Royal Cuckery

Proverbs 31:10 says that a virtuous wife’s “worth is far above rubies” (NKJV).  Quite true.  These days, they’re about as rare as rubies, if not more so.

That being the case, the converse must also be true:  if a virtuous wife is worth more than rubies, then a corrupt wife will cost you everything.  In the case of Prince Henry, Duke of Sussex, it cost him the Crown Jewels.

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MLK Day 2020

Here’s to another Monday off from work (for those of us blessed to work in fields that give out random days off liberally).  Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is one of those holidays that feels like an excuse to have a little taste of the recently-departed Christmas holiday.  Everyone is still dragging in January, coming off the high of Christmas and New Year’s.  I find the cold intellectually stimulating, but most of us are spending our time comfortably indoors, basking in central heating.  It all makes for seasonal sluggishness.

Last year’s MLK Day post sought to take advantage of the day’s cozy laziness with some suggested reading.  Contra the whole “make it a day ON” virtue-signalers, it really is the perfect day to crank up the heat, brew some coffee, and enjoy reading with some fried eggs (over medium, please) and toast (and, for us Southerners, a hearty helping of grits).  It’s one of the last taste of the hygge before the warm weather creeps back in (which occurs sometime in late February or early March here in South Carolina).

That’s all by way of lengthy preamble to today’s post.  I thought this year it might be worth looking at the holiday itself, and the man behind it.  The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was, indeed, a remarkable man, and one who did a great deal to advance the cause of liberty, more equally enjoyed.  But while we’re not allowed to say so—MLK has been elevated to something like sainthood in the American Pantheon—he was an imperfect vessel in many ways.

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Lazy Sunday LXV: Techno-Weirdos II

The New Year is chugging along, with Democratic primaries and caucuses mere weeks away.  Early voting has already started, as I noted yesterday.  “Tom Steyer’s Belt” continues to drive surreal amounts of traffic, which I suppose is one metric for the ubiquity of his ads.

Perhaps the greatest ally the eventual Democratic nominee will have is Big Tech.  We’re already witnessing the preemptive deplatforming of various conservative and anti-Leftist figures.  Attempts to weed out “fake” news—which to the Left is any news not reflexively critical of Trump—and to “fact check” conservatives are going to pick up as the election approaches.

Tech censorship raises a number of thorny questions that our traditional understanding of rights and obligations struggles to answer.  The question of free speech is particularly tricky, as it does seem that the monopolistic power—and the active collusion between them!—of Big Tech companies effectively strangles dissent.

That might be constitutional in a strictly literal sense—at least it’s not the government infringing on our rights—but it certainly violates the spirit of freedom of speech.  And, seriously, who doesn’t think the apparatchiks in The Swamp aren’t eagerly working hand-in-iron-fist with Google to keep tabs on us?

Does anyone have a copy of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act sitting around?  Maybe we should dust that off.  Trump would make a good trust-buster, as would Attorney General Bill Barr.  I’d sure love to see a political cartoon of the ursiline Barr swinging a club at a computer screen.

With that, here are two recent pieces I’ve written on tech companies and censorship:

  • Free Speech in the Private Sector” – This post looked at a lengthy essay from science-fiction author Cory Doctorow, in which he argued that our traditional understanding of freedom of speech is insufficient in addressing tech censorship.  The old libertarian canard that “a private company can set whatever limits on speech it wants” is a worthy ideal, but when the “private company” dominates the public square and effectively makes some forms of expression or some ideas unspeakable, then do we really have free speech?
  • Mailchimp Monkeys with Molyneux” – As if on cue, Mailchimp obligingly proved Doctorow’s point when it deplatformed Stefan Molyneux in a Twitter-induced panic.  Mailchimp might not be monopolistic in the way, say, Google is, but it’s all part of that cabal of freedom-hating e-litists.  Molyneux is a bit grandiose, to be sure, but he’s been maligned as being all sorts of unacceptable -isms and -ists that he simply isn’t.

