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Quote Of The Day.

Wednesday, July 31, 2002

Verba Volent.

Someone seems to have signed me up for something called Verba Volent. What is it and who’s the wise guy?

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, July 31, 2002 | link

Checkmate!

Finally, something the Chinese didn’t invent! Chess, that is. Archaeologists have found chessmen that date 500 years earlier than any found in Europe before. It makes me wish I were a much better player. Still, this is pretty cool. Thanks Pawpaw!

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, July 31, 2002 | link

I Am Woman, Hear Me Bore . . .

The Oxygen Network proves that Sisterhood is boring.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, July 31, 2002 | link

Sowell Patrol.

Here the Intellectual Deity explains the real costs of price controls on prescription drugs.

“You pay one way or you pay another. Paying in needless pain, debilitation and early death is one of the worst ways of paying.”

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, July 31, 2002 | link

Neo-Nuremburg.

Guess what those nice, tolerant Euros have been up to. Did you guess anti-Semitism? You’d be right. Holland joins Switzerland, Denmark, and Sweden in banning Kosher meat. They use the “animal rights excuse” of course. Unfortunately, most scientists agree that Kosher butchering practices are much more humane that the stun and kill methods that remain legal. Many of the anti-Kosher laws date from the 1930s. Interesting way to make your country Judenrein isn’t it. Just starve ‘em out. Not only that, but they’ve tried to ban ritual circumcision.

" ‘This is a trend that is very much worrying us,’ said Avi Beker, secretary general of the World Jewish Congress, who noted that Sweden has also tried unsuccessfully to ban ritual circumcision, the quintessential rite of passage for Jewish males. ‘We regard this as interference in Jewish religious practices.’ "

This is kind of sneaky. They won’t come right out and ban Judaism, they just outlaw its practice. This isn’t nearly as honest as the approach of certain people.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, July 31, 2002 | link

Just Bomb Already.

Hamas has struck again, this time slaughtering university students eating lunch. I wonder if this means that the Lefties will finally understand that peace is impossible when one party wants only war? Somehow I doubt it. There will of course be the moral imbeciles who will claim that there’s no difference between the bombing that killed a Hamas leader and 14 of his human shields and this latest attack. This ignores the fact that the Palestinians committed themselves to killing any and all Jews long before the Israelis were forced to retaliate. The 14 human shield deaths were accidental, not the whole point of the raid, unlike the Hamas murderers. There will be retaliation soon and I say good. It is high time that the Palestinians realized that as long as they keep making war, there is no reason for the Israelis to make peace.

Also, I saw on Fox News (not online yet) where Hamas finally comes clean and admits what the whole Intifada is all about. The goal of this beloved (by Palestinians) group is to get all Jews out of Israel. They actually used those exact words. Not two states, not co-existence, and certainly not peace. Just total annihilation. I’ll keep a lookout for when they put the quote online. Found it.

P.S. Hamas has been playing with chemical weapons. Gee, they’d never use those against innocent, unarmed Israelis. How long after a gas attack against the Jews do you think it would be before the Left blames Israelis for breathing up all of the Palestinians’ poison?

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, July 31, 2002 | link

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Sunday, July 28, 2002

The Literarium.

So then this Tony guy says "Vegetarians are the enemy of everything good and decent in the human spirit . . ."

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, July 28, 2002 | link

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Thursday, July 25, 2002

By the By . . .

Would it be too much to ask for you guys to memorize this article by Theodore Dalrymple and then go around chanting it with the zeal of cult members?

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, July 25, 2002 | link

Muse-Meister.

Robert Bove is back with a neat little article on poetry. Taking the July issue of Poetry magazine (worth reading apparently) and moving on from there to the failure of academic poets to be, well, poets. I’ve taken some classes taught by “poets in residence” and believe me nothing kills the poetic spirit faster. Despite his cheap shot at Sports Illustrated (there’s some great writing in there, man!), Bove makes a strong statement about the resilient spirit of the Muse.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, July 25, 2002 | link

The Literarium.

There's more neat stuff over at the Literarium. Food stuff to be precise. Lunchy-munchies anyone?

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, July 25, 2002 | link

Sowell Patrol.

Today the Caravaggio of Capital Gains takes on the Great Depression. How’s this: FDR was an economic hurricane that devastated the national economy and whose bad effects have lingered on to this day. FDR was everything Herbert Hoover was supposed to be but worse. Unfortunately, Congress seems eager to follow in his footsteps.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, July 25, 2002 | link

Media Cop-Out.

Heather Mac Donald, one of the best journalists out there today and one of the few who really deserve the name, writes about the media’s manipulative smear campaign against the police and how that campaign endangers us all. Before you pass judgment on any incident involving the police, read this article. Preferably several times.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, July 25, 2002 | link

It’s a Spaniard Thing.

Wow, does NRO have some great art reporting or what? Melissa Seckora gives a nice run-down on the treasures of the Prado. Click on over just for the pictures. Ooh, El Greco.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, July 25, 2002 | link

Capital “L” or No?

Whither Literature? Why Care? What separates the Great Book from the good read? Is that difference definable? More importantly, is it even important?

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, July 25, 2002 | link

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Monday, July 22, 2002

The Future of the Museum.

The British Museum is in a difficult period right now. The new “socially aware” ethos is threatening the integrity not only of the British Museum, but of all museums. The big question is “paternalism vs. populism.” Personally, I vote for paternalism in a museum. Populism is too inbred to be of any use in a museum. Populism depends on promoting people’s existing interests. A museum should introduce people to things outside themselves, not just reinforce existing tastes. Museums should challenge and expand your mind. I hope the British Museum hangs tough.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, July 22, 2002 | link

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Sunday, July 21, 2002

More Right Wing Grape-Nuts.

