Science confirms the obvious!

Did you know that YouTube comment sections are a cesspool? And that women get harassed more than men? It’s been checked out.

I have a small-time YouTube channel and don’t get all that many comments, but I can tell you that I’m not enjoying the discourse. I’ve activated the YouTube comment filter, which lets a lot slide through, but also holds a lot of crap back for approval…and I’ve looked through those and am usually disgusted. I’ve also been quick on the trigger to ban people, but the way YouTube works, they can just bounce back instantly with a new pseudonym.

I doubt that YouTube will ever do anything to fix the garbage. Hey, you wanna whine about civility? Stop complaining about leftists repudiating Nazis, and pay more attention to trolls on social media.

Trump is just the tool. We’re the ones who betrayed America.

Trump is a bad man, corrupt and immoral. But putting the focus solely on his action in Finland is misleading. Russian meddling might have given him a slight boost in the last election, but really…lots of Americans voted for him. The Republican party is supporting him. All the howling aimed at one man is a distraction from the long term problem.

Why were Americans susceptible to Russian propaganda? Why do they vote for a criminal political party? Because for decades we’ve been demolishing our infrastructure, undermining unions, allowing big money to corrupt the political process, setting our standards for news media low, fostering greater income inequality, allowing racism and misogyny to run amuck, wrecking the educational system, and investing in the military rather than our people. It should be no surprise that people distrust and are resentful of The System, and are willing to endorse radicals who offer nothing but the promise to tear it all down and agree with the worst of our impulses.

Imagine a fantasy resolution: the Trump regime is thrown down, all of his appointees are thrown out and imprisoned, and the man himself is shipped off to the Hague and locked away for the rest of his life (that’s fantasy, it’s not going to happen). What next? What will change to prevent the next demagogue from taking over? What about the thousands of Republican party apparatchiks and the tens of millions of citizens who voted for them? We don’t need one guy stopped, we need the system changed.

Well, that makes a mess of my day

Hey! Today is the day I pick up my wife from the airport! It’s only been 6 weeks apart. She’s probably mostly distraught about having to leave her grandchild for…me.

But then, as I was packing up to leave, she informs me that her flight has been delayed about 2 hours, she had to rebook her connecting flight, and she’s getting in 5 hours later than expected. I’m ready and eager to set off to the Twin Cities, but I guess not. Think I’ll go clean the cat box again.

I don’t think I understand baseball anymore

I detest David Bentley Hart, everything he writes makes my lip curl in disgust, and his recent op-ed in the NY Times is no exception (although, given the downward trajectory in the quality of their opinion pages, that’s no surprise). It’s a hate piece, and the hyperbole is practically Lovecraftian in its florid descriptions of the target of his hatred. That target is…the New York Yankees. Jeez. I know that opinions of the Yankees tend to be passionate, but would you believe this is a description of a baseball game?

Not that the horror is easy to recall clearly. The trauma is too violent. Memory cringes, whines, tries to slink away. One recollects only a kaleidoscopic flux of gruesomely fragmentary impressions, too outlandish to be perfectly accurate, too vivid to be entirely false: nightmarish revenants from the dim haunts of the collective unconscious … monstrous, abortive shapes emerging from the abysmal murk of evolutionary history … things pre-hominid, even pre-mammalian … forms never quite resolving into discrete organisms, spilling over and into one another, making it uncertain where one ends and another begins. … It really is awful: ghastly glistening flesh … tentacles coiling and uncoiling, stretching and contracting … lidless orbicular eyes eerily waving on slender stalks … squamous hides, barbed quills, the unguinous sheen of cutaneous toxins … serrated tails, craggy horns, sallow fangs, gleaming talons … fragrances fungal and poisonous … sickly iridescences undulating across pallid, gelatinous underbellies or shimmering along slick, filmy scales. …

