September 30, 2017

At the Saturday Night Café...


... you can talk all night.

(And please remember to use The Althouse Amazon Portal.)

"After Weiner’s Sentencing, Abedin Opts for ‘Divorce Jeans.'"

A NYT headline. Excerpt from the text:
These jeans sent a different message [than the black sweater she wore at the sentencing], one surely received by the paparazzi staked outside her door that morning. With a smattering of yellow and orange flowers and leaves from hip to heel, the jeans said: bright and cheery. They said, Let’s roll around in a meadow covered with wildflowers in our hair like hippie children from the 1960s singing “Let the Sunshine In.”... They’re a walking celebration. An explosion of animated joy.
What's up with the adjective "divorce" in "Divorce Jeans"? The occasion is that the sentencing is over. Abedin and Weiner are not yet divorced. The article refers to him as "her soon-to-be-ex-husband." And I don't think he's gone to prison yet.

But we get the idea: "Divorce" works as an adjective in front of the names of things — e.g., "divorce hair" — a woman adopts to express that she has cut herself off from her old married life and feels just great about all the freedom flooding into he life.

In other contexts, it might be bad to celebrate your freedom when your mate is going to prison, losing his freedom. But Weiner's crime required Abedin to show no empathy.

Now what happens to the stereotype-breaking inspiration?

"Super Awesome Sylvia was a role model to girls in science. Then he realized he is a boy" (WaPo).
This is the story of Super Awesome Sylvia, an ingenious little girl who made robots, or so everyone thought.

At age 8, Sylvia Todd put on a lab coat and started a web show. A gaptoothed little kid with a pony tail and soldering iron, a rare sight in the boy's club of amateur inventors....

It got Sylvia invited to the White House Science Fair in 2013, when President Barack Obama tried it out and told its shaky-legged, 11-year-old inventor that it was great to see girls in tech. Then came reporters, magazine profiles, even book deals. A story in the New York Times.... By middle school, Sylvia was giving speeches all over the world....

This is the story of Zephyrus Todd, a 16-year-old boy who prefers art to science, and knows a lot more about himself now than when people called him Sylvia and assumed he was a girl. It's about how Zeph got stuck inside Super Awesome Sylvia, “trying to be that person,” as he puts it....

"What remains enthralling, though, are Millett’s close readings, her exposés of the naked emperors of the literary left."

"'After receiving his servant’s congratulations on his dazzling performance, Rojack proceeds calmly to the next floor and throws his wife’s body out of the window,' is Millett’s deadpan description of the aftermath of the hero’s sodomization of a maid in Mailer’s An American Dream. Millett then observes, 'The reader is given to understand that by murdering one woman and buggering another, Rojack became a "man."'"

Writes Judith Shulevitz in "Kate Millett: ‘Sexual Politics’ & Family Values" (New York Review of Books):
For a glorious moment, this very bookish literary critic was the face of American feminism. The New York Times called her the “high priestess.” After “Prisoner of Sex” became the talk of the town—and the revered Harper’s editor Willie Morris was fired for publishing it—Mailer organized a riotous debate known as “Town Bloody Hall,” which was filmed by Chris Hegedus and D.A. Pennebaker and is now streamable. It was a circus, and it was Millett who set it in motion, even though she refused to show up. Mailer aimed a torrent of insults at the feminists who did agree to take the stage or appear in the audience, among them Greer, Diana Trilling, Susan Sontag, Betty Friedan, and Cynthia Ozick. They rolled their eyes and gave as good as they got—much better, in most cases—and the crowd roared with delight. Try to imagine a public clash of ideas being so joyously gladiatorial today.
Here it is:

ADDED: The word "bugger" (for anal sex) is rare these days. Did you know the word is related to "Bulgarian"? From the Online Etymology Dictionary:
bugger (n.) "sodomite," 1550s, earlier "heretic" (mid-14c.), from Medieval Latin Bulgarus "a Bulgarian" (see Bulgaria), so called from bigoted notions of the sex lives of Eastern Orthodox Christians or of the sect of heretics that was prominent there 11c. Compare Old French bougre "Bulgarian," also "heretic; sodomite."

bugger (v.) "to commit buggery with," 1590s, from bugger (n.)...
The earliest use of "bugger" to express "annoyance, hatred, dismissal, etc.," is, according to the OED, in the diary John Adams, in 1779: "Dr. W[inship] told me of Tuckers rough tarry Speech, about me at the Navy Board.—I did not say much to him at first, but damn and buger my Eyes, I found him after a while as sociable as any Marble-head man."

AND: Here's a William Safire column (from 1995) on the word "bugger," written after some Congressman said "We're here to nail the little bugger down" (and the "little bugger" was Bill Clinton). How disrespectful was it?

"I pity you with your inefficient nostrils."

#4 on Scott Adams's list of top 10 favorite "Dilbert" strips.

Maybe I like this the best because I myself have lost nearly all my own sense of smell. And I happen to know that Scott Adams has lost his sense of smell. I've heard him say (on a Periscope) that he's completely happy to have no sense of smell because most smells are bad. Might as well love whatever it is that's your predicament if you can't change it. If I were deaf, I'd enjoy the quiet. If I were blind, I wouldn't have to bother with turning lights on and off.

Here's a 2009 blog post by Adams, "Addition by Subtraction":
Recently I lost my sense of smell thanks to, I assume, some allergy meds I’ve been snorting.... Over time I have come to realize that the ratio of stinky smells to delicious smells is very high. If the price for not smelling a flatulent cat five times a night is that I also don’t get to smell pumpkin pie once a year, I’ll take that deal.
What about the problem of not realizing your house reeks?  Solution: Never let anyone else in your house. Communicate only by Periscope and blog. But that's not what he says. He says he keeps nonanosmic people around to keep track of stinks for him.

Adams also likes the lost sense of taste that accompanies the loss of smell, and he adopts the bright-side perspective there too. It keeps his weight low, because food seems merely utilitarian. He theorizes that fatness/skinniness in human beings correlates to the intensity of the smell sense.

That is, he pities you with your efficient nostrils.


There 26,000 polar bears in the world, and 1% of them came together for a single feast...

... on the carcass of one dead bowhead whale (in Siberia).
“You had to live it to believe it, even now there are people pinching themselves to make sure it really happened,” Rodney Russ, Expedition Leader, Owner and Founder of Heritage Expeditions writes....
The polar bear is the largest living land carnivore, and yet 260 of them feasted on one bowhead whale (which is about half the size of the world's largest whale).

"I exist. I mean, I exist. I really exist!"

(Randomly encountered on Youtube this morning. There's no context to why I'm sharing this, just something I liked a lot. What a great cast SNL had in 1989. The assumption that everybody remembers "Fatal Attraction" isn't good 3 decades later, but that's how it is.)

"It’s like Gumby joined a utopian cult — and created the season’s most magical fashion."

Writes Robin Givhan in The Washington Post, about the Rick Owens spring 2018 fashion show in the plaza near the Palais de Tokyo museum.
According to Owens’s show notes, the story of this collection was “experimental grace and form.” It was meant to symbolize the rejection of the world’s darkness: environmental peril, social intolerance, cultural wars. It was a gesture towards utopia, but one created by imperfect humans....
And here's Vogue, with lots of unpaywalled photos, and the text:
In the face of climate catastrophes, nuclear annihilation, and assorted other sociopolitical affronts, Rick Owens is going to make what he damn well pleases.... Being a thinking man, Owens has been much concerned about the state of the world, our ravaged natural resources especially. So it was hard not to see the finale models as climate refugees, with their fanny packs swaddled like so much emotional baggage underneath piles of humble clothes... 
Here's video of the entire show, which I've set up to play beginning about 5 minutes in, to maximize the weirdness. There's an interesting soundtrack, which Meade overheard and commented, "It sounds like Hillary." According to Vogue, that's "Lamy on the soundtrack as Mother Earth, laughing maniacally as if to say: Humans, you reap what you sow."

"My show is just me, the guitar, the piano and the words and music."

