||"dawnbreak in the west"|
Thursday, June 22, 2017
There were rumours floating around that Lt. Col. Michael Flynn, formerly a Trump advisor, was in cahoots with the Russians. What aren't rumours, is that Flynn was taking payment from Recep Erdogan, or Sultan Recep as I like to call him.
The Turks are now saying that some US official has promised them that we'd disarm the Kurds in Syria.
Now, I doubt that we've announced any such thing to the Kurds. I doubt we've even made such a promise to the Turks - officially. From the State Department level the most we've told the Turks is "we'll pass this concern to Washington".
At a guess this assurance had come from Flynn, known for opposing pro-Kurd measures. Since Flynn isn't in the Trump circle-of-trust anymore, if he was the man who made this promise, it's no longer in effect.
The Turks have little to lose by leaking this odious promise. With it, they put Trump on notice: does he break "his" word (actually Flynn's)? If so, the Turks get the pretext to invade those parts of Syria.
What a mistake, the hiring of Flynn was. In Trump's defence... Flynn is a liar, and it can be difficult to sniff out liars. Also, being "under investigation" in today's Potomac Wetland doesn't mean much - especially since that investigation was mainly about Russia, which is bogus. Flynn's collusion with Erdogan was real, by contrast, and that's what Trump should have noticed. Well, at least this mistake was corrected.
How conservative dissidents get it wrong
Gene Ponder, a teacher and conservative-activist in Alabama, recently offered up a reading list. The usual suspects called bias and have now got it un-offered. I figured it worth my while to sneak a peak at what he'd proposed.
I count one book by a Leftist, namely James Loewen, which book I have read. I count another book by... I'm not sure where Steven Levitt would find his home these days, probably in that underpopulated lower right; but I haven't read this one. I count twenty-nine other books, none of which I have read either. They generally look like midwit Rightish / Neocon comfort-food, the stuff that Dubya's base of too-white-and-not-too-bright Christians bought during his Administration. Except maybe for Thomas Sowell's Black Rednecks; but since I am (now) a
This reminds me, here in Colorado, of how two years back Jefferson County's Conservatives tried to reform their schools. That didn't work either.
If you are going to challenge your students from the Right, don't wave the flag and sing 'God Bless America' with that fake tear rolling down your cheek. Go Froude, or go home.
Sunday, June 18, 2017
Representative Scalise, Confessor
A (D)hadi recently shot Stephen Scalise at a bipartisan ballgame full of lobbyists. Scalise is recovering. Others were also shot; a Tyson lobbyist was killed. At least nobody can claim to be surprised...
To disclose, I've mentioned Scalise once before here - without much respect. He'd fumbled around on the white-identity fringe of Louisiana, to the extent it's still unclear if he was even there, but he apologised anyway, making him a buffoon. His fumblings didn't appease the Left either. So now, here we all are.
When Scalise was taken to hospital, Speaker Ryan and other Republicans went out of their way to declare this "an attack on all of us", including Democrats. Not according to the shooter's list of names, but then - there was that dead lobbyist, which Ryan must really have mourned. Ryan identifies more with such lobbyists than with his own base, which he treats as a vehicle for his personal status. That a Tyson lobbyist had attended this event disgusts me; Tyson is not on US citizens' side.
My hope is that Scalise gets "woke", and that he tacks to a pro-American position. No more bipartisan games with treasonous lobbyists. No more apologising for what his base needs.
Scalise is a (literal) target for Democrat fanatics as it is. He loses nothing by fighting back.
Wife beating isn't a priority anymore
Our Western culture considers itself "feminist", supporting female independence (an "independence" in practice overseen by a benevolent state, funded by Obama's famously-cornucopiac stash). Some foreign cultures, by contrast, figure that a wife is the property of the homestead, which the husband runs like a baronetcy. Giving the woman a few licks of the cane is a remedy for the homestead, a lesson for her, and a salutary example for the community at large. The most pro-woman society prior to modern times was probably ancient Rome, and even the Romans accepted this. [UPDATE 8:10 PM - weev and covertcy.] Islam carries on that tradition to this day.
For whatever reasons, Westerners allow to the Muslims their pre-Hellenic familial definition. All parties dress up this allowance as "sensitivity" but this is humbug; nobody cares about sensitivity. They do care about provoking violence, because a man inured to violence at home is likely to express violence outside it. Oh, and plenty of immigrant-heavy cities happen coincidentally to be short of liquid assets. The money might be coming in, as in London, but the civic leaders have priorities.
