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Mommy, I don’t want to go out in the bad, bad sun…….

It would seem that WordPress has been messing about with the Port-swiller template of late.  Among other things, it seems to have changed the format of the comment threads so that they are now rolling instead of linear.

I wouldn’t much care about this, except that it now seems in at least two recent posts I can’t respond to a second or third tier comment. (This when I’m trying to be better about responding to all observations.)

Could I trespass on my fellow port-swillers’ time and ask you to tack a few comments to this post (say whatever you like), just so I can get a better idea of what’s going on?


Mr. James Lileks:

We hear about [the Sun] having “quiet periods,” like an exhausted toddler who fell asleep in the car seat, but even when it’s demure it’s out there boiling with eternal fury, perhaps enraged that its dreams exceed its grasp. Perhaps it would like nothing more than to burn everything as it burns, to see that mocking fool Neptune boiled away, that arrogant green mote blasted black, rival Jupiter stripped naked and reduced to a sizzling rock, a pretender to the throne unhorsed. At the center of every solar system, perhaps, there’s not a benevolent disc that paints the world with light and heat, but a raging devil shouting its hate wordlessly across the void. We, who cannot hear, assume good intentions, and bid him a nightly farewell, confident he will be on our side tomorrow. All the while he’s corking up a plan. A nova? Nothing more than a star’s triumphant cry. I’ll show you! I’ll show you all!

Every civilization that has ever, and will ever, exist in this galaxy or the millions of galaxies in the heavens, revolves around a suicide bomber.

Makes the Sun seem positively Miltonian, doesn’t he?  And on a day like today (and, even worse, tomorrow), it’s an image to which I can heartily relate.

Over at the Corner, Tom Hoopes remarks on the culchah which has spawned the likes of Rep. Anthony Weiner.  The money quote goes straight to ol’ Robbo’s heart:

He grew up in a world where “family” and “religion” became abstract terms. Instead of growing up in a culture of families staying together for better or worse, he grew up in the divorce culture where other arrangements can always be made (I don’t mean that he was a child of divorce; he was, but that is a secondary consideration). And instead of growing up in a culture where religion has to do with what you believe and how you behave, he grew up in a culture where, as Moment magazine put it “Weiner has always been assertive about his Jewishness” but “doesn’t belong to a synagogue or consider himself close to a single rabbi.”

Where faith and families are impotent symbols, they no longer have the power to create boundaries. And you end up with a situation where a self-proclaimed man who “loves his wife” is sexting about Jewish sexual stereotypes with strangers. So laugh at the rise and fall of Anthony Weiner if you must, but be warned, the Weinerization of America continues apace.

Hoopes also talks about the state of media and communications that allowed for Weiner to indulge himself, but I think the key word in the entire post is boundaries.   The entire history of Western Civilization can be understood in terms of the boundaries placed on individual behavior by religion and family responsibilities.  When you do away with those safeguards, you do not get, as the Boomers thought in the 60’s, a Utopia full of liberated, self-realized saints, you get a mob of barbarians and savages.

As to Hoopes’ broader warning about the “Weinerization” of society, and I think that’s also right. There are plenty of other folks out there carrying on in exactly the same way and worse.   The question is: What can anybody do about it?  How do you turn the tide? What would make the pendulum swing back the other way, aside from some hideous cataclysm that culls the populace with Darwinian ruthlessness?

Well, that’s more than one question, but you get my drift.

For my part, as I’ve said before, I think it my obligation just to do what I can in my immediate orbit.  And hopefully, I am lighting at least a couple of candles against the darkness.  This past week, the eldest gel said to me, “Dad, I’m really glad you have rules and restrictions and don’t try to be cool like the other kids’ dads, who let them do whatever they want.”  It was mighty gratifying.

In the fight against Evil, every little helps.

Well, this certainly explains a lot:

Big coffee drinkers are taking a latte break from reality, with half of them likely to hallucinate or hear things, the Herald Sun reported Wednesday.

The article describes an experiment involving people who imagine they hear Bing Crosby singing “White Christmas”.   Now I’m going to hear “bah, bah, boom” for the rest of the day.

Now here’s a great little example of Adam Smith’s theory of the invisible hand and rational self-interest in action:

One airline that flies out of Detroit Metro Airport is trying to capitalize on the “sexting” scandal involving New York Congressman Anthony Weiner.

Spirit Airlines has begun running an ad on its website promoting “The Weiner Sale”, asking “Have you seen our weiner?” and offering “fares too hard to resist”, starting nine dollars each way. The ad shows a picture of a hot dog.


See? Spirit’s ultimate interest here is to increase its brand awareness and generate more sales.  To this end, it launches an advertising campaign based on a hot news topic.  The result? Further publick humiliation of a complete dirtbag.¹

Everybody wins!

¹”But, Tom,” you might be saying, “What about Christian charity and forgiveness?”  Well, if this fellah were really repentant, it would be one thing.  But the troof is that I don’t believe he is, and that he’s really only sorry he got caught.  Big difference.   And, by the way, I’m simply appalled at the number of people I’ve come across in the past few days taking the “he didn’t do anything illegal so what’s the problem” line.


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June 2011