Wednesday, August 16, 2017

MUST WATCH: Rachel Maddow on Trump's deliberate support for white supremacy

Maddow provides perspective on the history of US white supremacism, including Fred Trump's arrest for participating in a KKK riot in Queens in 1927. Maddow makes a convincing case that Trump is not "screwing up" but is instead making a deliberate attempt to bolster white supremacy in the US.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Trudeau Stories

So the reason I went to Nova Scotia was to see Brooke Johnson perform her TRUDEAU STORIES - Brooke began a friendship with Pierre Trudeau (father of Justin) when she was in college and she turned it into a one-woman show. 

It was very good - if I have one critique I would say it was too short - Brooke referred to hiking and canoeing with Trudeau but didn't provide any details.

She should also add more about Justin Trudeau, I think, to make the story more relatable to people under 50. 

But overall a fascinating piece.

I took Brooke out for drinks afterwards, hence the very Canadian photo below.

A very Canadian photo

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Yay I am in Canada

I've been too busy traveling to blog. But I finally made it to Canada. Yay!

Going through New Hampshire via Amtrak

CAT ferry to Nova Scotia

They freaking LOVE Tim Hortons in Canada. I haven't seen a single Starbucks - it's all Tim.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Off to Justin Trudeau Land

At long last!

Colbert provides a new Canadian national anthem

The Daily Show looks at Canada's open-door immigration policy. 

John Oliver looks at "elbowgate."

Trudeau handles hecklers

Trudeau can eat my poutine any time.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

A Mari Usque ad Mare

1. The Canadian motto, A Mari Usque ad Mare, means “From sea to sea."

2. For more than 40 years, scientists have tried to figure out what's causing large parts of Canada, particularly the Hudson Bay region, to be "missing" gravity.

3. In 2010, an actuarial study determined that, on average, a strategic reserve of 40 million pounds would be necessary to avoid stock shortfalls due to poor harvests. Slightly more than 36 million pounds of maple syrup are currently stored in three different locations in Quebec. Last year, the Federation had to rent additional storage space to cater for the harvest surplus. The new Laurierville warehouse will now provide the required space to fulfil the Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve.

4. When you think of French in Canada you probably think of Quebec, and most of the French speakers in Canada do live there and speak what is known as Quebecois. But there is another dialect, Acadian French, which is largely spoken in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. The two varieties differ in accent and certain words and phrases. Acadian French uses more terms derived from seafaring, and a number of old words now obsolete in France. The two varieties developed differently as the languages of separate 17th century French colonies (Canada and Acadia) with separate administrations.

5. The 1 800 O-Canada service provides general information on Government of Canada programs, services and initiatives and guidance on how to access them.
The service also provides information on alternative formats of reports and publications.
Telephone: 1 800 O-Canada (1-800-622-6232)
TTY: 1-800-926-9105
Within Canada, you can call toll-free from Monday to Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., local time.
If you are outside of Canada, go to Calling 1 800 O-Canada from abroad.

6.  One of the Articles of Confederation of the U.S. states that if Canada asked to become a state, (they) would be automatically accepted into statehood.

7.  Winterlude is an annual festival held in Ottawa, where Canadians celebrate the freezing temperatures and snow by throwing a winter themed party. The festival includes ice skating, ice sculptures, snow playgrounds and outdoor concerts.

8. Newfoundland and Labrador harvest icebergs that float over from Greenland to produce beer, vodka, wine, and beauty products.

9. But the most idiosyncratic menu item — and the one Americans might consider most far-fetched for McDonald's — was the McLobster. I ordered one. For diplomacy. For a better understanding of our friendly neighbors to the north. Even the Canadian government calls lobsters Canada's "most valuable seafood export." So ordering a McLobster apparently transports you to the pages of The Shipping News. "Tap your toes to the sound of the fiddle and embrace the salty sea air of the east coast," the ad copy reads. A vicarious trip will set you back $7.99 Canadian, about $6.51 U.S.

10. Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages

  • To ensure that your rights are respected: In Canada, the Official Languages Act establishes the equality of English and French and grants you language rights. It is perfectly normal to insist that these rights be respected.
  • To find solutions: As an ombudsman, the Commissioner of Official Languages uses persuasion and constructive dialogue with federal institutions to find appropriate, fair and long-term solutions.
  • To report a problem: Complaints are an indicator of what’s happening in federal institutions. They help the Office of the Commissioner work with federal institutions to find solutions to problems.
  • To raise awareness in federal institutions: A lack of familiarity with or a misunderstanding of the requirements of the Official Languages Act is often the reason for non-compliance with language obligations. By filing a complaint, you are helping to make federal institutions aware of these issues and promoting a change in corporate culture.

11, Justin Trudeau’s French-only responses at town hall under investigation by commissioner

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Worlds collide: P. T. Cloutier & mon premier ministre d'amour

One of my first French-related blog posts was about Quebecois P. T. Cloutier, a mere week after the US presidential election.

And then I discovered le premiere ministre de mon coeur, mon premier ministre d'amour...

And here they are together!

Organisation internationale de la Francophonie

Voila - la drapeau du Frenchie frenchness!
Canada is a member of Organisation internationale de la Francophone,

"an international organization representing countries and regions where French is the first ("mother") or customary language, where a significant proportion of the population are francophones (French speakers) or where there is a notable affiliation with French culture."

French and Quebecois culture is a political lightening rod still in Canada as you can tell by the second half of this interview of Justin Trudeau. Voices are raised. Unfortunately I still can't translate the video more than about 40% - I have some idea what they are talking about and their general feelings, but the specifics ellude me even with auto-generated French captions and Google Translate. Alors!