Limiting violence by Muslims upon the kuffar is no priority for Mayor Sadiq Khan; he's directed his police budget on monitoring "hate" speech, that is on speech critiquing Sadiq Khan (h/t Sargon). Khan and those like Khan are unlikely to prioritise limits on violence by immigrants upon their own kin, either. So Illinois has been slashing budgets for shelters.
Here in Denver we're also not concerned anymore with wife beating. Here it's not even a crime. And again, it's because immigrant communities are doing the beating, and the Democrats can't afford to lose these demographics.
Overall, I don't much care. I voted against this slide back into the domestic Iron Age, because alt-lite, but then I am not a woman (and was outvoted). It's the women of Denver and the women of Illinois and the women of London who voted for this, the women who paraded their kids in the streets in their pink kitty hats and their "no gender roles" t-shirts, who are now going to feel the back of the hand. Hey, whatever they're into...
They probably don't fully understand themselves what they've gotten into. I'll just say that misogyny starts with women. Women voters should consider not contributing to it.
Saturday, June 17, 2017
Last month I mentioned a work of classical music, based on Clark Ashton Smith's "City of the Singing Flame". I've since taken up the "Gateway" interactive-fiction games, the second one currently. I am led to think that, in some cases, the derivative art can be the fulfillment of the original's promise.
I hasten to emphasise "fulfillment" and "can be". The derivatives might fail at it. I still haven't heard Peter Scartabello's symphony so I cannot judge that. And the Gateway games are flawed, especially the second one. I'm here discussing how the original author's ideas are suited for genre A, but the author's abilities were limited to genre B. In the cases of Smith and Pohl, these two were writers of speculative prose.
The City (later named Ydmos, in a subpar sequel) alludes to a brown-note, a "King In Yellow", a song mortals shouldn't be listening to, and maybe can't listen to under Pythagorean rules. This story, then, is structurally the libretto for an Unfinished Symphony - to finish it would be death, of course. Scartabello has attempted to write this symphony.
In the case of Pohl's Gateway and the story before it, "Merchants of Venus", I have registered my problems with the original works. The Gateway games point to one fundamental flaw in the originals: the Heechee universe is a setting of exploration, and reading the original is like watching someone else play the game. "Merchants" could work as a sandbox game, although this game hasn't yet been made. Legend's Gateway - the first one, anyway - gets across the feeling of travelling between separate adventure-worlds and solving puzzles in each. Like King's Quest VI. Like the "Hitchhiker's Guide" game.
Pohl's Gateway is perhaps best treated as a fanfic of the Heechee universe, a universe later implemented mostly-properly in the first Legend Entertainment game.
The tyrants oppose jihad
In order to create a stable state, especially when surrounded by non-Muslim states, the caliph must enforce a monopoly on violence. That means he cannot allow jihad, unless by his personal command. The Umayyads had kept a light hand on "privatised jihad", and it turned against them, when they could no longer afford it. The 'Abbasids changed this policy.
The Umayyads' imams, especially Awza'i, had argued that caliphal restraint on jihad is a tyranny. Elhamy is at heart an Awza'ite. Which makes him, if not a "better" Muslim than President Sisi, at least a Muslim with a longer intellectual pedigree.
Friday, June 16, 2017
Remember Tom Cruise is... The Last Samurai? If not, and if you really wanted to recall it, you can watch its distaff remake Wonder Woman.
(Yes, I know, I'm going full Ross Douthat here, writing about a movie when I could be writing about current events, or about philosophy. Pax Dickinson would not approve. Perhaps I can claim I am critiquing story-structure. Or I could just blame the heat again.)
In both movies, a foreigner with magic celebrity power drops in on a dying world to... well, I'm unsure. S/he does some saving of days. But always in the back of your mind, you know what's coming next. In Meiji Japan, what's coming next is the samurai ethic enlisted by the national army and applied to Pacific conquest. In Versailles-era Germany, what's coming next - after (mutinous) Ludendorff, and Doktor Poison - is Hitler, and Doktor Mengele.
Sure, hooray feminism in the latter case... to the extent modern feminists can consider Wonder Woman as one of them, but that's quite another rant. I'm still left feeling like the good guys haven't won. Or at least that they've won an extremely temporary victory and one that can be used as precedent by some very bad actors, in Wonder Woman's case by Hitler's Furies.
If Wonder Woman were truly subversive, it would better explain the temptations and corruptions power offers to women. Doktor Poison would have a sight more screentime, agency, and effect on the plot. Ares would be a metaphor, not a supervillain. Diana would consider joining a pro-power faction: maybe the Nazis, maybe the Bolsheviks, maybe Edith Wilson in all her liberal-fascist glory - and then, I hope, she'd resist it. With these changes to the story we'd be more invested in the stakes of it.