Thinking more on Rod Dreher’s article on “Granola Conservatives,” I am a little more wary of what his observations imply. When Dreher highlights the growing Conservative presence in the organic world claimed by the Left, he’s basically highlighting the past deficiencies of the Conservative movement and the possible deficiencies to come. My thoughts on Crunchy Cons are that they represent the failure of Conservatives in the Culture Wars and the exclusionary waters Dreher seems to be sailing into. I will center this poorly constructed essay on three points: Definition of Terms, Surrender in the Culture Wars, and Snappy Dressing. Stay with me on that last one.

Definition of Terms. The fact that Crunchy Cons are worth speaking about at all is indicative of the suicidal granting of absolute power over the social and cultural debate to the Radical Left. The absolute power I speak of is that of the Definition of Terms. The Left assumed for itself, without much resistance from the Right, the power not only to determine what is “liberal” and what is “conservative” but also of determining what is termed “good” or “bad,” “proper” or “improper.” The Left has accomplished this redefinition through its control of the mass media. The modern American Mass Media has become our main arbiter of what is “normal.” With media so pervasive that it has effectively set the framework for how we perceive the world, from issues of Gay Rights to the crime rate, we now respond more to the media’s reflection (and distortion) of reality than we do to the reality around us. As I wrote in my post about hating Christians, we absorb many of our ideas about the world from the media. I hated “Fundamentalist” Christians because “everyone” did. Every TV show, every comedy routine, every editorial or newscast had sneers, jokes, asides, and insults about the Fundamentalists. Luckily, I went to a fundie college and learned better, but the fact remains that media images defined my view of conservative Christians for much of my life. I had absorbed the accepted view of them. The media had defined a cultural standard of “good” people, which excluded Christians. These media-constructed worldviews, imparted early and too often unchallenged, become the accepted measures of normality.

In the same way, the organic, granola lifestyle Dreher speaks of has been defined as being “liberal.” As counterintuitive as that may be, once that lifestyle became defined as “liberal” those who defined themselves as “conservative” felt more and more out of place and unwelcome in that environment. The media created a perception that the Traditional Life is no place for conservatives and the Conservatives played along. Despite the fact that traditional music, hand-crafted arts, and organic food are by their nature conservative rather than progressive, Conservatives dutifully abandoned those fields to the usurpers. Instead of fighting for what was ours, we turned tail and ran.

Surrender in the Culture Wars. Actually, capitulation may be a better word, as Conservatives never bothered to stand and fight. When the Liberals politicized the Traditional Life as being “liberal,” Conservatives scurried off to the comfort of their twinsets. When the Liberals claimed the movies, we caved. When they claimed the art world, we caved. When they claimed music, we caved. Even when they claimed food, we caved. It was only in the Nineties that Conservatives began to fight back to avoid the cultural Cannae. For too long we allowed the Left to define the Right. Everything natural, organic, authentic, and real were ascribed to the Left, while the synthetic, inauthentic, factory-issue, and artificial were ascribed to the Right. The Traditional Life was politicized and Conservatives were forced to operate in ever smaller cultural parameters.

Where the Left rules, the Right is verboten. Once any area of life or culture is defined as “liberal” conservatives either disappear or get disappeared. Some of this phenomena is due to the preference for associating with those like oneself, some to proto-crunchy cons leaving willingly but unhappily because they no longer felt they fit in, but a significant part is due to conservatives being forced out. The Boho Liberal is jealous of his territory. Whether consciously or not, the Crunchy Cons were unwelcome and ostracized. The Traditional Life became something of a highly ritualized religion for the Boho Left. The food, music, and arts were a means of proving ones “progressive” bona fides while separating oneself from the “unenlightened.” Different aspects of the Traditional Life took on a totemic importance for some Boho Lefties, i.e. whether the tomato was organic mattered more than whether it tasted good. Conservatives, defined as inorganic “infidels,” were as welcome in the Traditional Life as Jews in Mecca. The Crunchy Cons who stuck it out kept their mouths shut and their heads down, not speaking out because they must have assumed they were the only ones. Worse, young Conservatives grew up holding the Traditional Life in contempt as “hippie crap.” Having absorbed the idea that the Traditional Life was “liberal,” Conservatives drawn to that life felt somehow “wrong.”

This retreat from the Cultural Battlefield has left Conservatives on ground that is both paradoxical and untenable. It is paradoxical because almost all of the Traditional Life (all culture for that matter) is inherently “conservative.” The music, in its form, subject matter, and players, is conservative. Old, traditional art forms are considered “conservative.” The values exemplified in the Traditional Life are “conservative.” The very word “traditional” is frequently hurled, with contempt, at Conservatives. The winds of logic make the idea of Traditional Life “liberalism” collapse like a house of cards. Or at least it would if Conservatives had not already capitulated to the above mentioned Redefinition of Terms. The Conservative Cultural position is untenable because as more and more aspects of culture are redefined as “liberal” Conservatives are left with less and less, not to mention worse and worse. If the Conservative Counterattack of the 1990’s hadn’t happened, Conservative culture would now consist of Velveeta, mayonnaise, and Pat Boone.

[To be fair, Conservatives always kept a hold on some cultural artifacts. High Culture, for instance. High culture was considered rarefied and artificial, not authentic but a pretension. Yet even there the Left was granted not only a place but a privileged place. While the Right liked classical music, representative painting, or opera because it was either old or a status symbol, not because they really appreciated it. Lefties who liked those things were cultured enough to truly understand it and were thus enlightened.]

