New York’s government has much to answer for here.

It has allowed – continues to allow – an insular, ignorant sect, whose members are taught to fear and ignore anyone and anything outside the sect, to thrive within its borders. It has done this because these people represent a monolithic voting bloc.

Now political cynicism has led directly to New York’s largest measles outbreak.

Fascinating Football Fascism

From a link to an article a reader, John, sent me about how fatal violence outside and racist violence inside Italian soccer stadiums mirrors “darker developments in a broader segment of the Italian and indeed the European body politic,” UD was easily able to jump to other similarly appalled analyses of the increasingly unworkable business of putting on a football match in many of the world’s countries (scroll down). Africa, North Africa, South America, the Middle East — ain’t only Europe where the world’s most corruptly run game is also the most violent.  Football, “a sport with a deeply tribal nature and a large captive audience full of disenfranchised working-class males, and thus in many ways the perfect arena for the unscrupulous populist and his macho, nativist fantasies,” has an important “function in the rise of global far-right populism.”

Global football thugs are in some intriguing ways the haredim of Europe:

Their potential for violence is … so strong that pacifying them has been a matter of public order. 

Punishment is as half-hearted as Israel’s efforts to deal with its mobs of violent tribal male ultras – the ultra orthodox – and for the same reason. Violent-Corrupt-People-Is-Us. Absurd moves like making players compete in empty stadiums (there are more and more of these Beckettian theatrics across the globe), allowing only one team’s fans to attend (The Sound of One Side Clapping), or identifying ringleaders and denying them admission to games (guaranteeing violence on the streets — exactly where a nation’s women and children are cowering in an effort to get out of range of fascist gangs) accomplish nothing. Leaders like Victor Urban want it that way. Even as tribes become smaller and smaller (“[S]tadium attendances [in Italy] plummet every year as people decide it’s better to watch games on TV rather than amid the violence and hatred of the terraces. In Serie A, stadiums are less than 60% full…”) their political and social violence, often stoked by governments, intensifies.


Consider Mississippi and Hungary.

Central European University, under relentless pressure by Hungary’s popular prime minister to get the hell out, is about to do so. It will probably move to Vienna. Lots of people are upset about it. Hungary’s only world-class university has been chased away by paranoid hyper-nationalist know-nothings.

UD proposes that this might be for the best. The ultimate provincial backwater and proud of it; known, if known at all, for its suicide rate, Hungary, like our own Mississippi, elects chauvinistic dolts and ejects the non-doltish. Mississippi and Hungary are hemorrhaging population, whereas Vienna – precisely the sort of place (despite its own rightish political leadership) to which intelligent Hungarians flee – is growing.

If it is the will of people that the places they call home dissolve into nothingnesses ruled by Ubus, if they want to be places outsiders visit to track the spread of wisteria over Faulkner’s manse, or get soused with the ghost of Gyula Krúdy in his favorite watering hole, eh. It’s their right; precisely because of their “shabby littleness,” these places threaten no one.

Hungarians are the west’s Sentinelese. Really best not to intervene. Sad but true.







‘In light of the scandal, the school, which serves Grades seven through 12, has canceled all “events involving external groups, teams, and public performances” for the rest of 2018 and canceled the rest of the junior football season. The principal and president have both resigned.’

They seem to take things like this more seriously in Canada.

From the same article:

“There’s this really odd dynamic of ‘I really want to belong, I really want to be part of this team… and at the same time, you have to put up with this assault about something very personal, very private, and very scarring in order to prove your worthiness to be a member.”

Liberals, argue Judith Shklar and Richard Rorty, are people who believe that “cruelty is the worst thing we do.” UD agrees; she has always found the very deep, very twisted, very sexual masochism/sadism of this apparently common child’s play baffling and frightening. But UD has to deal with the fact that all over the globe the human race is cutting off clitorises with dirty knives and lacerating anuses with broken broom handles because …

What’s the cliche? Love is stronger than hate?

Nope. Hate – abundantly obviously – is stronger than love.

And not only stronger. Socially acceptable. If Argentine fans hate opposing teams and try to kill them, fine. If Reuben Foster hates his girlfriend and tries to kill her, fine. My beloved country elected a cruel paranoid as its leader; maybe, to reward him for killing our decency along with our institutions, it will reelect him. We like violence, we like hatred, we like cruelty. Liberal is a dirty word.







‘And nobody… but nobody… out-stupids Mississippi.’

An we ain’t kiddin.







La Lutte Continue

Constitutional questions derail America’s first FGM trial; the government will almost certainly appeal, and the beat goes on.

Saudi women are wearing their black sacks inside out as a sign of protest; their leaders are being tortured in Saudi jails.