The General Secretary of OIDLF was hanging out with Macron recently:
« Avec le Président de la République, nous partageons cette vision commune d’un espace francophone associant stabilité politique et dynamisme économique, dans le respect des valeurs universelles que nous avons en partage » à déclaré Michaëlle Jean à l’issue de la rencontre. « Cela implique de travailler ensemble sur les causes profondes des crises actuelles qui affectent notre communauté comme le reste du monde, en luttant contre la radicalisation et le terrorisme, en soutenant les transitions démocratiques et en construisant un modèle de développement fondé sur l’innovation et le respect de l’environnement ».
I will translate:

We share with the President a vision of political stability and a dynamic economy, in respect of the universal values which we share." said Michaelle Jeane said at the end of the meeting.  "We will work together for the important causes and problems that affect our community, as the rest of the world, and fight against radicalization and terrorism, and support transitioning democracies and create a development model for innovation and respect for the environment."

Pas mal.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Ta-Nehisi Coates and the anti-art, anti-intellectual fundamentalism of Social Justice Warriors

Social Justice Warriors mean well. But their methods to achieve social justice are contrary to actual justice.

One of the methods used by Social Justice Warriors is to prevent others from speaking, and from producing art,  even if the speech and the art are only theoretical. 

Social Justice Warriors don't want to be accused of censorship no matter how censorious they are and so Coates has to jump through some hoops in order to try to defend against what he is attempting to do: shut down a TV show based on what Coates guesses it might be like, per his piece in The Atlantic

First Coates admits that it's a good idea to reserve judgment until you actually see a thing. 

But then he explains why this must be an exception:
But HBO does not actually want the public to reserve judgment so much as it wants the public to make a positive judgment.
But of course promoting its shows is what any production company does. So why should this be an exception?

Then Coates argues that because others have made pro-Confederate art (Birth of a Nation included) nobody can be trusted.

Then he pointlessly quibbles on terminology - the promotional text is "what if the South had won the Civil War"? Everybody knows this means the Confederate army. 

Then Coates says it's not the same as with The Man in the High Castle which is about what if the Nazis had won. Coates says it's a bad comparison because the Nazis are more thoroughly reviled than the Confederacy.

But this is a matter of degree. It's certainly true that the Confederacy has been given far too much respect for an organization that committed treason in defense of human bondage. But the Confederacy did lose. And furthermore, the reason that Nazi Germany committed atrocities was primarily due to anti-Semitism - and anti-Semitism still exists.

And Coates ignores "A Handmaid's Tale" which posits religious zealots controlling women's bodies. And we still have that going on today. Obviously not as much as the dystopia presented in Handmaid. But again this is a matter of degree - African Americans are still the victims of systemic racism but things have gotten better since they were slaves. 

But I don't remember anybody making a big stink about "A Handmaid's Tale" on the grounds that patriarchy has not been completely obliterated.

Then Coates goes on to say that even though the show is probably anti-racist, it's not good enough because, since there is still systemic racism there's no point in asking what would have happened if the Confederacy won.

He then admits the show has two black writers but suggests that black writers would not ever want to write a show with such a premise on their own.

As always, Social Justice Warriors presume to speak for all non-whites.

Coates then complains that the idea of the show is not original. Which begs the question, so why is he making such a big deal out of it?

I knew the idea is not original because I remember seeing the "mockumentary" CSA thirteen years ago. 

Although maybe it's just as well Social Justice Warriors don't know about CSA - since they are all utterly irony deficient they will probably think that CSA is pro-Confederacy.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Oh Canada

Marijuana in Canada - not legal yet
I'm heading for Nova Scotia on Friday, the first time I've been to Canada in twelve years. So I will be doing lots of Canada-flavored blogging in the next week or so.

And I will be reviewing the Visit Canada information on the official Canada web site.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

Tourists in New York in August

Why, tourists WHY?
I just do not understand tourists who come to New York City in August. People who live in NYC just want to go somewhere else in August, and do, when they can afford it. I especially don't understand Europeans - cities in Europe (and Canada for that matter) are a good ten degrees cooler on average than New York, where temperatures are usually in the mid-80s at least during the day. It's horrible and I hate it.

If I do move to Canada one thing I will really like is the cooler summers. Oh but the winters are colder? That's FINE.

Meanwhile the NYTimes identifies where people in the US go in the summer.

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Discutons le mot plus interdit en anglais avec un video en francais

Voila un video tres amuse qui discute les utilises de mot "fuck."

Le mot "fuck" c'est le plus interdit des gros mots dans la langue anglais.

Je vais traduire pour vous.

