Not making a difference since 2006. Blog motto: Always be sincere whether you mean it or not.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Indoctrination in New Bedford-Alma Del Mar Charter School is an early intervention re-education camp

On December 13, 2014 in New Bedford, MA a group of scholars, reacting to injustice, protested by chanting and holding signs.  

And what university did this corps of “scholars” attend.  Ah, this advanced group was not post-secondary.  Rather, they are second graders from the Alma Del Mar Charter School.

One has to admit to being impressed.  At their age, to be so enlightened is a gift few possess.  All I remember was that my contemporaries and I thought mostly about escaping the clutches of our pedagogues.  Then again, in second grade, I didn’t consider myself a scholar.

The Boston Globe reported;

“According to Will Gardner, the school’s founder and executive director, a “handful” of the school’s students requested to hold the protest after a lesson on citizenship and the First Amendment, in which topics in the media, including the August death of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., were discussed.

The students from Shabrina Guerrier’s class asked the head of school, Emily Stainer, if they could hold the protest.”

Mr. Gardner also said the teacher made clear; “was very clear with the scholars that this was not to be an antipolice event in any way,”

Mr. Gardner used the word scholars* without irony.  There is a video in which he comes across as a bit smarmy.

The Globe also reported that; “The students from Shabrina Guerrier’s class asked the head of school, Emily Stainer, if they could hold the protest.”

Now I’m going out on a limb and guess that Shabrina’s class heard a story that may not have been completely evenhanded.  It is not likely a kid that age will want to do that unless prodded a tad.

Mr. Gardner should stop using the word Scholars and maybe use a more apt term, “Young Pioneers.”

George Borden, a local policeman whose daughter was a protesting scholar was under-amused.

I don’t think 7-year-olds can come up with the idea to go out and protest on the street,” said Borden, whose daughter Alana was among the students on the sidewalk.

Ah, but Mr. Borden, don’t you see, you are not a scholar.

There are two sides to every story and maybe Officer Wilson should have been indicted.  I was not in the class at Alma Del Mar and cannot say if Scholar-Leader Gurrier was or was not truly even-handed.  My experience, as a kid and a parent makes me a doubter.

Somehow an invitation found its way into Officer Borden’s daughter’s backpack:

“Join us for a peaceful protest in New Bedford to stand up for justice for Michael Brown and Eric Garner and to protest against the unjust systems that allow police officers to kill Black  men and boys with immunity”

This had to be a miracle as Scholar Gardner claimed “The school did not issue any kind of invitation to any protest.”

*When Gardner uses the term “scholar” maybe “snowflake” would be more accurate.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Cowardice in Ferguson

Why did the prosecutor not get an indictment of Officer Wilson in Ferguson?  Why the lengthy and protracted Grand Jury proceedings.


The panel of nine white and three black members heard 70 hours of testimony from 60 witnesses and three medical examiners” before they finished work.  The transcripts are public record.

If after a day or two of work they had declined to indict they would have been pilloried in the press as they are now.  They are on record, however, and all attacks must of necessity reference the record. 

For example, Ezra Klein at Vox had an analysis that did not say, but seemed to strongly imply the cop was not displaying absolute fidelity to the truth.  Now, one can say about Klein that what Mandy Rice Davies said about Lord Astor, “He would say that, wouldn’t he” as Mr. Klein is reliably à gauche.  It may be unfair to say that he would have gargled razor blades rather than see merit in the policeman’s case, but then again, maybe not.

The truth is, no matter what the outcome, either side would conclude what they wanted, but with a huge amount of recorded testimony, Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch has covered himself.
He will still be attacked as the Michael Brown’s partisans would only be satisfied by a lynching.

Are Klein and others being irresponsible in pushing the oppression narrative.  For a balanced look at the question we offer a post by Scott Alexander at Slate Star Codex.  The man is no right wing fanatic.  Of course to some of the more paranoid scare mongers, you don’t have to be a right wing fanatic to be a right wing fanatic.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Book Review - The Talkative Corpse by Ann Sterzinger

There are authors who can spin a plot and not provide good characters, and others can do the opposite.  At the suggestion of a friend, I read one of John Irving’s books.  The plot was, to be kind, not at all worth reading.  The characters were wonderfully drawn, saving the day for me.

