Friday, September 04, 2015

Every media outlet has chosen to share Lila Perry’s delusion that he’s a girl, which explains why noone can find the teen’s real name anywhere

I can’t find Lila Perry’s real name anywhere
reports Benny Huang, who never refers to the Hillsboro High School crossdresser as "she" or as "(s)he" or as "he or she."
The seventeen-year old gender-dysphoric male student from Missouri has become a news item in the past week because he wants to use the girls’ changing room for gym class and, oddly enough, the girls aren’t thrilled about it.

 … After first coming out as a “gay” male, Lila announced in February 2015 that he would henceforth identify as female, which I guess makes him a heterosexual girl…who happens to be a boy? This stuff gets really confusing. Hillsboro High School accommodated his mental illness—and that’s what it is—by allowing him to use a gender-neutral faculty changing room. As the new school year began, however, Perry decided that even this accommodation wasn’t good enough. “I am a girl,” said Perry. “I am not going to be pushed away to another bathroom…”

I understand his point. If he accepts the gender neutral changing facility he’s necessarily conceding that he is somehow less of a girl than the others—which he is, of course. But because the entire point of this asinine exercise is to force other people to validate an enormous lie, no compromise is acceptable.

Nowhere in the whole mess can I find the student’s actual name. I doubt his parents named him “Lila” because he wasn’t born a girl. I suspect that “Lila” selected a more feminine name when he grew sick of being a boy. That doesn’t make it any less a pseudonym.

Every media outlet I know of has chosen to share Lila’s delusion that he’s a girl, which explains why I can’t find the student’s real name anywhere—not in the Washington Post, the New York Times or even on Fox News’s website. They all refer to this gender-confused boy with feminine pronouns or as “Ms. Perry.” To mention that “Lila” is actually Bill or Norm or Hank would send the message that “Lila” is an adopted persona. Which it is.

Some people will wonder what the big deal is. If people feel more comfortable in their skin when they “identify” as something other than what their chromosomes or sexual hardware define them to be, what’s the big deal? And that’s nearly always how this issue is framed—as people having the autonomy to define themselves, which is the first step to being themselves. The rest of us are just big, mean bullies who want to force them to live as someone they’re not.

But Lila Perry is a boy. That’s a fact. He was, in the parlance of the homosexual movement, “born that way.” So if we’re “forcing” him to do anything, we’re forcing him to be who he is. I think he’d be a lot better off if he’d knock off the charade and seek therapy before the homofascists make it illegal.

Speaking for myself, however, I must say that I don’t want to force Lila to do anything. If he wants to revel in his mental illness that’s his business—but he shouldn’t make the rest of us join in. Unfortunately, there may be times when his right to believe a delusion will collide with everyone else’s right not to believe it. Gym class happens to be one of those times.

Such is his dilemma—if he settles for the gender neutral changing room or, heaven forbid, the boys’ locker room, he is in fact conceding that his feminine identity is a sham. But if he plows ahead with his false identity, he is essentially asking every member of his high school to assent to a lie. These are two mutually exclusive positions—either he will use the girls’ room or he will not, either he will receive the validation he so desperately craves or he won’t. There’s no middle ground.

 … essentially what transgenders are asking us to do [is] to pretend that we believe something we know to be a fiction. Bianca [the life-sized sex doll from the Ryan Gosling movie “Lars and the Real Girl”] is not a real woman, and neither is Lila Perry, but for the sake of people’s feelings, we’re asked to play along.

Be nice. Be polite. Pretend you believe the lie until you do believe the lie.

It might be overly generous, however, to say that transgenders are “asking” us to believe a lie. The increasingly militant transgender movement is doing a lot more demanding than asking these days, a fact that conservative author and attorney Ben Shapiro can attest to.

