Re: David Weigel’s Sissy Vulture Culture:
I’m not sure if the Sopranos analogy is yours or the book’s author, but any half-wit can see that AJ’s problem is that his father is evil. The fact that he fails to emulate his evil father is AJ’s only redeeming quality. The treacherous Tony Soprano was not only a backstabbing thug, but a consummate whiner. The series begins with him whining to a therapist. During the entire course of the series he never gets over his need to whine about everything, including his son’s failure. Why is the obvious and heavy handed morality tale that is the Sopranos such a cipher to the older generation? You must be joking in some ironic and cynical way that only Sopranos aficionados can. “How did a country and a culture that produced Michael Corleone produce…this?” Okay, I get it. Nevermind. I apologize. Unfortunately, I guess I’ve met too many people that really do see The Godfather, and its offshoots on down to The Sopranos, as the height of American popular culture.
— Craig Roberts
I haven’t seen or read John Strasbaugh’s book. I’ll probably never read it, but his thesis that the U.S. is becoming a nation of crybabies and sissies rings true — at least for Democrats and self-absorbed Americans. The sissy nation is epitomized by Barrack Hussein Obama. A “man” PBS reporter Bonnie Erbe accurately depicts as more female than male. In fact, if Hillary loses the nomination and feeble and frail Obama wins the Presidency, then like Bill Clinton was the first “black” President Obama will easily rank as America’s first “female” President.
If anyone doubts we’re becoming a nation of weak kneed sissies then look at the way gutless Americans cynically and callously use military deaths in Iraq (a rate of military death lower than peace time Democrats Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton) as an excuse to cower from fighting Islamic terrorists and justify running away in Iraq. It may even explain why they “fear” George W. Bush and his testosterone loaded administration — they can’t handle it.
Whether we like it or not the Northeast is fast morphing into flaccid and effeminate Europe, the Midwest is plowing its pioneer heritage under for Oprah Winfrey’s “group hug” and the West Coast is lost in a hazy shade of Hollywood delusion that Bill Clinton and Al Gore are masculinity personified and tree hugging and male bonding aren’t “gay.”
— Michael Tomlinson
Regarding David Weigel’s interesting review of John Strausbaugh’s Sissy Nation, I suspect the reason Strausbaugh sees few, if any, American non-sissies may be because they’re a bit preoccupied in Iraq, Afghanistan, and similar places around the world.
— Leroy Hurt
Agreed — America is being sissified. We are sissified (feminized) in our schools, universities, corporate culture, churches, political process, film, and even the military. As a population, we are cowed by the thought police who keep us in line with their informal laws of political correctness.
As for the root cause of this, much of it is due to our affluence, as affluence like nothing else enables foolishness not only to survive but also to spread.
But at some point, there will be enough money or wealth to pay for all the absurdities that have been injected into American society in the past forty years. Then, things will get interesting, folks. And it will not the sissies who will get us out of this mess. It will be men with backbone and — well, you know what else. And women, too — women who live their lives based on realities and not the just-so fairy tales of life that have lead so many people astray.
— Peter Skurkiss
Our ancestors were tougher because they had to be. They used it or they lost it. They also lived much shorter and brutal lives. For those and other reasons, they were determined to make easier the lives of their offspring. How could they have known the consequences?
Our descendants certainly will look upon us as uncouth louts continually at each other’s throats. (I feel tougher already.)
As a perceptive writer once observed, “Civilizations ascend to greatness in hobnailed boots and descend to oblivion in silk slippers.”
— David Govett
Terribly ironic, David Weigel’s piece on the increasing sissi-fication of American youth. Weigel himself pushes this agenda over at Reason.com. He’s a Ron Paul non-interventionist, who hates War, even if it is to fight against Al Qaeda Terrorists in Iraq.
No doubt, he’s a non-Veteran who never served a day of his life in the Military. But if you read Reason regularly you’ll see his condescension of those of us who have served. Ideals like duty and honor and loving one’s country are not in the Lexicon of the far left on foreign policy Reason editors.
— Eric Dondero, Publisher
One of the most satisfying scenes in The Godfather(1972) was this famous exchange between Don Corleone and his godson:
Johnny Fontane: Oh, Godfather, I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what to do.
