Instapun*** Archive Listing

Archive Listing
March 15, 2013 - March 7, 2013

Friday, March 15, 2013

Brizoni moves on...

Notes for a New National Character

Warning: Song contains a swear.

Like it was no big deal, Ace of Spades sounded the death knell of the Republic. I've kept his ghastly casualness open in my web browser for weeks now. I can't look away. Have you ever read an accidental suicide note? You're about to.

We keep saying "We have better arguments."  That's fine and all, but we also have to one day realize that people are not moved primarily by argument.

Argument is a rational process.  And when people know they're in an argument, they naturally resist the argument:  Their BS detectors go up.  I also think people just don't want to be argued out of anything because they have ego invested in it: Something you believe is part of you, right?  And if you accept someone else's argument, that means that person is slightly better than you, in at least that one small way, right?

An emotional appeal will beat an argument all day long.  Even better is the argument that's never even made -- the unacknowledged, subconscious assumption.

That's the end, folks. Grab your gun, baseball bat, or whatever you have at hand that can kill another human being. When men won't be persuaded by reason and fact, force of arms is all that remains. Trickery and manipulation is just the intermediate stage of decay. A transitional corridor, like the edge of a shadow. This moment in history is just the overture to a Hobbesean apocalypse.

Here's the ugly truth: The United States is in crisis because the American people aren't good enough. Specifically, not enough of them are smart enough. When everyone has a say in what happens to everyone else, it's not good enough to simply mean well. Everyone has to have a competent grasp of the concepts and ideals that keep a free country free. People generally don't, so the United States is generally fucked.

We have not been conquered by armies from without or by coup from within. Obama is no usurper. He is the will of the electorate. And even if every single Democrat vanished overnight, we'd still be a nation that agrees in principle with the welfare state (and still too few would dissent). How many signs at Tea Party rallies denounce "socialism" because it threatens Social Security? The American character has simply... spoiled. Like old cream. 

I propose we formulate a new ethic. One constructed with an eye single to the glory of liberty (sorry. I've been reading a lot of old books. That grandiose writing style rubs off on you). Men in antiquity had the Cardinal Virtues. Those worked for those who practiced them, and they still hold up pretty well. Later, the Church tacked on the Theological Virtues, which ended up being a giant step backwards into stagnation and serfdom. Then we pretty much tried to go it alone for a while, without virtues. That worked out even worse. It's time for a revised set of virtues, consonant with the ideals of both science and America—with a rational people and a free people. Better virtues for a better age. Here's some ideas for what might be called Foundational Virtues.

1. Honesty. With one's self as well as with others. Not merely forthrightness, but a commitment to correctly understand reality. 

2. Courage.Commitment to do what must be done and face what must be faced. 

3. Foresight. Used to be grouped under "prudence," and the Latin for prudence is providentia ("seeing ahead"), but this needs its own entry. Foresight is the ability to predict consequence. Thomas Sowell's formulation of this principle, "thinking beyond Stage One," is useful.

3a. Prudence. The rest of it. Including the wisdom to pick which battles to fight (see 2).

Taken together, 1, 2, and 3 comprise the moral obligation to be intelligent.
Some progress certainly has been made; we do not insist that the more saintly of two surgeons shall operate on us for appendicitis. But as a race we seem as far as possible from realising that an action can intelligently be called good only if it contributes to a good end; that it is the moral obligation of an intelligent creature to find out as far as possible whether a given action leads to a good or a bad end; and that any system of ethics that excuses him from that obligation is vicious. If I give you poison, meaning to give you wholesome food, I have--to say the least--not done a good act; and unless I intend to throw overboard all pretence to intelligence, I must feel some responsibility for that trifling neglect to find out whether what I gave you was food or poison.

4. Integrity. Commitment/devotion to principle as such.

4a. Honor. Integrity proudly displayed publicly.

5. Independence. Not isolation, but self-sufficiency. Sustaining yourself. Relying on your own honest, competent judgment. Neither making a sacrifice of others to yourself, nor making a sacrifice of yourself to others. 

6. Just Love. "Just" as in "justice." Like foresight, this needs its own entry. Loving (affection, admiration, partiality, etc) that which ought to be loved, withholding love from that which ought not to be loved. Generally giving people the benefit of a reasonable doubt. Projecting, and treating people with, benevolence until and unless they give you reason to treat them otherwise.

7. Self-Control. Used to be grouped under temperance, but that was back when everyone thought self-control necessarily meant moderation. The shocking twist is, even moderation itself should only be done in moderation. Sometimes the best way to live is to order that third milkshake, drink that whole six-pack, outrace the cops in your chopper, stay in bed with your girl all day, and put half your life savings on red. Sometimes. Discipline. The capacity to better yourself when you choose to do so. Choosing when to indulge your passions and when to keep them in check.

8. Industriousness. Productiveness and ingenuity. 
Obviously just getting started here. But we gotta start somewhere. I think what I've come up with points in the right direction.­ If we're not up to the task of defining better parameters of action, we tumble into oblivion. Just like every other civilization before us. If America ever needed to live up to her legendary exceptionalism, it's in this.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

He Insisted

HE INSISTED. In one breath, he's furious at me for persisting in posting on an unpopular topic. In the next, he laments I don't have "the courage to post." Fine.

Praying was not submission. It was talking man to man to God...

Good. Submission is Un-American.

Brizoni hasn't once acknowledged or addressed any of my principal points regarding his view of religion. The execrable death toll of rationalists. The fundamental conundrum of how Christianity conquered the world if there was no Christ or resurrection.

A lie. Let's go over these again.

Imagine if I indicted all of theism by citing Islam and then saying this: "Claiming that SOME theist societies are not pious as you understand piety is not a defense." Dumb, right? Dumb and precisely wrong.

You insist the God idea is necessary for the health of civilization, but then poo-poo the counter-example of Islam as if it simply doesn't count. Why doesn't it count? If there can be different types of theism, why can't there be different types of atheism? Professed rationality isn't necessarily rational. Just like professed piety isn't necessarily pious. You'd be rightly annoyed if I used Aryan Nations as evidence of Christianity's wickedness.

The essential characteristic of murderous societies was collectivism. Not atheism as such (and Nazi Germany was folk pagan, not materialist existentialist). Liberty and progress require commitment to individual rights. Not all atheism is honest, but intellectual honesty will probably lead to atheism (or atheist-leaning agnosticism, all you nitpickers).