The farcical current leaders of the Women’s March, with their passion for Farrakhan, Hamas, and Bill Cosby, are under serious pressure to fuck off. One of them, Linda Sarsour, is the Mad Trump of the movement, screaming for Ayan Hirsi Ali’s vagina to be removed, and every day sharing with us more and more of her pornographic imagination. Sarsour is in the grand tradition of

Houria Bouteldja, the [Party of Indigenous People of the Republic’s] charismatic spokeswoman, [who] has in recent years won notoriety for her defense of Muslim men accused of sexual violence. Faced with “testosterone-fuelled virility among indigenous men,” she has argued, women of color should look for its redeeming side, “the part that resists colonial domination,” and stand with their brothers.

Since Sarsour and her co-leaders represent the exact opposite of the democratic values for which the march stands, UD remains baffled as to their continued high profile. It’s precisely zanies like these who continue to sabotage the Democratic Party in this country, making it a big fat target for conservatives.







Inquisition, Ineptitude, Ideology

These are the three big categories under which you will find repression of free speech on the contemporary American college campus. Let’s glance at each one:

1. Inquisition: Way-Christian schools are always alerting us that “Academic freedom is not sacrosanct. […] It too must submit to God in a Christian college,” so shut the fuck up.

2. Ineptitude: Drop-out factories like Chicago State University are the academic equivalent of North Korea because they’ve got an insane amount of corruption and fuckupery to keep quiet.

3. Ideology: One-party states like Sarah Lawrence and Reed College do not take kindly to conservative professors… or, in the case of Reed, to liberal professors.







In a delicious historical irony, elites all over Europe are having conniption fits about burqa and niqab bans, while…

… Muslim countries are falling all over themselves to ban exactly those garments. Algeria’s already banned them in the workplace; Egypt’s on its way to a more comprehensive ban.

What is striking … is that scholars at al-Azhar, the highest seat of Sunni authority in Egypt, back banning the niqab. While al-Azhar supports the hijab, it said the full-face veil is a step too far.

One of the most outspoken critics of the niqab is Amina Nasir, a member of parliament and a professor of philosophy at al-Azhar University. She described the full-face veil as a threat to national security.

“The full-face veils have nothing to do with the Islamic religion at all,” Nasir said. “It even contradicts some of the verses of the Holy Quran.”







“[B]ecause he has the soul of a moralist—his grandfather was the progressive leader Henry Wallace, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s third vice president—and because Trump has a tepid approval rating of 42 percent in this normally Republican district, a strong anti-Trump closing message gives him a decent shot at becoming the fourth Democrat in history to serve the district that encompasses Bucks County.”

UD‘s old friend Scott Wallace, in The Atlantic.

She has written about him here. And here.







UD’s First Political Endorsement.

UD‘s old friend Scott Wallace suddenly has the edge (according to one poll – scroll down) in the contest for Pennsylvania’s First District. If you happen to be voting in that district, she’d like a word.

For over a decade, Scott was one of UD‘s closest friends (they’ve drifted apart over the years). Basically Scott had it all – in abundance – and UD was at the beginning of their friendship wary that he might be a snob, obnoxious, ostentatious… hyper-rich person stuff. He was tall and handsome and a multimillionaire and well-connected and he lived in a cool modern house (photographs of his grandfather – Roosevelt’s Vice-President, Henry Wallace – hung in the hallways) in one of DC’s best neighborhoods. His parents lived in a Georgetown mansion.

Scott turned out to be kind, unpretentious, serious, and morally engaged. He was the best of Washington: Informed, passionate about improving people’s lives, tireless in his commitment to good works.

************

Unlike a lot of DC denizens, Scott was also an aesthete, with astoundingly impressive musical gifts. Like his mother, Scott played concert-level piano (his son has inherited this skill); to hear him play on the grand in his living room was a huge delight.

I remember lots of great dinners at his house, followed by charades; I remember travel together to local beaches and overseas. There were always long arguments about the politics of the day.

Scott was mild-mannered, generous, curious, funny. I think by nature he is rather quiet, rather observant. Not a natural back-slapper, like Joe Biden. But like Biden he radiates decency and modesty. He shares Biden’s political orientation; he is a natural democrat.

*************

More than once, I saw him be tight with a penny. His wealth is primarily for distribution to a suffering world. I rarely saw him spend much of it, except on a room in his basement full of electronic music technology. (His extended family is also musical: One of his brothers, a composer, bought Glen Tonche and turned it into a famous recording studio.)

*************

Anyway. I see that I’ve written a character sketch more than a political endorsement. But – put aside our president – character matters.

*************

UPDATE: Wow!







‘Khosla is a member of the board of trustees of the Blum Center for Developing Economies at the University of California, Berkeley.’

