Category Archives: Journalism

FRED REED: Manners. Aplomb. Deboneurtude.

America, Culture, FRED REED, Gender, Journalism, Music

FRED REED on journalism when it was a trade dominated by tough, rough men, who hung out with bikers and bar-fighting Brunhildes

Let me tell you about aplomb. I don’t mean watery New-Age aplomb, suitable for a fern bar. I mean the real article, forty-weight, that you could lube a diesel with.

This was in the early eighties. I was still a staff writer on Soldier of Fortune magazine. This was years before Craig, the staff artist, killed himself riding drunk on his motorcycle somewhere outside Boulder. (He died, everyone said, as he would have wanted. Horribly.)

In those days Craig and I hung out for a while in the Berkeley Bar in a bad section of Denver. Craig was a big, baby-faced street fighter out of Chicago with a Special Forces past and a mean streak. He mostly drew skulls. He also like the Brandenburg concertos, and used to listen to them at his easel with headphones built into a World War II leather flying helmet.

The Berk was the home pit for the Sons of Silence, a bad biker club. If you haven’t been in dives like this, don’t start now. They swarm with huge bearded bozos with tattooed eyeballs and missing teeth and slow ominous grins and the IQ of a camshaft. You get the impression that they are evolving, but just not as fast as the rest of us. They’ll hurt you. Either they like you or you’re jelly. They don’t worry about consequences. They can’t remember them.

The Berk had Formica wood tables and smelled like a weight room. Rows of bottles waited patiently, but not for long, behind the counter and corpulent biker babes lolled about like stranded elephant seals. No one else did. When you have a biker clientele, you don’t have any other kind of clientele. Craig and I were guests. I had sold Bob Brown, the editor of Soldier of Fortune, on a story about the warm patriotic urges of the Sons, who didn’t have any. The Sons were charmed. They might get on the cover. They knew they would never get closer to significance.

It was cold enough to freeze the personals off an iron dog and dirty snow gleamed yellow under the streetlights. We showed up in Craig’s pickup truck, wearing our credentials: cammies, antisocial T-shirts (“Happiness Is A Confirmed Kill”) and jump boots. A Tribal Meeting followed, heap big pow wow, talk’em. Craig and I sat in a booth with Torque, the honcho, and a brain-fried guy called Lurch, and Mountain Jerry, who was a pretty Tarzan replica with long golden hair like Rapunzel and gold-flecked eyes that spoke of psychopathy and bone fractures. He sort of looked through you.

“We don’t like the press,” Torque said. So what? Nobody did. I didn’t. Torque had a face like a gorilla’s armpit. “You can do your story. SOF’s a righteous mag. Righteous.” I guess it was a recommendation. Like having Carlo Gambino say that you were a Really Good Person.
“We do what we can,” Craig said.

Lurch just stared at his beer with his mouth hanging open. He didn’t actually drool, probably because he couldn’t remember how. I figured he had smoked too much brass polish or sniffed some bad glue.

During this prayer meeting, Lurch had An Idea. You could tell it was bubbling up inside him. His jaw closed slightly and a crazed focus came into his eyes. He was going to say something, as soon as he figured out what. His head came up. Yes, an idea. He almost had it.  And then it left him. He collapsed with a soughing sound, like a punctured tire. Gone. A Real Idea, probably the unified field theory. And it got away. He stared sorrowfully at his beer. Eeyore of the Bikers.

We went back to the tribal thing.

Manners, though. This is about grace, elegance, and aplomb. Yeah.

Later we were boozing at the bar, doing what women call male bonding. It means talking to each other. I was chatting with Mountain Jerry. Craig was talking to some guy farther down the bar and drinking peppermint schnapps. Which was amazing on two counts. First, that the Berk had such an effeminate candy-ass yuppie-swine liqueur. Second, that Craig would drink it in a biker bar. It was grounds for execution.

