Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
August 26, 2012 - August 19, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sci Fi Not Literature:
A Conversation

The story's better than the trailer. But the story's more trick than Bartleby the Scrivener.

THE NEFARIOUS SOURCE. I said the offending words in a recent post, which caused commenter Joe to become wroth. He said:

"sci-fi is not literature"

Bullshit. I thought Philip Dick put the kibosh on this ghettoizing of the pulps and trade paperbacks, but apparently the ignorance persists. Dashiell Hammett was right about people who make a distinction between literary art and literary entertainment. There really isn't one, and the distinction only exists to serve the interests of the sclerotic Ivy college and New York publishing establishments. It doesn't serve the interest of truth or reality, though.

The fawning and servile way that middle-aged men (Richard Price, Steven King, and you) make an exception for Eminem is disgusting. Bernard Goldberg was right to include him in his list of "100 People Who are Screwing up America."

Eminem summed it up best himself: "People say that I'm a bad influence. I say the world's already fucked. I'm just adding to it." And he did; and it made him rich. He is a sullen wretch, trapped in some adolescent denial of reality as hideous as the man he loved to mock, Michael Jackson.

I was expecting resistance. So I responded:

Ah. Joe.

You're entitled to your own opinions about literature, as all readers are. But please don't put words in my mouth. If you'd noticed, you'd see that I fell on the sword about Eminem in the very post you resented so much. There's very little chance Stephen King and I would agree on anything about writing.

My thoughts on sci fi have nothing too do with ghettoization or the unacceptable natures of certain genres. Almost all writing is not literature. Most self-ordained literary writing is not literature.

I'm not saying sci fi has no value. It is frequently inventive, thought-provoking, even brilliant, but its own values have little to do with the magic of words. At its best sci fi is posing a scientific or technological hypothesis and testing it out in a kind of laboratory experiment. The hypothesis can be grand, but the writing is workmanlike, the characters mostly not memorable and usually mere foils in service to the premise.

For example, if you want to claim 1984 as sci fi, I'll agree that it's sci fi literature. Aldous Huxley's Brave New World isn't.

My criterion for literature is bone simple. It sings. It begs to be read out loud, the words savored, the sentences felt in their deep rhythms. Not a snob criterion. All kinds of unserious genres and unexpected anomalies pass the test. Dr. Seuss. P.G. Wodehouse. Raymond Chandler. The Gettysburg Address.

I understand the defensiveness of sci fi adherents. But my suspicion is that the ghettoization is self imposed, an insecurity that flashes too soon into anger. Why? Perhaps because your greatest icons are expressly anti-literary. Arthur Clarke was a genius engineer who wrote fiction. Fine. Great. If I were looking for literature, though, I'd be looking more closely at short stories by Ray Bradbury than Clarke. I'd claim Jules Verne for Around the World in 80 Days, not 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Phileas Fogg and Passepartout are characters. Captain Nemo is a cartoon.

Your anger seems to be directed at a set of values you simply don't share. Fine. But the anger is misdirected. Not everyone has to share your values. My own hostility is a function of the extent to which sci fi fans garrison themselves in bunkers. Star Wars and Star Trek conventions are the apotheosis of this mentality. 100 percent commitment to this medium and no other.

Sorry if it galls. But it's my opinion.

To which Joe replied amicably but pointedly:


I apologize for coming on too strong, but it rankles.

Bradbury passes your test on most days. On most days, Philip K. Dick fails, but in "The Man in the High Castle" he passes. Ursula LeGuin not only passes your test, but she surpasses most of the more vaunted 'literary' writers.

I think it was Kurt Vonnegut who said that no one knows less about science than SF writers. This is generally true, except for the 'hard' science writers like Clarke and Haldeman, who are generally more workmanlike in their prose, as you mentioned

Ultimately it comes down to this: Faulkner sees an apple, and writes an overwrought but beautifully rendered, subjective description of the fruit. Hemingway writes: "He came to the apple. It was there." Jules Verne writes: "In two hundred years, that apple will grow wings." Franz Kafka writes: "The apple eluded him." Philip Dick writes: "The apple isn't there, and neither are you. But God might be." So Dick wins for me.

