Category Archives: The Zeitgeist

The Hideousness Of Humorlessness

Critique, English, Intelligence, The Zeitgeist

On the facts, “The Worst Crimes Against Humanity, Ever” were those of Communism. While being humorless does not come in a close second or even third—it’s still pretty hideous.

In response to the column “The Worst Crimes … “ WND reader “krowbro” (10 hours ago) proved himself a scold and a sourpuss. He quotes this line from my column disapprovingly:

This month, Kim Kardashian and Pope Francis, in order of importance …

The gets that big fat finger of his wagging:

Does this add anything to what would otherwise be a rather insightful commentary? I get the point, Ms. Mercer thinks Pope Francis is inconsequential, but what the heck does that have to do with crimes against humanity? Including snarky snippets like this in one’s commentary detracts from the message and makes one appear sophomoric.

My reply:

No, you don’t get the point of, “This month, Kim Kardashian and Pope Francis, in order of importance …”: This is called humor; cynicism; it’s a quip about a culture in which more people value KK than value the Pontiff. Wit should not need explanation, nor warrant a scolding. Even worse than the importance of KK to our corrupt culture is the inability to “get” an underhanded dig.

What’s so elusive about my sense of humor? Humor is the reason I like Ann Coulter and think she’s immensely talented (even though I disagree with most of her position): She’s witty.


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Thoughts On Flash Forgiveness

Christianity, Judaism & Jews, Justice, Morality, Pop-Culture, Religion, The Zeitgeist

“Thoughts on Flash Forgiveness” is the current column, now on WND. In it I find myself in some agreement with New York Times columnist David Brooks. An excerpt:

… Brooks’ trouble is the breakneck speed in which he shifted into a discussion of forgiveness [for NBC’s Brian Williams]. Is this not premature? Brooks, moreover, is also plain wrong in claiming that transgressors are treated “barbarically” when they “violate a public trust.” In a culture steeped in moral relativism, this is simply untrue. Paris Hilton debuted her public life with a self-adoring pornographic video. It only increased her profile. Likewise Kim Kardashian, who has been bottoms-up ever since her maiden performance. Her sibling, as vulgar, has visited the White House. Barack Obama lied intentionally when he vowed, “You can keep your healthcare if you want to,” but all was forgiven and forgotten. The president’s latest lies are that ISIS is un-Islamic and that “Islam has been woven into the fabric of our country since its founding.” These fables are cut out of whole cloth. The same goes for the web of lies “W” wove on the matter of WMD in Iraq. On and on.

Still, boilerplate Brooks is tempered by some solid points about the need to perform penitence before being granted clemency …

Read the rest. “Thoughts on Flash Forgiveness” is now on WND.


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Underpinnings of Murderous Rage In The Age of Entitlement

Ethics, Morality, Pop-Culture, Pop-Psychology, Pseudoscience, The Zeitgeist

It’s time for the pop-psychology explanations of how an essentially tender soul, Jaylen Fryberg, was pushed to murder classmates at Washington State’s Marysville-Pilchuck High School. First, the carnage, via CNN:

Two girls are in the intensive care unit at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett, and two boys are in ICU at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, Providence spokeswoman Erin Al-Wazan said.
Three are “very critically ill” with “very serious” injuries, she said. One is in serious condition. One of the boys, age 14, suffered a jaw injury. The other, age 15, was critically injured in the head.

“When the mental health mavens appear on the scene, the narrative expands some, but generally retains its idiotic thrust. Having been played for all it’s worth, the-culture-of-violence causal factor has given way to the more in-vogue bullying theory.

Skin-deep qualities have always determined the pecking order in schools. Still, Janis Ian’s haunting 1975 song, “Seventeen,” would not have been written today. Angry teenagers nowadays are simply less inclined to ruminate about their angst, and more likely to act on it. Social justice, they are taught, pivots on redistribution. And redistribution is achieved by making some pay for the lesser fortunes of others. When taught to reject the harsh reality of inequality, of not having everything one covets—the anger of entitlement easily bubbles to the fore. Be it popularity or pulchritude, there is a sense that someone ought to pay for the pain of being without.

Furthermore, where once kids might have seen dignity in a brave and stoic face, now, the cultural cognoscenti have declared these to be pathologies, symptoms of repression and denial. Is it any wonder that some kids—the bad ones, at least—feel that the culture of share-your-feelings-with-the-group gives them permission to take the rage of entitlement to its deadly conclusion?”

From “Three-Step Program To Moral Unaccountability” ©2000 By Ilana Mercer

Some of this creature’s tweets:


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The Genius of Joan

Human Accomplishment, Left-Liberalism, Political Correctness, Pop-Culture, The Zeitgeist

Granted, they aren’t all lousy comedians, but they have ultimately devolved into consummate, banal leftists. Roseanne Barr[f], Sarah Silverman, Kathy Griffin, Chelsea Handler: why are these women and their fare being likened to the genius of Joan Rivers?

Via The New York Times:

On Nancy Reagan’s hairdo: “Bulletproof. If they ever combed it, they’d find Jimmy Hoffa.”

On Charlton Heston: “He told us, ‘I got Alzheimer’s.’ Surprise! He’s been wearing his wig sideways for 19 years.”

On Donatella Versace: “That skin! She looks like something you’d hang off your door in Africa.”

On Sandra Bullock’s Bottega Veneta gown at the Golden Globes: “It looked like Prince’s old prom dress.” (And Tina Fey’s Zac Posen: “A decorative toilet seat cover.”)

On Queen Elizabeth II: “Gowns by Helen Keller.” “Nice looking. Not at all like her stamp. Wears her watch over the glove, though — tacky.”

