Saturday salmagundi

• Bay Buchanan, like her brother Pat, is a former Republican official who has spent the past several decades as a right-wing culture-warrior and pundit. But now she says she’s walking away from the pundit game to become a real estate agent.

In quitting, Buchanan offered the most honest description of the culture-war pundit you’ll ever read: “I can’t just live my life going on TV and being angry all the time.”

That’s what the culture war demands of every would-be culture warrior: being angry all the time. Even, and especially, when there’s no real reason to be angry. Perpetual outrage has to be exhausting, and depressing.

• From The Vault: “Abel Thomas, a Unitarian minister, writer, and antislavery activist from Philadelphia, published Gospel of Slavery: A Primer of Freedom, a children’s A-to-Z book about the evils of slavery, in 1864.”

• Rock on, Wes Breedwell. Rock on, indeed, good sir.

• Daylight Atheism joins Patheos. And so does The Secular Outpost. “I can’t help feeling that the atheist portal is now one of the strongest wings of Patheos,” vorjack writes. He’s not wrong.

• Timothy Kincaid of Box Turtle Bulletin highlights a delightful exchange from a discussion of same-sex marriage between a New Zealand MP and a local leader of the LDS Church, who had been pursuing an unfortunate line of argument against marriage equality. “After a lengthy pause …” Awkward.

I’ve got some pitchforks, anybody got a torch?

• Do you remember when it was that we anointed Equifax, Experian and Transunion as the untouchable royalty with sovereign power to pry into every aspect of our lives and to weigh on every decision affecting us without any democratic or market checks on their reign? Because I don’t remember when that happened. But it happened.

• Chris Morran at Consumerist lists “23 Things Debt Collectors Are Not Allowed to Do.” It’s a good and helpful list, although it might have been more accurate to name it “23 Things Debt Collectors Do All the Time Because People in Debt Are Powerless to Stop Them and Authorities Always Side With the Wealthy Against the Poor.”

Having laws limiting debt collectors’ exploitation and dishonesty is good. Actually enforcing those laws would be even better.

• What exactly do we mean when we say that anti-gay preachers and complementarians are “on the wrong side of history”? Well, for a good example, check out the coverage of the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention on women’s rights, from the Oneida Whig newspaper. That paper is now defunct — just like everyone who worked there in 1848, of course, and just like their ideas about humanity. That’s what the wrong side of history means — it means your ideas and beliefs and ideologies get buried when you do. Or possibly even sooner.

• ”Firefly pick-up lines.” Meh. Couple of half-chuckles, but how do you make a list like that and leave out “Big Damn Heroes” and “I aim to misbehave”?

• Michael Bayly at the Wild Reed shares a fascinating piece of American history I’d never heard about before, “The ‘Fool Soldiers’ of the Lakota.” Bayly quotes from Alicia Bayer’s account:

In November [1862], word of the captives [white women and children taken during the U.S.-Dakota War] reached a group of young Lakota men. These men had formed a group based on non-violence and helping all people, leading some others to mockingly call them “Fool Soldiers.”

The Fool Soldiers decided to make the journey to the Santee camp to negotiate a trade and rescue the hostages. Since they believed in non-violence, they gathered and bought supplies like blankets, coffee and sugar to offer in return for the women and children.

The Fool Soldiers made the dangerous trek to the camp and spent three days negotiating for the release. When they finally succeeded, they were left to journey back with only one horse (the others had been added to the trade) in bitter cold and snow.

Fool Soldiers committed to “non-violence and helping all people.”

That’ll preach.

 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    The Fool Soldiers made the dangerous trek to the camp and spent three
    days negotiating for the release. When they finally succeeded, they were
    left to journey back with only one horse (the others had been added to
    the trade) in bitter cold and snow.

    Dayum.

    They really got taken for a ride, and on top of that got more crap dumped on them down the road. :|

  • Headless Unicorn Guy

    That’s what the culture war demands of every would-be culture warrior:
    being angry all the time. Even, and especially, when there’s no real
    reason to be angry. Perpetual outrage has to be exhausting, and
    depressing.

    I saw the same pattern in New Left activists in the Seventies and Social Justice types in the Eighties.  Perpetual Outrage for The Cause.  And a professional Kyle’s Mom is ALWAYS looking for the next Cause to justify the Perpetual Outrage and doublepluswarmfeelies of Righteousness.

  • Jessica_R

    Those Lakota men are admirable, but it’s also understandable that the other Lakota men did not want to simply lie down and die at the hands of the U.S. government. I believe in Just War, and the power imbalance there justified Native populations fighting. 

  • Hexep

    It is always a temptation to an armed and agile nation
    To call upon a neighbour and to say: –
    “We invaded you last night–we are quite prepared to fight,
    Unless you pay us cash to go away.”