Hi, what's up, I am Remi Blacc and today we are going to see how to use the word "fuck" the best-known English word throughout the world or the word that American kids call "the F word" to avoid punishment. 
"Fuck this! Fuck that! Fuck" is used in so many ways. The reason you hear it everywhere is because it is one of the most versatile and interesting words in the English language. Yes! You are going to see. Yes! 
So many ask me: 'is fuck the profanity to absolutely avoid? Ummm no! Although it is better to use it sparingly, it gives strength and passion to your ideas.
Obviously you are not an idiot so you are not going to use "Fuck" in a job interview, for example: "I want this fucking job" or when you met your in-laws for the first time or even the tenth time: "I fucking love your daughter."
"Fuck" may be used to describe a wide variety of emotions. This tiny little word can express depending on your intonation: pleasure, hate, love, anger or pain. Fuck is truly a grammatical chameleon and you can use it as a verb, adverb, adjective, noun et cetera.
As a transitive verb which means it is followed by a person or thing: "Mike fucked Ashley. Ashley fucked Mike." or "They fucked each other." Ultimately we don't care who fucks who. As a transitive verb "we fucked like crazy."
It is important to understand that "fuck" does not necessarily have a sexual connotation. For example as an adverb: "I ate way too fucking much!; I fucking love Paris."
Fuck is often used to give more color and intensity to an adjective: "Brittany is fucking gorgeous."
Don't say "fuckingggg" it's not Marseillais in Los Angeles. The "g" is silent and you say "fuckin'" 
Pay close attention because the placement of "fucking" is super important. For example to describe your best friend you could say "I fucking like him." But don't say "I like fucking him." instead of "I fucking like him" If you say "I like fucking him" you have said you like to have sex with your buddy and therefore you are gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that, to each their own. But if you don't want to reveal a hidden homosexuality say instead "I fucking like him." 
Speaking of the placement of "fuck" you can also put it between two parts of a particle verb: verb plus "the fuck" plus the particle:
Shut up -> Shut the fuck up
You need to wake up -> You need to wake the fuck up
More on -> Move the fuck on
Fuck can also be a noun: "I don't give a fuck!"
You can also graft "fuck" onto an existing word. Absolutely plus fuck becomes Absofuckinglutely. 
Fuck is a Swiss Army knife you can take out for any situation imaginable. For example if you want to say you were taken advantage of you can say "I got fucked on this deal." 
When you want to say you're in trouble and you want to express despair: "I am sooooo fucked..."
If you want to be intimidating: "Don't fuck with me!"
When you are perplexed: "What the fuck." 
"Fuck" gives force and intensity to your questions: "Who the fuck is he? Where the fuck is the bus?" 
You can express dissatisfaction: "What the fuck is going on?" 
When you want to tell someone bluntly to go away: "Hey, why don't you fuck off?" 
Or simply when you are trying to think of a word: "Yesterday I was fucking... at the mall." 
Fuck can also express joy: "I fucking did it!" 
You see "Fuck" is a very practical and useful word, when you know how to use it. 
A little game to play: who can translate the following phrases?
"Stop being a fuck up and fucking around all day."
"Don't fuck with me or I'll fuck you up."
"Now fuck off."

The rest is him asking you to follow him and leave comments. Some items of note - I have no idea what the expression it's not Marseillais in Los Angeles means in this context. And I find it annoying that the viewer of the video is assumed to be a man, so if you say you love fucking your buddy it means you are gay.

Here is an English language video discussing the same word.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Le bon rosé de Provence

Over twenty years ago (is it possible?) I took four co-workers out for dinner in Philadelphia. This was before I had a credit card so I was entirely dependent on my checking account for payment and during dinner I realized I was going to be short unless I cut back on some things - so I ordered the cheapest bottle of wine, a rosé - and one of my co-workers made a slighting remark about rosé.

Well now rosé is in vogue baby. They are really pushing it all over Manhattan with big displays in most liquor stores.

So I got me this bottle from Aix-en-Provence and I have to say I am loving it. There's absolutely nothing wrong with rosé - this article discusses its rehabilitation.

The gender stereotyping that once ghettoised pink wine as a drink for girls and big girls’ blouses is long gone. Rosé is everywhere. In France, sales have exceeded those of white wine for several years now. Over here, rosé is drunk winter and summer and goes stratospheric every time the sun shines. The colour helps; a glass of rosé or crowd of bottles glowing different hues of pink is attractive. With the rehabilitation of a wine once considered too frivolous and lightweight to be worthy of proper attention has come another phenomenon: the rise of Posh Pink.
Rosé is now a status symbol – an expensive, aspirational, incredibly desirable drink that comes in ego-boosting sizes, not just magnums but also jeroboams, imperials and six-litre methuselahs. As with yachts and Porsches, size is not everything. It is, of course, imperative to have the right sort. Trying to be flash with a glass of sweet, raspberry-coloured Californian blush zinfandel is about as smart as gluing “go faster” stripes to the side of a Ford Mondeo and entering it in the Monaco Grand Prix.
First rule of posh rosé (there are a few derogations, but not many): it must come from Provence.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Arretez! C'est le French Language Police!

She says: "we are criticized for using too many anglicisms in our newspaper."
His response: OK (anglicism) Partons en debriefing (anglicism) pour faire la
check-list (anglicism) des items a updater (anglicism) dan les news (anglicism). 
("Let's have a meeting to make a checklist of words we should update.")

The French are sick of creeping anglicisms and have an entire organization devoted to dealing with this scourge: The Academie Francais. Here is the section of its web site devoted to Neologisms and Anglicisms on the AF web site

You can see why it's such an issue for the French - right across the English Channel (called la Manche by the French) is England and a thousand years of cultural exchange. 

And as if that wasn't bad enough there is the cultural dominance of the USA all over the world, and that means a double-whammy of English for the French.

The English language has no equivalent to L'Academie Francais in part probably because of the de facto dominance of English, and also because the English language has no problem with grabbing words from other languages. 

And then there's the fact that 29% of all English words already come from French and another 29% comes from Latin - and a lot of French comes from Latin. Paul at Langfocus thinks that English is a Germanic-Romance Language hybrid even though English is technically classified as a Germanic language.

The British have something to say about the French Language police:
Ask a French person to get back to you and they are unlikely to do so ASAP. The abbreviation is the latest term to fall foul of the Gallic word police, the Académie Française, which says it is 21st-century rubbish.
The Immortals, as academy members are known, have published a damning condemnation of ASAP in their ongoing campaign to protect what is known as "the language of Molière".
"This abbreviation of as soon as possible, which is far from transparent, seems to accumulate most of the defects of a language that hides its contempt and threatening character under the guise of modern junk," the Académie writes.
"The use of developed French forms would be more relevant and would not feature this unpleasant and restraining nature. It is a safe bet that the urgency of a request would be indicated in a more refined manner, and the answer would not be any slower."
It goes on to suggest dès que possible as the appropriate response.

 But although the English language is a thieving magpie, we certainly have our English-language purists in the US and it might be even worse in Canada in part because French is an official language there.

I feel like the French should relax - no matter how many English words they borrow from us - like we borrowed from them - French will never sound like English - it will always have that certain je ne sais quoi.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

More on the dirtbag left

Some more good critiques of the Dirtbag Left.

