Friday, November 9, 2018

Wait, what?

FLG hasn't been posting for a while, mostly because he is frankly confused about a bunch of stuff.   BUT one of the most confusing things FLG has seen, even more confusing than her delusional attempt to claim Native American ancestry, was this tweet by Elizabeth Warren:

FLG is really, really confused.  Are we all supposed forget that #NeverthelessShePersisted was about a speech vehemently opposing Session's nomination? 

Being TOTALLY against Sessions?  Fine.  Calling his firing a step closer to a constitutional crisis? Fine.  But one cannot be both, unless one wants to admit they've changed their mind so quickly and so completely that their judgment itself is in question.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Quote of the day

Ross Douthat:
So the story Miller is telling is about how a jock from the No. 5 private high school in Maryland was a jerk to his roommate who went to the No. 2 private high school in Connecticut, and who years later communicated the story to a reporter who also went to that same No. 2 private high school, who then wrote it up as a tale of social stratification for our times.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Celebrity Sightings: Charles Murray

Saw him at DCA today.   Well, about 95% sure it was him.

Updating list.

Monday, June 25, 2018

FLG Still Doesn't Get It

FLG has said it before...he doesn't get the appeal of Jean-Michel Basquiat.  And this recent article didn't help at all.  In fact, FLG read this...
Before Untitled, which its owner is now exhibiting on a global tour, you … do what, exactly? A common initial response—that the art is slapdash, tender, true—feels wrong somehow, as if we haven’t gotten it. Unwilling to play the part of the rearguard philistine anymore, we stay quiet, stranded in a vaguely shameful silence.
...what you think is that it's not a very good painting.   That it could have been painted by a child with a poor imagination and some finger paints.   And yes, nobody wants to be the first to say the emperor has no clothes because they worry they'll be called a rearguard philistine.  At some point, FLG hopes the art world comes to its senses.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Daddy Issues: Tech Edition

FLG has a long-standing theory that hyper-ambitious men are a product of absent or abusive fathers.  Subsequently, he realized he's not the only one.

At the time, he was mostly focusing on political leaders.   Because there's a certain aspect unique to political power that FLG thought was especially appealing for these types.   Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama being obvious recent cases.  But a recent story about Elon Musk's strained relationship with his father prompted FLG to look at tech titans.

Larry Ellison - When Ellison was born in 1944, his mother was unmarried, according to a profile in Fortune. She gave him to relatives to raise, and Ellison never met his biological father.

Jeff Bezos - The Astonishing Story Of Jeff Bezos' Biological Father Who Didn't Even Know Bezos Existed Until The End Of Last Year.

Steve Jobs was adopted as well.  John McAfee had an abusive, alcoholic father. 

On the other hand, as far as FLG can tell, Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Sergey Brin, and Larry Page had normal relationships with their biological fathers. 

And this is why FLG is hesitant to include tech leaders in the same category as political leaders.   Political leadership is explicitly about gaining power.   Page and Brin invented Google and it turned into a huge company.   But they turned it over to Eric Schmidt to run for most of the time.   My sense is that they were about results, not power.  There's a lot of, hey, got this cool idea and maybe we can make a lot of money from it, in the tech world.   Which is a different drive than political office, at least in FLG's mind.   Nevertheless, there is a significant number of dysfunctional relationships with fathers among tech industry titans.  FLG doesn't have empirical data, but it seems higher than the population in general.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Celebrity Sighting: Eric Cantor

Eric Cantor was on FLG's LGA-DCA shuttle yesterday afternoon.

Updating the list.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Celebrity Sightings: Ramesh Ponnuru

Saw Ramesh Ponnuru last night, but since he was with his family FLG didn't say anything and out of respect for his privacy won't say where.

Updating list.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Celebrity Sightings: Michael Eric Dyson

FLG saw Michael Eric Dyson on his flight from Minneapolis to DCA today.   FLG started to say something, but Dyson was eating.