Thing was, Craig was scary. He’d cripple you. You sensed he was ready to rock-and-roll, and you really didn’t want to rumble with him. Some guys you leave alone. The Sons could smell it. About then one of the biker babes got into it with the barmaid. I don’t know what the raison de guerre was. The challenger was a gas-station Brunhilde like a sack of potatoes, except potatoes have better skin. Shrieking ensued. Barmaids in motorcycle hangouts do not back down. You could tell this one wasn’t a Latin professor at Bryn Mawr. She screamed obscenities in a florid cloacal gush. The potato sack gave as good as she got.

The bikers ignored them and kept drinking. Jerry and I were discussing social encounters in rural bars in West Virginia, where we both came from. The chief instrument of intercourse in those regions was the pool cue. It was simple and direct and provided the hospitals with a brisk business.

Over Mountain Jerry’s shoulder I saw the challenger’s arm flash forward. She was throwing a bottle at the barmaid. Either her aim was bad or the barmaid ducked. Bottles shattered behind the bar and the mirror pretty much exploded. Slivers rained down on me, but missed my drink.
Mountain Jerry never flickered. He grinned his slow mean golden grin and said, “Git it on.” And kept on talking. He was amused.

The bar top glittered with glass fragments. The barmaid was about to leap over the bar to do battle with Spud Sack. Screaming continued. Nobody paid the slightest attention. Down the bar I saw Craig absently, without looking, pull a sizable sliver of glass from his schnapps without interrupting his sentence. He dipped a finger to see whether more shards awaited. No. All was well. He lifted the glass and drank.

That’s aplomb.

Read Fred’s Books! Or else. We know where you sleep.

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FRED REED describes himself as [previously] a “Washington police reporter, former Washington editor for Harper’s and staff writer for Soldier of Fortune magazine, Marine combat vet from Viet Nam, and former long-haul hitchhiker, part-time sociopath, who once lived in Arlington, Virginia, across the Potomac River from the Yankee Capital.”
His essays “on the collapse of America” Mr. Reed calls “wildly funny, sometimes wacky, always provocative.”
“Fred is the Hunter Thompson of the right,” seconds Thomas E. Ricks in Foreign Policy magazine. His  commentary is “well-written, pungent political incorrectness mixed with smart military commentary and libertarian impulses, topped off with a splash of Third World sunshine and tequila.”

FRED’S BOOKS ARE ON AMAZON, HERE

FRED’S ARTICLES ARCHIVE

Killer Kink

Hardboiled is back! (The exclamation point is to arouse wild enthusiasm int the reader, a boiling literary lust.) Gritty crime fiction by longtime police reporter for the Washington Times, who knows the police from nine years of riding with them. Guaranteed free of white wine and cheese, sensitivity, or social justice.

Juvenal Early: Chronicles’ Playboy Taki Presses Flesh With Racism-Spotting ‘Poofter’

BAB's A List, Conservatism, Journalism, Juvenal Early's Archive, Literature, Paleoconservatism, Populism, South-Africa

“Murray, from what I can tell, is the latest manifestation of what Tom Wolfe once labeled ‘The Mid-Atlantic Man,’ i.e., the foppish Englishman who makes a generous living off the Americans he’s bamboozled into thinking he’s brilliant.”—Juvenal Early

By Juvenal Early

So, what in the Sam Hill is going on over at Chronicles Magazine?

The June issue features back-page gossip columnist (and reputed Moneybags) Taki extolling the virtues of his friend Douglas Murray’s latest book, The War on the West (another unoriginal title to add to the Murray canon; here’s the first, also extolled by Chronicles).

Though math geek John Derbyshire lamented the book’s lack of numbers and graphs, and said it had nothing new to offer, Taki terms it a “dozey.”  I assume he meant doozy; dozey sounds like a nighttime sleep-aid.

But, but, but. Wasn’t it only back in January that Murray called out Chronicles Wunderkind Pedro Gonzalez for anti-semitism?  And haven’t there been a dearth of Gonzalez appearances in the last few months on Tucker Carlson Tonight? And didn’t Chronicles call out the heavy peashooters in counterattack to the bitchy Brit? In short, hadn’t Murray’s name become persona non grata in the halls of the Charlemagne Institute (publisher of Chronicles)?