Snappy Dressing. Conservatism is the last refuge of the Snappy Dresser. Not the Hipster, not the Fashionista, not the Bohemian, I am talking about the sophisticated dresser. I am talking about the natural conservative style and the rejection of aesthetic balkanization. Many conservatives like to dress. And not just the mere rejection of nudity either. The aesthetic that dominates the Conservative movement is one of care and elegance. Sartorially speaking, the clean, neat, well-groomed person has felt more at home in the Conservative movement than anywhere else. Even with the general slovenliness of modern life, people who take great care on their appearance have found a home among Conservatives. This is a good thing. While in much of society the Snappy Dresser is derided as “uptight” or “repressed,” and browbeaten to “relax” or “loosen up,” the truth is that they are relaxed. There are certain people who are more comfortable “dressed up” than dressed down. Conservatism is tolerant of their aesthetic individualism.

The aesthetic of the Conservative movement has always been far more authentic than the desperate “authenticity” of the Left. The Conservative aesthetic sense is invested in the heavy philosophical concept of “stuff I like.” The Snappy Dresser likes his clothes and feels very comfortable in them. The art, music, clothes, literature, or what have you of Conservatism is simply the art, music, etc. that the individual Conservative happens to like. Liberals often seem to use culture an expression of ideology. It seems more artificial. I’m not going into the issue of posers as fakes or as searchers for identity. I think Amy Welborn has covered that pretty well. Even if they are only adopting a false cultural identity as a protective carapace while they develop their own identities, Liberals still seem kind of phony.

Thus, with a logical leap of epic proportions, the problem with Crunchy Cons is that they not only embrace the Traditional Life, they tend to embrace the granola prejudices that go with it. They hassle their Snappy fellow-cons with the usual “loosen up” nonsense. Well, it’s the Crunchy Cons who need to loosen up. You’d be surprised at how uptight the Dressed-Down can be. Often, the Snappy Dressers are much more relaxed. To be honest, what you wear doesn’t make you uptight or loose, it’s how comfortable you are in your clothes that counts. What makes one person comfortable makes another very uncomfortable. Individual aesthetics should be respected. The Conservative movement has always been more open to individual aesthetics than Liberals have. If you want proof, go to a Conservative meeting dressed as a hippie, then go to a lefty gathering dressed as a bourgeois and see who treats you better.

The point is that Conservatives need to maintain both aesthetics and not sacrifice one to please the other. There is a definite danger that by trying too hard to attract the granola set Conservatives could end up alienating the gin and tonic crowd. It serves no conservative purpose to participate in the cultural balkanization that is the hallmark of the Left. We need to reestablish our presence in the Traditional Life while maintaining our presence in every other lifestyle. Conservatives have the bad habit of concentrating their attentions on one battle and leaving every other front undefended. This is a battle plan for failure in the cultural realm just as surely as it is in the political one. Conservatism is best suited to be an umbrella of principle that covers a wide range of cultural heads. Unlike the rigid dogmatism of Liberalism, Conservatives have no litmus tests and no fashion police. We need to embrace the Crunchy Cons without leaving the Martini Cons out in the rain. We need to reject the media’s Redefinition of Terms and insist on the de-politicization of culture. We can not afford to let young people be able to reject Conservatism because “that’s not their style.”

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, July 21, 2002 | link

Jack Olsen, R.I.P.

Oh my God, Jack Olsen died! He was a truly great crime writer, one of the intelligent, insightful ones rather than the gruesome, leering ones. I can recommend Predator and Carol, the Intrepid Freedom Fighter, recommends Son: a Psychopath and His Victims.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, July 21, 2002 | link

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Thursday, July 18, 2002

Check It Out.

This is a really great Book site called Moby Lives. Bibliophiles, make tracks!

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, July 18, 2002 | link

Moussaoui-nie.



YourHonorIconfessI’manAlQaedaterroristnoI’mnot!

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, July 18, 2002 | link

London Calling.

Dear Lord,

Of all the gifts you have given me, thank you most of all for not letting me be born in England.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, July 18, 2002 | link

Broken China.

Having been ignored during the War on Terror, the Chinese government wants to prove that it is still just as evil as any old Al Qaeda. The ChiComs are forcing the Chinese wives of Taiwanese citizens to have abortions or be sterilized. Technically, the women are only surgically mutilated if they already have one child, per China’s “One Child Policy.” Of course, Taiwan is a sovereign nation with no “One Child Policy” so there is no justification for any of this. Ah the wonder of socialism: visit your family on holiday, get your baby killed.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, July 18, 2002 | link

Packer Packs it In.

LeRoy Butler is retiring after 12 years with the Green Bay Packers. He’s a great player and a good guy. He’s also the inventor of the “Lambeau Leap,” one of the best things to hit football in decades. The Lambeau Leap is where a player scoring a touchdown leaps into the stands with the fans. It’s a great connection between the players and the fans, not to mention a heck of a lot of fun to watch. Butler will be missed.

In case you are wondering, I am a Packer Backer, but am also a die-hard “blood fan” of the New England Patriots. It’s in my blood; it goes beyond fanhood to a being a mark of identity. I love the Pack; I live the Pats.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, July 18, 2002 | link

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Wednesday, July 17, 2002

Priorities.

Ok, so there’s been some new genocide bombings in Israel and a serial child killer in California, but it’s Ren and Stimpy people! Ren and Stimpy!

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, July 17, 2002 | link

Speaking of Genocide Bombers.

The Jewish World Review has printed an account of the victims of the bus ambush in Israel. The murdered include a grandmother and her granddaughter, a student, three young mothers, and an infant. This is what Europe’s favorite “freedom fighters” are up to.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, July 17, 2002 | link

Fancy Feast.

