Hannah and Papa J

Hannah and Papa J

Friday, August 11, 2017

Portrait of a Trump abandoner

Dear Hannah,

The Republican primaries are the last hope of American civilization and the exact opposite of American Idol.  Every season of American Idol we started out with a lot of weirdos and we ended up with a winner.  In the Republican primaries we start out with a lot of winners and we wind up with a weirdo.  As such I voted for Trump because my wife made me do it*.  It isn't a glorious reason but it's true, and now that I've done it I'm glad that I did it.  Both of us were against him and then when he wasn't Hillary we were for him.  I'm still for him, except now I actually like him.  This is the joy of having low expectations.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Sniffing out the sluts

Dear Hannah,

The existence of noses has plagued thinkers for centuries.  This troublesome appendage, supposedly fixed on the front of our faces, is so slippery in its features and varying in its power that Plato himself couldn't be found in any of his writings to have admitted its existence.  Is it hooked or is it straight?  Is it pointy or is it flat?  Is it brown or pink or freckled or black?  Is it hairy when you're old or hairless when you're young?  The Realm of Forms was ransacked and "noses" remained elusive.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Rebels and pretenders

Dear Hannah,

The hippies are nearly always good for a laugh unless you have to deal with one; and then they are downright insufferable.  Most people who call themselves hippies are actually just for natural living and easy vibes; but in reality a hippie is a person who rebels against modernity; and beyond this it is a person who rebels against civilization.  They are against factories because they believe we came out of the grime and against soap because grime comes out of us.  I have no idea how this makes them natural but it's what they believe, and with this in mind it's a miracle any of them wipe themselves.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

In defense of cultural appropriation

Dear Hannah,

The first thing you've got to remember in any discussion of cultural appropriation is that aside from a slew of top-notch performers and basketball stars, black people have contributed almost nil to American greatness because they weren't allowed to and they are painfully aware of it.  They have given us some good soldiers and some good fathers and occasionally a great writer or an actor; but when it comes to the things that we really give praise for, the conspicuous additions of generals and heroes and scientists and tycoons and theorists and spiritual leaders and directors and metaphysicians and literati and champion presidents; the things we really take pride in and associate ourselves with when we want to feel good about ourselves as a nation, the truth is that black men have contributed far less to us than we have to them; and when they really have contributed, their contributions have done more to advance black people than Americans in general.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Italy under siege? An exercise in skepticism

Dear Hannah,

"All good things must come to an end."

When you first hear this as a child you think that it means your ice cream is going to be finished and the sun is going to go down and you'll have to stop playing with your friend.  They never tell you that what it really means is that the first woman you fall desperately in love with is going to stop being in love with you and leave before you know what's going on or that one day you're going to stop having energy and it's never going to come back or that the place you grew up is going to become a hell-hole and a wasteland.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

On being your own "yes" man

Dear Hannah,

When I was young I was terrified that people could read my mind.  Nobody had ever taken the time to tell me that 70% of all communication is non-verbal, and when people started reacting to how I was feeling I began to get panicked.  This was because I knew in my mind what they felt with their senses.  Only I knew with total surety what was hinted by my little behaviors; that the sea of feelings and desires and judgments and realizations bubbling and boiling and sometimes spilling beyond my consciousness were being made known by my hands and my eyes and the way I would hold my head; but they could guess it -- it was their business to guess it -- it was their interest to guess it; and this idea that the secret side of me could be made public without my consent led me to wonder if I was a psychic.  I believe this is what they refer to as "anxiety."

Sunday, July 9, 2017

God still speaking through asses: a NYT breaking report

Dear Hannah,

The New York Times ran an article the other day called Does God want you to spend $300,000 on college?  But God couldn't be reached for comment, so the New York Times went to Notre Dame's Father John L Jenkins, and when Father Jenkins' response was unsatisfactory to the reporter the reporter went to himself.  It seems a better question would have been does God want us to pay reporters to look for God when we could just ask The New York Times reporters?  to which the answer would invariably be that He did, because The New York Times paid one.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Sympathy for the pharisee

Dear Hannah,

I have a theory (and it happens to be the theory of the Catholic church) that the whole of Christianity would be different if people would just ask questions about the passages they read in the Bible.  For centuries this had been the rationale for keeping the public from reading them.  The clergy took one look at the average man and then considered that nobody knew Latin or Hebrew or Greek and then hid the Bible in plain sight and that was the end of it.  The argument about the unintelligibility of the words was second to the argument about the imbecility of man.  And the imbecility of man it turns out was less threatening to the church than his genius.  That is why the Catholics have a catechism.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Thoughts on a comment of Nietzsche's

Dear Hannah,

The first thing I thought when I began reading masterpieces like Mere Christianity and The Federalist was I've got to tell this to everyone else.  It was the same reaction I've had every time in my life that I've ever learned anything great.  I wanted to be the first one to tell others.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The opioid epidemic

Dear Hannah,

For a little while now I have considered our opioid epidemic God's punishment on Americans for being boring.  It's the drug habit fit best for a people who love ABC Family and eat Macdonalds.  It lacks the festivity of ecstasy and acid's feeling that you're being enlightened.  It has no cultural crusade because it is the byproduct and not the stimulant of a culture.