That’s it for this week, folks.  Here’s to another week of selling our data to faceless technocratic overlords.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

SubscribeStar Saturday: Primary Season Preview

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.  For a full rundown of everything your subscription gets, click here.

The presidential primaries are just a few weeks away, kicking off on February 3rd with the Iowa caucuses.  However, as Scott Rasmussen noted Thursday in his Number of the Day feature for Ballotpedia, early voting began yesterday in Minnesota, which doesn’t officially vote until Super Tuesday on March 3rd, one month into the process.  Voters in Vermont can begin voting (presumably for socialist Bernie Sanders) today.

Rasmussen poses the question:  what does all this early voting mean?  In a crowded Democratic field, where early wins in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina can boost or destroy a candidate’s chances, early voting could throw an interesting wrinkle into the mix.  I suspect most voters will wait, but we could have Minnesotans voting for their raging hometown sweetheart, Amy Klobuchar, only to see her withdraw after the early primaries.

Regardless, the primaries are a-comin’, so I figured it was time for a little pre-primaries preview.

To read the rest of this post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.

Milo on Generation Joker

Earlier this week, I finally had the opportunity to watch Joker, the movie that DC got right (I also watched black-and-white indie film The Lighthouse, which I also heartily recommend).  It’s one of those films that has stuck with me, as I keep contemplating its title character’s woeful arc.

That’s unusual for a superhero movie.  I’m not a film snob, and I enjoy the action-packed, high-gloss hilarity of [insert Marvel Cinematic Universe movie here].  But I’ve usually forgotten most of the details of those superhero movies by the time I get home from the theater.

Joker is different.  Indeed, I wouldn’t even call it a “superhero” (or even a super villain) movie.  Yes, it’s the origin story of the The Joker, Batman’s greatest rival.  It does follow some of the tropes of the standalone superhero flick:  the discovery of the character’s powers (in this case, a 38 Special and mental illness), his utilization of those powers, and his full acceptance of his new role.

But it’s more than a superhero flick.  It’s the brooding, angsty cry of a generation.

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TBT: First They Came for Crowder

It’s been a week for discussing tech censorship.  Yesterday, I wrote about Stefan Molyneux’s suspension from Mailchimp.  That was the result of deliberate misinformation and a handful of Twitter trolls.  It’s scary to consider that that’s all it takes to be deplatformed.

Such incidences are eerily, distressingly common.  Milo, Gavin McInnes, Laura Loomer, Alex Jones—all victims of Big Tech’s insatiable lust for virtue-signalling and social control.

This week’s TBT, then, looks back to Summer 2019, when conservative comedian Steven Crowder saw himself at the center of an on-again, off-again controversy regarding a mincing radical.

The great English physician said (I’m paraphrasing here) that we don’t need to be taught so much as we need to be reminded.  Crowder has endured with an excellent legal team, but it’s worth our time to consider the past (and present) battles in the ever-raging culture war.

Here is 2019’s “First They Came for Crowder“:

The big news in the conservative world this week was YouTube’s unceremonious demonetizing of Steven Crowder, yet another example of techno-elites censoring conservative and dissident voices.  Apparently, YouTube has somewhat reversed that decision if Crowder removes the hilarious “Socialism is for Figs” t-shirt from his website’s store (which, if that link is any indication, they have done).

The occasion for this deplatforming was a bout of limp-wristed hysterics from gay Hispanic (that’s a two-fer) Carlos Maza, a whinging, soyboy-ish fop with a penchant for calls of violence against conservatives.  Once again, loafer-lightened totalitarianism rears its fabulous head.

Maza argued that Crowder had “bullied” him in a series of sketches lampooning the sassy Latina’s emphatic videos for Vox.  As such, Maza demanded YouTube demonetize Crowder’s videos on its site.  When YouTube refused, Captain Canines led progressive journalists on a crusade against YouTube, claiming it didn’t do enough to protect LGBTQ2+etc. creators.

