Monday, December 23, 2019

The gay mafia comes to Idaho

Dear T-,

A truce has been called between religious folks and gays.  Or at least that's what we're being told.  The Fairness for All Act, legislation intended to give rights to both Christian conservatives and transgenders, has been put before the House.  For the latter, it proposes that "sexual orientation" be added to the Civil Rights Act, making it hard to discriminate against anyone on a basis of their sexual identity.  It gives sweeping protections in housing, business, banking, and "pubic accommodations."  On the other hand it grants protections to anyone in a business with less than 15 employees, and exemptions to anyone in a so-called "faith-based" organization.  Deseret News says it resulted from a dialogue between LGBTQ+ groups and representatives from the Seventh Day Adventists, the Mormons, the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, and other such suit-and-tie respectables. 

Friday, December 6, 2019

The first Protestant

Dear H,

Huston Smith's Buddhism: A Concise Introduction is a suspicious book.  Or at least it is to me.  I've known for a long time now that if you want to learn from a great man, and especially a spiritual man, you've got to go to the man himself.   None of this What Plato Taught nonsense -- you skip the interpreters and go right to the Republic.  A failure to do this means you never get to the man.  It means you have him filtered through the soul of a most-likely lesser man.  Probably some second or third-rate regurgitator, with his own opinions on the maestro's opinions, some handy insights that will probably mislead you, and a host of things he'll want to sweep under the rug.  Hence the fact that Jesus is beloved by feminists, capitalists, anarchists, communists, Muslims, libertines, puritans, social justice warriors, the Christian Identity movement, slave owners, and abolitionists.  Each of them claims Him as their own, and each of them has some idiotic book explaining why.  This is probably why Jesus hasn't come back yet*.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

OK Boomer

Dear T,

So far as I'm aware, none of the big leaders of the Greatest Generation were members of the Greatest Generation.  Sure, the Greatest did the grunt work -- but was Patton one of them?  Was Churchill, or Eisenhower, or MacArthur, or Roosevelt?  The Greatest Generation's chief work during the Great Depression was the suffering required, many times as dependents, to harden them for World War 2.  No great accomplishments were made by them until then, and almost no notable philosophy.  The great films we know from their period today, such as It's a Wonderful Life, The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, and such, were made (mostly) by men significantly older than them -- men who did the grunt work in the 20's and the 30's, and many of whom, in the case at least of Frank Capra and Michael Curtiz, were born in Europe in the 1800's.  The Greatest read Hemingway and Faulkner, but were neither Hemingway nor Faulkner.  Walt Disney, born in 1901, barely made "the cut*."

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

On being friends with Democrats

Dear H,

I complain a lot about Seattle, but the truth is I've enjoyed my time here immensely, and now that it's time to go I'll confess I'm going to miss it.  Not all of it, but lots of it.  Some of even the worst parts of it.  It's a terrible place to raise kids, but if you've got the spark of life in you it's a great place to turn into a man.  I was an effeminate self-proclaimed socialist when I arrived here, and I'm a die-hard right-winger now that I'm leaving.

In all truth the place is a train wreck; and it was the policy towards bums that made me rethink the concept of empathy; the insanity about gays that made me fall in love with gender roles; the disrespect for whites that made me celebrate my whiteness; and the praise of outright defects which made me rethink the limits of kindness.  There were so many shitty ideas I was forced to rediscover great ideas; and maybe I could have learned these things in a red state, but I doubt I'd have learned to value them so dearly.  It was the sheer insanity of this place that made me wake up.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

A birthday gift

Dear T,

I spent a few teenage years pretending I didn't believe in God, but the first time I actually didn't was at church.  I was around 30 years old.  I remember because we were in the middle of a song and it felt like the air had been sucked out of the room.  Not like someone had left, but as though everything had left -- as though a building crammed full of singing people could be empty.  I have no way to explain it other than saying the vaulted ceiling felt higher than usual.  It was like the cold darkness of space had intruded into the room, and up meant up forever and ever; that there was nobody there to hear us, or to welcome us at the end, or to care for us at all.  I was next to my wife and my parents and it was the most alone I ever felt in my life.  I was singing but I wished I was dead.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Old codgers and young dreamers (Rambler #196)

