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March 28, 2008 - March 21, 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008


YAHHH!

And you don't wanna heeeet.

YAH YAH TRICK. The old punks have had their say. Time for the sagely voice of youth.

Whether you realize it or not, OldPunk has addressed all the objections, contentions, and accusations of all the "haterz" in the comments section. Every last one. Your excuse for calling him racist, whatever it is, has a successful rebuttal in one of the last two posts. If you're up to the task of reading a massive block of text thicker than three whole lines, that is. And even if you aren't.

I'm sorry. I'll be nice.

I'll put this as plainly as possible. White criticism of Black America is not, as one commenter claimed, de facto racism. It may not be "allowed," but like any judgment, it sure can be valid.

Nor is use of the N-word de facto racist. You think white people are, like, biologically incapable of jocular use of the last dirty word in the English language? Nigga please.

You have to understand. The whole race issue is very different for all the white kids born since 1980, like me. Those of us who weren't extremely poor were raised to hate racism. Yes, hate. Yes, as a rule. If you're white, and hate racism so much, don't think of yourself as one of the precious few or something. Anti-racism has, in fact, been a main point of the social orthodoxy kids have been raised with for a couple decades at least.

And here's something interesting: Another tenet of said orthodoxy was that society was racist. Even though, in all important particulars, it just wasn't anymore. Yes, I know you can recite a big long list of contrary cases and incidents. Even so, I maintain there's not enough exceptions to disprove the rule. (If you disagree, well... we'll have to agree to disagree. And if you don't agree to that, go ahead and fuck off. I said I'd be nice, but give a nigga a break.)

All of my batch of white kids who went to public school learned the Martin Luther King story every February for 12 years straight. From Rosa Parks to I Have a Dream. It went like this:

Racism is bad. Once, there was legalized racism in the south. MLK desegregated the schools and buses and diners and drinking fountains, then led every black person in the country and a few whites in a march to the Washington Monument, where he said someday we should stop being racist altogether. Which is impossible, of course, because white people will always, always be at least a little racist, even if they don't know it. They (we) can't help it.

I believed it. Until I became a surly teenager and realized the N-word was the heaviest artillery in my 'Piss Adults Off' arsenal. (N-)Bombs away!

Thing is, I never used it around black people. a) I didn't want my ass beat, and b) even when it was some black dude I could have taken in a fight, I had just enough empathy to show a scintilla of respect (of course, if you had called it "respect" to my face, I would have beat your ass).

My hilariously casual use of "nigga" continues to the present. The best way to get a rise with it is to pretend using it is no big deal. That raises people's hackles so quick. So satisfying. I still don't use it around blacks, because I only believe in punching very good friends in the balls, and I haven't yet become close enough w/ any black person to rib him with an N-grenade. I'm a rude dick only up to a point, and I pride myself on that.

Lots of my peers feel the same way. And-- don't take this the wrong way-- we don't care even a little if you think our attitude is inappropriate. We know we're not racist, and obviously even our flawed "bust balls to make friends" approach works a whole lot better than yours.

So there's that.

The N-word isn't the real central issue. The reaction to "nigger" is a visceral expression of how we've come to define racism for ourselves. From An Amerian Glossary:

Racist. Any white person who fails to feel or exhibit continuous uncritical love for any or all people who are not white. [emphasis added]

That's the problem here. Everyone, including whites, needs to be free to express their observations and suppositions. About anything and everything. No matter how noxious or egregious their conclusions may be. Since human beings depend on their minds to, you know, function, the brain really has to be free to do its thing. I know we think there's ideas and beliefs that are too dangerous not to be stomped on with a heavy boot, because giving them any air at all will lead to Willie Mays getting dragged behind a truck or whatever.

But real prejudice is easy enough to diagnose when we come across it that we don't have to be prejudiced against it. Thinking things through as a rule is a much better plan than establishing a No-Fly Zone over certain notions. That's responsible for most of the recruiting power currently enjoyed by white supremacists and skinheads. They're the only ones allowed to even appear to be unafraid of the subject.

For the record: White Supremecy is crap. Utter idiocy. Enough black men and women have demonstrated profound achievment and capability to place the entire race beyond suspicion of subhumanity. Which is why the black community is worth worrying about. Because it sure as hell looks, to anyone willing to look, like the highest aspiration of any black man younger than 40 is to live, and die, like Al Pacino in Scarface.



The black American dream?

What's that? Do I go out of my way to denounce all white trash? Nope. Because I see plenty of white people who aren't trash. I see few enough black examples who aren't to wonder if it isn't anomalous. And oh my God, don't start screaming about "the media" now. Chris Rock, that whistleblower of racial politics, put that excuse to bed a while ago:



Are you starting to get it? This is what an honest discussion of race looks like. It's ugly. It's uncomfortable, for all "sides." It entails risking your tolerance on the results of your understanding. It is not a contest. It is not a forum for showing off your love by hating those who don't love. It is definitely not a time to reinforce only the smug assumptions you already have. The ideas you come across in the course of it stay with you and bother you long after you're done talking.

You don't like that?

YAH, TRICK, YAHHH!







YouTube WednesdayThursday:

Scientists Locate Original Sin

The movie Quest for Fire depicts the start of the "Anthropocene" era.