It has none of the party but all of the hangover.  It has the all the hallmarks of inevitable age and decline.  You can't drive and you can't poop and you can't get an erection.  You get it because you're in pain and then the thing that was supposed to make you numb is eventually the thing that hurts.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Equality as a social construct

 Dear Son,

One of the most brilliant things I've ever seen posted on Facebook was a picture of a hawk chasing a smaller bird and a caption that stated the following: Equality is a social construct.  In nature nothing is equal.

Monday, June 19, 2017

High school in the American consciousness

Dear son,

Americans like to believe that people grow up right after high school and to me this is proof that they're childish.  There is no reason to believe that a diploma means a change in behavior or that high school, a process involving almost zero dedication or danger beyond football and breakups, will force you to make any serious decisions.  The hormones you began it with are there when you leave.  A senior is really no smarter than a sophomore.  To expect adults by the end is an exercise in fantasy.  We expect high school to be over only because the high schoolers have left the building.

Monday, June 12, 2017

The whole point of cuteness (and a defense of Planned Parenthood)

Dear Hannah,

The really strange thing about cuteness is that it goes away.  Completely goes away unless you have a disease like Gary Coleman's.  One minute you're adorable as a kitten and then poof -- no more cuteness; no more inspiring that feeling that you've got to be hugged and squeezed and cuddled even though you're spitting up all over us and crying when we're supposed to be sleeping.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Civil wrongs

Dear Hannah,

What Americans seem to miss in our approach to homosexuality is that being attracted to men isn't acting like a pussy.  The two things are completely different and we have taken them for the same thing.  The ancient Greeks were warlike and gay and never batted an eye over it; and when Horatio Nelson said "kiss me Hardy" it was because he had just been shot in a war.  Nowadays you kiss a man and everyone thinks you must be effeminate; and the "inevitable result" of someone declaring his love for a man is that he must also be in love with Liberace.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Missing the old NAACP

Dear Hannah,

Sometimes when you tell an old joke the joke is on you.  There are some jokes that are so relevant that they have to be told until the end of all time.  Such are jokes about easy moms* and mothers-in-law, and when you tell a good one you can join the ranks of Cicero.  But there is no such thing as a joke about a great grandmother-in-law.  You don't go back in time.  You either target the mother-in-law or you leave it alone.  You can say you just shot a bear in your underpants and then question how the bear got there in the first place.  What you cannot do is tell that joke to an old person.  You have to start with kids or the whole thing is lost.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Augustine

Dear Son,

Before I knew anything about Augustine I read City of God.  I'd heard that it was written by someone called a father in a religion where we were commanded by the Founder not to call anyone a father except our Father in Heaven; and although I hadn't any knowledge about Augustine as a person, I was told that it was written because Rome had fallen to the barbarians.  I picked it up and read all thousand pages.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

On wudu

Dear Hannah,

The concept of breaking wudu is a singular development of the Muslim religion.  It may be defined as follows.
Wudu, or ablution, is both a traditional ritual and a practical means by which Muslims seek to maintain good physical and spiritual hygiene. Traditionally, Wudu refers to the mental preparation and physical cleanliness of Muslims for the Salat (prayer), one of the Five Pillars of Islam

Friday, April 28, 2017

An objection to the hatred of socialists

Dear Hannah,

An old college friend of mine (and it must be confessed a Russian) has objected to a statement in my last essay that every good man ought to hate a socialist.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

First they came for the Nazis

Dear son,

It's remarkable that the poem First They Came begins "first they came for the socialists" because the socialists came first, and they came for everyone else.  They didn't even come for the Jews first.  In fact, an unGodly number of the socialists in Russia at the time of the Revolution were Jews, and the socialists in Russia came for whoever they wanted.