Updating list.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

She Wanted A Gentleman, Not Enthusiastic Consent

For a variety of reasons, FLG found the Aziz Ansari story fascinating.  Here's the original article and long story short for those of you who have been living on Mars, a young photographer from Brooklyn flirted with Ansari multiple times, clearly trying to get his attention, after the Emmys.    After they both returned to New York, they had a date.   Ansari rushed through dinner, and they both went to his place.   Graphic details about sexual acts, some of which she agreed to reluctantly, some of which she said no to, occurred.   Whenever she said, no, he stopped.  Although, he'd try again shortly after.   Eventually, he called her an Uber, and she went home.

Caitlin Flanagan, who only a few months ago said #MeToo wasn't a Witch Hunt, wrote, in response to the Ansari story:
Apparently there is a whole country full of young women who don’t know how to call a cab, and who have spent a lot of time picking out pretty outfits for dates they hoped would be nights to remember. They’re angry and temporarily powerful, and last night they destroyed a man who didn’t deserve it.
The younger, feminist Left is having none of it.   It's still the patriarchy.  Here's a piece from VOX:
Creating a culture in which fewer people experience what Grace describes will require better sex ed, that teaches more than just consent, challenges gender roles, and encourages people to put their desires and those of their partners above social expectations. 

Ok, FLG is an old white man at this point, but the thought process that leads to this is nonsense, which makes this conclusion nonsense.   Here is just one of the ridiculous contentions:

The idea that men have more sexual desire than women still goes unchallenged

Look, FLG will concede that societal norms in many societies, particularly Western society, have downplayed and suppressed female desire, but anybody who can't recognize that the male sex drive is far stronger than the female sex drive is either blind or willfully ignorant.   Even in committed, happy relationships, the woman will not always want to have sex, which is almost by definition less than the man.

Here's what else FLG find interesting, the young feminists are also starting to sound like Victorian moralizers.  Again, from the VOX article:
It means asking men to recognize that and do better, and it means changing the culture so that badgering and pressuring women into sex is deplored, not endorsed.

And here's Jessica Valenti, almost the prototypical young feminist:
A lot of men will read that post about Aziz Ansari and see an everyday, reasonable sexual interaction. But part of what women are saying right now is that what the culture considers "normal" sexual encounters are not working for us, and oftentimes harmful. 

But, if you read the article, you see that the woman, Grace, isn't just upset about the sexual consent aspect.  Here's the description of the date before even getting to back to the apartment:
After arriving at his apartment in Manhattan on Monday evening, they exchanged small talk and drank wine. “It was white,” she said. “I didn’t get to choose and I prefer red, but it was white wine.” Then Ansari walked her to Grand Banks, an Oyster bar onboard a historic wooden schooner on the Hudson River just a few blocks away.
She said it was a beautiful, warm September night. They discussed NYU, comedy and a new, secret project he was working on, but she says she did most of the talking.
Grace says she sensed Ansari was eager for them to leave. “When the waiter came over he quickly asked for the check and he said like, ‘Let’s get off this boat.’” She recalls there was still wine in her glass and more left in the bottle he ordered. The abruptness surprised her. “Like, he got the check and then it was bada-boom, bada-bing, we’re out of there.”

What FLG reads, even before getting back to the apartment, Grace is disappointed by his manners and behavior, far away from the actual consent to sex.  Grace wanted Ansari to be a gentleman. Imagine that!  The graphic description of the sex acts, does read, Caitlin Flanigan described it, revenge porn, because it makes him seems so ungentlemanly.   

FLG doesn't know if feminism killed gentlemanliness, but calling masculinity toxic sure didn't and doesn't help.   Arguing for enthusiastic, affirmative consent, as most young feminists seem to be doing now, would do nothing to create a new generation of Cary Grants.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Ten Years Today

Crazy that this blog started a decade ago.    First post was terrible.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Vacation Reading