Re: Eminem, I don't know what else to say except that he is a Judas Goat. He had a corrosive effect on a large segment of the working and middle-class youth of my generation; he rapped about raping his mother, and murdering the mother of his daughter. 'South Park Conservatism' is big these days, but it has its limits.

And then I added this:

I take your point, Joe. I do.

Your pastiche of literary greats on the subject of "apple" is clever but, like all satire, deliberately unfair. I give you full points for style, though.

Let me clarify the objection I thought I'd explained. Sci fi is a very recent genre. It hasn't had time enough to produce its Shakespeare. What bothers me is the sense that so many sci fi folks look down on everything else. Which means they've cut themselves off from 5000 years of human culture. Does the average Star Wars fan even know the mythological sources of their adored masterpiece? Personally, I suspect not.

So I see them living not in time but in a box.

The Eminem controversy is related. What I was exploring was an age-old controversy about whether a truly bad man can still be a great writer. Rimbaud WAS a truly bad man. He retired from poetry at age 19 to become an arms dealer in the middle east. An American example: John O'Hara, father of the modern short story. By all accounts he was a complete sonofabitch. Before him, Ambrose Bierce, called by some the meanest man who ever lived.

Greatness is determined in the court of history, not by contemporary critics. Poe's literary Nemesis wrote an obit intended to assassinate his reputation for all time. He failed. Obviously.

History will decide about sci fi icons. So far, the ones who've survived are remembered for what they predicted more than their writings. Couple this with the fact that sci fi is so short-term future oriented, the oblivion factor is magnified.

It's fine with me to celebrate Dick, but there's more to Faulkner, Hemingway, Kafka and company than grist for a glib dismissal. (and none of these guys is a particular favorite of mine.)

The first sci fi writer? Plato, author of the Atlantis story. He's made out pretty well. Maybe your guys will too. But don't bridle at skepticism from other perspectives. We're really NOT trying to insult you personally.

I've offered Joe the last word, which I'll add if and when I receive it. In the interim, I'll close with an example of literature by a "bad man," meaning a former member of the Waffen SS. It's clear he regrets that part of his past because he concealed it for many many years, and his reputation was badly damaged by the ultimate revelation. But here's an example of what I mean by literature. I've never been able to read this chapter of the "The Tin Drum" without having to read it aloud. What I have for you is only the beginning page and the very end. Miraculous to my mind that I could find this much on the net. You'll have to trust me that it builds and builds and builds until you can actually feel the underlying insanity like a throbbing pulse in your head. The narrator is Oskar, a German boy who decided at the age of three to stop growing and become a drummer instead. Draw your own conclusions. The leader dots indicate the large missing middle.

Faith, Hope, Love

There was once a musician; his name was Meyn and he played the trumpet too beautifully for words. He lived on the fifth floor of an apartment house, just under the roof, he kept four cats, one of which was called Bismarck, and from morning to night he drank out of a gin bottle. This he did until sobered by disaster. Even today Oskar doesn’t like to believe in omens. But I have to admit that in those days there were plenty of omens of disaster. It was approaching with longer and longer steps and larger and larger boots. It was then that my friend HerbertTruczinski died of a wound in the chest inflicted by a wooden woman.The woman did not die. She was sealed up in the cellar of the museum, allegedly to be restored, preserved in any case. But you can’t lock up disaster in a cellar. It drains into the sewer pipes, spreads to the gas pipes,and gets into every household with the gas. And no one who sets his soup kettle on the bluish flames suspects that disaster is bringing his supper to a boil.

