Madonna's opening line at the awards gala was edited out of the shortened official video: "I stand before you as a doormat — oh, I mean a female entertainer." Merciful Minerva! Can there be any woman on Earth less like a doormat than Madonna Louise Ciccone? Madonna sped on with shaky assertions ("There are no rules if you're a boy") and bafflingly portrayed the huge commercial success of her 1992 book, Sex, as a chapter of the Spanish Inquisition, in which she was persecuted as "a whore and a witch."
C.P. is often a good antidote to P. C., not that that I would award Miss Paglia the much-coveted plenary MavPhil endorsement.
. . .it would start by recognizing that Trump is a remarkable leader and that this is a new phenomenon. Then it would try to explore and understand the differences between the old order and the world Trump is trying to create. Then it could describe the context of the President-elect and educate its readers accurately in an informed, coherent manner.
Unfortunately, The New York Times is trapped within the obsolete establishment mindset which was wrong about Trump throughout the primaries, then was wrong about Trump throughout the general election, then was wrong about who would win. This elite mindset has learned nothing. It is now enthusiastically being wrong about the transition. All of this is great practice for the paper to be wrong about the new administration. (Newt Gingrich)
A Facebook user told me he left it because it had become for him an impediment to spiritual growth. I concur and generalize: inordinate consumption of any and all mass communications media militates against spiritual health for all of us. Mass media content is a bit like whisky: a little, from time to time, will not hurt you, and my even do some good; but more is not better!
But why, exactly? Here is one answer. The attainment of mental quiet is a very high and choice-worthy goal of human striving. Anything that scatters or dis-tracts (literally: pulls apart) the mind makes it impossible to attain mental quiet as well as such lower attainments as ordinary concentration. Now the mass media have the tendency to scatter and distract. Therefore, if you value the attainment of mental quiet and such cognate states as tranquillitas animi, ataraxia, peace of mind, samadhi, concentration, 'personal presence,' etc., then you are well-advised to limit consumption of media dreck and cultivate the disciplines that lead to these states.
Of course, the quick answer I just gave presupposes a metaphysics, a philosophical anthopology and a soteriology that cannot be laid out briefly. So here are some links to related posts that fill in some of the details.
I confess to being a fan of this TV series many of whose episodes are now over 20 years old. I have seen every episode numerous times. I am not a student of the series as I am a student of the great Twilight Zone series, but then numerous episodes of Rod Serling's Twilight Zone, belonging as it does to the Golden Age of television, really are worthy of study.
What do I like about Seinfeld? Perhaps it is the utterly zany quality of the Jewish humor. Here is some of it in Yiddish (with subtitles).
And the political incorrectness I like. But things have changed in America, so much so that Jerry Seinfeld nowadays refuses to perform before college audiences.
Indeed, it must be jarring for a boomer like Seinfeld, who went to college in the early 70s, when students were debating real issues freely, to confront today’s college campuses, where students often invent issues about which to be aggrieved, many times on behalf of other parties, and then have to find "free speech zones" in which to discuss them.
Consider the uproar over a statue of a man talking to a woman at a Texas college, which some decided was a depiction of "mansplaining," or a man patronizingly explaining something to a woman. Paul Tadlock, the 79-year-old sculptor, said the piece — done for 20 years before its offense was "discovered" — merely depicted his daughter, a student at the time, talking to a friend.
Then there were the students at UC-Berkeley, who called for "an occupation of syllabi in the social sciences and humanities," which sounds serious. Rodrigo Kazuo and Meg Perret felt aggrieved that a classical philosophy course had the audacity to cover actual thought leaders from classical philosophy, including Plato and Aristotle — because they all happened to be white men.
He did it again last night. So it is right, fitting, proper, and conducive unto clarity of thought that I re-post the following entry from 16 November 2012.
The other night Bill O'Reilly said that a fetus is a potential human life. Not so! A fetus is an actual human life.
Consider a third-trimester human fetus, alive and well, developing in the normal way in the mother. It is potentially many things: a neonate, a two-year-old, a speaker of some language, an adolescent, an adult, a corpse. And let's be clear that a potential X is not an X. A potential oak tree is not an oak tree. A potential neonate is not a neonate. A potential speaker of Turkish is not a Turkish speaker. 'Potential' in these constructions functions as an alienans adjective. But an acorn, though only potentially an oak tree, is an actual acorn, not a potential acorn. And its potentialities are actually possessed by it, not potentially possessed by it. And the same goes for the acorn's properties: it actually instantiates them.