Joe Bob Briggs, whose writing is even better than his TV monster movie show, reports on the Fancy Food show in New York. He seems to spend a good deal of time on the drinks too. A man after my own heart. Here are a couple of quotes I liked.

“Bulgarian wines, like Bulgarian pickled vegetables, are not subtle.”

“He tips the bottle into the glass -- the 86-proof, of course -- and as it courses down my throat, the vomit-flavored Jelly Belly vanishes, the Turkish cheese vanishes, and I think for a moment my knowledge of the multiplication tables vanishes.”

That last one is about Zhumir, the national drink of Ecuador. I’m starting to like them Ecuadorians.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, July 17, 2002 | link

Sowell Patrol.

Thomas Sowell, intellectual deity (happy now? I spelled it right this time.), shines a spotlight on the villains exploiting the Thirld World. Here’s a hint, it’s not Big Business.

“The sad irony is that it is the self-righteous activists who are exploiting Third World people -- politically -- and the much demonized employers who hire them who are providing the poor with much-needed income.”

It’s a wisdom river running Sowell deep.

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, July 17, 2002 | link

Health Hazard.

Death by government? Walter Williams says so. Is the FDA trying to kill you?

posted by Lee Ann on Wednesday, July 17, 2002 | link

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Monday, July 15, 2002

Frogstomp!

The time has come once again to celebrate the Froggy Jamboree, otherwise known as Bastille Day. Ah, the heady day when we get to reflect on all the ways the French disappoint us. Some take the easy route, yammering on about the French Revolution and its status as a marker of the decline of Western Civilization. Others point out that the French don’t bathe. I prefer to look at the big picture. Beyond their political failings, they have myriad cultural and intellectual failures. Let’s look at all the ways the Froggies have proved themselves deficient.

The French Revolution. I know, I know. I said I wouldn’t go into politics. I lied. I would here like to engage in a pointless rant against idiots in the academy (was that redundant?) who moon all on the Froggies and their “unprecedented” Revolution. They babble on and on about how the French Revolution was new and shocking and radical and nothing had like it had ever no not never before happened on the face of the earth. You know, great leap forward and all that crap. Well it’s a LIE! Hello!?! Ever hear of the American Revolution? You know, that little soiree the Frogs bankrolled about 13 years before they threw their little copycat affair? That little shindig the Marquis de Lafayette jammed at before heading to Paris to start the Etats Generale Tribute band? The obscure historical anomaly the Declaration of the Rights of Man was based on? The American Revolution that showed how tyranny could be overthrown and a free democracy established across the land? The Triumph of Freedom that the Froggies tried to base their own Revolution on, failed miserably, and decided to throw a bloodbath instead? Ever hear of it?

Art. Ah yes, the rarefied world of art. Take time now to reflect upon the wonders of modern French artistry. Can’t think of any French artists of recent vintage? Neither can I. Monet and Manet, but nobody of late. Did they just stop painting after Matisse died? Not even a second-rate shock artists like those Limey idiots from the Tate Gallery.

Literature. Read any good French books lately? The last Frog book I can recall off-hand is that Catharine Millet sex book. OK, one work of failed porn. Anything else? Seems the Japanese have rung in with Banana Yoshimoto and Haruki Murakami. The Portuguese had that blind guy, Saramago. Even the Poles have come out swinging with Wislawa Szimborska. Yet not a worthwhile word from France.

Music. When was the last great French music star? Berlioz? Oh, wait! Maurice Chevalier, who sang to entertain the Germans in WWII! The only Gallic songbird I can think of is Celine Dion and she’s Canadian. Whither French music? Why careth?

Philosophy. Name one French philosopher since Descartes who is not an idiot. Sartre was a dull, pretentious coward who wrote dull book and duller plays. There was the dweeb the Froggies sent over to Afghanistan as “support” for the war on terror. Whatever happened to him? Was he trying to surrender to OBL and we bombed him? French feminists? Parlez vous Utero-nazi? French literary theory? Derridimwits.

Food. Whither Haute Cuisine? Hold on while I have a snack before answering that. I once ate an haute cuisine dinner and almost died of starvation. OK, they reworked Escoffier using less flavor and less food. Pardon me for not being impressed. What major food trends have come out of France lately? Organic cuisine? Can we say, Chez Panisse in California? Fusion? Hello New York! Fast Food? What a Kroc. Slow food? Ciao Italia. Vegans? They are straight from the bowels of Hell and France is only near the pancreas. Want more proof? Iron Chef French is Japanese.

Wine. Name one French vintage that has not been equaled or bettered by California.

Language. The universal tongue? The language of diplomacy? Parlez vous English? The language of love? Italiano. Espagnol will do in a pinch. Even German is more beautiful. The French language is too self-consciously pretty. Ick.

Ah, Froggie Jamboree, how do I loathe thee? Gleefully.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, July 15, 2002 | link

Literarium Update.

There are a couple of new entries in the Literarium. Hmm, did I see something about the Foodie Mohammed?

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, July 15, 2002 | link

Howdy Dubya.

President Bush was in Birmingham today, giving a speech for the Republican candidate for governor. The speech was good and raised about 3 million for Riley’s campaign. Might I add, Air Force One is one awesome looking plane.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, July 15, 2002 | link

Guilty!

Jihad Johnny pled guilty on charges of carrying explosives and aiding terrorists. He’ll serve about 20 years and tell all he knows to the government. I say he got off lightly. Last I heard, Mike Spann was still dead.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, July 15, 2002 | link

Mm-mm Good.

