Topper – An OCF Classic Movie Review

The pre-Oscar TCM movie festival continues so I decided to re-watch Topper.  This is without a doubt one of the goofiest screwball comedies of the 1930s.  Cary Grant and Constance Bennett are George and Marion Kirby, a young married couple.  They’re rich and they live a wild life.  They stay up all night dancing and drinking and driving around in a crazy fin-backed whale of a roadster.  Their banker is a middle-aged mouse of a man named Cosmo Topper.  Topper has a proper wife who wants Topper to get up at 8am and go to bed by 11pm and have lamb on Sunday and steak on Tuesday and boiled vegetables on Wednesday.  She expects him to be the respectable banker so she can be part of high society.

When George and Marion show up at Topper’s bank one morning for a business meeting you can tell that all three of them think that Topper’s life is not much fun compared to the Kirbys.  Driving back from the meeting George is characteristically driving like a madman around some hairpin turns when he gets something in his eye and crashes them.  Staggering out of the wreck George and Marion gather their senses and realize that they have died in the crash and are now ghosts.  Taking stock of the situation they realize they don’t have any good deeds on their records to allow them to expect admission through the pearly gates.  The scene dissolves with the ghosts themselves dissolving into invisibility.

In the next scene Topper is at home with the missus.  We witness the boredom of his respectable existence.  At this point a mechanic shows up with the Kirby’s repaired sports car.  Both the mechanic and Mrs. Kirby remark on how mismatched this car would be for Topper.  His pride is stung and he takes off with the car.  The car gets the better of him and he crashes it at the same spot that the Kirbys crashed.  The Kirbys make their presence known and Topper eventually gets over his fright.  The rest of the film is the tale of the Kirbys trying to humanize Topper and make his life happier.  This is the good deed that they hope will get them into heaven.

With a plot this frothy everything depends on the characterizations of the stars.  Cary Grant and Constance Bennett are at their witty best bantering together while teaching Topper to be a man and not a mouse.  Roland Young brings his characteristic upper-class Englishman’s mumbling confused manner to his portrayal of Cosmo Topper and Billie Burke as Mrs. Topper is the outraged prim and proper wife who needs to learn that a husband still needs to be a man.  An uncredited part has Hoagy Carmichael playing the piano and singing for the happy couple.  All in all, I’d say this is a goofy comedy that from my point of view provides good entertainment.  The story sails along and even the minor characters are well done and add to the fun of the story.

I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars.

What Is a Sub-Species?  Whatever We Tell You It Is! – Fake Science

Years ago, I used to frequent a website that catered to field-herpers.  Field-herpers aren’t people suffering from herpes caught while engaging in questionable sexual behavior in the outdoors.  These are people who search for reptiles and amphibians in their natural habitats.  And among the denizens of this site were a certain number of herpetologists.  These are biologists who study reptiles and amphibians.  And most of these scientists are just regular folks doing their jobs for either a college or for the state or federal government.  They do population studies and other more esoteric scientific analyses.

But a very small percentage of these were individuals who each made it his life’s work to make sure that nobody but a “scientist” kept reptiles and amphibians on his own.  In some areas of the country this is essentially a fait accompli.  In a place like Massachusetts, almost any reptile or amphibian less common than a bullfrog is already listed as an endangered or threatened species.  Even the rattlesnakes are protected.  And as for turtles, you can probably keep a painted turtle or a snapper but everything else is sacrosanct.  Even the turtles that they admit aren’t endangered or even uncommon are treated as contraband such that if you were caught in possession of one you’d get more prison time than if you were discovered hauling a tractor trailer full of cocaine into the state.

Now in less densely populated states like Kansas and Missouri it was pretty common for a farm boy who had an interest in nature to catch a rat snake or a bull snake around the hen house and build a cage for it and figure out how to feed it and keep it alive.  Many famous early 20th Century herpetologists got started in just that way.  A Snake is a very interesting and unusual creature.  Other than horrifying his female relatives it is a harmless endeavor for a pre-teen boy from which some knowledge of the outdoors can be easily gleaned including the usefulness of snakes as a rodent exterminating agent.  And since snakes do not require companionship or affection it is relatively guilt-free for the keeper.