"Some of the show is spoken, some of it is sung. It loosely follows the arc of my life and my work. All of it together is in pursuit of my constant goal to provide an entertaining evening and to communicate something of value."

Said Bruce Springsteen, who's doing that show on Broadway.

It sounds very similar to what Ray Davies did with his show "The Storyteller," which I saw here in Madison years ago. (It's available on line here.) From a 2002 review in the AV Club:
An articulate narrator with a great ear for translating his music into smaller-scale arrangements, Davies is engaging as both a singer and a storyteller. Beginning with the story of his birth in working-class London, Davies concludes by detailing the recording session that produced "You Really Got Me," the song that made [The Kinks] careers and changed music history in the process. He stops along the way to recount his early experiences with music—first as an admirer and then as a performer—that are always linked to his busy, vibrant family....
I love the part where he talks about his mother's opinion that the song "That Old Black Magic" was too sexual for young children to hear and then proves his mother's point by singing the song (beautifully, with emphasis on its sexuality).

Anyway, I have no idea how well Bruce will do in this format. He's starting big — on a Broadway stage — and selling some very expensive tickets. But the idea for the show is all about intimacy. The statement quoted above is devoid of human warmth and individuality: "in pursuit of my constant goal to provide an entertaining evening and to communicate something of value." As if what matters is his striving rather than what the audience actually receives.

But don't listen to me if you like Bruce. I have never been a Bruce Springsteen fan, largely because the idea seems to be to enact striving. Straining.

"Now that I no longer live in fear of her rejection, I am free to share how she cultivated and brainwashed me."

Said Moses Farrow, quoted in a new biography of Woody Allen, reported by the NYT (which uses a photo of Woody Allen in which his glasses prescription magnifies one of his eyes ridiculously in comparison to the other).
Asked to comment, Ms. Farrow issued a statement: “Moses has cut off his entire family including his ex-wife who was pregnant when he left. It’s heartbreaking and bewildering that he would make this up, perhaps to please Woody. We all miss and love him very much.”
ADDED: The photo of Woody got me thinking about the word "cock-eyed," which means "topsy-turvy, absurd, ridiculous" (OED):
1960 M. Spark Ballad of Peckham Rye x. 201 He gathered together the scrap ends of his profligate experience..and turned them into a lot of cock-eyed books....

1942 Chicago Tribune 18 May 12/1 Communists are cockeyed... Today we shall dwell not upon their dangerousness, but upon their cockeyedness.

September 29, 2017

Let's take a closer look at that Cambridge, Massachusetts elementary school librarian who rejected the gift of Dr. Seuss books from Melania Trump.

You've seen the story, I'm sure. Here's Vanity Fair: "An Elementary School Librarian Doesn’t Want Dr. Seuss Books from Melania Trump/She wrote that Seuss is 'a bit of a cliché, a tired and worn ambassador for children’s literature.'" I've seen some abuse of this woman, Liz Phipps Soeiro, and here's something, in particular, that set me off:

I want to say Phipps Soeiro looks great. This is a fabulous, beautiful librarian look, and if this says Rosa Klebb to you, I guess you're just not into the glory of librarians. I love the scarf, the bright-lipstick/no-eye-makeup look, the pinned-back hair, the glasses. It's utterly charming, well constructed and a lot of fun, like a character in a children's book. Perfection.

Now, let's read her words on the occasion of her school's getting selected — as one school in each state is selected — to receive a set of Dr. Seuss books:

"Yet Another Major Russia Story Falls Apart. Is Skepticism Permissible Yet?"

Asks Glenn Greenwald (at Intercept).
It’s a claim about nefarious Russian control. So it’s instantly vested with credibility and authority, published by leading news outlets, and then blindly accepted as fact in most elite circles....

The evidentiary threshold which an assertion must overcome before being accepted is so low as to be non-existent. And the penalty for desiring to see evidence for official claims, or questioning the validity and persuasiveness of the evidence that is proffered, are accusations that impugn one’s patriotism and loyalty (simply wanting to see evidence for official claims about Russia is proof, in many quarters, that one is a Kremlin agent or at least adores Putin – just as wanting to see evidence in 2002, or questioning the evidence presented for claims about Saddam, was viewed as proof that one harbored sympathy for the Iraqi dictator)....

The Russian government-affiliated troll farm was "sophisticated" enough to Facebook-target Ferguson and Baltimore with a "Black Lives Matter" ad.

CNN reports.
"This is consistent with the overall goal of creating discord inside the body politic here in the United States, and really across the West," Steve Hall, the former CIA officer and CNN National Security Analyst, said. "It shows they the [sic] level of sophistication of their targeting. They are able to sow discord in a very granular nature, target certain communities and link them up with certain issues."...

[Facebook's chief security officer, Alex Stamos] said, "the ads and accounts appeared to focus on amplifying divisive social and political messages across the ideological spectrum -- touching on topics from LGBT matters to race issues to immigration to gun rights."
Sowing racial discord — that's what we do for ourselves. How dare the Russians get in on the action! But if they did, were they trying to defeat Hillary and elect Trump or just screwing with us more generically?

In the end, we might think that Hillary lost because not enough black people in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin felt like coming out and voting, so maybe there was some effect, but why would just a little more racial discord make a difference?

I'd like to see these ads, but if somehow the Russians figured out how to make a devastating race-based ad, I think there would have been Americans copying that message and running it on their own and we'd have been seeing it going viral on YouTube. If it were so powerful, it would not have remained targeted to Ferguson and Baltimore. It would have broken loose and gone national, and we'd all have been talking about it.

I found that article after encountering the Pajamas Media presentation of the issue, which was linked by Ed Driscoll at Instapundit. Pajamas Media says — inaccurately, I think — "Narrative Fail: Russia Facebook Ads Showed Support for Black Lives Matter, Clinton." Here's a screenshot that sums up why I can't stand to read Pajamas Media:

It was Hall, who's not a Senator, who talked about "the level of sophistication of [the] targeting." The only quoted Senator is Burr, a Republican. So who was absurd? I don't know, but it seems that there was some sophistication — enough to know that you can screw with Americans by stirring us up about race and perhaps to see the potential to stoke cynicism about voting among black people.  I guess it is absurd to infer that Russians couldn't reach that modest level of sophistication on their own and another huge leap to get to the idea that Trump must have helped them. But what Democratic Senator suggested that?

The most interesting part of this to me is: If it really is so horrible to stir up racial discord and cynicism about voting, why is it done by so many Americans — Americans who present themselves as virtuous? You can't say those Russians are outrageous if they're just spreading the same message that you yourself have been spreading.

And now, I can see that I'm caught up in a paradox. I seem to be saying that the Democrats have been spreading a message that is damaging to their cause. But the paradox is avoided if you see that the left isn't monolithic. There are people the Democrats would like to think they own, but they don't. If the Russians helped deactivate these would-be Hillary voters, they colluded with Bernie Sanders, not Trump.

IN THE COMMENTS: Amadeus 48 informs me that the greenish text does not relate to the article where it appears. It's a teaser hotlinked to another article! That is, it's not a highlight meant to draw me into the text where it is embedded, but the sort of thing that I'm used to seeing over in a sidebar. Ridiculous! What a stupid squandering of the reader's time and good will.

Okay, here's the other article, which has the title you see in the greenish writing in my screen grab. The Democratic Senator is Richard Blumenthal:
"This micro-targeting required sophistication, knowledge, and a great deal of data and research," Blumenthal told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "And the real question, as you've just asked it, is how did they know how to micro-target?.... There is speculation, to be absolutely blunt, that they received that help from the Trump campaign, which had a great deal of digital information to enable its own targeting," Blumenthal said. "So the question is, was there collusion between this Russian internet agency, a St. Petersburg firm of trolls, and the Trump campaign?"
That is pretty pathetic. I love the way "speculation" simply exists, as if it were an entity, living and breathing and able to concoct conspiracy theories without any human... collusion. And I love the jackassery of claiming to be "absolutely blunt" while avoiding saying who is doing the speculating. Is it him, right there, on Wolf's show?

