Slow Rogan

I do like Joe Rogan’s podcasts, mainly because he is able to get the best out of the many interesting guests he has on. I reckon he’s able to do this because he’s a genuinely nice, friendly bloke, but also because his guests are usually a lot smarter than him (Bari Weiss being an obvious exception). This means he asks a lot of questions but doesn’t get into lengthy arguments.

However, I’ve noticed his opinions tend to drift between shows, aligning with those of his guest, and he is infuriatingly unable to connect dots. He frequently lambasts Trump’s comments about Mexico and his proposed wall, and appears to be in favour of large scale immigration. Two weeks back he had on a chap called Ioan Grillo, a journalist who has spent years in Mexico reporting on the drug war, cartels, and accompanying savagery. Rogan once again mentioned Trump and the wall in a negative context, before Grillo told a few stories about the cartels which sounded like something out of Game of Thrones. Rogan then said words to the effect of:

“Isn’t it strange this is all happening just over the border from Texas, which is as safe as can be? It’s as if there’s an imaginary line in the sand across which everything just changes.”

Well yes, it’s almost as if Mexico is an altogether different country than the US populated by people with a very different history and culture. Taking this radical idea a little further, one might argue that it might be a good idea if this separation was maintained by a robust border – maybe a wall? – which would keep the populations apart and stop Texas and the wider US becoming more like its southern neighbour.

He’s also fond of asking why the US government doesn’t declare war on decrepit housing projects and miseducation in the ghettos (meaning, sort out African American problems) by spending millions of dollars in a targeted campaign. None of his guests has yet pointed out that billions have been spent trying to do just that for decades, to absolutely no avail. He genuinely thinks it’s never been tried.

Like I said, his podcasts are great but he can be infuriating at times.


Kitchen Sink

Few things look more obviously fake than millionnaire politicians doing a photoshoot to show they’re really just like us. In 2015, then-Labour leader Ed Miliband did a photoshoot of he and his wife relaxing in their kitchen:

Which raised a few eyebrows given the house was worth about £2m. Turns out it was a second kitchen used for preparing snacks, and the real kitchen would have been rather more grand. Oddly enough, holding a photoshoot in the butler’s pantry to demonstrate his earthly connections didn’t work out too well for Miliband.

A couple of days ago Democrat presidential hopeful Kirsten Gillibrand invited photographers into her large, pristine Washington, D.C. kitchen to watch her prepare the family meal.

Unkind Twitter users were quick to point out the sharp crease in her apron, freshly bought for her that morning. Others wondered what the hell she was trying to do with that fish. Don’t you normally cut it before putting it in the frying pan? The lit gas burner with nothing on it didn’t go unnoticed, nor did the solitary mushroom looking rather lost beside the steaks, wondering where the others might have got to. I think the dog’s face tells us what we already know: this woman has never cooked before in her life.

Is there anything more cringeworthy than fake attempts to appear down with the masses? One of the most endearing things about Jacob Rees-Mogg is he’s uber-posh and wears top hats and is utterly shameless about it. One of the reasons Trump gets away with so much is he behaves exactly like you’d expect from a brash, New York billionaire. At least you know what you’re getting. People might not like posh or rich, but they really hate insincerity and, as Miliband and Gillibrand attest, faking sincerity is hard.


Cryin’ Lyin’ Zion

I see the Somali woman who has somehow become a US Congresswoman is once again fending off accusations of antisemitism following a series of tweets which suggested American politicians defend Israel because lobbyists pay them to.

This prompted a Twitter thread by a British contributor to The Economist on the practice of disguising antisemitism as anti-Zionism, and the similarities between its adoption by hard-left American politicians and what we’ve seen in the Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn. It’s actually not a bad thread, but here’s how it ends:

It seems a lot of Jews in the media are incapable of speaking about antisemitism without an obligatory swipe at Trump and other right wing politicians who hold unapproved views. I’ve written about this before; it’s a common phenomenon. Trump is the most pro-Jewish president America has ever had; he had absolutely no problem with his daughter converting to Judaism and marrying her Jewish boyfriend, who Trump fully embraced. He’s also the most pro-Israeli American president for a long time, motivated by such concerns as security and sovereignty. This ought to have Jews on both sides of the Atlantic turning cartwheels in celebration, but it appears their concerns over antisemitism are outweighed by a desire to remain popular in left wing, liberal circles and keep those dinner party invites flowing.