 … The transgender community, like the homosexuals before them, are not happy to live their lives as they see fit. They crave acceptance, validation, even celebration. It isn’t even primarily about them—it’s about you, your attitudes, and your conception of their bodies. There are reliable indicators that they will not use gentle persuasion as a means of changing minds.
Indeed, states Elizabeth Price Foley, who sounds pretty disgusted:
This is typical far-left hyperbole, branding those who disagree with you as “bigots.” 
The Instapundit guest blogger concludes:
I’m sorry, but “Lila” is clearly just a dude with a wig, and I wouldn’t want my teenage daughter to share a locker room with him/her/it

Monday, August 31, 2015

Human needs aren’t nearly as important to the average liberal Democrat as sustaining a poverty-stricken political fiefdom

 … the United States is, for better or worse, a European-style welfare state that just happens to be located across the ocean
deplores Benny Huang.
Whether our massive welfare spending is a good thing or a bad thing is a very debatable point. I know some people would say that money spent on “human needs”—as if that’s all it ever goes to—is money well spent. I would counter that “human needs” aren’t nearly as important to the average liberal Democrat as sustaining a poverty-stricken political fiefdom. They buy power with other people’s money and expect the rest of us to stand in awe of their supposed generosity.

 … The poor in my state of Massachusetts, however, live pretty well on the dole. I was not at all surprised to discover that only Hawaii and the District of Columbia offer more robust benefits packages than the Bay State.

Come to Massachusetts’ post-industrial inner cities and you’ll see satellite dishes sprouting like mushrooms from the government-subsidized housing. No one would be caught dead without their iPhone. They spend almost three hundred dollars a month on their pack-a-day cigarette habit and they prefer top shelf liquor. That’s how “poor” people live in Massachusetts. It’s not exactly a “Feed the Children” commercial.

 … It’s a form of national suicide, a rather peculiar phenomenon that deserves some explanation. Ever since the Watts riots happened fifty years ago this summer, American politicians have sought to “invest” in poor inner city neighborhoods. As “investments” go, it’s been about as lousy as buying confederate currency in 1864. The War on Poverty was launched the same year that Watts went up in flames but that didn’t prevent Detroit and Newark from burning in 1967. Nor did it prevent the nationwide urban conflagration of April 1968. Looting and rioting returned to Los Angeles in 1992. Ferguson exploded in 2014, followed by Baltimore in 2015, followed by more Ferguson rioting on the one year anniversary of Michael Brown’s attempted murder of Darren Wilson.

Paying people not to riot clearly isn’t working.

  … facts absolutely never penetrate the liberals’ bubble. They revel in asking snappy questions that contain the implicit assumption that we as a nation have almost no social safety net to speak of. Here are a few:
“Why is that we always have plenty of money for the military but not for basic human needs?” Answer: the military budget, though expensive, has been constantly decreasing, adjusting for inflation, since the end of World War II. We call on today’s military to do more with less. Welfare on the other hand is always growing. The inflation-adjusted $22 trillion that we’ve spent in the War on Poverty is more than three times the combined cost of all wars since the Revolution. The War on Poverty is undeniably the most expensive we’ve ever waged, and the longest.

“Why can’t we be more like Europe?” Answer: We are like Europe. Our welfare state is on par with theirs and it’s killing us.

“Why do people go hungry in a country as rich as ours?” Answer: Very few actually do, but even those who don’t have enough to eat can’t blame a lack of programs or appropriated funds. There are state, federal, and local programs, not to mention private charities.

A rational discussion cannot begin with an irrational premise. The idea that somehow our country adheres to a philosophy of rugged individualism is absurd. We hand out other people’s money like it’s going out of style. Our social safety net is deep and wide. The moment we acknowledge this stubborn fact is the moment we can begin a useful dialogue. I’ll be waiting with bated breath.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Does anyone think that if Obama withdrew the 30,000-odd U.S. troops in South Korea that he would “end the war”?