Why would you need a "great deal of digital information" to find black people in Ferguson and Baltimore? Even if it weren't a matter of common knowledge, isn't Facebook designed to do the targeting for anyone who ponies up the cash to advertise?

Will soft news save the news?

Smack in the middle of front page of the NYT website is the most absurdly soft-news set of headlines I have ever seen:

I believe this is a reaction to Donald Trump.

I'm feeling vaguely insulted by the phrase "Smarter Living," because how dumb am I supposed to be to need information on these subjects — one of which is too stupid to want to know about and the other of which is too ridiculously obvious to not to know already?

"Rockfall at Yosemite's El Capitan '10 times bigger' than slide that killed tourist a day earlier, witness says."

The L.A. Times reports.
A rock the size of a golf ball could be fatal, [said Ken Yager, president of the Yosemite Climbing Assn.], and he estimated Thursday’s fall was “10 times bigger” than the colossal chunk that broke off a day earlier....

On Wednesday, a sheet of granite the height of a 13-story building — about 130 feet long, 65 feet wide and in some sections 10 feet thick — separated from the rock face and dropped [1,800 feet] to the base of El Capitan, officials said....

“Granite rocks, any kind of rock, is more dynamic than people realize — pieces are falling off, they’re constantly changing,” Yager said. “Over the course of the years, these features gradually loosen…until one day, it’s just a catastrophic release.”

Did you know that Frank Zappa and Linda Ronstadt once did a commercial for Remington electric razors?

Ignore the visuals. It's a radio commercial:

I found that via a new Guardian article titled: "Linda Ronstadt: 'I don’t like any of my albums.'"

She doesn't like any of her albums, and she also says things like:
I had a house in Tucson for 10 years, but I sold it and moved to San Francisco because of politics and global warming, which the current Cheeto-in-Chief will not admit is happening. It became so unbearably hot in Tucson, and I think cities that depend on air conditioning just won’t be sustainable in the future.
Bonus: Here's an ad Frank Zappa did for Luden's cough drops. This one's a TV ad, so go ahead and watch the video — it won a Clio in the 1960s — though Zappa's only responsible for the audio:

September 28, 2017

National anthem problem resolved (I think).

On Thursday Night Football, just now, the Green Bay Packers followed through with the plan to stand with locked arms during the National Anthem, and the Chicago Bears did the same. I think all the Packers locked arms, but at least 2 of the Bears did not. Many of the players on both teams locked arms in a way that included bringing the right hand up to the heart.

Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers had urged all the fans to lock arms too:
“This is about equality,” Rodgers said. “This is about unity and love and growing together as a society, and starting a conversation around something that may be a little bit uncomfortable for people. But we’ve got to come together and talk about these things and grow as a community, as a connected group of individuals in our society, and we’re going to continue to show love and unity. And this week we’re going to ask the fans to join in as well and come together and show people that we can be connected and we can grow together.”
The TV cameras found at least a few fans who went along with that idea, but the vast majority used only the hand-on-heart gesture.

I think the locking arms solution is about as good as it can be. I know some people (e.g., Scott Adams) have mocked it as looking like The Rockettes, but I think it was respectful and demonstrative of a shared desire to get together and solve problems — not just this anthem-at-the-football-game problem, but racial discord.

Locking arms during the anthem is... free polls

"There's not a single woman in this grid. There is only one woman mentioned in all of the clues..."

"... and she is mentioned only in relation to a man—and What a man! It's this editor's favorite man, the man he can't help working into the puzzle seemingly every day. Another day, another gratuitous Trump reference (57A: Melania Trump ___ Knauss) (NÉE). The guy really, really doesn't know (or respect) his solving base. But this sad NÉE clue is fitting for this puzzle, with its G.I. JOE and the NRA and all that fake manly crap and no girls allowed. A tiresome sausagefest of a party (with the world's dumbest-looking PIÑATA). I mean, the puzzle even manages to shit on the lone female *animal* in the puzzle (39A: No Triple Crown winner ever = MARE). That's some high-end chauvinism right there."

Rex Parker is hilariously angry at today's NYT crossword.

"The Black student population at Cornell disproportionately represents international or first-generation African or Caribbean students."

"While these students have a right to flourish at Cornell, there is a lack of investment in Black students whose families were affected directly by the African Holocaust in America. Cornell must work to actively support students whose families have been impacted for generations by white supremacy and American fascism."

From "Cornell Black Students group issues 6-page list of demands" (Legal Insurrection).

This demand must strike fear into institutions that are engaging in racial balancing on a superficial, how-does-it-look? level.

"Greene vowed to kneel until there was 'nothing left in me' and stuck to his promise."

"Supported by his some of his fellow [University of Michigan] students who either joined him, brought him food, or offered words of encouragement, [Dana] Greene knelt for just over 20 hours, from 7 a.m. Monday until 3:30 a.m. Tuesday morning local time."

Reports Good.

It's getting to be like religious mortification — such as "Simeon Stylites the Elder who climbed a pillar in Syria in 423 and remained there until his death 37 years later"....

"Elizabeth Warren Is Getting Hillary-ed."

A headline at New York Magazine, for a piece by Rebecca Traister, who does not use the word "Hillary-ed."

What does it mean to "get Hillary-ed"?

I guess it could mean a lot of things, but from the article, the idea seems to be to portray her "as hypocritical and untrustworthy" (because of her personal wealth), and to stress her emotionality. Some right-wing radio guy called her “frazzled” and “triggered,” which Traister calls "highly gendered language." And Warren is portrayed as taking a "doggedly pragmatic paths to advancement" — being one of the "hand-in-the-air Tracy Flicks of the world" that Americans instinctively loathe. The "right wing," we're told, "regards ambitious women as threatening and ugly," while the "left" sees them as "compromised and emblematic of reviled Establishment mores."

However right or wrong any of that is about how opponents attack female candidates and voters react to those attacks and how "highly gendered" it is, there's still the question whether we want to see "Hillary" become a verb. We've seen proper names become verbs. We know what "to Bork" means, because we know what happened to Bork. But what happened to Hillary? She's got a whole tome trying to say or avoid saying what happened. It's called "What Happened." What the hell happened? Sorry, that does not have the makings of a new verb.

Does Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg know what happened? Charlie Rose tried to get her to say: "Do you think sexism played a role in that campaign?" A role. Obviously, it had some role.

So it's unsurprising that she said "I have no doubt that it did." The audience claps and whoops though she's just said essentially nothing.

Rose is sharp enough to know he got essentially nothing and redid his question: "Do you think it was decisive?"

Ginsburg cagily said, "There are so many things that might have been decisive" and "But that was a major, major factor." The first statement absolves her of all responsibility, and the second statement gives those who want a quote a tasty nugget to enjoy.

But Ruth Bader Ginsburg does not know what happened, because no one can really know. It's infinitely complex. Going forward, we need to predict what might happen and try to influence what happens. If we care about getting good candidates and figuring out whom to trust with political power, let's not screw up the discourse with the grotesque verb "to Hillary." Women candidates deserve better than that. We all deserve better than that.

If you care about a female candidate, you're not helping her by encouraging people to think of her as being like Hillary, even if you believe that some attacks on Hillary were unfairly sexist.

"Out of concern for the safety of its staff, visitors, and participating artists, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum has decided against showing the art works Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other (2003)..."

"... Theater of the World (1993), and A Case Study of Transference (1994) in its upcoming exhibition Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World. Although these works have been exhibited in museums in Asia, Europe, and the United States, the Guggenheim regrets that explicit and repeated threats of violence have made our decision necessary."

Fast Company reports.

We were talking about this controversy a week ago in "The most fatuous art-talk I've ever heard." I said: "[The Guggenheim] should not be showing a video of the animal cruelty and palming off fatuous rhetoric calling us into debasement and numbness as if it were an elevated accomplishment."