And consider this. If you presume to judge some religions as better than others, aren't you presuming to judge God? And what are you judging him by, if not a standard that TRANSCENDS God? A TRANSTHEIST standard, one might say?

Why did Christianity conquer the world? Because, as you've taken great pains to explain, Christianity did something no other messianic movement did: It expanded the human mind. It created a crude but working mental model of the universe in the minds of its believers. Apollonius of Tyana didn't do that. Nor did any of the other messianic figures of the day. Mind expansion was the hook that spread Christianity. No resurrection required.

Modalism, Donatism, Manichaeism, Arianism, the whole litany of early controversies is a testament to the intellectual vigor-- if maybe not rigor-- Christianity inspired. It's fashionable to laugh at early Christians' obsession with the finer points of theology. How many angels fit on the head of a pin? Does the Holy Spirit proceed from JUST the Father or the Father AND the Son? Because holy fucking shit would the world shake off its fucking foundations if we answer THAT wrong. But by gum, it got men to persist in asking "No, seriously, how is this possible? How does this work?" Which was indispensable to the Renaissance and then the Enlightenment. When-- and ONLY when-- the Greek way later returned and freed men to ask that question of the real world.

But hang on. Your own narrative gives the Dark Ages a pass because Europe had it so rough after Rome kicked its ass. OK then. What about the East? Byzantium had none of the West's excuses. For six hundred years (or thereabouts!), Eastern Christianity enjoyed physical health, prosperity-- and stagnation. It produced no Socrates, no Aristotle, not even a Thales-- not even a lousy Marcus Aurelius. Christianity had ample time and opportunity to spark an Enlightenment here. It never did.

(But what about the Muslim conquests, you ask? What about them. Christian Byzantium was a few hundred years old before the Muslims started taking chunks of it, and many hundred more before they got it all.)

I'm still here. If and when you're ready to climb down from your subjective pretense of objectivism. Nobody's objective. Only the frightened and lost insist they are.

Disinterested? No. Objective? Yes. It IS possible. Don't give up! Isn't an objective perspective, by your reckoning, one of the great innovations of Christ?

Don't close the door. If you do, I'm thinking you've just lost heart and are looking for an excuse to quit. We could do good things together. But you'd rather be faithful to a dead woman who was dead cold when she was alive....

You make me heartsick. You didn't even have the courage to post again. You just commented in utterly fake humility and slunk away with a superior smirk on your face.

It wasn't fake to me. Serves me right for trying to be gracious.

Not closing the door. But I won't be wasting another moment in the hall waiting for it to open. In fact, there is no door there. Just a wall, with a door drawn on. The drawing has been erased, refined, and redrawn for millennia, by men who wanted, needed the door to be a door and not just a wall. Their art has become so sophisticated, now even a modern eye can mistake the door for real. But even the best drawing only looks real from a very narrow angle. Walk far enough to either side, and it flattens. And still, anyone who reaches for the doorknob grasps only air. There are actual doors to open. That do open, and are doors. I'm sorry you think finally walking away from the wall constitutes "giving up."

I'm even sorrier you think a God-directed universe is more meaningful than a universe without an Almighty. With God, there are ultimately no stakes to any human activity. If there's no stakes, then there's no significance. None. God can simply wave His hand and do or undo anything at all. No effort, no cost. No point.

I said Godspeed. I meant it. But I have to ask. When you rail against my dreadful certainty, only to turn around and declare "When you look inside the box, guaranteed you won't see Ayn Rand's objectivism." who's missing the point? Or is it only MY certainty that's the problem.

Shutter Island

Leo's tall, blond, and batshit crazy.

SHUTTERED. Not that good a movie. But life isn't always a good story either. Sometimes it just sucks.

New York taxicabs and stuff

Of course, it's not at all like this, is it? But that's the point.

JUST BECAUSE I WATCHED THUNDER DOME LAST NIGHT***. I've always thought there were, for want of a better word, distinct "times" in life. When I was running a business and responsible for the performance of other people, I tried to get them through the rough patches by reminding them that there are "heads down times," meaning that the best way through is working as hard as you can without allowing yourself to think about all the terrible things that might happen.

That's right. Me, Mr. Think about Everything, took the position that there are times when it's best not to think but do, to the very best of your ability. If you let yourself get distracted from the task at hand, you might just make things worse -- obsess about some minor point that could wind up doing in the whole enterprise.

There's a related state that I've always thought of as "New York Taxicab Times, " which are probably more frequent than I, or anyone, would like to believe. Let me explain.

As a lifelong gearhead, I have an instinctive desire to be in control when I'm in a motor vehicle. Even when I'm sitting in the passenger seat, my feet are on the pedals and my hands on the shift knob. I brake, I accelerate, I change gears... I'm the automotive version of the Brit shadow cabinet, although I have different motives. Don't want the driver to perceive my lack of trust. I can arrive at a destination more leg weary and mentally exhausted than the driver is. The exception is when I'm a customer in a New York taxicab.

Whole different story. It's like being in a commercial airliner, except that the hazards are infinitely more numerous and happening just feet away from you. But there's absolutely nothing you can do about any of them. Nothing. I don't know New York City geography (never did, don't care to) and the driver probably doesn't even speak English. So what do I do? I relax.

Yes, the other cars are too close, the traffic maneuvers are nuts, and there are moments when sudden death seems inches away, but I sit inside a bubble where none of that is real. Worrying and complaining won't help at all. When the crazed bike messenger nearly hurtles through my window in Times Square, I say to myself, "Right. That was interesting." Not a problem. It's just taxicab time. When it ends at my destination, I resume control of my life (another fantasy of mine).

Right now, I'm pretty sure we're living through an odd combination of heads-down time and taxicab time. There's a huge temptation to scream and run around and make a big deal out of various kinds of crap, but it's all just a potentially fatal distraction. In our personal lives, it's definitely heads-down time: keep that job, pay those taxes, hold the wolf at the door at bay for another week, month, year. Don't think about it. Just do it. In our civic and political lives, it's taxicab time. No matter how terrified and sick at heart we are, there's nothing we can do right now that wouldn't just make things worse. The crazed incompetent at the wheel isn't going to listen to us at all. So the seemingly unreal bubble of uncaring is actually the best strategy.

Rest assured, though, and please trust me on this point, when the threat becomes direct and personally malevolent, you will know and react accordingly.

This time, he sent Obama.