Please.  As Will Chamberlain writes in a piece on Human Events, Maza is one of the most privileged people on the planet:  he’s a flamingly gay Hispanic journalist.  Few people enjoy greater access to the full might and rancor of the progressive press (but I repeat myself) than this guy.

Crowder, on the other hand, has to hawk humorous t-shirts and hand-etched mugs to create a source of non-YouTube funding in order to keep his show going.  He’s been urging fans to subscribe to Mug Club for years for precisely this reason:  YouTube could pull the rug out at any moment (use promo code “Free Speech” for $30 off an annual subscription—that’s an incredible bargain).

YouTube brought in users with the promise of using their platform to make a living.  Now that they have a monopolistic market share of viewer eyeballs, they murkily shift their guidelines like a witch’s cauldron, booting conservatives for the slightest perceived offense.

Conservative content creators need reliable sources of funding to fight against the progressive media machine.  Steven Crowder needs your support.

And trust me—the mug alone is worth $70.

Mailchimp Monkeys with Molyneux

I purchased a new vehicle a couple of weeks ago.  Since then, I’m seeing Nissan Versa Notes everywhere (and they are not terribly common).  We’ve all experienced this sensation before:  we learn a new word, for example, and suddenly we hear it spoken frequently, when before it went unheard.

That’s the phenomenon I’m experiencing this morning:  no sooner did I write about Big Tech’s crippling control over our freedom of speech, e-mail service Mailchimp unceremoniously dumped Internet philosopher and YouTube personality Stefan Molyneux.  Molyneux hosts Freedomain Radio, which bills itself as “the world’s number one philosophy show.”

I’ve listened to a lot of Molyneux’s videos.  He’s not my favorite commentator, and he can be a bit rambling (not that I can judge him too harshly for that), but his demeanor and style are endearing, and his output is insanely prolific.  Within hours of a major news event, he’ll have a detailed, lengthy video breaking down the relevant information.  On top of all that, he hosts a live call-in show, from which he’ll derive videos that often ninety minutes in length.  It helps that his callers often have entertainingly tragic problems.

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Free Speech in the Private Sector

Assaults on free speech may be the most pressing issue of our time.  Anyone reading this blog has surely witnessed the deplatforming of conservative figures under nebulous “community guidelines,” as well as the personal and professional ruin that tend to follow.

Indeed, I occasionally fear that my dashed-off ramblings might, in some none-too-distant Orwellian America, be misinterpreted or misapplied as “hate speech”—all it takes is the wrong person complaining.  Of course, this blog’s obscurity is perhaps my best defense—I’m too small to matter.  That said, that fear is one reason I’m pumping up alternative income streams and attempting to boost my SubscribeStar subscriber base; the authoritarian maw of the SJWs grows ever wider.

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Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony

It’s been an artistically fulfilling weekend.  First there was the play (I’m sure readers are tired of reading about it) in which I performed.  After three successful performances, my girlfriend and I took in the South Carolina Philharmonic‘s Sunday matinee performance of their popular Beethoven and Blue Jeans concert.  Classical music is even more enjoyable when you get to wear jeans.

The SC Philharmonic’s energetic conductor, Morihiko Nakahara (a show in himself), didn’t pull any punches with this year’s B&BJ program.  It was, essentially, “Beethoven’s Greatest Hits,” as I remarked to my girlfriend.  Morihiko always tosses in one piece of weird modern classical music, but after enduring young composer Jessie Montgomery‘s 2016 tone poem “Records from a Vanishing City,” it was straight into the classics:  Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 in F Major, the so-called Pastoral, rounded out the first half of the concert.  Then it was into the thundering “DUHN DUHN DUHN DUUUUUUH, DUHN DUHN DUHN DUUUUUUUUUUUUUUH” of the Symphony No. 5 in C Minor after the break.

Everyone loves the Fifth Symphony, with its iconic opening theme (the first in symphonic music to make a rhythmic idea the theme, not a melodic one).  But for my money, the bucolic beauty of the Sixth takes the cake.

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