Saturday, 12/2/17

  1. Bum rap
  2. This world don’t feel like home
  3. From mischief to malice to a kind of psychopathology
  4. I may need to reconsider
  5. A scandal about a scandal about nothing?
  6. The pinnacle of automotive writing
  7. Concurrent truth
  8. Offered, but not thrust upon you

1

It has only been two days since MPR fired Garrison Keillor and unpersonned him. But I don’t think MPR is going to give its version of Keillor’s transgression(s), and Keillor has wryly said, in effect, “I’m 75 and I’m not going to get outraged and litigious over this.”

So all I’m ever likely to have is his version and the corroborative character testimony of his colleagues.

Based on that, I think it likely that Keillor is a victim of a witch-hunt-like panic. Sensible people like Peggy Noonan knew that would happen. And at age 75, I might decide to forego outrage and lawsuit were I in his shoes (apart from the example of many saints whose sanctity consisted in part in their muteness in the face of false accusations, leaving it to God to vindicate them, which He did; I wouldn’t have seen hagiographies had He not).

I can’t say “it’s likelier than not” that Keillor’s a victim, but only that it’s “likely.” The one-and-only incident as he describes it was so benign that I’m surprised that he felt the need to apologize at the time (an inconsistency, I guess), and his colleagues confirm that he was pretty stiff, reserved, standoffish and maybe even shy. So it seems out of character.

On the other hand, he had to be MPR’s most valuable collaborator. They surely wouldn’t cast him off lightly – would they?

Maybe he decided that his accuser needed harassed, got into those Powdermilk Biscuits, and thus got the strength to do what needed to be done.

James Howard Kunstler goes even further in defense of Keillor:

Unlike the cases of Rose, Lauer, Louis CK, Harvey Weinstein, and Kevin Spacey, there seemed next to nothing in the case against Keillor. He says he placed his hand on a lady’s bare back, someone on the crew or cast or a guest on The Prairie Home Companion radio show he hosted for close to forty years. Maybe MinnPR has a file full of complaints against the old trooper, but if so they’ve released nothing, no details whatsoever, and unlike the previously “outed” line-up, in Keillor’s case no other “victims” have come forward on their own to establish anything like a pattern of truly bad behavior.

I happen to admire Keillor’s substantial body of work in print and radio, and the public persona he presented, which portrayed a lot of what was honorable, intelligent, charming, and funny in our national character, something we need to be reminded of in this new era of pervasive racketeering, affronts to the first amendment, ubiquitous porno-culture, and Deep State mischief. This may amaze some of you, but to me Keillor deserves to be ranked with Mark Twain as a literary icon. What he gave to his large radio audience over a very long run was of uniformly high quality — something manifestly absent in so many other areas of contemporary life and art.

Keillor was reputed to be a cold-fish backstage and offstage, a prickly Aspergery personality who avoided personal contact. He said as much in his very brief published response to getting fired.

     “Anyone who ever was around my show can tell you that I was the least physically affectionate person in the building,” Keillor said. “Actors hug, musicians hug, people were embracing every Saturday night left and right, and I stood off in the corner like a stone statue.”

To me, the job on Keillor was a hit too far ….

Just accusations used to be ignored; in the future unjust ones will be heard.

2

[Walker] Percy remains a guide to our times he offers us help in how to muddle through our ideologically divided times. He reminds us that we can never secure lasting victories in politics, indeed that the entire language of “problems and solutions” that we indulge in is a category error. Politics is the world of tensions and dilemmas that never fully resolve themselves. Indeed, Percy predicted that the great dangers of our world might come from the effort to eliminate politics entirely, which we see played out every time crowds left and right stifle free speech, every time politicians speak of debates being entirely settled, and whenever experts seek to evade the messiness of political compromise in favor of administrative power. Without this sort of awareness, these deranged times can’t be seen for how they really are.

Reading Percy’s work can help remind us that no matter how we work to transform our world into one of comfort, safety, and prosperity, it will never truly feel like home, and this is a reminder we need more than ever.

(Brian A. Smith, H/T Rod Dreher) Smith discusses some other worthy Percy thoughts, too.

3

This is how Peggy Noonan screams in frustration:

The week has lent itself to a feeling of instability. The president has deliberately added to the rancor and tension of his nation’s daily life, lurching in his tweets from mischief to malice to a kind of psychopathology—personal attacks, insinuations, videos from a group labeled racist by the British government. You always want to say he has reached peak crazy, but you know there’s a higher peak on the horizon. What will Everest look like? He has no idea how to be president.

More men of the media have fallen in the reckoning over sexual abuse, most famously a bright, humorous, ratings-busting veteran anchorman, who reportedly had a switch on his desk that locked his office door so he could molest the women he’d trapped inside. He had no idea how to be a man.

Andrew Sullivan is even more explicit, and relentless in documenting, that Trump is delusionally mentally ill. He is right. A lot of people know this in their bones but will only murmur about it. (The most damning evidence, in my estimation, is that Trump is now suggesting that the Access Hollywood tapes (“grab them by the p*ssy”) was tampered with and that’s not really his voice!)