Vinod Khosla’s Wikipedia page still says he’s a trustee of a very high-profile outfit committed to fighting global poverty; but in fact his name disappeared from this page not long ago; and UD‘s thinking it’s maybe cuz a filthy rich stinker who goes all the way to the Supreme Court to keep people off a public beach is … not a good look for the Blum Center…

I’m seeing public presentations to the globally poor in which representatives from the Blum Center say Our trustees include a billionaire who has never spent a night at his colossal coastal property in California and in fact doesn’t like the beach but decided he wanted to spend hundreds of millions of dollars clearing out the place, posting armed guards, and pressing his case to keep doing that up to the Supreme Court. We feel your pain.







‘We hope this will give people—especially those who believe in liberalism, progress, modernity, open inquiry, and social justice—a clear reason to look at the identitarian madness coming out of the academic and activist left and say, “No, I will not go along with that. You do not speak for me.”’

Well, good luck with that; your Grievance Studies hoax (aka Daughter of Sokal), just now disclosed, will get plenty of attention, etc.

It might even help people understand how scandals like Avital Ronell happen.

But although the hoaxes keep coming, and although America’s best minds – Richard Rorty, for one – have for decades warned us about the deadly combination of hypertheory and political correctness —

When one of today’s academic leftists says that some topic has been ‘inadequately theorized,’ you can be pretty certain that he or she is going to drag in either philosophy of language, or Lacanian psychoanalysis, or some neo-Marxist version of economic determinism. Theorists of the Left think that dissolving political agents into plays of differential subjectivity, or political initiatives into pursuits of Lacan’s impossible object of desire, helps to subvert the established order. Such subversion, they say, is accomplished by ‘problematizing familiar concepts.’

Recent attempts to subvert social institutions by problematizing concepts have produced a few very good books. They have also produced many thousands of books which represent scholastic philosophizing at its worst. The authors of these purportedly ‘subversive’ books honestly believe that they are serving human liberty. But it is almost impossible to clamber back down from their books to a level of abstraction on which one might discuss the merits of a law, a treaty, a candidate, or a political strategy. Even though what these authors ‘theorize’ is often something very concrete and near at hand – a current TV show, a media celebrity, a recent scandal – they offer the most abstract and barren explanations imaginable.

— no one seems able to find their way out of the fog.







Excellent example of a non-story.

[T]he woman paid the fine, removed her full-face cover and walked away.

Which is the way burqa bans are working all over Europe. Wear a burqa, remove the burqa, pay a fine for having worn the burqa. This woman didn’t know about the ban. Now she knows about it. End of story.

Wanna make something of it? Wanna spend your personal fortune paying the fines of all the women who wear burqas so they can continue to wear burqas? No problem. Go ahead.

Wanna trash your incredibly hard-won freedoms by wearing burqas in street demonstrations, in some twisted gesture of affiliation with erased women? Okay.

Meanwhile countries across the world are issuing calm directives to their citizens not to wear the burqa in most European countries. People are calmly removing the burqa. Civil existence, often called upon to defend itself, defends itself. Life goes on.







I’ll believe it when I see it.

Now that a major Israeli tech company has boycotted El Al — “We don’t do business with companies that discriminate.” — the airline has released a statement that they will do things differently. They won’t hold up their flights for hours as they negotiate with ultra orthodox men who refuse to sit next to women. In fact, “from now on, a passenger who refuses to sit next to another passenger will be immediately removed from the flight.”

To which UD says, take a look at Israel’s national education mandate. The same ultra orthodox refuse to follow it, and Israel lets them refuse to follow it, but the country still refers to its national education mandate. So El Al can make all the announcements it wants, but they’re as scared of the ultra orthodox as everyone else in Israel, and will in practice continue to give in to their disgusting behavior on their planes.

******

Why? Put yourself on the plane, okay? Twenty ultra orthodox men – in collective protest against one of their group having been seated next to a woman – are standing in the middle aisle and refusing to sit down. A couple of them have wrapped cellophane all over their bodies because the plane will be flying over cemeteries.

Everyone else on the plane, as it sits forever on the tarmac, is creeped out and angry.

“Okay, new policy!” says a steward. “The guy refusing to sit next to a woman will now be immediately removed from the flight.”

Screaming ensues from the men in the aisle, who continue to refuse to move.

What’s El Al’s policy on passengers who refuse to sit down? Do you think they’re going to make all of these guys get off the plane?

*************

The problem in Israel, and on its planes, is that the ultra orthodox can be violent. Hardliners among them are pretty routinely violent. I don’t think El Al wants pitched battles on its planes. I don’t think it wants the interiors of its planes trashed.

There will be more and more boycotts until – you knew this was coming – El Al lays on ultra orthodox only planes.

************

We have followed the El Al situation on this blog for a long time. Just put El Al Israel in my search engine.







As the national witch hunt finds its …

witches, Mia Farrow, alluding to her most famous film, comes up with the very best meme of all.

pic.twitter.com/UMfnSl7XDm

— Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) August 21, 2018

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