In these farming states it was difficult for the zoological SJWs to claim endangered status for these rodent eating snakes.  After all corn fields breed rats and mice at a prodigious rate.  And that ensures a plentiful supply of snakes.  But the SJWs are a persistent bunch and with enough time and warped thinking they can always make up something.  And what they’ve come up with is the “convenient sub-species.”  Let’s say you have a species with an enormous range and the ability to inhabit a wide range of habitats.  As an example, take the common garter snake (Thamnophis sirtalis).  This animal extends the length and breadth of the continental United States and even occupies large parts of Canada and even the southeast tip of Alaska.  It’s ridiculously common.  And because it thrives in widely varying habitats it has adapted and has developed different patterns and coloring to blend in better with its environment.  There are striped populations and checked ones.  There are almost totally black populations (melanistic) and there is a whole suite of color groupings.  On the west coast there are some areas that have populations that tend to red and orange.  And even in the same geographic location you can find differences in appearance that show how camouflage has been successful in selecting a phenotype for survival.  Okay, so far so good.  The common garter snake is a prodigy of ecological success.  What a shame for SJWs.  How can you ban a little boy from catching a garter snake and keeping it in a terrarium for a few weeks until he gets tired of feeding it worms and throws it back in the field where he found it?  After all it’s ubiquitous.  A thousand get diced in the blades of suburban lawnmowers every Saturday in August around every good-sized town in America.  What harm is there in a little boy keeping one.  Well the harm is he’s having fun and he’s not doing it in a classroom, sanctioned and facilitated by the state.  He’s doing it himself!

But how to stop him?  Well, the common garter snake is a tough nut to crack but give the SJW credit.  He’ll find a way.  And the answer is the convenient sub-species.  So back to the SCIENCE!  Thamnophis sirtalis is one species.  If you look at one population in Massachusetts and then looked at another one a hundred miles to the west you might find very small color differences and yet if you let them mate, which they would, the offspring would be almost indistinguishable from both parents.  And you could do the same every hundred miles west all across the continental United States until you reached Oregon or Washington and each time you’d find the same thing, very tiny gradations in color and pattern.  By then the populations would be significantly different from the Massachusetts tribe but they’d still be the same species and in fact they could breed with their Bay State cousins and produce common garter snakes.  But what if we decided that there was such a thing as sub-species?  Let’s say that we look at the garter snakes on the West Coast and compare them directly to the garter snakes on the East Coast.  They are fairly distinct.  Without looking at the progression of gradations from one coast to the other you might even be able to convince yourself that they are different species.  So sub-species is something that rather arbitrarily can be designated along the range of a species that spans large geographic areas.  Well, even if it is arbitrary, there are noticeable differences in form (morphology) to base such a classification on and since biologists have a lot of time on their hands in the winter they go to their collection of bottled alcohol-preserved snakes and draw lines on the range map showing where sub-species X ends and where sub-species Y begins.  Once again, fine.  Anything that keeps biologists off of fieldherper websites is a good thing.  And the SJW scores a great victory here.  In the whole universe of garter snake habitats, it would have to be San Francisco that combines an attractive and distinctive local subspecies with a shrinking range due to local land usage that almost (well not quite almost) justifies providing a protected status to the population.  But, of course, the draconian measures employed undermines the legitimacy of the case for protecting the population.  Captive bred populations of the San Francisco garters exist in Europe and many other places but ownership in the US is prohibited and extreme measures are taken to prevent these foreign blood lines from being brought into the country.  Scientific studies of the genetics of the SF garters and other red colored garters from the west coast show no differences in genetic makeup.  In other words, the SF garter snake is no more than a local population that differs in genetics no more than those garter snakes that lived a hundred miles from the ones we talked about earlier.  The biggest difference is that the academics in San Francisco made a stink about their local snake and dragged the Feds in to make it a federal case.