When Herbert was buried in Langfuhr Cemetery, I once again saw Leo Schugger,whose acquaintance I had made at Brenntau.Slavering and holding out his white mildewed gloves, he tendered his sympathies, those sympathies of his which made little distinction between joy and sorrow, to all the assembled company, to Mother Truczinski, to Guste, Fritz, and Maria Truczinski, to the corpulent Mrs.Kater, to old man Heilandt, who slaughtered Fritz’ rabbits for Mother Truczinski on holidays, to my presumptive fatherMatzerath, who, generous as he could be at times, defrayed a good half of the funeral expenses, even to Jan Bronski, who hardly knew Herbert and had only come to see Matzerath and perhaps myself on neutral cemetery ground.

When Leo Schugger’s gloves fluttered out toward Meyn the musician,who had come half in civilian dress, half in SA uniform, another omen of disaster befell. Suddenly frightened, Leo’s pale glove darted upward and flew off, drawing Leo with it over the tombs. He could be heard screaming and the tatters of words that jovered in the cemetery air had no...

[Missing Middle]

There was once a musician, his name was Meyn, and he played the trumpet too beautifully for words.There was once a toy merchant, his name was Markus and he sold tin drums, lacquered red and white. There was once a musician, his name was Meyn and he had four cats, one of which was called Bismarck.There was once a drummer, his name was Oskar, and he needed the toy merchant.There was once a musician, his namewas Meyn, and he did his four cats in with a fire poker.There was once a watchmaker, his name was Laubschad, and he was a member of the SPCA. There was once a drummer, his name was Oskar, and they took away his toy merchant.There was once a toy merchant, his name was Markus, and he took all the toys in the world away with him out of this world. There was once a musician, his name was Meyn, and if he isn’t dead he is still alive, once again playing the trumpet too beautifully for words.

Sci fi may write about totalitarian technologies, organizations, and villains. But it doesn't, or hasn't yet, used words to half-seduce you into deranged beliefs. That would be the province of literature.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sayet, Springsteen & Poetry

Yes, we CAN say that Bill Maher and Ward Churchill are stupid men.

REAL BASTARDS HARDLY EVER EXPLAIN THEMSELVES. Nobody admires Evan Sayet more than I do, but he's written something I couldn't disagree with more. At Big Hollywood no less.

In the song many consider Springsteen’s masterpiece – and which I believe is the greatest poem ever written (made only that much greater by musical turns that Robert McKee could use as an example of “integration” in his story — structure class) — “Thunder Road,” Springsteen is imploring a women he knows to join him in his trip down life’s highway. He – in themes that repeat throughout his body of work – knows that life’s better (and one’s chances for success, however one defines it, improved) with a pal, a confidant, a coconspirator, a lover and a friend beside you... [boldface by me]

To be fair, he ends by condemning what he considers the new, entitlement-minded Springsteen.

[R]ather than using his own success to testify to the promise – if you make wise choices, commit to your friends and lovers, show up on time and pay the cost – you can go from bus driver’s son to a president’s pal, he’s testifying to the exact opposite of not only his own truth, but the truth.

Springsteen has gone from the voice of real hope which requires wise change, to the voice of entitlement and being forever stuck there.

But before that, he offers an extraordinary encomium:

There are two Harvard professors, a leading theologian and one of the nation’s premiere social and political journalists (to name just a very few) who have written books on Springsteen – the artist, not the man – and his literary and moral contributions. I, too, have considered writing one along the lines of The Leadership Lessons of George Washington and The Tao of Pooh – the often simple but essential lessons that I have taken from Springsteen’s lyrics and incorporated into my own life for the better.

Through the years I have been a fan – in many cases a big fan – of other acts as well. I think Paul Simon is a brilliant lyricist and musician and Bernie Taupin who, along with Elton John, has created some of the greatest songs in the soundtrack of my life are, too. Billy Joel has been unparalleled at catching and throwing back the zeitgeist of the times and so on.  But only Springsteen has been a moral guide and to this day I have no doubt that he is, outside my closest family and friends, one of the two people who has most helped me to be the man I wish to be...