Dear M,

Regarding the human condition, Samuel Johnson is the best philosopher I've ever read.  I make no exceptions.  A thousand times better than me.  I've been telling my fans this for years and nobody believes me, not only because nobody has ever heard of Samuel Johnson, but because Samuel Johnson wrote in Johnsonese.  They think somebody who's been forgotten isn't worth remembering, and beyond this if they do get to him, they can't get past a few old-fashioned sentences.  So what I've decided to do is take this incomparable man and "translate" him into modern English -- my English.  A well-read working-man's English.  That way my fans aren't only forced to meet him, but I can be sure, if they can't understand him, that it's their fault and not mine.  I have done all I can to help you payasos -- God bless you, good luck, here is a real genius.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

In defense of Greta Thunberg's awful parents

Dear H,

I read in one of Orwell's As I Please articles that Fynes Morrison, an Englishman back in 1601, said melons grew everywhere in Britain -- a statement repeated fifty years later by the poet Andrew Marvell.  Melons, as Orwell noted, didn't grow in England in 1944.  It was just too cold there, and if Morrison hadn't also mentioned grapes being everywhere too, Orwell was disposed to think that by melons he meant pumpkins.  But climate change is real now and has always been real; and the earth, from sometime around the Industrial Revolution, had been cooling.  On the issue of climate, we think we're the centerpiece but we're probably more like the fleas.  I have my doubts, but probably.

Friday, September 13, 2019

The book that liberated nobody

Dear H,

I hate to use the word fascist, not just because it's unfair, but because it's uncool.  Like literally, diversity, equality, and bigot, it's a word that used to have a meaning, and even a useful meaning; but eighty years of use by tricksters, slanderers, and dimwits has run it into banality, and now when I hear it it signifies much less about the thing being spoken about and much more about the person who's speaking it.  Winston Churchill was called a fascist for wanting to fight the fascists.  George Orwell, in another one of his passages which ought to have been famous, said he'd heard Gandhi, Catholics, Boy Scouts, and pet dogs called fascists; and that the term meant anything you didn't like, and beyond this most usually a bully.  This was at the beginning of the word fascism, and it will probably be this way to the end.

Friday, September 6, 2019

On not being famous

Dear M-,

Anyone who's been writing for ten years and isn't famous has got to ask himself why.  There are lots of answers and most of them, excepting the most likely one, are easy.  You can say, for instance, that most people have no taste, or brains, or attention spans, or that they're too rigidly "moral" to appreciate fresh thinking, or too young and inexperienced to understand you, or that you're just not that good a writer.  Tons of easy excuses and one tough possibility.  Truth is there are too many writers and most of them are bad; and even if someone likes you there are too many other things they like, and unless you slap them upside the head three times a day, brilliantly or not, they're going to forget you.  The secret to a strong internet following isn't brilliance, but consistency.  And my writing is anything but consistent.  It has also at times, I admit, been horrible.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Nerds with guns

Dear T-.

My position on breeding is as follows: I'm for it.  Not for everyone, but definitely for me, and ultimately in excess.  I think this is the position most honest and healthy men have at heart; and the idea that everyone should have one wife is a nice idea and a safe idea -- but certainly not a fun idea.  The problem with polygamy lies in what you'd do with the other men.  You get one Solomon and 999 guys are left horny and angry and jealous -- and what do you do with the majority of your women?  Sure they're all yours; but are they really?  Do you really have the time to sweet-talk and caress all of them enough to make them really love you?  And can you keep enough of an eye on them to bar them from the other 999 horn-dogs?  Too much work if you ask me.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Making small talk