Trump is racist only by the insane definition of metropolitan newsrooms and western academia. What Orban is supposed to have done that is not part of Israel’s founding policy I don’t know. And I bet this Pfeffer chap took his views on Bolsonaro from an article some know-nothing, idiot journalist wrote from an office in London. Hell, it was probably a colleague at The Economist with a pencil neck and an English degree from Oxford hanging over his desk. Ilhan Omar, on the other hand, really is racist and the same goes for a good portion of those allowed to settle in the UK under successive governments. If the likes of Pfeffer can’t bring himself to differentiate between them and Trump, is the problem as grave as he makes out? Personally I think it is, but if Jewish journalists aren’t going to take it seriously, why should I? He should be looking to recruit allies and build bridges with those (like me) who have no skin in the game. Ordinarily I’d side with British and American Jews over racist Somalis, but if their spokesmen are going to spend time bashing Hungarian and Brazilian politicians and virtue-signalling about how much they despise Trump, maybe I’ll just sit on the sidelines and say nothing. What’s my incentive to get involved?

I’ve written recently about how American Jews are going to have to decide whether they want to join the ranks of white deplorables or continue to stoke the fires of identity politics which enable those who truly detest them. British Jews are similarly going to have to decide whether they want to enlist the help of ordinary, decent people in opposing antisemitism or continue to paint themselves into a corner because maintaining their social status is more important than ensuring their safety.


Hacks Off

It appears nobody wants to pay to run adverts alongside pieces denouncing all men as violent, racist, scumbags, much less pay to read them:

That someone in modern journalism should cite 10 years wittering on about gender politics and a PhD in romantic comedies as achievements explains a lot about why these redundancies are being made. Here’s another (via Rita Panahi):

Note that all these gender politics reporters insist on living in Brooklyn and working in Manhattan, or other expensive liberal cities. Perhaps if they’d moved their operations to Colonsville, KY they’d feel less financially shafted? And I’m sure this helped:

While it’s poor form to mock those who’ve just been made redundant, I am not too concerned about these people. The only way to get a job in New York writing about gender politics is to have wealthy parents who can fund the lifestyle your salary won’t support. Indeed, full-time jobs in media companies filter out those who don’t have wealthy parents by first stipulating a period of unpaid internship. And who do you think paid for that PhD in romantic comedies? I doubt this lot have been financially independent in their lives, and getting booted from what is effectively a paid hobby won’t change that. Their egos might take a knock though, so spare a thought for them as you kneel to pray this evening.


Lewis and Snark

Recently one or two people in the comments have directed me towards a Jordan Peterson interview at the hands of Helen Lewis on behalf of GQ magazine. Joe Rogan, who’s podcast I listen to, believes Lewis does a good job of it, far better than the hapless Cathy Newman managed in her interview with Peterson. This weekend I decided to watch it, and although Lewis did indeed do a lot better than Newman, it’s still a woeful performance on her part. Here is the interview:

Something Peterson says around the halfway mark sums Lewis up. He says that when she speaks, he doesn’t learn anything about her, he just hears unoriginal, utterly predictable mantra she’s been taught to say. It’s painful to watch in places, what passes for a journalist reciting feminist dogma as if it’s incontrovertible truth. You get the impression you’re watching a spoiled, middle-class brat who thinks she has the right to reshape the world in the image of the bubble she’s been raised in.

Now Lewis is undoubtedly one of the best and brightest in her contemporary field. Like Cathy Newman, she’s a graduate of Oxford University (where else?) so on some measures she’s not thick, but I think her interview with Peterson shows being brightest in the field of modern journalism isn’t saying very much. In terms of observable intellect, the interview is like watching a pub footballer turn out in an El Clasico match. This is not necessarily a problem: Joe Rogan isn’t the brightest either, but he acknowledges it and allows his far brighter guests to speak, which is partly what makes him an excellent podcast host if not a good judge of intelligence in other people. But Lewis clearly believes she’s on an equal footing with Peterson. At around the 40:50 minute mark she confidently states the rationale behind Peterson’s remarks on behaviour in lobsters is “scientifically bollocks”. This from someone who studied English at university. The clearly irritated Peterson, a clinical psychologist, explains to her it is neuroscience 101.

Lewis, being a feminist, believes modern-day societies are organised in patriarchal hierarchies of power, whereas Petersen believes they are more akin to hierarchies of competence. It’s easy to see why the two differ so wildly in their views. In Peterson’s field you need to be competent to rise to the top, whereas in Lewis’ you don’t need to be competent at all. Lewis has looked at her own career path, and those of her peers, and assumed the whole world works like that.