James Livingston:
What these ignorant yet arrogant little shits can’t fathom is the simple fact that the detachment of income from work, no matter what its social or intellectual provenance, means the decompositon of capitalism, because you can’t have capitalism without a labor market that correlates effort and reward in a legible and legitimate manner. Socialism resides in that decomposition—why not embrace and enlarge upon it, even in the fragmentary form of a UBI? 
But the moral of this story is larger. The Chapo crew are satirists who produce, as a matter of course, pure cynicism. Not mere irony, the “critical distance” we all need and use when we experience conflicting desires or points of view. Irony leads us into the world because it divides us between these possibilities, makes us want to test them. Cynicism via satire protects us from the world by teaching us how to abstain from its conflicts. 
But that is a way of saying that cynicism via satire protects us from politics as such. Is that we want, just now?

And Noah Berlatsky:
The dismissal of feminism is consistent throughout the podcast. Chapo doesn't treat feminism as a valuable movement or analytic framework. They treat it as a boondoggle, a distraction, and a joke. They argue that Wonder Woman's feminism is simply a way to sell imperialism through identity politics. Or they argue that William Marston, Wonder Woman's creator, was just a horny guy; the supposedly irreverent Chapo dismisses Marston's feminist commitments via prudish kink-shaming. At no point do the hosts ever admit, or entertain the idea, that women might legitimately lack heroic role models. They don't discuss the possibility that women are often excluded from lead roles in Hollywood, and that Wonder Woman in that way might address an actual inequality. They don't talk about other problems with representation either. The vigorous criticism many black women have made of the film isn't broached. 
Instead, Chapo devotes its energy to presenting feminism as useless and worthy of mockery. They discuss the Ghostbusters reboot and suggest that the sexist backlash to the film was just part of the girl-power marketing—as if the female stars of the series wanted massive amounts of sexist bile directed at them. They make a crack about "give your money to Wonder Woman"—referencing the "give your money to women" hashtag, which was an effort to highlight disparities in women's pay. The low point is when a guest blogger named Matthew Brady pops up briefly to sneer at his ex-wife, and then cracks "oh this film taught me jokes like that are wrong." His entire segment could have been lifted, virtually without alteration, from an MRA Youtube video.

I noticed the Mens' Rights Activist vibe too. 

What is most striking about Chapo Trap House and the dirtbag left is its problem with rape. Thanks to the Jeet Heer piece in The New Republic, Melissa McEwan talked about CTH host Felix Biederman's attack on her. And I've already blogged about Amber A'Lee Frost and Liza Featherstone's attitude towards rape, which is that rape isn't nearly so bad if you go to an Ivy League school. (Featherstone and her husband Doug Henwood both went to Ivy League schools.)

And one of the major components of Jacobinghazi was Amber A'Lee Frost mocking Sarah Kendzior for talking about rape threats.

Well nobody ever lost money sucking up to the Patriarchy - Camille Paglia, Katie Roiphe and Christina Hoff Sommers among others have built solid careers on it. And the existence of the Dirtbag Left and its hostility to feminism demonstrates that Patriarchy-servicing is not monopolized by the Right.

Meanwhile Henwood & Featherstone have been up to their usual hard-hitting journalism. 

My guess is that The Atlantic "stole" the title because they hadn't heard of Featherstone's advice column. Although the idea of The Nation having a personal advice column as if it was Glamour magazine, and that it hired someone as self-absorbed as Featherstone to give anybody personal advice is utterly absurd. My assumption is that Featherstone has a good friend in the hierarchy at The Nation and they wanted to give her an income stream as a personal favor. And the same goes for Amber A'Lee Frost, who has a personal advice column at The Baffler. Although reading the questions they print, I fully expect they just make them up themselves.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

On y va à French 203

I have finished my third French language course and am registered for French 203. At the rate I am going I will have completed the last of the Expert level French courses in 2019.

In addition to classes at FIAF here are some of my resources for learning French:

Thursday, July 27, 2017

23 and me and no real surprises

I got my results back from 23 and Me and there was no exciting new information - my genes indicate pretty much what you would expect - 97% Northwestern European of which almost all is British & Irish, with a small amount of French/German and and other "general Northwestern European." 

The tiny specs of Africa DNA probably go way way back to the pre-out of Africa days. 

Slightly more interesting, but not unexpected - I have a fairly high expression of Neanderthal DNA - 74% higher than other 23&Me customers. But of that, according to 23&Me, the only Neanderthal variant I have is associated with height - it's supposed to make you a little bit taller. And since I am about an inch or so taller than the average height of American women, I supposed that's valid.

One thing I was really impressed by was the estimate that my French/German connection was from between 1750 and 1840 - I already blogged about this - a cousin of mine traced some of my paternal ancestors to France - on the German border to the early 1700s

Which of course wasn't a surprise, but rather a confirmation that this genetic testing is pretty accurate.

The Oceania DNA was the wildcard - I didn't expect anything outside of Europe or Africa and that ancestor is from between 1690 - 1780. 

Also interesting, I am more ethnically French than my French teacher, who is from Morocco. 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Oh baby

Justin Trudeau in Rolling Stone:

Then he gives the press corps a high-five. 
"The back and forth between the press and government is essential to any good democracy," he says. "When you're at your best, it reminds us and challenges us to be at ours. So thank you all for your tireless work."
Where are we? Narnia? Coachella recovery tent? 2009? We are in Ottawa, Ontario, a mere 560 miles from Washington, D.C.

And yet, we are half a world away. Join me as we visit a nation led by a man who wore a Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy T-shirt on national television, rides a unicycle and welcomed 40,000 Syrian refugees with open arms.

This article arrives just in time for Donald Trump's disgusting and perverted speech at the Boy Scout jamboree.

Imagine for a half-second what would have happened if Obama or either Clinton had ever alluded glowingly to a yacht sex party in a speech to a bunch of kids. Fox News headquarters in Manhattan would have sunk halfway to the earth's core from the weight of all the outrage.

