Rev. Strangechirothecœ: How I Learned to Love the White Supremacy, a Reflection by Pope Douthat

Someone tell Douthat the cilice is supposed to go around his thigh, not his neck, and he’s cutting off the oxygen to his brain:

The nostalgia flowing since the passing of George H.W. Bush has many wellsprings: admiration for the World War II generation and its dying breed of warrior-politicians, the usual belated media affection for moderate Republicans, the contrast between the elder Bush’s foreign policy successes and the failures of his son, and the contrast between any honorable politician and the current occupant of the Oval Office.

But two of the more critical takes on Bush nostalgia got closer to the heart of what was being mourned, in distant hindsight, with his death. Writing in The Atlantic, Peter Beinart described the elder Bush as the last president deemed “legitimate” by both of our country’s warring tribes — before the age of presidential sex scandals, plurality-winning and popular-vote-losing chief executives, and white resentment of the first black president. Also in The Atlantic, Franklin Foer described “the subtext” of Bush nostalgia as a “fondness for a bygone institution known as the Establishment, hardened in the cold of New England boarding schools, acculturated by the late-night rituals of Skull and Bones, sent off to the world with a sense of noblesse oblige. For more than a century, this Establishment resided at the top of the American caste system. Now it is gone, and apparently people wish it weren’t.”

I think you can usefully combine these takes, and describe Bush nostalgia as a longing for something America used to have and doesn’t really any more — a ruling class that was widely (not universally, but more widely than today) deemed legitimate, and that inspired various kinds of trust (intergenerational, institutional) conspicuously absent in our society today.

Put simply, Americans miss Bush because we miss the WASPs — because we feel, at some level, that their more meritocratic and diverse and secular successors rule us neither as wisely nor as well.

Look I’ll just stop there because it’s quite clear that Douthat completely misses the point. First off, there is not widespread nostalgia for Bush, as I know quite a few people who are not too nostalgic for him whatsoever, and they’ve spent the last week being tone policed about not speaking ill of the dead. So we can dismiss the notion of universal remorse for the days of yore. Any nostalgia over Bush, such that there is, is rooted in one simple thing- that the current Republicans, as embodied by Trump, are so much worse than the deeply, deeply flawed Reagan/Bush/Quayle/Bush Wasps.

That’s fucking it. Let me explain this with a tweet:

And another thing- the assumption here is that white people have stopped running the show, and that minorities and more secular and diverse people have been running things, and have not lived up to the WASP standard. I hate to break it to Pope Douthat, but white people are still running (ruining?) shit, and this current mess is on them. I mean jesus tapdancing christ.

I could go on, but why? That is it. The End.

I Am So Sick of this Fucking Gun Argument

Every time I see this nonsense argument I want to blow a fucking gasket. I just saw it again from some idiot on a friend’s fb page:

The “we can’t do anything about guns because the rurals need them for protection” is the biggest bunch of bullshit ever. It makes me absolutely insane with rage every time I see it.

No one is coming for Pappy’s shotgun. We’ve all fucking read In Cold Blood, fer fuck’s sake. We’re not talking about your deer rifle, your family heirloom 12 gauge, the revolver great great grandfather Cletus had from his time during the war of northern aggression, or the luger your great uncle got off a dead nazi in Bastogne. You will be allowed to have a weapon to protect your farmstead.

What we are talking about is trying to cut down on weapons with massive firepower that are more at home storming the beaches at Normandy than making sure no one is terrorizing you in your fucking doublewide. And it’s little things- closing gunshow loopholes, performing background checks, banning assault rifles.

Jesus tapdancing christ.

Small Victories Open Thread: Bannon Not Doing So Well Right Now

At an unpublicized micro-rally in North Topeka, Bannon told a small gathering that a New York Times poll showing Democrat Paul Davis with a four-point lead over Republican Steve Watkins was the catalyst for his spur-of-the-moment decision to fly to Kansas.

He expects Robert Mueller to deliver a report on President Donald Trump before the end of the year. If Davis wins, Bannon said, Democrats will take control of the House and use the Mueller report as a blueprint to launch impeachment proceedings.

If the Trump base doesn’t show up next Tuesday, he said, “we’re going to lose this.”…

About 25 people attended the rally at the Holiday Inn Express on US-24 highway, including a small contingent of event organizers and individuals following Bannon for a documentary. People were notified midday by unsolicited texts that read: “Support Trump and MAGA! RED TIDE RISING RALLY with STEVE BANNON.”…

Bannon spent the day at similar events in Nevada and planned to provide motivational talks for Kris Kobach’s campaign before leaving for Iowa. Kobach, the Republican nominee for governor, is tied with Democrat Laura Kelly in consistent polling.

