Slapping Ben Shapiro down

Little Ben Shapiro made this request of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Miss Ocasio-Cortez, I’m really excited that you’ve been elevated to that position and I would love to have a real conversation with you about the issues. You’ve noted that you think Republicans are afraid to debate you or talk to you or discuss the issues with you. Not only am I eager to discuss the issues with you, I’m willing to offer $10,000 to your campaign today for you to come on our Sunday special.

Before getting into Ocasio-Cortez’s reply, just think about that statement. It’s so patronizing — he is rich enough (why?) that he’ll pay her a substantial fee to appear on his show so he can argue with her. He is making the implicit assumption that he has something to contribute to a “discussion”. He is confident that he can debate her.

I’m just thinking that Ocasio-Cortez can and will discuss the issues without having to engage a twerp like Ben Shapiro. I don’t know what he would add to the discussion. It’s like all the creationists who want to debate me on evolution, and while my first thought is usually “ugh, debate”, I’m also wondering what makes these clueless ignoramuses think they’re even competent to talk about the subject.

Ocasio-Cortez made an excellent response.

Among the key words there are “entitled”: Shapiro certainly is feeling entitled. He thinks he’s negotiating from a position of strength, when the fact is that he has nothing to bring to the table. Except his money.

Others are “bad intentions”: Ocasio-Cortez can see right through him. Shapiro is not interested in an honest discussion. He thinks he’s found a chew toy he can bat around for the entertainment of the dull reactionaries that constitute his audience. The faux sincerity is an obvious ploy.

That tweet is a response to badgering from Shapiro fanboys. She had appropriately ignored Shapiro altogether, and here she’s responding to the hectoring crowd by telling them she doesn’t “owe a response”. She doesn’t. Shapiro is a nobody who plays no role in government, isn’t a political ally or opponent, isn’t a constituent, and is just a guy who babbles propaganda into a microphone. Guys who have an adoring fanbase of regressive men are dime-a-dozen nowadays. Yes, let’s start ignoring them instead of thinking they have some authority.

The comparison to cat-calling is apt. That’s what guys with an unwarranted, inflated conceit in their worth do.

Kent Hovind, the broccoli man

Remember when Ray Comfort went on and on about how the banana was clearly designed by a god, when the commercial banana is actually the product of human agricultural engineering? Now we’ve got another, similar example: Kent Hovind accusing people of being stupid for believing broccoli could have evolved.

You may know that Brassica was selected for a number of common agricultural products, but I guess Kent Hovind didn’t.

They’re all out to get you

The latest bonkers conspiracy theory: the Leftists have jiggered Google to put a photo of Jordan Peterson at the top of their search rankings. It’s a photo of … Peterson smiling. It’s completely undermining his reputation for sober seriousness.

OK, it does make him look kind of goofy. But not less goofy than the words coming out of his mouth!

But seriously, how delusional must you be if you think this is some kind of evil plot? And do they even realize that talking about it moves it up in the search rankings?

(Note: I do realize that this is my second post this morning that could induce nausea. I’ll stop now.)

A rip-roaring horror story

I picked up this book (actually, my brother gave it to me), and I couldn’t put it down. It’s got everything. It’s got a brave heroic protagonist. It’s got a god-soaked repellent psychopath for a villain who could have stepped straight out of a Steven King novel. It’s got establishment schemers who make everything worse. And most of all, it’s got grisly body horror. I kept reading because I had to know what abomination would be perpetrated on the innocent victim next.

Only it’s not a novel. It’s Candice Millard’s Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President, and it’s about the assassination of James Garfield.

The protagonist: James Garfield was one of those forgotten, minor presidents I didn’t know much about, because he served less than a year and months of that was was spent slowly dying in agony. But, I learned, he was a rather progressive candidate who accepted a nomination by popular acclaim reluctantly, and was a vigorous defender of civil rights who campaigned for dignity and equality for all races. He was a Republican. That tells you how much the party has declined in the last 140 years.

