The Children’s Crusade
By the inestimable James Lileks
The Climate Panic Movement is all about saving the children who walked out of school to protest and got a three-day weekend. If you argue with the children, you hate science and want them to die when melting seas push a tsunami of hungry polar bears into Nebraska.
Well. The “deniers” need a manifesto to read to these children. Something along these lines.
“These are people who are estranged from beauty and grace, by their own hand. Not dark souls but lazy ones. Not bleak hearts but banal ones, looking for the perpetual frisson an adolescent male gets when he drifts to the brotherhood of the numb and the bored. They have nothing to rally around except rejection; they have no cause but the tiresome imperative of the Transgressive; they have no idea where they stand in human history, how a hundred million people would claw and climb over a mountain of broken glass to sample the ease and bounty they take for granted. They believe in nothing except the self, but as it happens they hate themselves as well.”
I’m seeing defenses – mostly by women – of Gillette’s “toxic masculinity” ad because about half of it consists of scenes where men behave well, as in stopping a fight between boys. It’s proposed that there’s an aspirational aspect to the ad that critics are missing. Short version? “Lighten up!”
Where the ad shows men in a good light they are doing things 98% of men would do as a matter of course, and which can be seen as appropriately socializing boys by modelling the present hierarchy of male competence. You need to recall, though, that the existence of a particular male hierarchy is exactly the thing the SJWs are complaining about. Socializing boys in a certain way, to be more like women, is their object. It’s about reconstructing the male hierarchy in a Feminist image.
The male hierarchy being denigrated is said to arise from, among other characteristics; stoicism, competitiveness, dominance, and aggression. All that is true, but every personality trait has two sides. Too little dominance means you’ll get walked on, as does too much agreeablenss. Ambition, daring, insight, protectiveness, and tenacity are also fair trait descriptions of the male hierarchy: And are simply other ways to fill out the full meaning of stoicism, competitiveness, dominance, and aggression. See also, Magnanimous millennial males.
So, do the scenes showing typical positive male behavior balance the scenes which feature the 2% of men who do behave badly? Perhaps. If the ad hadn’t abandoned the word “most” for the word “some” when describing the vast majority. And if it hadn’t started the way it did.
If you wanted to encourage men to be ‘better,’ you could easily imagine an ad that didn’t insist so clearly at the beginning that men can only be better if they do what Leftwing Feminists demand – behave like women. If you want men to listen, you don’t start with the definitive anti-male trope.
Sorry, given the amount of care that goes into such an ad, I do not believe this was a mistake. If it wasn’t a mistake, the ad is male bashing and virtue signaling.
“Men have sacrificed and crippled themselves physically and emotionally to feed, house, and protect women and children. None of their pain or achievement is registered in feminist rhetoric, which portrays men as oppressive and callous exploiters.”
That summarizes what’s implied by “toxic masculinity,” which this ad employed deliberately, knowing the baggage it drags with it.
If it’s Hillary versus Trump, a plague on both parties’ houses. American conservatism is the defender of constitutional law, restricted government and individual liberty. Those principles are what I’ll stand on, against any opponent on either side. And bloody well alone if I have to.
On the campaign trail, Donald Trump’s theatrical talents, including his bluster and bombast, may be enough to conceal his shallow understanding of very deep problems. But that will not cut it in the White House, where you cannot clown or con your way out of problems, and where the stakes are matters of life and death.
James Lileks: Screed 2016
Picking the lesser of two evils doesn’t work this time.
Your previous calculations are useless in this situation, because a different sort of man has arise and grabbed the raw public molar with his rhetorical wrench. To participate in the usual calculations is to debase yourself. You may regard this as necessary for the triumph of certain ideas you hope Trump will deign to let live or allow to flourish, but you know that the vessel into which your pour these hopes is cracked and leaches lead, and that by supporting him for one thing you tacitly enable all the others. You hope this bargain shores up the timbers that keep the Republic standing…
To vote for Trump is to validate; to vote for Trump is to participate. He is a crass, gutter-tongued, vulgar man whose self-regard blinds his ability to understand his own ignorance. A man who casually encourages the worst, enables the mediocre, and wafts aloft cartoon concepts of American greatness with gusts of flatulent banalities.
