Category Archives: The Zeitgeist

YoutTube: THAT KISS

Canada, Feminism, Gender, Political Correctness, Pop-Culture, Sex, The Zeitgeist

In “THAT KISS,” I share impressions about “one of the most enchanting, culturally significant little video clips I’ve seen for a long time,” featuring two adorable young people in Toronto’s Trinity Bellwoods Park, and I praise CTV News anchor Nathan Downer for airing this COVID-unfriendly, “non-consensual kiss.”

HERE IS THE VIDEO DISCUSSED: https://youtu.be/rDCI_rY1WzM

BACKDROP STORY: https://www.thestar.com/life/2020/05/22/ctv-issues-apology-after-video-shows-non-consensual-kiss.html

CORRECTION. MY BAD: Instead of  “Nathan Downer apologized for intuitively ‘ruining,’ the video clip,” I should have said “running,” obviously.

UPDATED (4/27/020): NEW: Remembering H. L. Mencken

America, Argument, Democracy, English, Journalism, Literature, The Zeitgeist

NEW: The excerpt is from my “Remembering H. L. Mencken,” at Chronicles magazine.

H.L. Mencken (1880-1956) may no longer seem relevant, but that is not his fault. Mencken was a well-read  bon vivant with a taste for Teutonic philosophy and a fidelity to what he understood as truth. He was also a brilliant satirist, a longtime writer for the Baltimore Sun, and editor
of The American Mercury. His facility with the English idiom  and grasp of intellectual history are unsurpassed. How can an aristocratic individualist like Mencken appeal to an age which makes idols out of equality and “democracy”?

He can’t and shouldn’t.

Henry Louis Mencken was a contrarian polemicist and consummate critic, who wrote prolifically and prodigiously from 1899 until 1948. It is inconceivable that he would appeal to our bumper crops of humorless, dour social justice warriors. He couldn’t possibly resonate with those who are afraid to question received opinion, left and right, who cannot conjugate a verb correctly, use tenses, prepositions, and adjectives grammatically and creatively, or appreciate a clever turn of phrase.

How can Mencken, author of The American Language (1919), be relevant in an America that regards the rules of syntax as passé, politicizes and neuters pronouns, and employs “editors” who think nothing of letting mangled phrases and lumpen jargon spill onto the page like
gravy over a tablecloth? …

… READ ON. Remembering H. L. Mencken” is at Chronicles magazine, now edited by paleoconservative thinker, my friend Paul Gottfried.

https://tinyurl.com/tlopcon

UPDATE (4/27/020):

Haven’t yet read this, but my guess is that American Conservative didn’t cite our
Chronicles Mag piece, “Remembering H. L. Mencken by ilana mercer.” Just a guess, based on, err, history:

American Society’s Unnatural Attitude to Aging Naturally

Culture, Ethics, Family, Morality, Pop-Psychology, Psychiatry, Relatives, The Zeitgeist

In “No Country for Old Age,” The Hedgehog Review’s Joseph E. Davis writes, in essence, of the cruel biological reductionism and medicalization of old age, a natural stage of life that ought to be valued:

“When it comes to old age, illness, and death, little remains to us of common meaning or shared social rituals.”

Here are some of many profundities excerpted:

… In our society, to come directly to my point, old age is understood and framed in ways that lead inevitably to its devaluation. Its status is low and arguably is falling.
… old age [is seen as having] no value in itself. ‘Old’ signifies bodily decline, while “success” involves a ceaseless battle to defeat degeneration, and hope is always invested in the prospect of overcoming limits through self-reliance and technological interventions.

There is no space here for stillness or release, no sense of value or consolation in the evening of life. Even cultivating spirituality is framed instrumentally in terms of promoting ‘better physical and mental health in old age.’ An imperative to defeat aging and even death can only consign these realities to fear, shame, and avoidance.

…Representations of old age that add censure and shame to greater dependence and loss of one’s powers can only make matters worse.

… the sociologist Norbert Elias argues that, over time, these weakened bonds and other common features of the later years have been compounded by increased individualization and the isolation of the “ageing and dying from the community of the living.” In contemporary society, Elias argues, older people are “pushed more and more behind the scenes of social life,” a process that intensifies their devaluation, emotional seclusion, and loss of social significance. A physical and institutional sequestering and a pervasive cultural tendency to “conceal the irrevocable finitude of human existence” have made it harder for them and those around them to relate to, understand, and interact with one another. The aged and dying are less likely to receive the help and affection they need, and more prone to different forms of loneliness and painful feelings of irrelevance. “Never before,” Elias writes, “have people died as noiselessly and hygienically as today in [more developed] societies, and never in social conditions so much fostering solitude.”