To see how confused and even absurd the Democratic approach has been to Iran, consider the case of Korea
offers the New Republic's Martin Peretz (via Instapundit).
Does anyone think that if Obama withdrew the 30,000-odd U.S. troops in South Korea that he would “end the war”? On Obama’s logic, we should be exiting our troops immediately and freeing up hundreds of billions of dollars of funds over the next decade for North Korea, while enabling a sponsor like China to sell them conventional arms and ballistic missile technology. Then we can sit back and “hope” that North Korea will “change.”
Two decades ago, the North Koreans challenged the administration of our last Democratic president in the same way as Iran challenges our current one. Who can forget The New York Times’s editorial judgment in 1993 that “President Clinton is adopting a sound diplomatic strategy for coaxing North Korea to give up its nuclear ambitions” by “rightly resisting pressure to get tough with Pyongyang”? This month, one day after the Ayatollah said emphatically the deal will not change his country’s attitude toward the U.S., the Times asserts that President Obama “was right to keep the focus on restraining” the Iran nuclear program, but that if the sanctions are not lifted quickly enough, the so-called Iranian “moderates” could be discredited, “boosting the hard-liners.” Cognitive dissonance seems to be the official editorial policy of the Democratic elite.

The obvious point is that the nature of the Iranian regime matters, just as the nature of the North Korean regime matters. While our leaders take a holiday from history, the bad actors of the world do not take much of a vacation. American voters know this, which is likely why Obama did not disclose his detailed intentions regarding Iran in his 2012 re-election campaign. But now many Democrats complain that supporting the deal is their only choice. Moreover, the president, this time through the agency of his UN ambassador, the putative idealist Samantha Power, has laid a procedural trap for the wavering Democrats by introducing the big power treaty to the Security Council where it has already passed. This will make congressional review doubly difficult, and more than doubly important. In any case, the compact deserves negation on its own terms. But, as it happens, the Ayatollah who truly runs Iran declared on the morrow of the announcement of the agreement his intention to wage war. On Israel, no surprise. And on us, the U.S., the very architect of this peace.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

You will be amazed at how often the opinions expressed by “some” or “many” or “critics” turn out to be left-leaning opinions

How many times have you read a news story which says something like this?
asks Patterico:
Although the [Bush] administration defends its proposed cuts as humane, some say that the cuts are unconscionable.
You have probably read sentences like this so many times that they don’t sound strange any more. But think about it: what is the relevance of the fact that “some say” anything? After all, “some say” that Elvis is still alive. “Many say” that astrology is infallible. And some “critics” will tell you that the world is flat.

So why are you reading about what “some say” in the paper? Obviously, the reporter and/or the editors think it’s important for you to hear this particular opinion. Often, words like “some” or “many” can be replaced with the phrase “Times editors” with no appreciable change in meaning. When you see such locutions, you should ask yourself: who exactly is saying this? Is the contrary view being portrayed fairly? Does the article have an obvious spin? Is that spin consistent with what “some say”?

The use of phraseologies like “many say” lends the opinions a certain weight, suggesting that they are held by a number of potentially unbiased folks out there. The opinions expressed by “some” or by “critics” tend to be reported uncritically and sympathetically.

Meanwhile, when interviewees say things that support a conservative position, they tend to be labeled as representatives of a particular cause, politician, or branch of government, so their bias is always clear.

Once you become aware of the phenomenon, and you start to look for it, you will be amazed at how often the opinions expressed by “some” or “many” or “critics” are left-leaning opinions. For example, here are some things that “some” or “critics” have said in the last two or three days in the pages of the Times:

  • In [this] story about Justice Scalia’s speech to an advocacy group, “some” are critical of Justice Scalia:
    The Philadelphia dinner was the third instance in which Scalia’s outside activities have created what some say is an appearance of partiality on issues before the court.
  • In this story, “critics” accuse the Bush administration of playing politics with terrorism. The subhead reads:
    Critics say an accused terrorist’s role in Iraq attacks is exaggerated, noting weak evidence.
    And the body of the story has this quote:
    The focus on Zarqawi is part of a political strategy to portray the terrorism threat as essentially foreign and rooted in the Al Qaeda network, thereby downplaying the significance of Iraqi insurgents, critics say.
  • In this story and this story, “critics” don’t like Bush campaign ads with 9/11 footage. One story said:
    Critics called these ads “unconscionable,” “inappropriate” and “in poor taste.”
    Another said:
    The critics called the spots insensitive and offensive.
      … You get the idea. The moral is: you should be cautious whenever you see a phrase like “many believe” or “critics say.” Phrases like this should function like a flashing red neon sign saying: “Caution: leftist viewpoint likely. Opinion may be shared by newspaper. Scrutinize carefully.” 
  • That is always good advice, when reading the L.A. Times or any other newspaper.
    (Cross-posted at Oh, That Liberal Media.)
  • • (Somewhat) Related:  "I'm a lifelong Republican, BUT…": Watch Out for the Moby

    Token Articles, Letters, and Other Examples of "Objectivity"

    Tuesday, August 25, 2015

    Apparently firemen put out fires better when there’s a Jew, an Italian, and a Puerto Rican on every fire engine

    “Looking like the community” is very important to liberals, and not just on the police force. They consider it to be of the utmost importance that the fire department, the president’s cabinet, and even the military “look like” the constituencies they’re supposed to serve.
    Thus writes Benny Huang.
    Apparently firemen put out fires better when there’s a Jew, an Italian, and a Puerto Rican on every fire engine. Don’t ask me why.
     … One reason there aren’t more black police officers is standards—moral, legal, and academic. Police departments across the country have chosen to lower standards just to recruit blacks. Some departments have stopped requiring applicants to know how to swim while others will hire applicants who didn’t even finish high school. Departments often accept lower civil service exam scores from minority applicants. And it’s still not enough.
    Proponents of “diversity” also blithely brush aside another issue—namely that their rhetoric is strongly suggestive of a quota system. Quotas were found to be illegal in Regents of California v. Bakke (1978), a landmark affirmative action case.
     …/… There’s another problem with police departments reflecting the communities that they serve and it becomes apparent when looking at communities that have very low minority populations. Can a small town that is almost entirely white refuse to hire minority officers because they don’t “look like the community?”

    I think most people would say no, and so would I. But there’s a disconnect there. Why is “looking like the community” so vitally important in some communities but not in others? It seems that police departments have to be colorblind when colorblindness benefits minorities, and color conscious when color consciousness benefits minorities. In short, they have to be color conscious when deciding whether or not to be colorblind.

    A case in point can be found in Granville, Massachusetts, a picturesque New England town that looks like something from a Norman Rockwell painting. Despite being 98.69% white, Granville hired an Hispanic police chief in 2005.

    And no one cared. That’s not because the people of Granville are a bunch of hippy liberals. Granville is in fact the most conservative town in the state, according to Business Insider.

     … Should a town that’s almost 99% white be served by a (full time) police force that’s 100% Hispanic? I don’t have a problem with it, but then again I’m not a liberal. I don’t concern myself with racial bean-counting.
    If lily white communities like Granville are going to be prohibited from hiring officers with an eye toward the racial makeup of their community, and highly “diverse” communities like Ferguson are going to be required to do exactly that, then someone will have to delineate a threshold between the two. At what point must a community shift from an ostensibly colorblind hiring process to an obligatory color-conscious hiring process? Ten percent minority? Twenty-five percent? Fifty percent?
    I think we already know the answer to that question. All of that jive about “looking like the community” is a one-way street. If it helps blacks, great. If it doesn’t, it’s dropped like a bad habit. I call that black privilege.

    “Diverse” police forces are not the answer to all that ails us. Besides the fact that recruiting blacks is more difficult than might be supposed, there are legal and moral issues to consider. Standards must be lowered and qualified people must be passed over.