Friday, April 14, 2017

The question of saving Syrian children

Dear Hannah,

I think any American at this point who has seen the videos of Syrian children getting gassed by Assad -- any of us who have any tendency towards reflection -- has been led to ask what exactly his feelings are for.  We know that every feeling has a purpose; and that, like faith, they were given to us for action.  As such, we look inside ourselves and thank God we are morally alive and feel something for the children; but this leads us to another more uncomfortable question.  It leads us to wonder whether it is colder to feel something and do nothing than to simply feel nothing.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Tomi Lahren vs Moses: a contest in barbarity

Dear Hannah,

Wisdom is a judicious balancing of pros and cons, and the controversy over abortion isn't an exception to the rule. My reasoning against abortions is that I've seen too many pictures of aborted babies. My reasoning in favor of abortion is that I've been acquainted with too many unaborted adults.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Pop music versus the hipsters

Dear Hannah,

Our honest prayer was that we would return to the days when our artists were ugly, and God and the record labels saw fit to give us Lil' Yachty.  This was not at all what we meant.

Monday, April 3, 2017

How to be a terrible Mexican

Dear Hannah,

Now that the Archdiocese of Mexico City has told us that any Mexican helping build the wall is a traitor, we are left wondering exactly what they mean.  It has yet to be shown how many filthy Godless wasted Americans waltz through the doors of the current one every year to terrorize Tijuana; and it seems that if anyone could benefit from better border controls it would be the Mexicans.  We get many of their workers.  They get many of our frat boys.  You can easily conceive who's getting the worse end of this deal.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Absalom

Dear Hannah,

The Ethiopians are a very peculiar people.  Hidden away on the eastern half of Africa, they do not have a history of slavery in the Americas, and of all the different kinds of black Africans appear the least foreign to us.  Their features are in many cases sharp as the European's, and provide a stark contrast to the Africans of The Ivory Coast and the Congo.  Here you will see no flattened noses or giant lips; and their skin appears almost bright compared with the midnight blackness of the people of Sudan.  My opinion is that their women are the prettiest of black Africans; and what they surpass in all their neighbors with the beauty of the face, they double in terms of form with a thickness in the rear*.  Their only rivals on the continent are white colonists and the Arabs of North Africa.  The same compliment of looks cannot be paid to their men.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Dreaming of right-wing women

Dear Hannah,

I don't believe (whatever Paul and Schopenhauer said) that women in general are stupid, but I don't believe the rumor's existence is entirely the fault of our men. The women seem to have brought it on themselves.  If all our men were to start calling our women ugly nobody would believe it, mostly because there is nothing more true than that women are one of the only things we stare at so desperately that some of us end up in jail.  But even if men tried spreading the lie, the truth of an assertion lies not in its totality but in its probability.   Too many women are beautiful for us to call them ugly.  We might even say the concept of beauty revolves around women*.  But are too many women intelligent for us to say they aren't stupid?

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

So are we going to keep Milo?

Dear Son,

I have never had sex with a man, and I mean this in the least Bill-Clintony way possible.  But I have gotten lots of attention from men, and the most of it came when I was around the age of 17.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

The case for racist English classes

Dear Hannah,

There's a very easy way to make sure your going to judge me, and I have already done it.  It all lies in the "your."  The difference between "your" and "you're" is simple, but the fact that I've mistaken it isn't.  It hints at all kinds of things; at whether I'm sloppy or hurried or stupid or ignorant; it makes you wonder if I have ever passed the fourth grade and whether I've learned anything after it.  Who is the writer? you ask, and rightly.  If Jesus said not to judge (whatever that means) He also said that those who can be trusted with much must first be trusted with little; and I have intentionally shown you what happens when someone cannot be trusted.  Simply put, he gets judged without mercy.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

The perils of parenthood

Dear Hannah,

Nothing can really prepare you for the feeling that you have ruined your child.  You simply have to feel it.  No amount of warning or observation will do.  You will not understand years of watching your parents apologize over the tiniest and most trivial most forgotten mistakes they made when you were four until you have made mistakes with your four-year-old that you just can't forget.  They'll just hit you one day like a bucket of bricks, and there will be nothing you can do to get over them.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

On bums

Dear Hannah,

Protestants (and especially Calvinists) enjoy telling us that we're all bums to God.  They have no other way of making us understand how far below Him we are morally, so they have to find a way to make us think of someone who is morally far below us.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Superbowl 51

Dear Hannah,

The really remarkable thing about the Superbowl is that it is the most lucrative football game in the US and the one that Americans are the least interested in.  30 teams have already played and lost; and all the irrational localist jingoism that pervades the average football game has already been spent on the other teams.  The most that most of us can say about the Superbowl is that we pick a team that we "hate" the least, and the team we hate the least is hated least because they probably never had a rivalry with the team we love the most.  The whole thing is an exercise in wankery, the last dregs of a season Americans began in hope and excitement, eventually petering out in a whirlwind of disappointment, and carried on simply because there weren't any other games left to watch.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Daylight saving time and its detractors

Dear Hannah,

Because daylight saving time is around the corner we can expect to hear that tired old joke from that useless old Indian:
‘Only a white man would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket and sew it to the bottom of a blanket and have a longer blanket.’