I ended up reading another couple of his books.  No improvement, yet the man has had the plaudits of critics and I assume made a fortune with the movie of Garp.

I don’t know why the thought came to me, but I contrasted Irving’s books with A Talkative Corpse by Ann Sterzinger after reading.

It was with some optimism that I obtained Sterzinger’s book.  She is the editor of an online venue and in her reviews and columns expresses enough thoughtcrime to pique my interest.

That, however, was not the deciding factor.  More important was the price.  I am often stuck several hours a day without anything to do.  If I have my ancient laptop, I can write.  The kindle, a tool I never thought I would like, is my break.  Still, the budget is such that an outlay for a book that displeased would be a defeat.

I found The Talkative Corpse a generous bargain.  Sterzinger’s main character, John Jaggo, is also our entre to the others.  We don’t really hear them other than through Jaggo.  Even so, we get to know, if not love them.

Interestingly, the author is a woman, but her narration in a man’s voice is correct.  On her blog and columns she displays somewhat of a tough broad persona.  It may not be too far a stretch in portraying the hard life of John Jaggo.

The action centers around Jaggo, chronicling his non-happy life to be preserved for a post-history future.  When we meet him, he is at a low point, we guess.  His life does not seem to have had many high points for contrast.  One would not think such a depressed fellow would be a promising subject.
Jaggo, when we meet him has not recovered from a devastating end of his last relationship.  Our man paints a picture of a right witch.  He burns with a vast hatred for her.

John has a profession in which he was prosperous, but is no longer part of.  The jobs usually accessible to him are those that would be referred to as soul numbing.  This is a vehicle for Ann to expound on the class and employment landscape of the 21st Century.

It is not a lovely view.  So-called capitalism is cruel and despite the supposed safety nets available, the cracks to fall through are wide.  Jaggo is adept at finding them.

Though it is not stated, there is evidence that the man is an alcoholic.  Certainly, he seems to be doing his part to keep the nation’s beverage industry healthy.

His relationship with his ex is not completely over.  There is occasional texting at strategic points of pain and she occupies a lot of space in his head.  His bitterness is heightened during inebriation, did we mention he is no stranger to that.

In one episode he evokes a, well I’m not sure what it is.  Bertram the animani becomes his boon companion and drinking buddy.  The conjured entity has a mission.  He will kill the most hated person in Jaggo’s life, but also the one he loves.

To complicate matters, Jaggo has found love.  Up to that point, his life and person do not make him all that loveable and hardly desirable.  Yet he and May connect over music and start making beautiful music together.

It appears May has a pure love for John.  There is wonderment in this because how could such a beautiful person love someone who has come across as an unattractive specimen.  This brings us to the voice of humility maxim, - Love is not merely blind, it is oft deaf, dumb and stupid.

May, for all her nobility of spirit shares John’s inability to attain an economically advantageous position in life, so there may be a clue there.

Now he at least has some purpose in life.  Well, two goals, love May and keep Bertram from killing her because of that.

There are parts of the book I can’t really get into.  The music John and May like is not anything I have much experience of listening to, having of, being born too late.  Moi, I never got the Rebecca Black hating, as I thought her song representative of most modern music. *

As noted on her blog, Ann does have a favorite music video.  It is not to bad, having some energy.  I don’t need to listen to it again.

Sterzinger has been linked to antinatalism.  This is the idea, as far as I understand it, that we would have been better off not being born.  For a good part of The Talkative Corpse, it is hard to argue that in regards to Jaggo’s sad life.  When he meets May, all better.  Life is still hard, he has to keep May alive and work at a lousy job, but existential purpose has arrived.

After Bertram finishes his task and departs, life will be forever sweet, or close enough we guess.  He ends his missive to the future and goes on.

Sterzinger’s style and way with metaphors, with her plot bespeaks a fine talent.  She deserves to be read ahead of most contemporary writers.  Did I mention one?

Ann Sterzinger has another book out that I would have read but it is not on Kindle.  When, that happens, I shall, if it is at a reasonable price get it.  I doubt that is going to happen. NVSQVAM has been getting some good reviews that does not augur well for us cheapskates.