And so, the example has been set.  Find a distinctive population of a common species and declare it endangered.  But this was just the beginning.  Suppose you have a common species whose range only barely extends into a particular state.  Where a change of topography limits the range of a species to a small area that overlaps with the jurisdiction of a state government it is possible to have a situation where the species is extremely common on both sides of a state border but only inhabits a tiny area within that state.  Because of the limited area of the snake in this state, the local scientists will decide that it’s threatened.  Does this make any sense?  None.  But that’s now standard operating procedure.  And step by step you build up a patchwork of restrictions on common species and laws to punish anyone who is interested in keeping them.

And finally, we come to the last stage of the convenient sub-species.  Population biologists start performing morphological studies on the prevalence of small differences in appearance between small populations of a common species.  As an example, imagine that a certain snake has a range of scale counts on its chin.  Let’s say the count can vary from a minimum of eight scales to a maximum of twelve scales.  And suppose on Hill A the population has 66% eight scale average and 33% 12 scale average.  Meanwhile on Hill B about half a mile away the proportions are reversed (33% lower, 66% higher).  The field biologist will declare these two populations sub-species and because of their limited ranges they are endangered sub-species.  Think about that.

So, this is the strategy.  Break everything into smaller and smaller populations, declare these smaller groupings distinct and then use the small size to declare them endangered.  Pretty brilliant.  And we pay the salary of these government and academic scientists who do this to us.  And the same system is used for plants, insects, birds, snails, fish and everything else that gives bureaucrats power over businesses and ordinary people who come in contact with the natural world.

It’s a racket and it works.  And the way it effects hobbyists who keep pets is just the tip of the iceberg.  Every time a small population of a common species is identified as an endangered species it can be used to prevent a dam from being built or someone from using his own property as he likes.  It’s about power and demoralizing a free people.

So to answer my original question, a sub-species is whatever government and academic scientists need it to be in order to assert power over the actions of the citizens of this country.  There’s no objective standard.  Just whatever it takes to assert the government’s power over its citizens.  Fake science.

Brevity is the Soul of Wit

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is a mathematician and securities trader who also waxes philosophical.  The last of his books that I am reading is entitled “The Bed of Procrustes.”  Now the title alone would guarantee I would want to know about it.  In Greek Mythology, Procrustes is one of those idiosyncratic monsters that the Hero, such as Heracles or as in this case Theseus must conquer in order to eliminate Chaos and promote civilization or something like that.  Freud made much soup from this sort of thing.

So, Procrustes had a bed that he let travelers sleep on at night.  The catch was that if the sleeper was shorter than the bed then Procrustes would stretch him to the correct size.  And if the sleeper was longer than the bed then he would trim him down to fit.  According to the story up until Theseus arrived the bed-sleeper length optimization procedure had been 100% fatal to the “sleeper.”  And when Theseus shows up he turns the tables (more furniture!) on Procrustes and performs a bed fitting exercise on him.

Taleb is using the metaphor of Procrustes Bed to represent how often in life humans look at situations from the wrong point of view.  And he returns to one of the oldest formats to address his subject, the aphorism or proverb or wise saying.

The Bed of Procrustes is one hundred and fifty-six pages long.  His other books like the “Black Swan” are four or five times as long.  His next book will be written on the back of a match book cover.  I approve of this trend.

I’ve started reading them.  Some of them are pretty good.  I’m comparing them to those other aphoristic writers Solomon, Confucious and Robert A. Heinlein (through the agency of his alter ego Lazarus Long).  The emphasis is different.  Taleb is talking about life from the point of view of a savvy operator not a philosopher or a saint.  He has more in common with Lazarus Long.  But there are many interesting observations and some of them are original in some aspect.  When I finish reading Procrustes Bed and do some comparison to his peers I’ll probably have more to say, but one thing that occurs to me is to put out a regular quote of the day (week?) from someone.  I’m sure it will make me appear wiser.  Here’s the first one:

“What fools call “wasting time” is most often the best investment.”