Man this article makes me hungry.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, July 15, 2002 | link

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Sunday, July 14, 2002

Check Him Out.

Take a gander at Larry from Kudzu Acres. He’s wise, he’s witty, he said my teacher post was pretty schnazzy. Read part of his reply to my post before I send you scurrying over to his blog:

“I worked with federal civil servants for about 30 years. Most of that time, the public's take on civil servants was that they were featherbedding incompetents. Most retired at the first opportunity. I see the same happening with the teachers I know. Alabama has an incentive program to encourage teachers to stay past retirement eligibility, but as with most other things in this state, it is not funded. So on the good teacher side, we have an unfunded incentive program and teachers leaving at the first opportunity."

Now go on, scurry. And check out his post on property rights.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, July 14, 2002 | link

Mon Dieu!

A neo-Nazi gunman opens fire at Jacques Chirac during the Bastille Day parade. Onlookers were amazed as the French President neglects to surrender, thereby violating international protocol. An investigation into whether Chirac is truly French is underway.

I’ll be posting a Bastille Day column, but I’m waiting to see the annual G-File Frogstomp before I do.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, July 14, 2002 | link

Granola Conservatives?

Wow, those are 2 words you never thought you’d see linked. What do you do when you are a proud member of the VRWC, yet your cultural affinities lie with the organic, the authentic, and the beautiful, all terms more associated with the left? This article by Rod Dreher addresses the fuzzy boundaries between traditionalists on the right and bohos on the left. These cultural affinities across the political spectrum have very different philosophical roots.

“Here's something else I've noticed: The Granola Conservatives I know tend not to be wealthy, but labor in the creative and intellectual vineyards as writers, professors, and artists. They also tend to be religious. It's foolish to go too far in metaphysicalizing questions of taste, but a big part of it, at least for those of us who are part of older Christian traditions, comes from learning to see the world sacramentally. In the sacramental vision, which is shared by Catholics and the Orthodox, the spirit world is mediated through the material world, which is another way of saying we experience God in creation. To someone imbued with a sacramental vision, qualities inherent in things — from the food we eat to the buildings we live in — matter in profoundly spiritual ways.”

It is definitely wrong of Conservatives to surrender the ideas of Beauty and organic authenticity to the Left. Beauty and Organic are very old, traditional concepts. Various country, folk, bluegrass, and jazz music, among other things, were also mentioned as being “granola conservative.” All these things fall into the category of the True, Good, and Beautiful, and should not be constrained by political labels. Of course, I throw those labels around as much as anyone else. Yet I could be considered a “granola conservative” in many ways. I prefer unprocessed foods and traditional art forms. I also prefer handmade or hand-crafted objects and the reason why is in the same sacramental vein Dreher spoke of.

Man is created in God’s image. As God is the Creator, man is called to create in His image. That which man has wrought with his hands is a tribute to the ultimate Creator. We could go into Cain and Abel or tossing over blood sacrifice for bread and wine, blah, blah, blah, but that would be beside the point. The created world reflects its Creator, and man’s creations reflect the Image of God in man. No, I’m not fanatical about this. I buy cheap-o machine made crap like everyone else. I don’t fully buy into the “organic” food craze either. While fresh from the farmer’s market is good, the “organic” aisle in the grocery store isn’t worth the price, economically or environmentally. Also, I knew some people in NC who were into organic farming, and I know what sometimes gets used as fertilizer. Organic doesn’t necessarily taste better either. Still, I know the value of hand-crafted objects and I try to act on that value. I don’t see that as being a lefty thing to do.

P. S. For the record, I am highly skeptical of the concept of “authenticity.” Which is to say that I have not yet completely dismissed the idea as “freakin’ stupid” but am not too far from doing so. Real authenticity, like happiness, can be experienced but not achieved. If you strive for it, it will forever elude your grasp. The search for “authenticity” is an avoidance of life. It is a self-conscious pose. If you can define it, it ain’t it.

P. P. S. I am militantly anti-Birkenstock. If you can afford to shell out eighty bucks for the world’s ugliest footwear, you should be smart enough not to.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, July 14, 2002 | link

Doing the Right Thing.

The spiritual leader of Australia’s Muslims has stepped up to the plate. After the conviction of several young Muslims for gang-raping teenage girls, many in the Muslim community Down Under refused to accept that the men had committed a crime. Sheikh Tajeddine Hamed el Hilaly has taken it upon himself to insist upon the rapists’ guilt. He is also pushing to clean up the criminal elements within the Muslim community. This is a big step in the right direction, and I salute you, Sheik.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, July 14, 2002 | link

The Pro-Choice Myth.

The Abortion Wars have produced one of the most disgusting displays of the psychological abuse of a child I have seen in a while. In an essay for the New York Times, an anonymous father proudly clucks over how he and his wife browbeat their daughter into having an abortion the girl didn’t want. Lee Bockhorn of the Weekly Standard aptly points out the smug hypocrisy of this man and the self-righteous attitudes that drive him. Says Bockhorn:

“After learning she was pregnant, the girl said she wanted to keep the child, and promised she would be a good mother. In response to this, Mr. X and his wife ‘freaked, and not just because of our dashed aspirations for this girl. We were too old to want to raise another baby--and we felt sure the raising would fall to us.’

“The belligerent selfishness of this statement is nothing less than breathtaking. Upon hearing that their daughter, faced with the difficult circumstance of a teenage pregnancy, nevertheless courageously desired to raise her child, Mr. and Mrs. X couldn't bear to think about how to help her cope with the inevitable challenges ahead. Instead, they worried about what a royal pain in the ass the child would be for them. As Mr. X whines later in the essay, ‘We felt we had been sentenced to 18 years of hard labor.’