IT'S THAT DAY AGAIN. A mixed bag of topics today, from the ridiculous to the sad and back to the ridiculous again. First up is a report in Wired.com which puts the "climate change crisis" in a whole new light:

Our epoch needs a new name. You're familiar with, say, the Jurassic? It started 200 million years ago and ended 55 million years later, give or take. For the past 12,000 years, we've been living in the Holocene. But in 2000, the Nobel Prize-winning atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen pitched a new name for our times: the Anthropocene, the epoch affected by people. He dated it to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the late 1700s — in other words, when we started messing things up. William Ruddiman, a retired climatologist at the University of Virginia, likes the name Anthropocene, too. But he thinks it started much, much earlier — as far back as 6,000 BC, when human beings first discovered agriculture. That's when we started razing forests and burning lots of wood, pumping enough carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere to alter the world's climate.

What's the difference? Scientists still argue — though not as much as deniers would have you believe — about the extent to which climate change is the result of human activity. And they still argue — quite a lot, actually — about how quickly the climate shifts in response to new conditions. As I understand Ruddiman, we humans may have been screwing up the climate for far longer than anyone thought. [emphases added]

Talk about a stretch. How many human beings were there on earth in 6000 BC? Maybe 10 million? That's like scattering the population of London all over the planet. And they were already changing the climate. Right. So how is it that with a world population of 6.5 billion today, we still have reputable scientists (and we do, despite the pompous qualifier in the Wired.com piece) unconvinced that human beings are changing the climate right now?

The answer lies in that "anthropo" prefix in the preferred new name for the holocene. A more accurate suggestion would be the "anthropocentric era." The contemporary religion of scientific materialism, including its bombastic atheism, tracks closely with the oldest principles of Old Testament religion. In their view of all the vast wonders of nature and the cosmos, the only thing they regard as vile is the species of mankind and the fruits of his efforts to build civilization. In other words, the very scientists who decry the Judeo-Christian insistence on putting man at the center of creation as a monolithic exception are doing exactly the same thing. When the Christians do it, it's an act of irrational superstition. When scientists do it, it's the assertion of an objective fact. In this context, it's easy to identify the new Original Sin of the evil creatures we are as fire, the invention that finally gave man the edge in his battle to survive and prosper. How ludicrously retro can you get?

We'll leave it at that, but for those who think we're overstating the case against contemporary scientific zealots, here's a highly literate and thoughtful review of the leading new gospels of atheism (long but well worth the reading), and here's a glimpse at how professional scientists are trying to use the tools of their trade to finally hunt down and exterminate God. Just for fun after all that, here's another humorous recutting of Quest for Fire excerpts.

All those simian bullies with their bones and grunts can't help but remind us that the great scientist and writer Arthur C. Clarke died last week at the age of 90. We noted his passing at the time, but since then by an odd coincidence, we have also lost two other fine contributors to the arts, one in his 90s and one in his late 80s.

The New York Times has a fine obituary of Richard Widmark, who managed to have an incredibly long and successful acting career while maintaining his personal privacy and a 55-year marriage to the woman he wed before he ever became a star. He never once appeared on a talk show but preferred to let his work speak for itself. Which it does. He rocketed to fame in his first movie role, playing a character so creepy that the performance remains riveting to this day.



Studio heads literally drafted him (via contract trickery) in the wake of that role to come to Hollywood to play a series of deranged villains, but he escaped the typecasting to become a leading man and an unselfish character actor. Here's a scene from one of the most star-studded movies in Hollywood history. Note Widmark's almost invisible entrance and the way he subsequently becomes the center of gravity in the courtroom, despite the knots of pain and hatred that surround him. You can still feel him as a steady-eyed presence anchoring the orbit of emotion even when he's not on camera.



The reasons for that unassuming but potent gravity are nicely presented in the Times piece, along with a long list of movies you might want to rent from Netflix or whoever your flick provider is.

The same is unfortunately not true of the week's other huge loss, Paul Scofield, who died last Thursday at the age of 86. Compared to other great actors -- of which he was absolutely in the first rank -- he had a fairly short filmography in which many of his roles were but brief appearances or in hard-to-obtain British TV productions. He spent a lot of his career on the British stage, where he was known as the greatest King Lear of his generation. And while he did make a movie of Lear, the production was so dark and eccentric that it did little to showcase his brilliance; it also seems very difficult to locate a copy of in any form. Mostly, what we've been left with is his fine performance in The Train and the movie that made him famous in the U.S., A Man for All Seasons.



In terms of the kind of career he chose to have, he seems a throwback to an earlier time, before the movie star lionization of great Brit actors like Laurence Olivier, Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole, Nicol Williamson, and Anthony Hopkins. The irony is that his demeanor as an actor is curiously more modern than that of his more famous colleagues, less histrionic, more deeply involving. With him we're not seeing a pyrotechnical show, but the interior drama of a mind grappling quietly with eternities. Above all there's that miraculous voice, with its hint of passionate tremolo, so precise that even its pauses become one with its meticulous tone, as inevitably perfect as Glenn Gould playing Bach.


It's a crying shame we don't have more to remember him by in this over-loud and over-exposed media generation.

Did someone say "loud and over-exposed"? Yes, the media are too much with us, especially in this feverish election cycle, and so we'll close out this entry with a hilariously brave and doomed attempt by a print journalist to immerse himself in the TV-radio-Internet ocean of punditry. Gene Weingarten of the Washington Post chose Valentine's Day for a 24-hour assignation with the blogosphere's leading pundits, the continuous news/commentary broadcasts of CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, and CSPAN, as well as the 800-lb gorillas of talk radio. His tools were a laptop, five TVs, two radios, an endless supply of coffee, and a universal remote. His mission was to liveblog what he calls the "firehose" of the information media. With becoming formality -- and perhaps a smidgen of the solemnity of a sacrificial victim -- he wore a tuxedo for the occasion.