Dear T-,

One great irony of being human is that small talk is hard work and talking heavy is great fun.  Small talk is either foreplay or outright avoidance.  A no-man's land of the soul, or maybe a demilitarized zone -- barbed wire up and land mines galore; a tip-toeing around the true-self and a putting on of costume.  People are very bad at it because (thank God) they're very bad at lying.  It takes too much imagination to be a small talker -- to talk about things you don't want to think about and in truth aren't interested in.  You have to think first of all about something that's neutral for at least two of you.  This means on some level you're afraid, and that you don't trust the other person; but you can't show it.  So the longer it goes the more nervous you get.  The more chance you have of slipping up and looking bored; or that the tip-toeing goes wrong and you run into a land-mine; or that you run so far and so long into banality that you wonder if the other party wants to ditch you.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

On being half white

Dear H,

What does it mean to be white? Being half Hispanic has led me to think lots on this subject, and I've found that to answer in the positive is impossible.  Almost, anyway.  Like all the racial categories, it only comes into focus when you compare it with the other races.  The Native Americans were culturally as different as the Chinese and the Italians until we showed up and made them feel similar; and France and England hated each other until Islam arrived and made the Catholics shake hands -- occasionally.  To be a race isn't so much to be a race as to not be the other races.  It's an act of identity that only happens when someone else is even stranger.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Who are the brain police?

Dear M,

We talk a lot about public censorship, but even if you live without the public you'll end up with the private.  Simply put, there is no time and place where a man is free to violate the terms of the society he lives in.  Each of us are thoroughly and subtly policed by our family, friends, neighbors, customers, lovers and coworkers; and the invisible pressure they apply can be braved momentarily, but not entirely, and certainly not for eternity.  You buck too many of their norms and you pay for it.  They retract their goodwill from you and as a social animal you're finished.  A free-thinker has thus got to be a charmer, or wealthy, or useful.  If he bites more than he licks he'll be left out like a stray dog. 

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Scout's Honor

Dear H,

Not today, thank you
I like to sidestep Christ's commandment let your yes be yes and your no be no by being a Man of Maybe.  M.O.M. is the acronym and it fits because it's unmanly.  I freely admit this; but I don't have the ego or the willpower to go around making promises and keeping them, and I won't just break them, so instead I don't make them.

When a man says yes or no to something, or even worse -- gives a promise, what he says in effect is that he guarantees something will happen against the scheming of the whole universe.  A bold move for a tiny man.  So I like to throw in a caveat: weather permitting; if I don't have anything else planned already; barring flood, or sickness, or famine, etc.  A whole slew of things I don't and can't see coming and know I don't see coming; a realization of my finite nature -- a non-Muslim's en-shallah.  James the Apostle's Lord willing*.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Arguing on the internet

Dear T,

I read somewhere in Orwell that Sir Walter Raleigh tried to write a history of the world -- while he was locked up in the Tower of London.  As he was penning away in a fury, two workers outside his cell window got into an argument, the argument turned into a scuffle, and the scuffle ended in a killing.  Raleigh began asking why they were fighting but couldn't get a solid answer; and when he realized he couldn't find out what happened right outside his own window he took his manuscript and threw it into the fire.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Concerning the happenings in Alabama

Dear H,

Republicans tell us abortion is the real racism in America, but I have yet to buy it.  Never have and never will.  Sure Margaret Sanger said she wanted to wipe blacks off the planet, but who's actually wiping blacks off the planet?  The blacks are straight-up asking for abortion; and if this is racism then so is black suicide, black-on-black gang shootings, and death via Big Gulps and Kentucky Fried Chicken.    There is no conspiracy here, even if Candace Owens, a woman usually of great intelligence and character, says 40% of abortions are performed on only 13% of the population.  Whites provided an ugly "service" and black people love using it.  This isn't racism but collusion -- much less a clash of racial interests than a fusion.  It's as close to waltzing as killing ever got.

