Saturday, July 04, 2015

Teddy's Rough Riders Sing Garryowen As They Head Towards the Battlefield

There are only a handful of war movies and/or historical films that portray the men that fight battles realistically, and two of them — both "starring" Theodore Roosevelt (The Wind and the Lion and Rough Riders) — are by John Milius. "Rough Riders" is an unforgettable film on the events of the Spanish-American War and it is too bad that more movies cannot be like this or like films such as Zulu, Gettysburg, or The Longest Day.

In this brilliant outtake that shows the pathos of the departure to the front, the troops of Teddy Roosevelt's (Tom Berenger's) 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry fall in under the orders of Captain Bucky O'Neill (Sam Elliott) for the train ride east across the South to Florida (for embarkation to Cuba), discovering in the process that the wounds of the Civil War (or the War Between the States, to make everybody happy) have started to heal, all to the tune of Garryowen, stunningly sung by Elan Oberon (who happens to be Milius' wife).

If there are DVDs that all Americans (hell, that all people everywhere) should own, this is one of them — don't miss other outstanding portrayals, notably Marshall Teague as Black Jack Pershing and Gary Busey, utterly outstanding in the role of Fighting Joe Wheeler.

(Thanks to Hervé for all his work in creating this video)


Happy Fourth of July: Some Thoughts on American Patriotism…

Some Independence Day links for your perusal (obrigado per Sarah Hoyt).

And Some Thoughts on American Patriotism

 … Following 911, I expected French friends and acquaintances of mine who came back from visits to the U.S. to return with some sense of respect or admiration. Don't kid yourselves! Many shared the same tone of exasperation and disbelief in their voices: How can one be so patriotic (that is, so superstitious)?

It was a rhetorical question, and some were surprised that I answered it. My answer was that I didn't know what they are talking about. What happens when one goes to the United States? One sees a lot of flags and… That's about it. Ain't that right? One does not see hysterical demonstrations walking down the avenues. One does not see signs reading "Down with the Taliban" or "Death to Iraq". One does not hear the "cowboys" shout "Vive la guerre!" I have not seen many Americans set fire to Iraqi or Afghan (or Vietnamese) flags. I don't remember seeing any throw tomatoes or molotov cocktails on the Soviet or Chinese embassies.

When one points out that George W Bush made a speech in an American mosque, or that he observed Ramadan, or that he spoke of a Marshall Plan for Afghanistan, the reaction is only horse laughter or scorn, because of course — of course! — it can only be a sham. (As it happens, it is not in America that mosques [or synagogues] are burnt down at alarming rates.)

In January 2002, the Council of American-Islamic Relations put the responsability of eight murders on reactions to the events of September 11. The authorities could only confirm one of those, at the most two, as motivated by anti-Arab hatred. In any case, one is far from that fear (expressed in America as well as elsewhere) that Americans, as a people, would lump Muslims in general together with the terrorists (faire l'amalgame) and unleash a wave of terror against the Muslim population of their country. (Once more, the Europeans hold that without their precious advice, unthinking Americans could only act irresponsibly — how modest of those Europeans.)

We have seen many a time on this weblog that by simply doing a little digging, it appears that so-called humanistic activists (whether in the shape of intellectuals, groups, national leaders, or countries) are not as neutral, idealistic, and lucid as they seem to believe themselves, but present many an inconsistency, often more than the Americans they criticize. Thus it is with patriotism as well. In contrast to the irony expressed when dealing with American patriotism (and that of other Western countries), they seem often to lose all their marbles when confronted with the national pride of developing countries. They can only marvel when third-world countries (or, rather, their unelected leaders) evoke "national aspirations" and the construction and the future of their nations.