“Faced with this, then, as Mr. X goes on to describe, the family staged an ‘intervention,’ inviting 15 female relatives and friends to the house to exhort the girl to have an abortion. Having still failed to change her mind, Mr. and Mrs. X then took her to a counseling session at Planned Parenthood. When they returned home, the parents asked the daughter what she was going to do. ‘I don't have a choice,’ she replied. She went on to have the abortion.”

I guess not every woman has a “right to choose.” The poor girl forced to have an abortion clearly didn’t get to make a real choice. I mean, dear God, an intervention!?! That’s something you do if your kid is on crack and needs to be forced into rehab. This girl was having a baby and wanted to raise it. Walking into a room full of friends and relations who are gathered together to browbeat you into killing your child is not an “intervention,” it is child abuse. Then the poor girl gets dragged to an abortion clinic where, surprise! surprise!, the counselors recommend an abortion! Well hail holy Claude Rains, I never would’ve thought that! The unwilling girl finally has the abortion, not because she wants one, but because, in her own words mind you, “I don’t have a choice.” Wasn’t “choice” the whole rationale behind “abortion rights” in the first place? So much for empty liberal rhetoric. Finally the great lie of “pro-choice” has fallen and the reality of “pro-abortion” stands in its place. I feel so sorry for this poor girl. Not only does she have to live with the trauma of an unwanted abortion, she has to live with the fact that her own parents forced her into it, that they loved their own ease of life more than they cared for her.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, July 14, 2002 | link

No Sir, Yasser.

Mark Steyn is back and he’s laughing giddily at the tailspin Bush’s new Mideast Plan has sent the Euros into. The decline of Yasser Arafat has the Euros reahing for the smelling salts and Steyn for the champagne. Here’s a couple of quotes:

“Yasser Arafat isn’t just toast, he’s buttered, covered in Marmite and being dipped in the soft-boiled egg of history.”

“But, in launching the intifada, Yasser blew up his own raison d’être. You can’t warn ‘Après moi le déluge’ when the deluge is already in full flood.”

Now go read the rest for yourself.

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, July 14, 2002 | link

Where Do Terrorists Come From?

Belgium, apparently. It seems that Belgium has been allowing itself to sprout into a major terrorist capitol. Belgium has not only given shelter to known (and very much wanted) terrorists, but it refuses to either jail or extradite them. Many of our major terrorists have headquartered themselves there. The Belgian Surete de l’Etat is understaffed, underfunded, and under orders not to bother the nice Islamofascists. If, as Bush says, you are either with us or with the terrorists, and if Belgium has decided to go with the terrorists, does this mean we have to invade Brussels?

posted by Lee Ann on Sunday, July 14, 2002 | link

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Saturday, July 13, 2002

Wedding Bell Blues.

The regularly scheduled lament over marriage has sounded. This time out, Paul Craig Roberts presents a clear indictment of the damage women have done to marriage. The flaws of men get highlighted frequently enough, but women usually get a pass for their destructive behavior. The hugely biased family court system gets its well-deserved lumps too. Want to know why men don’t marry? Here’s a quick summary:

“The fickleness of women, men argue, is no longer constrained by concerns with reputation and by laws that require real grounds for breaking up a marriage and a family.

“A wife can walk out at any time -- with another man, if she wishes -- and take your children, your house, half of your pension and half of your income. If you make a fuss over child custody, she can gun you down with accusations of child molestation.

“Even if a father is awarded joint legal custody, the mother usually has actual custody. It is up to her whether the father's visitation rights are honored.”

Quite frankly it’s a wonder that men marry at all. If we are going to blame men for their boorish behavior, the equally repugnant behavior of women ought to be just as open to criticism.

posted by Lee Ann on Saturday, July 13, 2002 | link

Ars Derbica.

Derb tackles the issue of whether Islam itself is the source of our terrorist problem. He posits that no, it isn’t. He then goes into a very finely wrought meditation on religion.

“Religion doesn't make us perfect, and of course we all know that horrible things are done in the name of God. On balance, though, we are better off with religion than without it. As bad as we may sometimes be with it, without it we should be scarcely human.”

posted by Lee Ann on Saturday, July 13, 2002 | link

Tie Me Kangaroo Court Down, Sport.

With all the to-do about the International Criminal Court, I thought I’d remind y’all of what it is. It is the pet project of unelected, elite Euro “progressives” who are making the unprecedented in international law claim to have legal jurisdiction over every country on earth.

“The arrogance is magnified by the small proportion of the world's nations and people who support the ICC. The ICC formally came into being in April when the 60th nation ratified the 1998 Treaty of Rome, and opened for business at the Hague in the Netherlands July 1. But there are 191 nations in the world, and most of the big ones have joined the United States on the sidelines. China and India, the world's most populous nations, haven't signed. Russia has, but is backing away from it now. In all, two-thirds of the world's nations, representing more than 80 percent of the world's people, have not given their consent.

“The United States opposes the ICC because it will not surrender a vital element of national sovereignty to an international body; because the ICC tramples on rights Americans take for granted; and because we fear the ICC will become a propaganda tool of our enemies.

“The ICC resembles the courts of the Star Chamber in one of the darker periods of English history. ICC judges act as both prosecutors and jurors. Defendants would not have a right to face their accusers, a right to a public trial, or to a trial by a jury of their peers. Conviction is by majority vote of the judges sitting on a tribunal. There is no right of appeal.”