    Monday, August 24, 2015

    We no longer have old-fashioned religious blasphemy laws, we have a kind of secular blasphemy laws

    Mick Hume of 'Spiked' on Trigger Warnings and Free Speech in the UK (5:26)
    Blasphemy laws are ridiculous, outdated, historical anachronisms… But what's interesting is, in Britain, for example, we no longer have blasphemy laws — that was seen as being a great step forward … — but what they did was introduce hate speech laws instead.
    So we … no longer have old-fashioned religious blasphemy laws, we have a kind of secular blasphemy laws: there are new [rules] you are allowed not to break, there are new groups you are not allowed not to offend …and in many ways, more insidious and pervasive than blasphemy ever was — which was a dead law on the statute books for most of the last 100 years…
    FIRE's Greg Lukianoff:
    I had the pleasure of sitting down with spiked! editor-at-large and self-proclaimed propagandist Mick Hume while I was in the U.K. in July. We talked about all-things free speech, from the growing tendency in the U.K. to ban offensive speech to European blasphemy laws to his new book, Trigger Warning: Is the Fear of Being Offensive Killing Free Speech?. If Mick’s name looks familiar, it may be because of his great piece in Friday’s Wall Street Journal, “Even Speech We Hate Should Be Free.

    Saturday, August 22, 2015

    Lost in the shouting and cross-talk about legality is the fact that members of Planned Parenthood kill children

    I think what Geraldo mean[s] is that it’s nobody’s business what a woman wants to do with her aborted child
    writes Benny Huang.
    I don’t think that it’s a misrepresentation of Geraldo’s views to use the word “child” either, as several comments he made in the course of the debate seem to imply that he believes the thing being ripped from a woman’s womb is in fact a child. So Geraldo concedes that we’re discussing baby corpses here, he’s just not bothered by it.

    Like a lot of people, I reeled in disgust at Geraldo’s callous remark but I also found myself wondering why. We’re now so far down the slippery slope that the peripheral issue of how to use the byproducts of abortion moves front and center. The rest has all been decided.

    Is it any wonder that Planned Parenthood’s phalanx of defenders have argued that the CFP videos are much ado about nothing? Its organ harvesting is always conducted with the woman’s consent, they claim, and is always done on a not-for-profit basis. Leaving aside for a moment the fact that neither of these two assertions is even true, that’s still a pretty shoddy defense. The Nazis didn’t make money on their organ harvesting either but that didn’t make it right.
    But alas, there is a great gulf in this country between what is right and what is legal. In America you can legally kill an unborn child and legally sell her liver, brain, and heart; but if you charge one penny more than the costs of procurement and shipping, that’s a crime! What a silly point to quibble about—Planned Parenthood says that they don’t charge more for butchered baby parts than what it costs them, and it’s on the rest of us to prove they’re lying. (Watch the videos—it’s all about the money.) Lost in the shouting and cross-talk is the fact that they kill children.

    Which makes Geraldo’s indifference almost understandable. Who cares what we do with the “products of conception” once we’re done sucking them out with a shop vac? Now is not time to get squeamish. We have to do something with our truckloads of mashed baby, so why not sell it to Alpo? It’s better than keeping it in jars in Kermit Gosnell’s refrigerator.

    But people tend to get themselves in a tizzy when we creatively repurpose dead baby parts. Here’s a small example that I think illustrates the public’s unease with using aborted children for the betterment of humanity—last year, it was reported that Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) was using fetuses to heat hospitals across the UK. The 15,000 incinerated fetuses were part of a “Waste-to-Energy” plan that used medical refuse and ordinary trash as a fuel. And who could be against that, except perhaps some sadist who delights in people dying of hypothermia? As it turned out, some people got their knickers all in a bunch and the NHS quickly put a stop to the practice—not the killing of babies, mind you, but the burning of their corpses for heat.
    The NHS’s Chief Inspector of Hospitals, Sir Mike Richards, seemed oddly fixated on the wrong issue, namely that no one asked the mothers for permission. Said Sir Richards, “I am disappointed trusts may not be informing or consulting women and their families. This breaches our standard on respecting and involving people who use services…”

    So there’s the real scandal—women didn’t consent to burning their children like firewood. But why should anyone ask them? To even pose the question implies that dead babies are somehow different from other kinds of medical waste.

