A matter of canon


Every word of this, basically.

Originally posted on madgeniusclub:

One thing I think nobody in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s could have anticipated, was the extent to which the popular science fiction and fantasy products of that era would continue to be dominant well past the turn of the new century. Certainly there was no indication, when the original Star Trek limped through the end of its third season, that the franchise — there was no franchise at that stage — would spawn numerous successful spinoff TV series, over a dozen full-length motion pictures, any number of comic book adaptations, and well over one hundred novels; both original stories, and novelizations of films and TV episodes. Roughly one decade later, Star Wars revolutionized movie-making, and turned science fiction into a common household commodity. Battlestar Galactica — derided by critics as a Star Wars ripoff — earned so much fan loyalty in syndication, that one generation later it was revived…

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Everything Old is Old Again – Chuck Berry Reviews the New Wave

And by “New Wave”, I of course mean music from forty years ago.

Of most interest is what he says in response to The Sex Pistols “God Save the Queen”

What’s this guy so angry about anyway? Guitar work and progression is like mine. Good backbeat. Can’t understand most of the vocals. If you’re going to be mad at least let the people know what you’re mad about.

I like this not for the obvious dissonance regarding Rotten’s vocals, but because he notices what Steve Jones and Paul Cook – the Pistols’ guitarist and drummer, respectively – brought to the mix. Both of them are, IMHO, better than almost all their contemporaries in the UK punk scene. They could actually play. No one noticed because the hysteria focused on Rotten and Vicious.

But the most revealing is his response to The Romantics’ “What I like About You”

Finally something you can dance to.

The notion that Rock becomes chamber music, to be enjoined above the neck only, with each “new” iteration is the thesis of one of the best music books I’ve ever read, How the Beatles Destroyed Rock n’ Roll. If you haven’t partaken, do yourself a favor.

Please Stop Using The Indians in Immigration Arguments

This tweet by Mickey Kaus reminds me of an irritating chesnut that pro-immigration types love to trot out whenever they encounter disagreement. It usually takes the form of

“Well, it’s a shame that the Indians didn’t think of border control!”

Or something equally smug. It’s stupid for two reasons:

  1. The Indians did think of that. Which is to say, they contested white overlordship of North America with everything they had. There’s hardly a state in the Union that was not wrested from the natives violently. Some more than others, but still. The idea that the Indians meekly welcomed the palefaces to America is just plain wrong. They fought. They fought hard. They just had too many material disadvantages to overcome.
  2. Why on earth would we want to emulate their results? So, in an argument about whether our immigration policy is letting in too many foreigners, you deliberately bring up the people from whom foreigners took the continent, as an argument for letting more foreigners in. Precisely whom is this supposed to persuade?

The answer, of course, is no one. It’s not an argument; it’s an exercise in social signalling. By saying it, you get to be one of the good, socially aware people, thus trumping any need to actually be right on a policy question. Because if you’re one of the good people, your opponent must be one of the bad people, so whatever he says is bad.



The Pope is Not a Communist

So Sayeth Thomas Williams over at Breitbart.

Rather, the Pope is a critic of the spiritual malaise involved of the worship of Mammon. As he should be. But he never has said, or even suggested, that the free market be replaced with another economic system.

Francis’s predecessor, Pope John Paul II, famously distinguished between capitalism as an ideology of lawlessness and capitalism as a system that promotes free exchange and creativity.

“If by ‘capitalism’ is meant an economic system which recognizes the fundamental and positive role of business, the market, private property and the resulting responsibility for the means of production, as well as free human creativity in the economic sector, then the answer is certainly in the affirmative,” he wrote.

This is a summary of how Pope Francis thinks.

Read the whole thing, and observe the regularity with which the progs who write for the mainstream media shoehorn papal statements into things which confirm their bias.

Because the media – especially the American media – do not understand Catholicism. They never will.

Scott Walker’s Out, and I May Be, Too.

This is not the primary we thought we would be having. But it’s the kind of primary we should have expected.

Every four years, Republican voters hope to get a new candidate vetted by debate and campaign who articulates conservative principles, recommends conservative policies, and demonstrates the qualities of a leader. Instead, we get one of the also-rans from last time.

Trump ran before. It was a joke, and over quick, but he did it. He got his name out there. He got a sense of how the game was played. So now he’s back and sucking the air out of the room. He may bully his way into the nomination. He may even troll his way into the White House (the Democrats are that weak). But what kind of President would he be? God alone knows. I won’t vote to find out.

What I wanted was a Governor with teeth, who had belligerently put forward the kind of policies that excite me. Who had a record of trimming Leviathan’s claws without apology. Rick Perry was such a fellow. So was Scott Walker. Now, I cast about for the candidates and I struggle to care. Below, a List of the Remaining, and whether I could vote for any of them.