In the aftermath of 911, then, Americans unfurled the Stars and Stripes, voiced their support for the acting president, and pulled up their sleeves to go to work. Insofar as this character trait is supposed to provoke ridicule, I find it rather solemn and low key. And there is nothing new about this. In fact, the journalist Arthur Higbee, a Pacific War veteran, wrote in the International Herald Tribune that after Pearl Harbour, America's attitude was even more low key.
Very few people hung out flags, and nobody wore a flag lapelpin. No flag-waving was needed. The tone of the nation was one of grim determination. Recruiting offices were overflowing.
"Grim determination": there is a better description of patriotic America, today and in the past, than Dana Burde's pacifist caricature which was praised by Le Monde ("the loud cries demanding war and vengeance, combined with media censorship, have almost drowned out the few voices of the left" [the only voices filled with reason and understanding, of course, you realize]) — a caricature which has been eagerly repeated day in and day out in the French media, in the European media, and in the Arab media for years.

But it is not only in wartime that American patriotism is low-key. While many countries favor solemn military parades on their national holidays, or at least a predominant role for the military, the Fourth of July is, above all things, a party. Oh, of course there is the flag ceremony, with a handful of military people present from each service — army, navy, air force, marines — but it's above all a party, with barbecueing (hotdogs, burgers, spare ribs, etc), games, and fireworks.

And if the military — and veterans — have a special place at the festivities, whether on July Fourth or other holidays, they are only a piece of the puzzle which also includes bands, pompon girls, floats, ethnic pride groups, cowboys, Indians, and clowns — I've seen a parade where the marching soldiers were preceded, followed, and surrounded by dozens of clowns. (Try that on the Champs-Élysées, in Red Square, on at Tien An Men!)

As I write this — 4 juillet oblige — I am listening to the Jingle Cats sing The Star-Spangled Banner and Yankee Doodle Dandy. For some reason, I have trouble imagining a lucid Frenchman, a down-to-earth Russian, or a wise Chinese person setting their national anthems to cats' meows. Non, their wailing takes other, less enjoyable, directions.

Wailing Europeans and other Uncle Sam detractors ought to make sure they keep their droning continuous and never-ending. Because, if instead of endlessly lamenting the distressing state of Americans' patriotism, they were to shut up and try and study it a little more closely and a little more rationally, they might come to believe that Yankee patriotism is not so mystical, or frightening, or perilous, as is commonly believed. Then they would have less to wail about. Can you imagine that!? Wouldn't that be awful?!

As for me, for some reason, I prefer the laughter and the joy of the American spirit.

Happy Fourth of July, everybody!

Friday, July 03, 2015

"Criminalizing millions of Americans overnight": those pushing a neo-Victorian code of sexual conduct are on the Left

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve increasingly had the experience of saying things that would have been considered pieties in the liberal catechism when I was young—and which now will get you labeled as a howling reactionary 
muses Robert Tracinski.
 … The left had the reputation of being defenders of free speech, for example, but it was always something of a case of “free speech for me but not for thee.” They were all in favor of “questioning authority”—until they became the authorities.

More important, the left has moved farther to the left, leaving moderate “liberalism” behind and embracing a more consistent, authoritarian collectivism.
Robert Tracinski goes on to list Seven Liberal Pieties That Only the Right Still Believes (thanks to Instapundit). Number 3 goes thusly:

3) Government should stay out of the bedroom.

This was one of the big selling points for the liberals. Conservatives were scary religious zealots who wanted to tell you what music you should listen to, censor your movies and television shows, and worst of all, invade your bedroom and tell you who could sleep with and what you could do with them.
It was all a bit overblown and it wasn’t as simplistic a partisan narrative as you might remember. (The campaign against rock music lyrics, for example, was spearheaded by Tipper Gore, wife of then-Senator Al Gore.) But there’s little doubt that things have changed, and now it’s the left that is pushing a neo-Victorian code of sexual conduct.
I remember during Bill Clinton’s impeachment, when Ken Starr released a report poring over the details of Clinton’s sordid encounters with Monica Lewinsky, how creepy all the liberals thought it was for a prosecutor to examine every detail of other people’s sexual encounters, like some kind of peeping Tom. Yet this is now the exact system set up on every college campus, which is prepared to produce a Starr Report for every drunken hook-up.