While on vacation in Mexico, FLG read the 2015 revision of Roger Scruton's Fools, Frauds, and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left, which was originally released in 1985.  FLG really enjoyed it, largely for two reasons.  First, the amount of horrible prose Scruton had to endure to write the book is impressive.   FLG wouldn't have the stomach for it.  Second, judging from the small selection of works discussed that FLG has actually read, Scruton is incredibly fair and even-handed.    Scruton's primary objection isn't the conclusions per se.   It's the "ludicrous Marxist gobbledegook" that lacks any scholarly rigor and hides in verbose, convoluted, and ultimately meaningless prose that was and is now deemed sufficiently scholarly as long as the author is appropriately politically aligned.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

FLG Is Scratching His Head

FLG was reading this article at The Root, which to be honest had a lots of passages that had FLG scratching his head, but this quotation of Cornell West was downright confusing:
I just don’t like talking about white supremacy independent of the empire and patriarchy, especially of class. I think that we can’t be pre-Du Bois. Du Bois taught us white supremacy is always to be viewed in relation to class patriarchy and empire and homophobia and transphobia.

FLG is no expert in Du Bois, but he finds it unlikely that he had much to say about homophobia, and would be downright shocked if he'd had the foresight enough to even identify transphobia as existing, let alone integrate it into holistic system of white supremacy.  Now, the lens through which Du Bois viewed oppression, double consciousness, and some of his socialist political thought can undoubtedly be applied in a way that incorporates these issues, in the same way they can be applied to almost any minority within a community, but FLG thinks it's a stretch to say Du Bois taught people about homophobia and transphobia.  But again, FLG is no expert in Du Bois.   He'll have to do some research.

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Last Jedi

Saw it today.   Checked Rotten Tomatoes, and the score there makes perfect sense.  Critics give it 93%.   And FLG agrees.  As a bit of filmmaking, it's solid.  Better quality filmmaking than can be expected from many blockbusters.   Audiences, however, only give it 53%.   And FLG agrees.  As a Star Wars fan since childhood, which FLG is, it's very disappointing.

FLG is curious to see what Kevin Smith has to say about it.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Fake News

[O]ne should expect with journalistic “mistakes” is that they sometimes go in one direction, and other times go in the other direction. That’s exactly what has not happened here. Virtually every false story published goes only in one direction: to be as inflammatory and damaging as possible on the Trump/Russia story and about Russia particularly. At some point, once “mistakes” all start going in the same direction, toward advancing the same agenda, they cease looking like mistakes.
No matter your views on those political controversies, no matter how much you hate Trump or regard Russia as a grave villain and threat to our cherished democracy and freedoms, it has to be acknowledged that when the U.S. media is spewing constant false news about all of this, that, too, is a grave threat to our democracy and cherished freedom.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Deneen At His Best

Patrick Deneen's analysis of the removal of societal expectations of courting behavior and in loco parentis, the subsequent emergence of the hook-up culture, and finally the use of Title IX to assert federal authority in the sphere of collegiate sexual relations:

In effect, this immorality tale is the Hobbesian vision in microcosm: First, tradition and culture must be eliminated as arbitrary and unjust (“natural man”). Then, we see that absent such norms, anarchy is the result (“the state of nature”). Finding such anarchy unbearable, we turn to a central sovereign as our sole protector, that “Mortall God” who will protect us from ourselves (“the social contract”). We have been liberated from all custom and tradition, all authority that sought to educate by habit and within the context of ongoing communities, and have replaced it with a central authority that punishes wrongdoers who abuse their freedoms. And, now lacking any informal and local forms of authority, we are virtually assured that those abuses will regularly occur, and that the role of the state in ever more intimate personal affairs will increase (“prerogative”).

It's worth reading the whole thing. 

Thursday, November 30, 2017

An Article That Gives FLG Some Hope

FLG pretty much disagrees with everything in this article, including this:
Compassion and equity and humanity matters more than your right to say whatever comes out of your mouth

 In these cases, FLG always goes to the quote, often attributed to Oscar Wilde but who knows?:
A gentleman never insults anyone unintentionally.

A goodly portion of this is really a matter of having good manners, as FLG believes the case discussed in the article regarding a joke making fun of Jews is.   But what gives FLG hope is that the article is discussing events surrounding a debate about free speech and censorship online back in 1989. 