On March 8, I’ll be voting for Cruz. Why Cruz over Rubio? It looks very much like Rubio will not win his home state.
YMMV, but #NeverTrump. And, sorry, but Kasich is just noise.
September 11th, 2001 was also a Tuesday. I was at work when the news first filtered in. Some of our IT staff called to say their flight back from a training session in Atlanta had been canceled because the World Trade Center and the Pentagon had been hit by airplanes. We turned on the television in the board room to try and make sense of this. We watched the second tower hit.
There was a constant, shifting crowd filtering through the board room to watch news coverage about the atrocities: Another plane had gone down in a field in Pennsylvania. We only found out later why. We watched the smoke pour out of the Twin Towers and people jumping to their deaths. We gasped when the Towers collapsed. And cried. Our shock and dismay were gradually supplemented with rage and fear.
I didn’t survey those same people I watched in 2001 to see how they feel now; but for many Americans, the rage has dissipated and any fear seems overblown. On the 6th anniversary of the attack, it appears to be becoming very difficult for many Americans to actually remember what happened. Few wish to recall the horror they felt on that day. Maybe if they could stop to remember where they were, they’d remember how they felt. Maybe they would still recognize the threat.
Unfortunately, the threat is more ideological than physical. It’s abstract and far away. Western civilization may be at risk, as much from decadent self-absorbed ignorance as anything, but as long as your daughters aren’t being forced to wear burqas, why worry about great-granddaughters?
It’s as if the New York Times felt compelled to publish an article in 1947 titled “As Pearl Harbor Anniversary Draws Near, a Debate Rises: How Much Tribute Is Enough?”
The questions raised by some of the comments in this article indicate that many Americans do not even perceive that there is a war. They’ve bought the Democrat talking points, like John Edwards calling the War on Terror a “bumper sticker.”
But, here’s the Times subtly murmuring its own snide answer to its headline:
Again it comes, for the sixth time now — 2,191 days after that awful morning — falling for the first time on a Tuesday, the same day of the week.
Again there will be the public tributes, the tightly scripted memorial events, the reflex news coverage, the souvenir peddlers.
Is all of it necessary, at the same decibel level — still?
Each year, murmuring about Sept. 11 fatigue arises, a weariness of reliving a day that everyone wishes had never happened. It began before the first anniversary of the terrorist attack. By now, though, many people feel that the collective commemorations, publicly staged, are excessive and vacant, even annoying.
One gets the feeling the Times wishes 9-11 had never happened solely because it keeps demanding some attention be paid to realities inconvenient to Liberal tropes.
…Few Americans give much thought anymore on Dec. 7 that Pearl Harbor was attacked in 1941 (the date to live in infamy). Similar subdued attention is paid to other scarring tragedies: the Kennedy assassination (Nov. 22, 1963), Kent State (May 4, 1970), the Oklahoma City bombing (April 19, 1995).
The only appropriate analog in that sentence (dismissed parenthetically) is Pearl Harbor. But in 1947, and long, long after, Dec. 7 was unquestionably a day of infamy to virtually every American. We have a different attitude today. Perhaps because we haven’t been hit again, which would remind us of our personal risk. Recognizing the risk to the freedom of future generations of Americans is probably too much to ask. It is certainly too much to ask of Dave Hendrickson:
…David Hendrickson, 56, a computer software trainer who lives in Manhattan, said he began being somewhat irritated by the attention to the commemoration on the third anniversary. “It seems a little much to me to still be talking about this six years later,” he said. “I understand it’s a sad thing. I understand it’s a tragedy. I’ve had my own share of tragedies — my uncle was killed in a tornado. But you get on. I have the sense that some people are living on their victimhood, which I find a little tiring.”
