‘I am the life, and the insurrection.’

Scion of American Catholic Dynasty Trashes US Capitol!

Of course we all noted the way Onward Christian Soldiers thing going down at the insurrection; but who knew that among the great unwashed lurked Buckley family princeling L. Brent Bozell IV? Whose father L. Brent Etc Etc had just been complaining on Fox News that people were unfairly accusing all Republicans of being insurrectionists?

I’m thinking Brent Four ain’t the most popular guy on the block. After he went Cap-trashing while wearing a sweatshirt identifying the school where he works, a flock of people contacted the FBI about him.

“[H]ere were hundreds of mourners, most with mouths uncovered, attending an illegal funeral procession for a revered rabbi who had himself died of the coronavirus.”

The virus was a punishment from God, [one ultraorthodox man] said — retribution for the Jews’ failure to obey religious rules. The only cure was religious observance …

[The] sons [of an ultraorthodox woman very sick from covid but not hospitalized] said they had no regrets. The timing of her death was set by God…

The New York Times provides snapshots of, and commentary about, the haredi death cult.

The Unbearable Lightness of Washington County, Pennsylvania

There’s an irresistible fin de siècle sexiness to Washington County, Pennsylvania, whose Republican party has notoriously announced (everyone’s quoting it) that when it comes to morality, on s’en fout, babe.

We [do not send our representatives to Washington] to vote [their] conscience, we [do] not send [them] there to do the right thing

Here’s Wash. Co.’s Republican chair, telling us bourgeois prudes to fuck off with the conscience and do the right thing shit. Life is a cabaret, you fools!

‘The honor code of “guarding your respect” and “he had it coming” endures, [one expert] said, adding that it’s possible to “risk your life just by insulting the L.S.U. Tigers.”’

Update/recap of the idjits in Louisiana who maintain that state’s distinction: America’s highest murder rate, now for the 31st year.

“People are armed to the teeth.”

I know you’re thinking New Orleans, but don’t forget Baton Rouge, home of LSU.

The First Step is Admitting You Have a Problem.

Sara Yael Hirschhorn tries to help Israel come to grips with its death cult.

With buses being torched on streets, violent protests against both law-enforcement and journalists, the inability to implement effective crowd-control over thousands (and the admission that such control was effectively impossible), the complete failure to keep institutions closed and public gatherings within specified regulatory limits, and the abdication of enforcement mechanisms, it seems clear that the State of Israel has lost control over the Haredi, or ultra-Orthodox Jewish, sector of its population. 

… The State of Israel [has] come to the conclusion that [it] simply can’t impose the conditions required by law on a resistant and sometimes violent community of over one million citizens. 

Because there is no equal application of the law, lawbreakers win widespread impunity, and with no political leadership to ensure the primacy of the law, the national interest, and the safeguarding of life, Israel is well on its way to being a failed state... This breakdown of social and political relations should be understood as a civil war.

… The behavior of the Haredim, both by their willful disobedience of COVID restrictions and their now violent resistance, is effectively spreading terror amongst the Israeli population at large. And other Israelis – Jews and Arabs, religious and secular, men and women, are afraid.

[This] is now a concerted, coordinated effort to embed and embolden Haredi autonomy from state control and wider social norms. Their leadership, if not all members of the community, understand that the subtext of the pandemic is about power.

[T]he ultra-Orthodox are no longer acting out confusion, negligence, situational difficulties, or financial and spiritual strain.

There is a deliberate intent and concerted effort to wield Judaism as a weapon and to use the Torah in service of a kind of Jewish terrorism – and no regard to who may get hurt. There should be no space for a death cult – complete with the glorification of the martyrs – in Israeli Jewish society.  

It’s not often that the workings of amoral, self-protective elites are laid wide open for us.

But in the earlier case of Oxford’s amazing, protracted, attempt to protect/retain Tariq Ramadan, and in the current case of France’s Sciences Po so intently protecting/retaining Olivier Duhamel that the head of the school (who knew all about plausible child rape and incest charges against Duhamel) has just resigned over the scandal, we are afforded a remarkable opportunity to see how elites work, and of course to see why ordinary people hate elites.

[Frédéric Mion] said he was alerted to the allegations in 2018 by a former culture minister, Aurélie Filippetti. He said had no taken action because of the lack of tangible evidence and because Mr. Veil told him it was only rumors.

[Yes, because you can’t have a chat with your buddy about maybe he raped his kid unless you get videotape. Plus a crony told him to ignore it.]

But in a phone interview on Tuesday, Ms. Filippetti said Mr. Mion had called her after the accusations were made public last month in the book and said, “We shouldn’t let anyone think that we knew.”