She’s not the only one. James D. Watson, one of the biologists who won a Nobel prize for discovering DNA, uttered wrongthink in 2007 by suggesting ethnic groups differ in IQ levels. His subsequent ostracism forced him to sell his Nobel medal to eat, and for some reason he’s been in the news again recently. This has given progressive journalists an opportunity to condemn him all over again. Steve Sailer summed up one such attempt nicely in the tweet below:

The trouble with modern journalism, as with modern politics, is the brightest people don’t go into it any more. Unfortunately, those who do think they’re the smartest people on the planet, capable of taking on clinical psychologists and offering critiques of the scientific opinions of Nobel prize winners. And they wonder why nobody wants to pay for their output any more.


The language of ignorance

This has to be one of the most ignorant tweets I’ve seen:

Culture and language are linked only trivially, eh? Where to even begin?

It’s funny how little the metropolitcan elites actually know about the world around them, despite their supposed global outlook.


Video Nasties

Apparently there’s a video doing the rounds on social media showing the beheading of one of the Scandinavian girls who were murdered in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains a few days ago. Yesterday I read the tweets of people who for some unknown reason had tracked it down and watched it; all severely regretted it, with some sounding as though they’re never going to be able to get the images and screams out of their heads.

I have no idea why people would watch a video like that: if you’re an ordinary person who’s never been exposed to extreme trauma, it’s going to damage you in some way (if not, you’re probably a psychopath). I skimmed a written description of what happens in the video and that was more than enough for me: it’s horrific. It’s a rather odd world we live in where people are kicked off social media for expressing unapproved opinions, but jihadist beheading videos circulate freely.

When I was in Nigeria a video did the rounds on Facebook of two Nigerian men who’d been caught by a mob in Port Hartcourt accused of stealing laptops. They were stripped naked, beaten unconscious, and set on fire. I watched it unawares, as did a few of my colleagues. Later we discussed it, and all of us lost sleep over it. It’s why I avoided watching the video of ISIS burning the Jordanian pilot to death, I knew it would damage me psychologically.

Bizarrely, reading Twitter yesterday reminded me of the YouTube phenomenon from some years back called “2 Girls 1 Cup Reactions”. 2 Girls 1 Cup was a horrific video in which two Brazilian girls did some seriously disgusting things with one another; the “reactions” videos filmed people watching it while not showing the actual video (they’re easy to find on YouTube still; the video itself is described here on Wikipedia). People literally threw up on camera while watching it, and I thought any video which makes people do that is one I want to avoid. Similarly, if people are on Twitter saying they’re still shaking hours after watching a real-life snuff film in which a young woman screams for her mother while being beheaded, it’s one I hope I die without seeing.

Finally, whereas the two women were probably a bit naive to go hiking in the Atlas Mountains alone, and their Scandinavian background probably didn’t prepare them well for the dangers in the wider world, I think it’s a bit unfair to criticise them for not expecting to encounter jihadis. Morocco is a pretty safe place, and although tourists are warned parts of the Atlas Mountains are a bit sketchy in terms of being robbed, they are nonetheless a popular destination for thousands of hikers who return unharmed. I guess the girls were more unlucky than naive, although naivety certainly played a part. I said much the same when those cyclists were murdered in Tajikistan earlier this year.


Fake blues

I’ve previously (1, 2) covered articles written by Kate Mulvey, the 55-year old perpetually single woman who, with her 2:1 in Italian and French from the University of Kent, is just too damned smart for any man. In the comments under the most recent post, someone wrote:

She seems to have a decent enough shtick writing articles for the Mail & Telegraph designed to generate clicks from equally dysfunctional females and us folks seeking a bit of “look at the nutter” entertainment.

Probably not paid enough to live on so there is likely to be a “real” person (worth in excess of £6k) behind this unlikely and highly unappealing persona.

To which I replied:

You know, I’m rather convinced by the theory this is just an alter-ego, dreamed up for the purposes of writing articles. If that was the case, I’d be rather impressed.

I’m becoming more convinced by this theory. Yesterday a reader sent me a link to this article by the same woman:

Looking back at my mid-20s, I lived a glamorous life. A roving reporter, constant parties and a dating diary full of eligible bachelors, I was footloose and fancy free. In my 30s, the landscape started to change. Friends either got married or tightly clutched the hand of a potential husband-to-be.

So far so Mulvey.

Then nine years ago, aged 46, I met Josh through friends at a dinner party. It was an instant mutual attraction. He was a handsome banker and we lived together in his house in Barnes, South-West London.

When he proposed to me one summer in Italy, I was over the moon. I saw us enjoying a life of comfortable companionship. Just the two of us — neither of us had children.