… Health and longevity are the ends to which remedial action is directed and by which outcomes are evaluated. Even in discussions that include exhortations to build strong connections and communities, loneliness and isolation are treated as individual conditions, and references to community easily coexist with talk of genetic hardwiring, the role of the prefrontal cortex, and the ways in which neural mechanisms might generate feelings of loneliness.

… Typical advice is often some form of self-help: “take a class,” “get a dog,” “volunteer”; build your confidence with social skills training; seek out behavioral therapy. With therapy—highlighted for its positive “impact”—the aged lonely can be helped to see that their low self-worth, perceived isolation, or feelings of being unwanted are probably just cognitive misapprehensions that need to be “restructured.” Once this restructuring is accomplished, the aged can better match what they want in social life with what they have and get on with aging with more success. The status quo can now appear in a new, more uplifting light.

Current constructions of old age in individualistic terms of self-reliance, the fit body, productive accomplishments, or an imperative to deny or defeat aging technologically cannot but deepen our predicament and the need to render it invisible. This is what makes the cultural logic of these constructions irredeemable. They leave us in a cul-de-sac, hemmed in by a predatory commercial culture, a punishing ideology of health, fewer and weaker social ties, an ethic of active striving and mastery, and a mechanistic picture of ourselves. Moving beyond the devaluation of old age requires other orientations and other practices for which we must look elsewhere—to other societies, past or present, and to older traditions. …

… The social orientation of the evening of life need not be individualistic, but toward family and the localization and strengthening of social relations. Similarly, the view of the life cycle need not take its bearings from youth and middle age but from roles and identities appropriate to old age, with their own norms and rewards. These norms and rewards need not be defined in terms of active striving and productivity, but in terms of release, such as from social climbing, and a more contemplative attitude toward the world.

No Country for Old Age,” by Joseph E. Davis, The Hedgehog Review.

UPDATED (7/22/019): NEW COLUMN: The Donald’s Peculiar Problem: Ivanka

Donald Trump, Ethics, Family, Feminism, Intelligence, Kids, The Zeitgeist

NEW COLUMN is on the Unz Review, exclusively. It’s “The Donald’s Peculiar Problem: Ivanka.”

An excerpt:

It’s obvious who the odd one out is in this embarrassing clip of Ivanka at the G20 Summit.

Allow me to set the scene:

Two mature women are in the thick of a policy discussion. The two heavy hitters are British Prime Minister Theresa May and International Monetary Fund Director Christine Lagarde.

Their buttoned-up, officious attire fits the occasion. It’s how Theresa May and Christine Lagarde, both born in 1956, have always dressed. The pearls, the tweed and gingham suits: These are as old-school and as dear as Margaret Thatcher’s made-in-Britain, “ten-a-penny” “humble handbag.”

Whether you like their politics or you don’t—and I don’t—Theresa May and Christine Lagarde are sharpshooting, politically hefty women.

May graduated from Oxford, which has a “jealously-guarded admissions process.” In other words, May was not admitted to that elite school for being a woman, and she did not make her way in the word of politics because she was the daughter of a celebrity.

While the French, foolishly, have begun to dabble in American-style affirmative action, France’s constitution disallows such discrimination. Its people won’t tolerate quotas and set-asides for dummies with a perceived genital or pigmental burden.

“Any kind of discrimination on the basis of race or ethnicity [and, presumably, gender] in French higher education would be contrary to all French tradition.” The French speak as one on this typically American preoccupation.

Rest assured. Unlike American lightweights Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the sibilant Kirsten Gillibrand, and first daughter Ivanka Trump—Christine Lagarde, a former anti-trust and labor lawyer who now heads the IMF, has risen to her position because she’s able; she’s an impressive woman.

Again, I have no Fabian fondness for the economic planning and centralization that defines the European supra-state. But you don’t have to like the office (I dislike it) and the office-holder’s role in it (ditto) to appreciate her cerebral ability and drive: Lagarde holds 4 masters degrees. (Yet, these still failed to give her admission to France’s elite university!)

So, who elbows her way into the orbit of these high IQ, distinguished ladies? Why, Ivanka does! The grey-haired, unadorned women form part of circle deep in discussion, when a big-bosomed, lanky woman, in a floral frock butts in, silicone appendages first.

Ivanka has elbowed her way into the May-Lagarde tight circle of interlocutors. She is dressed like an overgrown Lolita. During the G20 Summit she could be seen constantly smoothing her rigid hair down vainly. Now, she is gesticulating affectatiously, as do all America’s tele-twits.  …

… READ THE REST. The Donald’s Peculiar Problem: Ivanka” is now exclusively on the Unz Review.

* Image courtesy of The Unz review.

UPDATE (7/22/019): Not again.