Along the way he encountered a true diversity of opinion and subject matter. He experienced "the Drudge Report, Daily Kos, The Fix, the Corner, Captain's Quarters, Buck Naked Politics, Instapundit, the Page, the Hotline, Michellemalkin.com and, of course, Memeorandum" in the blogosphere, as well as Lou Dobbs, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, Laura Ingraham, Larry King, James Carville, Hannity & Colmes, Ann Coulter, Keith Olbermann, and a continuous stream of politicians, over-hyped events, and cable-news talking heads on both sides of the aisle. He found the ordeal overwhelming, dispiriting yet sometimes exhilarating, and finally exhausting. It's actually quite a good piece, and we have no desire to carp. If it weren't for the fact that this is YouTube WednesdayThurday, we'd probably stop here with a recommendation to read the whole funny story and draw your own conclusions.

But it is YouTube WednesdayThursday, and we were struck by the three individual encounters he seemed to find most traumatic. An admitted "liberal" (and even "lefty"), he was quite frankly discomfited by Rush Limbaugh:

AT THE START OF HOUR SIX, I realize I am doing something no one else likely has ever done before, something no one should ever do again. I am listening to both Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly simultaneously, on two radios.

Both Rush and Bill start out by disclosing that, earlier that day, Jane Fonda had used the c-word live on NBC's "Today" show; it went unbleeped and at least initially unapologized for.

Somehow, I'd missed it. Fortunately, the gaffe is all over the Web in streaming video, and, yes indeed, here she is, Hanoi Jane herself, the bete noire of right wing radio, flagrantly uttering the unutterable. Clearly, Rush and Bill are courageously willing to address this shocking and distasteful subject even at the risk of driving their audiences into multi-orgasmic rapture.

Limbaugh joyfully eviscerates Fonda and moves quickly on to other things, but O'Reilly is in high dudgeon and is all over this reprehensible event. He's morally outraged, and seems to want to wring all he can get out of it, as though it were, say, a luffa sponge.

As someone in the broadcasting business, he says, he doesn't want to become "the scold police," but he wonders just the same if someone ought to call the FCC and demand punishment. (Later at night, on Fox's "The O'Reilly Factor," he will devote an entire segment to the issue, practically sputtering in exasperation when he can't persuade his guest, lawyer Anita Kay, to agree with him that heads must roll... The peril of listening to Limbaugh and O'Reilly at the same time is that you tend to compare them, and these are dangerous waters for an unapologetic, unreconstructed New Deal liberal like me. The comparison makes you actually like Rush. He's funny; O'Reilly is not. Limbaugh teases and baits his political adversaries; O'Reilly sneers and snarls at them. Limbaugh is mock-heroic; O'Reilly is self-righteous. So, when Limbaugh speculates that the Democrats in the House committee went after Roger Clemens because liberals hate cherished American institutions such as churches, the Boy Scouts and baseball, you know he's sorta kidding. When O'Reilly says liberals who oppose torture of prisoners just don't care how many people will die in a terrorist attack, you know he's as serious as an aneurysm.

Of course he manages at length to quell the panic he feels at momentarily liking Limbaugh -- although to be fair, he seems to allow that he might be straining at straws even in this -- but one can't help surmising that the real reason for his surprise about Limbaugh is that he, like so many of Rush's most ferocious critics, hadn't ever really listened to the man in person. The first 30 seconds or so of the clip below summarize what is probably an epidemic phenomenon (although the rest of it is illustrative of what Limbaugh has been subjected to, if not of his usual cheery mien):



Then Weingarten has a moment of genuine horror when he listens to the Michael Savage show, obviously for the first time, and finds himself roaring through the thesaurus in search of a word even stronger than "shameless." There isn't one. Most of us can sympathize with his reaction to Savage. But many of us will also have to laugh at the next moment of horror that freezes his bones. It's much later at night. He's still flipping channels. He goes to CNN:

Here's Ann Coulter. I'm not listening to what she says. Don't care.

I'm exhausted, but taking sides again. Savage put me there.

Switching stations. Here's Keith Olbermann doing an extended editorial on MSNBC. Olbermann's a reliable lefty, so I listen.

His subject is a rift between President Bush and the House Democrats over whether to extend a bill giving the government the right to wiretap suspected terrorists without a warrant... The issue is probably a little too important to be a tempest in a teapot, but it's also not that big a deal, because everyone knows it's mostly without substance -- grandstanding and brinksmanship on both sides. Call it a tempest in a crockpot.

Uh, here's the exact Olbermann clip he's watching:



The building tirade takes Weingarten completely by surprise:

Olbermann begins strongly, addressing himself directly to Bush that he's only protecting his cronies, the powerful telecoms. Yay!

Now he compares the bill Bush wanted to other bad laws, including the Alien and Sedition Acts, which I actually think might be just a little over the . . .

Uh, now he's comparing it to . . . slavery.

Now he's addressing Bush directly, and he's . . . oh, God.

"If you believe in the seamless mutuality of government and big business, come out and say it! There is a dictionary definition, one word that describes that toxic blend. You're a fascist! Get them to print you a T-shirt with FASCIST on it!"

Now he's, he's . . .

". . . and if there's one thing we know about Big Brother, Mr. Bush, it is that he is -- you are -- a liar!"

I've already checked the thesaurus, so I know there's no help there.

"You are a liar, Mr. Bush. And after showing some skill at it, you have ceased to even be a very good liar!"

And:

"You said that the lives of countless Americans depend on you getting your way. This is crap! And you sling it with an audacity and a speed unrivaled by even the greatest political felons of our history!"

I mute it.

Silence again.

I send an e-mail to a friend who I know is online. This is what it says:

o s, s brtu dytpmh [rtdpm/

I realize I had my hands on the wrong position on the keyboard. I have to resend it. It says: "I am a very strong person," more of a plea than a statement of fact.

