Let’s be honest: the images that came out of Sochi yesterday were sickening. Thugs in uniforms beating young women with horsewhips, kicking them to the ground and throwing their things in garbage cans — piggish behavior in defense, we are told, of “traditional values.” And why? Because four members of Pussy Riot, the feminist punk protest group, decided to sing and dance a bit. What a lot of nonsense. Or at least I wish it were nonsense rather than the creeping totalitarianism that it is.
Personal matters have led me to spend more time in Southern California recently. There my eyes have been opened to new developing trends in American culture with political implications.
On my last trip a few weeks ago, I discovered that California Hispanics, who have effectively been convinced that Barack Obama is America’s first Hispanic President, have been telling their fellow citizens that Obamacare is the greatest thing that has happened to them in a long time. That is because Obamacare enabled the poor for the first time to go to the hospital, they say. Before Obamacare, the poor in America who tried to seek treatment and care in hospitals were just turned away, they uniformly report. This viewpoint has now reached the status of legend in the barrios of California.
Those who know something about U.S. health care policy would say, hey, wait a minute. America has spent trillions on the Medicaid program since it was first adopted fifty years ago in 1965, currently about $500 billion a year. That program precisely spent all that money on health care for the poor, probably most of it in hospitals.
What most of us call “love” is actually the violent oppression of women, according to radical feminists. The latest trend in feminism’s decades-long war against human nature recently inspired me to write a Valentine’s Day poem:
Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
The heteronormative patriarchy
Is raping you.
Random thoughts on the passing scene:
It is amazing how many people still fall for the argument that, if life is unfair, the answer is to turn more money and power over to politicians. Since life has always been unfair, for thousands of years and in countries around the world, where does that lead us?
I am so old that I can remember when sex was private. "Don't ask, don't tell" applied to everybody.
However fascinated the U.S. Supreme Court may be with the concept of "diversity," every one of the 9 justices has a degree from one of the 8 Ivy League institutions, out of the thousands of institutions of higher learning in this country. How diverse is that?
Despite the rhetoric, the goals or the intentions of the political left, the world they seek to create is a world where decisions are taken out of the hands of ordinary citizens and transferred to third parties. ObamaCare is the latest example of this trend, and can now join the long list of the "compassionate" catastrophes of the left.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles debut in America, I have compiled a list of my 50 favorite songs by John, Paul, George and Ringo. This list was not easy to compile. There were well over 200 songs from which to choose and the fact that there are that many to choose from is a testament to the greatness of The Beatles. Among the great songs that did not make my list were “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” “Twist & Shout,” “Yesterday,” and “Let it Be.” Without further adieu, here are my fifty favorite songs from The Fab Four:
Super Bowl Sunday.
An American institution. A night of parties, sport and food. A whole lot of food.
And this Budweiser advert.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy for Lieutenant Chuck Nadd. He deserved his welcome home. And his friends probably got a lot of free beer. That’s genuinely great. Still, I have a problem with the advert that used him.
Because it speaks to a troubling Super Bowl trend — the appropriation of patriotic service in pursuit of profit.
And be under no illusion, it is a trend. Last year it was Jeep.
But the corporate identity is ultimately beside the point. The real problem here is the manner by which ads like these further decouple American military families from civilian society.
I took a trip back to New York this past fall to visit family and friends as I do every couple of years. Relatives and friends are getting on, and I also enjoy spending time with my many nieces and nephews, and their own progeny. It’s hectic and involves much local travel, but has its rewards. You see people—sometimes randomly—you haven’t seen in years. One of those friends is Raymond Longchamp, whom I hadn’t seen in 39 years.
Ray and I worked together in a wholesale gift company warehouse in Mahwah, New Jersey in 1974, and were part of a small group of young men who got fired for coming back from lunch drunk on a payday. Actually, some were fired, and some not (Ray and I included among the latter), but the initial survivors were marked men who were let go soon after, when the warehouse slowed down after Christmas. The last time I remember seeing him was at a Gregg Allman solo tour concert we took in with some mutual friends at the Felt Forum in Madison Square Garden. At any rate, we were out-of-touch all that time.
And what, sir, is your greatest strength?
We may savor the absurdity of what the still preening but failed president had to say about that — in the long puff piece by David Remnick that appeared in the Jan. 27 issue of the New Yorker.
President Obama patted himself on the head — declaring that he, more than other men, was “comfortable with complexity.” It is well to dwell upon those words for a moment — even if you plan to give tonight’s state-of-the-union a miss.
The last thing I expected to happen in this new year was that I would be in a nightclub with a bunch of 20-somethings listening to a performance of an album recorded by Gene Clark nearly 40 years ago.
Well, this past Saturday night I was in nightclub with a bunch of 20-somethings listening to a performance of an album recorded by Gene Clark nearly 40 years ago.
For those of you who are not familiar with Gene Clark, he was a member of the legendary 1960s folk-rock band The Byrds. The Missouri-born Clark was responsible for writing the lion’s share of their songs such as “I’ll Feel a Whole Lot Better,” “Here Without You,” “She Don’t Care About Time,” “Set You Free This Time,” and “Eight Miles High.” Clark’s songwriting elevated The Byrds into something more than a very good Bob Dylan cover band.
Imagine, for a moment, that you are doing excavation work in your backyard, desirous of adding a family room on to your house, when the contractor unearths, oh, one of the civilization’s three or four greatest sculptures, one of antiquity’s wondrous masterpieces.
Such is the case with the magnificent Dying Gaul, a depiction of a fatally wounded warrior facing his final end, on exhibit at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., compliments of the Capitoline Museum in Rome and the Italian government. It dates from the first or second century A.D., most likely a Roman copy, in marble, of a Greek bronze from Pergamon, a Hellenized city in Asia Minor, now Turkey. It was cast in the third century B.C. to celebrate the defeat of the invading Gauls or Celts, a fierce people whose reach extended even to the wilds of Ireland.