I like the part where 80% of the world’s population reject the ICC’s legitimacy. Yet it’s only the USA that gets slammed for being “arrogant.” What is it about Europe that they can’t get over the allure of an absolutist aristocracy?

posted by Lee Ann on Saturday, July 13, 2002 | link

No Taxation Even With Representation.

Here’s the latest on the ongoing Tennessee Tax Revolt. Ya gotta love Tennessee, even with that freaky orange color.

posted by Lee Ann on Saturday, July 13, 2002 | link

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Thursday, July 11, 2002

Sowell Patrol.

Thomas Sowell, intellectual diety, gives the low-down on what’s wrong with our school: unqualified teachers. The Ed School monopoly keeps qualified people out and keep the schools under the thumb of unions with ulterior motives.

“The biggest obstacle are the education courses which can take up years of your time and thousands of dollars of your money, but which have no demonstrated benefit on future teaching. Research shows that teachers' actual knowledge of the subject matter is what benefits students.

“Emphasis on something that does not affect educational quality reflects the priorities of the teachers' union in restricting competition, not the requirements for educating children. It would be hard for anyone who has not looked into education courses to believe just how bad they are. I wouldn't believe it myself if I hadn't seen the data, the professors and the students.”

I know there are a lot of teachers out there who don’t deserve to be tarred with the brush of incompetence, but the unions and ed. schools do. The great teachers who are in the school deserve better than the crap the Teacher’s Unions make them put up with.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, July 11, 2002 | link

Just the Facts Ma’am.

Here’s a great article on black cops from the City Journal. With all the knee-jerk anti-cop rhetoric flying around, Heather MacDonald went to the source to find out the truth about police and race. This is a great article by a great reporter.

posted by Lee Ann on Thursday, July 11, 2002 | link

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Monday, July 08, 2002

Gotta Get This One.

Martin Amis has a new book out on Stalin and his Western Left accomplices. Called Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million, the book looks at the West’s refusal to truly recognize the evils of Communism. This review says it all:

“Koba the Dread (‘Koba’ was Stalin's childhood nickname) is about what Amis calls the 'chief lacuna' of the 20th century: the failure of Western intellectuals to condemn the grotesque horrors perpetrated in the USSR even as they were happening, and their reluctance to fully repudiate some of their communist sympathies since. (To put this in perspective, the horrors include the murder of some 20 million people and the misery of almost everybody else.)”

“ . . . the book does a brilliant job of rubbing the left's face in the mountains of corpses that resulted from its favorite political philosophy.”

“Take a walk in Plummer Park sometime and check out the older Russians there. Lack of hilarity is engraved in their faces.”

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, July 08, 2002 | link

Dir. Mueller, It’s Reality Calling.

For reasons known only to bureaucracy, the FBI still won’t admit the LAX shooter was a terrorist. Apparently, heavily armed Egyptians gunning down Israelis after sending the wife and kiddies back to the Old Country just isn’t as suspicious as it used to be. Now I recognize that the FBI has just come out of a bad patch and is still getting itself back together. Battleships don’t turn on a dime and restructuring the Mecca al-G-Men doesn’t happen in a week and a half. I even grant that a press conference, much like a performance review at work, is an exercise in using big words to pronounce solemn nothingness while maintaining complete deniability. But come on! Wake up and smell reality! What the hell do you think the shooter went down there for? He was an Egyptian. He sent the family out of the country, brought 2 guns, a knife, sought out an obscure, hard to find ticket counter (mind you, LAX is the size of Brazil) and started blasting away. What, he targeted El Al to protest the artistic liberties taken in the new Scooby-Doo movie? It’s time for the FBI to buck up, flip off the media, and change their terrorism policies. From now on, all incidents like the LAX shooting are presumed to be terrorism unless proven otherwise. Especially if the shooter is Muslim and the victims Israeli. If a redneck with an Aryan Nations T-shirt on had shot up El Al, we’d be enduring wall to wall hate crime coverage. This is no time for PC platitudes, it’s time for honesty.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, July 08, 2002 | link

No Jews Allowed.

Two Israeli scholars were fired from the Translator, an academic journal associated with the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST). The reason? The two are Israelis. Yes, the journal’s owner. Mona Baker, born in Egypt, hates Israel and fired the pair as part of a Europe-wide boycott. Don’t believe it? Listen to Baker herself:

"I deplore the Israeli state. . . . It is Israeli institutions as part of the Israeli state which I absolutely deplore. . . . Many people in Europe have signed a boycott against Israel. Israel has gone beyond just war crimes. It is horrific what is going on there. Many of us would like to talk about it as some kind of Holocaust which the world will eventually wake up to, much too late, of course, as they did with the last one."

So this woman not only admits she fired the two scholars because of their nation of origin (didn’t the EU just pass some laws making “xenophobia” a crime carrying a prison sentence?), but she is a Holocaust denier as well. To compare the self-inflicted hardships of the Palestinians to the deliberate attempt to exterminate an entire race is only possible if you believe that the actual Holocaust wasn’t all that bad, or wasn’t even a real “Holocaust” at all. There is no comparison between the self-defense measures taken by the Israelis (necessitated by the Palestinians own actions) and the Holocaust. What’s the comparison, the Einsatzgruppen and the horrifying way the Israelis neglected to massacre civilians at Jenin? Note she says that “many would like to talk about it (the Mideast situation) as some kind of Holocaust.” They'd like to, but sane, thinking people won’t let them.

Oh, there’s a kicker too. You just knew there would be. It’s the Israeli scholars’ own fault they got fired, don’t you know. Get this:

“The pair, she said, would have been able to keep their jobs if they had left Israel for Britain and severed all ties with their homeland.”