Shakespeare has Polonius declare that brevity is the soul of wit.  Polonius is a windbag so you have to wonder whether Old Will believed this statement or not.  But I find that, many times, less is decidedly more, especially when you’re under the gun to fit in blog posting into a busy day.  I see that many bloggers churn out a couple of thousand words in a post.  I like to put up about five hundred or so (and sometimes less).  I know everybody is busy nowadays and I don’t want to impose so let’s stop right here.

2001: A Space Odyssey – A Science Fiction Movie Review

(Warning, this whole review is one long spoiler.  In my defense this movie is 49 years old.)

The only good thing about The Academy Awards is that for the whole month before, TCM plays many good (and not so good) old movies.  Last night I watched 2001.  As the exit music was finishing it occurred to me that this was the first time in almost fifty years that I had watched the movie from beginning to end.  Back in 1968 I attended the film in a large theater in Manhattan as part of a class trip.  At the time I was a sci-fi fan but I distinctly remember becoming incredibly bored during the “Infinity” sequence.  And sure enough, last night I found my eyes glazing over as I waited for Keir Dullea to stop making funny faces and show up in Versailles.  And then it also occurred to me that it was actually a very, very good movie.  So, let’s talk about it.  You already know I don’t like the “Infinity” sequence.  But I find the rest of the film is excellent.  Not everybody cares for Kubrick’s style in film-making.  There is a great deal of stylization and idiosyncratic imagery that bothers many people.  And without a doubt it is highly un-naturalistic.  In fact, the ape men were the most realistic as personalities.  The other characters are decidedly wooden.

But without a doubt this movie is an amazing spectacle.  The matching of images to the musical soundtrack is perfect.  The sequences of space ships landing and maneuvering are shown as if they were dancers in a ballet.  The “Dawn of Man” sequence is riveting.  I could believe that the actual event was very much like the portrayal (minus the monolith of course).  It captured the essence of human ingenuity.  The desperate and sordid circumstances of that ingenuity ring true.

And then there’s HAL.  I hate HAL.  I always have.  But he is the perfect Frankenstein Monster.  And the arc of his crime and punishment is, for me, a thing of hideous beauty.  His relations with the astronauts are as creepy and dishonest as some Dickens villain, something like Uriah Heep.  Some people feel sadness when Dave lobotomizes HAL and reduces him to the level of a two-year-old singing “Daisy.”  I never shared that sadness.  I guess I’m more Old-Testament.

So, that brings us back to the “Infinity” sequence which sucks.  But following it we have what I call the “Versailles” scene where I guess Dave lives his life out as a captive of the monolith makers.  This is weird and I guess necessary to set up the conclusion.  Dave dies and is reborn as the next stage of human evolution.  And he is returned to our solar system and the picture ends with him floating above earth to the sequence of “Thus Spake Zarathustra” and “The Blue Danube Waltz” playing us out.

In sum we have a fifty year old movie that is still visually stunning, that addresses the inexplicable advance of savage animals to the brink of interplanetary travel and the frightening prospect of facing our masters in artificial intelligence.  What’s not to like?  Well he could have added a few good-looking space babes but nobody’s perfect.

Sony’s First Real E-Mount Sports Lens is On Its Way

Sonyalpharumors.com has a photo of this new pro sports lens discovered out in the wild (https://www.sonyalpharumors.com/sony-400mm-f-2-8-versus-canon-lens/) .  At over $10,000 each probably the only buyers will be pro sports shooters (and a few old rich guys, of course).  Looks like Sony is serious about the sports market.  I’m guessing at some point if the market materializes for them they’ll put out a 600mm f/4.  Of course, they might get some competition from sigma.  They’ve got some telephotos and unlike with wide angles the long lenses would easily adapt onto the e-mount with no need to change the lens formula.  Should be an interesting situation for the Canon and Nikon pros.  I’m sure being able to use the no-blackout, 20 frames per second A9 for football or soccer would be a very tempting choice for the guys who do that for a living.  Good work Sony.  Now let them come out with the A7 III.  I hope it has the same good autofocus as the A9.