Let me back up a little and give some context.

It starts with Tucker, where else?  If you were following his show with any degree of regularity over the past few years, you no doubt became acquainted with Douglas Murray and Pedro Gonzalez, two of Tuck’s go-to guys, when it comes to having opinions on politics and culture. Tucker has even anointed them (unjustly we think) as public intellectuals in extended gingham-shirt interviews on his FoxNation streaming show.

Pedro writes for several outlets, principally for Chronicles, where he’s an editor and also their current Wonder Boy. Though not without talent, he has a track record of expropriating the ideas of others without giving them credit.

Murray, from what I can tell, is the latest manifestation of what Tom Wolfe once labeled “The Mid-Atlantic Man,” i.e., the foppish Englishman who makes a generous living off the Americans he’s bamboozled into thinking he’s brilliant. With aspirations to be the latest Roger Scruton, if not Michael Oakeshott, Doug’s ended up being “Con-Oink’s” House Poofter. Not bad work, if you can get it. Seems like all the Fox hosts are calling on him now. Barely-a-Blog and the “Hard Truth” Podcast have both devoted column space and air time to Murray’s sins. (Also here and here.)

So, when Murray wrote his hit piece on Bari Weiss’s Substack page, maybe he didn’t know that he was castigating a fellow Tucker-bro.  Or maybe he did, and that’s the whole point. It’s dog eat dog in what currently passes for America’s conservative intellectual battlefield.

Enter Taki and his literal PR job on behalf of Douglas Murray. Taki’s June 2022 “Under the Black Flag” column begins: “Douglas Murray’s book The War on the West has just been published, and it’s a dozey [sic]. He is a friend and fellow columnist in the London Spectator, the oldest magazine in the English-speaking world.”

What are we to think? Maybe it’s a sign of health that a polemical magazine offers differing opinions.  Or maybe it was just an oversight that it made it to print.  Or maybe the deep pockets of which Taki’s always reminding us had something to do with it. By all reports, Chronicles has survived hand-to-mouth since Leopold Tyrmand founded it. Maybe they’re not anxious to upset an important patron. Just spitballing here.

As for Taki’s literary output, it is gossip, you know, albeit, high-class gossip, as the brilliant writer and jet-set doyenne Barbara Amiel says in her memoirs.  (Hmm. Pot. Kettle. Black?) He was, she said, maybe capable of better things: “…really, had he put his mind to it, he could have been a significant writer.” Certainly, he was always invoking his heroes—Hemingway and Mailer come to mind—enough that you knew he had more than a passing acquaintance with the best writers of the 20th Century. You get the idea that he aspired to that level.

But perhaps all that money and all those yachts and all those women and all that tennis and all that judo and all that vodka sapped his talent, left him with no more than his platform at the Spectator—or wherever else he could find an eager publisher.

Indeed, the proper term for what Taki became might be writer manqué.

So where did he come by his affinity for Murray?

Well, if you’ve aspired to greatness, but fallen short, the next best thing is to find yourself in the company of the best available option. Which is often just a flavor of the month, like Dougie-boy. For Murray’s part, I imagine he likes having someone colorful picking-up the checks.

As previously mentioned, Taki is always reminding us of his colorfulness and his ability to pick-up checks. Then there’s the fortune, yachts, the houses, the women—the “candyfloss,” in the words of Barbara Amiel (before she turned around and squandered her talent on Conrad and the high-life).

Yes, money, Taki does have. He’s been telling us for well over 40 years how much better his life is than ours. He’ll get down and slum with the people, now and then, but don’t try to insinuate yourself into his world. A friend was once at conference featuring Taki. He was part of a group that surrounded Taki at a cocktail reception. Taki was holding forth on Gstaad, the ski retreat in Switzerland where he owns a house. My friend, upper middle class, well-read, well-traveled, a first-rate financial analyst, mentioned that he’d been in Gstaad recently, and had been very impressed with the place’s beauty. Taki sized him up, and replied dismissively: “you were never in Gstaad.” Why’d he do that? Push comes to shove, he’s probably just a snob at heart

And he’s just the kind of white whale a bloke like Murray dreams of hooking. Murray’s a punch-down kinda guy, or at least that’s the impression I have. He’ll suck up to who he has to, but I can’t see him sharing a pint with Joe Sixpack. A custom fit for the Greek Boy? Snobs of a feather?  Just asking.