FLG wasn't an adult yet at the time, but he definitely remembers the early-90s as being very politically correct (and given we are talking about Stanford here, it probably happened there even earlier).   And he also remember sometime in the later 90s, probably around 97 or 98, after he heard some edgy joke on TV, thinking, whoa, the trend line he'd thought things were going back in the early-90s, toward ever more political correctness, clearly hadn't happened.   And, as it turned out, the early-90s were a high water mark, at least until recently.   And so, he has hope, that the recent turn toward censorship and political correctness will likewise be rebuffed. 

We cannot, as a society, define free speech as only those things that the most sensitive among us are comfortable with hearing. 

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Quote of the day

Passage of the day, really, by Ramesh Ponnuru:

All liberals believe that governments must obey limits in what they can do to individuals, that people should be free to speak their minds, that the law must be impartial, and so on. But liberalisms differentiate themselves in why they champion these beliefs. There is a liberalism that takes the French Enlightenment to be the beginning of all political wisdom and takes our political task essentially to be working out its implications and applying them to all of human life. This progressive liberalism frequently sets itself at odds with traditional religious believers and even, as in the French Revolution, persecutes them. The liberalism of Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, and the Federalist Papers is very different. It sees free institutions as a cultural achievement won from experience: a set of practices that centuries of trial and error — many trials, much error — have taught us are more conducive than any others we have found to human flourishing. The distinction between these forms of liberalism, which we might call progressive and conservative respectively, is lost on many people.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Quote of the day

Megan McArdle:
The fate of nations does not hinge on whether we drink daiquiris or Negronis.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Quote of the day

A little bit old, but FLG just read it, by Matt Levine:
What if Marx was right that capitalism would ultimately destroy itself, but the way that it does so is through index funds? 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Quote of the day

Steve Cortes:
If Georgetown removes recognition of a student group that merely affirms the teachings of the church, it’s time for John Carroll’s statue to get up off that perch and walk off campus.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

500 Year-Old Mic Drop

sexual chocolate randy watson animated GIF

FLG always wanted to put an image of Martin Luther with Randy Watson & Sexual Chocolate.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Politics and the English Language

FLG was reading this interview with Ta-Nehisi Coates and the final quotation stuck out:
 When he tries to describe the events that would erase America's wealth gap, that would see the end of white supremacy, his thoughts flicker to the French Revolution, to the executions and the terror. "It's very easy for me to see myself being contemporary with processes that might make for an equal world, more equality, and maybe the complete abolition of race as a construct, and being horrified by the process, maybe even attacking the process. I think these things don't tend to happen peacefully."
For Coates, even hope can be covered in blood.

It immediately reminded FLG of this quotation from Politics and the English Language:
While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement. 

And then Orwell's thoughts on that passage:
The inflated style itself is a kind of euphemism. A mass of Latin words falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outline and covering up all the details. The great enemy of clear language is insincerity. When there is a gap between one's real and one's declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish spurting out ink.

While FLG senses some insincerity, as if he is afraid to state plainly precisely what he means, to be fair, Coates isn't trying to hide behind much of a euphemism.  Although, it is Ezra Klein who uses the word 'blood,' whereas as Coates calls it a 'process' with which he can see himself being 'contemporary.' 

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Well, That's A Very Specific Threshold

The Guardian:
If the attack is found to be a terrorist incident, it would be the first fatal jihadist knife attack at a public transport site in France.

FLG thinks this is the more important statement:
France, where more than 230 people have been killed in terrorist attacks since 2015, remains on high alert and under a state of emergency.

230 people!   Who gives a shit if it was the first one in the south of France on a Sunday in October in the afternoon in a train station?   France has Islamic terrorism problem.

Battle of Gaugamela

Yesterday was the anniversary of the Battle of Gaugamela.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Anybody Read This?