Okay. That's an extreme example. But it's not far off the mark. It's exactly how it feels when the wolf breaks through the door into your kitchen or the taxi driver pulls a gun on you.

That's when you shift into kill or be killed mode. But not before. Going nuts over trivia is a mug's game. And it drains energy you will need for the real fights to come. Think of those times as the province of our better angels.

***Not true. Actually a perfect metaphor, the movie, the song, in this context. My usual serendicity. Watch it. Tina Turner, Switzerland's newest ex-American citizen, is glorious.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Evita & Evita Jr.

Look at all those adoring men... Makes you cream your jeans, right?

DEJA VU. Think I'm kidding? Here's the gist from the Washington Examiner:

Hillary Clinton hasn't stepped into the 2016 Democratic presidential primaries yet and there's already buzz growing for the ultimate grrl power ticket: Clinton and first lady Michelle Obama.

"All due respect for President Obama and Vice President Biden, but that would truly be a dream team for America," said former Clinton spokeswoman Karen Finney. "Both women are proven effective leaders who've raise children, so dealing with Congress would be a snap!" added Finney, also a former Democratic Party spokeswoman.

"More than anything else, this reflects the growing awareness that it is time for the glass ceiling of the last old boys club to be firmly shattered," added Democratic strategist Chris Lehane.

It's not just talk. Bumper stickers reading "2016-Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama," and "Hillary-Michelle 2016 First First Lady Ticket For President" are popping up. Cafe Press said sales of the Hillary-Michelle bumper sticker saw a 60% increase from December to March, with the largest uptick in March.

Kind of perfect when you think about it. A couple of over-educated parasites whose biggest responsibilities before plunging into electoral politics themselves were approving the menus for state dinners and organizing White House Easter Egg Rolls. Husbands are good for one thing and one thing only -- padding that do-nothing resume into the appearance of accomplishment.

The MSM will love it, and the vital LGBT support will be locked up as long as the Clinton-Obama administration promises to carry over Janet Napolitano and Kathleen Sebelius, Rupaul is named Attorney General, and Madonna becomes secretary of the new Department of Marriage.

Still, I don't think it's going to happen. Michelle's media, vacation, fashion, and self-celebration schedule is far too full to permit of even token VP duties like offending everyone on a daily basis. And who wants to work for that self-important white bitch who embarrassed the hell out of everyone for a week or so with that Benghazi screw-up?

But it's fun to think about, eh? Might even force President Hillary to quit looking like a cleaning lady, which she has since becoming the most lackluster secretary of state in history, and resume the snappy coifs, pantsuits and makeup she briefly affected during the 2008 primary campaign. That would be all to the good. Her dead hair and pasty face would be such a bummer to everyone but the L's of the neo-Rooseveltian LGBT coalition that so unites contemporary lefties and libertarians.

It never hurts to dream, though. What America is all about.

Something Happened.

RIDING A DEAD HORSE. I'm going to try to set a precedent here for future discussions of religion. Meaning, I don't think anyone can be credible without revealing some personal history. I'm not what I would term a believer. But I'm certainly not an atheist or what I would call an agnostic either. I'm strongly inclined toward belief, but I can't manage the total surrender faith seems to require. What is that? Agnostic and leaning?

I was raised an Episcopalian, which even in my childhood was not so much a theology as an ethical code. It was about rectitude more than anything else. Praying was not submission. It was talking man to man to God, as if we were equals in some way. I was taught to look down on Catholics, the papacy, the cattle call nature of mass. They didn't get the communion wine, did they? Only the tasteless wafers while the priests drank their fill.

But I had problems with my denomination from a very early age. And nothing I could find a source for in my family. I became obsessed for no discernible reason with the problem of Judas. I couldn't find anyone who understood my quandary, so I nourished it on my own. Without Judas, there is no Christ story, no crucifixion, no sacrifice, no salvation. Jesus was a god. Judas was a man. Jesus presumably knew the prophecy he was fulfilling. He knew all along that Judas was an indispensable agent of his destiny. Yet what happens to Judas? He hangs himself in shame and his name is never given to another. Who makes the greater sacrifice? The god who knows he can defeat death and rise again? Or the mere human who knows he will be condemned for all eternity by doing what the entire force of prophecy insists he must?

As a result, I became more of a student of the history of Christianity than of scripture. I did learn scripture. In those days, you couldn't avoid it. I had courses in prep school on the Old Testament and the New Testament from an ordained Episcopal ne'er do well, whom we laughed at but couldn't indict on the basis of insincerity. He believed.

The history project was more fruitful. I found a key in the Encyclopedia Britannica, which documented an almost total collapse of faith in the 19th century. There was even a time when most seminarians believed Christ might not have lived at all, because there was so little record of his existence. Rationalism was a big thing in the 19th century, don't you know.

Back to the key, though. The Britannica noted a problem the rationalists couldn't explain away. Which leaped at me from the page. What the skeptics and cynics can't dismiss is the fact of the infectious rise of Christianity. There's no reasonable explanation for it. Something happened that catalyzed it. What?

It wasn't a political movement. It wasn't unique as a religious movement in most respects. (Resurrected gods were a cliche from Egypt's Osiris to Greece's Dionysis...) The Roman Empire was rife with messianic cults, as was Judaism. Something happened of an enormous nature that remains a mystery to this day. A man who spoke to no more than about 30,000 people in his lifetime somehow went on to transform the world. Hmmm.

So I went adventuring. Studied ancient religions from the Middle East to the Far East to the Mayans to Easter Island. Learned Latin and Greek. Studied quantum physics because it suggests consciousness is part of the nature of reality. Studied brain studies, computer technology because of its brain analogies, and even Wolfram's programming theories of evolution because I wanted to understand why something happened no one has ever been able to explain. Because I wanted to believe and nothing in my incredibly expensive education was oriented toward facilitating that belief.

Always thinking of Judas. The closest I got, not close enough, was Schroedinger's Cat, a quantum physics thought experiment that posits a cat both alive and dead in a box, existing in neither state until an observer opens the box. The live and dead state which exists before the observer looks is called a superposition of states. I had a momentary image of Jesus and Judas in a superposition of messiahs... And then I lost it.

I've never solved the problem. But I've also never lost the conviction that something happened. Something that transformed western civilization utterly in less than a third the time the ancient Egyptians preserved their Maat on the Gizeh plain. The Greeks for all their intellect didn't do it. Their Gods were just earlier versions of the amoral, rutting creeps the Romans worshipped in their thousand years of murderous rule. Plato's Cave was a prescient glimpse of existentialism, but hardly a vector of hope and individual identity.