Friday, May 17, 2019

On finding out you're Irish =(

Dear T,

I once met a black lady who went to an ancestry website, got a DNA test, and found out she was 4% Irish.  Black as night and still Irish.  This came as a surprise to both of us.  Her immediate response was that she was probably related to some slave-owning rapist, and my immediate response to this was that we're all related to lots of rapists, and if we didn't think we were related to rapists we've got another thing coming -- probably a grandchild who's a rapist in the making.  A rosy picture of humanity, this one.  Imagine being in the most crime-ridden race in America and finding out you're 4% Irish and deciding then you're related to a rapist.  It's like finding out you're 4% Chinese and deciding that someone in your millions-of-years-in-the-making-family was good at math, or killing Christians.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

In defense of prejudice

Dear M,

Once a man reaches a certain age he begins to forget how he got there.  He forgets because he has to.  He has no time to remember the little, successive steps that built him into who he is.  Unless he's dull, a man is always on the move, always thinking, churning, taking steps in a new direction that will change him, imperceptibly at first, into someone else.  Even if his mind won't change his body will; and the body will begin to change the mind itself.  He either takes the initiative or God does it for him.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

On an ancient custom of the Babylonians

Dear M,

Montaigne once said he could find something attractive on nearly any woman, but this is far too upbeat for me.  Amy Schumer had great legs, but who wants to think too much about them?  They're attached to Amy Schumer; and the package deal is too painful to really be called a deal -- it has all the qualities of the bargain bin.  You buy the legs and you've bought the mouth.

Friday, March 22, 2019

The last refuge of the moron

Dear H,

Brittney Cooper
Brittney Cooper, author of the smash hit Eloquent Rage: a Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower, wanted to be a professor and she got it.  This is the basis of her complaint on NBC.

Somebody told her, years ago, that the only person she could control was herself, and beyond this that if she didn't smoke crack, or get knocked up, or shoot her neighbors, or steal sneakers, or blow her money on gold chains and spinning rims, and made good choices in general, she would "make it."  And she did make the right choices -- to become a professor.  Now she has tenure and can say stupid things and nobody can fire her.  What she deeply regrets is not having children.  Who's to blame for all this?  Her wild success implies that it's her.  Who does she blame?  White neoliberals and their "perverse form of a social gospel."

Monday, March 18, 2019

The dream and the gift

Dear M,

I had a dream about a man, sharply dressed in a suit and tie, hair slicked back and sitting at a long table.  He was thin and middle-aged, maybe 50, with graying hair and a weathered but handsome face.  He looked like Jordan B. Peterson.  The room was dark, and lit only by a single lamp hanging from the ceiling; and at the other end of the table sat three men -- also sharply dressed, papers on the table, hair parted to perfection, and evidently holding a trial.  The thin man waited until they spoke.

Friday, March 8, 2019

In defense of Rep. Ilhan Omar

Dear M,

The great question facing every American Muslim is which foot do I shoot myself in?  You have to pick a political party at some point, and on the one hand you have the party that invades all your brothers and sisters, comes up with things like waterboarding and the PATRIOT Act, hates to see hijabs, blew up the Middle East, and is now refusing your refugees.  On the other hand you have open arms and a rotten soul.  Hollywood and the music industry in all their filth.  The gay lobby.  Feminism.  Fans of Lady Gaga and enablers of junkies.  They'll draft laws against hate speech and blasphemy but they'll tell your boys they can change genders.  On the one hand you have someone you respect who doesn't love you.  On the other someone who loves you but you just can't bring yourself to respect.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Muslim Women's Day

Dear T-

I don't know exactly what we're supposed to do for Muslim Women's Day, but my guess is that we give them what Mohammed did. This means their testimony is worth only half a man's; that we may beat them if they speak out too loudly; that their husbands get off lightly for cheating; that the women get far worse for it; that we force all the ladies into hijabs, and that if any woman is happily married, we allow three other women to share her husband with her. Is this for or against them? It's difficult to say; but it's what they want, and we don't want to be accused of hating Muslims, so we do it -- gladly.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Two Romans

Dear H,

Augustine tells the story of a general named Regulus.  This Roman went to war against Carthage and ended up fighting valiantly; but when he lost a battle he was surrounded by the enemy and captured.  As a prisoner he was given an option.  He was let go on the pretense that he'd go to Rome, use his weight in the Senate to negotiate a prisoner exchange, and when he'd negotiated the prisoner exchange he could go back to his old life with his family.  If he failed, Carthage made him promise he'd return to them as a prisoner.