The assassin: Charles Guiteau was a cheap grifter, a narcissist with delusions of grandeur. He wanted to exploit the spoils system, whereby an incoming administration would freely hand out jobs and high ranking positions to their pals and people with money (hey, so the system hasn’t changed that much). Guiteau talked himself into thinking he deserved to be ambassador to France and that he was good friends with various politicans (he wasn’t), and when he didn’t get his due, decided to murder the president for the fame.

The real assassin: Guiteau pulled the trigger, but the real killer were the swarm of incompetent doctors who wanted the acclaim that would fall on whoever saved Garfield. Worst of the bunch was Dr. Doctor Bliss — his first name was actually “Doctor”, which would have been improbable in a novel — who seized control of the patient and limited what could be done, all the while issuing enthusiastically optimistic daily progress reports as the President spent months in steady decline. A later analysis of the treatment found the aphorism “Ignorance is Bliss” appropriate.

The body horror: the American doctors did not believe in the germ theory of disease, and rejected Lister’s antiseptic technique. So, as Garfield lay bleeding on the filthy train station floor, what did Bliss do? He stuck his unwashed finger in the bullet hole. He pulled out a series of non-sterile probes and poked them in there. He’s looking for the bullet in the worst way possible, and further, he ends up misdiagnosing him. The bullet had gone through to the left side of Garfield’s body, but Bliss was confident it was on the right, and so he kept probing on the right — every day, he seemed to be torturing Garfield further with this pointless insertion of his finger into the open wound — and eventually got the confirmation he wanted: an abscess formed, and a river of pus ran through the track he’d made with his dirty tools.

Really, you will learn more about pus than you ever wanted to know in this book. Pools of the stuff form in Garfield’s body, streams of it drain out of him, boils full of pus erupt all over his body as sepsis sets in. It is not for the squeamish. I probably just ruined everyone’s breakfast by mentioning it.

It doesn’t have a happy ending. Garfield dies. Bliss is disgraced. Guiteau is hanged. Oh, sorry, spoilers.

The one glimmer of optimism at the end is in Garfield’s vice-president, Chester Arthur, another of those easily forgotten presidents. He is a product of the spoils system, and a minion of a scheming senator who opposed Garfield and who groomed Arthur as a tool to serve his ends. Arthur was also something of a bumbler who’d lucked into appointments without actually getting elected, and who was terrified at the idea of taking over the job. He spends most of the book offstage, blubbering in fear, aware of his own incompetence. But then, when the president dies, he steps into the role, tells the scheming senator to take a hike, and rises to the occasion. His main accomplishment is the reform of the civil service, doing his best to end the spoils system.

I guess that sort of counts as a happy ending.

Anyway, if you’re one of those people into horror novels, who enjoys harrowing, gut-twisting tales of nightmarish experiences, try reading some history. It’s far scarier than anything fictional.

The dogwhistles have become foghorns

This is revealing. According to Laura Ingraham, demographic shifts are not organic, but have been forced upon the country by the mysteriously powerful Left, which has the ability to compel people to have children and to move to new places.

The words she says are even worse.

In some parts of the country, it does seem like the America that we know and love doesn’t exist anymore. Massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people, and they are changes that none of us ever voted for, and most of us don’t like. From Virginia to California, we see stark examples of how radically, in some ways, the country has changed. Now, much of this is related to both illegal, and in some cases legal immigration that, of course, progressives love.

The America we know and love doesn’t exist anymore…because there are more brown people living here. Most of us — meaning Fox News viewers, not intelligent, compassionate people — don’t like these brown people living here.

I guess “demographic change” is the new code phrase for non-white people that we don’t like.

There was a lot about the America we knew that didn’t deserve our love, and I’d be glad to see it change, if only there weren’t people like Laura Ingraham trying to make sure all the changes make it worse.

These people exist

I’ve been seeing versions of this claim since at least the Reagan years.

I don’t think the proper response is to point out that Michael Moates is kind of homely himself. The core problem is judging people by artificial standards of appearance — something that is totally irrelevant to their humanity and moral standards and intelligence. Isn’t the “We win the political debate because we can find pretty women in our clique” intrinsically wrong and fallacious?

I think we can just say that someone who makes this stupid argument has already lost.