This will likely go the rounds in the rightosphere, but I would be remiss if I did not pass it along. When a prog accuses you of being racist because you won’t admit how racist you are? Or that your denial of your racism is proof of your racism?That’s a logical fallacy called a kafkatrap:
Having shown how manipulative and psychologically abusive the kafkatrap is, it may seem almost superfluous to observe that it is logically fallacious as well. The particular species of fallacy is sometimes called “panchreston”, an argument from which anything can be deduced because it is not falsifiable. Notably, if the model A kafkatrap is true, the world is divided into two kinds of people: (a) those who admit they are guilty of thoughtcrime, and (b) those who are guilty of thoughtcrime because they will not admit to being guilty of thoughtcrime. No one can ever be innocent.
I’ve had Joel Kotkin’s The New Class Conflict on my Kindle Wish List for some time. It’s dovetails with what I have long thought about the actual class structure of America for some time. I was rather pretentiously calling myself a “rebel against my class” back in college.
But I hadn’t yet found that need to hit the 1-Click button until I read the Foreword by Fred Siegel:
From roughly 1916 to 1932 the journalist-intellectual H. L. Mencken set the tone for much of American reporting by way of his thumb-sucking pieces on the American scene, collected in six volumes of his Prejudices. Most of the pieces were written from Mencken’s hometown of Baltimore, and on the unusual occasion when he traveled to observe the scene, as in his “coverage” of the famous Scopes trial, what he wrote was more a reflection of his prejudices than the events observed. Joel Kotkin is the anti-Mencken…
I must confess that I have never enjoyed the so-called Sage of Baltimore as much I have wanted to. If Mencken were not a wit, no one would read him. As it stands, few read him now; they only quote him, out of context, as a capstone to an uncharitable argument. Mencken made charity seem a dastardly, pitiably weak emotion. It is why he ultimately has nothing to say that does not smack of a schoolyard taunt.
Mencken suffered from the journalist’s ailment: a thoroughgoing blindness to anything good in the human heart. To a journalist, everything must be scandalous underneath; everything must be a lie. The Bible has to be a bloated Oriental literary fugue; democracy, a con game, marriage, a siege. That almost everyone considers these notions now and again accounts for a general demand to have them wittily expressed. This Ol’ Henry Louis supplies, with lightly sprinkled learned references to disguise the otherwise pedestrian nature of his remarks. Mencken never gave any insights you could not gain from sharing a bottle of whiskey with a barfly.
This attack was worse in terms of body count, but I haven’t been as attached to the issue. All the usual suspects have said all the usual things. There has been the moment of Twitter solidarity, and the massive pro free-speech rallies worldwide. And the French police have arranged for all of the suspects but one to become dead. Which is all fine. It means there’s life in the old girl yet.
But in my gloom I wonder if our elite, so painstaking in not fanning the flames of anti-muslim rage, are rather going to end up bringing it about. There’s only so many times people can be told “Yes, but understand them,” before losing all desire to understand anything but threats and the removal of same.
This is a religious war. We don’t want it to be, but it is. We don’t want it to be because we lost our taste for religious war in the West some 300 years ago, and have as yet not regained it. But if we had our wants, we wouldn’t be fighting this war at all. Most of us would be entirely content to let the Middle East and Islam buzz off and do as it liked provided it left us out of it. It’s not like we actually care about what’s going on in Yemen.
And because of that, our elites would much rather pretend that this is some failure of cultural understanding, with some regrettable law-enforcement and precision-bombing involved. They don’t want to use the weapons at their disposal, because they are far more interested in making their culture reflect their specific prejudices than in defending it as it is.
And what are these weapons? In a cultural war, attacking the premises of the offending culture, mocking its claims of sacrality, forcing it by moral suasion to accept change. And it means answering violence with violence.
We aren’t prepared to do that yet. Not fully, not without shame, not without assuring ourselves that we really don’t want to. This is a pride of ours, that we consider very little in this world worth killing for. And it’s better than the alternative. But it will not give our enemies pause.
When we reach the end of the road, and we find ourselves faced with our enemies’ demand “Submit or die,” we may yet find the determination to find the third choice. This will be ugly. It will be messy. It will not assure us of our evolved natures. But it will decide things quite clearly.