I have some issues with the Rolling Stone piece on Trudeau. It says 'His critics call him "shiny pony."' but even a quick Google search on trudeau, shiny pony indicates what I could have told author Stephen Rodrick - the expression was invented by, and almost exclusively used by Trudeau-obsessive Ezra Levant.

But I did love the ending:
Trudeau heads back toward his three-car motorcade that stops at all red lights. In the hall, a couple hundred kids hold signs that say "Hope" and "Respect." They grab his sleeve and then skitter away wearing giant smiles. It would have been corny if it had not been so goddamned beautiful. This is Trudeau's vision of what a country can be. His land races toward inclusion, while our nation builds walls and lusts for an era of vanilla homogeneity that ain't coming back. At this moment, Justin Trudeau's Canada looks like a beautiful place to ride out an American storm.
Bonus Rolling Stone article about Trudeau & Macron.

Oh dear god this man is killing me.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Chapo Trap House: KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!

Felix Biederman is the Zod in the middle
Back in November 2014, on my very first encounter with Doug Henwood, I knew what a shithead he was.

And I found it bizarre that Katha Pollitt, who had written a column defending the Great Satan of brocialists, Sheryl Sandberg, considered herself a friend of his, in view of Henwood's contempt for "lean-in" feminism - code word for feminism which considers the actual lives of women - all women - important, rather than the kind of feminism Henwood considers appropriate:
“The side of feminism I’ve studied and admired for decades has been about moving towards that ideal [of a more peaceful, more egalitarian society], and not merely placing women into high places while leaving the overall hierarchy of power largely unchanged.

The idea that putting women in high places is the same as "leaving the overall hierarchy of power largely unchanged" is typical addled-brain misogyny of the Dirtbag left, and one of the reasons why they hate Hillary Clinton so much. They don't accept that a woman as president means anything at all as far as the hierarchy of power. Because women's lives mean nothing to them - except the lives of their romanticized concept of the proletariat and 20-something Sanders-supporting earthmothers and of course brocialist helpmeets who have attended private colleges and never get their hands dirty doing anything except changing their laser printer cartridges.

Well I don't think Pollitt is friends with Henwood anymore - I found him attacking her on Twitter this past June.

Now the thing is, there is nothing in Pollitt's column that Henwood should have any problem with - but Henwood reflexively attacks any real feminists in favor of his Dirtbag left ladies auxiliary who claim to be the real feminists - you know the feminists who care about things that Dirtbag men care about, not that women shit.

The reference to Zod in the graphic at the top of this post is pretty funny. It's in reference to the article by Jeet Heer I talked about yesterday, which begins:
On a recent episode of the popular podcast Chapo Trap House, co-host Will Menaker used a memorable metaphor in addressing calls for unity on the left. “Republicans in control of politics, that’s the problem,” he began. “However, to the pragmatists out there and the people who don’t like purity in politics, yes, let’s come together. But get this through your fucking head: You must bend the knee to us. Not the other way around. You have been proven as failures, and your entire worldview has been discredited. You bend the knee to us and then let’s fucking work together to defeat these things, not with fucking means testing or market-based solutions but with a powerful social democratic message.”
LOL - you must bend the knee to us. KNEEL BEFORE ZOD!!!

It's no surprise that Henwood would be involved with these people - his seething hatred for liberal women makes him a perfect fit.

No surprise, Henwood also attacks Joy Reid. 

Henwood and his gang are awful human beings. 

Unfortunately the screen cap at the bottom of this post doesn't show Henwood chiming in because of course he would, but Henwood had long since blocked me on Facebook for being too non-compliant and so when I'm logged into my Facebook account I can't see anything he writes. I only know he participated in the shit-fest because someone else posted their screen cap of the same thing on Twitter. 

I didn't know who Felix Biederman was at the time I took the screen cap, but now I do - he's one of the three Zods shown in the New Republic article about Chapo Trap House and the Dirtbag left. And Biederman's hatred for any liberal who does not kneel before Zod is crystal clear in his comment in support of the sniggering middle-aged mean-girls Amber A'Lee Frost and Liza Featherstone cackling over the possibility of one of their Dirtbag gang trolling Sady Doyle. Biederman says: "that's cool. she got really upset." 

David Duhalde, Deputy Director at Democratic Socialists of America also chimes in: "I want to troll her bad..."

Here is Biederman attacking a woman for talking about being raped. No doubt Amber A'Lee Frost, Liza Featherstone and Doug Henwood and all the gang at Chapo thought this was hysterical.

Does anybody think that if these assholes managed to achieve the socialist regime of their dreams we'd be any better off than with capitalist misogynists and sociopaths?

For some reason, the blog post from January 2016 where I originally posted the image is getting lots of attention lately, based on my analytics statistics. It's possibly due to Frost being mentioned in the recent Jeet Heer article in the New Republic. 

The real disappointment in the image below is Corey Robin, whom Krugman has mentioned with approval on several occasions. Unlike the rest of them, Robin seems to have some things of value to say.

Krugman probably doesn't care, but most of Robin's friends hate Krugman as much as anybody else who refuses to KNEEL BEFORE ZOD.


Monday, July 24, 2017

The dirtbag left - our old feminist-hating pals Doug Henwood, Liza Featherstone and Amber A'Lee Frost

I haven't been thinking about Doug Henwood and his ladies auxiliary much since the election, but I was pleased to see that Canadian journalist Jeet Heer is on their case. And instead of "The Radical Chic" which is what I had been calling Henwood and company, Heer calls them "The Dirtbag Left" which apparently Amber A'Lee Frost herself came up with. I would have used the term "Shithead Left" myself, knowing what I know about Henwood, Featherstone and Frost but Dirtbag is more family-newspaper friendly so that's OK.