Now, the museum is doing what I wanted, but not for the reason I wanted. I guess there really were some threats of violence, and I hate that, but I wish the Guggenheim showed some consideration toward those of us who made ethical arguments in an entirely peaceful way. It clearly insists that without the threats, the show would have gone on:
As an arts institution committed to presenting a multiplicity of voices, we are dismayed that we must withhold works of art. Freedom of expression has always been and will remain a paramount value of the Guggenheim.
That last sentence is, of course, a lie. I'm virtually certain that the expression of racist, sexist, and homophobic ideas is subordinated to higher values. Does anyone believe that if an artist tormented real human children in the equivalent of Dogs That Cannot Touch Each Other that the rejection of child abuse would not find a position above freedom of expression.

Now, the Guggenheim does say "a paramount value." But how many "paramount" values can you have? I think pairing "a" with "paramount" is like pairing "very" with "unique."

"Republicans are confronting an insurrection on the right that is angry enough to imperil their grip on Congress..."

"... and senior party strategists have concluded that the conservative base now loathes its leaders in Washington the same way it detested President Barack Obama.... Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s former chief strategist and a vehement antagonist of the party establishment, said on Tuesday night that he intends to target Republican senators in Mississippi, Arizona and Nevada for defeat. And that rebellion could spread.... After leaving the White House last month, Mr. Bannon returned to his perch at Breitbart News, and has been using the hard-right website and his close ties to the Mercer family, New York-based conservative donors, to create a new, insurgent power base...."

From "Roy Moore’s Alabama Victory Sets Off Talk of a G.O.P. Insurrection" (NYT).

"Over a hundred painters came together from all over the world to make this animated film about Vincent van Gogh...."

This is an excellent little video about the technique that went into making "Loving Vincent."

"US President Donald Trump has deleted several tweets endorsing a candidate he backed in an Alabama election after he crashed to defeat on Tuesday."

BBC reports.
Early on Wednesday, Mr Trump changed his tune to congratulate Mr Moore on his victory.

"Sounds like a really great guy who ran a fantastic race. He will help to #MAGA!" he tweeted, referring to his "Make America Great Again" catchphrase.

"After the election, I made a comment that I thought the idea misinformation on Facebook changed the outcome of the election was a crazy idea."

"Calling that crazy was dismissive and I regret it. This is too important an issue to be dismissive. But the data we have has always shown that our broader impact -- from giving people a voice to enabling candidates to communicate directly to helping millions of people vote -- played a far bigger role in this election. We will continue to work to build a community for all people. We will do our part to defend against nation states attempting to spread misinformation and subvert elections. We'll keep working to ensure the integrity of free and fair elections around the world, and to ensure our community is a platform for all ideas and force for good in democracy."

Writes Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook, receiving and defending against and proving the effectiveness of the hit he took from Donald Trump yesterday. Zuckerberg doesn't link to or embed the tweet. It was this:

Whether Facebook was really anti-Trump or not, it was useful to Trump to push it back in Twitterish simplicity because he has so many powerful antagonists who are leaning on Facebook to sacrifice whatever ideals of neutrality and freedom of speech that it may have. I hope Facebook solidifies, preserves, and extends its neutrality and freedom values, and with that end in mind, I appreciate what I think is the effectiveness of Trump's absurdly abrupt tweet.

The question "Collusion?" is very funny, because "collusion" is a key word in the muck of charges about the Russian influence on the campaign. A free-wheeling "collusion" suspicion works as a satire of the Russia-related collusion talk. And it makes us wonder, what's so bad about collusion? Are these different sets of people not supposed to act in pursuit of the same goal, not supposed to talk with each other at all, not supposed to notice what each other is doing and figure out how to do things that coordinate?

"There are many pornographers, but what, within the realm of pornography, earns you a substantial obituary in The New York Times?"

"Some day we'll see how they treat Hugh Hefner, who made pornography clean, commercial and classy, but today we read about the death of Al Goldstein: '... The manifesto in Screw’s debut issue in 1968 was... 'We promise never to ink out a pubic hair or chalk out an organ...'... Apart from Screw, Mr. Goldstein’s most notorious creation was Al Goldstein himself, a cartoonishly vituperative amalgam of borscht belt comic, free-range social critic and sex-obsessed loser.... ' In later years, it became impossible to get famous for being a loud sleazy guy with a magazine, and the idea of anyone 'inking' out pubic hair seems mostly puzzling...."

So I wrote back in 2013, and now the day has come when I can read the substantial obituary for Hugh Hefner in the NYT. I've already written 2 posts, the first 2 of the day, on the death of the gargantuan cultural icon Hugh Hefner. Let me then, at long last, get to the NYT obituary:
Hefner the man and Playboy the brand were inseparable. Both advertised themselves as emblems of the sexual revolution, an escape from American priggishness and wider social intolerance. Both were derided over the years — as vulgar, as adolescent, as exploitative, and finally as anachronistic. But Mr. Hefner was a stunning success from his emergence in the early 1950s. His timing was perfect.

He was compared to Jay Gatsby, Citizen Kane and Walt Disney, but Mr. Hefner was his own production. He repeatedly likened his life to a romantic movie; it starred an ageless sophisticate in silk pajamas and smoking jacket, hosting a never-ending party for famous and fascinating people.

The first issue of Playboy was published in 1953, when Mr. Hefner was 27 years old, a new father married to, by his account, the first woman he had slept with.

He had only recently moved out of his parents’ house and left his job at Children’s Activities magazine. But in an editorial in Playboy’s inaugural issue, the young publisher purveyed another life:

“We enjoy mixing up cocktails and an hors d’oeuvre or two, putting a little mood music on the phonograph and inviting in a female acquaintance for a quiet discussion on Picasso, Nietzsche, jazz, sex.”
A boy's fantasy of adulthood and sophistication.
Mr. Hefner began excoriating American puritanism at a time when doctors refused contraceptives to single women and the Hollywood production code dictated separate beds for married couples. As the cartoonist Jules Feiffer, an early Playboy contributor, saw the 1950s, “People wore tight little gray flannel suits and went to their tight little jobs. You couldn’t talk politically.... You couldn’t use obscenities. What Playboy represented was the beginning of a break from all that.”...

In “The Playboy Philosophy,” a mix of libertarian and libertine arguments that Mr. Hefner wrote in 25 installments starting in 1962, his message was simple: Society was to blame. His causes — abortion rights, decriminalization of marijuana and, most important, the repeal of 19th-century sex laws — were daring at the time. Ten years later, they would be unexceptional.

“Hefner won,” Mr. Gitlin said in a 2015 interview. “The prevailing values in the country now, for all the conservative backlash, are essentially libertarian, and that basically was what the Playboy Philosophy was. It’s laissez-faire. It’s anti-censorship. It’s consumerist: Let the buyer rule. It’s hedonistic. In the longer run, Hugh Hefner’s significance is as a salesman of the libertarian ideal.”
Born in 1926, he was raised "with a lot of repression" by Methodists, but he found his way through drawing comics, first as a child, in high school (where he "'I reinvented myself' as the suave, breezy 'Hef,"  and in college as the editor of the humor magazine. He came up with Playboy as "a vehicle for his slightly randy cartoons."

What did his cartoons like like? I found this (click to enlarge and read ("This is me, dreaming about women in general!"))

More here.

The NYT devotes the mid-section of the obituary to the feminist challenge. Gloria Steinem did undercover research as a "bunny" in the Playboy Club in 1963 and discovered that it's hard work, the outfits are uncomfortable, and the customers are (as the Times puts it) "vulgar."
Another feminist critic, Susan Brownmiller, debating Mr. Hefner on a television talk show, asserted, “The role that you have selected for women is degrading to women because you choose to see women as sex objects, not as full human beings.” She continued: “The day you’re willing to come out here with a cottontail attached to your rear end. …”

Mr. Hefner responded in 1970 by ordering an article on the activists then called “women’s libbers.” In an internal memo, he wrote: “These chicks are our natural enemy. What I want is a devastating piece that takes the militant feminists apart. They are unalterably opposed to the romantic boy-girl society that Playboy promotes.”