     … Like the NHS, [the Covanta Waste-to-Energy facility in Oregon] also acted swiftly to halt the burning of unborn children, though I don’t understand why. Who are they to deprive us of an abundant renewable resource? We could even construct a baby sludge pipeline from Canada directly to trash-burning reactors here in the States. Think of it like Keystone XL, only Obama wouldn’t veto it. Energy independence is national security!

     … A society that kills the unborn has already conceded the moral argument against abortion. If killing the unborn is not immoral, then who can find fault with feeding their corpses to dogs? Certainly not us.

    Wednesday, August 19, 2015

    The Assassin of Two Kids Should Be Forgiven (the Poor Thing), While the Men in Her Life Deserve the Harshest of Condemnations

    In her answer to Dalrock regarding Susan Smith's infanticides, Insanity Bytes does nothing if not show the feminists' double standards, seemingly proving the former right when he says feminism is only about giving women more rights to have fun while removing their responsibilities.
    For those who don’t remember Susan Smith, she murdered her children and is now spending 30 years in prison. She was mentally ill, her brain broke, and she collapsed. No one knows why she did it, it was just one of those evil acts that defy explanation. 

    What is seldom talked about however, is the fact that her father committed suicide when she was six years old and her step father molested her all through her teens, a relationship that continued well into adulthood. At 13 she tried to kill herself. By the time she finished high school there had been 3 more suicide attempts. She went on to marry David when she was 19 years old and had his two sons, but that relationship was rocky, full of infidelity, and he frequently abandoned her with the two children.

    Susan Smith was a mentally ill 21 year old girl with a father who committed suicide, a stepfather who molested her, and a husband who cheated on her, abandoned with two small children. She broke. Women do that sometimes, we break, especially when all the men in our lives fail us, yes fail us Dalrock. Women do not just spontaneously combust.
    So Insanity Bytes refuses to condemn the murderer (ress) of two children (the assassin's own). Why? There can only be one explanation. Because Susan Smith is a woman.

    Meanwhile, she feels no empathy for, say, the parent for committing suicide. Why? There can only be one explanation. Because he is a man.

    ("What is seldom talked about however…" What is not talked about at all in Insanity Bytes's post is the heinous way in which she carried out the murders, allowing the car in which her two toddlers were strapped to their seats to slowly slide into a lake.)

    Referring to Insanity Bytes' description of Susan Smith as "a mentally ill 21 year old girl", incidentally, an anonymous reader points out that
    Funny how the difference between a “strong, independent woman” and a mere girl has nothing to do with age, and everything to do with blame shifting from the girl onto some man or men.
    Let's take Insanity Bytes' comments and try to turn them around, applying them, and her attitude, to the men in the story:

    • "her father committed suicide when she was six years old":
    "No one knows why [he] did it, it was just one of those evil acts that defy explanation."

    • "her step father molested her all through her teens":
    "No one knows why [he] did it, it was just one of those evil acts that defy explanation."

    • The relationship with David "was rocky, full of infidelity, and he frequently abandoned her with the two children":
    "No one knows why [he] did it, it was just one of those evil acts that defy explanation."

    And how about this one?
    She broke. Women do that sometimes, we break, especially when all the men in our lives fail us, yes fail us Dalrock. Women do not just spontaneously combust.
    Why can't that one apply to the men in her life?

    • "her father committed suicide when she was six years old":
    "[He] broke. [Men] do that sometimes, [they] break, especially when [all the people? when all the women? when all the something else? when a particular woman?] in [their] lives fail [them], yes fail [them] Dalrock. [Men] do not just spontaneously combust."

    • "her step father molested her all through her teens":
    "[He] broke. [Men] do that sometimes, [they] break, especially when [all the people? when all the women? when all the something else? when a particular woman?] in [their] lives fail [them], yes fail [them] Dalrock. [Men] do not just spontaneously combust."