  • Jeb Bush. The Mitt Romney of 2016. The Establishment choice. Would he be better than any Democrat? Yes. But no more than his father and brother were, and I don’t think the party needs any more of that. No.
  • Dr. Ben Carson. He seems a decent bloke. He’s got a soft-spoken demeanor that appeals in small doses. He gives good quote. But he just doesn’t seem Presidential. But that’s a very subjective standard, and so I withhold judgement. Maybe.
  • Chris Christie. I used to love this guy. He was the kind of frame-shifting bellicose Republican whom more should be like. But now he seems less bellicose and more bullying. I question whether he’s really conservative or just plays one in New Jersey. And he sold us out in 2012. Maybe not deliberately, but he sold us out. I won’t trust him, and I won’t vote for him. No.
  • Jim Gilmore. Who? Does this guy really have the guns for this? Is this a serious candidacy? Or his he trying to put a chit in for 2020? Maybe, I guess?
  • Ted Cruz. The Brain in the race, and arguable the last true conservative standing. Maybe now he starts making some real moves. So far I’ve respected his strategy of staying out of Trump’s way and letting other chumps go after him. But I feel like he may need to take a few casual swipes just to remind people he’s in this. However, his policy statements are impeccable, and he’d make the Left furious. Yes.
  • Lindsey Graham. Speaking of sellouts. Lindsey Graham reminds me of a stupider Bill Clinton. He’s not fit to lick Ted Cruz’s shoes, and he’s nobody’s idea of a President. No.
  •  Mike Huckabee. What is this, his third race now? Does this man not get hints? Does God need to write the words “THIS COUNTRY WILL NOT ELECT A MAN WITH A HILLBILLY SURNAME” in the sky before he stops? He’s only a social conservative, anyway. He’s never had a chance, he never will, and I’m not going to bother pretending otherwise. No.
  • Bobby Jindal. I like Bobby Jindal. I really do. Maybe he’ll get Scott Walker’s spot in the big-kid debate. But he’s never quite risen to the occasion as a candidate. I feel like this is the next bit of scrim under the rudderless Trump bus. But if he somehow managed to overcome the odds? I could see no reason to refuse him. Yes.
  • John Kasich. He’s not exactly what I had in mind, but he might do. Maybe he’d have some crossover centrist appeal. And maybe he’s just a poorer Jeb Bush. Maybe.
  • George Pataki. Please. This guy stopped being a figure in national politics ages ago. He couldn’t win his home state if he gave out free gravy fries. This is a vanity run. No.
  • Rand Paul. I was kind of hoping that this guy would be the saner version of his dad, that he would articulate the Libertarian vision in a way that GOP primary voters could get behind. Instead he’s chosen to focus on picking unnecessary fights, and then fight them poorly. That doesn’t bode well for the one-time Most Interesting Man in Politics. Yes, but Who Are We Kidding?
  • Marco Rubio. The worst thing about Maro Rubio is he may end up the best bet Conservatives have. I can totally foresee a scenario under which we’re rallying behind this guy in South Carolina or Georgia or something to stop a juggernaut. I suppose I could hold my nose to vote for him, but only if he does something impressive. Otherwise he’ll just be a tanner George Bush. Maybe.
  • Rick Santorum. Knock it off, Rick Santorum. You’re not going to win. Just because you were the last man standing against Romney last time doesn’t mean anyone wants to vote for you. See “Huckabee”.

    And finally….

  • Carly Fiorina. It’s a measure of how well she’s done so far that CNN took the morning to swipe at her business record. So far, she’s the only one that’s tussled with Trump and come out on top. I have to respect that. It’s too early to tell yet, but she just might have what it takes. Yes.

So what does that leave us?

I will vote GOP without apology in 2016 for: Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina.

I can be persuaded to vote for: Ben Carson, Jim Gilmore, Jon Kasich, Marco Rubio.

I will vote Libertarian if faced withJeb Bush, Chris Christie, Lindsey Graham Mike Huckabee, George Pataki, Rick Santorum, Donald Trump.

And if we remove the names of people who I don’t think have a prayer of getting the nod, that gives us:

Will Vote For: Cruz, Jindal, Fiorina

Could Vote For: Carson, Rubio

Nope: Bush, Christie, Trump.

Which means there are five scenarios under which I could care about GOP candidate, and three under which I will wash my hands of them.

I guess that means I’m no longer the guy who held his nose for Dole, Bush (the first time around), McCain, and Romney. But the campaign is young.

Quote of the Day – Housing Crisis Edition

Megan McArdle:

Bubbles are not fundamentally about evil people doing evil things. They are not even about stupid people doing stupid things. No, the problem with bubbles is worse: It’s quite ordinary people, doing stupid things that a trick of the light has made appear very smart.

Every time you hear that the markets or the economy are rigged so as to be “recession-proof”, laugh. It’s what I do.

Sarah Hoyt Reminds us Why “ChiCom” is a Lovely Slur We Should be Using More Of…

I really didn’t think the Drama(!) of this year’s Hugos could get any thicker. I thought they’d have their awards, and some Puppies would win, and some Puppies would lose, and everyone would claim victory, and I’d go right back to not caring about the Hugos.

Dear Sweet Lord, was I wrong. The Hugos have gone full lightning-rod.

An amid the fallout of everything, some maleducated nitwit decided to have a go at Sarah Hoyt for the use of the word “ChiCom”. Which is a Cold War abbreviation of Chinese Communists, one that has fallen into unuse since Nixon went to China and the Cold War ended.

It is of course great fun to point out the massive idiocy that assumes “ChiCom” must be racist because it refers to Chinese people. There’s enough layers of historical and linguistic ignorance to make a tiramisu. But far better than that is the useful reminder of how irretrievably wicked the Maoist regime was (is?). Which you will find if you click the link. Orwell’s worst fantasy’s had their expression during Mao’s Cultural Revolution, and Hitler’s Holocaust was exceeded nearly by an order of magnitude. But we ignore all of this for the same reason we ignored Stalin during the Second World War – it was useful to do so.

So I’m planning on throwing “ChiCom” around a lot. For the lulz, as it were.