So I keep circling and circling the Christian mystery, wishing I could find a way in. Hoping I may one day.

Why I have zero patience with so-called rationalists who wish to inform Christians how fucking stupid and backward they are.

Because I have found an application for the superposition idea. Christianity continually strives to fragment itself. Catholics. Pentecostals. Protestants of every variety, from rationalist Presbyterians whose predestination turns rationalism itself inside out to Baptists who reduce Christ's two great commandments to not drinking or dancing. The smart ones insist they're all nuts. I have a different idea.

Christianity is the greatest human story ever told because it's a story told about ourselves and its purpose is always hope. The way to understand the richness of this story and its forward thrust is to understand that all the splinters of Christianity are joined in a superposition that continuously interconnects much like the ICR of a book many people purport to understand without ever seeing it whole.

When you look inside the box, guaranteed you won't see Ayn Rand's objectivism. Which is a pale, pitiful sliver of reality divorced from everything alive and worth living for.

When you look inside the box, you'll see proof that something has happened between man and the universe. What, I'm not sure. But that's the hypnotic mystery of it all.

Best wishes and prayers to the new Pope.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Hero behind the Hero

T'was ever so.

THE STORY BEHIND THIS STORY. I've mentioned Ernest Shackleton a few times here. Recommended a book about him in fact.  Now I'm recommending a documentary from my new favorite cable outlet, the Smithsonian Channel. Shackleton accomplished a miracle in bringing every member of his ill-fated 1914 Antarctic Expedition home alive after the loss of their ship left 27 men stranded on the ice. But he didn't do it alone. He couldn't have done it at all without Frank Worsley, the sea captain who did, well, everything to get the crew from the wrecked ship in the pack ice to Elephant Island, where they waited for months while Worsley and Shackleton navigated an open boat across three thousand miles of sea to... Guess you'd have to watch the whole story.

Please do so. Worsley isn't famous. But he should be.

Life doesn't hand out its laurels the way you think it will when you're young. No trophies for just showing up, you can be sure. And maybe not even one for the guy who pulls everybody's irons out of the fire. Something to think about. Yet history can be relentless and finally, eventually, fair. Hail, Frank Worsley.

Golden Age Gone

. Funny. I tried so hard to find a free version of the greatest comedy album I ever heard for you. Then I thought, why would I do that? You SHOULD pay for the best comedy album you've ever heard.

Except there's no sex or profanity or scatology or anything else that has come to be humor in this country in it. Not even breasts.

But it's still so good the Amazon folks are charging for it. What is it? Peter Ustinov's one man Grand Prix race. He does it all. He's the interviewers, the drivers from every nation, all the cars and crashes, and even the crowd response. You know. What once, a long long time ago, was called talent. And funny. The way this guy puts it is exactly what I remember from when I first heard it nearly 50 years ago:


14 of 14 people found the following review helpful

Ustinov treatment for Vintage GP? I must be in Heaven!!, March 6, 2004

By Jundla

Sir Peter Ustinov is one of the greatest performers I know, a breathtaking genius who always leaves me slack jawed with his incredible ability to identify the most essential aspect of something and, off-the-cuff, rip off a cutting, incisive, insightful skit about it that is not only hilarious and intelligent but also utterly unique. Never again would what you saw be repeated, and at no other time would it have happened. Sir Peter is a glorious pleasure and a comedic genius in the performing arts completely without equal.

So when Stirling Moss, asked what CD would be in his car player, answered The Grand Prix of Gibraltar by Peter Ustinov, of course I just had to have it. I learned that it had been reissued, and lo! It was listed on! I was still in India at the time but I placed the order anyway and then counted the days till I could get back to the US and get my hands on it. I knew very little about it and, in keeping with my policy of never reading about a performance before I experience it, I kept myself in the dark about it.

I have experienced it and I want to share it with other people. I might warn you that unless you have an interest in grand prix racing, particularly vintage GP, and unless you are familiar with the times and the personalities of racing of the '50s, this performance may not mean much to you. You need to sit back for an hour and surrender yourself to Ustinov. If you want to do other things alongside or are looking for a 3 minute compressed version, forget it. This needs your attention and your patience. Its enormously entertaining, but I think only for people who love vintage GP racing and Ustinov.

I sit here listening to it trying to write a review and I find myself failing entirely. I always try to make the reader feel something what I felt, but in this case, I fail. I may be able to write about cars, but I cannot write about a performance about Sir Peter. Nothing I say will make you experience this performance vicariously through me.

So I have decided not to write a review for now. I will instead exhort you to buy it. The only sounds heard on the disc are created in the throat of Sir Peter. All of the personalities, nationalities, engines, racing sounds, national anthems that appear on the disc are his voice. The racing teams and personalities of the times, national stereotypes, and just about everything surrounding racing is woven into the satire. And incredibly, it was all unscripted and done in ONE DAY!!

I do not expect most people to understand or appreciate this effort. But if you know who the Commendatore was, if the names of Alfred Neubauer, Stirling Moss, Gordini, Fangio are well know to you, if you have a feeling for their times and efforts, and are eager for a look at all that from Sir Peter Ustinov in his inimitable style, you MUST buy this CD.

Peter Ustinov performing about GP racing? What impossible alignment of stars brought this about? Whatever it was, this disc is one of the most wonderful possessions I have related to my motor mania, a timeless masterpiece that I hope to own and appreciate forever.


Grand Prix of Gibraltar. From the Golden Age, when the cars were not identical anorexically bony things but something like women, curved, distinctive, and absolutely treacherous.  And the drivers were completely insane. The good old days.

Buy it or don't. I've done my duty. Told you about it.

The rest is up to you.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Fag Marriage:
Answering the Critics


We'll start with Lake:

What's wrong with you, B? I just reviewed your excellent work on the Obama Diary on Amazon, only to come over here and find that you continue to despise the values of RFL and most of his readers.

My problem is I can see that I'm correct. I don't just believe so, I don't just like to think so. It is evident; in front of my eyes. If I despised all your values, I'd just leave. I keep harping on the God blind spot because you're all better than that (most of you are). I'm not trying to enforce my personal preference; I'm trying to get you to correct an error in your thinking. Don't you want all your beliefs to reflect reality? Isn't that kind of the point?