Hendrickson is old enough to have had direct adult feedback about Pearl Harbor. He had opportunity to understand it in a way the MTV generation cannot. He could make the connection himself. Why doesn’t he? Because he’s a bit too self interested. His Uncle died in a tornado. And he thinks other people are milking their victimhood. Hendrickson’s comments are respectively trivial and irrelevant. People should shut up about 9/11 after 3 years because he’s irritated? Hell, he must be irritated about a lot of things.
David, not everything is always about you, though I can appreciate that a war where you’re not physically attacked frequently – an ideological war – bores you. Hendrickson is not alone, there’s also Charlene Correia, of a similar age:
“I may sound callous, but doesn’t grieving have a shelf life?” said Charlene Correia, 57, a nursing supervisor from Acushnet, Mass. “We’re very sorry and mournful that people died, but there are living people. Let’s wind it down.”
Though “winding down” the memory of the most deadly, cowardly and vicious sneak attack in America’s history would be a sorry admission that we have not the courage of our own convictions, Charlene has a point. It is not reasonable to expect human beings to maintain the keening edge of grief contingent upon the immediate aftermath of such a tragedy. But what has happened to the quest for justice? Where is the outrage about such an affront to your country, much less the loathing such an insult to simple human dignity and compassion might demand? Charlene, they just haven’t got around to you yet. You’ll get it when they do.
Dave and Charlene demonstrate that “9/11 fatigue” is real. So does MSM reaction to Osama’s latest video effort from beyond the grave. We get dispassionate, sterile – even surreal – analysis. Has he dyed his beard? Does his bragging about having planned and committed the atrocity have any effect on the “Truthers?” What will the left do to downplay his critique of them as ineffective supporters of his cause? Why does he praise Noam Chomsky, but ignore Michael Moore, Dennis Kucinich and Juan Cole?
Who cares? This focus on Bin-Laden is an invention of the Democrats. We haven’t caught him, so George Bush is not just a fascist, he’s an incompetent fascist. The Democrats would be competent. Catching Osama, however, would end neither the existential nor the ideological threat which the Democrats pretend is disconnected from their demand for precipitate withdrawal from Iraq.
Look at how they treated General Petraeus today – a man unanimously confirmed by the same Democrat Senators who are calling him a liar even before he reports.
The conflict is not about Bin Laden and America; it’s an ideological conflict in which there are people and regimes across the world that support one side or another, meaning that the conflict was inevitable even if America hadn’t taken part. Otherwise the region would have been living in peace and prosperity now!
In fact, and I think many people agree with me, the American-led intervention was defensive rather than offensive when Bin Laden’s ideology jumped to strike the towers in New York. At that point it became evident that such an ideology, in the presence of regimes that support it, could threaten any spot on the map with no exception from Bali to Madrid—and although the victims of this ideology have been mostly from the middle east, this could well change in the future if the extremist manage to take over the region.
We shouldn’t think that such crazy messages could come only from a Salafi extremist like Bin Laden; because it actually reminds me of a similar call from Khomeini to the leaders in Moscow to convert to Islam shortly before the collapse of the Soviet Union. The late Ayatollah also said that Islam was the solution, so the point we should realize here is that this way of thinking is not an aspect of one particular sect as much as its part of the totalitarian ideology of Islamists that is deeply rooted in the minds of those, from one sect or another, who want to revive the Caliph rule.
Like we said in the previous post, regimes that follow this ideology, be it the Sunni Taliban or the Shia Mullahs, have failed to offer a civilized model of life so they chose instead to beautify and sell the idea of death under the old slogan of “Our dead are in heaven and your dead are in hell”.
It’s even more interesting in a way that this call for converting to Islam is a big fantasy since Bin Laden and the like know very well than America or other countries in the west would never impose a certain faith on their people. This message marks a deep trouble in the way extremists think; they live in illusions with complete disregard for facts, which is a very dangerous phenomenon when it’s at this magnitude. And it leaves no room to doubt that they would do anything to drag the region, and the world, to an uncalculated confrontation.