Category despair

Crawling Back

Sometimes a plausible-sounding phrase grips the nation, and manages to persuade people, even though a moment’s rumination reveals it to be pure nonsense. When I was young, for example, people who didn’t want to wear seatbelts would always say, “I’d rather be thrown clear of the accident.” Of course this made no sense. That’s not […]

The Morally Fraught Incentive

I came up with a lot of theories when I was a kid, and some of the were wrong, especially the ones about math. But some of them were pretty close to the mark. For example, I’d noticed that teachers often emphasized the importance of effort, saying something like: “It’s not your fault if you’re just […]

Lenny Bruce Died for Old Harvard

I. I grew up thinking that Lenny Bruce was a hero, because he suffered and died to expand the range of things we, as grownups, were permitted to talk about. The Victorian era was a dark, superstitious time when words such as”belly” or “leg” were considered injurious to “sensitive” souls, and therefore banned from polite […]

More on Nazi Punching

(A lot of the same ideas as found here, but with the specific Warren Ellis parts removed, and no use of the word “boner” so you can show it to your mom.) Let me first say that I hate Nazism and everything it stands for. Now let me say that unpopular, even hateful speech is, […]

Punching Nazis Is the First Refuge of the Incompetent

…and then a Nazi gets punched in the face, and everyone pops a boner. Let’s choose one voice from the chorus of hosannahs. Let’s see what soi-disant free-speech crusader Warren Ellis has to say:  These are terrible things to say. This is all terrible. I understand that Warren Ellis is not an American and may […]

In Which Salon Is Half-Right

Salon managed to opine yesterday that conservatives have no ideology. Obviously we (at this site) are committed to the doctrine that almost no one has an ideology. Salon is therefore half right—only half because it’s clear that they believe liberals are, contrariwise, committed ideologues. The article is silly, but may be worth reading in full, if only as […]

The Last Thing I’ll Say about Trump for a While

Already, before Clinton lost, some of my friends were plotting who the next president would be, in eight more years. Michelle Obama was their pick. They loved her speech at the DNC, the speech that Melania Trump had also loved so much, and they thought she would look “presidential,” etc. Now that the Clinton dream has […]