The Change

I met my new friend for lunch today, and talking to her made me remember how I stopped being a liberal.

Those first moments of opening a book by a conservative author, my hands shaking because I was so sure I was going to find some terrible bigotry there. Turning on Fox News for the first time and feeling deep shame that I was about to hear some horrid racist, anti-semitic, bigoted garbage. I actually locked the door to my room in a house where I was alone because I was so scared of what I was doing. Twenty years of conditioning and one-sided propaganda weighing on me and making me fear that I was doing something akin to visiting a get-together of the Klan.

And then the confusion and the befuddlement of not hearing or reading any bigotry. And instead finding calm, reasonable arguments that – oh, the horror of horrors – actually made sense.

I had begun this journey to prop up the faith in the liberal dogmas that were taking a beating every day from observing the cancel culture, the growing fanaticism on the left, and the barrage of obvious lies in the media. I had this hope that “the other side” would prove to be so unapologetically horrid that I could justify continuing to be on the left.

I went farther and farther in, seeking authors I knew – because everybody around me always said so – were the scum of the Earth. I wanted reassurance that they were, indeed, horrid scum. And the more I read and heard, the clearer it became to me that “the other side’s” narrative was more grounded in reason and logic. A lot more.

It was a feeling akin to finding out that the family you grew up in wasn’t your real family and had actually kidnapped you in infancy and lied to you your whole life. It was one of the most profound intellectual and emotional experiences I ever had. And the worst part was that I was completely alone. There wasn’t a single person I could talk about this.

Yes, I told this story here before but I still haven’t fully processed what happened. I now have completely new friends and a very different sense of self, which is hard to embrace when you are past forty. But I think the value of my story is that it shows what an impenetrable bubble exists in intellectual circles. In twenty years in different parts of the continent, different schools, continents, age groups, etc I never heard even a hint of a possibility that you can vote Republican and not be a hateful person that wants people to die. Or that the concept of “a conservative intellectual” isn’t an oxymoron. That should be very disturbing to everyone.

NXIVM on Dateline

A two-hour Dateline special on NXIVM! On right now. There is supposed to be at least one person debunking the ridiculous “it was a cult” narrative.

P.S. Unfortunately, the Dateline coverage was as ridiculous as all previous coverage. An aged starlet gets dumped by her husband and tries to get some air time by declaring that her loser college-dropout daughter who’s sex-orgying somewhere in Albany is in a “cult.” Utterly ridiculous.

P.P.S. Stupid NBC. I should have known they couldn’t research the location of their own coccyx, let alone a story like this.

Spain as Infectious Disease

I’m writing one of my superficial pieces that touches upon the economic crisis of 2008-9 in Spain. I found some fascinating research published in 2015 about how the metaphors of infectious disease, viral spread, and viral pandemic were used in the German press to discuss Spain and other Southern European countries during the crisis.

Today it has these eerie connotations because the moment Spain and Italy climbed out of being a disease vector for one illness, they turned into a disease vector of another. There’s an article here begging to be written. I have several superficial projects going on at this moment but this would be a really great subject to analyze.

One could start with the “Spanish” flu or, really, even during the colonial times. OK, that’s more of a book than an article.

Failure

So that people don’t think my life is too easy and I experience nothing but success, I just got an article rejected. It was rejected in such humiliating terms that are all the more painful for being completely fair.

When I write, I can’t get rid of the feeling that I’m addressing the readers of my blog, so I always explain what the works of literature I analyze are about. As a result, I get accused of retelling. And it’s true, I do retell. I’m struggling against it but I haven’t mastered the art of writing as if every reader has read these works of literature yesterday and knows the text perfectly.

It’s my big failing. The reviewer called me superficial, and it hurts.

Pouty

I can’t even with these people. What fear? Biden announced that he was going to bomb Syria in campaign ads. I saw one in August or September. Psaki said recently that the Biden foreign policy will be the opposite of Trump’s.

He also said he was going to ban fracking and said that he had no intention of reopening schools until May (as I reported on my blog during the campaign.) He openly said he supported gender transition for 6-year-olds including the medical / surgical option.

But now these people are pouting. They voted for the guy, and now he’s doing exactly what he always said. Wow, big shock.

As for the minimum wage and college loan forgiveness, Biden has been in public office for half a century. If that’s not enough to figure out that he’s as neoliberal as it gets, these people are hopeless.

Vile Beliefs

On a FB college prof page, a college professor is complaining that a student quoted the Bible in an essay and he had to be exposed to her “vile and inane beliefs.”

Leaving aside the extraordinary unprofessionalism and the grievous lack of culture, let’s consider our favorite academic virtues of diversity and inclusion. If the professor teaches chi-chi fru-fru rich white kids, OK, fine. But if there’s anybody in the classroom who is black, Hispanic, or working class of any race, it’s highly probable that they are church-going Christians. How included are they going to feel by the fanatical professor?

And, of course, the extreme cultural and intellectual impoverishment is sad, too.

Capital Punishment

This is the first time I’m reading a book that follows the new rule about capitalizing “black,” and it’s confusing.

“She had Black skin and brown eyes.”

“Jimmy and two Black girls came up to her.”

It’s a good thing there isn’t a character whose last name is Black. “Johnny Black was Black.” Or better yet, “Johnny Brown was Black.”

Bombs Away

What? Biden already started bombing Syria?

Gosh, I thought he’d try to restrain himself for a couple of months at least.

Cool to be back to the hawkish military policy, eh?

And hey, second day in a row of Biden making presents to Putin. First, he caves on Nordstream 2, now he bombs out Syria. But remember, he’s not Putin’s spy. The guy who refused to give Putin these gifts is.

Hey, people who voted for Biden. Are you getting what you voted for? I hope you are enjoying the bombs. There will be a lot more.

Another Hoax

NYTimes uncharacteristically put out a good article. Read it before it gets erased. The article details one of the “living while black” hoaxes. What I find curious is that there’s always a class aspect in these hoaxes. A bunch of rich, pampered people hound some poor working-class schmuck for fun, and everybody cheers.

I also highly recommend paying attention to the reaction of the ACLU to the hoax as it’s detailed in the article. It’s stunning. But not in a good way.