Delsol's Icarus Fallen: Search For Meaning In An Uncertain World

"With style and lucidity, Delsol likens contemporary Western man to the mythical figure Icarus, fallen back to earth after trying to reach the sun, alive but badly shaken and confused. During the twentieth, century, Delsol argues, man flew too closely to the sun of utopian ideology. Having been burned, he is now groping for a way to orient himself. But the ideas he once held so dear--inevitable progress, the possibility of limitless social and self-transformation--are no longer believable, and he has, for the most part, long since rejected the religious tradition that might have provided an anchor. Delsol's portrait is engrossing. She explains how we have come simultaneously to embrace the good but reject the true; how we have sacralized rights and democracy; and how we have lost our sense of the tragic and embraced the idea of zero risk."

Seems interesting.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Time Horizons

Of course, FLG liked this post, and it even included some Plato:
the victory over self is of all victories the first and best while self-defeat is of all defeats at once the worst and the most shameful.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Was Thinking About The Tarantulas Today

Don't have any insights, just thinking about it:

Lo, this is the tarantula’s den! Would’st thou see the tarantula itself? Here hangeth its web: touch this, so that it may tremble.
There cometh the tarantula willingly: Welcome, tarantula! Black on thy back is thy triangle and symbol; and I know also what is in thy soul.
Revenge is in thy soul: wherever thou bitest, there ariseth black scab; with revenge, thy poison maketh the soul giddy!
Thus do I speak unto you in parable, ye who make the soul giddy, ye preachers of equality! Tarantulas are ye unto me, and secretly revengeful ones!
But I will soon bring your hiding-places to the light: therefore do I laugh in your face my laughter of the height.
Therefore do I tear at your web, that your rage may lure you out of your den of lies, and that your revenge may leap forth from behind your word “justice.”
Because, for man to be redeemed from revenge— that is for me the bridge to the highest hope, and a rainbow after long storms.
Otherwise, however, would the tarantulas have it. “Let it be very justice for the world to become full of the storms of our vengeance”— thus do they talk to one another.
“Vengeance will we use, and insult, against all who are not like us”— thus do the tarantula-hearts pledge themselves.
“And ‘Will to Equality’— that itself shall henceforth be the name of virtue; and against all that hath power will we raise an outcry!”
Ye preachers of equality, the tyrant-frenzy of impotence crieth thus in you for “equality”: your most secret tyrant-longings disguise themselves thus in virtue-words!
Fretted conceit and suppressed envy—perhaps your fathers’ conceit and envy: in you break they forth as flame and frenzy of vengeance.
What the father hath hid cometh out in the son; and oft have I found in the son the father’s revealed secret.
Inspired ones they resemble: but it is not the heart that inspireth them—but vengeance. And when they become subtle and cold, it is not spirit, but envy, that maketh them so.
Their jealousy leadeth them also into thinkers’ paths; and this is the sign of their jealousy—they always go too far: so that their fatigue hath at last to go to sleep on the snow.
In all their lamentations soundeth vengeance, in all their eulogies is maleficence; and being judge seemeth to them bliss.
But thus do I counsel you, my friends: distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful!
They are people of bad race and lineage; out of their countenances peer the hangman and the sleuth-hound.
Distrust all those who talk much of their justice! Verily, in their souls not only honey is lacking.
And when they call themselves “the good and just,” forget not, that for them to be Pharisees, nothing is lacking but — power!
My friends, I will not be mixed up and confounded with others.
There are those who preach my doctrine of life, and are at the same time preachers of equality, and tarantulas.
That they speak in favour of life, though they sit in their den, these poison-spiders, and withdrawn from life—is because they would thereby do injury.
To those would they thereby do injury who have power at present: for with those the preaching of death is still most at home.
Were it otherwise, then would the tarantulas teach otherwise: and they themselves were formerly the best world-maligners and heretic-burners.
With these preachers of equality will I not be mixed up and confounded. For thus speaketh justice unto me: “Men are not equal.”
And neither shall they become so! What would be my love to the Superman, if I spake otherwise?
On a thousand bridges and piers shall they throng to the future, and always shall there be more war and inequality among them: thus doth my great love make me speak!
Inventors of figures and phantoms shall they be in their hostilities; and with those figures and phantoms shall they yet fight with each other the supreme fight!
Good and evil, and rich and poor, and high and low, and all names of values: weapons shall they be, and sounding signs, that life must again and again surpass itself!
Aloft will it build itself with columns and stairs—life itself: into remote distances would it gaze, and out towards blissful beauties—therefore doth it require elevation!
And because it requireth elevation, therefore doth it require steps, and variance of steps and climbers! To rise striveth life, and in rising to surpass itself.
And just behold, my friends! Here where the tarantula’s den is, riseth aloft an ancient temple’s ruins—just behold it with enlightened eyes!
Verily, he who here towered aloft his thoughts in stone, knew as well as the wisest ones about the secret of life!
That there is struggle and inequality even in beauty, and war for power and supremacy: that doth he here teach us in the plainest parable.
How divinely do vault and arch here contrast in the struggle: how with light and shade they strive against each other, the divinely striving ones. —
Thus, steadfast and beautiful, let us also be enemies, my friends! Divinely will we strive against one another! —
Alas! There hath the tarantula bit me myself, mine old enemy! Divinely steadfast and beautiful, it hath bit me on the finger!
“Punishment must there be, and justice”— so thinketh it: “not gratuitously shall he here sing songs in honour of enmity!”
Yea, it hath revenged itself! And alas! now will it make my soul also dizzy with revenge!
That I may not turn dizzy, however, bind me fast, my friends, to this pillar! Rather will I be a pillar-saint than a whirl of vengeance!
Verily, no cyclone or whirlwind is Zarathustra: and if he be a dancer, he is not at all a tarantula-dancer! —
Thus spake Zarathustra.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

