Notable, quotable

Yes, the Wall Street Journal got “Notable & Quotable,” but they’re still regular English descriptive words.

[W]hat still escapes most of us who “opt out” of Facebook and the like: making a loud declaration of our deletion of social media is still letting the very norms we desire to disrupt set the terms of the debate.

Amanda Patchin, recommending Jenny Odell’s How to Do Nothing, which presents as a self-help, digital detox type book but, they say, turns subversively into much more.


Promoting his new podcast, Senator Ted Cruz of Texas tweeted, “Last week we had Lev Parnas on Maddow & ‘secret tapes’; this week, the ‘Bolton revelations.’ It’s the same approach Dems & media followed during the Kavanaugh hearing.”

Except it’s not at all. The only thing similar about the two controversies is that new allegations kept inconveniencing politicians who wanted to move on. By that standard, nearly every unfolding Washington scandal is like the Kavanaugh hearings.

Jonah Goldberg

Some things never really change. Ted Cruz’s creepy manipulativeness is just one of those things.


I did not expect to laugh out loud at Kyle Smith’s Inside the Hillary Bubble, but then he opened with a pitch-perfect simile:

Imagine a socially maladept but extremely wealthy friend of yours was told, “People like tap dancing. You should tap-dance more.” You would cringe when the person was telling you about a major career setback and suddenly lurched into a little tap-dancing interlude. “Did I ever tell you about the time the world turned to ashes for me?” Tap-tap, tappity-tap. You’d feel sorry for your friend but mainly you’d feel that this person is deeply weird.

At some point in recent years, one or more of Hillary Clinton’s many handlers, advisers, or consultants told her, “You should laugh more. People like laughter.” Except she is sour, dour, and without a humorous molecule in her body. Her laughter is always feigned, hence always a non sequitur. When she reminds herself it’s laughing time, it comes across as a tic. It’s as bizarre as sudden-onset tap dancing.

In historic footage going back many years in the new documentary Hillary, Clinton presents as an inveterate scold and crusader. In more than a quarter of a century as a public figure she has never, as far as I know, said anything funny that wasn’t written for her. Yet in a fresh new batch of interviews taken for Hillary, the title figure becomes the second major movie anti-hero of recent months to exhibit a problem with bursting into unexplained, mirthless, and (hence) deeply disquieting laughter.


[A]llowing Bolton to testify about what’s apparently in his forthcoming book … would force Republicans to clearly reveal where they stand on the most important issue dividing the party.

That issue is, of course, Donald Trump himself.

Senators may not be willing to convict and remove Trump from office, but that’s where the unanimity stops. There is a spectrum of relative Trumpification in the GOP — and Bolton’s testimony would compel Republican senators to make a definitive choice about where to place themselves on it, and then oblige them to defend it in public ….

Damon Linker


There are … great problems with shame as a means of governing. For one thing, opposition does not disappear but only becomes unspeakable, making the public even less knowable to its rulers. For another, shame as a government weapon works only on people capable of feeling shame. It thus purges high-minded people from the opposition and ensures that, when the now-mysterious public does throw up an opposition, it will be led by shameless people and take a shameless form.

Christopher Caldwell via Rod Dreher, with Rod rejoicing at this CNN clip (which the GOP is already exploiting).


The Pentagon announced Friday that 34 American service members suffered traumatic brain injuries as a result of Iranian airstrikes earlier this month. Prior to the Defense Department’s announcement, President Trump had described the injuries as “not very serious.”

Via The Morning Dispatch.

Am I the only one to notice that Donald Trump sometimes — how shall I put this? — lies? Will this lie prove his Benghazi? Nah! He’s a member of the right tribe.


Brian Burch’s CatholicVote.org has identified 199,241 Wisconsin Catholics “who’ve been to church at least 3 times in the last 90 days” but of whom “91,373 … are not even registered to vote!”

He’s not kidding. He’s not making up numbers like Joseph McCarthy did.

If you attend an evangelical or a Catholic Church, a women’s rights march or a political rally of any kind, especially in a seriously contested state, the odds are that your cellphone ID number, home address, partisan affiliation and the identifying information of the people around you will be provided by geofencing marketers to campaigns, lobbyists and other interest groups.

And Democrats are scared. Worth reading, though there’s a New York Times paywall, to get the skinny on how microtargeting does politics.


One really should read, if possible, Robert P. George’s fond remembrance of Roger Scruton, by way of summarizing key themes in his conservative philosophy.

* * * * *

Trump didn’t do the thing he’s accused of doing, but if he did it was fine, and in fact that’s exactly what he did, get over it, because it’s not only fine, it’s precisely what we want from a president, and can you believe that Biden did the same thing, shame on him.

Peter Sunderman

You can read most of my more impromptu stuff at here. It should work in your RSS aggregator, like Feedly, should you want to make a habit of it.

About readerjohn

I am a retired lawyer and an Orthodox Christian, living in a collapsing civilization, the modern West. There are things I'll miss when it's gone. There are others I won't. That it is collapsing is partly due to calculated subversion, summarized by the moniker "deathworks." This blog is now dedicated to exposing and warring against those deathwork - without ceasing to spread a little light.
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