[Elites lie, and expect others to lie with/for them.]

Ms. Filippetti said the call had “chilled” her.

Back in 2018, she said, she trusted Mr. Mion to “at least” remove Mr. Duhamel from his position at Sciences Po.

“You can’t just sweep everything under the carpet when it comes to something that bad,” Ms. Filippetti said.


Sure you can; sure you can. Duhamel is a big-shot full of fine ideas about compassion and justice; you’re going to dump him because of some no-account fourteen year old kid?

The Grand Old Party becomes the God! Oh Please…

don’t kill me! party.

There is a disturbing reason Republicans in Congress are giving for refusing to break with President Donald Trump: They fear for their lives.

According to Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), this is a major reason why more House Republicans aren’t voting to impeach [or, more recently, convict] Donald Trump in the wake of the attack on the Capitol.

“The majority of them are paralyzed with fear,” Crow said in a Wednesday MSNBC appearance. “I had a lot of conversations with my Republican colleagues last night, and a couple of them broke down in tears — saying that they are afraid for their lives if they vote for this impeachment.”

Tim Alberta, Politico’s chief political correspondent, found in his own reporting that “Crow was right.”

A Passage that Could Have Come Right Out of Nabokov’s Lolita.

Ms. Kouchner’s evocation of summer days at the family property on the Côte d’Azur is powerful in its evocation of a false idyll: tennis, meals, Scrabble, wine, laughter — as well as nude bathing in the swimming-pool, touching under the table and mockery of bourgeois sexual constraints.

How often, in Nabokov’s novel, Humbert Humbert evokes the nauseating contrast between a privileged sunlit world and the clandestine rape of a child by her step-father. Camille Kouchner’s memoir recalls the incestuous assaults on her brother by their step-father, the high-profile political pundit Olivier Duhamel.


Human beings do get up to some crazy shit. Kouchner’s mother was a radical lefty (longtime lover of Castro) whose anxiety about being mistaken for sexually conventional apparently exceeded her anxiety about whether her husband was sexually assaulting her son.

One account of the now-national scandal ends with Kouchner quoting one of her father’s (Bernard Kouchner) favorite sayings:

“Between the strong and the weak, it’s liberty that oppresses and the law that liberates.”

For decades – assuming the charges against him are true – Olivier Duhamel enjoyed the particular freedom of the French elite, protected by powerful friends who knew about the incest and didn’t care. But he also benefited from a larger, stylish, subversive, liberty – often, in actuality, a cruel personal license – long associated with debased versions of revolutionary ideologies. Duhamel’s “liberties” oppressed a helpless child; now, decades later, that child goes to the courts, to liberate himself.


Deep structure of all this? Start with Michel Houellebecq.

‘[A] clear majority of the Senate voted to condemn the former president as an insurrectionist against the United States. The 57–43 margin wasn’t enough to convict under the Constitution. It wasn’t enough to formally disqualify Trump from ever again seeking office in the United States. But practically? It will do as a solemn and eternal public repudiation of Trump’s betrayal of his oath of office.’

[J]ustice failed, [but] democratic self-preservation is working. Trump lost the presidency, and that loss held despite all his attacks on the vote and the counting of the vote. His party split against him on this second round of impeachable offenses. He has lost his immunity to civil suit and his impunity against federal indictment. The world is crashing down upon his head.

The impeachment did not prevail. But Trump still lost. And as the power of that loss reverberates, so should the honors to the day’s heroes of day: the brilliant and eloquent House managers, led by Representative Jamie Raskin—and the eight senators who wrote their own profiles in courage.

Winner, Ms Non-Saudi Woman, 2021.

Get a load of that picture. Bless you. Bless you.

NASCAR gets its first Arab American woman driver.
Word-Bolding Mine.

It was the first non-peaceful transfer of power in American history. In over two centuries, it remains unprecedented, the most grotesque assault on democratic processes by a single president in history… That Trump clearly put the lives of cops, Senators and his own vice-president in danger was, of course, of no concern for him. No lives apart from his own have ever mattered to him…

There has never been a president who has done any of this: express contempt for the democracy he leads, refuse to accept the legitimate results of an election, and attempt to stay in power by marshaling violence in the streets. There are no parallels among any first-world modern democracies for this kind of behavior by a head of state or prime minister. No Western leader, after losing an election, has ever insisted he actually won it in a landslide — and refused to grant any legitimacy to his successor. It is such a grotesque violation of a president’s oath of office that, only a few years ago, it would have been deemed an impossibly far-fetched scenario.