In my pre-Christmas book splurge, I picked up Kafka’s The Trial, which has so far reminded me why I wait 1.5 decades between reading Kafka books, and Camus’ The Rebel, which has delicious bits of tasty absurdity.
And deliberately so. One cannot be a rebel without a set of values to hold higher than the powers-that-be, but one cannot — pace Nietzche — create one’s own value system without arriving at absurdity and nihilism.
So Camus fails here:
The final conclusion of absurdist reasoning is, in fact, the repudiation of suicide and the acceptance of the desperate encounter between human inquiry and the silence of the universe.
It cannot wash. Absurdism with values is a contradiction. The “encounter” with the silent universe has no purpose. It is to encounter nothing. One can just as easily do that dead.
This sickness will run its course. Either the fever will break and sanity will return to civilization, or it will kill the host and give rise to a new age of innocent barbarism.
But from where will the barbarians come? We have made them scarce of late.
Revisionism in the name of the oppressor? The worm be turning.
Which prompted the Internet (and especially Reddit) to lose its damn mind. Because, 12 days from yesterday is December 21st, the first day of Winter. The next book in the series is titled The Winds of Winter. Therefore, on that, day, he will announce that book’s release.
And while I would love for this to be true, I just can’t get my hopes up. Writing epic fantasy takes a long time. Doing a good job with it takes even longer. This isn’t some Dragonlance novel you can poop out in a few months; this is A Song of $(*&ing Ice and Fire. He’s got a million threads to weave together: Stannnis’s deathmarch, Jon Snow touching the void, Cersei’s trial by combat, Sam in Oldtown, Arya in Braavos, Sansa in the Vale, whatever the hell is going on with Brienne and Jaime and Lady Stoneheart, etc.
Oh, and Dany riding a dragon with a khalasar at her back.
First off: the slow intro, empty desert, sense of dread, reminiscent of There Will Be Blood. Dug it. The darkness sitting dormant.
Stormtroopers: Same but different. Questions abound: Are these Republic Stormtroopers? Some Imperial rump state? Is the guy who pops up in the desert a good guy pulling a Luke, or some poor stormtrooper who stumbles on to the source of all evil?
R2-Polie-Olie: Looked weird, in a cute way.
Girl on the Desert Speeder: I want to assume that this is Han & Leia’s daughter, based on what I know of the Expanded Universe. The speeder itself has a very Episode IV-Tatooine feel, without being an obvious knock-off of Luke’s T-16.
X-Wing Surfing: I want to assume that this is Luke’s son, based on what I know of the Expanded Universe. Or perhaps Wedge Antilles’ son. But for all I know, it’s someone else altogether. Still, cool effect.
Lightsaber with crossguard: I liked it. Sloppy, kinda goofy, but cool. The entire scene is menacing, but looking at the presumed Sith from behind makes me curious: is this a scene in which the good guys try to sneak up on Darth Whosis and fail? Is this Darth Whosis stalking a prey of some kind? I want to find out.
Millenium Falcon, now with obligatory J.J. Abrams lens flare: First time – Okay, pretty cool. All subsequent times – GREATEST THING EVER.
But that’s me. Warsies (what the Trekkies call SW fans) are now arguing over ever single aspect of this. For example, at the bottom of this Dorkly anthology of Force Awakens fan art (yes, already), somebody calls the Lightsaber-with-crossguard a “light claymore”. This creates an argument, because it’s a standard length-sword! This provokes a rehash of why a lightsaber with a crossguard is and is not totally impractical. Because magic swords have to make sense.
Also, did you know all Star Wars fans were racist? This is true because of a reddit thread in which people admitted to being confused by black stormtrooper, because obviously not a Jango Fett Clone. Cue arguments about whether the stormtroopers in the Original Trilogy were clones or not.
Also, rolling droid is totally the new Jar-Jar Binks. Totally.
The only hope from all this pissy slapfighting is that we go in with low expectations. Between the Prequels and Lucas being an obstinate troll about the Special Edition, we have become a bitter and jaded fandom, ever ready to pounce on minutiae as preparation for disappointment. If The Force Awakens is competent (and there’s no reason to suspect it won’t be), that might draw some of the poison out, so we can go back to the important things, like making fun of Trekkies.