*A daughter had a period of fandom of a group call Fallout Boy.  I listened and the whelming was under.  Other than that, I suggest my opinions be taken with a grain of salt.




Monday, November 17, 2014

The Vergens need to get a life

In a 1981 film, Zorro the Gay Blade, a rather fey caped crusader made the rule, "There is no shame in being poor, only in dressing poorly."

I am never going to make a best dressed list.  It is important to me, to at least try to look somewhat grownup.  Not so Mr. Matt Taylor.  His shirt is ugly and so are the tattoos on his arms.  If I saw him on the street and he panhandled me, I would direct him to the nearest homeless shelter.

Thus there are two shocks, Mr. Taylor was part of the team, ill dressed as he was, that landed that craft on a comet.  The second shocker, a navel gazer by the name of Chris Plante thinks he is a sexist swine and celebrates that Taylor was made to apologize.

Plante writes for uber politically correct tech site The Verge.  His headline went, "I don't care if you landed a spacecraft on a comet, your shirt is sexist and ostracizingThat's one small step for man, three steps back for humankind."

Chris is a senior editor at The Verge.  Supposedly, he has a life, but you would not know.  Being a member of a voluntary gestapo takes a lot of energy.

So we've gotta get Helen Reddy back into the studio, I am woman, I am weak.

Anyway, I know it's not why my daughters didn't go into Stem.  They are too much like the old man, obstreperous and not interested in the hard work.

Doc Taylor, you did two things I could never do, land on an asteroid and apologize for something so trivial.  Then again, I could never wear that shirt.

The Young Turks covered themselves in glory.

Hat tip to Outside In.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Jamie Bartlett, stop the hate!

By now, anyone who still browses by this blog is already aware of the Dark Enlightenment or Neoreaction (Here in TVOHville, we'll call it DE/N for short).  Other than things aren’t going well tone, I can’t say my knowledge of the phenomenon is all that much.  It has been noticed and has enemies bent on suppressing it.  The enemies of DE/N seem a smarmy lot and make me want to join the defenders for that.

A recent example of someone who is going after DE/N in a hysterical tone is a Jamie Bartlett.  The title says it all, Meet the Dark Enlightenment:  sophisticated neo fascism that's spreading fast on the net.  

Decades ago, while wasting my youth, I had a job that led me to interact with the denizens of an academic swampland.  They worked at the same place while going to school.  Most were just interested in making some money while getting the degree.  There was a subset that seemed to live for politics.  They were far to the left and uber politically correct long before the term PC had been invented.

Not at all a serious fellow, neither was I shy.  I would engage with them with the idea of having some fun.  It was easy to notice they were probably to the left of Pol Pot, but imply they might be a tad to the right of the Cambodian fellow and they had to defend themselves.  When they would say something, if you could artfully suggest they held a position that might be “fascistic” you could get to them.  I had some fun, but I was on the wrong side of history at least in an employment sense.  They all seemed to eventually get jobs either in the bureaucracy or some group identified by initials.

Mr. Bartlett has the tactic down.  Call them neo-fascist and what can they do?  The lovely thing about the tactic is that in common parlance, no one defines fascism.  When someone like Jamie uses the term, he means not that they are a follower of Mussolini.  What he intends is that they are meanies and bad people.

He kind of admits it here,

The philosophy, difficult to pin down exactly, is a loose collection of neo-reactionary ideas, meaning a rejection of most modern thinking: democracy, liberty, and equality. Particular contempt is reserved for democracy, which Land believes "systematically consolidate[s] and exacerbate[es] private vices, resentments, and deficiencies until they reach the level of collective criminality and comprehensive social corruption."  The neo-fascist bit lies in the view that races aren’t equal (they obsess over IQ testing and pseudoscience that they claim proves racial differences, like the Ku Klux Klan) and that women are primarily suited for domestic servitude. They call this "Human biodiversity" – a neat little euphemism. This links directly to their desire to be rid of democracy: because if people aren’t equal, why live in a society in which everyone is treated equally? Some races are naturally better to rule than others, hence their support for various forms of aristocracy and monarchy (and not in the symbolic sense but the very real divine-right-of-kings-sense).