Non-degenerate political observers search and search for words accurate and strong enough to convey the moral depravity of this person. All feel (I dare say) the same sense of linguistic inadequacy. No one — not Mencken, not Murdoch, not Hitchens, not Arendt, not Didion, not Orwell, not even James Baldwin, whose writing so astonished wee UD when she encountered it in high school and has never stopped astonishing her — no one had or has the political and writerly chops to really express the disgust and shock attendant upon realizing that the leader of your country is not only vile, but arguably one of the vilest people in the world.

All of us who were more or less properly raised were taught (I dare say) to ignore, to socially annihilate, the worst of the worst, the vilest of the vile, especially those among the vile who held positions of power and were therefore able to marshal their vileness to produce real destruction. They had to be so radically isolated as to be without scope for action. Indeed many of us have dealt with the sometimes close-to-unmanageable emotions the cruelty of this man has inspired by altogether shifting our attention away from him, somehow in some sort of sad magic trick trying to make him go poof. Almost as many people, though, revel in his viciousness and want to keep him front and center.

Among rockhard reactionaries and erstwhile idolators it’s largely women so far – Lynn Cheney, Nikki Haley – who have finally, for cynical or authentic reasons, cracked.

Anyway Andrew Sullivan, up there, found the word “grotesque” and ran with it.

comically or repulsively ugly or distorted

incongruous or inappropriate to a shocking degree

It’s a good choice, a promising direction, grotesque. It captures the continued disbelief many of us harbor in regard to the full sharp slap of a president who seems to have tried to kill his vice-president and other political leaders in order to establish a tyranny. Comically and repulsively ugly and distorted in the feathered and tattooed bodies of the insurrectionists who tried to kill in the name of their beloved. Inappropriate to such a shocking degree that we still refuse to let ourselves be slapped that hard. As my congressional representative, Jamie Raskin, smacks my face again and again with it, I still – even now – try to dodge the blows.

Keep your mind in hell and do not despair.

Let’s face the music and dance.

These are UD‘s mantras; she recites them to herself all the time. Only she lacks the courage to live by them.

Will be working with Joseph Epstein and Paul Gigot to Set Up a Writers’ Collective.

There’s got to be a morning after
If we can hold on through the night
We have a chance to find the sunshine
Let’s keep on looking for the light

(Sing it.)

Ha. Missed this one.

Better late than never. This blog has for years kept a tally of the number of times someone in the finance world has the absolute GALL to suggest that donating to, or working as an investment advisor to increase, Harvard University’s $40.9 billion endowment might not be the best use of your money/time.

Of course, given that university’s obvious need, and the need of the very wealthy to give to the world’s very wealthiest university, few people voice this suggestion. But here’s one – and it’s setting the money world, “abuzz,” says the New York Times.

Why make the Harvard endowment any more money? What systemic bias do you perpetuate?

The author of these two questions is described as a “venture capitalist and provocateur.”

And baby you don’t get any more provocateuric than THAT.

Scroll through the tantric sex to get to…

… the QAnon Lady stroking Trump’s genitals.

There’s ignorance. And there’s haredi ignorance.

“They don’t teach [their children] science so they don’t understand how viruses work… They don’t understand math so they don’t understand what an exponential function is. When you double or triple each time the number of people each person infects, then that is causing a lot of them to die and a lot of them to be sick, and along with them the rest of us.”

There’s our January 6 insurrection, and there’s the haredi insurrection.

“It has begun to dawn on people that we have basically an insurrection here of individuals who refuse to obey Israeli law, from what we mandate in the schools to health care and all down the line, everything that we do.”

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Dr. Bernard Carroll, known as the "conscience of psychiatry," contributed to various blogs, including Margaret Soltan's University Diaries, for which he sometimes wrote limericks under the name Adam.
New York Times

George Washington University English professor Margaret Soltan writes a blog called University Diaries, in which she decries the Twilight Zone-ish state our holy land’s institutes of higher ed find themselves in these days.
The Electron Pencil

It’s [UD's] intellectual honesty that makes her blog required reading.
Professor Mondo

There's always something delightful and thought intriguing to be found at Margaret Soltan's no-holds-barred, firebrand tinged blog about university life.

You can get your RDA of academic liars, cheats, and greedy frauds at University Diaries. All disciplines, plus athletics.
truffula, commenting at Historiann

Margaret Soltan at University Diaries blogs superbly and tirelessly about [university sports] corruption.

University Diaries. Hosted by Margaret Soltan, professor of English at George Washington University. Boy is she pissed — mostly about athletics and funding, the usual scandals — but also about distance learning and diploma mills. She likes poems too. And she sings.
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If deity were an elected office, I would quit my job to get her on the ballot.
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