In this era of an alt-right president and mouthpieces like Breitbart, Chapo Trap House is the leftist media outlet that best understands the power of dominance politics and answers it in kind. If Trump insulted his way to the presidency, Chapo is insulting the Democrats to move the party leftward, using mockery and derision to push for a socialist America. There’s clearly a market for such content: The show is extremely popular, generating more than $70,000 a month in Patreon subscriptions, outdistancing the other top podcasts on Patreon by nearly three to one. 
Chapo is the flagship show of the Dirtbag Left, a phrase coined by co-host Amber A’Lee Frost to describe a take-no-prisoners style of American socialism that’s ascendent in the age of Trump. While examples of the Dirtbag Left can also be found in publications like The Baffler, Current Affairs, and podcasts like The War Nerd and Street Fight Radio, Chapo remains the purest example of the species. “It’s a movement that uses many of the tactics of the online alt-right—humour, memes, Twitter trolling and open animosity—while remaining committed to progressive leftist ideology,” John Semley wrote earlier this month in Maclean’s. “A given Chapoepisode sees the hosts yukking it up at the expense of hacky mainstream media op-eds (New York Times columnist Ross Douthat is a favourite target of the gang’s derision), or critiquing the limp, liberal identity politics of the recent, and much-lauded, Wonder Woman movie.”

The comparison Semley draws with the alt-right is apt. On substance, Chapo upholds the democratic-socialist politics of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, but in style it is much closer to the vituperative, insulting, shock-jock tactics used not just by Twitter users with Pepe the Frog avatars, but Trump himself. The response of mainstream liberals to these tactics on the right has been to double down on the importance of civility. “When they go low, we go high,” as Michelle Obama famously said. But the Dirtbag Left has no use for civility, and instead wants to counter the alt-right’s mudslinging in kind. Their slogan could be, “When they go low, we go into the gutter.”

I still maintain that the Dirtbag Left attacks liberals and the Democratic party with such regularity that I would not be at all surprised if one day it turns out that it is being supported by right-wing billionaires.

Dipshit trophy wife Liza Featherstone of course is represented on the Dirtbag network banging on about "lean-in feminism" because the Dirtbag Left actually hates feminism more than just about anything but they are too chickenshit to come right out and admit it so prefer to use code like "lean-in" and "bourgeois" and "neoliberal" - but any familiarity with their mindset will eventually bring you to the understanding that Featherstone & company hate feminism because it's about issues pertaining to women as a group, and the Dirtbags don't consider pay parity and men dominating discussions and other non-farmworker employment issues of any value.

Because the Dirtbag Left wants women to know that all those icky women's issues will be taken care of after the revolution comes, so STFU and stop caring about Wonder Woman.

I'm glad that actual journalists are writing about this tight little clique of douchbags, and I'm glad they have a worthy name now too.

ALSO - best tweet on the subject ever.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Trudeau is in Nova Scotia and I'm not

As it says on the web site of the Nova Scotia radio station Country 100.7:

It's a chance many may never get again, to see the Prime Minister up close.
Justin Trudeau, his wife Sophie and his children arrived in Nova Scotia today, landing at the Yarmouth International Airport just after 11am.
Many people in town noticed a ten plus car motorcade, and clued in that the PM would be arriving in Yarmouth.
Dammit. I won't be in Nova Scotia for another three weeks. It would have been nice to see les Trudeaux in person. *sigh* I will just have to settle for hearing about Justin's dad Pierre in Trudeau Stories.

And gazing upon another photo of J-TRU.  That's mon premiere ministre d'amour!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

FORD TO CITY: DROP DEAD week at the Film Forum

I only just found out about this event at the Film Forum. They are playing some of the best New York City-based movies ever, and some cult ones too. I have to at least see DOG DAY AFTERNOON on the big screen.

I remember seeing articles about this movie when it was first released. I didn't care about the movie itself but in the earliest stage of adolescence I thought Al Pacino was very attractive. And of course what androphile would not consider him cute in this movie?

Friday, July 21, 2017

Thursday, July 20, 2017

RIP St. Andrews

Although to be fair the waiters at
St. Andrews were not quite this hot in general...
I've been taking people to St. Andrews restaurant in the Times Square area for well over a decade, but when I tried to do it last Friday I discovered they had gone out of business. I can't find anything online about why. NYMag gave it a strong review and I always enjoyed it. And where else can you go to see men in kilts? Well apparently there's a place in the West Village.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

North Korea is evil

My ex-boyfriend's father escaped from North Korea when he was young. He's in his 70s now - North Korea has been a hellhole of evil for at least fifty years now.

Why have we allowed North Korea to be so evil for so long?

An American was apparently tortured to death in North Korea and North Korea has paid no penalty for that, as far as I can tell. Why? 

Monday, July 17, 2017

When worlds collide: Damon & Jo & 23 & Me

I was just blogging about Damon and Jo a month ago.

And I just sent my saliva to 23andMe a few weeks ago (results still not available yet.)

And then on Facebook I see that Damon and Jo are advertising for 23 and Me. They are sure coming up in the world.

I'd rather Damon & Jo be the face of 23&Me then the creepy animated character they had.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Enchantment

Dude can rock a tux
I went to see The Enchantment. My actor pal Matt DeCapua played a lady-killing sexyman, although the literal killing is done by the lady herself.

I was intrigued by the provenance of the play which was written by a 19th-century Swedish woman, Victoria Bennedictsson, who slit her own throat and left the play unfinished.

But I was nervous because one of the selling points of the play is its connection to two Scandinavian plays written by contemporaries of Bennedictsson, Hedda Gabler by Ibsen and Miss Julie by Strindberg. As I've mentioned on this blog, I'm not a big fan of Scandinavian plays - and you can throw Chekov in there too even though as a Russian he's not technically qualified.

