New Content: Demon-Killing and Caliphates

I have long been fascinated by the Crusades, the Crusader states, and the military orders. Piers Paul Read’s The Templars is a magisterial book that fits in well with the newer generation of Crusade historians (good-bye, “ambitious younger sons”, hello “pious armed pilgrims”). The Templars, of course, met their brutal end before the Middle Ages were over, but the Knights Hospitaller survived, first on Rhodes, then on Malta, where they became the great anti-Turk sea-lords of the Mediterranean. They survive today as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a charitable organization with knightly flavor.

That history and a few viewings of Hellboy has inspired a piece of fiction, perhaps the stepping stone of a larger work:

View story at Medium.com

On a related note, the claim of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant to the Caliphate of all Islam let me down the rabbit hole to learn one or two things about what went down in the Mid-East in the 20th Century. Most interestingly, I learned that the House of Saud has been ruling in the Arabian Penninsula for a long time. Check out the rest at my new svbtle.com blog, Histeria. A relevant quote:

The Caliphate is imperial by nature: it’s godly goal is to expand the ummah. Every Caliphate has stagnated and collapsed when it hit its military limits. That was true of the Umayyad Caliphate, the Abassid Caliphate, and the Ottoman Empire; it will be true of ISIL.

Where exactly those limits are is the question of the hour.

from “Monarchy, Legitimacy, and the ISIL Caliphate

And of course, there’s my music tumblr, Every. Damn. CD. I just finished up with Led Zeppelin. Rockabilly to follow.

awesomeness_poster_by_sillada

Why Do Europeans Hate Jews? Who Cares?

Spengler hits his usual note about the dullness of European civilization, post-nationalism: the tribes of Europe had their folly baked into the cake of their culture during the dark ages. In his view, Isidore of Seville and Gregory of Tours are the “Bialistock and Bloom” of Europe, inflating these upjumped Germanics with the desire to be the elect of God, which they cannot be. Anti-Semitism and World War One ensue.

Whatever the merits of this position, I find myself wondering why any Jew gives a damn. Europe has not been a welcoming place for Jews: in the 1877 years between one set of Europeans smashing the Second Temple and another set anxiously permitting Zionism to happen, Europe was a kind of Babylon for Jews, a place of silence punctuated by violence.

Can any Englishman alive today recall which King it was who expelled the Jews from his realm? Or how long it was before they were allowed back in? Europe tolerated the Jews when they felt like it, and scapegoated them when their blood was up. The Third Reich merely applied insdustrial techniques and bureaucratic focus to an existing undercurrent of hate. It’s always been there, and always will be.

Thus, I cannot imagine anyone in the Knesset noticing what the Europeans do. Israel has learned not to rely on the goodwill of gentiles. So long as they have their army and the strategic heights of Palestine, they will do what they must, and the rest of the world can go hang.

Because in 1000 years, there will not be an England, or a France, or a Germany, or an Italy. There probably won’t be a United States of America. But there will still be Jews.

Best Albums Lists are Always Wrong. Always.

I’ve never even heard of 90% of this Best of the 80’s list.

Therefore, they’re wrong.

But they know more about music than I do, because they know and have listened to these albums.

Therefore, they’re right.

But they’re a UK mag, meaning their judgement only makes sense according to the British 80’s scene. And the 80’s were a time when American and British music diverged somewhat (except in hair metal).

Therefore, they’re irrelevant.

logic

Is Seinfeld’s Clio Speech the Greatest Award Acceptance Speech of All Time?

He switches from praise to insult without skipping a beat or changing tone.

Of course, this could only happen at the Clios because advertising execs are entirely comfortable with having the scorn of the chattering class with their dinner. They make illusions for others, and so have none. Whereas the earnest dorks at the Oscars, etc., would never stand for being told that they’re a bunch of  lie-peddling whores.

Then again, maybe they would. I nominate Jennifer Lawrence for the job.

She looks ready.

Let Us Perform Cruel Postmortems On Legendarily Bad Films: Highlander II

Still waiting on Decider to give us another “Disasterpiece Theater“, so instead I’ll link this cruel fellow beating the dead horse that is Highlander II, a film I haven’t even seen (because I never saw the big deal about the first one, but whatever. Geek does not require explanation).

This is what sometimes happens when you try to ressurrect a film, to apply charity to film criticism, to wipe off the snotties and say you’re not really such a bad boy, are you? Sometimes you find yourself staring numbly into the raw horror of a universe devoid of reason, where nothing makes sense.

Highlander II almost immediately goes back over every plot point of the first film. The immortals were never immortals but in fact aliens, Sean Connery can resurrect himself (ironically making him more immortal than when he was actually an immortal), and the Highlander wasn’t actually from the Highlands but instead from another planet. It also retcons the prize to a choice between dying slowly or being executed. Also, all that bit about MacLeod first meeting Ramirez, learning his true nature and all that character development? Retcon! Turns out they already had some sort of weird civil partnership thing going on, using magic space honey. Also, MacLeod was head of the immortals, I mean “Zeistians”.

dude huh

That’s the beginning of the long discussion of a plot that was clearly written by coked-out monkeys via William Burroughs’ cut-up method. That’s my theory, anyway, because despite the headline, the linked article doesn’t actually explain how this happened. How did a director make a film he walked out on? How did human writers conceive of this madness? What studio head looked at this and said “Yes! Put it out for the public! Now!”

Amazingly, it didn’t destroy the franchise. Far from it. The 90s saw a Highlander explosion, with a new film, a TV series (that got its own films in the 2000s), novels, video games, and even a cartoon series. They all have one thing in common, though – they all pretend that Highlander II never happened.

I would like to offer a counter-theory. Because the first Highlander struck me as kinda “whatever”, I would like to ask if the horribleness of Highlander II is precisely the reason that the universe went on to thrive in the 90’s. A merely boring sequel, that would have let to audience and studio indifference. But a terrifyingly bad monstrosity as a sequel to a film that was pretty good and sold well, that gets remembered (as evidenced by the fact that I’m writing about it this many years after the fact). And more, it creates a need for redemption. Somebody said “Boy we hosed this! This is embarrassing! We need to fix it!” Thus, the first film build a fan base, the second film outraged it, hence, other films and TV. Highlander II died that others may rise.

GamerGate Scores: Intel Pulls Ads

spanish_inquisition4

Daddy Warpig has the details.

It’s tempting to read too much into this and declare victory. But even if this is as bad as it gets for the SJWs, it’s still far below what they intended to achieve.

In any event, this isn’t over. SJW’s maybe lifelong converts to a cause, but gamers are not like to give up and roll over, especially not after something like this. As Warpig puts it in the comments:

It’ll take a while before the next shoe drops, I believe, and some may get discouraged in the interim, but boycotts work. Especially with gamers. Those dudes is crazy. They will keep playing games for more than a decade (Brood Wars! SM Alpha Centauri!), and will hold grudges for even longer.

You don’t poke the bear. It’s just not smart.