The typical human fetus is an actual, living, human biological individual that actually possesses various potentialities. So if you accept that there is a general, albeit not exceptionless, prohibition against the taking of innocent human life, then you need to explain why you think a third-trimester fetus does not fall under this prohibition. You need to find a morally relevant difference -- not just any old difference, but a difference that makes a moral difference -- between the fetus and any born human individual.
Bill O'Reilly is not the brightest bulb on the marquee. And like too many conservatives, he has an anti-intellectual tendency. If I ran these simple ideas past him, he night well dismiss them with his standard Joe Sixpack "That's just theory" line. And that's unfortunate. Still, it's good to have this pugnacious Irishman on our side. Night after night, he displays great civil courage, speaking truth to power. It is de rigueur among leftists to despise him. A feather in his cap!
This entry from over five years ago stands up well and is worth re-posting. Slightly improved, typos removed, infelicities smoothed. It originally saw the light of the 'sphere on 24 March 2010. As usual the MavPhil doctrine of abrogation is in effect: later posts abrogate earlier ones.
The qualifier 'conservative' borders on pleonasm: there is is scarcely any talk radio in the U.S. worth mentioning that is not conservative. This is part of the reason the Left hates the conservative variety so much. They hate it because of its content, and they hate it because they are incapable of competing with it: their own attempts such as Air America have failed miserably. And so, projecting their own hatred, they label conservative talk 'hate radio.'
In a 22 March op-ed piece in the NYT, Bob Herbert, commenting on the G.O.P., writes, "This is the party that genuflects at the altar of right-wing talk radio, with its insane, nauseating, nonstop commitment to hatred and bigotry."
I find that vile outburst fascinating. There is no insanity, hatred, or bigotry in any of the conservative talk jocks to whom I listen: Laura Ingraham, Bill Bennett, Hugh Hewitt, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager or Michael Medved. There is instead common sense, humanity, excellent advice, warnings against extremism, deep life wisdom, facts, arguments, and a reasonably high level of discourse. Of the six I have mentioned, Prager and Medved are the best, a fact reflected in their large audiences. Don't you liberals fancy yourselves open-minded? Then open your ears!
So what is it about Herbert and people of his ilk that causes them to react routinely in such delusional fashion?
It is a long story, of course, but part of it is that lefties confuse dissent with hate. They don't seem to realize that if I dissent from your view, it doesn't follow that I hate you. It's actually a double confusion. There is first the confusion of dissent with hate, and then the confusion of persons and propositions. If I dissent from your proposition, it does not follow that I hate your proposition; and a fortiori it doesn't follow that I hate the person who advances the proposition. This double confusion goes hand in hand with the strange notion that the Left owns dissent, which I duly refute in a substantial post.
I leave you with a quotation from David Horowitz, Left Illusions: An Intellectual Odyssey (Spence, 2003), p. 273, emphasis added:
The image of the right that the left has concocted -- authoritarian, reactionary, bigoted, mean-spirited -- is an absurd caricature that has no relation to modern conservatism or to the reality of the people I have come to know in my decade-long movement along the political spectrum -- or to the way I see myself. Except for a lunatic fringe, American conservatism is not about "blood and soil" nostalgia or conspiracy paranoia, which figure so largely in imaginations that call themselves "liberal," but are anything but. Modern American conservatism is a reform movement that seeks to reinvent free markets and limited government and to restore somewhat traditional values. Philosophically, conservatism is more accurately seen as a species of liberalism itself -- and would be more often described in this way were it not for the hegemony the left exerts in the political culture and its appropriation of the term "liberal" to obscure its radical agenda.
One more thing. You can see from Herbert's picture that he is black. So now I will be called a racist for exposing his outburst. That is right out of the Left's playbook: if a conservative disagrees with you on any issue, or proffers any sort of criticism, then you heap abuse on him. He's a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe, a 'homophobe,' a bigot, a religious zealot . . . .