C'mon, Evan. Two outrages here. First, that Springsteen is a poet at all, let alone the best poet in the admittedly small sphere of pop music. Second, that the purpose of poetry is to print life lessons like bumper stickers. 

And, okay, a third outrage. That "Thunder Road" is the best poem ever written.

Consider this the first entry in the long catalogue of things that PISS ME OFF, which I addressed in a mea culpa to Apotheosis on a recent post. You see, I have a suspicion that I'm the last person who knows that sci-fi is not literature, that the remote past contains exemplars we should still revere, that movies are not a replacement for Shakespeare or Racine, and that song lyrics are not poetry but accompaniment to the music, something like a barky harmonica. Please try to understand my perspective.

Best movie I ever saw. Have it on laser disc. Can't see it because no more laser disc.

Pissed off? You bet. We're all reduced to championing voices that are those of precocious children. There's an awareness of Shakespeare, certainly, and a genuflection, but the minds at work have been shaped by other forces. Forces usually no older than the nearest strip mall. Smart is great. But it's not enough.

The best poem ever. Ever?

What does that statement say about the person who could write it with a straight face? Springsteen isn't even the best pop music poet. His lyrics don't stand alone. They don't scan. Springsteen's vocal style has become accomplished at cramming the unscannable into a track blurred helpfully by guitars and percussion. He's the rock version of the Wall of Sound.

Dylan, no poet either, uses a high-low dippity do to conflate his nonsense with meaning. The Salvador Dali of musical pretension.

The closest to poetry is Tom Waits, and I'm sure he'd be the first to tell you loudly and definitively that he's no Shakespeare, Shelley, Coleridge, Swinburne, Poe, Verlaine, Eliot, Yeats, Stevens, or Rimbaud.

Eminem has a claim. But that's mostly because people like me compare him to Rimbaud. Which he most certainly isn't.

Which brings me to the next worst assumption in Sayet's essay. Poetry isn't about tips for living a rewarding life. It's about life. If life were a book such as Sayet claims to want to write, he could begin and end with Rudyard Kipling's "If." Never mind that Kipling was a better poet than any rock lyricist. He's still more pedagogue than poet.

As for Springsteen. he's just a Jersey motorhead who escaped into fame. If he'd learned any real life lessons along the way, now's about the time we'd be hearing them. All he's learned apparently is that winning life's celebrity lottery doesn't erase those first few years of resentment, class envy, dissimulation, and insecurity. Entitlement was always on his mind. Why he's never been grateful for life's showering of good fortune. How he could keep on (keep on, keep on, keep on...) playing the loser of evil American capitalism. In old age, he's adopted the mannerisms of a high-toned lefty journalist looking down on it all. At base, he's still base. An uneducated, semi-literate poseur. I'm guessing Evan Sayet never participated in an impromptu drag race for pink slips on the back roads of Jersey. What do you think?

Which still leaves us with one last question unanswered. What's the greatest poem ever written? Hint: It's not "Thunder Road." It was written by one William Tyndale, without whom there would be no Shakespeare. It's called The King James Bible.

Take a look at it, Evan. Might stretch your horizons to a mighty new level. Might be some lessons in there beyond the bumper sticker mentality of no retreat, no surrender.

Said with all due respect.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A Philadelphia Mystery

Here, he looks like he's nothing but a Bobblehead 
Toy; be extra careful, though. He might be a key.

. Some interesting intersections with other mysteries. Why I'm going to make it a bit of a treasure hunt. Find it, report on it, and the comment will become a post here. (Or if you don't like puzzles, don't bother.) Some clues to get you started:

1. South Street is involved specifically, as is South Philly generally.

2. The phenomenon appears to begin in the last half of 1979, the same timeframe in which the first punk story was performed on South Street.

3. The subject at the center of the phenomenon is life and death, or if you prefer, death and life. Shammadamma.

4. The number 2001 is significant, as it is in TBB. (Yeah, do a search for that number in the link. And try this too.) Unless the connection is just humdrum Dave.