The commissioned article, by Morton Hunt, ran with the headline “Up Against the Wall, Male Chauvinist Pig.” (The same issue contained an interview with William F. Buckley Jr., fiction by Isaac Bashevis Singer and an article by a prominent critic of the Vietnam War, Senator Vance Hartke of Indiana.)

Mr. Hefner said later that he was perplexed by feminists’ apparent rejection of the message he had set forth in the Playboy Philosophy. “We are in the process of acquiring a new moral maturity and honesty,” he wrote in one installment, “in which man’s body, mind and soul are in harmony rather than in conflict.” Of Americans’ fright of anything “unsuitable for children,” he said, “Instead of raising children in an adult world, with adult tastes, interests and opinions prevailing, we prefer to live much of our lives in a make-believe children’s world.”
The 3 quoted sentences from that internal memo are fascinating. The first 2 talk tough, calling for a hard fight, but the third one makes an argument that belongs in a sweet, soft fight: The feminists want to say that we're alienating men and women — with domineering men and oppressed, insignificant women — but we're the ones who are for "the romantic boy-girl society." What do women want? A lot of us love the ideal of a romantic boy-girl society. It's interesting that Hef wrote "boy-girl" and yet later publicly talked about the "adult world" and rising above the "make-believe children’s world."

Marilyn Monroe appears twice in the obit, first as the nude model in the first issue of Playboy and second as the long dead body in a mausoleum next to which the newly dead body of Hugh Hefner will lie.

"I think the real question is why, after a sexual revolution began in the 50's, did the women's movement seize upon an anti-sexual theme."

"... A significant part of the hurtful side of feminism is failing to understand how a hurtful childhood can shape you, and instead trying to politicize all behavior. There's really no benefit to viewing sex as the enemy. The sex act is some of the best of what we are, as family, and as a civilization. The notion that sex and violence are connected like law and order is untrue. They are polar opposites. One is hurting; one is hugging."

Said Hugh Hefner back in 1992.

"What do you believe happens after death?"/"I haven't a clue. I'm always struck by the people who think they do have a clue."

"It's perfectly clear to me that religion is a myth. It's something we have invented to explain the inexplicable. My religion and the spiritual side of my life come from a sense of connection to the humankind and nature on this planet and in the universe. I am in overwhelming awe of it all: It is so fantastic, so complex, so beyond comprehension. What does it all mean -- if it has any meaning at all? But how can it all exist if it doesn't have some kind of meaning? I think anyone who suggests that they have the answer is motivated by the need to invent answers, because we have no such answers."

Said Hugh Hefner, who, after 91 years, has finally gotten a clue.

Good-bye to the long-lived satyr, the man who packaged and delivered sexual liberation to the masses. He had a mission in life, and he pursued it with great energy, imagination, and influence. He's beyond love and hate for me. I grew up in a secure, middle-class home with a father who had every issue (except, perhaps, the first issue), where the magazine was not hidden away, but on the coffee table next to Life and Look, and we did live and look. Nobody stopped us. I paged through Playboy before I could read. I was so young that topless women didn't even seem to me to be naked and only reacted to the nakedness when, after many pictures of breasts, I saw a photograph I can still see in my head: a woman, lying prone and wearing an amber-colored satin blouse, with what we would have called her heinie just out there, for all to see.

In high school, I enjoyed easy access to things about the parts of the culture I liked: an interview with The Beatles in 1965...
PLAYBOY: "Speaking of nutters, do you ever wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and say, 'My god, I'm a Beatle?'"

PAUL: "No, not quite."


JOHN: "Actually, we only do it in each other's company. I know I never do it alone."

RINGO: "We used to do it more. We'd get in the car. I'd look over at John and say, 'Christ, look at you; you're a bloody phenomenon!' and just laugh... 'cuz it was only him, you know. And a few old friends of ours done it, from Liverpool. I'd catch 'em looking at me, and I'd say, 'What's the matter with you?' It's just daft, them just screaming and laughing, thinking I'm one of them people."

PLAYBOY: "A Beatle?"

RINGO: "Yes."
... and with Bob Dylan in 1966.
PLAYBOY: Why do you think rock 'n' roll has become such an international phenomenon?

DYLAN: I can't really think that there is any rock 'n' roll. Actually, when you think about it, anything that has no real existence is bound to become an international phenomenon. Anyway, what does it mean, rock 'n' roll? Does it mean Beatles, does it mean John Lee Hooker, Bobby Vinton, Jerry Lewis' kid? What about Lawrence Welk? He must play a few rock-'n'-roll songs. Are all these people the same? Is Ricky Nelson like Otis Redding? Is Mick Jagger really Ma Rainey? I can tell by the way people hold their cigarettes if they like Ricky Nelson. I think it's fine to like Ricky Nelson: I couldn't care less if somebody likes Ricky Nelson. But I think we're getting off the track here. There isn't any Ricky Nelson. There isn't any Beatles; oh, I take that back: there are a lot of beetles. But there isn't any Bobby Vinton. Anyway, the word is not "international phenomenon"; the word is "parental nightmare."
By the time I went to college (in 1969), I viewed Playboy as a thing of the past, where my father lived, but irrelevant to the new generation. The culture had moved to a new place, and we had new viewing-and-reading material....
But Hugh Hefner lived on, selling his particular vision of the good life. The music was jazz, the smoke was tobacco pipe, the sex was glossy and clean, the mansion creepily dark and ornate. It would not die, and the vision got planted in who knows how many heads...
Without Hugh Hefner, where would we be today? Who would we be? The cultural influence is beyond calculation.

September 27, 2017

Megyn Kelly's 3rd effort at a morning show: She pisses off Jane Fonda.

Not just rude, but anti-feminist.

You can't fight in here. This is the Empathy Tent!

At Berkeley, fights break out in the "empathy tent." "The empathy tent was reportedly in place to offer protesters a calm place to unwind amid the choas around them," the NY Post reports.

5 Views of a Kiosk in James Madison Park.

Today, on the southern shore of Lake Mendota, not far from the monument that got graffiti swastikas recently, I encountered a kiosk with a bunch of stapled-on signs that caught my attention.






(Feel free to use the comments as an open thread... and to use The Althouse Amazon Portal.)

"North Korea apparently is so confused by President Donald Trump that it's asking US experts for help understanding him."

"According to a Washington Post report on Tuesday, government officials have been soliciting, via various back channels, US experts with ties to the Republican Party for informal talks," Business Insider reports.

2 big problems with "taking a knee" as the new standard form of protest.

1. It's sexist. See the problem:

If you wear a skirt (other than a very long skirt), you can't go down on one knee without creating an upskirt view. It's interesting to me to see that photograph taken with the woman in the short skirt in the most prominent position. She's not in the taking-a-knee position, because she's down on both knees, for the obvious reason. But I don't know how she managed to get into that position without exposing whatever she's wearing under the skirt. Maybe she prepared and — like a figure skater — donned some sort of exposable undershorts. I'm thinking of something like this, but even then, people are going to think it's not intended to be exposed. I'd hate to find myself in some sort of work event — as a lawprof, I usually wore an above-the-knee skirt — and expected to go along with a group activity that put pressure on me to expose myself. It's a disparate burden with an element of sexual harassment.

2. It's ageist and ableist. Look at Sheila Jackson Lee taking the knee at the end of a House speech on the subject of the First Amendment:

She's an older woman — 67 — and I don't know about her health, but it's a long way down for her, and the last 6 inches or so are more of a fall. And to get back up, she pulls on the lectern. It's one thing for professional athletes to go down on one knee, hold the position, and then get back up, but many people are not able to do it easily, gracefully, or without pain. Many cannot do it at all. It's just not an inclusive gesture. Here is this trending expressive activity some people might want to be part of, and they are forced to think about their own physical limitations, which they might feel bad about, but nobody is paying attention to. They may think: Why don't they care about me? Why are they making me expose my weakness?

"The stunning defeat of President Trump’s chosen Senate candidate in Alabama on Tuesday amounted to a political lightning strike..."