The GOPe’s on the Ropes

Over the course of the post-Reagan republican clown parade we have seen many sorry excuses for conservatives.  And from where I was watching the Bushes were not even the worst of them.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I think that George Herbert Walker Bush was the political equivalent of the Civil War’s General Burnside.  Burnside was a general so disastrously incompetent that during the closing days of the Civil War upon hearing of his latest battlefield disaster Lincoln was alleged to have said that “Only Burnside could have managed such a coup, wringing one last spectacular defeat from the jaws of victory.”  I do not make this comparison idly.  Here is a man who was handed the presidency on a silver platter from Ronald Reagan’s hands and in only four years lost it to a combination of Ross Perot and the trailer trash chasing Governor of Arkansas, Bill Clinton.  Yes, the Bushes have much to be ashamed of as fake conservatives.  And the outpouring of stupidity they have provided during and since the 2016 election only confirms their terrible political skills and lack of the common touch.

Or, I could wax poetic about that “maverick,” that “Reagan foot soldier,” John McCain but his health status makes me squeamish about pummeling him with the truth.  We could talk about !JEB!  We could talk about W.  But without a doubt the worst example of republican empty suit syndrome is Willard Mitt Romney.  The whole country has had a chance to enjoy Mittens during his disastrous attempt at the presidency.  The Press had a field day with the photo of his dog riding in a crate on top of the family SUV and the infamous “binders full of women” shows how unable this man was to confront even the most inept partisan attacks against him.  And his craven supine caving to Democrat and MSM demands that he turn on Trump during the election was pure Romney gold.

But in order to really see Mitt at his best you had to live in Massachusetts during the time when Romney tried challenging Ted Kennedy for his senate seat and then later during Romney’s tenure as Governor of the Bay State.  During his senate campaign he said, “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country.”  Now this is a Mormon making this statement.  The official Mormon stance on abortion says, “Human life is a sacred gift from God. Elective abortion for personal or social convenience is contrary to the will and the commandments of God. Church members who submit to, perform, encourage, pay for, or arrange for such abortions may lose their membership in the Church.”  As a mitigating circumstance you could say that in a liberal state like Massachusetts anyone not claiming a pro-choice position had no chance of gaining elective office.  And the answer to that would be that a Mormon shouldn’t run for elective office in Massachusetts.

But Mitt had any number of pratfalls in Massachusetts.  While Governor his administration was blamed for some tiles falling from the ceiling of the newly built Big Dig tunnel and killing a passing driver.  Now the tunnel was built by the various crooked business interests that flourished under the Democratic Massachusetts House and Senate leaders who doled out the contracts as patronage rewards and squandered the federal funds and the State taxes used.  But Mitt took the blame with never a peep and almost seemed to enjoy the abuse that was heaped on him by the various rats in the legislature and press who better than anyone knew who was really to blame for the shoddy construction and outrageous price tag of the Big Dig.  And this is the real shame of the GOPe.  They never fight.  They just sit there and take it.  And even worse, they attack anyone who dares to fight back.  Instead of applauding Trump for defending himself they go out of their way to virtue signal to the press that they are more outraged than the Democrats at the shameless refusal to kowtow to scurrilous attacks.  “How dare Trump not cower like a true republican!”

But it appears the jig may be up.  In the last few months even the most dependably invertebrate members of the GOPe seem to be figuring out that you actually can beat the MSM game.  After seeing what happens when they work together with President Trump even such weak-kneed arthropods as Lindsey Graham are jumping on the Trump bandwagon and benefitting from the realization that acting like a man is possible for a republican.  Can you imagine what would happen if they survive the midterms without losing either chamber, maybe even making gains?