Don Corleone: [shouts] You can act like a man! [he slaps Johnny]
Don Corleone: What’s the matter with you. Is this how you turned out? A Hollywood finocchio that cries like a woman.
[Don Corleone imitates him sobbing]
Don Corleone: “What can I do?” [cut to Tom who is laughing]
Don Corleone: “What can I do?” What is that nonsense. Ridiculous.
Thirty-six years later we’ve got McCain, doing his version of Johnny Fontane, apologizing to Obama for someone else saying Obama’s middle name. Where’s Don Corleone when we need him?
— Kitty Myers
Painted Post, New York
Re: Philip Klein’s Defending His Life:
Mr. Klein — thank you for a fine article. I needed something to “perk me up” and your piece did a good job.
Can you answer a question for us: Did Bill Clinton’s mother, at one time, make a comment something on to the order of: “…I thought they said that Bill was cured of that Sexual Addiction…?” We were having a conversation about him and this came up.
Kinda funny when you mention his saying we were the poorest to enter the White House and were worse off when we left. Just a few of the articles (which were not theirs) that they took with them could make them millions over and above their debts. Then he wasted little time in giving speeches to make up the money quickly to put them in the ‘big time’ money groups.
“…I was completely lost for three weeks after I left the White House, ’cause nobody ever played a song (Hail to the Chief) anymore.”–Bill Clinton
They’re playing another song for you and your wife, Mr. Clinton–“Taps.”
— Arnold Ahlert
Boca Raton, Florida
Someone tell this guy he’s still lost
— Sam Russo
I care not where Bill Clinton goes, as long as he goes…finally.
— David Govett
Re: George Neumayr’s No Obama Care for Terri Schiavo:
While I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Neumayr and await Obama Care with fear and dismay, I would have to say that among Mr. Obama’s plans for this nation, Obama Care has to fall in behind a number of his other pronouncements about how he will rule (what his administration will do, sorry!) While driving to work I was listening to a syndicated radio morning show and heard from his own mouth the savior say that when he became president, he would: Bring the war in Iraq to conclusion (read surrender), Work for a nuclear free world by curtailing U.S. research and development of weapons (read unilateral disarmament), Make space a nuclear free zone (read curtail space exploration), Discontinue production of defensive weapons that function in space ( read forget about missiles such as the one that just destroyed the satellite falling to earth), Negotiate with Russia to remove US missiles in Europe, Establish a civilian review board to do the quadrennial review of the Pentagon’s military budget (read put our defense needs into the realm of civilian politics). He further promised to use the money saved by these cuts in defense to give the nation free health care.
I am not writing about something I heard from Rush Limbaugh, or Sean Hannity. These pronouncements came from the mouth of Obama. They were NOT the words of commentators, prognosticators, or Republican opponents of the candidate. In all my years of following politics and presidential campaigns, including the McGovern campaign, I have never heard a political speech, or for that matter, a speech of any kind, that frightened me as did this one. The world has experienced all manner of demagogue, charlatan, poseur and scoundrel and has survived them, not always intact, but survived them nevertheless. In this day and age, in this world fraught with the most barbaric yet modern dangers, electing a man with this type of blindness to reality is tantamount to playing Russian roulette with a six shooter loaded with not one, but five bullets. I have often said that liberals scare me and Mr. Neumayr is right to be leery of government funded health care (re P. J. O’Rourke’s remark ” If you think health care is expensive now, wait until it is free”) and several other of the ridiculous schemes of the liberal mind, however, health care paid for by our tax money is a bottomless pit into which we would throw money. Mr. Obama’s ideas on defense, or should I say no defense, represent a pit into which we would be throwing our dead. He is definitely not the messiah. Unfortunately, he more closely resembles the anti-christ.
— Joseph Baum
Actually, that Obama regretted not doing something to stop the Senate from intruding into the decision process for Terri Schiavo’s husband was one thing I agree with him about.
George Neumayr is missing the point, or cynically using this sad incident to peddle on his own agenda: the case of Terri Schiavo is not about the morality of denying her feeding tubes in order to allow her to
die — but who has the right to make that decision. That right is her husband’s. Many may not agree with his decision, and if Mr. Neumayr is faced with this kind of problem, he will have to decide how to proceed
concerning his own wife. But he does not have the right, nor does any politician have the right to dictate to Mr. Schiavo how he should act — or to make his decision all that much more difficult by intruding on his
I found the Republicans barging into this issue extremely inappropriate and yet another instance of Republicans violating personal liberty — a very un-conservative tendency.