You've got me dead to rights on this point:

Brizoni: The guy who posts incendiary arguments and then ignores comments, leaving for months at a time. We'll see the next carpet bombing in - (checks watch) - July.

When I lay the truth out plainly, I expect others to see it as well. When they chose not to see it, I get discouraged and check out. Repeat. Plus, not everyone can stay at the computer and write five days a week. Sadly.

Not this time. Maybe persistence is the key to getting through to you all. Worth a shot. I guess.

Next up is Urthshu, who has the distinction of being the only commenter to read what I wrote. He still got it wrong:

In the general, I've seen plenty of people who make the same reply that what they're doing isn't harming anyone, except perhaps themselves. Alcoholics, drug addicts, compulsives of many stripes. They're wrong but they want what they want and fuck you.

In the specific instance, gay marriage opponents are making arguments focused on the harm they believe will ensue. You're not listening because you want what you want and fuck you.

I disagree with gay marriage opponents because I've listened. Their arguments don't pass rational scrutiny. Their gloom and doom predictions are pure gas. Unlike with drugs and alcohol with their easily forseeable negative consequences, gay marriage as such will, beyond a reasonable doubt, not have any adverse impacts. That's what I spent the whole post explaining.

You're scoffing throughout the piece about those who say including gay marriage would harm straight marriage and dissuade straights from entering into it. Of course that looks ridiculous on its face!

The trouble here is that you're not the marginal case. The fact is there are plenty of policies besides gay marriage which can and have affected the institution of marriage, and at each step along the way virtually the same arguments have been made, lost, and harm has ensued exactly as predicted.

70's era, it was loosening the divorce laws. Opponents said that making divorce easy would increase the amount of divorces, shattering families and leading to widespread societal ills, such as poverty and behavior problems with youth.

Those persons were called crazy. "You're nuts! There's so much stigma attached to being divorced that nobody in their right mind would want to be divorced! We're trying to lessen the amount of pain that these unfornates will go through so they can get on with their lives! Plus we're saving children in the absolute worst cases! You're just blocking this out of antiquated Biblical notions!"

But they were right. And each shifting of the margin makes the next instance more possible, until it becomes commonplace.

And you know, there's plenty of these examples. Welfare [nobody would willingly endure the shame of being on the dole!], welfare for single moms [there's so much shame involved in being a single mom - nobody would choose that! No way there's going to be more of them!], enforced child support from never-married men [there's so much shame in being a deadbeat dad - this is going to increase the level of responsibility in young men!].

So: If we allow gay marriage, will the institution of straight marriage be harmed? In some respects, the answer has to be yes. It won't dissuade you, no. It would dissuade somebody else, if only as an excuse for their own cold feet. And each case of objection makes the next more palatable until that becomes common, like single motherhood and welfare.

The point he makes about the steady erosion of norms seems cogent. But when he tries to put gay marriage in that august company of social ills, he falls flat. Try to imagine a groom-to-be chickening out by using gay marriage as an excuse. Really imagine how that would go. "Sweetie, I've been thinking... you know how queers can get married now? Maybe we should just call this whole thing off." Absolutely absurd. Not just "on the face of it," but all the way through down to the bottom. If you'll pardon what might count as a pun.

I said Urthshu reads, but it might be closer to the truth to say he skims for gotchas. If he had read in the sense of reading to really read, he would have seen that I already answered this objection. Oh well.

I do give Brizoni credit for saying straight out that he's out to destroy religion and seeing same sex marriage as a means towards that end.

Destroy it? No. I want it put in its proper place: As an individual, private concern. That Urthshu thinks this constitutes destroying religion says more about him than it does me.

On to the Boss.

For the record, most of your argument was preempted by my rebuttal to your first post on "fag marriage."

A baldfaced lie. A blatant, low-down, rotten, deliberate lie. You anticipated NONE of my argument about the proper role of religion in civil society. Instead, you flung me yet another refried load of Yxom shit. Which I have refuted. But I'm happy to do so again: I benefit from the thinkers who came before me, but I'm not obligated to parrot them. We're not Chinks here. I am history's student. Not history's slave. Here's what history tell us again and again: Both the material and the intellectual status quo can and ought to be improved upon. Make sense? Great.

Another way to look at it: Who are you to drag quantum physics into Christianity? Isaac Newton didn't think it was necessary. The authors of the Gospels certainly didn't. Do you really think you're smarter than the Apostles and Augustine and Isaac Newton and all the believing Christians before you who never saw it the way you see it? Were they bumbling rubes in your eyes, because they didn't have the benefit of your crucial insight?

See how easy this game is? Are you ready to admit this line of "reasoning" is a crock?

Defending yourself and your faith against aggressive claims that you are a bigot BECAUSE you believe in your faith (claims you repeat and endorse) is hardly the same as moving offensively to impose a religious theocracy.

For fuck's sake. You didn't even read my post. Gay marriage opponents aren't content to protect their churches from imposed gay marriage. They want ban gay marriage for the rest of society. Why won't you use his brain on this issue? Why do you think faith is exempt from criticism? Actually, I know why. I'll need a seperate post to dispense with it.

You were just getting warmed up then. Noticing a pull quote from ErisGuy— that perpetual nothing— you craft a whole post refuting a very quick aside I made in my essay. Why not address my main points? I can't imagine.

The jist of it seems to be that the Dark Ages weren't entirely a wash. After all, they managed some derivitive architecture and one poem. And who needs a luxury like sanitation when you're a rural people? It's like camping! And they were only so poor to begin with because of Rome and all. It's a good thing Christianity was around to pick up the pieces.

Except it didn't. As you yourself will help me show.We'll start this mini-fisk with the caption under the video, before even the main body of text begins.

"Yup. Those Christians are the biggest problem. I know this 'cause, you know."

You lead off with a slant that would put the Daily Show's writers to shame. What I said was, the right's theocratic urge is a problem, some conservatives have fully gone over to the theocratic dark side, and even conservatism's non-theocrats have bought into the nonsense arguments against gay marriage. It's not acceptable. And it's not a difficult take to get one's head around.

I'm not going to argue theology or gay marriage here.

Should have stopped the post right here. Because those are the topics at hand. Instead, you focus on a very minor detail he thinks he can crush me on. Shabby.

...Brizoni has done this one better by postulating, without proofs or a single reference, that Christianity resulted in a thousand years of misery. Let's see. Christianity became the official religion of the Roman empire in c. 350 A.D. Which means, by his math, there's nothing new worthwhile until sometime after 1350 A.D.