    • The relationship with David "was rocky, full of infidelity, and he frequently abandoned her with the two children":
    "[He] broke. [Men] do that sometimes, [they] break, especially when [all the people? when all the women? when all the something else? when a particular woman?] in [their] lives fail [them], yes fail [them] Dalrock. [Men] do not just spontaneously combust."

    Now turn it around the other way: imagine if one woman had committed suicide, another had molested a teen-ager, and a third had cheated on the husband/boyfriend while abandoning their children. Surely Insanity Bytes would have used the the exact same arguments (sic) and that, needless to say, in these three hypothetical women's — sorry, these three hypothetical girls' — defense.

    You see, Insanity Bytes, what it boils down to is a person (male or female) committing suicide, an adult (male or female) molesting a teenager, a spouse or boy/girlfriend cheating on the significant other while abandoning him/her and the kids, AND (drumbeat), a parent (male or female) murdering their offspring.

    Is it inconceivable that there is nothing anti-feminine about (males or females) thinking that the final one is far worse than the first three? Is it inconceivable that the comments section (comments by females as well as males) would argue as much for the death penalty (if not more) were the murderer a man?

    Apparently those things are inconceivable:
    Rather than attempting to understand the Susan Smith case, rather than applying some mercy, you just exploit the tragedy and use it as an example of the evil nature of women. Your comment section is filled with hateful words condemning her to hell, wanting to see her executed, reveling in your perceived  moral superiority, and dehumanizing women in general.
    Shall we try that one too — and directed at Insanity Bytes?

    "Rather than attempting to understand the Susan Smith case, rather than applying some mercy, you just exploit the tragedy and use it as an example of the evil nature of [men]. Your [post] is filled with hateful words condemning [the three men] to hell, wanting to see [them reviled], reveling in your perceived  moral superiority, and dehumanizing [men] in general."

    Related: In response to news of a husband and father driven to suicide, a feminist writes a screed showing nothing but scorn and mockery

    • More Dalrock writings here…

    Tuesday, August 18, 2015

    Was the 1945 liberation "an explosion of liberty” for French newspapers or a “moment of purge"?

    Alberto Toscano turned a page of a 1780 issue of Journal de Paris, France’s first daily newspaper. He touched the back of the newspaper and then delicately turned it over, savoring the faint, musty smell that rose from the bound book of newspapers that held it.
    Thus writes Elian Peltier in his New York Times article about the man who for the past 30 years has been collecting English- and French-language newspapers dating from the 1960s to as far back as 1673.
    Toscano, a 67-year-old Italian retired journalist living [in Paris], considers his extensive collection of over 100,000 newspapers the best history books he has ever read. About 70 examples from the collection are now on exhibit outside the Paris City Hall until Sept. 15 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II.

     … At the inauguration of the City Hall exhibition last month, Mr. Toscano explained to Anne Hidalgo, the mayor, that with this particular selection, he wanted to show “the explosion of freedom in French journalism after the liberation” of Paris from the Nazis in August 1944.

    The attitude of the French press toward the occupying forces and the Vichy government remains a sensitive topic in France. During the war, newspapers were divided between clandestine publications of the Resistance and collaborationist newspapers that the writer and philosopher Albert Camus called the “shame of our country” in an editorial published in the Resistance journal Combat in August 1944, when he was its editor in chief.

    Patrick Eveno, a French historian of the press based in Paris, said: “The official French newspapers didn’t resist the Germans during the war. They were seen as traitors when Paris was liberated.”
    In 1944, a spate of new publications changed the landscape of the French press, with 92 percent of the newspapers that existed during World War II banned by the government and their resources confiscated for the new publications, Mr. Eveno said. He called the liberation a “moment of purge for newspapers rather than an explosion of liberty.”

    The new press, he said, became too moralizing and editorial, with French people soon tiring of the lack of information. At that time, in several editorials, Camus denounced the laziness of the new newspapers, such as when they would repeatedly announce the death of Hitler or the resignation of Franco at the end of 1944, based only on “hypothetical dispatches or mysterious suppositions.”