And the crazy ideas that start on campus have a tendency to escape from the asylum. Thus, the Washington Examiner‘s Ashe Schow reports that the campus system of “yes means yes,” in which lovers must receive express permission for every minor stage of a sexual act or risk being prosecuted by a regretful partner after the fact, is now being proposed as the legal model for criminal prosecution nationwide. As Schow puts it, this is a standard “so stringent that it would criminalize millions of Americans overnight,” and is “part of a push to bring authoritarianism into the bedroom.”

And it’s not just what goes on behind closed doors. Every statement about sex, every public depiction of anything that remotely connotes sex—from movies to music to video games—has to be loaded up with social and political significance and policed for evidence of forbidden sexual attitudes.

These days, if you want to hear someone tell everyone to lighten up when it comes to sex and to stop making everything a crime, you’re far more likely to hear that from the right. Frankly, there are a lot of us who are just wishing we could hear less about what is going on in everybody else’s bedrooms.
Indeed, take a look at Elizabeth Nolan Brown's Reason article:
The biggest threat to sex as we know it is the coming revision of U.S. sex-crime laws. For a glimpse into this frightening future, look no further than Judith Shulevitz's latest in The New York Times. Shulevitz chronicles how "affirmative consent" (the principle, often referred to as "yes means yes," that the mere absence of a "no" is not sufficient permission to proceed sexually) has been quietly spreading from California universities to colleges across the country, and could soon mutate out of academia entirely.

 … "The traditional premise in the law has been that individuals are presumed to be sexually available and willing to have intercourse—with anyone, at any time, at any place—in the absence of clear indications to the contrary," states ALI. The new model "posits, to the contrary, that in the absence of affirmative indications of a person’s willingness to engage in sexual activity, such activity presumably is not desired."
Mind you, these are not conservative prudes; these are not Americans in general; who these people are are the leftists who are allegedly open, and tolerant, and against the prudes.
The draft guidelines drew strong criticism from some members, including law professors and lecturers from the University of Pittsburgh, Duke University, Rutgers, Harvard, and Georgetown University. "If there is political consensus on anything in the United States today, it is the consensus that our government has overcriminalized and overincarcerated the American public," they write. Yet "against this political consensus and judicial backdrop, the current ALI draft is an extreme deviation, focused on expanding criminal sanctions for sexual behavior."

 … "None of this is inadvertent or the result of loose drafting," the lawyers and professors suggest.
To the contrary, the intentionality of the draft is fully disclosed in the announcement that its purpose is to create very expansive statutes and standards with a "default position" of overcriminalization

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Look around the world and you’ll find that America is the most tolerant and open society on earth

  … despite what Obama says, racism is not passed along in DNA through the generations 
writes Katie Pavlich (thanks to Instapundit), echoing Dennis Prager.
 If that were the case, America wouldn’t be the tolerant, multi-racial country it is today.

Yes, America, like the vast majority of the rest of the world, at one time participated in slavery. While the sin of slavery is not justified, it is important to acknowledge that the sin of slavery isn’t a uniquely American sin, but rather one of mankind throughout the course of history. Further, owning slaves is not a sin unique to white people; in fact, black Africans sold other blacks into slavery (and still do today). Slavery is uniquely human, but societies and countries that respect human dignity, like America, have stopped the horrifying practice.

America had the dignity to end slavery through a civil war and has since moved forward to correct wrongs with the civil rights movement, affirmative action, legislation, pop culture and much more. Institutional racism is no longer prevalent in the ways the left claims. Obama, elected twice by American voters, is black, as is former Attorney General Eric Holder and current Attorney General Loretta Lynch. There are a number of blacks serving in the U.S. Congress, including Republican Sen. Tim Scott (S.C.) and Congresswoman Mia Love (Utah). The likes of Oprah Winfrey and Beyoncé are business and pop culture icons.

Look around the world and you’ll find that America is the most tolerant and open society on earth. The World Values Survey shows India, not the United States, is in fact the most racist country with a class system. The same survey has shown for years that Americans are among the least racist in the world and therefore are the most tolerant.