FLG Can't Believe A Decade Later This Is Still So Little Understood

When Glass-Steagall was passed over 80 years ago, splitting up a bank was like dividing an apple pie in half. Today, trying to hive off commercial from investment banking would be more like pulling apart a layer cake – vertically.
In fact, knocking down the walls between financial services didn’t help cause the financial meltdown so much as help contain it. None of the institutions that ended up doing the most to prompt the financial meltdown was a financial hybrid. Most of the problems that sprung up among financial institutions in 2008 were among pure-play institutions, primarily investment banks – and their boutique activities would not have been circumscribed by the Glass-Steagall firewall. In fact, knocking down that legal wall actually made it possible for several investment banks to be rescued. If Glass-Steagall had not been changed, the commercial bank J.P. Morgan Chase would not have been able to rescue the investment bank Bear Sterns, and commercial Bank of America would not have been able to rescue Merrill Lynch.

Celebrity Sighting

FLG saw David Gergen at DCA waiting for a flight to Logan.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Quote of the day

Henry Grabar:
It is a temple for a political era built on paranoia, as good a symbol for our age as the corporate skyscraper was for the postwar era and the suburban megamall was for the end of the century. The airport is the place to understand America today.

Thursday, September 7, 2017


Peter Harrison:
The thesis that ‘science causes secularisation’ simply fails the empirical test, and enlisting science as an instrument of secularisation turns out to be poor strategy. The science and secularism pairing is so awkward that it raises the question: why did anyone think otherwise?

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Stephen Fry On Statues

Jump to about 6:30.   Filmed way before the current controversies.

In Support Of Nancy Pelosi

FLG never thought he'd agree with her, but agree with her he does.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Guess FLG Won't Be Buying This Book

FLG was considering buying James Poulos' book (because they're both Hoyas, he generally like Poulos, and loves Tocqueville), but after reading this review he decided against it.   It sounds like the prose is what would happen if Hegel wrote for BuzzFeed.

"With the mutability money confers comes commensurability. The more things change, the more things interchange. Money allows us to change like it does by allowing us to exchange - to "reconnect" (as we say) with our unity by participating in a kind of interchangeability that carries, however fleetingly, a sense of import. Our experiences of significant interchange are an inspiring bulwark against the dispiriting experience of our interchangeable insignificance. Without the commensurability of goods and services - in principle, any and all goods and services - access to that experience is imperiled or lost." (p. 132)
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