I’m almost afraid of what this trend could portend.  Will we see the likes of Lindsey Graham parading around the Senate floor sporting gold chains and flashing gang signs and talking trash about D’s who got curb stomped by the Notorious DT?  Man, I hope not.  But if we do, I only hope Romney doesn’t catch it too.  The image of Mitt with a gold grill and twin glocks would probably finish me off, laughing.

How Will Affirmative Action End?

For many people on the right wing, Supreme Court appointments are the highest priority for the Trump to-do list.  Gorsuch was the first act of that play.  But what they really want is a clear majority of socially conservative justices willing to act on issues where unconstitutional policy has been imposed on the country.  High on that list are the moral outrages of abortion and so-called homosexual marriage.  But at the very top of the list of unconstitutional policies that damage American life is affirmative action.  Here are a laundry list of protected classes ranging from half the population (women) to all non-white populations, to homosexuals and other deviants who only share one thing in common, they are not normal white men.  These groups are provided the coercive force of the federal and/or state government to gain preference in employment, housing and education.  And lately the sexual orientation and gender identity protected statuses are being used to dictate everything from who can be a boy scout to who can use a bathroom reserved for women.  But the truth of these laws is that they should really be called what they are.  They should be called Legalized Discrimination against Normal White Men.  Because this is the only group that is systematically discriminated against by every one of these policies.  An attempt to do this against any other group would be challenged legally and morally condemned.  But normal white men are undefended and in fact assumed to be unworthy of receiving the universal fairness that the left demands for every other group.

I am not an expert at how the Court system works.  What I think happens is some lower Court adjudicates some case that contradicts a Federal law.  If the lower court agrees with the existing law and finds against a plaintiff or defendant on the other side of this precedent then he has the right to appeal to a higher level of the federal court structure.  And if this continues, eventually it can reach the Supreme Court.  The decision of the Supreme Court is considered final and can even overturn a federal law if the Supreme Court finds it unconstitutional as happened with the Defense of Marriage Act.  That was Justice Kennedy’s handiwork.

How I would see affirmative action overturned will be when some white man is discriminated against because of one of these policies and he gets his day in court and a majority of Supreme Court Justices says enough is enough.  Once the whole range of affirmative action policies are looked at it will be easy to justify their complete dismantling based on the very question of fairness that the left is always trumpeting.  The only question I’m not sure about is whether the Court will decide to phase out these policies or just end them outright.  I can foresee an enormous legal and bureaucratic endeavor to strip out all the affirmative action policies scattered throughout the federal and state statutes and government policy documents.

But none of this can happen until one of the sitting left-leaning Supreme Court Justices retires (or passes away) and there exists a conservative President and Senate to put a conservative appointee on the Supreme Court bench.  I have to confess this is one of the things I wait for most impatiently.  And as much as I’d like to see Kennedy go, I’d prefer it was Bader-Ginsburg or Breyer.  Kennedy’s bad but he is alright on the non-social issues.  I can wait for him to go next.

A Murder of Manatees by Larry Correia – A Science Fiction Book Review

As noted earlier, Larry Correia has published a second installment of his Tom Stranger stories (A Murder of Manatees: The Further Adventures of Tom Stranger, Interdimensional Insurance Agent[Audiobook] By: Larry Correia, Adam Baldwin, Audible Studios Sold By: Audible).

I have to admit.  This is a guilty pleasure.  The stories, such as they are, border on the ridiculous.  The plot is just an excuse to allow Tom Stranger and his friends and enemies to interact in an adventure that resembles science fiction in the same way that the old 1960s Batman tv series resembles Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight movies.

But I don’t care.  It’s fun.  Correia fills his little two-hour audiobook with good natured jabs at himself, modern politics, culture and the conventions of pulp science fiction.  There’s never any doubt that Tom and his associates will provide quality, excellent customer service and that the bad guys will get their comeuppance.