Do racists exist in this country? Of course they do. Is their racism sanctioned by the government and celebrated by fellow citizens? Absolutely not. In fact, the Charleston shooter (who I refuse to name) told friends he felt isolated and alone in his evil, racist views. That’s a silver lining. As a society we have corrected many of the wrongs of slavery and racism, the individuals who have not corrected their racist views are an innumerable minority roundly and strongly condemned by the rest of society.

The Charleston shooter’s feelings about race are the exception, not the rule, in this country. This is demonstrated by the response in Charleston of blacks and whites holding hands and coming together, not apart, to honor the memory of those who were killed.

America isn’t a racist country, not even close, and it certainly isn’t a “white supremacist” society. The left falsely saying so promotes not progress but division. American history includes slavery and racism, but its current status and future as a whole does not.

The people who lost loved ones at Emanuel AME Church have forgiven their killer. It’s time the left does the same with America for her long past sins.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

"Please let it be a white guy, please let it be a white guy!" White guy terrorism is the media’s favorite story; It’s Islamic terror stories that journalists report only grudgingly

Former White House “green jobs czar” Van Jones joined a vast chorus last week when he voiced his opinion that a double standard exists in the way we discuss white guy terrorism versus other varieties 
writes B A Duffy on Accuracy in Media. (Gee, Ben, it seems like it's been such a long time since you've authored anything, can't we get posts from you to read more often?!)
Jones, who is a 9/11 truther, a self-described communist, and a supporter of convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal, sounded about as cogent as usual when he tweeted: “I call on the media to use the terms ‘white racist’ + ‘terrorist’ with same force & ease that we would use terms ‘Muslim’ + ‘terrorist.’”

How insightful of him. Hmmm…could the Charleston shooter be the benefactor of #whiteprivilege?
The main problem with Jones’s shallow analysis is that plenty of people are calling Dylann Roof a terrorist. Like most people on the Left, Jones is calling Roof a terrorist within the context of wondering why no one else dares to call him a terrorist. He singles out the media, as if they have been reluctant to slap Dylann Roof with the T-word. They haven’t.
 … Clearly, Gladstone, The New York Times, CNN, and pretty much everyone else believes that the Charleston shooting was terrorism. So do I, by the way, though I’m not prattling on about how no one is saying what everyone is saying.

If Van Jones wants to find a double standard in this story, I could point him in the right direction. Answer me this, Van: if “black lives matter” why do the media only care when the killer is white? Why was Kermit Gosnell’s dead baby factory a “local crime story” virtually ignored by the mainstream press? Why don’t gangland murders get the same coverage as the Charleston shooting?

Jones’s other premise—that reporters couple the words “Muslim” and “terrorist” with ease—is even less supportable. Many news outlets are scared to use those words together, nearly as scared as Jones’s former boss, Barack Obama.

When Jones says that the media are quick to label Muslim violence “terror,” I think of MSNBC’s Contessa Brewer. After a Pakistani man named Faisal Shahzad attempted to blow Times Square to smithereens in 2010, Ms. Brewer appeared on the liberal Stephanie Miller Show. “I get frustrated…” she said. “There was part of me that was hoping this was not going to be anybody with ties to any kind of Islamic country.”

Please let it be a white guy, please let it be a white guy…

Brewer continued: “…There are a lot of people who want to use terrorist intent to justify writing off people who believe in a certain way or come from certain countries or whose skin color is a certain way. I mean they use it as justification for really outdated bigotry.” Interestingly, that’s exactly what’s happened in the wake of the Charleston shooting and her former network is leading the charge.

Don’t let Van Jones fool you—white guy terrorism is the media’s favorite story. It’s Islamic terror stories that journalists report only grudgingly, often conjuring up alternative explanations to make the jihad angle disappear. When Major Nidal Hasan shot 45 people at Fort Hood in 2009, the media went into overdrive trying to find a motive other than Islam. They were hoping for a crazed Iraq vet story, preferably one that implicated a white male. As luck would have it, the perpetrator was a soldier! Unfortunately, he was also a Palestinian-American, a Muslim, and a psychiatrist who had never deployed. The media tried their best to convince the public that Hasan had contracted “secondary PTSD” from listening to actual combat veterans tell grisly war stories. Clearly, they intended to deal with Hasan’s problematic religious affiliation by rendering it coincidental.