Sunday, January 22, 2017

We're pregnant

Dear Hannah,

Yesterday I met a man who was celebrating a pregnancy, and when I asked him if the baby was his and he pointed at a man and said "we're pregnant," I laughed and then congratulated him.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

What was Aleppo?

Dear Hannah,

To my knowledge nobody I know knows of the meaning of Aleppo.  We know that it is in Syria.  Know that Assad has been bombing it.  We know that it is what the women are referring to as "a humanitarian crisis," and what the men are referring to as "a point of strategic importance."  Nobody has told me why the Syrians are more important than the thousands of women and children being butchered by drug lords in Mexico; or why Assad is more threatening to us than said drug lords in Mexico; or why the people are being bombed in Aleppo in the first place; or why Assad is a bad guy and the rebels are good.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Westworld: a review

Dear Hannah,

HBO's first season of Westworld has the honor of being so good that we are worried it will continue; and in doing so joins a series of series that would have been better if they'd left them unfinished.  The first series I remember starting this well was The Matrix, followed by two sequels that gave us more of the story but none of the magic; followed by things like The Hunger Games which eventually gave us a solution when what we actually wanted was more of the problem.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Carrie Fisher, world class beauty

Dear Hannah,

There is one thing shared in common by everyone who says that Carrie Fisher should be remembered for her brains, and that is that none of them will be remembered for their brains.  That she was beautiful is beyond dispute; and she will be remembered as long as Star Wars is still selling and Slave Leia is warping our sexuality.  What she will not be remembered for is her activism or her attitude.  We could have hired any woman to scold Harrison Ford across a decade; that is the thing known as marriage.  But the glory of doing it and still having us want her belongs to her face.  And secondly it belongs to her wearing a metal bikini.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Baby, it's cold outside

Dear Hannah,

One thing that seems to have escaped feminists' notice in the controversy over Baby, it's cold outside is that the song is a duet.  Perhaps never in the history of rape or music or music about raping people has anyone ever toured with their rapist for the express purpose of singing about being raped.  And this is for two reasons.  The first is that singing about it would be painful for the woman; and the second is that it would be dangerous for the man.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

This week in hate

Dear Hannah,

The New York Times has decided to run a new feature titled This week in hate.  Cataloguing a series of hate crimes dating back to November 16, it strangely fails to mention November 28th, when a young Somalian man in Ohio ran his car into a lot of pedestrians, got out of said car, and then began stabbing Americans at random.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Social media: an apology

Dear Hannah,

In retrospect I may have "suffered" what is commonly known as a "lapse in judgment."  Any references on this Facebook account relating to the someone known as Richard Gere and any acts he probably did not commit have been removed on account of a) their slanderous nature and b) the impropriety of sharing the allegations themselves; and prove 1) that I can in fact be fouler in the pursuit of hilarity than I prefer and b) that I occasionally require some forgiveness for said acts of impropriety.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

In defense of socialists

Dear Hannah,

Let's say for a moment -- hypothetically -- that someone out there had a son and the son hit his head and hitting his head sent him into convulsions; and the going into convulsions sent the man's wife into a panic, and the panic sent her to the hospital, and the hospital sent her to a room.  And let's suppose that the room was empty, and she wondered where the doctor was, and the doctor appeared for five minutes and then disappeared again; and she was given no medicine, and she waited for three hours, and at the end of it all she was sent home without anything more than a recommendation to see another doctor -- and that almost a month later, after receiving absolutely nothing more than a recommendation, she received a bill.  The original charge: $1200.  The cost after insurance: $350.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

In defense of fake news sites

Dear Hannah,

The great value of a page like Shares from your Aunt is that it proves what we already knew about the elderly: that they are too old.  Perhaps nobody since the turning of the millennium has ever so accurately caricatured the embarrassing aunt on Facebook, and done it so convincingly that our aunts are likely to take the posts seriously.  An unwavering credulity, accepting even the wildest assertions and conspiracy theories; a mangling of minor facts in embarrassing ways that accidentally make them important; a tendency to crusade over the stupidest and most irrelevant things comprises the gist of the web-page, which is unintentionally the gist of many of our aunts.