5. One of the principal persons of interest in solving the mystery has a surname with five letters in common, four of them in the same order and position, with the godfather of punk writing software Tod MERCADO (and his folly).

6. One of the few tangible clues to the mystery is the same Philadelphia Inquirer columnist who reviewed TBB. (No, his name wasn't Frank. Or Ponce. Actually, Frank was closer by three letters.)

7. Things only started getting really weird after 1984, the year the punks disappeared from South Street.

8. There's a documentary on Netflix. Guy with a tattoo on the side of his head.

9. Which has a subtext including birds and wings and, just possibly, trains.

10. Something about a failed son, unless there's a typo in there.

Is that enough to get you started? Don't want to make it too easy. Is macadam the son of adam or just a paving technology? Does anyone remember Zeus? Or Hermes, Aphrodite, and Ares? Probably not. Kronos wanted to forget all of them. Why shouldn't we latter day Romans forget too?

You have something better to do? If you all flop, I'll spill the beans. If you'd rather listen to all the political codswallop, I'll understand.

The Sound of Settling

This the kind of crap that's on their iPods. Just when you thought you couldn't hate them more.

YES, STILL WINNING. It's simple. Dumbocrats are beating the dying horse of Todd Akin because they can't land a scratch on Paul Ryan.

Let me take you back to that distant time called last week, when the dipshit-o-sphere was just starting to come to terms with Ryan's nomination. Here's a smattering, just a small sample, of lefty pants-wetting.

According to the URL, the original headline of this story in the Detroit Free Press was "How a blue collar Wisconsin town gave rise to conservative leader Paul Ryan." Um, isn't how blue collar towns usually swing? Or is the DFP saying Wisconsinites are dumber than the rest of the Heartland? Such slander.

The Atlantic was so startled by Ryan that they found themselves singing the praises of-- I still can't believe it-- Milton Friedman.

Ryan hasn't just ignored Friedman; Ryan is the anti-Friedman. He has sharply criticized Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke for printing money, and issued melodramatic (and incorrect) predictions about "currency debasement." Why is Ryan so out of step with what conservatives used to believe about monetary policy? Because he takes his cues on the Fed from a fiction writer instead of a Nobel laureate.

Friedman was pro-printing money? The informed people of the internet may insist on chapter and verse for that one.

Guitarist Tom Morello, who spent the last decade making some of the most lifeless corporate rock ever shoved down America's throat, warns us that Ryan is the vanguard of a radical right-wing corporate takeover. Morello's essay hits so many dipshit progressive talking points that it reads like it was written from a template. Dipshitery includes, but is by no means limited to, "imperialism," "the one percent," the War on Women trope, "the global occupy movement," the "privileged elite" (not merely the elite, mind you-- the privileged elite), and a fully unironic use of the phrase "seize the means of production."

Ryan claims that he likes Rage's sound, but not the lyrics. Well, I don't care for Paul Ryan's sound or his lyrics. He can like whatever bands he wants, but his guiding vision of shifting revenue more radically to the one percent is antithetical to the message of Rage....

Don't mistake me, I clearly see that Ryan has a whole lotta "rage" in him: A rage against women, a rage against immigrants, a rage against workers, a rage against gays, a rage against the poor, a rage against the environment. Basically the only thing he's not raging against is the privileged elite he's groveling in front of for campaign contributions.

In related news, Rolling Stone still expects to be taken seriously. Senility's a bitch.

Of course, reliable left-wing toilet has launched the requisite attacks. Documented liar Joan Walsh calls Ryan a "Randian Posuer." By her logic, the fact that Ryan's well-off family paid for his college education means his efforts to trim back the welfare state are hypocritical. It must be noted that, when asking yourself if Walsh is lying or merely stupid, the answer is always that she's lying. Another Salon article bears the headline "The Woman Paul Ryan Beat," referring oh-so-cleverly to the Democrat he won his seat against.