But Noonan would not be the treasure she is if she left it there, and she doesn’t.

Here is something to ground us in the good: Pope John Paul II’s 1995 Letter to Women, sent to the Fourth World Conference on Women, in Beijing ….

She sounds some cautions, too:

Friends, especially of my generation, fear that things will get carried away—innocent men will be railroaded, the workplace will be swept with some crazy new Puritanism. A female journalist wryly reflected: “This is America—what’s worth doing is worth overdoing.”

You can tell when someone’s taking or demanding what isn’t his. By adulthood you should also know what friendliness, appreciation and attraction are. But it comes down to whether someone is taking or demanding what isn’t his.

As for unjust accusations, it is true—they will come. Just accusations used to be ignored; in the future unjust ones will be heard.

My concern is something else. It is that young women, girls in high school, young women in college and just starting out, are going to have too heightened a sense of danger in the workplace, too great a sense of threat.

But there are more good men and women out there than bad.

There are more good ones than bad.

Know balance. Have faith.

4

The average wholesale power price was less than $25 per megawatt hour last year on the grid that coordinates electricity distribution across most of Texas, according to the operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas. A decade ago, it was $55.

Prices have fallen a similar amount on the PJM Interconnection LLC, the power grid that serves some or all of 13 states, including Pennsylvania and Ohio. A megawatt hour there traded for $29.23 last year, the lowest level since 1999, as far back as the grid’s independent market monitor tracks prices.

The falling prices have been felt primarily by wholesale generation companies, who sell their power to utilities, and generally haven’t trickled down to businesses and homeowners. But the lower prices have allowed many utilities to avoid raising customer rates while making substantial investments in modernizing aging electric transmission networks.

(Erin Ailworth and Russell Gold in the Wall Street Journal) That price is dropping because of lower production costs using wind, solar, and natural gas to generate electricity relative to coal and nuclear. I’m personally familiar with an operation producing biogas on a significant scale, and generating electricity with it, integrated into a large farming operation (a scale I otherwise don’t like).

I’m stunned at those numbers and may have to reconsider my gloomy energy outlook. I’m also pleased that the savings are financing improvements to our rickety old electric grid, which is a real vulnerability.

5

I have, I think, demonstrated my lack of love for our gormless spray-tanned hyena-in-chief, but I’m unwilling to believe he has done every possible bad thing people murmur about.

For instance, the Michael Flynn guilty plea Friday raises

the distinct possibility of a bevy of legal charges based on untruth, but with no underlying crime. This wouldn’t be about collusion or election-rigging, but about ensnaring Trump administration officials in their own words. It would look less like Watergate, and much more like the political prosecution of Scooter Libby, the assistant to Vice President Dick Cheney, who was prosecuted by special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald for supposedly lying about a phone call with Tim Russert — even though the underlying investigation centered on Richard Armitage leaking CIA agent Valerie Plame’s name to the media …

We could very well end up in the same situation here. If there is no underlying crime — if this is sheer incompetence followed up by lying to the FBI about sheer incompetence, all based on anger at flimsily-sourced charges of Russian collusion — we could quickly find ourselves in a scenario where President Trump seeks to pardon those around him, fire Mueller, and then be put up for impeachment by Democrats — all without any proof of actual criminal wrongdoing with regard to Russia. That would turn into a massive political conflagration. We’d have a scandal about a scandal about nothing.

We don’t know yet, of course. But everyone ought to wait before declaring that there’s no there there, or that there is certainly a bombshell buried in Robert Mueller’s files.

(Ben Shapiro, The Daily Wire)

6

The pinnacle of automotive writing:

TO APPRECIATE the Pagani Huayra Roadster I ask that you use your imagination like a zoom lens. At the moment we are standing off aways, where we can better appreciate the design’s molecular bonding of carnal and sublime. On one hand the Roadster—the latest from maestro Horacio Pagani, of Modena, Italy—is beyond bad-ass: low, wide and louche, whispering a filthy argot spoken only in the brothels of extreme speed.

(Dan Neil)

7

Things that can be simultaneously true:

1. The Sexual Revolution made some things better for women and some things worse.

2. The fundamental premises of the Sexual Revolution are far flimsier and more ripe for abuse than those of the Christian sexual ethic.

— Matthew Loftus (@matthew_loftus) November 30, 2017

8

I won’t troll those who refuse to believe it with any direct quotes, but if you believe, as I do, that Roy Moore likelier than not molested 14-year-old Leigh Corfman when he was in his early 30s, you might get a rueful chuckle out of this exchange between Moore and late-night host Jimmy Kimmel.

* * * * *

“Liberal education is concerned with the souls of men, and therefore has little or no use for machines … [it] consists in learning to listen to still and small voices and therefore in becoming deaf to loudspeakers.” (Leo Strauss)

There is no epistemological Switzerland. (Via Mars Hill Audio Journal Volume 134)

Some succinct standing advice on recurring themes.

 

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