2017: The Dawn of the Age of the Deplorables

As I noted in my previous post, I spent a very nice week and a half relaxing and enjoying the Christmas holiday.  As part of that I read an awful lot of right wing and sort of right wing commentary.  And it occurred to me that things are definitely looking up on our side of the blogosphere.  Christmas Eve I watched the beginning of this five hour (!) set of interviews.

 

 

The host Stefan Molyneux has a series of videos where he interviews people about politics, philosophy, religion and life.  Ostensibly this series of interviews are about Christmas.  But that’s a jumping off point in some cases to discuss the year just passed and the new year coming up.  If you are not familiar with most of these people then I’ll say that they are spread across a continuum of ideologies starting on the left at about what used to pass for a liberal (but now would be too mild for the left today) all the way to some pretty hard core alt-right types.  Happily, for me, none of them here have joined the goose-stepping lunatics that abut this political neighborhood a little too closely for comfort.  But they are all unapologetic in their scorn for social justice warriors, America-haters and other lefty lunatic types that reflexively attack all things normal and good.  Some of them are not Trump fans, others came around by the end and some were predicting his win a year, ago.  But all of them are part of the new media.  They have cast their lot with the new way of reaching the people.  They run their own businesses and have their own audiences and get paid for telling a side of the story that the main stream media doesn’t tell.  They are more interesting and more relevant than most of what Fox provides and a thousand times better than the nonsense on CNN, ABC, NBC or CBS.  It’s very hard to predict if any of these folks will survive the brutal competition that exists in the media environment today.  I hope they do.  They inject humor and wit and points of view that aren’t permitted to exist on the network shows.  And interestingly they seem to be plugged into some of the trends that everyone else missed this year.  If that fact indicates a better grasp on what really will be happening in the near future, then maybe they’ll thrive.  I recommend that if you’re interested in what different voices are saying about our changing world then look around and see what’s going on.  You may be pleasantly surprised.  After all these are the deplorables that that Hillary warned us about and you remember how well that worked out for her!

The First Urban Fantasy:  A Christmas Carol

Merry Christmas to all from the management of Orion’s Cold Fire.  Now the title of this post is admittedly a stretch.  But it is a ghost story and it does take place in an urban center.  I guess it would be adding insult to injury to claim steampunk status too, so I won’t.  I gladly confess I’m a huge fan of this tale.  I first remember running into it as a boy when my older cousin played Mr. Fezziwig in a grammar school production.  I don’t remember much about that production other than the fact that Fezziwig was actually wearing a gray wig.  Since then I’ve read the short book and attended several professional and amateur stage productions.  But the most substantial proportion of my involvement with this story is the hundreds of viewings of the various film versions that have been made over the decades.  Discounting such travesties as the episode made as part of the old television series “The Odd Couple” and the one starring the cartoon character Mr. Magoo, I have watched at least seven separate films.

 

Among the few versions that I still watch, the oddest one is the musical from 1970 starring Albert Finney.  With Alec Guinness as Jacob Marley it includes a scene of Scrooge being installed in Hell by his long dead partner.  I’m not particularly fond of musicals and Finney hasn’t really got a singing voice so there any number of painful moments in this film but the comical aspect of Scrooge is highlighted and allows this version to serve when children are present and might otherwise become bored.

 

Until recently I was of the opinion that the best version was the 1951 edition starring Alistair Sim.  It had a good British cast and possessed a script that amplified the meager details of the novel with some dramatic details of the back story between Scrooge and his sister on her death bed.  It also fills out the history of Scrooge as a businessman and shows us some details of Marley’s death.  It remains in my reckoning a very good film.

 

But as with all other things in life, age alters our opinions and our point of view even about Dickens’ masterpiece.  Of late, I have come to favor the 1984 television version starring George C. Scott.  The balance of the cast is British with Scott the only American.  The script is relatively close to the novel although there are a few touches having to do with Scrooge’s nephew and wife that are innovative.  But in several aspects I find this later version to be the best.  First is the character of Marley.  The actor portraying this ghost is the best of any that have acted the role.  The feeling and meaning he puts into his lines is perfect for that part.  Next is the child playing Tiny Tim.  He is without a doubt the most diminutive and fragile looking child imaginable.  He enhances the reality of what we know is Tiny Tim’s probable fate.  And finally, there is Scott’s part.  He is a powerful man who displays his ruthlessness openly.  George C. Scott was a very good actor and it shows.  He interacts with the spirits as an equal.  He defends his point of view as you might imagine a rational egoist would.  You feel his gradual awakening to the error of his world view as a visceral experience and not just a logical progression.  He captures the transformation that Dickens was portraying.  It’s well done.

 

So, now why do I enjoy this story?  I believe that Dickens’ story captures some essential truth about what it means to be human.  He is trying to show us that in order to save ourselves we have to save those around us.  And not through some social construct (“are there no prisons, are there no workhouses”), but by touching the lives of those around us and lending a hand to the weak.  As a right wing fanatic this is an important lesson to remember.  If you object to the idea of the socialist state then you must instead reach out to the people around you and make things better yourself.

 

So for me this story is a cautionary tale.  Don’t forget that the people out there are real and they are someone’s children.  And they can hurt.  Watch out for them.

 

I’ll end this on a happy note.  As Tiny Tim said, “God bless us, every one.”