Then, one day, just shy of my 50th birthday, after four years together, something inside me snapped. I realised that Josh was never going to commit and told him the relationship was over.

In the the first article I fisked she said she broke off a year-long relationship with a chap called Phil when she was 50. She also said she’d never been enagaged. In her second article she said she came out of a seven-year relationship “the wrong side of 50”. Then there was this from the first article:

Three months ago I went to Italy with my then boyfriend, Philip. As we were checking into the hotel, I struck up a conversation with the receptionist in Italian (just one of the five languages I speak). But while I was enjoying myself, chatting away, it became clear that Philip most certainly was not.

He shuffled from foot to foot, muttered something under his breath and rolled his eyes like a stroppy teenager.

Then in the lift he turned on me. ‘I was wondering when you were going to let me join your conversation,’ he snapped. I tried to laugh it off but I knew this was the beginning of yet another argument.

But by the second article it had changed to:

I was about to call it a day and demand my money back, when my matchmaker sent through the detail a publisher from Oxford. We met at a pub near his home.

But very quickly the debonair man who had seemed laid-back in London had morphed into a raging chauvinist in the countryside. When I started to chat to waiter in Italian, it became clear that my date was not happy. He muttered something under his breath and rolled his eyes like a stroppy teenager.

“I WAS WONDERING when you were going to let me join your conversation,” he boomed. I tried to laugh it off but clocked this was a man with a fragile ego.

Now this woman is either nuts or she’s making stuff up and her editors not fussy about consistency between one story and the next. My guess is the whole character is an author’s alter-ego designed in precisely the way my commenter described. In this latest article she’s telling us how she’s moved back in with her parents:

There is still a stigma about a grown woman living back home. Being middle-aged is hard enough. But when you are middle-aged, unmarried and living with your dad, it’s a thousand times harder.

My friends joke that I am the oldest teenager in Britain. Who can blame them? What could be sadder than a woman in advanced middle age who can’t even bring a boyfriend back for a glass of wine or — God forbid — to stay the night.

Is anyone believing a word of this?

On the plus side, I have started seeing a wonderful man, who lives down the road in Fulham.

No doubt we’ll be hearing about this imaginary man’s failings in a few months time. If someone’s paying her for this tripe I suppose it’s worth it, but I do hope she’s not using her real photo to illustrate the articles.


Have you tried being nicer?

Once again I’m going to write about an individual, not so much to lay the boot into him but because he represents a wider phenomenon. A few weeks ago I wrote about a tweet from one Daniel Sugarman, a journalist at the Jewish Chronicle, in which he stood on the still-warm bodies of his murdered co-religionists in order to virtue-signal about Trump. Here’s the tweet in question:

Now here’s a tweet he posted yesterday:

This chap is in his twenties and while he might (for all I know) be a good journalist, there is something not quite right about a grown man who clamours for attention as if he were a teenager on Instagram. The problem is he’s not alone. So many prominent journalists and political commentators spend a good portion of their time signalling to the in-group, which usually takes the form of being rather unpleasant about somebody else. Then five minutes later they’re broadcasting to the world they’re unhappy, inviting people to say nice things about them. Natalia Antonova, Laurie Penny, and Oliver Kamm are three examples of prominent commentators who delight in making vicious, denigrating remarks about people in the process of virtue-signalling, while simultaneously using their platforms to bleat about how awfully they’ve been treated, or how unhappy and depressed they are. Cue a chorus of ultra-supportive comments – which is the entire point of course.

This is not the behaviour of functioning adults. I suspect there have always been people who act like this, but these days such behaviour gets rewarded. Indeed, it almost seems to be a requirement in what passes for modern journalism. It’s amusing that these people believe they hold the blueprint for society’s future; it’s less amusing that people actually listen to them.


Progressive panic over Brazil

Drowned out by the anti-Trump hysteria in the wake of the synagogue massacre was yet more handwringing over another election which has gone against the establishment both local and global, this time in Brazil. Here’s how the BBC reported things:

Far-right politician Jair Bolsonaro has won a sweeping victory in Brazil’s presidential election.

The former army captain won 55.2% of the vote against 44.8% for Fernando Haddad of the left-wing Workers’ Party.

So what is it that makes Bolsonaro “far right”?

Mr Bolsonaro’s pledge to fight crime and corruption following a string of scandals have won him mass support.

Is this a bad thing?

However critics are worried by his praise of Brazil’s former dictatorship, and by his comments on race, women and homosexuality.