Truthfully, we salute Mr. Weingarten. He seems like somebody one could talk to. That's encouraging.

Which is an excellent note on which to bid you all adieu.




Tuesday, March 25, 2008


Waterboarding OldPunk

He gave it up right away. But we kept on punishing him. Cool.

CLEANING UP THE MESS. I take a few days off to recover from St. Patrick's Day, and all hell breaks loose. If he'd asked, which he didn't, I could have told him that there's no point whatever in trying to have a dialogue about race in America. Nobody wants it. It's our own national Kabuki Theater. We all agree to pretend there's no particular problem, and then we put on our lavish makeup and costumes to act out a stupid lie that will eventually sink the country but can never be acknowledged until it does.


Bloggers reacting to OldPunk. No. Excuse me. It's just Kabuki.

So we went to his little house in his little town at the edge of America and we dragged him, kicking and screaming, to the place of punishment. We pointed out to him, -- during the interrogation -- that he is the only person in the whole country who has ever written , let alone said or thought, the worst word ever coined in the history of human life on earth. We showed him the blistering contempt of Glenn Reynolds, Ace of Spades, Dean Barnett, Sadly No, Salon, FireDogLake, AlicuBlog, and all the others who have never committed, or even contemplated committing, a thoughtcrime in their lives, and he finally caved, confessed, blubbered his remorse, and begged for mercy. That's when we waterboarded his sorry ass.

You should see him. It's great. He really thinks he's drowning. The terror in the room is so thick even the attendants have to leave every few minutes to keep from throwing up.

Eventually, we'll take him back to his cell and explain the facts of life to him. There's a basic equation we WILL succeed in teaching him. The blogosphere is not about free speech, initiating dialogue, speaking your mind, sharing your perverse views with others who may not have heard them before, or being the kind of dick who just pisses a whole bunch of people off to no purpose. It's about climbing the ladder. The mainstream media is dying. The blogosphere is a tournament to determine who will replace them.

You know the book, "Everything I Need to Know in Life I Learned in Kindergarten"? Same principle applies here. Blogging is like coloring. You have to stay inside the lines. You can pick any outrageous color you want, and people will love you to death for your color choices (tits are the best colors, and PhotoShops of Hillary), but just remember to STAY INSIDE THE FUCKING LINES. That's the only way you get to be Conservative Blogger of the Year or Left-Wing Idiot Asshole Blogger of the Year, which are the only true tickets to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow: keynote addresses at blog conferences, guest appearances on Fox News and CNN, nationally promoted podcasts of you and your bedmate interviewing other bloggers on webcam, and publication of that book you're writing about the transformational importance of the Internet.

It's been a costly experience for us here at InstaPunk, and you can bet I won't be taking any time off for a few months But now that we have your attention, it's an appropriate time for me to point out that we have just installed spamware that will apologize to each and every person on the Internet for what OldPunk said. And we'll also be offering podcasts on iTunes (and DVDs) of the OldPunk interrogation and waterboarding events on webcam. All these webisodes will be offered free of charge, although we will, of course, be asking a modest $29.95 shipping and handling fee to cover distribution costs..

Down the line, perhaps in month or two, we'll all be offering a line of T-shirts emblazoned with the legend, "I Survived the Racial Assault of OldPunk." We're presently working with our supplier to finalize color options and pricing.

And I probably shouldn't even mention this last marketing gambit because it's still only in the talking stages, but what if you could get your own numbered podcast (or DVD) of OldPunk actually expiring from fear and self-hatred during his waterboarding experience? How much would you pay for that? And would you pay more if we could also make available a limited number of test tubes containing OldPunk's genuine, certified, blood extracted from his pitiful old ass post-mortem?

I've got to go now. He's spluttering something awful at the moment. Better make sure his pacemaker isn't short-circuiting or something. (If we auctioned the pacemaker, should we do it here or on eBay? Never mind. The marketing director is crunching the figures as we speak.) I'll get back to you on the specifics.

Anyway. So sorry. Watch your email for the official version. And rest assured that InstaPunk won't make any remotely similar errors during the remainder of our campaign for Conservative Blogger of the Year, 2008. (That's right, Ace. Look out! We be coming.)

Ciao.

UPDATE. On the off chance that this post wasn't servile enough, I want to take this opportunity to apologize personally to Ace of Spades, 2007 Conservative Blogger of the Year, for any implication or inference by OldPunk that Ace is somehow an ambitious, illiterate, sex-pandering, gay wannabe, one-joke practitioner of blogorrhea, meaning the nonstop posting of absolutely nothing just because the topic happens to be in the news and maybe we can dig up a mildly related old YouTube video that has tits and ass to boot. If OldPunk said anything like that, it's absolutely no reflection on the blog as a whole, which is doing its darndest to win 2008 Conservative Blog of the Year. (Ballots will be emailed you shortly via our slick new spamware.) The truth is we all love Ace of Spades here, especially the crack-whore person who is grosser than any female we've ever met, and we all agree there just couldn't be any better representation of all that's so outstandingly wonderful about the conservative cause in America.

There. We said it. And we feel so much better for having unburdened our chests about the unpleasantness that caused Ace to diss this site because of one of our late contributors. Ace is the Man. Absolutely. So shrewd, so insightful, so topical, so borderline brilliant bold. And we're also happy to announce that we contributed $5 to the fund appeal that's making its way around the Internet to buy Ace a spell checker and a grammar book. When he gets those things, his gay joke -- and that headline punchline he uses every single time -- will absolutely improve on every telling.

