Here is something I posted two months ago. I think it’s strangely topical.
The single most important news this week is Michelle Obama’s slumber party in the expensive and vulgar resort of Marbella in Spain. Marbella is where people of taste don’t go in Europe. They would rather stay home, even in Dortmund, or in Lille, or in Helsinki. Mrs Obama took 60 friends with her. They are all spending tons of money, some of it yours, in the site of the rich and famous. There is a story within a story within a story there.
First, of course, it’s not a good time for any American notable to spend, and to cause to be spent, large amounts of money in ways that don’t seem to benefit the ailing American economy.
Second, this is not a good time for a highly visible member of our political upper-class to spend large amounts of money on luxuries, even if were her own money. The national mood is to abstemiousness. Retail sales remain very weak. Ordinary Americans, the peasants, either don’t have money to spend because they are unemployed, or they are afraid to spend because they fear the future. Their fear is based largely on uncertainty regarding President Obama’s giant spending. (As for me, I feel no uncertainty. I am certain tomorrow is going to be bad.) Even the usually Obama-adoring French newspaper Le Figaro expresses astonishment at Michelle’s junket.
Third, the form that Mrs Obama chose for her slumber party is astonishingly uncouth. It opens a window on the little-known world of rich African-Americans (who are very numerous). The distinguished social scientist (“distinguished” according to me), Thomas Sowel argues in his wonderful book that there is not mystery to black culture. It’s just southern redneck culture with a twist, he says in his very readable, Black Rednecks and White Liberals. Dr Sowell is black, by the way. Let rednecks get their hands on large amounts of money and they will do the same things they did before they became rich except bigger: Bigger parties.
Why is this an important story? Because it confirms what I keep telling you. The people in the White House may be plotting a diabolical left-socialist (Fascist) take-over of this country but they are not very bright. It’s more and more apparent that they are kind of stupid, in fact. Most other male politicians would have told wifey, “Not a good time, honey. Why don’t you wait until I am out of office and we have become really rich?” Or else, he is simply pussy-whipped.
In the meantime, the President was having dinner with the British Prime Minister, with the Russian President, with the Prime Minister of Israel, with the Secretary of State, with the Director of the CIA? No, he was having dinner with Oprah!
I am so convinced of the eventual disastrous end of this administration that I have begun to worry about a Clinton succession. The many Democrats who are feeling buyer’s regret are not necessarily ready to vote Republican. The many voters who have the Democratic Party in their DNA are more likely to say, “Wrong Democrat,” or, “not really a Democrat.” I place my hope for victory in independent voters.
Also important news this week, but not for the reasons the mass media gave:
A homosexual judge in San Francisco declared formally that anyone can now use the armed power of the state, the threat of violence, to force institutions to change the meaning of a word that has not changed in English for a thousand years, at least. Let me explain: “Marriage” has meant the legally sanctioned union of a man and a woman for at least that long. This is so clear that a woman who has exclusive sex with a man and gives that man all her money is not considered married unless she is formally married. This is so clear, that no one ever calls marriage the life-long loving relationship of a man with two women even if they use everything in common.
The basis for my mention of violence is completely clear: The difference between a law and other rules of conduct is that if you violate the first, you become subject to physical restraint by the government. That’s true even if the violation is fairly benign: Leave your parking tickets unpaid long enough (a legal transgression) and strangers in uniform will stop you physically, tie your hands and put you in an unpleasant locked room with people you would not ordinarily frequent. (Some of whom will vomit on your shoes, others of whom will offer you sexual relief for a dollar.) Resist the people in uniform and they will beat you. That’s violence, alright.
Compare and contrast: Repeatedly break the hearts of men until they are of no use to any other woman, forever, and the government will show no interest. Ignoring parking tickets is against the law; destroying people’s capacity to love is not. One subjects you to the imminent threat of violence, the other not.
The judge’s decision is cultural change by force.
It must have been the intent of the activists who brought the lawsuit. The California proposition the judge overturned only concerned the word; it was not about equal rights. California has had for years a civil contract option that gives homosexuals, among others, the same joint rights as it gives married people.
A footnote on the judge. He declared that his homosexuality did not influence his decision. He had no choice but to say this except that he could have recused himself. He probably believes his own words. It does not make them true. Most people are amazingly parochial. They exist within a very small social group and they get their information from the same handful of sources. What looks like obvious truth to the judge may seem to me devoid of truth because I live in a different informational world. Too bad the judge is no smart enough to realize this.