UPDATE 6/17 11:40 AM - backdating this post to the night I saw the movie.
Wednesday, June 14, 2017
Thirteen Reasons Why
Lately I've been hearing about a Netflix series, Thirteen Reasons Why. Apparently a decade ago there had been a young-adult novel by Jay Asher - not to be confused with Neil Asher of Gabbleduck fame. The miniseries is TV-MA, and it's had mixed reviews. None of this has stopped your kids from binge watching this thing.
Last Monday at work, someone dropped off a hardcover of the original. (Complete with the sticker from the Borders store s/he'd bought it at. If that's not authentic 2007, I don't know what is.) Last night I read it; I returned it this morning.
I am not here to review this book, much less the series which I haven't seen yet. I will note in passing that the series makes some changes: it fleshes out more of the town, a bit cardboard in the novel; it explains whyever Courtney suddenly started a rumour about Hannah being gay(?); both of which data would have been useful to know in the original. The series makes other changes I'm not sold on - so I'm given to understand - and it also regrettably leaves alone the book's Very Special Episode simplisme. The series might even be worse in that the book does here-and-there allude to Hannah's mental and moral collapse. We don't get that in the series.
But never mind Hannah. As I read the book, I'm more interested in her home town - it is doomed. I spent some time last night thinking of the many reasons the town is doomed (thirteen of them?) - and I wanted to read that book. Fortunately the series has taken off so hard, that there's going to be a sequel.
In fact, the Boning Of The Town has already started: the school photographer has been outed as a pervert, and the other kids are already breaking his windows at home. As for those other kids: well, we got the rapist, and the drunk-driving girl who has already killed some other student, and several fakes at least one of whom is bisexual (at least). Can't see it ending well...
The series for its part has had Hannah's parents file a suit, and has hinted that the pervert is preparing to Columbine up the school. Seems about right.
UPDATE 6/18: the boulder terlit review.
Tuesday, June 13, 2017
Friends, Americans, countrymen...
Variety reviews Donaldus Trumpus Caesar. The reviewer is careful to point out - which is true - that Shakespeare's villain wasn't Trump. Shakespeare had read Plutarch far enough to know that when Trump was killed, his supporters lived on, and when they found the next guy in the Caesar line, they crowned him a monarch (if informally, at first).
The play, and Variety, and everyone else you're likely to talk to on the Acela Corridor agree: they're not advocating the murder of Trump. They're advocating the murder of every Trump voter.
Monday, June 12, 2017
I still haven't seen Wonder Woman but now that a couple weeks have gone by, I'll probably go back on my word and sneak in. Not Helping is this tweet by one Ed Yong:
Yong's commenters were already asking what, exactly, this movie is subverting. It's unlikely to be the Wonder Woman lore itself, given that this is DC's last chance. Maybe it's subverting The Tropes Of The Genre, you know, like this character's been doing since at least the 1970s, to the point it's now spawned its own baggage of tropes. Or is it the general Patriarchy? or Feminism? I have to go further into Ed Yong's twitter for clues. There I find a trendy Lover Of Science Sexually who also, by the way, doesn't like Trump much. So I guess Yong is reading a big feminist message into this movie. Although, at least one SJW later showed up to say the movie was fascist.
I should point out here, if some guy in, oh, Japan came out with a movie claiming that the Nanking massacre was a just retaliation for illegal Chinese resistance and that, besides, the death toll was vastly exaggerated, that would also be subversive. Or, to turn this around, if some descendant of an ethnic group once expelled by Han Chinese were to bring this up again (like Bolyu Buddhists, by the Tang): might not that be subversive? Something tells me that Yong wouldn't use the word in his review though. (I might, but then I don't tend to use the word as a compliment.)
Whenever someone tells you he finds something he likes to be "subversive", he is flattering himself. He is posing as one bravely undercutting some force more powerful than he is. Feel free to ignore anything else from such a blowhard.
Saturday, June 10, 2017
The temple of Xanadu
Via Saraceni in Archaeology News, the Fugan Temple has been found, in Shangdu. Buddhist, dating to the Eastern Jin, roughly corresponding to the fourth century AD.
My "exotic" maternal ancestors in M33c surely attended this temple. Those who hold to the "racial memory" trope might take that as one explanation for Jewish apostasy to Buddhism - these would be Ashkenazi women.