********************************************************************************
“Juvenal Early” is a contributor to Barely A Blog. His 2020 piece, “The Dissident Right Has An Idiocracy Problem,” created quite a buzz.

When Juvenal approached me about the above piece, I applauded his instincts. Taki is, after all, quoted in Into The Cannibal’s Pot (p.18), enthusing over South Africa being “the greatest triumph of chatter over machine-gun clatter. It’s not perfect, and crime is at an all-time high in South African cities,” babbled Taki, “but at least the massacres are a thing of the past and life goes on much better than before.”

The loss of my homeland lauded … The Nasionale Party trashed by the so-called Smart Set. 

Once upon a time, the epistolary fluff ensconced at The American Conservative was detonated daily by the “pugnacious” Lawrence Auster. When Auster died, a void opened up. The “typically shapeless pieces” coming out of paleoconservative quarters, at once “weird and solipsistic”—Auster’s delicious descriptions—have escaped scrutiny. Going by the pen name “Juvenal Early,” a disillusioned former donor to Chronicles has stepped up to clear the same “shapeless” thickets once hacked down to size by Lawrence Auster.
Enjoy.
ilana

 

* Douglas pic credit

WATCH: Extradited! Why Assange Fears Being ‘Epsteined’

America, Argument, China, Criminal Injustice, Free Speech, Globalism, Ilana On Radio & TV, Journalism, Neoconservatism

WATCH (AND SUBSCRIBE) HARD TRUTH with David Vance and yours truly. The episode is “Extradited! Why Assange Fears Being ‘Epsteined’”:

If America’s so free and fair why is Julian Assange, innocent in natural law, terrified of being extradited to the United States? And why is journalist Glenn Greenwald safer living abroad after helping Edward Snowden, now in Russia, expose Surveillance State USA? Heroes living abroad for fear of America? Time perhaps to shut up about China?

Extradited! Why Assange Fears Being ‘Epsteined’”

LISTEN ON THE-GO: Download The Podcast App To Listen On-The-Go: 

https://HardTruthWithDavidVanceAndIlanaMercer.podbean.com/
https://hardtruthwithdavidvanceandilanamercer.podbean.com/e/extradited-why-assange-fears-being-epsteined/

UPDATED (11/16/021): No-Information, Me-Me, FoxNews Broadcasters

Celebrity, Conservatism, Critique, Culture, Ethics, Etiquette, Journalism, Media, Republicans

One of the biggest egos in an anchor’s chair at Fox New—she lives for the sound of her own voice—is Laura Ingraham. She generally monologues over her guests at length, and then informs them, “Hurry; you have 30 seconds to say your piece.” (a WND reader is on to her.) Although we’re living in grim times—the demented grin never leaves the face of zero-information Ingraham.

Almost as bad as Ingraham is Fox’s Jesse Watters. He absolutely blankets a guest’s input with his own self-important bloviation. The saving grace of Watters is that he is rather amusing.

Another strike, however, against Watters is that he was made BIG by Bill O’Reilly. O’Reilly kindly introduced Watters to viewers of “The Factor.” The younger man, however, has never publicly given O’Reilly credit, not least during the 25th anniversary celebrations of the network.

Watters, moreover, is not telling the truth when he says “The Five” was his first big gig on Fox News, as claimed. O’Reilly gave him a gig. Any gig on “The Factor” was big, because “The Factor” was huge. This makes Watters an ingrate.

UPDATED (11/16/021): Laura Ingraham can’t imagine or comprehend that a Netflix show called “You” is not about her.

This is a great clip of The Ego and Idiocy of Ms. Ingraham.

Actually Raimond Arroyo is the only person loud-mouth Laura ever lets talk without interruption.