I know you know what rounding is. As though because I didn't say roughly, I must have meant exactly. And did I say "nothing new worthwhile"? No. I said a thousand years of misery. The West doesn't start getting the major works of Aquinas until about the 1250s, and even before that crucial milestone people were still struggling to crawl out of the mire, with Scholasticism and the Magna Carta and poor Eriugena and Abelard and the list goes on. I thought saying "read for comprehension" right at the beginning would dispel misunderstandings of this kind. Maybe writing "Wilfull Stupidity" on the very next line gave you ideas. My bad.

That's exactly the story behind your failure to remember that a thing called rounding up exists. Look how much of the rest of your rebuttal you have to stake on this clownishness. It's worse than garden variety lying. It's pretending to be stupid to make a stupid point.

...Oxford University dates only as far back as 1096 A.D., safely after the Dark Age proper, though well within Brizoni's window of nothingness. [Thousand year strawman. Take a drink.] Except in Brizoni's math [drink], the next 500 years.... all of which happened inside Brizoni's thousand year immoral Christian misery. [drink, wobble pleasantly in your seat]

The "barbarian" Celts [Caesar] conquered and slaughtered were not at all uncivilized. In fact, they controlled more of the western world in terms of territory than Rome did. They also had outstanding engineering, including a network of roads that facilitated trade from Scotland to Turkey. They had science, they had art, they had poetry, they had laws which protected children, women, the infirm, and the mentally deficient. They had Boudica, who was not an anomaly but a testament to the fact of female power, exemplified by women who could own property and divorce their husbands for reasons of impotence, infertility, and homosexuality without losing their right to reclaim their dowries or marry again. And, uh, no, the Romans had none of that. The Romans disposed of unwanted babies under their bath houses. The Celts didn't dispose of babies deliberately at all. They had a sense of something that's been called the right to life.

This is all pre-Christianity? You think this helps your thesis that humanity had no sense of individual human worth until Christianity? Did you realize you left this in the published version of the post?

Let's skip ahead, shall we? Rome finally falls in 476 A.D.

Or, let's stop right fucking here. WHY DOES ROME FALL? Could Christianity's ascendency have anything to do with that? A major thrust of your political commentary is that bad ideologies cause civilizations to lose their nerve. Not seeing any parallels here? No possible correlation?

...Because there's no way he'll ever listen. He still thinks the Inquisition is infinitely worse than Stalin's pogroms.

Uh, no I don't. Christianity is far better than communism, or Islam, but that doesn't mean it's good enough. Even angry ol' Dick Dawkins admitted he was grateful to be born in an Anglican culture. I'm grateful I wasn't born in some ideological toilet. That doesn't mean improvement can't or shouldn't be made.

There's more, but I'm tired. I won't explain that after the muslim conquests in the Mediterranean, the Crusades became necessary to restore contact with the Old World and launch the Enlightenment. Something Christianity did...

This hypothesis explodes itself in short order. The Dark Ages predate the Muslim conquests by a few centuries; Muhammad wasn't around in 480 to cut Europe off from the Old World. The West stagnated and regressed because it chose to shun the Greek tradition. You say it didn't? Augustine disagrees:

...there pertains to the soul... a certain vain and curious longing, cloaked under the name of knowledge and learning, not of having pleasure in the flesh, but of making experiments through the flesh. This longing, since it originates in an appetite for knowledge, and the sight being the chief amongst the senses in the acquisition of knowledge, is called in divine language, "the lust of the eyes." (1 John 2:16).... Hence do we proceed to search out the secret powers of nature (which is beside our end), which to know profits not, and wherein men desire nothing but to know. ...even in religion itself, is God tempted, when signs and wonders are eagerly asked of Him,—not desired for any saving end, but to make trial only. [e/a]

Good thing no one listened to that guy! Imagine if he'd ended up one of the prime architects of early Christianity! OH, WAIT.

If Christianity by itself had had the power to Enlighten, it would have done so; the West had plenty of it. The Old World had no essential or catalytic piece of Christianity that the West did not (unless you can identify one). The only thing the Old World did have that Europe didn't? Greek thought. Christ didn't launch the Enlightenment. Aristotle did. When his thought was coupled with an ethos more committed than the Roman to the ideal of individual human worth. A trait that, by your own admission, predates Christianity. At best, religion was an help meet for philosophy in this instance, and nothing more. More likely is that it took (close to!) a thousand years for anyone to devise a way to rationalize free-ish thought in a doctrinal context. Wouldn't have taken as long in a freer intellectual climate, but hey, catch-22.

Unlike atheism, faith is not a checkbox. It is challenged constantly. Those who have it rethink it, rebuild it, recommit to it all the time. How we know we're alive and not just going through the motions of someone else's set of neat notions.

Spare me. If that were remotely true, you'd have admitted I'm right, and we could finally move forward.

You Have No Idea...

ABOUT THAT TEN YEARS... I said I'd been doing this for 10 years. Gross understatement. More like 35 years that I've been writing almost continuously about the crisis in our civilization. If you ever wonder why I'm peremptory and impatient with Commenters. Not pulling rank. Just explaining.

Instapunk wasn't my first blog. Before that was something called It began in 2000, about the time of the contested George W. Bush election. It also contains a post dated 1999, which really dates to 1997, when I wrote a diary on a personal computer before I had Internet access. It was called "Writing Down America." Consider it a pre-blog blog. Desperately concerned about the direction our country was headed in.

But there was also a lot of stuff in between 1998 and 2002 that, well, overlaps. In 1998 I began work on a multimedia project that consisted of more than 3600 mouse-created graphics and approximately 350,000 words of text, conceived as a journey through a fictional realm called Shuteye Town. You clicked your way through about 40 subway stations in an underground world that had its own Internet, a huge mall, dozens of cable TV channels, a vast bookstore and movie rental establishment stocked with parodies of everything popular and admired, video games, its own Scripture (The Zeezer Bible), and a rebel world that challenged all the verities. And all of it was extensively hyper-linked as a kind of treasure hunt.

It was called Shuteye Town 1999. I finished it in time to publish it in 2000 at Amazon. Then I immediately went to work on an on-line sequel called Shuteye Nation, which was an add-on to another project I'd already been working on: That was a site I didn't start but added extensively to when I finally got a modem. I learned about it through a site called Delphi Forums where young people had been arguing about my book The Boomer Bible long before I arrived. I joined their discussion then added large new chunks to the Boomer Bible website, including significant post 9/11 content and before that, Shuteye Nation, which was a snapshot of the end of the Clinton administration and the beginning of the Bush administration.

