) the Democratic party has abandoned its legacy of Klansmen and Jim Crow and, 2) if Hillary’s near miss is not enough to dispel charges of misogyny, there’s the party’s unequivocal devotion to the pieties of Planned Parenthood.

One would be disappointed.

Now come Rep. Al Green (D., Tex.) and Julian Castro, Democratic Presidential candidate, Obama’s former Secretary of HUD, and rumored VP pick for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Green and Castro find racism and misogyny in their fellow congresscritters and in the Democrat base, respectively.

Dem Rep Laments Absence of Black Impeachment Witnesses

Green said that if he was wrong about the racial composition of the witnesses, he would apologize. “But if the committee is wrong, if the Congress is wrong, what will it do?”

Well, given the Dems impeachment theater performance to date you might first ask, “Wrong about what?” But, the seriousness of an impeachment is not Rep. Green’s issue. His question is about witness DNA, of which he can’t quite be sure.

He hedges his bet on “racial composition” because he can’t be certain if the ‘one drop‘ rule includes any of the three Progressive law professors tasked by Jerry Nadler (D., NY), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, to express their naked partisan opinions that Trump should be impeached, because reasons… and that he shouldn’t have named his son Barron, because Barons made King John sign the Magna Carta… or something. Or, who knows, maybe one of these Profs secretly identifies as black and Green doesn’t want to get on the wrong side of that Twitter storm.

Mr. Castro, on the other hand, does not directly accuse his own party, but he does go after the Democrat propaganda machine.

Mr. Castro’s party, you may remember, is that whose DNC suppressed a male socialist anti-semite (how times have changed) in favor of a female habitual liar, who in 1992 mounted a campaign to label women her husband seduced or raped as a ‘Bimbo Eruption.’ That same ‘likeable enough’ cattle futures profiteer the Dems superdelegate conspiracy somehow failed to nominate over a black man in 2008.

No, Mr. Castro blames the press for forcing probable Democrat primary voters to disfavor Kamala Harris. If I were cynical, I’d say he’s just pandering to her meager constituency in a desperate attempt to get on the Dec. 19th debate stage, for which she had qualified and he has not. Julian Castro and MSNBC Agree: Media Held Kamala Harris to a Different Standard

Mr. Castro has not been held to any standard, because he’s irrelevant.

It’s true, though, that there is a different standard. It’s just temporarily out of favor. It’s the the one the press applied to Barack Obama. That same press that depicted Obama as a leg tingling, “lightworker,” “perfectly creased pant,” haloed on the cover of Time, Newsweek and The Rolling Stone. That press did more than treat Barack Obama with kid gloves.

While the press did circle the wagons to defend Obama’s association with the Rev. Wright, they were forced to report it – and some thought it might derail Obama’s candidacy. Of course, their insurance plan then was Hillary – not Comey, McCabe, Clapper, Brennan, Strzok, and Page.

Now they have only Bloomberg as backup to Warren or Biden. I’d be nervous, too.

That Obama’s candidacy wasn’t ended by the Wright racism story is due in part to his facile tongue; in part to an utter lack of MSM curiosity about his sealed academic record and why, during his tenure as Harvard Law Review President, he never published an article; and in part to the noted fawning adulation.

How the press treated Obama was indeed better than they treated Harris, whom they treated nowhere near as badly as any Republican. And, in the beginning, Harris didn’t get off too badly:
Joy Reid, MSNBC host: The name I’m hearing now — there was a sheet of people, sort of survey, of prominent women in politics. Number one name of the person that’s on people’s minds, Kamala Harris.

Lawrence O’Donnell, MSNBC host: The politician she reminded me of most then was Barack Obama. Kamala Harris is now running for president. And she is one of the top tier candidates.

Chris Matthews, MSNBC host: There’s a new challenger to Trump and she is drawing huge crowds, Senator Kamala Harris of California kicked off her campaign this week and surrounded by — look at that crowd. Trump must be envious as hell.

Squandered that. Harris was flawed, unprepared and had a dysfunctional campaign organization. That those facts formed part of the reportage on Harris’ performance is not a different standard unless compared to the tongue bath the press gave Obama. Democrat Primary voters were not polling/donating well enough to keep her in the race, and it’s Democrat Committee members who selected the witnesses of the wrong ‘racial composition.’

If the Dems are sniffing about for diversity, you might think that would include Taiwanese Christians or Samoan-American Hindus who also come equipped with fresh ideas. You’d be wrong. MSNBC Contributor: ‘Yang and Gabbard Don’t Represent the Democratic Party’s Minority Base’ The implication? Only blacks count as diverse. Until the Hispanic Castro drops out of the race, anyway.

Neither Yang nor Gabbard carry the baggage of having slept* their way into elective office, nor Harris’ corrupt prosecutorial history. It’s Gabbard’s Dem debate zinger on that latter, for which Harris was, as usual, unprepared, that marked the beginning of the Harris campaign’s demise.

This article from the San Luis Obispo Tribune, indicates her campaign was in trouble from the beginning, and because of her actions, not her race or sex.
Can Kamala Harris withstand the scrutiny of a presidential campaign?

And, finally, a quote from that last link one might apply to the Democrat’s impeachment show trial. I found it quite amusing. Someone should read it to Schiff and Nadler.

“My entire career has been focused on our system of justice. It is one of the hallmarks of our system of democracy,” said Harris. “And it becomes weak when people interfere with that system for a political purpose. And no one — in particular right now when there are so Americans that are so distrustful of their government and its leaders and institutions — no one should give the American public any reason to question their integrity or the integrity of our system of justice.”

*At the very beginning of her political career, with a very powerful Democrat 30 years her senior, who bore little resemblance to say, Denzel Washington.

And contra Castro, See the Wapo defense of Harris here.