Category Archives: Celebrity

American Justices Should Be Less Notorious, Even Anonymous

America, Celebrity, Federalism, Justice, Law, Pop-Culture, The Courts

About the stardom Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a quiet, reclusive and rather thoughtful jurist, achieved, the Economist writes:

AT THE TIME of her death, Ruth Bader Ginsburg featured on more than 3,000 pieces of memorabilia which were for sale on Amazon.com. Fans of “Notorious RBG” could buy earrings, mugs, babygrows, fitness manuals and Christmas decorations (“Merry Resistmas!”), all bearing her face.
something has gone wrong with America’s system of checks and balances. The United States is the only democracy in the world where judges enjoy such celebrity, or where their medical updates are a topic of national importance. This fascination is not healthy.

The Supreme Court is not elected. Yet its power is ultimately founded on the trust and consent of Americans who believe that its decisions are impartial and grounded in law, not party. The more brazenly parties attempt to capture it as the choicest political prize, the less legitimate it will be. Imagine that a court judgment determines who wins November’s election. …

There is a better way. America is the only democracy where judges on the highest court have unlimited terms. In Germany constitutional-court judges sit for 12 years. If America had 18-year non-renewable terms, each four-year presidency would yield two new justices. It would end the spectacle of judges trying to game the ideology of their successor by choosing when they retire. And it would help make the court a bit less central to American politics—and thus more central to American law. Justice Ginsburg was a great jurist. A fitting tribute to this notorious judge would be to make her the court’s last superstar. ?

The problem is that the entire federal system is broken, in tatters. It’s now down to brute-force tactics, to winning. Bader Ginburg knew it. “In her dissents she sometimes appealed to Congress to correct the law.” She didn’t necessarily think it was SCOTUS’ role.  (See: Obituary.)

At heart she was still what she had always been, a judicial minimalist. She was stunned by the lack of caution in the Roe v Wade ruling of 1973 that legalised abortion; though she certainly approved of the outcome, reform should have come through state legislatures, where it was slowly starting to appear. She was shocked too when the court, while upholding Obamacare, found it illegal under the commerce clause of the constitution; that had been Congress’s domain since the 1930s. In her dissents she sometimes appealed to Congress to correct the law and occasionally, to her delight, it did.

SEE: “How to make American judges less notorious: Supreme Court judges should be term-limited

UPDATED (9/23): Americans Importing Black Babies

Celebrity, Critique, Culture, Ethics, Family, Race, Relatives

Mitt Romney’s son did it. So did Madonna. Angelina Jolie pioneered the social art of color-coding her family, even disclosing her intention to acquire a designer, United Colors of Benetton family. About her quest for color-coordinated couture kids she said this to Anderson Cooper:

We don’t know which—which country. But we’re looking at different countries. And we’re—I’m just—it’s gonna be the balance of what would be the best for Mad[dox] and for Z. right now. It’s, you know, another boy, another girl, which country, which race would fit best with the kids.

Clearly, some of the most sanctimonious, white, virtue-preeners around us go abroad in search of black kids to adopt. It’s almost as though these people seek an amulet with which to elevate and immunize themselves against any fault-finding. Look at me: I’m perfect.

There is so much poverty in the US, in general. There is so much child poverty in the US, in particular. There is so much poverty among white American children. On the facts, adopting across racial lines often proves to be fraught for both adopted and adopting parties. A minefield of sorts.

Amy Coney Barrett, a much-touted candidate for the Supreme Court, has a child or two from Haiti. Is one ever permitted to question public figures who sidestep their country’s poor, and go in search of kids with more exotic identities? Can we even ask?

UPDATE (9/23): Our reader below instructs that we dare not pose questions about a cohort that is distinguished by its phoniness. No can’t do.

I doubt very much that Madonna is able to love anyone but herself. Check out the demeaning way in which she displays the poor kid. The black child looks like a gangster, not like a girl, tongue hanging out, gesturing, while Madonna decks herself up to look feminine. Unkind. Horrid.

 

UPDATE III (9/30/020): The Meta On ‘Cancel-Culture King’ Ben Shapiro

Celebrity, Conservatism, Critique, Free Speech, Political Philosophy

From his comfy perch alongside establishment conservatives, Ben Shapiro regularly whinges about the de-platforming of members of his center-right, ideological cabal. This, as he vilifies and ostracizes those on the alt- and dissident right.

Understand, Ben. It’s all in the meta: Your methods are of a piece with the methods of the Left. For you can’t claim to support unfettered speech if you actively work to fetter those whose speech you abhor.