Where Shuteye Town 1999 was heavily graphical and occasionally mysterious in its all-encompassing scope, Shuteye Nation was a very direct satire of mass media, politics, and their principal celebrities. Not drawn but massively photoshopped. There was a Who's Who of famous Americans, a Who's Who of History, a Who's Who of Foreigners, an American Gazetteer, a Foreign Gazetteer with linked essays about topics like the paradise of Castro's Cuba, Hitler's relationship with beer, and France's relationship with boobs. There was also a slate of parody publications, including newspaper columnists, national magazines ranging from National Geographic to the Smithsonian to Time and Newsweek, and a Glossary of the language used and abused by all these entries.

Everything changed after 9/11. I added a huge new section to about the origins and pursuit of the war on Islamic terror. Which led finally to the creation of Instapunk in 2003.

The roots of all of this activity are the works I wrote about the punk writing movement. Which began with the first story I wrote that broke from the fiction conventions I'd been taught. That story sits in an old post at Instapunk. The Parade of Volumes. It was written in 1976. The conception grew and grew and took me until 1991 to deliver on, with the publication of The Boomer Bible. (Truthfully, I became a punk writer even earlier, when I wrote a rock lyric called 30 Pieces of Silver [Brizoni, take note]. It began: "Jesus, Judas, what have they done to you? Judas, Jesus, was everything to you.")

So was I idle between 1991 and 1997?  No. I wrote a book-length manuscript explaining the writing philosophy, esthetics, and structure of The Boomer Bible (half of which still exists as scanned image files attached to an email I still might locate someday). That's also the period in which I acquired the material and produced the multimedia manuscript for The Naked Woman, the only full-on, take no prisoners satire of feminism, which unfortunately poisoned my reputation with print publishers and their legions of female editors. The original manuscript now sits on a Bernoulli drive in someone else's hands, but big chunks of it, including a redefinition of intelligence testing and an explanation of how to pass the computer industry's Turing test are included in Shuteye Town 1999.

It should be clear that I staked my fate on high technology early on. It should be clear, for example, that The Boomer Bible was always a hyperlinked work, even though the first chapters and verses were written on a massive Underwood manual typewriter. A lot of my work is therefore not accessible to linear print-oriented folk, and much of it is also stranded in obsolete technologies that were riskily still incubating when I used them. I have no particular beef with that. I gambled. It may yet be that most of my output can be saved and reformatted as part of the history of those who first tried to break the old barriers and do something different.

My principal point here is that if you think my takes on the contemporary scene are somehow off the top of my head, glib more than annealed by experience, you're wrong. I may be wrong in what I conclude. But I'm not just some New Media wag trying to build a reputation.

To show you how old I am and how long I've been hanging on to hope against all odds, I offer you this:

1967. I was there when it hit the charts. Took me many years to
understand its Shakespearian depths. But then I'm a jerk, right?

Pitiful, ain't it?

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Share: Your 5 Closest Calls.

. I was going to do another post, but then I got to thinking of all the wonder kids we have here. And I'm curious. How close have you come to meeting the Grim Reaper? Not any more, I tell you, but in the past I used to stare into his eyes all the time, from a very early age. Does it matter? Probably not. But all of you who think the only we time we stare death in the face is when we're wearing the uniform, well, maybe not. Embarrassingly for me, a lot of my own close calls, the ones I remember anyway, are, well, more glamorous than not. Forgotten are all the times I drove too hard, fought too hard, etc, and so on. I may have been in more danger in Ithaca, NY, when some dead drunk biker townies wanted to throw a Cornellian out of a window onto the street two floors below. But you don't tend to think of close calls as situations you manage to talk your way out of. So here's my surviving list:

5. Trip to Ship John Light.

What was I, seventeen? A friend I trusted launched us toward the Delaware Bay lighthouse called Ship John Light in a 12 foot Boston whaler. The water was deep, the currents were treacherous, the boat was small, the distance was long, and I had no idea why we were doing it. Afterwards, my friend told me it was the dumbest thing he had ever done in a long line of dumb things he had done. We could easily have been swept into the bay and out to sea, he said. "We were very lucky." Odd, though. I remember the whole trip. It was fun. We went round the lighthouse and back home. Not even the video above, in its much larger boat, did that.

4. Grand Corniche.

Maybe Ship John didn't scare me as it should have because I'd already done the Grand Corniche. My dad was a WWII fighter pilot. I was 10. Didn't realize he was afraid. He just seemed grim. Nine hours of driving through the Alps on barely two lane roads with gaping holes in the ancient Roman walls on the fall-to-your-death side, while crazy Frenchmen and Italians insisted on passing on blind corners. It looks idyllic in the tourist literature. In reality, when we reached Menton, my Dad couldn't straighten his fingers, He'd been absolutely certain he was going to kill jis wife and two children, hour after hour after hour. No wonder we nearly missed boarding our ship for home. And, oh yeah, I was scared the whole time too. When you look to your right, there's nothing but water, a mile below.

3. XKE flip.

Sometimes close calls happen in an instant. That's this one. Eighteen this time. We went to Somers Point, NJ, in a Jaguar XKE roadster. We enjoyed ourselves and came home. Good night, eh? Not so fast. We got all the way to the quarter-mile long driveway we'd always used as a kind of salt flats when he nodded off. The XKE slewed left and suddenly we were mired in a ploughed field. The state police were on the scene so quickly I still don't know how they managed it. My friend, the driver, somehow beat the breathalyzer, but it wasn't until the next day that the, er, forensics brought us both up short. The tracks where the XKE went off the road were evident. They led into a tilled but unplanted field. Then there were the tracks where it landed. A hundred feet away. On all fours. The goddam car flipped in midair, flying, flying, with no top, just two dumb shitheads inside, and deposited us safely upright in dirt. The bonnet was entirely ripped off. Landed somewhere between takeoff and landing point. Happened so fast we never had any sense of the flip. But we were young and dumb in those days.

2. Leonardo da Vinci

Can't remember if I've ever mentioned this one. Nearly died in a hurricane at sea. Sister ship of the Andrea Doria, which did sink. Not going to blow it out of proportion. No need. It was very very close. I was ten. All the glassware was destroyed. All the passengers were disgustingly seasick. The sick was everywhere. The name of the hurricane was Beulah. Look it up.