For everyone else, this opens the question of by which route Buddhism entered China. My ancestors probably came up around the Himalayas through Southeast Asia (up to now I haven't yet considered, how). But also heavily Buddhist was the Central Asian "Silk Road", arriving thereby alongside other religions by that point para-Buddhist like the Manichees and the Nestorian monks.
Anyway I looked this up and, yes, the Chinese are aware of the two roads. The mainline Han of northern China trace their Buddhism to the Silk Road.
My ancestors' ingress from foothill India to China is called the Chama. Or at least, it's called that as of the Nanzhao kingdom in Yunnan, which arose during the Tang decline in the eighth century AD - in fact, taking Shangdu and our temple for some decades in the ninth. I don't think my ancestors in Szechuan and Hunan had much to do with Nanzhao, on their way out. On the way in, the Fugan Temple interests me, because it predates the Nanzhao and the Tang. This implies that the Chama Road was already a well-traveled road for the Eastern Jin.
Thursday, June 08, 2017
With all the old human fossils being dug up these days, someday someone is going to find a burial of some Gravettian-era cro magnon dude with an ivory figurine of proto-Priapus lodged deep down his back pelvis.
And then they're going to have to print it in a peer-reviewed journal.
Stealing Pandora's gifts
Watson's Great Divide proposed a deep-mythology for the Out Of Africa peoples. I've proposed some correspondences between the Polynesia and the Mesopotamia; roughly covering the early Genesis myths of Creation, Adam, and Noah. Razib Khan's twitter points today to Julien d'Huy's new paper suggesting another deep-mythology, for Prometheus and Pandora.
I must offer some disclosures. I haven't read all the myths mentioned here. Much of this paper's reasoning is too technical for me. And the whole argument rests on plugging data into software I don't own. So I admit to a total lack of qualification to dispute this paper's conclusions. Fortunately I am an idiot blogger on the internets whom nobody reads, so nothing can stop me from spouting off anyway. Not even if May and Corbyn both win.
As best I can make out, many cultures share that fire was, once upon a time, the domain of women. A man then stole fire from the goddess.
One immediate point that jumps out: the Greeks didn't tell these exact stories, but they told many stories with their tropes. For the Greeks, these tropes cluster around the tale of Prometheus. Prometheus, the friend of man, was a child of Titans, a race of gods before the Greek gods, but Prometheus was spared his fathers' damnation. The tender of fire *Whestia was, it so happens, female, and herself a daughter of the Titans - a sister of Zeus, but not one of the major gods (D'Auliares holds that when Bacchus was promoted, Hestia was demoted). Both Prometheus and Whestia, therefore, sit on that uneasy edge between Titan and God. So when Prometheus stole fire "from the gods" he'd most directly ripped it off a fellow paraTitan.
A less immediate point is that the Jews too might preserve a reflection of this. In Eden, Eve takes the fruit of knowledge first. Then Adam takes it and that is when YHWH realises that something is up. True, in this case Eve isn't the tender of the sacred sophia for very long; and Adam does take it with consent this time. But still...
In any deep-mythology, one does have to ask to what extent the myth is a tradition of the elders, and to what extent just a comment on the human condition - or even a record of contemporary disasters spaced far apart. If the latter, some of these myths could be independent compositions. I suspect exactly that for several of the Atlantis-like / Noah-like myths: Sundaland sank, Doggerland sank, Beringia sank, the Black Sea coast sank, all during the same general era of the Ice Age retreat. (The Aegean was a special case in that the much-later Thera was, like, right there.)
As I read the tropes Julien d'Huy brings up, I do have to ask such questions. From the startpoints (1) Fire used to be a woman thing and (2) a man stole it, any storyteller could draw some corollaries. From (1) one might envision not only a matriarchy, but a kingdom of only women. This trope would naturally lead to d'Huy's trope here:
That knowledge, fire, and sex are interlinked is also perhaps an intuitive fact, at least in premodern society. Sexually-transmitted diseases weren't just invented 1977 in an alcove of Studio 54; many of their germs are also very old, herpes in particular.
Sunday, June 04, 2017
Theresa May's answer to the London terror attacks is to regulate the Internet. Wrong answer.
At this point I have to conclude that the present regime in Britain has failed, to the extent that it's time to pull the rug out. A Labour Government would be a disaster. Well, good. Britain needs a disaster. Britain needs its people to see what a sham London Stands Against Hate And Division is. Britain needs to watch smug white policewomen reading summonses to patriotic Brits at four in the morning whilst the jihad runs riot.
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