Another footnote: I don’t care what rights homosexuals possess. Even the recent court decision is not the end of the world although it creates an unpleasant precedent reminiscent of Orwell’s 1984. I think the unofficial name of the federal “Defense of Marriage Act;” was preposterous. There is little homosexuals can do that will undermine marriage. The institution is quite sick in the US without homosexual contribution. And, of course, I am indifferent to religious condemnations of homosexuality of any kind. I think homosexuality is just one of the many variations of that playful bitch, Mother Nature. None of my best friend is homosexual but several people I like a great deal are. Interestingly, none of them gets excited about the word “marriage.”
It’s just not legitimate for the government to order anyone to use any word whatsoever. The issue is constitutional.
My two-pennies’ worth on the 9/11 mosque:
The promoters of a Muslim “cultural center” near Ground Zero maintain that their project is a gesture of reconciliation. It’s plausible but I have my doubts on several grounds. The first, of course is that if you extend the hand of peace to your hurt neighbor and he mistakenly sees a weapon in it, you should quickly withdraw you hand. The promoters persist in spite of the protests their gesture has induced. You don’t need to have done anything wrong at all to stop doing the unwise.
My second reason for doubting the promoters’ sincerity is their choice of language. They call their project a “cultural center” open to all. That’s a misrepresentation by double omission. First, any building where adult Muslims may meet to pray is a mosque. The promoters are stupidly counting on the religious ignorance of Americans who are not Muslims.
Second, if they were so ecumenical and if they really wanted to do something for reconciliation, they would devote a small amount of the planned space to a Christian chapel and another to a synagogue. (Most of the people murdered on 9/11 were Christians, a minority were Jews, a smaller number were even Muslims.) Say this aloud and you will be struck by how much you disbelieve the promoters’ good faith!
Thirdly, the name of the project is troubling, “Cordoba.” (Should be an accent on the first “o.” I don’t know how to do it on wordpress.)
The city was a splendor of culture and prosperity in the Middle Ages where it has been said that Muslims, Christians and Jews lived in harmony. Muslim moderates and many silly liberals push this view which is a significant exaggeration. First, Christians and Jews were always dimhis, second-class citizens in Cordoba and second, the Muslim rulers were so busy savaging each other that whatever time they devoted to the persecution of t non-Muslims looks slight in comparison.
Cordoba was also the seat of the Caliphate of Al-Andalus, Muslim Spain, its political capital. Cordoba is in Spain, in Europe, has been for 774 years. Had Richard the Lion Hearted not been downed by an isolated arrow, he could have walked the streets of Cordoba as a casual visitor. Columbus, on his return, could have walked there as an official guest of the King and Queen of Spain. It turns out, cultured Muslims widely acknowledge a longing for the possession of Spain.
I put two and two together: The choice of the name “Cordoba” may well be a reference to a (largely imaginary) golden age of mutual tolerance and peaceful co-existence). It’s also a reference to a time when Islam reached close to its maximum geographical extension. It suggests a wish for Muslim reconquest.
It’s possible the promoters of the Ground Zero mosque want to have their cake and eat it too: Speak of peace to non-Muslims and of reconquest to Muslims.
By the way, the man slated to be the imam of the new “non-mosque” is on record as saying that Bin Laden is the “son of America or of American policies.” (I heard this on the Rush Limbaugh show but I heard the voice of the imam himself. Rush Limbaugh never indulges in forgeries and when he is mistaken on the facts, he is quick to correct himself.)
Meanwhile, in Afghanistan, Al Quaida murdered a dozen medical aid workers. Even the Nazis seldom did anything of the kind. My bet is that, as usual, I will wait in vain for loud condemnations of this atrocity from prominent Muslim institutions. To be fair to the butchers, it’s not obvious they are able to understand the concept of people of a different faith suffering hardships to come to the aid of destitute strangers. There is no such thing in their culture, I think. At this point, I wish a Muslim institution, or a Muslim individual, would take me to task and show me how wrong my perception is. It’s not going to happen either.
I have reproached others on this blog and on my radio show for uncritical, misinformed anti-Muslim positions but I deplore strongly the chronic silence of Muslims about crimes committed by Muslims or in the name of Islam.
My radio show, “Facts Matter,” is on KSCO Santa Cruz, every Sunday 11am to 1pm at 1080 AM. It’s also available on-line.