Friday, February 22, 2019

The biggest little whorehouse in Germany

Dear T,

Once one country does something stupid the question on everyone's mind is who's next?  Thus when France went libtard in 1789 everyone attacked them, and when the Russians went Soviet we adopted a policy of containment.  The thing about ideas is they tend to move from place to place.  One person says something stupid and the other stupid people hear him and the next thing you know you're getting tortured in a gulag.  This is why Christ said a man who accepts the words of a prophet has a prophet's reward.  The prophet speaks first, but it takes the heart of a prophet to hear one.  The question, whenever you hear a prophet or a moron, is whether your country is full of prophets or morons.  This is why the liberals have taken over the school system and the media, and nearly everyone, until the Enlightenment, was heavily in favor of censorship*.  Simply put we took one look at our neighbors and knew they'd fall for anything.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Saying sorry

Dear Hannah,

The original Christians were huge fans of penance.  This meant, in effect, that if you did something wrong and you were sorry you had to prove it.  But saying sorry wasn't enough, for obvious reasons, so they added works to it.  Fixing things you broke and such -- which worked well until somebody realized paying hurt too.  So you'd give alms to the person you hurt, or something like that, until somebody realized that sins were against God, at which point they said you could just give money to the church. 

This was a revelation of great convenience. The Crusades and St. Peters' needed funding.  Some genius realized guilting was more lucrative than tithing.  So the Church re-branded these works of penance "indulgences," and people's sins became the church's gain.  The worse things got spiritually, the better they got financially.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

In defense of James Watson

Dear H-,

James Watson, the man responsible for discovering the structure of DNA and thus paving the way for entirely new branches of science, for whole fields of medicine, for new problems in ethics and a fresh perspective on mankind, has been stripped of his awards -- for not being Martin Luther King Jr.  The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, the lab Watson ran for decades and which he personally made famous, has publicly repudiated the ninety-year-old man for having the opinions of ninety-year-old men.

Friday, January 18, 2019

A letter to what's left of my readers

To my dear readers,

The internet has given and the internet has taken away. At this point I'm supposed to give a blessing, but God isn't running the internet and I can't find it in myself to do it.  Used to having around 300 views per essay, Facebook and Twitter are now giving me around 30.  This means I've been effectively shut out, and my late foray into, which is supposed to be the internet's Argentina to everyone accused of being a Nazi, got me more hookers as followers than actual fans.  And I am not a fan of hookers.  Neither am I a fan of Nazis. I'm not interested in or rich enough for the first and not white or stupid enough for the second.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Gossip and nonsense: a partial review of Yuval Noah Harari's "Sapiens"

Dear T-,

Once you've been buying books on Amazon for years, you start to realize that a best-seller gets a few thousand five-star ratings because it's written by a genius or it's written for idiots.  Yuval Noah Harari's monster-hit Sapiens thus far appears to have the qualities of both.  Like the best teachers, he says deep things in simple ways and is thus capable of getting morons to think.  Thus far there's no frilly writing, or convoluted phrasing, or wonkish lingo, or affectation of any sort.  He gets right at what he's going to say and he does it with the straight-forwardness of a C.S. Lewis, or a George Orwell -- not the finer prose of either, but the grandfather-like simplicity.  He preaches, but gently.  The only people who hate his book, from what I can tell from the one-star reviews, are religious folks who realize the rug is being pulled from under them.  He says God is imaginary, like nations, money, and corporations, they realized they couldn't believe Sapiens and the book of Genesis, and they artfully picked the latter.