Ah, now we get to the heart of the matter. Anyone whose views on race, women, and homosexuality differ from those found in the social studies departments of American academia is automatically “far right”. It’s interesting that race, women, and homosexuality weren’t even major political issues for the couple of decades before 2013, when Obama had won a second term and it was safe to ramp up the identity politics. Certainly they weren’t campaign issues, and with the exception of scrapping Section 28, weren’t even on the British political landscape in any election I can remember. Now all of a sudden these are supposedly key issues on which every politician across the globe is judged. The western ruling classes are prone to hubris and arrogance, and one way this manifests itself is in the belief that the entire world shares their opinions on social issues (see here for another example).

So what’s Mr Bolsonaro supposed to have said? For that we need another BBC article:

Mr Bolsonaro has portrayed himself as the defender of a Brazil of decades past, suggesting that the country should return to the hardline tactics of the 1964-1985 military dictatorship.

Suggesting? Do we have any context here? Of course not, it’s the BBC.

He has praised this era, in which thousands of people were imprisoned and tortured, as a “glorious period”.

Note the implication that Bolsonaro praised the era because of the imprisonment and torture; the BBC does this because it is in the business of peddling fake news rather than informing people. Some people may refer to Victorian Britain as a golden age in the country’s history, but they are not praising workhouses and the Boer War concentration camps. If you look at the timeline of most countries you’ll find rapid development and expanding influence were accompanied by unsavoury practices of some sort.

“I am in favour of torture – you know that,” he said during a television appearance in 1999. “And the people are in favour of it, too.”

Wait, he said this 19 years ago? Has he said anything on the subject since? Did any Brazilian journalists ask him to clarify this statement? We can safely assume that if the BBC is quoting a statement made in 1999 he hasn’t repeated it, so what’s his position now? We don’t know because the BBC isn’t telling us.

He has pledged to reduce crime and increase security by relaxing the country’s gun laws.

“Every honest citizen, man or woman, if they want to have a weapon in their homes – depending on certain criteria – should be able to have one,” he said of his plans on Rede TV on 11 October.

More controversially, he said last year that “a policeman who doesn’t kill isn’t a policeman”.

So is this what makes him far right? What about his economic and social policies (other than a pledge to reduce crime)? Or don’t they matter? Apparently not. What really matters is:

His statements on issues ranging from abortion to race, and from migration to homosexuality, have proved provocative and garnered much attention.

Meaning, he is out of whack with progressives in the west.

“I’d prefer [to see] a son of mine to die in an accident than [to be] a homosexual,” he told Playboy in a 2011 interview.

So what? Does this mean he’s going to round up gays and shoot them? Is not wanting your son to be gay an automatic disqualification to be president everywhere in the world now?

In 2016, he provoked outrage by remarking that a fellow lawmaker was not worth raping because he thought she was “very ugly” and not his “type”.

This is rather rude, but hardly disqualifying or even newsworthy outside of Brazil.

He has also described having a female child as a “weakness”, and said that he would not employ women equally because “[they] get more labour rights than men”.

Is this true? Do they get more labour rights than men? If they didn’t, I’m sure the BBC would tell us. Of course, the real issue is this:

For his supporters, Mr Bolsonaro is a politician who they say will bring much needed change to the country – a swing to the right after four elections won by the left.

For the past four years, Brazil has been consumed by a criminal investigation – known as Operation Car Wash – that has uncovered massive corruption.

The left have been in charge for years, leading to soaring crime rates and corruption on a scale impressive even by Latin American standards. The public, like their counterparts in Europe and the US, have got utterly fed up with ruling elites treating them with contempt so have finally voted for someone on the right. Cue hysterics from western progressives and media clowns about the return of fascism. Now I don’t know much about Brazilian politics and I can’t read Portuguese, so maybe this Bolsonaro chap really is Hitler and he’s about to start throwing women, gays, and minorities into concentration camps built on Copacabana Beach. But I doubt it, and we can be quite sure the BBC and their ilk know nothing about him either.

Note also the difference in reaction from western progresssives when a right wing government gets elected after years of socialist decay, and when a nasty, authoritarian left winger comes to power in Latin America. Left wing politicians and commentators cheered heartily when Hugo Chavez took over in Venezuela, and ignored the brutal suppression of the population which, carried on by his successor, has left them literally starving while the economy collapsed. And still they continue to ignore, make excuses, and justify what’s being done under the banner of socialism. But yeah, we’re supposed to worry about the rise of fascism in Brazil based on some comments made by the new president when the Nokia 8210 came out. Sorry, but I wish him the best of luck.