On herself, desperate for a man: “My parents had a sign, ‘Last girl before thruway.’ I’d get an obscene phone call. I’d say, ‘Hold on a minute, let me get a cigarette.’ ”
Continue reading the main story

Nothing was sacred.

On her husband’s suicide: “After Edgar killed himself, I went out to dinner with Melissa. I looked at the menu and said, ‘If Daddy were here to see these prices, he’d kill himself all over again.’ ”

“Joan Rivers: Antidote to PC Totalitarianism.”


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UPDATE II: Joan Rivers: Antidote to PC Totalitarianism (‘PC Demands Deadly Seriousness’)

Celebrity, Communism, Political Correctness, Pop-Culture, Propaganda, The Zeitgeist

“Joan Rivers: Antidote to PC Totalitarianism” is now on WND. An excerpt:

WARNING: If you suffer from spineless conformity; a deformation of the personality often euphemized as political correctness—quit reading this column, NOW!

If you don’t quite know whether you are thus afflicted, ask yourself this: “Do I police what people say for political propriety? To the extent that I seek it out, do I scrutinize great literature, music, art, television or comedy for signs of so-called sexism, racism, elitism, homophobia, antisemitism and meanness? Am I incapable of appreciating a superbly written script or book; a sublime painting or symphony; a smart stand-up routine, if only because the material and its creator violate the received laws of political correctness?

Still unsure if you belong to the tyrannical, joyless tradition of cultural Marxism, read on. In the event that you convulse with laughter, give yourself a clean bill of health. If you foam at the mouth, fit to be tied, go away. And stay away.

Women who should make themselves scarce but won’t are the prototypical, inquisitor-cum-anchors plaguing leftist “news” networks. Acting anchor-enforcer for Fourth of July was CNN’s unremarkable Fredricka Whitfield. Fredricka What’sHerName’s would have left behind a sustained program of non-achievement. No longer. Henceforth, her claim to fame is that she attempted to re-educate an iconic comedienne, Joan Rivers.

Since cultural Marxists police speech for propriety, if not consciously, then reflexively, they will take pains to stigmatize and isolate those who violate standards set by the PC set. The term re-education is associated with this totalitarianism. It has been used in the context of both brainwashing as well as “reformation” induced in labor camps.

Through a series of loaded, snide taunts, coupled with unhinged body language, the prissy preachy Fredricka set about reeducating her featured guest about the rules of conduct in the post-personality era. “You shall not be mean” (*except to all men and all conservatives and authentic contrarians) is the latest monomania to grip the politically correct.

Alas, as the object of her pelting, Fredricka the fundamentalist was foolish enough to target the wrong funny lady. Rivers is too old and too independent for “rehabilitation.” …

Read the complete column. “Joan Rivers: Antidote to PC Totalitarianism” is now on WND.

Our German readers can now follow this column and other worthy writers in the JUNGE FREIHEIT, a weekly newspaper of excellence.

Editors wishing to feature the “Return to Reason” column in their publications, pixel or paper, please contact Bookings@ilanamercer.com. Or, ilana@ilanamercer.com

UPDATE I (7/13): Writes my mom:

“I so enjoyed your article defending that great American satirist: in bone and blood Joan Rivers is a satirist. In intelligence and wit and comedy she’s far above others, she is a great. Outrageous, I love her.

UPDATE II (7/14): Jack Kerwick has a lovely column on same topic. A quote: “For certain, much of life demands seriousness, but our culture’s prevailing zeitgeist—what we commonly refer to as ‘Political Correctness’ (PC)—demands not seriousness, but deadly seriousness. … Contrary to the conventional wisdom, racial, ethnic, and religious ‘stereotypes’ are most decidedly not fictions sprung from thin air. They reflect enduring patterns among a significant number of a group’s members—even if (as is almost always the case) it is only a significant minority. When these stereotypes reflect positively on a group, all is good. When they are negative, though, there is no end to the inter-group conflict that they can so easily fuel. …”


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Will Microsoft’s New CEO Kill Surface?

Aesthetics, Business, Internet, Technology, The Zeitgeist

Forbes’s Gene Marks contends that Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s New CEO—whom Marks thinks is way cool because, wait for this, Nadella is a “decade younger than his predecessor and looks young for his age”—has effectively killed the Microsoft Surface.

Let me unpack Marks’ “logic”:

Even though The Surface is “a powerful little laptop, lightweight with a Windows 8 touchscreen and a long battery life”; and though this product is “both tablet and laptop and integrates tightly with other Microsoft applications”—Cool-Because-He’s-Young Nadella is to be hailed as brilliant too for sabotaging the future of a magnificent product. It is alleged that Nadella wishes to end Microsoft’s foray into hardware (Surface), and take the company back to the business of software.

“A Windows First policy,” argues Marks, “was the reason behind products like the Surface.”

If, as I understood this terribly hip article, The Surface is more than the software it runs—why reduce the best Tablet in the business to its bits? What about the “Big Idea”?

Not being a techie, I have no idea if Forbes’s Gene Marks is being plain silly, or if silly is the new norm in the media’s tech coverage. I suspect the two are not mutually exclusive. (“A silly society is a youth-obsessed society.” Youth-obsessed U.S is silly.)

In its hipness, the Forbes article reminds me of that grating, pretentious Cisco ad, in which a female with a deceptively soft voice waffles about the Internet of All Things (WTF?!).

But I guess I’m still from the Book Age. Behold a throwback: a wall-to-wall library, or half of it, as I could not get the entire thing in the frame. Sean made this solid maple thing to my mid-century American, Heywood-Wakefield design specs (more):

Bookcase I


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