"... setting the stage for a worsening Republican civil war that could have profound effects on next year’s midterm elections and undermine Trump’s clout with his core voters," writes Robert Costa in The Washington Post.
The GOP primary victory by conservative firebrand Roy Moore over Sen. Luther Strange could also produce a stampede of Republican retirements in the coming months and an energized swarm of challengers. It marked yet another humiliation for the Washington-based Republican establishment, particularly Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), whose allies pumped millions of dollars into the race to prop up Strange and reassure his colleagues that they could survive the Trump era.

Moore’s win, however, also demonstrates the real political limitations of Trump, who endorsed “Big Luther” at McConnell’s urging and staged a rally for Strange in Huntsville, Ala., just days before the primary. The outcome is likely to further fray Trump’s ties to Republicans in Congress, many of whom now fear that even his endorsement cannot protect them from voter fury.
What if this thing that seems to be Trump is bigger than Trump — a wave he figured out how to ride for a little while, but from which he can fall and which will roll on without him? Or is the whole thing — whatever it is (anti-establishment fury?) — already played out? We can't have an endless string of characters like Trump and, now, Moore...
On the eve of the election, Moore, wearing a white cowboy hat and a black leather vest, pulled a handgun out of his pocket and flashed it at a rally....
... can we?
“It’s almost as if there is a compulsion in the party to nominate the most ‘out there’ candidate just to show you can, with no concern about what that means for the rest of the party,” [Charlie] Sykes said. “Republicans — and that means Trump, too — have unleashed something they can’t control.”
How many "out there" candidates can there be? How wild can you be before people won't trust you? It's hard to know in post-2016 America. We've got a taste for the bizarre and we don't trust the appearance of normality anymore.
With Corker retiring, seven Senate Republicans are expected to run for reelection next year: Wicker, Heller, Jeff Flake (Ariz.), Ted Cruz (Texas), Deb Fischer (Neb.), Orrin G. Hatch (Utah) and John Barrasso (Wyo.).

For months, only three of them — Flake, Heller and Wicker — were widely seen as vulnerable to primary upsets. But in the wake of Alabama, GOP operatives are no longer ruling out an expanded map of targets for Bannon and his associates, such as former Alaska governor Sarah Palin, who stormed behind Moore’s candidacy to reassert her influence within the party.
The revenge of Sarah Palin. She really started it all, didn't she?
“What we’ve noticed is that Trump voters aren’t necessarily looking for Trump, they’re looking for candidates who are outsiders like Trump and will lean toward people with that sort of background,” said Robert Cahaly, a Republican pollster whose firm surveyed the Alabama race. “Strange seems establishment, he’s not seen as disruptive at all, so he was at a disadvantage.”
In that sense, Moore was the Trump candidate. 
“The president went into Alabama because of loyalty and political necessity,” said Christopher Ruddy, the chief executive of Newsmax Media and Trump’s friend. “When he’s faced with this kind of situation in the future, he’ll support his friends but the question is how far he goes. He may be a little careful.”

One of Trump’s first choices will be how much to get behind Moore, who GOP leaders fear could be a burden to Republican candidates nationally. At Trump’s Huntsville rally Friday — when he conceded he “might have made a mistake” in backing the incumbent — Trump vowed to “be here campaigning like hell” for Moore if he won, while acknowledging his limitations.
Trump had already hedged his bet, and of course, Trump immediately readjusted to align with Moore and make Moore just another success for Trump:

Why Twitter's never going to throw Trump out for violating the terms of service.

Fortune says:
On Tuesday, Twitter's global public policy team even posted a series of messages defending the service's policy to allow President Donald Trump to tweet messages that might otherwise violate Twitter's terms of service—including recent messages that appeared to threaten violence against North Korean leaders. The company described the president's tweets as "newsworthy," suggesting that Trump is not in danger of being banned from the site.
If you go to the "defending the service's policy" link, you'll see this (click to enlarge):
So the efforts to get Trump booted off Twitter will fail as long as Twitter wants them to fail, since the "newworthiness" factor will always apply to him but it's only a factor. Twitter has reserved the power to itself to decide whether or not Trump will remain on Twitter. It's a multi-factored test and Twitter assigns weights to the factors.

It's hard to see how it would not be in Twitter's business interest to have Trump participating, and not just because he has almost 40 million followers, but because his tweets — especially the ones people point to as violations of the terms of service — get embedded in countless mainstream news articles and passed on in social media.

On the theory that it takes more characters to say something in English than in Japanese and Korean...

... and that those who tweet in English have a disadvantage on Twitter, Twitter is talking about expanding its character limit from 140 to 280.
Although we feel confident about our data and the positive impact this change will have, we want to try it out with a small group of people before we make a decision to launch to everyone. What matters most is that this works for our community – we will be collecting data and gathering feedback along the way. We’re hoping fewer Tweets run into the character limit, which should make it easier for everyone to Tweet.
How many of us who experience Twitter in English even noticed that people who tweeted in Korean and Japanese were able to cram more meaning into a single tweet? I can't believe this was the pressure Twitter felt from users about the character limit. I can believe that there were Twitter insiders who could see that Twitter functioned differently in Korean and Japanese and arrived at the opinion that English-speaking Twitter users would appreciate a similar freedom to write without feeling so much pressure from the character limit.

I know, as a writer, I prefer blogging to tweeting because I like having the power to decide how long or short to go, and I think that works out for me, as a writer, because I go for concision on my own. But as a reader, I prefer Twitter. I read it several times a day and follow over 200 tweeters, while I read woefully few blogs. Bloggers tend to relax, get blabby, and don't edit for concision.
Twitter is about brevity. It's what makes it such a great way to see what's happening. Tweets get right to the point with the information or thoughts that matter. That is something we will never change.
But it is going to change!
We understand since many of you have been Tweeting for years, there may be an emotional attachment to 140 characters – we felt it, too. 
Like it's just a fetish and not something that really makes the reading experience better. 
But we tried this, saw the power of what it will do, and fell in love with this new, still brief, constraint. 
280 is still a limit, and Twitter may very well be right that 280 characters (in English) is better because of what it's already seeing writers do in Japanese and Korean. I might tweet more at 280, because after writing a blog post on a subject, I don't like the distraction of figuring out the puzzle of figuring out what the core thought putting it in as few words as possible. I can see what is lost, and I'm doing more work to fit their limit. I'm all about living freely in writing, so why would I want this endless restraint?

Fortune writes:
Many Twitter users try to work around the 140-character limit by posting their more verbose thoughts in a series of tweets, called "threads" or "tweet storms," with each subsequent tweet a "reply" to the previous post. Earlier this month, Twitter started testing a feature that allows users to pre-write a series of tweets and then post them all at once as a thread.

All of these tests and new features are examples of Twitter trying to make its service more user-friendly, as the company tries to battle disappointing user growth that has weighed down the company's share price (TWTR, -2.30%). Twitter's latest character limit test also comes at a time when the company is facing criticism over its efforts to cut down on the amount of offensive content, including hate speech, that is posted on the service.
I think Twitter is thinking about writers, not readers. Twitter — the hungry business — needs more and more people joining the giant conversation. For that, it needs to be fun and easy. Challenging writers to keep it super-short must seem to limit the growth of the enterprise. But how will the reader experience change? Perhaps it will be great. 280 characters is still short, and over-compressed writing can be harder to read. Certainly, the thread and "tweet storm" work-around isn't fun for the reader.

And maybe freedom from excessive compression will help with some of the problems that are seen as "offensive content." A few more words might eliminate some of the brusqueness, ambiguities, and misinterpretations. There might be less advantage in getting off a sudden potshot. With more room to write, you might take more time and cool off a bit or be tempted into elegance or wry humor or perhaps even hear the call of higher values.

I pasted that last sentence into the Twitter compose window and the 140-character limit cut me off before I could say "of higher values."

September 26, 2017

At the Fall Flowers Café...


... you can write what you want.

And please use The Althouse Amazon Portal.

How's Megyn Kelly doing on her second day of "Today"?