— David Leone
“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds,” remarks Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essay “Self-Reliance,” though Mr. Neumayr can use a bit more constancy himself, especially in an article where he attacks (correctly but inconsistently with his own argument) Barack Obama. Conservatives are staunch advocates of states’ rights; The GOP dominated Senate’s interference in matters of state and individual conscience, was comply contrary to its stated principles. The federal government has no jurisdiction, nor moral imperative, to interfere or intervene in the Terri Schiavo case.
Mr. Neumayr is correct in pointing out that health care decisions are personal ones. He remains on track when he points out the utter absurdity of Obama’s statement that he was uncomfortable in interfering with such personal choices as are innately involved in health care decisions. But he jumps the rails when it comes to abortion and elder care.
Is the Republican interference any better than the Democratic overstepping when it comes to interfering in some of the most personal decision a family can make? The GOP reasoning is purer, asking why someone interferes with my freedom is not my first priority. Wrongful infringement on natural rights is not to be tolerated. Mr. Neumayr expresses condemnation of government interference in personal affairs: “Here we see once again liberalism as willfulness writ large. It permits any and all contradictions, proposing endless federal meddling in the health care decisions of states and families at one moment, then forbidding such meddling in the next, lest abortion and euthanasia be jeopardized.” Does not the GOP do the same with its seeking to ban all abortions and euthanasia policies that run contrary to its philosophical position? Certain rights are granted to the federal government, others to the states, and the rest to the people, so says the Constitution of the United States. If the GOP is to be philosophically pure, it must allow the states to set limits on life cycle issues not directly assigned to the purview of the federal government.
Mr. Neumayr, as a good Catholic, has a right, nay, a duty, to rail against the evils of abortion, but to be a conservative (or Conservative), he must channel his moral outrage through local legislation. Consistency. Mr. Neumayr, fight for every life to be held sacred because God commands us to do so and I will join you gladly but only on the correct battlefield.
— Ira M. Kessel
Rochester, New York
BRING ON THE GLOBAL WARMING
Re: Lawrence Henry’s Let it Snow:
After suffering thru the coldest and snowiest Winter in thirty years in the Detroit Michigan area, my sentiments are completely with Lawrence Henry and his worn out patience with the season in New England. Where is Al Gore when we need him “Didn’t he promise us global warming with warm soothing breezes in the upper Midwest at this time of year? Of course “Big Al” has the last laugh, he has grown both rich and fat on his perfidy and nonsense. It is amazing how gullible seemingly rational people can be to satisfy the latest fashion. To paraphrase Chesterton when people cease to believe in God, they will believe anything, how true.
— Jack Wheatley
Royal Oak, Michigan
Mr. Henry: I loved your article about the weather prognisticators (there’s an oxymoron!) and coming snowstorms. When I lived in the Washington, D.C. area, snow warnings brought everyone to the grocery stores to buy bread and milk and toilet paper. Those were the first three shelves to be cleaned out. It didn’t matter the coming storm was the third one in ten days — the toilet paper was always gone.
— Judy Beumler
I noticed the author mentioning a run on bread and milk. We have the same thing here in Texas during hurricane season is a storm threatens. Why do so many people eat bread pudding during weather events?
— Tom Smith
Ah, the infamous toilet paper casserole — eggs, milk, bread and toilet paper. It always cracks me up every time I see people panicking and buying such things.
— Anastasia Mather
Re: Ira M. Kessel’s and Jeffrey Wilcox’s letters (under “Buckley’s Legacy”) in Reader Mail’s Hold That Baton:
Reader Ira M. Kessel writes “Buckley was a gentleman; the word ‘faggot’ would mean only one thing on his lips: cigarette.”
But numerous writers in the last few days have observed to the contrary:
“In a famous exchange with Gore Vidal in 1968, Vidal said to Buckley: ‘As far as I am concerned, the only crypto Nazi I can think of is yourself.'” “Buckley replied: ‘Now listen, you queer. Stop calling me a crypto Nazi, or I’ll sock you in your goddamn face and you’ll stay plastered.'”
