Our cultural cold war is about to boil into open conflict, thanks to last week’s Supreme Court decisions. Some of us think we’re ready, but we’re not.
I’m not saying we’re going to be shooting each other by next Tuesday or even next year. Just that the last remaining bridge between the old culture of America and the new culture of elite America got blown to smithereens. Last week was a point of no return with the Supreme Court’s Obamacare (“the Constitution is whatever we want it to be”) decision and gay marriage decision.
Supremicists are pathetic. White supremacists may be the most notable of the breed. Their websites are loaded with scary-looking skulls and lightning bolts, but their prose is barely literate and their “proofs” of their superiority tend to be long-ago debunked books and transparently bogus “scientific evidence.”
They operate in cells of one (or two or three) not because it’s a wise security measure but because they can’t get along with each other for 10 minutes. And much of their semi-literate ranting consists of denunciations of each other.
Not one of these “superior” beings has made a single impressive accomplishment in any area of endeavor — except, rarely, murder. Which gets headlines but fails to impress as a great work of humanity.
But they are far from the only variety of supremacist, and all of them are pathetic.
Ever notice how many people have pugs these days? And how big pugs figure into “funny dog” videos? They’re funky little dogs with not-horrible personalities, but they have so many health problems that you have to practically become a vet to deal with them all. You wonder why people want them.
It wasn’t like that back in those mythic golden days. Back then, everybody wanted Rin Tin Tin. Lassie. Roy Rogers’ Bullet. Even though in my neck of the woods we usually just got, “It followed me home, Mom. Can I keep it?”
Then we started getting a little frou-frou. Cocker spaniels got bought and bred and re-bred and inbred to the point of being like something out of Alien. So they got dropped and … on it goes. You get little spikes — like Dalmatians every time that d*mned movie gets reissued or remade.
But to whatever extent we identify with our dogs (and it’s the next closes thing to a human bond, closer for some) it seems as if we’ve gradually gone from wanting to identify ourselves with heroic figures to something clownish, even pathetic.
At the same time, of course, we’re living in this marvelous renaissance of larger-than-life comic book figures. And it’s great. But it’s just entertainment. The film industry has reached the point where they can make grown-ups believe in Spider-Man or Captain America and make women lust for Loki or Thor (I am a Loki woman, myself).
Even if we secretly harbor some adolescent identification with Tony Stark or Natasha Romanoff, the well-balanced among us are not hankering to don sparkly tights or iron suits.
Every once in a while these movies will really speak to us. Captain America has had some strong words for the surveillance state. And maybe we harbor that within and watch that particular film clip again. But as far as action goes it’s something way off there in the distance.
So it appears that the more heroic the movies get, the farther heroism is from our real lives or any real expectations we have for ourselves or our culture. We’ve moved “heroic ideals” into the realm of fantasy while we increasingly lurk around, cowed by political correctness, by hostile law enforcers, by the need to avoid offending, by laws made by and for well-funded elites from an entirely different culture than our own, and by the drudgy necessities of life.
You may have noticed that BHM had problems yesterday. These were due to a major site overhaul and server move that should eventually produce good results (especially for mobile users).
But the upgrade was handled … um, gracelessly. We bloggers were caught by surprise (I was in the middle of posting at the moment things went unexpectedly haywire) and at least one reader reported getting a message that the site downage was due to a February 2010 upgrade. I gather there are still a few improvements to come, but things should be calmer today.
Today is the 800th anniversary of the signing sealing of the Magna Carta. Good article on things we mostly don’t know about it and why it still matters.
ADDED: Here’s Bovard’s take on it. (Never trust a king, even after you think you’ve beaten him.)
I’m sort of getting used to having neither a functional vehicle nor functional legs. There are still moments I want to weep. Like on Friday when a mechanic told me the Xterra was all fixed, running perfectly, even got the service-engine light to go out — and I got in it, found the light back on, and had to limp back home after driving the mere half mile to town.
Hastert may be a criminal. But other feds are worse. (Never mind that Hastert and his ilk made them worse.)