 … The BBC is particularly shy about calling Muslim terror by its name. Their policy is to be very, very careful with the T-word because it can be a “difficult and emotive subject with significant political overtones.” … the BBC uses the word “terrorism” sparingly…to describe right-wing bombers, or to ask why everyone isn’t using that word to describe Dylann Roof. Yes, the BBC had its own column lamenting the fact that no one is using the term “terrorist” in relation to the Charleston massacre. No one except everyone.

What a truly curious phenomenon—pundits across the media spectrum are demanding to know why no one will use the T-word to describe the Charleston shooter, when in fact nearly everyone is using that exact word.

 … As I’ve learned from watching the news, there is no Muslim terrorism, only occasional acts of terrorism committed by people who happen to be Muslim. White racist terrorism, on the other hand, is very real indeed.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

For this Supreme Court, extremism in the pursuit of the Sexual Revolution’s goals is no vice; and LGBT activists and their fellow travelers will be coming after social conservatives

…I think it's time we ask ourselves if we still know the freedoms that were intended for us by the founding fathers.

Not too long ago, two friends of mine were talking to a Cuban refuge — a businessman who had escaped from Castro — and in the midst of his story, one of my friends turned to the other and said, "We don't know how lucky we are!" And the Cuban stopped and said, "How lucky you are?! I had some place to escape to…"

And in that sentence, he told us the entire story. If we lose freedom here, there is no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth…
Almost 50 years later, Ronald Reagan's A Time for Choosing warning of 1964 seems to have came to pass, its content unheeded by hundreds of thousands of citizens "taught" by state schools, and Rod Drehere has the depressing details (thanks to Ed Driscoll):
No, the sky is not falling — not yet, anyway — but with the Supreme Court ruling constitutionalizing same-sex marriage, the ground under our feet has shifted tectonically.

It is hard to overstate the significance of the Obergefell decision — and the seriousness of the challenges it presents to orthodox Christians and other social conservatives. Voting Republican and other failed culture war strategies are not going to save us now.

Discerning the meaning of the present moment requires sobriety, precisely because its radicalism requires of conservatives a realistic sense of how weak our position is in post-Christian America.

The alarm that the four dissenting justices sounded in their minority opinions is chilling. Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Antonin Scalia were particularly scathing in pointing out the philosophical and historical groundlessness of the majority’s opinion. Justice Scalia even called the decision “a threat to democracy,” and denounced it, shockingly, in the language of revolution.

It is now clear that for this Court, extremism in the pursuit of the Sexual Revolution’s goals is no vice. True, the majority opinion nodded and smiled in the direction of the First Amendment, in an attempt to calm the fears of those worried about religious liberty. But when a Supreme Court majority is willing to invent rights out of nothing, it is impossible to have faith that the First Amendment will offer any but the barest protection to religious dissenters from gay rights orthodoxy.

Indeed, Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito explicitly warned religious traditionalists that this decision leaves them vulnerable. Alito warns that Obergefell “will be used to vilify Americans who are unwilling to assent to the new orthodoxy,” and will be used to oppress the faithful “by those who are determined to stamp out every vestige of dissent.”

The warning to conservatives from the four dissenters could hardly be clearer or stronger. So where does that leave us?

For one, we have to accept that we really are living in a culturally post-Christian nation. The fundamental norms Christians have long been able to depend on no longer exist. To be frank, the court majority may impose on the rest of the nation a view widely shared by elites, but it is also a view shared by a majority of Americans. There will be no widespread popular resistance to Obergefell. This is the new normal.

For another, LGBT activists and their fellow travelers really will be coming after social conservatives. The Supreme Court has now, in constitutional doctrine, said that homosexuality is equivalent to race. The next goal of activists will be a long-term campaign to remove tax-exempt status from dissenting religious institutions. The more immediate goal will be the shunning and persecution of dissenters within civil society. After today, all religious conservatives are Brendan Eich, the former CEO of Mozilla who was chased out of that company for supporting California’s Proposition 8.