The Alt-Right asks questions. This is not despicable, as Mr. Shapiro terms the faction. The Alt-Left throws punches. This is despicable:

Daily Wire puff piece about its own editor here.

More me on Ben-Shap here.

Ben Shapiro Attacks The Dissident Right.

The Great Lady herself. Ms. Malkin knows that Ben-Shap deceives people into thinking he’s really smart by going “300 RPM”:

Conservatives are most certainly interested in cancelling conservatives and libertarians to their right.  Ben Shapiro is the “king of such cancellation culture,” as Ms. Malkin points out. And she is still standing, railing against the “two-faced pundits and keyboard warriors.” Bravo!

America First is why Shapiro, who is ConInc subsidized, tried to cancel Michelle. “There is no money in telling the truth (don’t I know it: was cancelled 20 years ago). … The young men Ben-Shap opposes pose a threat to his business model.” David Rubin is another intellectual mediocrity. True again. Been saying this for years.

UPDATE I (8/2/020):

UPDATE II (9/25): Ben Shapiro says “the 2ndAmendment only applies to ‘guns that are in common use’ and that if the #guns are not determined by government officials to be in common use, that they can “theoretically be restricted by the state.”

UPDATE II (9/30): Ben on the first presidential debate. 

NEW COLUMN: H.L. Mencken: Misfit In 21st-Century America

America, Celebrity, Critique, Human Accomplishment, Intelligence, Journalism, Literature

NEW COLUMN IS “H.L. Mencken: Misfit In 21st-Century America.” It first appeared in American Greatness (which is shaping up to be the most courageous webzine on the intellectually honest, hard Right).

The column is now on WND.COM and the Unz Review.

An excerpt:

…  Written at a considerable level of abstraction, for a prosaic people that, by Mencken’s estimation, “cannot grasp an abstraction,” a Mencken essay is certain to furrow the brow of the above-average American reader, writer and editor nowadays. Unlike the tracts disgorged by Conservatism, Inc., the least complicated of Mencken’s editorial writings would place excessive demands on the unsupple minds of young activists, who are busy striking a selfie on social media or running to CPUKE conferences.

Indeed, ideas are in retreat; and the incremental and steady “closing of the American mind” is on the march. By virtue of the unsettling, bracing originality of his ideas, Mencken is rendered as inaccessible to the American reader as an alien from deep space.

While Mencken’s libertarian acolytes and admirers focus on his disdain for The State as the leitmotif of his writings—Mencken’s war on the “dishonest, insane, intolerable and tyrannical” U.S. government was, arguably, the least controversial thread in his voluminous oeuvre.

Mencken’s grasp of government as a predatory, “regimenting” force that fleeces the citizen without flinching; that could and does “safely strip [the individual] to his hide”; a “gang well-nigh immune to punishment”—these, nowadays, are the most acceptable of Mencken’s thoughts.

What would make Mencken an outcast to the turgid minds dominating the current marketplace of ideas is his disdain for the “intellectually underprivileged” American electorate, whom he called the “boobs.” As Mencken saw it, Boobus Americanus, so easily and reliably “impressed and enchanted” by the political scoundrels, was largely to blame for why nowhere in the world was government more secure than in the United States. Americans were simply the “most timorous, sniveling, poltroonsish, ignominious mob of serfs and goose-steppers ever gathered under one flag …”

“A glorious commonwealth of morons,” Mencken called America. “The American moron’s mind”—this “mob-man’s” mentality—is that of a “violent nationalist and patriot,” to whom ideas are a menace, and who would always opt “to keep his Ford, even at the cost of losing the Bill of Rights.”

These are all Mencken’s words, not mine.

It was Mencken against America, then, to paraphrase the scholar Thomas W. Hazlett. And it would be Mencken against America today.

More so than his anti-statism and strong, spare prose—so different from today’s insipid, anemic, meandering commentary—Mencken shattered every conceivable totem and taboo of American life. It is this so-called anti-Americanism that would make Mencken unpalatable and unemployable in our times.

In a word, being a man of ideas is what would render Mencken a misfit among his countrymen. For, as Mencken saw them, Americans were congenitally and “implacably hostile to” the very things that made him tick: “novel ideas and points of view.” “Everything American,” mocked Mencken, is characterized by “a great distrust of ideas” … and “a harsh fidelity to a few fixed beliefs,” most of which Mencken derided.

Let me count the ways. …

… REMEMBER: THIS IS MENCKEN Unadorned:

READ “H.L. Mencken: Misfit In 21st-Century America,” on American Greatness , WND.COM, and the Unz Review.