And what raucous yawps of elation they emit, like sea lions crying out in erotic transport. How languidly and grossly they intertwine with one another — how clumsily, lewdly, indiscriminately — like lascivious cephalopods merged in seething tangles of prehensile carnality. And somehow, without having to see, one knows things about them: that the categories “parent,” “sibling” and “mate” are only hazily delineated in their minds; that they suck nourishment from cellulose, heavy metals and cactus spines; that, should they grow hungry on the journey home from the game, they may pull over to the side of the road to devour their young. One simply knows. …

I take back the “almost” in “almost Lovecraftian”. Ol’ HP would be telling Hart to dial it back a notch if he were editing that bit. Also, if baseball was anything like that, I’d be at the stadium every weekend.

But there is one good paragraph — only one! — in the whole overwrought piece. This one.

America — with its decaying infrastructure, its third-world public transit, its shrinking labor market, its evaporating middle class, its expanding gulf between rich and poor, its heartless health insurance system, its mindless indifference to a dying ecology, its predatory credit agencies, its looming Social Security collapse, its interminable war, its metastasizing national debt and all the social pathologies that gave it a degenerate imbecile and child-abducting sadist as its president — remains the only developed economy in the world that believes it wrong to use civic wealth for civic goods. Its absurdly engorged military budget diverts hundreds of billions of dollars a year from the public weal to those who profit from the military-industrial complex. Its plutocratic policies and libertarian ethos are immune to all appeals of human solidarity. It towers over the world, but promises secure shelter only to the fortunate few.

Hart’s point, of course, is that America has become almost as evil as the New York Yankees. Almost.

With the right lens, I can reinterpret the world

I just stumbled across Making fists with your toes: Towards a feminist analysis of Die Hard. I am amused.

It gives me life when a certain sector of thin-skinned Nazis get sad about films I like. From Fury Road to Star Wars, their tears bring me joy. Since, like many other people, my favourite Christmas film is Die Hard, it is my intention to highlight how this film is in fact a celebration of femininity, and perhaps one could even call it feminist, for a rather Eighties value of feminism. Am I trolling? I don’t even know any more.

I don’t care if she is trolling. It’s an entertaining exercise to take a classic 1980s macho action movie, flip it over on its belly to get a completely different perspective, and then make penetrating reinterpretations of of its tropes, over and over again, until John McClane squeals and confesses to his inner femininity. I think it strains too hard and is a bit forced in places, but realistically, you’re not going to get Bruce Willis to surrender by being gentle with him.

Now I need a similar analysis of Michael Bay’s Transformers movies. That stuff is fraught, and Bay has … issues.

Babes

Knut is just standing there, looking cool with his grandma.

That’s his latest trick — standing. He’s pretty impressed with himself.

Unfortunately for him, he’s only got two more days with this grandma, since she’s got to come home to take care of me for a while. He will be flying to Korea to spend some time with his other grandma later this summer, though.

Maybe not questioning Israel is one of those bad ideas

Some excerpts from Sacha Baron Cohen’s next show are leaking out. watch this bit if you want to see the gun lobby willingly exposing their delusional ideas about putting guns into the hands of kids.

The intensive 3 week Kinder Guardian course introduces specially selected children from 12 to 4 years old to pistols, rifles, semi-automatics, and rudimentary knowledge of mortars. In less than a month — less than a month! — a first grader can become a first grenadier.

Ha ha, Joe Walsh, very clever. Of course he has an excuse.

Like accused sexual predator Roy Moore, who threatened to sue Baron Cohen this week, Walsh was invited to receive an award in Washington, D.C., for being a friend to Israel and while he was there sat for an interview in which a documentary crew asked him to endorse various Israeli innovations—including the idea of arming four-year-olds to defend themselves against terrorists.

His excuse is that if Israel thought it was a good idea, then arming pre-school kids must be a good idea. He now says that he was duped, and that he said some really stupid things, but it hasn’t yet sunk in that maybe he should question his own beliefs that make it easy for him to be duped and say stupid things.