As we have known for some time now, comedy is dead: run over by the serial bandwagons of political correctness, and left as roadkill on the shoulder of the Highway of Progress. Such masterpieces of the stand-up comedian’s art as Henny Youngman’s perfectly crafted two-liner, “I dropped my wife off at the beauty parlor the other day. She was there for three and a half hours; and that was only for the estimate,” are now unspeakable; indeed, they are stonable offences.
Comedy can only take root in soil watered by self-reflection and quickened by the sunshine of liberty; in an age in which audiences are drunk on the sour grapes of resentment, victimhood, and self-esteem, the comedic arts fall on stony ground. Ironically, comedy thrived even amongst the untermenschen of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, though not, of course, among the self-serious fanatics of the ruling Parties. And in our Western progressive theocracies, practically everyone who counts—the media, the academy, Big Business, Big Tech — is a member of the Party.
Continue reading “The Death of Satire”
Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it, so that when men come to be undeceived, it is too late; the jest is over, and the tale hath had its effect: like a man, who hath thought of a good repartee when the discourse is changed, or the company parted; or like a physician, who hath found out an infallible medicine, after the patient is dead.
New Covid Man in his Habitat
Some of us had hopes that Vaccine Pride would at least outmode our national mask fetish, but we continue to witness the absurd spectacle of Canadians exhibiting their social responsibility (or craven submission to authority) by donning masks while jogging in the park, riding their bikes, or driving alone in their cars. (Do they fear that the COVID-19 molecule is incubating stealthily in their car’s ventilation system? In which case, shouldn’t cars be wearing masks too?)
Recently, while standing in one of those longer than normal supermarket lines that are another uncalculated cost of COVID prophylaxis — Canadians love standing in line, I know, and now they must be happier than ever — Mrs. P. had the temerity to call for an additional cashier, who, when she arrived, remonstrated, “We’re all in this together.” That, of course, is word-for-word the official mantra of Canada’s federal government, blared at us incessantly on billboards, buses, highway signs, and through “independent” media, whose willingness to make themselves organs of State propaganda would have been the envy of Big Brother. To hear that sentimentally manipulative slogan parroted by a co-operative serf reminds one of how easily and often in the past the masses have been led by maleficent rulers.
Continue reading “Authoritarianism, Propaganda, and Censorship in the COVID Era, Part II: A Medical Holodomor, and Two Heroes of the Healing Arts”
Today is the beginning of a form of discrimination that has never been witnessed in history, and this in “the land of liberty and human rights.” I have not been able to enter a store for a long time now because it is out of the question that I put a sanitary napkin on my face. Since July 21st I have not been allowed to go to the cinema, to the theater, to a concert. And from this day on, I am not allowed to go to a bar or a restaurant, nor to take a train or a plane. Some people have mentioned the yellow star, but the comparison is irrelevant: the yellow star did not prevent you from going to the restaurant or taking the train. Some have evoked apartheid, but the comparison is irrelevant: apartheid did not prevent blacks from having their own restaurants or from traveling.
–Yves Daoudal, French journalist
We have now entered that perilous phase in the psychic pandemic that can only be called “Vaccine Pride.” Wherever two or three Covidians are gathered together, the first question is, “Have you received your second dose?”, whereupon the twice-inoculated proclaim the fact with born-again triumphalism. “The jabs” (surely the most infelicitous metonymy in the history of the language) are now the stigmata of righteousness, and yet another invitation to the postmodernist’s defining pose of moral superiority. When universal forced vaccination becomes the law — depending on where you live, it’s either already here or imminent — and showing written proof of vaccination is obligatory for admission to stores, workplaces, government offices, airports, subways and buses, for keeping your job, or merely leaving your home, don’t be surprised if those untermenschen who demur are required to wear something equivalent to the yellow star of David to advertise their moral insalubriousness and physical danger to the general public. (Not my comparison, by the way, but that of Vera Sharav, a Holocaust survivor appalled to see an ugly historical atavism re-asserting itself.)
Continue reading “Authoritarianism, Propaganda, and Censorship in the COVID Era, Part I: Coercing the “Vaccine Hesitant””
With the death in February of Tom Bethell (1936 – 2021), the refuseniks of what Orwell called the “smelly little orthodoxies contending for our souls” have lost an eloquent and redoubtable champion. Over the course of Bethell’s five decades as a writer (of seven books and hundreds of essays), the malodorous certitudes of political correctness have been piling up to Augean proportions. Bethell waded into them one by one—from cultural relativism to Einsteinian relativity—hosed them down, and dressed them in motley for our sport.
Continue reading “Tom Bethell, Debunker of Progressive Orthodoxies, Fearless Defender of Truth: RIP”
In the past thirty-five-odd years, Bart D. Ehrman has probably written more books on early Christian doctrine than the collective theology faculty of the Sorbonne. The flyleaf of his latest, Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife, lists thirty titles, several of which, as a fawning review in Time Magazine points out, made it to the New York Times bestseller list. Assuming that being a New York Times bestseller must be evidence of Ehrman’s scholarly attainment — though I doubt that Jean Daniélou, Henri de Lubac, or Étienne Gilson ever achieved that distinction — the reviewer deigns nowhere to speculate as to how such a literary miracle might have transpired. I admit that I harbor elitist misgivings. Were popular success an index of scholarly mastery in the discipline of the history of religious ideas, Andrew Lloyd Webber would be recognized as a world authority on Christology.