OK, you Jews can keep your jobs, but only if you leave your homeland for a very hostile foreign country, deny your heritage, renounce your country, and stopped being so darned Jewish. What do you think this is, a free country?

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, July 08, 2002 | link

Sid Avery, R.I.P.

Sid Avery, the famed Hollywood photographer, died at 83. He was a great shutterbug from Hollywood’s Golden Era, back when films were movies and stars really shone. He specialized in the intimate photo of the star’s life. If you’ve ever seen a beautiful black and white of Bogart, Bacall, or some other great star, relaxed at home, you’ve seen Avery’s work. Sure, the photos were mostly illusions of the stars real life, but they were beautiful.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, July 08, 2002 | link

BoozeWarch!

David Hasselhof, the star of the world’s favorite jiggle show, has checked himself into rehab. Turns out our favorite red suited ham has spent most of the recent past staying three sheets to the wind. What his fans have been imbibing is as yet unreported.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, July 08, 2002 | link

Sowell Patrol.

Atop Olympus, casting thunderbolts about him, sits Thomas Sowell, intellectual diety. Oh boy! It’s a Random Thoughts column! Take a peek into the mind of genius. Here’s a sample:

“The people I feel sorry for are those who do 90 percent of what it takes to succeed.”

“It is bad enough that so many people believe things without any evidence. What is worse is that some people have no conception of evidence and regard facts as just someone else's opinion.”

“Trust is one of those things that is much easier to maintain than it is to repair.”

Just sit back and absorb the wisdom.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, July 08, 2002 | link

People Who Live in Glass Houses . . .

Shouldn’t make bad puns involving Mark Steyn. The Euros are mad because the Americans won’t do what they want us to. Steyn points out that America being the odd man out still puts her ahead of the game.

“That's where the EU, in their haste to line up at the Eurinals and spray their contempt over Bush, are missing the point. Who is this arrogant cowboy, they sneer, to tell the Palestinians whom they can vote for. Actually, that's not what Bush said. The guys who tell people who they can vote for are the Europeans. Only a couple weeks back, Tony Blair and Gerhard Schroeder told the French to vote for Chirac. In February, the Belgian Foreign Minister threatened sanctions against Italy if they voted for Umberto Bossi's Northern League. When Austria proved less pliable and admitted duly elected members of Joerg Haider's Freedom Party to the coalition government, the EU did, indeed, impose sanctions.”

I’d like to be funnier about this, but I’m in a funk. Maybe tomorrow.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, July 08, 2002 | link

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Monday, July 01, 2002

Islamo-Reds?

Jamie Glazov of Frontpage conducts an interview with Michael Ledeen, Daniel Pipes, Paul Hollander, and Vladimir Bukovsky on the similarities between Communism and Islamofascism. They make a lot of good points about the totalitarian similarities between to two systems of repression. There is also a mgnificent indictment of Intellectual Kultur from Bukovsky:

“Intellectuals are the most power-hungry stratum of any society. They crave total power. That is what explains their embrace of totalitarianism and, particularly, of the Left ideologies which, if you look closer, give them a unique and privileged position in the utopian society. They hate anyone else who might be viewed as being in power. They are psychotic in this sense. Even if they are in power as they are today, they still view themselves as an opposition, as underdogs, as victims. Second, although they crave absolute power, they do not accept any responsibility for exercising it. You can say, if you wish, that it is self-destructive tendency, but only from an objective viewpoint. Thus, objectively, their theories and actions usually lead to destruction of the society. They just refuse to see themselves as a part of it.”

Well worth reading.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, July 01, 2002 | link

Rosemary Clooney, RIP.

Rosemary Clooney died Saturday evening at age 74. She had a remarkable voice and was sadly underappreciated. She made a big splash in the classic film White Christmas and with songs like “Come On-a My House.” Her song “Here Comes Suzy Snowflake” is a favorite of the mini-munchkins, who can sing “Nuzy Noblake” until you scream “uncle” like a particularly cowardly Frenchman. My personal favorite Rosie song is “This Old House," which is a rockin’ little song. She was a remarkable talent and I will miss her.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, July 01, 2002 | link

Cruise-ing For Trouble.

Tom Cruise is the latest celebrity to dispel any rumors granting him logical capabilities. He claims that America is a rotten place to raise kids. We are “terrifying” and “saddening,” not to mention our disregard for human life. I guess he’ll be joining the Baldwins at their French refuge for Wandering Hollywood Intellectuals. Good thing I’ve never liked Tom Cruise. I always thought he looked like a mono-browed Neanderthal. When I look at him I can’t help but think “high school date rapist.” It’s silly, I know, but it is nice to know there are legitimate reasons for disliking the man.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, July 01, 2002 | link

Bernie Beach.

The state of Vermont has named a beach after Bernie Sanders, their registered Independent but really Socialist congressman. The public was not allowed to weigh in on the renaming, but that’s no surprise. Turns out the beach in question has been closed to swimmers about 14 times due to fecal contamination. I guess naming a fecal beach after a Socialist is kind of appropriate.

Get a load of the last item too. A dimwit congresswoman, who somehow manages not to be Cynthia McKinney, claims Bush has an IQ of 88. That does explain how he ended up with degrees from both Yale and Harvard. Only an idiot would want to go to there.

posted by Lee Ann on Monday, July 01, 2002 | link

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Contact Spinster Lee Ann at calhounista_at_hotmail

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Two Babes and a Bob! Opinion, insight, commentary, sarcasm, scathing polemic, and wit by Lee Ann, Carol, and Robert. Featuring the spectral presence of Gena.
Contact the Spinsters at: brodskii@yahoo.com (Gena) calhounista@hotmail.com (Lee Ann)

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