I made it through more than half of this, even though it's not something I'd watch for any reason other than writing this blog post:

I was curious after reading the WaPo review of her first day, "NBC’s Megyn Kelly experiment unveils its latest creation, a morning-show Bride of Frankenstein," by Hank Steuver:
“Megyn Kelly Today” is meant to be the final, dazzling piece of Kelly’s multimillion-dollar transmogrification from steely Fox News host to a mushy, hugs-for-everybody, midmorning TV host.... The debut was like watching a network try to assemble its own Bride of Frankenstein, using parts of Ellen DeGeneres, Kelly Ripa and whatever else it can find....

The hour crawled by. A middle segment featured the “Today” regulars welcoming Kelly to 30 Rockefeller Center, a predawn festivity of studied smarm, with the added delight of seeing Kathie Lee Gifford sit in her makeup chair and play nice-nice with Kelly the way an old house cat would welcome a naive and extra-squeaky mouse to the kitchen. Then everyone came to Kelly’s stage to drink mimosas and bask in the NBC-ness of it all.
This show is not for me, so it really doesn't matter what I think. I don't watch Ellen DeGeneres or Kelly Ripa. I have zero patience for that kind fluffy, female time-waster. I especially loathe fakely enthusiastic studio audiences, especially when the host continually plays to them and insists that they all agree about everything, such as in the clip above, when Megyn Kelly goes on and on about how everyone cares about who Prince Harry is fucking. I'm paraphrasing, because I don't care.

A tell at 0:06?

Those are clips from a much longer press conference, which you can read here: "Transcript: Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva met the media Monday to discuss what happened prior to Sunday's game in Chicago" (ESPN). Excerpt:

A year ago today.

"Survived the presidential debate. Man, that was stressful. They both went aggressive. Nothing was kind and gentle or humorous or nice. Hillary smiled quite a few times, but that was just the implementation of a good idea. Trump decided to go ahead and be Trump. He has reason to think that works, but man, what an ordeal!"

From "Your Memories on Facebook" ("Ann, we care about you and the memories you share here. We thought you'd like to look back on this post from 1 year ago.")

ADDED: Here's how that morning after looked on the blog, complete with a poll asking who you thought won.
That was intense. Those 2 faces on the split screen for 90 minutes was quite the ordeal. How many times did Trump lean into the microphone and say "wrong" while Clinton was speaking? There was plenty of interrupting from both candidates, and it almost turned into the event that Trump had proposed: No moderator. Not that Lester Holt didn't attempt to fact-check Trump a few times.

Trump brought a lot of stress to the event, and Clinton certainly stood up to him. She even managed to flash a smile a number of times — even though there was never a thing to smile about (and really no humor whatsoever). Clinton never coughed, and there was no flagging of energy. It was Trump who needed to drink water and wipe the sweat from his upper lip with his finger a few times. Clinton was a bit artificial, but she never got dead and robotic the way we've seen elsewhere.

Substantively, it's mostly a blur now. Trump seemed strong talking about law and order and, later, blaming Clinton for the rise of ISIS. Clinton got very severe accusing Trump of racism early on (over the issue of whether Barack Obama was born in the U.S.A.) and, at the end, sexism (letting fly with a prepared list of misogynistic things Trump supposedly did or said).

Overall, I'll just say that was very unpleasant and I'm glad it's over.

"I stand entirely behind the above footnote: behind every sentence, every phrase, every word and every syllable."

"I made no mistake, intentional or inadvertent. I retract nothing, and I do not intend to retract anything.”

Swore Seth Barrett Tillman, a lecturer at Maynooth University in Ireland, who has described himself — in a court filing — as a “lonely scholar with unusual ideas, who is unaffiliated with the popular, the organized and the wealthy.”

He has written an amicus brief — in the case accusing President Trump of violating the Emoluments Clause — presenting historical evidence for the proposition that the clause doesn't apply to the President.

As Adam Liptak describes in "‘Lonely Scholar With Unusual Ideas’ Defends Trump, Igniting Legal Storm" (NYT):
The reaction was swift and brutal. Legal historians and a lawyer for members of Congress suing Mr. Trump said Mr. Tillman had misunderstood, misrepresented or suppressed crucial contrary evidence in a second document.

Jed Shugerman, a law professor at Fordham, wrote a blog post urging Mr. Tillman to issue a correction. “One might expect,” Professor Shugerman wrote, “that when a brief before a court contains significant factual errors or misleading interpretations of evidence, the authors of that brief will offer to correct their briefs or retract the sections if they are no longer supported by the evidence.”

In another blog post, Brianne J. Gorod, a lawyer with the Constitutional Accountability Center, which represents lawmakers suing Mr. Trump, said Mr. Tillman’s account was “not accurate, not even remotely so.”

Five legal historians, including Professor Shugerman, filed their own friend-of-the-court brief. They said Mr. Tillman’s had “incorrectly described” the evidence in a footnote in his brief.
But the brutal experts were wrong, and in the end they had to concede and apologize.

So let this be a lesson to you who count the experts, those of you who hooted and guffawed at this comic bit:

UPDATE: On October 3rd, all 5 of the historians retracted a footnote and apologized.
Each of us would hope for more generous treatment from another scholar who criticized our own work in this fashion, so it was unfair not show the same level of respect to Professor Tillman.

How Hillary answered the question "Putin or Trump?"

It's a great question, and I believe she should have paused and then said — solemnly, ruefully — "Trump." But that's not what she did:

That clip is more than a week old. Why hasn't it got more attention? I ran across it by chance as I was reading a piece in The Guardian titled "Why Hillary Clinton was right about white women – and their husbands/Conventional wisdom says women will show solidarity at the polls. But new research shows that for white women, having a husband trumped the sisterhood."

That headline and the idea it represents are so insulting to women. It's assumed that women are followers; the dispute is who is leading us ladysheep.
Last week, Clinton, who has had a lifetime to contemplate the women’s vote, copped to having a theory. “[Women] will be under tremendous pressure – and I’m talking principally about white women. They will be under tremendous pressure from fathers and husbands and boyfriends and male employers not to vote for ‘the girl’,” she said in an interview as part of a tour promoting her new memoir of the 2016 campaign....

[S]ocial science backs up Clinton’s anecdotal hunch. “We think she was right in her analysis about women getting pressure from men in their lives, specifically [straight] white women,” said Kelsy Kretschmer, an assistant professor at Oregon State University and a co-author of a recent study examining women’s voting patterns. “We know white men are more conservative, so when you’re married to a white man you get a lot more pressure to vote consistent with that ideology.”

Is it wrong for foreign leaders to try to influence American elections? Hillary didn't think so.

On March 13, 2016, during the primary season, Hillary Clinton (along with Bernie Sanders) did a town hall in which she was asked — by a man whose one concern was defeating Donald Trump — to "share with us three specific points of your anti-Trump game plan."

I won't bother — at this late date — to explain why her answer did not amount to "three specific points" or an "anti-Trump game plan." I just want to highlight the last thing she said, which I ran across yesterday as I was researching the question of why it's considered bad for foreign leaders to attempt to influence our election. There's been a lot of news lately about Russians buying Facebook ads — simply speaking to us with an intent to influence the election — and I'm puzzling over whether that matters.

At the end of her answer, after some talk about how her campaign is "inclusive" and she has "pretty thick skin," she said she had a lot of arguments against Trump but she wasn't going to "spill the beans" about what they were:
But one argument that I am uniquely qualified to bring, because of my service as Secretary of State is what his presidency would mean to our country and our standing in the world. I am already receiving messages from leaders -- I'm having foreign leaders ask if they can endorse me to stop Donald Trump.


I mean, this is up to Americans, thank you very much, but I get what you're saying.
The moderator, Jake Tapper, asked "And can you tell to tell us who?" She said:
Well, some have done it publicly, actually. The Italian Prime Minister, for example.
Tapper asked, "How about the ones that have done it privately?"
CLINTON: No, Jake.