Okay? Cool. That's a huge relief. We just couldn't have taken the moral disapproval of a world class conservative like Ace for one more day. We promise to be better and much moraller from this day forward. We've already arranged for an RSS feed from Maxim to get our tit quotient up to speed. Yes, we're competitors here. And as we said already: "Ace, we be coming." We've even gotten our shipment noitification from Amazon that the book we ordered on Jizz Jokes is on its way. (Um, maybe we shouldn't have given away that part. Forget we said anything...) Uh, well, you know. We're all square now, Ace, right? We luv ya, dude. But not in any gay sort of way. (Sorry. That just slipped out. Sorry.) AOS Lifestyle all the way! Cool!




Monday, March 24, 2008


OldPunk Responds to
Individual Commenters
(& Other Saints)

He's not looking, but he's still seeing. And not at all happy.

FOLLOW-ON. So I finally read an attempt to fisk my previous post, which was laudable in that it at least tried to respond to some of the text. The rest of you can thank "Jennifer" for the fact that I'll be commenting on a number of your comments, including some commenters who didn't have the moxy to do it here but only at a distance and only by inference. Jennifer quoted several passages -- none of those describing black people I admired, but let that go -- and came to this conclusion:

There's your "not a racist" post in a might nutshell...a guy who feels justified in calling people "nigger" because a) he doesn't like the clothes they wear, b) he doesn't like the cars they drive, c) he doesn't like the music they like and d) he has this fantasy that they're all playing out some pageant in which the ultimate goal is to intimidate him, the central character. Because, see, it's all about OldPunk dude; these niggers that upset him so are just actors in his personal morality play, not real human beings or individuals, you see. That's why there is nothing offensive or objectionable in his demands that they do as he say and call other people who he doesn't like "niggers". Because again, it's all about him. Black people need to do as he says because...well, because he's an angry white guy on the internet, which makes him more important than them. And if he can successfully demand that enough people - especially black ones - start calling the people he doesn't like "niggers", then that will not only give him cover, it will make it true somehow. And last but not at all least, there's his outrage that black people do not get down on their knees every day and thank white guys like him for the gift of "immigration" to this country, and more specifically, for his own racism, the gift that keeps on giving. They should know he's just doing this for their own good.

So much for your "honest" discussion of race in America. We can easily sum it up by saying: "Black people are different from me, this makes me uncomfortable, therefore they have a responsibility to act and be more like me and if they do not follow through with it, they are niggers. And also, they all need to do what I say, because I'm important and they aren't."

It's a clever attack that will appeal to a lot of like-minded people. It may even be successful, but it's false. I'm willing to bet I'm a good deal older than Jennifer, perhaps a couple of generations older, and when I have encounters like the ones I described I don't feel fear but sadness. As I pointed out, I live in a small town. The schools are not poor, but they are bad, economic opportunities are poor, and those who don't educate themselves out of town are likely to live in the same county forever. Here's what the scene tells me. The clothes reflect allegiance to a self-destructive hip-hop celebrity culture very few derive any monetary benefit from. The spinner wheels (whose prohibitive cost I doubt Linda knows) suggest that sheer appearance is more important than rehabbing a smoking, moribund motor and a rusted frame. The ground-shaking music -- obscene lyrics including the ultra-super-obscene N-Word that's supposed to be magically occluded from white consciousness -- makes it very clear that thinking of others is not high on the list of priorities of the occupants. I wouldn't want Chopin played at that volume. What's going on in the heads of those who clearly see music as a weapon when the people they're assaulting with it might very well represent their best prospects for employment? Not enough.

As you get older your thoughts turn increasingly to the young ones. You don't want them to blight their lives and prospects at the very beginning. (And no, I'm not going to offer evidence and proofs of my concern for youngsters. Talk to other old people. See what they say.) When I think that word I'm not supposed to say, I'm thinking of it in this context: "Shit. Why do you want to be done before you even start? Why do your parents allow you to act out a stereotype that will never die until you stop acting it out. Is THIS what Martin Luther King was fighting for? Why do you WANT to be perceived as a n_____?" And then: because for whatever reason, you have chosen to be.

Jennifer is slick, but all her reasoning is out of context. She doesn't read the scene in terms of local court records, pointless black-on-black shooting deaths, high school dropout statistics, and literally dozens of well-attended local black churches who don't seem to inspire kids to study in school.

Jennifer's position is a deadly and effectively genocidal cliche: all culture is valid culture -- even that which devours its young before they even comprehend the alternatives. And I'm the criminal for daring to notice it.

Of course, Jennifer was not alone in cartooning me to drive home a shallow point. There were those who asked mocking questions whose answers they mysteriously already knew. Like Bridget:

I just feel the need to point out that Senator Obama is just as white as he is black. That is all.

No, sorry, one more thing. I look forward to the follow up post where you fill us in with the reactions from your black friends to your post. Because you do have black friends, yes? You're not just speaking from a reference-point of ignorance, stereotyping and fear, right?

The answers to your questions are: 1) Yes. 2) No.

I'm just guessing here, but I'm pretty sure Bridget is white. She can tell us if she is. Otherwise, my bet is that I've spent more time talking honestly with black people about exactly these subjects than she ever has. I've been a lumber yard boy and truckdriver, a retail music clerk, a telemarketer, a city employee, a press manager for a construction newspaper, a barroom pool player in both white and black taverns, and the spawn of parents and grandparents who were taken care of in their last days by compassionate black nurses and home health aides. As a small town boy, I've known black people since I was old enough to say a name, and well before I took any note of color. Along the way I've always been curious about what they thought about the forbidden topic, and I've listened and debated, drunk and sober, for all my life.