“I found Paul Ryan more prepared for the rigors of a campaign than I had expected, and more polished than people expected of someone so young,” she said. “He seemed very well-prepped, and he was also very smooth in terms of his ability to project a positive feeling in public settings.”

That amiability, Spottswood said, allowed people to overlook his views on Social Security and Medicare, which even then involved a major overhaul for the programs — a point she tried in vain to corner him on in the campaign.

“People had a perception of Paul that persists to this day, that he’s a moderate guy with moderate views,” said Spottswood. “They don’t mind if he has extreme views, because he’s a nice guy.”

Expect this particular non-starter to reverberate louder and louder in the pro-Obama echo chamber: The notion that Ryan's niceness means he's somehow trying to keep his plans for the welfare state under wraps. Any honest observer can tell you he's been nothing less than up front about his views and intent.

A third Salon missive (there's more, but life is only so long) bemoans that intent to slow the flow of free money. Laugh and cringe at this Kindergarten-level concept of charity.

Ryan, a staunch conservative and Roman Catholic, has drawn ire from followers of his own faith. While Catholicism emphasizes caring for the poor, Ryan’s proposed budget would cut many of the programs that do so. As The New York Times reported, Ryan’s plan would trim “$3.3 trillion from low-income programs over 10 years,” dropping Medicaid coverage for 14 to 28 million people and eliminating 17 percent of SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), which covers food stamps.

But Ryan seems to think his plan has a Catholic sensibility. Here, in a talk at Georgetown University captured by PBS, Ryan quoted Pope Benedict in an effort to drum up support for his budget. Father Thomas Reese of Woodstock Theological Seminary at Georgetown rebuked it, saying, “You can’t quote Pope Benedict to support this budget.”

(That one's at least true, contra National Review's latest apologetics. From the very start of his papacy, Benedict's social proclimations have been marred by brainless leftism. You'd think a guy with a direct line to God would know climate change is a crock.)

Yes, the bad guys are foaming. But no one page encapsulates the left's full-flail panic better than the Facebook feed for Here's a screen cap taken a few days after the Ryan pick was announced:

Close second? The Slate Twitter feed.

I updated this pic three times before throwing in the towel. Keeping up with Slate's desperation is a full-time gig.

Hence the flurry over Todd Akin's dopey comment. The left finally has something of, by their standards, substance. Paul Ryan's given them nothing to work with; little piles of nothing that have to be built into molehills before they can make mountains. Now a Republican who was once photographed looking in Paul Ryan's direction (ish) has said something not only stupid, but stereotypically stupid. Their relief is palpable. ­

They think Akin means they can return to a simpler time; a golden age when the only Republicans they had to worry about were easily dispatched. Lecherous buffoons like Bob Packwood, or fundamentalist intellectual lightweights like Michelle Bachmann, or hypocritical closet-cases like Larry Craig. When all they had to do was point and sneer and the bad men would go away.

Some of them are dimly aware of that this is their Little Big Horn; a last gasp of victory before the full weight of the American calvary comes a-crushing down. Our friend Doc Zero praised Wolf Blitzer for his sudden surge of journalistic integrit against Debbie Wasserman Schultz, but cautions: "Not to take anything away from Blitzer’s commendable insistence on getting basic facts right, but this could be part of a signal from the media to Democrats that they’re going to have to step up their game, if they want to go head-to-head with Paul Ryan." Exactly. On some level, Wolf understands what Debbie doesn't: The usual slant-n-spin isn't going to fly this time. That dog won't hunt. That poo won't fling.

The situation is so dire, The Onion has felt compelled to step in and be a voice of reason.

When Mitt Romney selected me as his running mate, I knew the Democratic attack dogs would come out in full force. They would say I’m a right-wing ideologue. They would say my views on entitlement programs are far too radical. They would say putting me on the ticket immediately kills Mitt Romney’s chances of becoming president because I’m a liability. But if we’re being honest with each other—if we’re able to put aside the talking points for a few minutes and say what we’re all actually thinking and feeling—I believe we can acknowledge the real truth here.