“Years later, in 1985, Buckley said of the incident: ‘We both acted irresponsibly. I’m not a Nazi, but he is, I suppose, a fag.'”
So Mr. Kessel will have to rethink WFB and/or Ann Coulter and/or Ira Kessel.
Mr. Kessel and other conservatives who wish Ann Coulter shunned need to decide whether or not Brooklyn Dodger manager Leo Durocher was right when he said of NY Giant manager Mel Ott “nice guys finish last.” Will you be content, Mr. Kessel, with finishing last? I for one will not be.
— Frank Natoli
Newton, New Jersey
Bill Buckley was an intellectual giant who respected opposing viewpoints and was a master at using critical analysis and debate.
Although I did not agree with some of Buckley’s viewpoints, he was intellectually honest, used wry humor to diffuse and disarm skeptics and potential critics. Buckley was an intellectual giant that I respected.
I enjoyed watching his Firing Line program for the very high level of respectful discourse even when he was disagreeing with and challenging some of his guests. A true intellectual giant, whether they be a conservative, moderate, liberal or libertarian will leaves the inquisitive mind hungering for information from which to make a well-reasoned and informed decision based on analysis of opposing viewpoints and information.
Many of his editors at National Review actually went on to become Progressives like Gary Wills and others. Buckley would joke in later years that he didn’t realize he was “running a finishing school for Progressives” as part of his founding of National Review.
Please do not even mention circus acts such as Ann Coulter in the same conversation or discourse with William F. Buckley, Jr’s name. It is like comparing the finest bourdeaux to Ripple Wine. Anyone who states, it in a respectable publication, that Ann Coulter (intellectually and stylistically promoting and arguing their viewpoints, civilly, in the public discourse,), is even fit to tie the shoe laces of a William F. Buckley Jr. is further proof of the decline of our once great educational system and political discourse in this country. Coulter will say or do anything to sell her controversial books. Her research and writing has been proven to be sloppy and not steeped with the adequate foundation or intellectual rigor that a great minded and talented person such as Bill Buckley has provided us for decades. Coulter is either a phony carnival barker or a hateful person. Really, who would be so dumb, insensitive and utterly without class to attack the 911 victims’ families for mourning their lost loved ones? It would have certainly not have been the very classy, conservative, intellectual I remember that was William F. Buckley, Jr.
If you want real intelligent discourse from the conservative perspective, then see some of the work of Tucker Carlson, who also hosts a talk show on PBS and, perhaps, P.J. O’Rourke, a conservative satirist and author of Parliament of Whores.
— Mark P
San Diego, California
I first read God and Man at Yale in 1969 when I was a senior in high school. This book had a profound effect on me. I first subscribed to National Review when I was a freshman in college. I have been a reader and subscriber of The American Spectator since 1979. Having provided some bona fides for calling myself a conservative, I rise in defense of Ann Coulter. Ms. Coulter is a commentator possessed of puissance when it comes to vexing liberals and bed wetting neo-con Republicans. Ms. Coulter’s Swiftian writing is almost always thought provoking, funny, and right on target. It is a shame she does not write for The American Spectator.
— Craig C. Jacobsen (Col. U.S. Army Ret.)
Live Oak, Florida
Readers Wilcox and Kessel express the opinion that WFB’s gentlemanly nature would forbid Coulter-style brawling and even prevent his uttering the word “faggot.” I suggest they review his 1968 debate with Gore Vidal, particularly the sentence that begins “Now, listen you queer. Stop calling me a crypto-Nazi.” Or maybe to civil Bill, the word “queer” could only mean odd or out of place.
— Steve Spaay
Ira Kessell stated: “Buckley was a gentleman; the word ‘faggot’ would mean only one thing on his lips: cigarette.”
I would remind Mr. Kessel that the word is a legitimate variation of “fagot,” a bundle of sticks. I would also call his attention to the fact that, in 1968, Mr. Buckley — during a dust-up on national television — used the foreshortened version of that word to disparage Gore Vidal.
It would seem that Miss Coulter is in good company.
— David Gonzalez
Larry Thornberry’s Buckley in the Provinces:
You are a “class-act” for having recognized what Mr. Buckley was doing, while the main thing was your interview, he also took care of “The Kindnesses.” I loved your tribute. Thank you.
— Pamela Allen Garcia
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