And we can also be assured that Adam Baldwin will continue to find ways of voice portraying whatever ridiculous characters Larry invents, no matter whether it’s a bubble gum snapping android from the Jersey Shore or a hard-tweeting U.S. President on the battle field of the Mar-a-Lago golf course.  Having only previously known Adam Baldwin’s acting skills from Full Metal Jacket, Firefly and Chuck I wasn’t prepared for his wonderfully hammy touch to this kind of goofy material.  He absolutely makes the most of the story and its characters.

I just finished it today and I enjoyed every silly second of it.  Bravo Larry and bravo Adam.  I only wish there were more.  And what I really wish is that Hollywood would wake up and make the Monster Hunter saga into a movie series (either tv or big screen).  And I think Adam Baldwin would be a natural as Agent Franks.

But that’s a rant for another day.  Meanwhile if you like goofy tongue in cheek pulp sci-fi or you’re a fan of Larry Correia or Adam Baldwin then I highly recommend A Murder of Manatees.  You could think of plenty of worse ways to spend two hours.

Is the Alt-Lite Helping, Hurting or Neither?

I was listening to the ZMan’s Friday Podcast today.  In one segment he raised the question whether people like Jordan Peterson helped or hurt the right-wing cause.  Peterson is a psychologist academic who is battling the politically correct behavior codes in Canada’s universities (and other areas of life).  He is a civic nationalist who does not espouse any ethnic nationalist leanings and in fact specifically rejects any white nationalism as the flip side of the identity politics on the left that he rejects.  ZMan concluded that for the most part the civic nationalists were a detriment.  This he said was because they tended to position themselves barely to the right of leftists.  And moreover, they were programmed to lose every fight.  Their only function was to register each new veer to the left with an ineffectual protest.  This response was their only function (other than being paid).

I found this interesting from a few different angles.  First off did I agree with this analysis?  Secondly was I in the same compromised position?  Was I my own enemy?!!!

I’ll address this question first.  I think the answer is no for two reasons. First and most importantly, I haven’t changed my opinions over time to keep up with the changing societal position.  My moral and social point of view hasn’t shifted to the left, over time.  If anything, it has moved to the right.  For that reason, I am safe from the charge of being a right guard of the left wing.  The question of mercenary status is easily answered by my lack of any site monetization.  Check and check.

So back to the first question, do I agree with his evaluation?  I do agree that there are lots of shills.  There seem to be a number of guys doing their act to collect pennies.  This actually doesn’t bother me.  We all have to make a living.  But what is more important is the claim that these guys are just barely staying to the right edge of the leftists and that they maintain this position by constantly shifting leftward over time.  Well, I don’t know.  Some of these guys are not so much moving left as much as they started in the center and seem to be gravitating rightward bit by bit as the Trump train rolls along.  In that case, I guess I give them the benefit of the doubt.  The folks the ZMan seems to be describing are the never-Trumpers.  This includes guys like Jonah Goldberg, Bill Kristol and Kevin Williamson.  These were folks who were willing to embrace Hillary Clinton rather than deal with Donald Trump.  To me that’s the kind of position that precludes being an actual conservative.  At least with Trump you had some chance of saving the country.  But are there any never-Trumpers in the Alt-Lite?  If anyone knows any let me know.  I’d like to look them up and see if the ZMan had this thing right or not.

So conditionally, I’m gonna say that the Alt-Lite ranges from neutral to helpful.  Some of them are moving along to a useful supportive position that reinforces the appeal of the movement to include some of the slow-moving center.  And the worst are just parasites feeding off attention in the wake of the Trump Train.  And even that isn’t such a bad thing from my point of view since I’m even enjoying my piece of that action too.  After all Trump is now the greatest show on earth and what would the circus be without the vendors selling the popcorn, the program notes and souvenirs?