Continue reading “Present Mirth, or Bart D. Ehrman’s Heaven and Hell: A History of the Afterlife”
Gender identity is constructed from societal perceptions of what it means to be a boy or a girl, and these stereotypes manifest themselves in the daily behaviour of children. To best serve boys, educators must understand their common behaviour as a reflection of the backdrop of societal perceptions of masculinity. It also works to combat these stereotypes so that boys can be the full expression of themselves…[B]oys are able to explore, in safety, the breadth of the human condition….In this school, culture, artistry and creativity are not labeled as “feminine”….These goals become more realizable in a culture that presupposes that one can be much more than what can be offered by the limiting stereotypes of masculinity.
— “A School for Boys”, St. Andrews College Viewbook
*** Continue reading ““Toxic Masculinity”: An Open Letter to a “Prestigious” Private Boys’ School”
Did you know that the Trump campaign’s charges of election fraud are “unsubstantiated”; that there is simply “no evidence” to back them up? You surely ought to know by now, since that’s been the liturgical formula, repeated by the mainstream media (including Fox News, whose primetime anchors now resemble the proverbial rats abandoning the sinking ship) at least a thousand times a day. By the way, there is “no evidence” of Hunter Biden’s emails either (another Russian disinformation campaign); “no evidence” of the Biden crime family’s influence-peddling enrichment scheme; hell, there’s no evidence that Hunter Biden even exists.
Continue reading ““Evidence”, Election Fraud, and Leftist Malfeasance (in General)”
In the wake of the George Floyd affair—as in the wake of the Tawana Brawley, Rodney King, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Freddie Gray affairs—everyone agrees that it is time to have a “national conversation” about race. But Americans have been talking about race almost incessantly since the sixties, longer and more obsessively, it seems, than about any other single subject with the possible exception of sex. The national conversation about America’s other “original sin”—its puritanical repression of sexual desire—(which also began in the sixties) has led to epidemic divorce, almost a million abortions per year, unremarkable teen pregnancy and promiscuity, out-of-wedlock births that nearly equal the number of children born to families with fathers, Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein, Kevin Spacey, and Bill Clinton, along with the polymorphous perversity of fisting, gay “marriage,” transgenderism, non-binary self-identified gender, and “queer studies” becoming the dominant discipline in the liberal arts faculties of our most revered institutions of higher learning—all, or some of which, ought to persuade one that national conversations are not always ameliorative.
Continue reading ““National Conversations” about Race, and other Progressive Monologues”
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains,
There’s a land that’s fair and bright,
Where the handouts grow on bushes,
And you sleep out every night…
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains,
All the cops have wooden legs,
And the bulldogs all have rubber teeth,
And the hens lay soft-boiled eggs…
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains,
The jails are made of tin,
And you can walk right out again,
As soon as you are in…
Across Canada and the U.S., the disappointingly small groups of peaceful protesters who have supplicated the authorities to be allowed to return to work have been mocked by their political nannies as reckless and selfish yahoos endangering the lives of the rest of us. Even immediate family members—some of whom have been known to sleep in the same bed–have been officially shamed and fined for violating the protocols of social distancing while walking in the park or kneeling in the pews.
But that was–as our woke millennials are wont to put it–so yesterday. Today these corona-villains might consider joining the rioters the next time they feel the need for a little physical or spiritual recreation.
Continue reading “Progressive Riotocracy, and the Great Liberal Death Wish”
The worst is not, so long as we can say, “This is the worst.”
—King Lear, IV, ii
A wasp settled on a snake’s head and tormented it by continually stinging it. The snake, maddened with the pain and not knowing how else to be relieved of his tormentor, put its head under the wheel of a wagon, so that they both perished together.
[LOYAL READER: I realize that, as a rhetorical device, asking a multitude of questions can pose an annoying obstacle to pleasant reading. But the point of the following is (another question): Why are so few people asking them?]
- Name That Dictator
Scene: A TV game-show studio, some place, some time in the latter half of the 21st century…
Listen carefully, contestants. This is the final question for the Grand Prize of a two-week, all-expense-paid vacation this spring in Milan, Italy, when the city celebrates its grand re-opening to tourism. Ready?
Name the cruel, power-crazed despot who sentenced his entire population to house arrest; forced his citizens, including the frail and the elderly, to line up for hours in freezing temperatures to buy food; made it illegal for the owners of private businesses to operate without special permission, or their employees to go to work, upon pain of imprisonment, plunging the world into an economic depression and universal poverty from which it wouldn’t recover for generations; ordered his police to disperse protestors, arrest people for worshiping in synagogues and churches, and fine visitors to public parks; and encouraged citizens to denounce their non-compliant neighbours to the authorities, all the while broadcasting soothing public service announcements from overhead drones to the effect that the Government has the safety and well-being of its subjects in the uppermost chamber of its divinely charitable and loving Heart: Continue reading “Psychic Pandemic III: Dissident Questions from a Giant Prison”