Saturday, 11/28/15

  1. Don’t hold your breath
  2. Popehat plays this one straight
  3. Speaking doubt to cocksure hegemony
  4. The Donald and his hit men
  5. The Colorado Springs incident

1

You’ll never read, in newspapers dependent on retail advertisements, really straight talk about the baneful effects of consumerism on the human soul.

2

I added Popehat to Feedly Friday, assured that this was a notably free speech legal blog. But it’s more than that:

Over the last couple of days, several Facebook friends posted links to a story about a young woman from our church community who had gone missing. Her friends and family were deeply worried. The police were involved, and the media. It was clear from the outpouring of support and concern that many people loved her, many people wanted to support her.

I read the news story about the search for her with a hard, cold clenched fist in my stomach, looking for the words I was afraid would be there. I found them. She “suffered from depression.” I took some deep breaths, and went for a walk.

The worst fears of her parents, her friends, her community were bound up in those three words and what they implied. Those worst fears were realized, tragically, when police found her. She had taken her own life. She was 22. The story describing her mentioned that she had John 3:16 tattooed on her back: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” It’s a verse full of indescribable hope ….

I’ve never suffered clinical depression, but I know some who suffered it silently until, suddenly, they were gone.

Once, it was baffling, two days after announcing candidacy for a higher office, with the thoughtful touch of doing it in a different county and in a way to assure discovery quickly, by a stranger, not family.

Once, it was cunningly orchestrated, so the daughter went downstairs to let the ambulance crew in to take dad to the E.R. since he “felt sick;” as she went down the stairs, the .22 pistol came out from under the pillow.

A third time, there was no advance warning at all, and I still halfway want to believe, 25+ years later, that it was an accident.

The author, who contemplated suicide himself, together with some commenters, offers resources for others in despair.

3

There is so much I dislike about the article from which I take this quote that I hesitated to share the quote at all, but here goes:

[S]ecular culture bullies the Church and others who might offer hope to persons with [same-sex attraction] seeking … to change their sexual orientation to cease these efforts—“junk science” they disparagingly call it—even going so far as to legally ban “reparative therapy” for children and teenagers.

At the same time, in utter contradiction, when individuals struggle with gender dysphoria, i.e., transgenderism or transsexualism, the culture often condemns those who merely raise questions about the advisability of such a radical transformation of a man to a “woman” or a woman to a “man.” This “transitioning” can only be affirmed, never criticized, say the Thought Police, in this ideological atmosphere of selective non-judgmentalism.

(The ellipsis replaces what I think is an hyperbole at best.) Yes, this seems legitimate: there is tension, and probably outright contradiction, between beliefs that (1) nothing can change subjective feelings of sexual attraction, but (2) you can “reassign” gender.

I think it is inappropriate to ban efforts by licensed professionals to effectuate a cure (I debated using scare-quotes) or other treatment, including strategies for sublimation, for people who find same-sex attraction unwelcome (adolescents whose parents or pastors find it unwelcome are a different matter). And I think more people need to say that — even while remaining skeptical, as I am, about the possibility of pharmacological or psychological cure for the attraction (chastity is yet another different matter).

Let the Banshee shrieks begin that someone has spoken doubt to the new hegemony.

4

Love this description of The Donald:

Early one evening in January 2014, I sat in a darkened den with walnut-paneled walls and baroque furniture, trying desperately to get Donald Trump to stop telling me about his Barack Obama conspiracy theories. “And to this day,” my billionaire host bellowed, “we haven’t seen those records!”

Our interview had started out fine, but now Trump kept veering off on long, excited tangents about forged birth certificates and presidential coverups. No matter what questions I asked, I couldn’t get him off the subject. “We have seen a book of [Obama’s] as a young man that said he was from Kenya, okay?” Trump said, connecting the dots for me like a crazy uncle who has cornered his nephew at Thanksgiving dinner. “The publisher of the book said at first, ‘Well, that’s what he told us.’ But then they said, ‘No, that was a typographical error.’ . . . I have a whole theory on it, and I’m pretty sure it was right.”

But it’s dangerous the cross him:

Trump’s crusade against me started out simply enough, with tweets denouncing me as a “slimebag reporter” and “true garbage with no credibility.” Soon, his followers were also hurling angry, all-caps insults my way. In one admirably economical missive, Carl Paladino, the Republican nominee in New York’s 2010 gubernatorial race, e-mailed me: “Big joke. F— you, a–hole.” Every political reporter has felt the online wrath of a candidate’s angered supporters. But Trump added a nice touch by sending me an addendum to the $850 bill BuzzFeed had already paid for my stay at Mar-a-Lago, claiming that he neglected to tack on the cost of the flight: $10,000.

Then Trump turned to the Fringe Establishment, and I got a glimpse of what would eventually propel his candidacy. First, a Buffalo-based public relations pro with ties to Trump named Michael Caputo began circulating an e-mail to Republican press secretaries, accusing me of being a “partisan flibbertigibbet” and warning that I was not to be trusted. Then Trump went to Breitbart, which began publishing stories about me, including a 2,100-word alternate-reality version of our trip to Mar-a-Lago: “Exclusive — Trump: ‘Scumbag’ BuzzFeed blogger ogled women while he ate bison at my resort.” In one particularly colorful passage, a hostess at Trump’s club identified as “Bianka Pop” recounted my efforts to seduce her. “He was looking at me like I was yummy . . . [like he wanted] a cup of me or something,” she said.

Someone Tweeted that if Trump was nominated, he would vote for “Expatriation.” But where do you go? Stultus factus est totius mundi. (It must be true; I read it in Google Translate.)

5

I was in a public waiting room at 2 pm Friday, with the TV tuned to CNN, when they announced “an active shooter situation” in Colorado Springs and began live coverage. I watched or listened for most of the next 4.5 hours.

My initial admiration for the Police Spokeswoman has given way to skepticism. There was an awful lot she claimed not to know — a suspicious ignorance, even. Now, after the denoument of the active shooter situationness of it all, I know essentially nothing except that

  • it started at Planned Parenthood
  • four or more police were shot
  • it took an awfully long time for police to subdue him in a modest-sized building
  • at least nine people total were hurt/shot
  • public officials who weren’t huddled in the police command vehicle called it a “terrible tragedy.”

Not so much as a name on the shooter (social media were floating a name), the extent of injuries, etc.

It’s a shameful family secret that Mrs. Tipsy graduated J-School. Even then, back in ancient history, some students were so clueless that they had to be taught not to refer to a fatality as a “mishap.”

Contrariwise, I think it’s part of our common Anglophone patrimony that you don’t call nine superficial wounds, or even nine serious wounds, a “terrible tragedy.”

I would now wager a modest amount that there are deaths, and that Ms. Spokeswoman was fibbing about how much she knew (or she was deliberately kept in the dark about some things precisely in order to have deniability).

And if I had to bet why, I’d bet it’s a new strategy to deny real-time glory to domestic terrorists, akin to when our local police decided it was a spiffy idea not to let the press cover a bunch of racist A**holes, arriving from elsewhere, to stage a KKK Rally (deny them the glory; we’ll pretend it’s for fear of Klansmen stealing camera batteries, pencils and steno pads and turning them into dangerous weapons).

Expect the other shoe or shoes to drop over coming days.

I’m publishing this Friday night so nobody can accuse me of reading the morning’s news and pretending to have predicted it.

* * * * *

“In learning as in traveling and, of course, in lovemaking, all the charm lies in not coming too quickly to the point, but in meandering around for a while.” (Eva Brann)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.