I don't like Hedda Gabler and I hate the misogynistic Miss Julie. I thought a piece in Ms. Magazine about a Neil LaBute adaptation of Miss Julie, from a few years ago, has a perfect synopsis of the play:
On a midsummer night at Julie’s father’s estate, the patriarch is away and thus the servants are at play at an offstage party in the barn. Miss Julie takes a break from dancing with her servants, which is scandal enough, to flirt with Jean and have a few drinks in the kitchen. An overt display of sexuality and mutual seduction culminates in sex, after which Jean proposes they run away together and open a hotel. When Julie says she wants to go with him but cannot supply him with the seed money (the money is all her father’s, obviously), Jean turns cold, calling her a whore... 
And then he convinces her to kill herself.
Miss Julie is considered a classic and is produced again and again in spite of its extreme misogyny and  unbelievable ending.

The Enchantment is mainly a long suicide note. The author killed herself over a man who rejected her. The play indicates that the man decides, too late, to make the protagonist of the play his wife, which is not only unbelievable in the context of what we've been told about the character in the rest of the play, but also is so obviously an example of a "you'll be sorry when I'm gone" wish fulfillment.

If Bennedictsson wrote the play and then killed herself in a spectacularly gruesome way in order to be remembered post-mortem, she certainly did succeed: her play is being produced internationally, in addition to her (possible) influence on Ibsen and Strindberg. Meanwhile, the man whom Bennedictsson allegedly killed herself over, George Brandes, is, I'm guessing, mostly unknown outside of Denmark.

I suspect the translater/adapter Lexen was reluctant to make changes to the original work in order to retain the purity of the author's intent - but a suicide note is not the best original source for a contemporary play.

And the set for this production was wrong in that a small stage was made even smaller by a doorway which partitioned off a quarter of the stage to indicate a garden, which was barely used - not enough to warrant cramping up the stage that way, anyway.

But that's nothing compared to the problems of the script. The Village Voice review of this production of The Enchantment was pretty harsh, especially in reference to the male actors, but I thought that was unfair. The review notes:
Ironically, in a piece about the female gaze, the men seem to have been chosen for their beauty alone — it might be a power reversal, but it’s not quite the one we’re looking for.
But I believe the critic is blaming the casting and performances for what is really a problem with the playwright's handling of the male characters. Benedictsson uses male characters the way many playwrights even up to the present time use female characters - for support, for exposition and for objects of desire. Benedictsson's male characters are the suitor and the brother and the sexyman - mirror images of the thankless roles female actors complain about all the time. 

And about the much-touted Swedish "realism" - I doubt that these plays were especially realistic in staging or content even when they were first written. The ending of Miss Julie is especially absurd - I seriously doubt many Swedish women were so easily talked into killing themselves for having extra-marital sex, especially before any pregnancy was discovered.

Maybe it's because nowadays the realism is so extreme that playwrights like Annie Baker (I'm actually not sure if any other playwrights are imitating her in this) include long paint-drying silences which do a perfect imitation of life, but there's nothing realistic about the opening scene of The Enchantment, in which the sexyman strides in and immediately starts in on the seduction patter. He's written much too chatty and obvious for the irresistible Frenchmen he's supposed to be.

But maybe compared to the artifice that came before in Swedish theater, this is what passes for slice of life.

In any case, I think there is some worthwhile material in this play, but it needs some work to make it a satisfying piece de theatre.

One more observation I have - the play seems to be saying that "free love" is dangerous in its impact on some people. But the play does not actually make the case. Because, would the pain experienced by Louise in being rejected by Alland be any better if instead of declaring himself unbound to any one woman, he just up and married someone else? It seems to me that would be even worse. I suspect far more people have killed themselves because of rejection in favor of a single real rival than dozens of potential rivals. 

Friday, July 14, 2017

Macron woos Trump to Paris not Pittsburgh

My honeys at G20
To borrow a phrase from Wonkette, whoah if true:

I assumed that Macron invited Trump to France for Bastille Day in order to try to coax him back into the Paris accord, but I didn't expect him to get results so quickly:
"On climate we know what our differences are," Mr Macron said in Paris on Thursday, adding that it was important to move forward.

Speaking alongside Mr Macron, Mr Trump then hinted that the US could shift its position but failed to elaborate.

"Something could happen with respect to the Paris accord," he said.

Mr Trump added: "We'll see what happens."

I expect that Macron realizes most of Trump's opinions on important political issues are incredibly shallow - based on ignorance and whoever has spoken to Trump last. No doubt Macron saw his chance to use his considerable charm to flatter Trump right back into the fold.

If Macron can't do it, then the job will be up to Justin Trudeau.

And if neither Macron nor Trudeau can do it, then it cannot be done.

We will see.

Meanwhile the French media was having a good time over Trump's handshake with Brigitte Macron:

(Brigitte Macron does not escape Donald Trump's bizarre handshake.)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Le jardin français

Part of the Conservatory Garden in Central Park

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Oh oh oh oh oh, you don't have to go-oh

So I'm in the supermarket and I vaguely hear a rhythm, a familiar rhythm over the PA system and I realized it was D'yer Mak'er. I rocked out to it a little, I admit, just this side of making a complete fool of myself - I like to think.

It still sounds good to me. But I still find it weird to hear what once was considered "hard rock" being played in the supermarket. Because dear baby Jesus I am so fucking old.

Sheryl Crow pronounces the title in the South Jersey mode.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Someone told me...

My French teacher turned the class onto the music of Carla Bruni (now the wife of former French president Nikolas Sarkozy, particularly her justifiably popular Quelqu'un m'a dit.

It's a lovely song and also, it seems to me, quintessentially French in its quasi-philosophical lyrics interrupted by the refrain in which the singer hopes she is still loved by some unnamed individual.

But not just the content - the way she briskly clips along is just like French speakers - talking too fast for anglophones to keep up.