CLINTON: We're holding that in reserve too.
Hillary was proud of her support among foreign leaders, held it out as a reason to choose her as the Democratic Party candidate, and offered to use it to persuade Americans to vote for her in the general election. Was this wrong? It sounded bad to me at the time. I said:
Do Americans want the foreign-endorsed candidate? We're seeing Trump tarred as xenophobic, and meanwhile Hillary touts herself as the choice of foreign leaders. This deserves a closer look, and I expect some lampooning from Trump.
I didn't think it was a good argument. I thought it could be very easily flipped and used against her. But I don't remember anybody at the time was saying it's outrageous for foreign leaders to attempt to make their preferences felt by American voters.

September 25, 2017

At the Cat-Reads-Althouse Café...

... I don't know if the cat is commenting, but you sure can. Feel free to pass along your cats' and dogs' views and also to write about whatever you want.

The photo was emailed by a reader, who gave me permission to use it. Thanks!

As usual, I will prompt you to use The Althouse Amazon Portal, which keeps this crazy thing going.

"I haven’t seen a single play that happened yesterday in the NFL. And I’m not urging people to… It’s not a boycott. I just didn’t feel it."

"As I said, the thrill’s gone. The sadness was overwhelming.... I don’t know that the NFL understands what’s happening to it. I really don’t think they do," said Rush Limbaugh on his show today.
Trump supporters to this day are not understood. They are still impugned and mocked and laughed at. But they have grown tired of a country they love as being under assault as unjust or immoral or illegitimate. They’re fed up with it. Their president defends it, defends them. The specifics don’t matter. There is finally somebody speaking up for America. “But, Rush! But, Rush! The protesters are speaking up for America.” They may think so, but they’re not, in the eyes of most NFL fans. They’re not speaking up for America. This is not complicated, either....

Donald Trump instinctively knows where the heart of America is. The National Football League all these years has thought that it knew because of its robust popularity and money. But it turns out it didn’t, and doesn’t.

Here’s another theory that was sent to me. My old buddy Seton Motley said: “The left’s idea to play up the NFL protests knowing it would further the left’s effort to kill the NFL by bringing the right against it is brilliant strategy, and the political neophyte NFL is the useful idiot in its own impending demise.”
Motley's point, by the way, is close to what I was saying yesterday in "Just when liberal media was gearing up to destroy football over all the brain damage, Trump calls for a boycott of football over the National Anthem protests."

"Anthony Weiner got 21 months of hard time."

That's The Daily News, stooping to the "hard time" joke.
The disgraced pol, crying and grabbing tissue after tissue, was sentenced Monday by Judge Denise Cote for sending sick messages to a 15-year-old.
Worth a click to see the courtroom sketch of the disgraced pol, crying, with Kleenex.
Weiner had sought probation. He argued he is sick and needs therapy, not incarceration.

"I victimized a young person who deserved better,” Weiner said in court. “I am not asking that I be trusted ... I ask you for the opportunity on probation to keep my sworn oath.”
There's something terribly wrong with that man. People need protection from him, but I feel sorry for him.

Remember — it was so long ago — the big impression he made back in 2010 when this clip came out:

There were those who adored that vigor and aggression. Watching it again now, I'm trying to imagine what it must feel like to be him. What a colossal screwup.

"Is it just me, or are the comments under Althouse's post nonsensical?"

"It's like a bunch of stoners waxing profound without the ability to complete a thought. Not that there's anything wrong with that."

A comment on an Instapundit post:
ANN ALTHOUSE ON MARK KLEIMAN: Classic liberal manipulation: Creating the fear that you will be thought of as uncaring. “And that is how women are disciplined into insignificance.”

The thing is, the more they do this, the less people care — even about being thought of as uncaring.

"The 33-year-old self-proclaimed anarchist from Janesville smiled as he closed one eye, cocked his head and made a clicking sound to mimic gunfire coming from an assault rifle..."

"... one of more than a dozen guns he admits he stole a few days earlier from a Janesville gun shop. 'Those were the best days of my life,' said [Joseph] Jakubowski, then the subject of one of the largest manhunts in Wisconsin history after he mailed an anti-government manifesto to President Donald Trump, stole the weapons, burned his truck and disappeared on April 4. 'For once in my life I was free. Nobody told me what I had to do. All I had to do was wake up and live.'.... But the hike took a toll. The two heavy backpacks he carried as well as a duffel bag in which he said he kept the stolen guns eventually wore him down. He also had to forage for food because the apples, oranges and noodles he brought with him lasted just a couple of days. 'I was exhausted at the end, mainly because I was so hungry,' he said."

From "Joseph Jakubowski's one regret: that he survived his failed quest to 'get off the grid'" (Wisconsin State Journal).

The shooting he's reminiscing about in the quote in the post title was of a wild turkey that he seems to have been able to kill and eat.

"How can you know I've never said one thing about a particular topic unless you yourself have been stalking me?"

I'm responding to this:

He's reacting to something we discussed at some length last night in "Classic liberal manipulation: Creating the fear that you will be thought of as uncaring."

I have to deliver a second push-back.

And notice that the idea is that I must not only take care of the women's issues, but that I must do it the right way, the Democratic-Party-supporting way. I'm supposed to take as a given that Trump was "’disciplining and repressing’ HRC in gendered ways." Ridiculous. By the way, what's with the quotes on "disciplining and repressing"? That seems original to Kleiman, so I guess it's air quotes, mocking me for saying that he is using a technique that manipulates women (and other people) by scaring us into worrying that we lack empathy. I did say "And that is how women are disciplined into insignificance." And you better believe I believe that. 

And I don't like being disciplined by being told that I must support political candidates because they are women. At least Kleiman doesn't threaten me with hell for failing to support the woman.

"Remember a few weeks before the election, when Hillary Clinton said, 'I’m the last thing standing between you and the apocalypse?'"

"I think she was basically right. Part of the job of a columnist, as I see it, is to bear witness to a nearly inconceivable civic disaster, and part of it is to grope toward an understanding of how it happened and how to move forward."

Says Michelle Goldberg, in a dialogue with NYT op-ed writer (and former editorial page editor) Gail Collins. Goldberg is the new NYT columnist.

I'll just highlight one comment:
No mention of the Book Review gaffe? What is the purpose of this column?
The comment links to the Vanity Fair piece from 5 days ago: "'HUMILIATING': INSIDE THE LATEST CONTROVERSY TO ROIL THE NEW YORK TIMES/A deeply inaccurate book review has set off much consternation, and soul-searching, at 620 Eighth Avenue."

What Miss Turkey 2017 tweeted that made them take away her crown.

"To celebrate July 15 Martyr's Day, I began the morning by getting my period. I am celebrating the day by bleeding representing the martyrs blood."

Later, Itir Esen, 18, said "as an 18-year-old girl, I had no political agenda when I posted" and "I made this post with innocence during a sensitive time without thinking. As any one who feels like a victim during their menstruation, it does not contain any meaning other than 'it is July 15 and this is my situation right now.'"

I had to look up the term "Martyr's Day." My understanding is that the countries who use this term — including Turkey (and with the exception of Uganda) — use it to refer to military deaths. So the issue in this case is about disrespecting the military, not violating religious sensitivities.

The oldest meaning of the word "martyr" in English is specifically religious: "A person who chooses to suffer death rather than renounce faith in Christ or obedience to his teachings, a Christian way of life, or adherence to a law or tenet of the Church; (also) a person who chooses to suffer death rather than renounce the beliefs or tenets of a particular Christian denomination, sect, etc." (OED).

The other meanings of "martyr" in English (according to the OED) retain the original religious connotation.  So: "In extended (esp. non-religious) contexts: a person who undergoes death or great suffering for a faith, belief, or cause, or (usually with to; also with of, for) through devotion to some object."

To my English-hearing ear, "martyr" isn't the right word for someone who fights within his country's military, no matter how much he believes in its cause, because the enemy isn't targeting him because he's adhering to his beliefs and he can't save himself by renouncing them. But obviously Turkey is not operating in English and its connection to Christianity is complicated.

Anyway, I'm heartened that a teenager in Turkey felt free enough to tweet about her period.

All the best to Itir Esen.