1. Easter Sunday, 1972.

The worst. The most frightened I've ever been. I defied the Harvard final club tradition of visiting rooms and polite separation. I made it my business to see the inside of every final club enclave on campus. I would climb any height to do it. Upper windows are rarely locked. In this fashion, I saw the interior of the Fox, the Fly, the Delphic, the Spee, the Owl, and even the Lampoon. Then came the Easter morning when I found myself standing on a fifth floor railing of the Porcellian Club. I had to stand on tiptoe to squirm through the window into what amounted to another locked room. Never saw the interior of the Porcellian. After which I retired from cat burglar work. Never penetrated the AD either. Now that I'm old, I'm just glad I didn't die from being dumb.

Yeah, I've nearly creamed myself a bunch of times in cars and motorcycles over the years, but these are the things that stand out. Hope you understand.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Time for a little sanity here.

My wife reminded me she didn't know this particular epistle.
So I had to remember it for her. She's so forgetful sometimes.

WHIP THAT DEAD HORSE! It's a fact. When religion walks in the door, sanity goes out the window. I get it. People are upset about Brizoni's attacks on God and Christianity. Fed up. And querulous about why I don't seem to be.

A few points of order. Not everything I write pleases you, either. I've taken your shots over the weeks, months, and years, some of which have hurt me, but you don't notice because I hit back. Does anyone remember that I've blasted the Catholic Church, ridiculed fundamentalists, and even presented the bizarre hypothesis offered by some philosophers that our universe is actually a computer simulation?

Not when Brizoni comes in to attack the Judeo-Christian tradition. That's when you start getting pissed off. He's wasting our time. His posts are too long. You can't stand them even as you can't read them because they're way too long and a distraction from stuff that matters. While you forget that my stance since the election has been that almost all the political stuff doesn't matter and won't until the horse race starts shaping up for the 2014 midterms.

I understand. It offends you. It annoys the hell out of you. And my defense of this heretic against righteous criticism in the Comments is absolutely infuriating. Helk gets tarred with the same brush. Doesn't matter that he's written multiple books about quantum physics, fights the good fight against leftism on his own website, and just has a certain contrarian bent that continually erupts here, for some reason. A lot the way Brizoni erupts here. Bad bad bad. (Never mind that maybe they're here because here's where they respect the quality of the opposition they'll get. No quarter expected or given.)

A few days ago, I told you how to use the Search functions here. If you do, you'll discover that if I've ever been mean to you, it's nothing compared to how mean I've been to Brizoni and Helk. I have absolutely hammered Brizoni twice in the last week or two, but that's not enough apparently. Tipping point. A onetime commenter here emailed me to suggest that a better Christian Mission than continuing dialogue with Brizoni was to jettison him and then, even if that hurt me personally, not to let that loss affect my relations with others. Meaning him and company, I suppose. Really? My Christian Mission is to throw under the bus a man who has spent hundreds and hundreds of hours whipping my blog posts into book form, without any help at all from me, because the greater obligation I have is to be nice to everyone else?

uh, I don't think so. Guess what. My Catholic wife isn't exactly enchanted with Brizoni's atheist posts either. What does she do? She doesn't read them. She also concedes she has no idea what Helk is up to. She doesn't read his comments, either. Problem solved.

As an aside, interesting that Brizoni's unacceptable and unreadable posts draw more comments than do deliberate attempts to change the subject. Oh, that's right. Nobody wants to talk culture either. What do you want to talk about? Poor poor pitiful you? I guess telling you that 80 year old Kim Novak thinks Jimmy Stewart will be the first to greet her in heaven is completely out of the question. But maybe you could find coverage of that at the Media Research Council, where they're selling catastrophe-proof DVDs of Leave it to Beaver and National Velvet. Good luck with that. Never a female breast in sight. The way God always wanted it.

I've been doing this for ten years. Longer than most of you have been reading here. Let me remind you of the DNA of It was an outgrowth of The Boomer Bible and the punk writing movement it represented. That, rather any desire for personal anonymity, was the reason for the multiple signatories representing different punk personas -- Instapunk, LocoPunk, CountryPunk, TruePunk, etc -- which I abandoned in recent years only because of the epidemic of blog sock-puppetry and the charge that anyone who didn't use his own name was probably some coward hiding in a basement. But the premise was never intended to be nice. It was all about combat in the realms of intellect and spirit. The change has, in fact, diluted the humor, satire, and entertainment value I've been able to provide. I don't get to write the over-the-top piece as TruePunk and reassess it more reasonably as Instapunk. Part of the price we all pay for political correctness. In the past year or so, I've had to arrange artificial and somewhat stultified debate forums to accomplish what I used to simply by switching punk hats.

Brizoni battles me in the way I used to battle myself. I can't control it as well, of course, because he's his own man, thank God. And, yeah, he's got a bee up his nose about God. Fine. Who should that bother? He also has gone toe to toe with me on Ayn Rand, whom he admires and I don't, which once won him about as much support as antipathy in these very pages. He's no lefty. What else isn't he? Not a Doomsday Prepper withdrawing from civilization. Not an anti-Semite. Not a smug know-it-all who's content to see the United States of America go down in flames because things aren't going our way at the moment. And he conspicuously doesn't sit on his hands. In that respect, he's in a small company of Instapunk heroes which also includes Lake, Apotheosis, and Guy T. Among them, they are responsible for the internet's live ICR version of The Boomer Bible and the html preservation of Shuteye Town 1999. Brizoni has assembled two Instapunk books and published one in paper form. (Also Null, Winston Sith, and M, who have labored to keep alive the TBB Delphi Forum and the images and fiction of Punk City. And BalowStar, wherever he is.) If you know anything about the punks of Punk City, you know we don't leave our own behind. Not ever.

Not even when they get mad. And they all get mad. It's a punk thing.

The getting over the getting mad part is what so many are missing today. Why we're in so much trouble as a nation. Everyone gets to sulk. For a time at least. Then comes the time to quit sulking. The Baby Boomers are tremendous sulkers. The X-gens too. The Millennials, well, I'm not sure about them. I actually still have hope for them. And I love the way both Brizoni and Helk keep coming back even though they take more heat than any of you ever have and don't quit.

Because quitting is the biggest sin when lives are on the line. Unless short attention spans are.

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