Here are the lyrics in French:
On me dit que nos vies ne valent pas grand chose
Elles passent en un instant comme fanent les roses.
On me dit que le temps qui glisse est un salaud
Que de nos chagrins il s'en fait des manteaux
Pourtant quelqu'un m'a dit.
Que tu m'aimais encore
C'est quelqu'un qui m'a dit que tu m'aimais encore.
Serait-ce possible alors?
On me dit que le destin se moque bien de nous
Qu'il ne nous donne rien et qu'il nous promet tout
Paraît que le bonheur est à portée de main
Alors on tend la main et on se retrouve fou
Mais qui est-ce qui m'a dit que toujours tu m'aimais?
Je ne me souviens plus c'était tard dans la nuit
J'entends encore la voix, mais je ne vois plus les traits
Il vous aime, c'est secret, lui dites pas que je vous l'ai dit
Tu vois quelqu'un m'a dit
On me dit que nos vies ne valent pas grand chose
Elles passent en un instant comme fanent les roses
On me dit que le temps qui glisse est un salaud
Que de nos tristesses il s'en fait des manteaux
Pourtant quelqu'un m'a dit
Que tu m'aimais encore
C'est quelqu'un qui m'a dit que tu m'aimais encore.
Serait-ce possible alors?

The refrain is translated as:
That you still loved me
Someone said you still loved me.
Can it be true?
And the lyrics...
They say our lives are not worth much
Passing in an instant like fading roses.
They say that time is a bastard
Who makes coats out of our pain.
But someone told me (lyrics)
They say fate mocks us,
Promising everything, giving nothing,
Happiness is within reach
But we get nothing but craziness.
But someone told me (lyrics)
But who is it who always told me you loved me?
I do not remember, it was late at night
I can still hear the voice but I can not see the features
"He loves you, it's secret, do not tell him I told you"
You see, someone told me ...

Ooh intrigue.

The first line of the refrain has a handy demonstration for why French (or I supposed all Romance languages) is difficult for anglophones - the word order is mixed up:

The line is:
Que tu m'aimais encore
Which is literally translated as "That you me were loving still"

The concept is easy enough to grasp in writing, but when you're listening to someone speak French you're constantly going back to earlier in the sentence. Like "OK so they said "you were loving still... who? - oh right, the "m" which stands for "me" is tacked onto the beginning of "were loving" so that's who.

Oh and "encore" can mean both "again" which is how English-speakers know it but at the same time also means "still." Because of course it would.

Sunday, July 09, 2017

On sait jamais

Voting for himself

I don't know how many times I've watched French in Action at this point, but I'm only now realizing that in a couple of episodes the phrase "on sait jamais" (one never knows) appears several times. 

It's a good expression. And very true although sometimes it's hard to remember, when life seems endlessly grim and predictable and hopeless, as it has so often for me in the past eleven years.

You can see his original world tattoo before it was
augmented with aboriginal artwork
Thinking over the political careers of my 21st Century men, of the three, only Justin Trudeau's life and career seems entirely predictable.

Since Trudeau was a baby, people including Richard Nixon had been predicting he would become prime minister.

And not only that, his choice of his wife Sophie was absolutely typical: pretty, blonde, a few years younger and from the same social background - in fact she was a classmate of his youngest brother and they knew each other slightly. Then they had three adorable children. 

Trudeau did declare, when he was in his early twenties that he would never go into politics but by the time he was in his late thirties he was a member of Parliament.

But this is a good time to show Trudeau at perhaps his hottest - this is a still from the video in which he declares he does not want to be a politician, but rather a teacher. He famously was a drama teacher for a few  years - it's one of the things people like the detestable Ezra Levant harped on when Trudeau first got into politics.

Meanwhile Obama was born to a black father and white mother at a time when it was still illegal for whites and blacks to marry in some parts of the United States. Then he was raised by a single mother, who was kind of hippie, and who took him all over the world in her academic pursuits. And in spite of all this, he had enough confidence in himself to run for president of the United States. And win.

Speaking of Obama, I see that felon Dinesh D'Souza is still as ugly on the inside as he is on the outside. But it boggles my mind that he and the 6.4 thousand people who liked this tweet believe the insanity they do. It's like they are literally space aliens who do not perceive the world as we do. They believe that good is bad and bad is good. It's as if the planet Bizarro World really exists and they come from that planet.

How is it possible they believe in such bullshit? By any known human metric Donald Trump is not only a horrible human being but is clearly the worst president we've ever had. He golfs more than any other president, he knows less about the way our government works than any other president - and he is most likely a traitor who colluded with Russia. You really have to wonder what is wrong with Dinesh D'Souza - other than being a criminal, of course.

With thousands of wackos like D'Souza in the United States, it still blows my mind that Obama was ever elected. I certainly never expected to see a black president in my lifetime.

And speaking of improbabilities, I am pretty sure that when Mrs. Auzière the high school drama teacher (the same job held at one time by Justin Trudeau) realized that something was starting between herself and one of her students, and she was weighing the pros and cons of leaving her husband with whom she had three high-school aged children, a thing that was not on her pro list was: "if I choose Emmanuel he will become rich, marry me in ten years and then he will become president of France."

Such an occurrence is not even so much improbable as unimaginable. Even besides the president of France part, what are the odds of a romance with such a young man (Macron was maybe eighteen by the time they had sex the first time) turning into marriage, let alone marriage with a woman 24 years older, and then that marriage lasting another ten years and counting? It would seem far more predictable for Brigette Auzière to leave her husband to go off with her irresistible young lover only to have him leave her a few years later when she was in her mid-40s and the chance of finding a worthwhile man to have a relationship with almost impossible, and she ends up alone for years or maybe forever. As I know from experience. Although my younger man was only 8 years younger and in his late 20s when we began.

And then there's the belief Macron had in himself that he could become president of France at such a young age and with so little actual government experience, and without an established political party. And yet he tried it, in spite of the odds, and he succeeded.

On sait jamais.