I’m young, I’m handsome, I’m smart, and I’m articulate. And that scares the ever-loving shit out of you. You can pretend like you have this thing in the bag, but you know good goddamn well that this race just got real interesting, real fast.

It’s okay to admit it. You’re frightened to death of me. It might actually be healthy for you to face your fears now rather than later, when Mitt and I are leading by a few points in the polls and it looks like this thing might end badly for you.Face it: I’m not some catastrophe waiting to happen, like a Sarah Palin or a Dan Quayle. On the contrary, you have the exact opposite fear. I’m a solid, competent, some might say exceptional, politician.

Did you get nervous when you read that last sentence? Is it because you know in your heart of hearts that it’s 100 percent true? Is it because, even if you strongly disagree with my beliefs on Medicare, Social Security, women’s rights, and marriage equality, you know my talent as a speaker and my well-thought-out approach to these issues—no matter how radical and convoluted you find them—might just be enough to win over independent voters?

The whole piece is great, but that last sentence is the best part. Paul Ryan is radical only insofar as common sense has ceased to be common. And convoluted? That's one way to describe math... I guess. If you don't mind admitting you're flat-out stupid.

They're desperately, diligently grasping at any straw that can poison Paul Ryan's well, before the first debate. They think they've found that straw in Todd Akin. I say let them think that. Let them put so many of their eggs in the basket of a know-nothing throwback member of one of the most limp-dick GOP establishments in the country (whether the California GOP is limper-dick than the Missouri GOP is the subject of no small schollarly debate). Let them do our housecleaning for us.

Let them gloat. Let them gloat all they want, as long as they want.

Monday, August 20, 2012

What Repubs & Conservatives
Can Learn from Girls' Sports.

It's really bad to offend educated politically correct people, right?

. No. Not kidding. I've taken a couple drubbings over the weekend. First, from a good friend who lectured me about how unfair I've been to commenters. I attack when I should understand. I'm an asshole. Second, from a former colleague who is a well-placed northeastern blue-state newspaper editor. I called shame on him for the corruption of his profession, the tanking on behalf of Obama, and challenged him to a debate, given that there is no sign his paper will ever stand up against the propaganda supporting an incompetent president. His response to me was "at least I'm not a coward who posts anonymous notes." Haven't heard from him since.

When I realized my heart is cold as ice. My marine friend should recognize combat mode. Where I am. The fate of the nation is on the line. Do I want you, or anyone, to like me or go to war? I don't care if you like me. I want you to fucking fight.

I guarantee you the newspaper editor hasn't responded because he's guilty. It's going to gnaw at him. (He knows I'm not anonymous. About InstaPunk is signed by me as are repeated references to the Boomer Bible.) The marine thinks I should be building a unit, but he's forgotten what a drill instructor is. He thinks what we're facing is November isn't Iwo Jima. It is.

Why I'm doing a post about girls' basketball and other sports. Republicans and conservatives don't have a political class. They're not focused purely on the acquisition and maintenance of political power. We have no Schumers, Weiners, or Obamas. Republican politicians are a lot like girl athletes before Title IX. They have other priorities, like having a life and family, and the win at all costs code is utterly brand new news to them. Their idea was always something different: having a family, a home, a business, a couple of sons and daughters who weren't going to be despoiled by the broader culture.

Why we've lost so often and barely noticed. Except that now the whole nation is on the line and we'd better learn how to fight.

Learn from the girls.

This first one goes way back and even I don't like it much.

The second one seems like it's all for laughs, but it isn't.

The third one may seem too religious. Get used to it. Religious values aren't Satanic. They're human.

What's common is that even the passive ones need to learn how to fight.

Fight. Something about that word you don't like?

Fight. Confront somebody. So tired of hearing that you have liberal friends and don't want to ruin the friendship. Winning isn't about placating idiots. And we do have to win. The girls can teach us that. If you aren't too pussy to confront a liberal friend.

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