I admit it. Maeve Binchy, the mega-selling Irish author of simple domestic tales, is one of my guilty girly pleasures. Binchy died in 2012 of heart problems. While looking for something completely unrelated to her health, I stumbled upon this nice article about how she made the best of her initial diagnosis. Inspiring.
The fedgov has recently made it 5x more expensive to do. But Americans are again surrendering their citizenship in small but record-setting numbers. (Tip o’ hat to MJR)
Thanks to a recent WSJ editorial, the world seems to have awakened to the fact that social “science” is little more than an intellectual justification of liberalism. Big debate now going on. Cameron of The Passive Habit agrees, but calls it unintentional.
The good news is that I haven’t gone stark bonkers.
The even better news is that Ava hasn’t. That’s what I dreaded most when I learned that in addition to having a non-working ankle I had a non-working (or at least unsafe) vehicle and was going to be housebound for some unknown time.
Kind of strange. This whole business with the unfixable vehicle has got me feeling absurdly vulnerable.
Rationally, this makes no sense. Even with the car business coming on top of the broken ankle (and on top of $500 worth of car repairs in April), it doesn’t put me at any real risk. I’ve got neighbors who’ll pick up my mail or give me a lift to the post office. I’ve got friends who’ll get me to the grocery store. It’s not like I’m going to be stranded in a blizzard by the roadside and get eaten by passing Bengal tigers.
Yet I have to remind myself, “Calm down, Claire. You’re not doooooomed.” What’s really worrisome is the sensation of being lost in a strange world and helpless to do much about it. Of being out of control.
There was a time — not really that long ago — when an ordinary woman or man knew pretty much everything they needed to deal with an average day. Their lives might have been nasty, brutish, short, but they could fix a broken whatever or build a vital thig-a-ma-jig. If they couldn’t do it, their neighbors or tribespeople could, perhaps as a joint effort.
Oh yes, they lived in a world full of unsolved mysteries and random attacks by angry gods. But most could dismiss all that via a few rote rituals and accompanying mythology. No worries. An earthquake knocks the village down? God did it because … oh, you tolerated witches or something. Kill the witches, problem solved.
Okay, it wasn’t quite that easy. But ordinary people knew all the ins and outs of the technology (if you could call it that) that they lived with. Then they filled in the gaps in their knowledge of the wider world with beliefs and myths. Their answers may have been wrong, but they had confortable certainties in places where we have only questions. We know more but (except for the devoutly religious among us) we have no easy defenses against what we don’t know.
Commentariat old-timers bemoan the loss of the good old carbureted Chevy. But even in those days, we were already on our way to complexity beyond the capabilities of Ordinary Joe or Josephine.
It’s far, far, far from original to note that as life got better, individuals became more specialized and now we are to the point of being improved to where we often know nothing. Nothing about the technologies our lives depend on. That’s just a given.
What’s said less often is how alarming that lack of knowledge can be even without the proverbial S hitting the proverbial F.
Yet the alarm is still often nonsense. So my Plan A (vehicle) and my Plan B (walking if vehicle dies) both got knocked out at once. Big deal. I’ve got a Plan C and Plan D. C and D get me closer to my neighbors and friends, inconvenience me and them only slightly, and aren’t bad at all. You, the Commentariat, have already done your bit in Plan C, thank you.
And that’s usually the way life works. A lot of bad things are really no more than inconveniences, and a lot of “bad” things actually turn out to have great, creative aspects. (Also a given.)
I think the scariest thing is realizing how little even the supposed “specialists” know now. The times are beginning to remind me of C.M. Kornbluth’s classic story “The Little Black Bag.”
Somebody over at Examiner.com has begun disappearing David Codrea’s columns on phony premises. Ironic considering David’s earlier censorship by the new JPFO. Really bad considering David gets paid by the page view for his Examiner work.
Toward a theology of atheism? No thank you. Away from strangling reason in theology! Away from enabling herds of holier-than-thou atheist cultists, if you please! Such would be insufferable even if the theological practice didn’t involve group sings of “Walking on Sunshine.” (Many commentors on the piece have it right.)