I won't spill truly intimate anecdotes here -- all I'll say is that they're just like the post that inspired so much intolerant fury. They know and use the unspeakable word, even with white people they care about, because I've been warned about so-and-so and so-and-so, and more than most well educated white folks could ever believe they subscribe to the wildest conspiracy theories imaginable. But they're not a monolith, and I never suggested they were. I've experienced the joy of instantaneous friendship with people who proceeded to solemnly warn me about the perfidy of all "white people," and when I pointed out that I was white they assured me they could overlook that. When I was a music clerk I learned more than I could ever have imagined about jazz from old black guys who were anxious to share the art that was their passion with an old white guy who was curious and anxious to learn. None of them ever pretended they didn't notice I was white. None of them ever made a secret of how much they detested the white counterparts of what white people call "niggers," and they always assumed that I would know the difference between that hostility and whatever personal relationship we had.

And, no, I never used the forbidden word with them. I used it here to provoke the discussion. The real advantage of a blog should be that it can be like Catholic Confession, where people say what they could not shout in the street. Private thoughts that might be helpful to others because they convey complicated realities that mix good and evil impulses in the mingled stew that is most often scrupulously hidden from all eyes.

My sin? I have spent much of a long life thinking about racial matters. Born in a nominally northern town that was nevertheless 60 percent black and 40 percent white, I have witnessed the sins and virtues of segregation and the sins and virtues of the civil rights movement. Segregation was a deadly wrong and it ended. Civil rights was a moral imperative and it prevailed. Today, my town and the black community that lived in it since the Revolution are worse off -- families destroyed, prostitution a commonplace where it never existed before, drugs and guns and dead children of both races rife, and because I will die in this town as I was born in this town, I want to understand it and help navigate a new way forward. Not back. I don't want black people to be subservient, or white, or know their place, or be just like me. I just want them to get over the past and start building their own lives without waiting for the government to do it for them.

Which is a good lead-in to WhitePeopleSuck:

Where's the post about white trash? For every nigger like William Jefferson, there's white trash like Randall "Duke" Cunningham, a "war hero" doing eight years. How about a word for the white trash on Wall Street who get government handouts when their investments go south? Did you ever wonder if Timothy McVeigh was a member of a cell?

I'm delighted to provide a 'white trash' list that corresponds to the 'nigger' list. It's even more expansive. It includes people who aren't just dirty, violent, and stupid, but also slimy, mean, hypocritical, and manipulative. And unlike a lot of the commenters, it's not confined to just one political party. I urge our leaders -- and, indeed, all white people, to join me in admitting that the following white people are inexcusable trash:

Pat Buchanan
David Duke
Michael Moore
Michael Savage
Keith Olbermann
Larry Craig
Charles Schumer
Bill Clinton
Hillary Clinton
William Ayers
Bernadine Dohrn
Jimmy Swaggert
Ted Stevens
Britney Spears
John Murtha
Trent Lott
Howard Stern
Don Imus
John Rocker
George Galloway
Sean Penn
& many many others

Yeah, I know the list can be longer. And people will object that some of the entries seem political. But both parties are represented, and no one is on the list who isn't -- regardless of political stripe -- corrupt, a liar, a fraud, damagingly immoral, an unabashed hater, suspiciously well connected, or all of those things...

This is part of my answer to the commenter who wrote:

"We accept that there are doctors and lawyers and police officers and firefighters whose credentials may not be completely up to snuff because of the top-secret compromises associated with affirmative action."

Great line, but what about a President who's [sic] credentials aren't up to snuff because of nepotism?

Uh, right, sure. But perhaps you'll agree it's rare that nepotism gets seconded by 62 million votes. I'm guessing -- given your bias against familial relationships in politics -- you're also opposed to the political careers of Al Gore, Hillary Clinton, Jack, Bobby and Ted Kennedy, Chris and Andrew Cuomo, Jay Rockefeller, Lincoln Chafee, Jesse Jackson, Jr., Nancy Pelosi... oh, forget it.

The flip side of nepotism is damnation by ancestral association:

"And you're the only group we fought a war to free."

Uh yeah, because they are the only group you ENSLAVED in the first place.

Wrong. I never enslaved anybody. And you're wrong on the historical record, too. The Chinese who built the transcontinental railroads were slaves in every respect but the name, because the word 'slave' was no longer permitted. They were shanghaied here on boats, bound in chains and murderous conditions, isolated from help by language and legal contracts, and were subjected to endless ridicule as 'monkeys,' 'idiots,' and subhuman utilities. The Irish were victims of genocidal, anti-Catholic riots in New York and other cities after their desperate emigration from Ireland in the midst of the potato famine. They were caricatured as subhuman animals and lived in conditions of urban filth that would make 19th century plantation life look mild by comparison. Black people are not the only U.S. immigrants who have ever had all the odds against them. And don't even dare to ask about the Jews black preachers hate so much. From the beginning and to this very day, they have prevailed against reverse Affirmative Action in all the top schools that granted entrance to the corridors of power. But you must know this. Why do all the politically correct leading lights hate them as much as the Palestinians do? Even though blacks owe their civil rights victories more to the Jews than to any other demographic or political group you can name.

Well, most of the rest of the comments are merely advertisements for the points I was trying to make. For example, Nandino misread my suggestion that current events could make Americans believe African-Americans were a fifth column as a charge that they ARE a fifth column. He deftly refuted the charge by pointing out that hip-hop is crude, apolitical, ignorant, and materialistic. Duh. Then he obliterated his own argument by revealing his zest for a black nationalist movement. That's right. He wants a fifth column. Please try to be smarter about these things, you super-intelligent, morally perfect people.