Third, the Court majority wrote that gays and lesbians do not want to change the institution of marriage, but rather want to benefit from it. This is hard to believe, given more recent writing from gay activists like Dan Savage expressing a desire to loosen the strictures of monogamy in all marriages. Besides, if marriage can be redefined according to what we desire — that is, if there is no essential nature to marriage, or to gender — then there are no boundaries on marriage. Marriage inevitably loses its power.

In that sense, social and religious conservatives must recognize that the Obergefell decision did not come from nowhere. It is the logical result of the Sexual Revolution, which valorized erotic liberty. It has been widely and correctly observed that heterosexuals began to devalue marriage long before same-sex marriage became an issue. The individualism at the heart of contemporary American culture is at the core of Obergefell — and at the core of modern American life.

This is profoundly incompatible with orthodox Christianity. But this is the world we live in today.

One can certainly understand the joy that LGBT Americans and their supporters feel today. But orthodox Christians must understand that things are going to get much more difficult for us. We are going to have to learn how to live as exiles in our own country. We are going to have to learn how to live with at least a mild form of persecution. And we are going to have to change the way we practice our faith and teach it to our children, to build resilient communities.

It is time for what I call the Benedict Option. In his 1982 book After Virtue, the eminent philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre likened the current age to the fall of ancient Rome. He pointed to Benedict of Nursia, a pious young Christian who left the chaos of Rome to go to the woods to pray, as an example for us.

…/… Last fall, I spoke with the prior of the Benedictine monastery in Nursia, and told him about the Benedict Option. So many Christians, he told me, have no clue how far things have decayed in our aggressively secularizing world. The future for Christians will be within the Benedict Option, the monk said, or it won’t be at all.

Obergefell is a sign of the times, for those with eyes to see. This isn’t the view of wild-eyed prophets wearing animal skins and shouting in the desert. It is the view of four Supreme Court justices, in effect declaring from the bench the decline and fall of the traditional American social, political, and legal order. …/…

Monday, June 29, 2015

French Female Sex Therapist: "A Man Who Rapes a Woman Is Looking for Love"

In America, you would never hear the end of it, as she would be crucified on the public square.

Interviewed by Voici's Sophie Brugeille, Brigitte Lahaie is a former porn star turned sex therapist (most lately on RMC radio).

When asked why she speaks so much about feelings in her book with Bruno Martin, the author of Love and You! (Why Women Love While Men Lust) answers that
Even when a man rapes a woman, it is a search for love. Mind you, that in no way justifies the act. But we can not understand sexuality if it is separated from tenderness.
Dans votre livre, vous parlez beau­coup de senti­ments…

Mais parce que c’est lié ! Même un homme qui viole une femme, c’est une recherche d’amour. Atten­tion, ça ne justi­fie en rien l’acte. Mais on ne peut pas comprendre la sexua­lité si on la sépare de l’af­fect. 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Being socialist at heart, France offers completely free Wi-Fi access at some of its popular tourist attractions and beauty spots

France is famous for its sense of tradition, like two-hour lunches, August holidays and resistance to any attempts to modernise its language 
muses Mark Johnson,
but its approach to the modern never fails to delight me either.

 … I was delighted to discover the other week … that France, being socialist at heart, does in fact offer completely free Wi-Fi access at some of its popular tourist attractions and beauty spots.

We were wandering around the lovely little park in the middle of the Place des Vosges, when we stumbled across this tiny little ‘Keep off the grass’ style sign, planted quietly and discreetly by a tree, which read ‘Paris Wi-fi’.

It was too good a moment to pass up, so we sat down on the grass, with all the other Parisians and spent a good hour tweeting and texting, while we soaked up the sun and admired the impressive, ancient architecture of one of the city’s oldest squares.

Paris Wi-Fi, as it is known, has more than 250 locations in the centre of the city, and is usually very reliable. Of course, best of all is the fact you don’t even have to buy a coffee to get online.