“Sometimes,” said Christopher Reeves, a Kansas representative to the Democratic National Committee, “you know your candidates by the people who rally to support them. Steve Bannon was worshiped and publicly praised by the American Nazi Party, David Duke and others. He once said feminism is worse than cancer. He was fired from the Trump administration for being too radical. It is clear what he believes about Steve Watkins and Kris Kobach, and that support is pretty troubling.”…

Late Night ‘This Crap Again’ Open Thread: It’s A Boid… It’s A Plane… It’s BIZARRO TRUMP!

This was the role Donald Trump was supposed to assume in December 2016 — the grifter travelling first-class on ‘campaign donations’, riling up the rubes in his base to shiv Democrats and prop up Republicans. Sanders is no Trump, showman-wise, but then the Cosplay Socialists in his particular camp are even more pathetically eager to be pleased than the MAGAts.

And of course the NYTimes is there for him!

Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has not yet announced he is running. But for several blocks in this college town on Sunday afternoon, he was certainly marching.

From the front of a group of Iowa State College Democrats, Mr. Sanders, widely assumed to be preparing another presidential candidacy, inspired cheers and chants, his mere presence whipping up the kind of political excitement this early-voting state knows so well.

But if Democratic euphoria was the theme of the day, Mr. Sanders also sounded a cautionary note about the party’s prospects in the midterm elections on Nov. 6.

“I happen not to believe that there’s going to be this great blue wave,” he said earlier on Sunday at an event in Fort Dodge, in north central Iowa. “I happen to believe that on election night, which party controls the U.S. House will come down to a very few seats.”…

Somewhere Dean Baquet felt a thrill run up his leg, without quite knowing why.

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Normalizing Anti-Semitism

Yesterday the President and the Chair of the Judicial Committee, Charles Grassley, repeatied lies about George Soros. Today Rudy Giuliani joined in this mainstreaming of anti-Semitism.

1) The accusations against Soros come out of organized anti-Semitism. They use Soros as a stand-in for the unacceptable formulations that have been used by anti-Semites for centuries. Don’t use these accusations, and don’t go to websites that promote this stuff.

2) I take this somewhat personally because back in the 1990s and early 2000s, when I was working in countries that had been part of the Soviet Union, the Soros Foundation funded work to help those countries become democratic. The foundation still funds work along those lines.

George Soros grew up in Communist Hungary. He knows what unfreedom is like, which is why he set up his foundation to do that kind of work.

Late Night Open Thread: All Deplorables Together!

An’ Ah’m proud to be a Deplorable / Cuz at least Ah know Ah’m free / Of the social norms that a wider world / Tried so hard to force on me…

“None are worth the good profanity” — I like that.

Adam Serwer, at the Atlantic, “The Cruelty Is the Point”:

Taking joy in that suffering is more human than most would like to admit. Somewhere on the wide spectrum between adolescent teasing and the smiling white men in the lynching photographs are the Trump supporters whose community is built by rejoicing in the anguish of those they see as unlike them, who have found in their shared cruelty an answer to the loneliness and atomization of modern life.

The laughter undergirds the daily spectacle of insincerity, as the president and his aides pledge fealty to bedrock democratic principles they have no intention of respecting…
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Late Night Cheap Laffs Open Thread: Glib Takes for Shallow People

Yes, it’s from Politico, but I’m liking this Bill Scher review…

Have you lived through the past three presidents and managed to still believe that Republicans and Democrats share a single corporatist overlord? Do you casually use “neoliberal” as an insult, even though nobody has spotted a neoliberal in the wild since Gary Hart’s 1984 presidential campaign? Do you enjoy history lectures, but only when they are delivered by sarcastic, self-righteous people who conveniently omit anything that conflicts with their ideological worldview? Well then do I have the book for you!

The Chapo Guide to Revolution: A Manifesto Against Logic, Facts and Reason lives up to its ironic title. The freshly published polemic is co-authored by the hosts—Felix Biederman, Matt Christman, Brendan James, Will Menaker and Virgil Texas—of the socialist, satirical podcast Chapo Trap House. The podcast rakes in six figures a month from more than 20,000 Patreon subscribers. It built its following on withering takedowns of insufficiently leftist liberals who serve up “thin, flavorless gruel” in the dying news media.

The book, which aims to expand the reach of “the Chapo Way,” begins with a self-consciously over-the-top sales pitch. By imbibing the authors’ words, “you’ll become an initiate in the Chapo Mindset and take control of the neurons that govern your weak, fragile emotions.” Apparently, we should take our “Ironic Left” cult leaders seriously, but not always literally.

Yet by the end of the book, it’s hard to escape the nagging feeling that Chapo—the podcast and the book—is, at bottom, an actual, unironic infomercial scheme. They make bank by selling you a candy-coated version of socialism, one that may offend real socialists even more than liberal gruel-peddlers like myself…
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