To all the commenters who looked in, saw the N-Word, and waved their wands in a superior way: BOO! If you're black and never heard a white person mention this word, you've never had an honest philosophical conversation with a white person who wasn't a race whore. And if you're white and never heard this word used by anyone, you've never ventured far enough outside your social clique to recognize that at the university you attend(ed), all the black people are being systematically taught that you are irrevocable racists even as they are being induced to segregate themselves and fail at every real world test of success. Breaking through the propaganda to a non-politically correct discussion would be your only chance of having a real relationship with a person of color. But this you will never have.

I have had. Which is why, to me, you're simply sad. And far more foul-mouthed than eloquent or morally compelling.

And I haven't even gotten to Glenn Greenwald yet. Before I do that, I must doff my hat to Glenn Reynolds and (especially) to Dean Barnett. Glenn Reynolds once talked about an Army of Davids. Now he has book deals, multiple blog contracts, a weekly podcast, and genuine political clout. He's become his own Goliath. Dean Barnett has had a more direct career. He was a blogger. Then he was a political advocate for Mitt Romney. Now he's a writer for a politically influential conservative magazine. For either of them to take credit for NOT linking to the "OldGuy" post at InstaPunk is quite a lot like Obama taking credit for not voting for the Iraq War in the U.S. Senate before he was a senator. There was never any need. Barnett didn't even get the opportunity to ignore the post (never told him about it, bless his innocent little heart), but he still felt obliged to take credit for the elitist Massachusetts conservatism that somehow never involved encounters with armed rappers on Beacon Hill.

There's never been a more profitable virtue than not taking an unnecessary political risk -- unless it's congratulating one's self in public for not having been anywhere near the risk in question. Yeah, Dean. I'll look forward to all your future moral criticisms of Obama.

Did someone mention Glenn Greenwald? No? Well, then, I did. I hadn't given him much notice before, but now I've learned that he's a disciple of Maureen Dowd, a master of the misleading ellipse. He made a small elision (meaning he left out an inconvenient chunk of something he quoted without indicating the omission; it's called misquoting). Not something that will matter to all the dogs at his command. Come to think of it, nothing that will matter to all the ambitious pols who have become the conservative blogosphere. So I'll drop it. But I offer a challenge to Greenwald: I'm happy to debate you on some topic you actually have experience of at your hideout in Brazil.

Does anyone out there remember the smart kids? Not the ones who played chess, because ordinary smart people could win at chess. I'm talking backgammon. The game you had to be bred to play. That's what the blogosphere, right and left, has become. They huddle over the board with their podcast cocktails and CNN/MSNBC/Fox News appearances, and they move pieces that to most of us would be checkers in ways we can't fathom. Actually, most of us -- ordinary bloggers and commenters alike -- think it's still checkers. It isn't.

The good news is this. If I were a member of most any of the popular, "influential," conservative blogs -- like Ace of Spades or Protein Wisdom -- I'd already have been told to "Take my knives and go." They know they can get away with endless cock and boob jokes but nothing that might deeply offend gays, women, or ethnic minorities. That's actually why I was drawn to InstaPunk. Not a lot of gratuitous cock and boob jokes. They convinced me that my cock was my business and boobs weren't a punchline all by themselves. They also didn't think the word "gay" was automatically synonymous with gales of hysterical laughter.

I did submit my resignation to The Boss after Glenn Reynolds threw the whole website under the bus. But he didn't accept it. He said, "If the ADDS morons who glut the comments of the blogosphere come after you, we'll defend you all we can, and then, if necessary, we'll go to our last resort -- The Shuteye Train.

Then they showed me The Shuteye Train. Believe me. No one one wants that.

Believe me.

So I'm here for the duration. Old Guy is my monicker. Aim all your shit at me.




Sunday, March 23, 2008


V.  Alleluia! Christ Is Risen!
R.  The Lord is Risen Indeed! Alleluia!

Te Deum Laudamus

We praise the, O God, we knowlage thee to be the Lorde.
All the earth doeth wurship thee, the father everlastyng.
To thee al Angels cry aloud, the heavens and all the powers therin.
To thee Cherubin, and Seraphin continually doe crye.

Holy, holy, holy, Lorde God of Sabaoth.
Heaven and earth are replenyshed with the majestie of thy glory,
The gloryous company of the Apostles, praise thee.
The goodly felowshyp of the Prophetes, praise thee.
The noble armie of Martyrs, praise thee.
The holy churche throughout all the worlde doeth knowlage thee.
The father of an infinite majestie.
Thy honourable, true, and onely sonne.
The holy gost also beeying the coumforter.
Thou art the kyng of glory, O Christe.
Thou art the everlastyng sonne of the father.

Whan thou tookest upon thee to delyver manne, thou dyddest not abhorre the virgins wombe.
Whan thou haddest overcomed the sharpenesse of death, thou diddest open the kyngdome of heaven to all belevers.
Thou sittest on the ryght hande of God, in the glory of the father.
We beleve that thou shalt come to be our judge.

We therfore praye thee, helpe thy servauntes, whom thou haste redemed with thy precious bloud.
Make them to be noumbred with thy sainctes, in glory everlastyng.
O Lorde, save thy people: and blesse thyne heritage.
Governe them, and lift them up for ever.

Day by day we magnifie thee.
And we wurship thy name ever world without ende.
Vouchsafe, O Lorde, to kepe us this daye without synne.
O Lorde, have mercy upon us : have mercy upon us.
O Lorde, let thy mercy lighten upon us : as our trust is in thee.
O Lorde, in thee have I trusted : let me never be confounded.