So the philosophy is kinda hard to define and then he defines it.  Maybe he is right as I have  been following it only lightly.  What I've gotten out of it is that democracy is not god, equality is impossible, but liberty is okay. 

It appears to be popular among people who have stopped feeling libertarianism.  It is obvious that if most people have a choice of greater public benefits at the expense of freedom, that will win the day in a democracy.  Recognizing that is hardly fascism.

My read is most DE/N types want a system that allows the maximum freedom while maintaining order.  In no sense could that mean a totalitarian system such as the German form of socialism that ended in 1945 or the Soviet form that imploded in the late 1980s, early 1990s.  A supposedly educated man such as Mr. Bartlett should know that.  Either he is cute or his thought processes are deficient.

I live not far from another academic swamp now (we have no lack of them in the Northeast of this nation).  I remember when Palin was nominated.  The sea of progressives that inhabit the town thought it high culture to repeat the latest Palin joke.  I think this explains much about Bartlett.  His type is quick at getting the talking points, but have nothing really other than the throwing of mud.

The followers of the DE/N are no danger to the current order.  There is no chance they can garner a mass following.  Unlike Marxists, National Socialists or Fascists, they have no desire to build a mass movement.  The simple slogans of totalitarians would, one would guess, disgust them.

That is probably not what bothers him.  We get to the nub of it here,
The neo-fascist bit lies in the view that races aren’t equal (they obsess over IQ testing and pseudoscience that they claim proves racial differences, like the Ku Klux Klan) and that women are primarily suited for domestic servitude. They call this "Human biodiversity" – a neat little euphemism. This links directly to their desire to be rid of democracy: because if people aren’t equal, why live in a society in which everyone is treated equally? Some races are naturally better to rule than others, hence their support for various forms of aristocracy and monarchy (and not in the symbolic sense but the very real divine-right-of-kings-sense).
He gives away his prejudice.  No one is ever allowed to question anything about the accepted policy on racial groups.  That viewpoint is understandable, but you know what, it is in its own way , dare I say it “fascistic.”  To write off anyone who disagrees with the idea that groups might not be equal without a hearing is the tactic of a Goebbels.  Jamie does not argue, he just throws the mud.

To look around you and think that on average, Jews are smarter than the average bear is not unreasonable.  It may in the end be wrong, but it does not mean one is donning a sheet.  Just the opposite.

To look at Zimbabwe, or the murder rate in post-apartheid SA, or even Detroit and think that some races organize better than others is not without the realm of possibility is rational even if it turns out to be wrong.  My own Causcasian run state will face the same deficit problems Motor City is experiencing, just in slow motion.  Does that mean white folks can organize.  Maybe yes, but most pale societies crash in the end too.
Now no one thinks the races are not physically different.  Why is it insane to think that cognitive differences are not possible.

Whatever the establishment is, the biggest threat to it is itself.  In this country, life is, you could argue, not as good as it once was.  The manufacturing jobsthat allowed for the raising of families are few and far between.   Retirement is getting to be problematic for more and more people approaching that age.  Maybe bludgeoning a theoretical opposition will solve those problems.

The voice of humility is not a neoreactionary if only because we don't believe there is a system of government that works forever.  Past golden ages were probably not all that golden for many.  We would not disagree that our society appears on a downslope culturally and economically.  The possibility that a just constitutional order is on the cards does not appear likely.  We live in hope.

If Mr. Bartlett is right, it is by accident as he did rationally argue his points.  Someone else will have to do that.  It's early in the bash the DE/N game.  So expect a lot of mud to be thrown.  In the realm of ideas, DE/N is ahead because the opposition has tendered none.

Is there a Cathedral?  Don’t know.  tvoh went to the Demos website.  To their credit, they are transparent about funding.  That may have something to do with Brit disclosure rules, but let's not quibble.  The funders are lots of banks and the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament as well.  

"Letting a hundred flowers blossom and a hundred schools of thought contend is the policy for promoting progress in the arts and the sciences and a flourishing socialist culture in our land." 
We know how that worked out.