    The Paris newspaper exhibition emphasizes the journalistic enthusiasm at the time, with 21 newspapers, including ones that are still published today, like Le Figaro or Le Monde, some printed in black and white and some in color. They vividly depict the momentous news of the day, including the capitulation of Germany and the atomic bombings.
     … the press of that time reflected public opinion, when French society wanted to forget about the years of collaboration with German forces and find a fresh impetus. 

     … Toscano plans to organize a show in 2016 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the 1946 Paris Peace Conference, which led to peace treaties between the Allies and Italy along with several other European countries the following year. He also dreams of putting together an exhibition about the invention of aviation and cars, told through newspapers.

    “Already in the 1880s, newspapers would debate about electric motors, thermic ones or steam engine,” he said. “Looking more at the daily past would light up a lot of today’s debates.”

    Monday, August 17, 2015

    Where there is capitalism, ordinary people are with each passing year better fed, better clothed, better housed, better doctored, better entertained, and better employed

    The genius of the free market is that is replicates the most powerful earthly force—evolution—in the realm of material development. We try new stuff all the time, some variations thrive, and some variations die. Things adapt to their environment—an environment composed of human desire—through millions of tiny, iterative changes. As with the case of biological evolution, those changes are inherently unpredictable.
    Kevin D Williamson makes an important point about the free market (thanks to Instapundit):
    Those of us who favor market-based solutions to social problems don’t do so simply because we don’t like government or the sort of people who go into government, or don’t like to pay taxes, or because we want to create profit opportunities, or because we are on some sort of Taylorist quest for efficiency, whatever “efficiency” means in the current context. What really matters is that in the free market things get better: Where there is capitalism, ordinary people are with each passing year better fed, better clothed, better housed, better doctored, better entertained, and better employed. Better and cheaper and cheaper and better — except where politics inserts its big ugly snout.

    Sunday, August 16, 2015

    At 18 I was fighting the Japanese in Burma

    At 18 I was fighting the Japanese in Burma
    Vic Knibb tells the BBC's Daniel Rosney.
    "It's terrifying," he admits. "War is so frightening - it's a terrible thing.

    "People are trying to kill you and it's no joke. You'd shoot them first and ask questions afterwards."

     … "I wrote a diary and it just said, 'Wrote to parents', 'Slept well' or 'Marched seven miles' or something like that.

    "It's not marching - it's walking through the jungle in virtual single file with potentially the enemy about."

    Vic remembers the day he was shot and narrowly avoided death thanks to his diary.

    "This diary I've got here has a bullet hole in it from where I was shot."

    "We were woken up about half-past four by the Japanese who attacked us.

    "The diary was in my small pack which I was using as a pillow sleeping on the ground and I got this terrific thump on the back of my head."
      • On 15 August 1945 Japan surrendered and it's known as VJ Day - abbreviated from Victory over Japan Day.
      • Some countries mark this day on 2 September, which is when the formal ceremony of surrender happened in Tokyo, Japan's capital.
      • Earlier this year VE Day was marked on 8 May - remembering the day the Nazis surrendered in World War Two.
    A bullet had ripped through the spine of the notebook.

    He says "you just accepted it" when his comrades would die in battle.

    "War is no joke. You're dirty, you're thirsty, you're hungry.

    "You haven't got any news. We didn't know what was happening at all."

    Victory over Japan

    "We got to Rangoon [now Yangon] - Burma's capital - and someone says, 'They've dropped a bomb' and you hear they've surrendered," Vic remembers.

    "We had no idea how big the bomb was. We knew it was an atom bomb but we had no conception what an atom bomb was."

    Read how one woman survived Hiroshima's atomic bomb 

    "There were 26,000 dead young British soldiers in Burma that didn't come back," Vic explains.

    "With the VJ Day coming up it's in the memory of those 26,000 men that didn't come back. If it hadn't been for them the whole history would have changed."

    Making Mountains Out of Molehills and Molehills out of Mountains