Friday, March 21, 2008


Crux fidelis, inter omnes
  arbor una nobilis,
Nulla talem silva profert
  fronde, flore, germine,
Dulce lignum dulce clavo
  dulce pondus sustinens.
Faithful Cross! above all other,
One and only noble Tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom,
None in fruit thy peer may be;
Sweetest Wood and sweetest Iron!
Sweetest Weight is hung on thee.!
Pange, lingua, gloriosi
  proelium certaminis
Et super crucis tropaeo
  dic triumphum nobilem,
Qualiter redemptor orbis
  immolatus vicerit.
Sing, my tongue, the glorious battle
Sing the last, the dread affray;
O'er the Cross, the victor's trophy,
Sound the high triumphal lay:
Tell how Christ, the world's Redeemer,
As a victim won the day.
Crux fidelis, inter omnes
  arbor una nobilis,
Nulla talem silva profert
  fronde, flore, germine,
Faithful Cross! above all other,
One and only noble Tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom,
None in fruit thy peer may be;
De parentis protoplasti
  fraude factor condolens,
Quando pomi noxialis
  morte morsu corruit,
Ipse lignum tunc notavit,
  damna ligni ut solveret.
God, His Maker, sorely grieving
That the first-made Adam fell,
When he ate the fruit of sorrow,
Whose reward was death and hell,
Noted then this Wood, the ruin
Of the ancient wood to quell.
Dulce lignum dulce clavo
  dulce pondus sustinens.
Sweetest Wood and sweetest Iron!
Sweetest Weight is hung on thee.!
Hoc opus nostrae salutis
  ordo depoposcerat,
Multiformis perditoris
  arte ut artem falleret
Et medelam ferret inde,
  hostis unde laeserat.
For the work of our salvation
Needs would have his order so,
And the multiform deceiver's
Art by art would overthrow,
And from thence would bring the med'cine
Whence the insult of the foe.
Crux fidelis, inter omnes
  arbor una nobilis,
Nulla talem silva profert
  fronde, flore, germine,
Faithful Cross! above all other,
One and only noble Tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom,
None in fruit thy peer may be;
Quando venit ergo sacri
  plenitudo temporis,
Missus est ab arce patris
  natus orbis conditor
Atque ventre virginali
  carne factus prodiit.
Wherefore, when the sacred fullness
Of the appointed time was come,
This world's Maker left His Father,
Sent the heav'nly mansion from,
And proceeded, God Incarnate,
Of the Virgin's holy womb.
Dulce lignum dulce clavo
  dulce pondus sustinens.
Sweetest Wood and sweetest Iron!
Sweetest Weight is hung on thee.!
Vagit infans inter arta
  conditus praesaepia,
Membra pannis involuta
  virgo mater adligat,
Et pedes manusque crura
  stricta pingit fascia.
Weeps the Infant in the manger
That in Bethlehem's stable stands;
And His limbs the Virgin Mother
Doth compose in swaddling bands,
Meetly thus in linen folding
Of her God the feet and hands.
Crux fidelis, inter omnes
  arbor una nobilis,
Nulla talem silva profert
  fronde, flore, germine,
Faithful Cross! above all other,
One and only noble Tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom,
None in fruit thy peer may be;
Lustra sex qui iam peracta
  tempus implens corporis,
Se volente, natus ad hoc,
  passioni deditus,
Agnus in crucis levatur
  immolandus stipite.
Thirty years among us dwelling,
His appointed time fulfilled,
Born for this, He meets His Passion,
For this that He freely willed:
On the Cross the Lamb is lifted,
Where His life-blood shall be spilled.
Dulce lignum dulce clavo
  dulce pondus sustinens.
Sweetest Wood and sweetest Iron!
Sweetest Weight is hung on thee.!
Hic acetum, fel, arundo,
  sputa, clavi, lancea;
Mite corpus perforatur;
  sanguis, unda profluit,
Terra pontus astra mundus
  quo lavantur flumine.
He endured the nails, the spitting,
Vinegar, and spear, and reed;
From that holy Body broken
Blood and water forth proceed:
Earth, and stars, and sky, and ocean,
By that flood from stain are free.
Crux fidelis, inter omnes
  arbor una nobilis,
Nulla talem silva profert
  fronde, flore, germine,
Faithful Cross! above all other,
One and only noble Tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom,
None in fruit thy peer may be;
Flecte ramos, arbor alta,
  tensa laxa viscera,
Et rigor lentescat ille
  quem dedit nativitas,
Ut superni membra regis
  mite tendas stipite.
Bend thy boughs, O Tree of glory!
Thy relaxing sinews bend;
For awhile the ancient rigor,
That thy birth bestowed, suspend;
And the King of heavenly beauty
On thy bosom gently tend!
Dulce lignum dulce clavo
  dulce pondus sustinens.
Sweetest Wood and sweetest Iron!
Sweetest Weight is hung on thee.!
Sola digna tu fuisti
  ferre pretium saeculi
Atque portum praeparare
  nauta mundo naufrago,
Quem sacer cruor perunxit
  fusus agni corpore.
Thou alone wast counted worthy
This world's ransom to uphold;
For a shipwrecked race preparing
Harbour, like the Ark of old;
With the sacred Blood anointed
From the smitten lamb that rolled.
Crux fidelis, inter omnes
  arbor una nobilis,
Nulla talem silva profert
  fronde, flore, germine,
Faithful Cross! above all other,
One and only noble Tree!
None in foliage, none in blossom,
None in fruit thy peer may be;
~ ~ ~ D O X O L O G Y ~ ~ ~
Dulce lignum dulce clavo
  dulce pondus sustinens.
Sweetest Wood and sweetest Iron!
Sweetest Weight is hung on thee.!




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