Giving Thanks for a Short Respite – Part II

Giving Thanks for a Short Respite – Part 1

Here we are almost a month after part one of this thread and the warm glow from the election has not dissipated.  If anything, it has increased.  Donald Trump has surprised almost all of the critics (other than the democrat hacks who if even Einstein were the republican candidate would deny he was smart enough to count on his fingers).  His cabinet selections have been good, very good.  Personally, my favorite is the pick for EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt.  Pruitt is the Oklahoma attorney general and he has been involved in stopping the EPA from imposing CO2 restrictions on the energy industry.  This sort of clear and direct approach to reversing the outrages of the Obama administration, I think, bodes very well for Trump’s success.  In addition, the extreme panic and indignation on exhibit over this particular selection is both amusing and instructive.  These folks realize that they are not dealing with the hapless Bushes or some equally ineffective mainstream republican.  We’re gonna get to move the chains in a big way.

So, I kept my promise and I did not speak about the election or politics with my friends or relatives of the other persuasion at Thanksgiving.  I intend to maintain this policy through to the New Year and possibly beyond.  The idea of separating friends and families from political debate was sound.  No good or gain would come of it.  Anyway, it would be overkill.  I’m so saturated with schadenfreude through reading and watching reports of the progressives’ fury and panic that I’m almost poisoned with it.  So, I’m done with it.

The time is better spent enjoying the holidays.  There are books and movies to read and see.  There are grandsons, nephews and nieces to regale with tall tales and bribe with presents.  There will be mountains of splendiferous food; lobster, lamb, turkey, ham, lasagna, sausage and bean soup, eggplant parmigiana and breads, rice and potato dishes enough to feed a small village.  After that we’ll eat desserts until diabetic shock sets in.  Pies; apple, blueberry, strawberry rhubarb, coconut custard, sweet potato, Boston crème and three kinds of pumpkin.  Pastries; sfogliatelle, lobster tails, tiramisu and several kinds of cannoli.  And we’ll drink gallons of coffee.  And for those who indulge, there’ll be enough wine and booze to float a boat.

So, looking ahead to the Inauguration and the First 100 Days what should we expect?  I think the question that needs to be answered is whether Senator McConnell has the stomach to go nuclear to get the cabinet and supreme court appointments confirmed.  Recently he’s showed some backbone but it’s too soon to say.  Luckily, McConnell is about to find out that pressure can come from both sides of the divide.  I don’t doubt that Trump will use the bully pulpit and public opinion to get what he needs.  After that I’m assuming we’ll see a bunch of Obama executive actions rescinded and new ones put in place.  Also, I think we’ll hear what will be replacing Obamacare and how the immigration measures will be initiated.  Eventually I hope to see how Trump plans to increase employment.  Changes to the corporate tax code to encourage increases to domestic employment would be the best way.

So, here’s to everybody’s holidays.  Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.  Enjoy yourself and save your energy for 2017 and the fireworks to come.

Giving Thanks for a Short Respite

As Rooster Cogburn said “I am grown old.”  I’ve lived through the horror of the Kennedy assassination, Nixon’s resignation, Carter’s humiliation, Clinton’s disgrace, Bush’s frittering away of the American hegemony and Obama’s deconstruction of its greatness.  I no longer harbor any illusions about happily ever after.  When Trump reaches the White House we will witness a wave of vitriol unleashed by the left that will infect every stratum of American life.  Their drumbeat of accusation will be relentless and exhausting.  Even if Trump manages to achieve much of what he intends and even if this corresponds to what I want done it will not be fun.  It will be akin to fighting the hydra, a multi-headed monster that refuses to die.  It will be exhausting.

And that brings me to my thesis.  Thanks to Donald Trump (and divine Providence) for allowing us a holiday season before the ordeal.  I will take the opportunity to celebrate and spend time with family and friends, to eat, drink and be merry.  In fact, I’ll go one better.  I have close relatives who are committed progressives.  They are probably extremely dejected over the election loss.  If the conversation turned to the subject of the election it would probably cause them lots of discomfort.  So, for that reason I will make a point of not discussing the election or Trump.  If anyone else does I will not join in and instead attempt to steer it away from this subject.

Why?  After all, the schadenfreude would be considerable.  These folks had taken great pleasure in Obama’s every disruption of American life.  They had indulged in the vilification of Bush during the Iraq War.  They thoroughly deserve to be gloated at.  They’ve richly earned it.  Why won’t I do it?  Because it’s too dangerous.

I’m becoming convinced that an open breach is building up in America.  There will be some pretty powerful hate unleashed on both side of this divide.  Many friendships and families will be torn up and I want to do whatever I can to steer it away from my family.  I have seen what happen once you let the genie out of the bottle.  You can’t unsay things.  The poison remains in the wound and never fully heals over.  Some people say that this is a better way to handle these political differences, to have your say and walk away from the other side and not come back.  I don’t agree.

I have always felt that family is the absolute bedrock foundation of life.  Turning your back on a brother or sister was tantamount to gnawing off a limb, an act that can only be justified if your very life is at stake but still so awful that the survival is a pyrrhic victory.  And the election has been so ugly and the anger has been so corrosive that it would only take a few rounds of escalating rhetoric to blow up a holiday gathering into a political hate fest.

So, that is why if someone tells me that Donald Trump stole the election from Hillary and that he is not her president I will answer, “okay, but please pass the mashed potatoes, and here are the candied yams for your side of the aisle… I mean table.”

I’ll save my venom and scorn for the internet trolls who work for Soros and endlessly opine on the evil of white privilege, misogyny and the plight of the downtrodden.  I promise not to give them a single inch.  And I’ll continue to post all through the holidays to rally the troops.  But I’ll preserve a truce at the holiday table.

Happy Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years to both patriots and progressives.  Season’s greetings to all the families out there.  Rest up and enjoy.  Next year is going to be extremely busy.  Eat, drink and be merry.  You’re going to need it.