    And that is called asking for Dane-geld,
    And the people who ask it explain
    That you’ve only to pay ‘em the Dane-geld
    And then you’ll get rid of the Dane!

    It is always a temptation for a rich and lazy nation,
    To puff and look important and to say: –
    “Though we know we should defeat you, we have not the time to meet you.
    We will therefore pay you cash to go away.”

    And that is called paying the Dane-geld;
    But we’ve proved it again and again,
    That if once you have paid him the Dane-geld
    You never get rid of the Dane.

    It is wrong to put temptation in the path of any nation,
    For fear they should succumb and go astray;
    So when you are requested to pay up or be molested,
    You will find it better policy to say: –

    “We never pay any-one Dane-geld,
    No matter how trifling the cost;
    For the end of that game is oppression and shame,
    And the nation that pays it is lost!”

    – Rudyard Kipling

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I knew someone like that. It seemed like all they ever wanted to do was protest anything and everything and never mind any attempt to fit anything into a broader historical understanding of how we got from A to B in order to figure out how to get to C.

  • rm

     I never realized before how suitable Kipling would be for the musical stage.

  • http://www.blogger.com/home?pli=1 Coleslaw

    I think some of his works were set to music. My dad used to sing a version of this one, which he’d learned during WWII:

    The Young British Soldier 

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     A Pict’s Song was a filk-sing staple in my congoing days.

  • Isabel C.

    Leslie Fish did an album of some of them: Our Fathers of Old. I had a copy at one point. Well done. 

  • reynard61

    “Do you remember when it was that we anointed Equifax, Experian and Transunion as the untouchable royalty with sovereign power to pry into every aspect of our lives and to weigh on every decision affecting us without any democratic or market checks on their reign? Because I don’t remember when that happened. But it happened.”

    Isn’t it odd that the über-paranoid segment of the American public that fears that the “Gummint” (which they elect and have a certain amount of say in) will take their guns away has no problem with a corporation (which they *don’t* elect and answer to no one except a board of directors and their stockholders — which have a financial interest in *not* acting in the public’s interest) selling their financial information to whomever can afford it?

  • dr_ngo

    On the Seneca Falls report, what intrigues me about the Oneida Whig column – beyond its evident appallingness — is the way the author immediately turned for rebuttal to Shakespeare, as if everyone knew the canon and accepted it as an appropriate guide to appropriate behavior!  Autres temps, autres moeurs.

  • dr_ngo

    FWIW, many of Kipling’s poems became popular songs, most particularly “The Road to Mandalay.”  (Hearing this sung in an old colonial house by a Filipino baritone dressed in whites was an indelible experience.)  But I think “Danny Deever” and “Recessional” and quite a few of the others were also set to music – Kipling’s verse is very regular and rhythmic, requiring no particular song-writing ingenuity to set.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    I do wonder if that’s not part of the sticking point for the LDS. Utah and the Mormons have been forced to change their marriage practices in the past so their fear it might happen again seems a smidge more understandable than from the rest of the opponents. (I wonder how they’d react if the poly marriage movement was more vocal because I often get the feeling they’re still bitter about that).

    Then again the LDS has an interesting habit of changing its teachings when they become socially unacceptable so who knows what they’ll look like in the future.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     It would surprise me if the LDS’s reasons for opposing marriage equality were significantly different from those of the other popular U.S.denominations that do so.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

     

    Isn’t it odd that the über-paranoid segment of the American public that
    fears that the “Gummint” (which they elect and have a certain amount of
    say in) will take their guns away has no problem with a corporation
    (which they *don’t* elect and answer to no one except a board of
    directors and their stockholders — which have a financial interest in
    *not* acting in the public’s interest) selling their financial
    information to whomever can afford it?

    As many libertarians have made clear to me, whether an action is good or bad is mainly dependent on whether it is done by a corporation or by the Gummint.

    One need only look at the Wikipedia article on Company Towns to see people justifying horrific exploitation as the noble actions of “enlightened industrialists.”

  • Tricksterson

    That is one chilling song

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    It really is an odd kind of magical thinking – that just imbuing an act with the word “government” or “business” changes entirely the nature of that act.

    So infuriating corporate-monopoly bureaucratic bungling GOOD

    Infurating government bureaucratic bungling BAD

    etc.

  • stardreamer42

     Set to music and performed by Michael Longcor: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxz8P7JA_Zo

  • stardreamer42

     Furthermore, they say they’re against “coercion”, but it turns out that only governments can coerce. The exact same behavior, undertaken by a corporation or a private individual, is perfectly okay because it’s “not coercion”. No, I only wish I were kidding.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     Yeah. I sometimes chant it under my breath at work when I want people to give me some distance. :-)

  • GDwarf

     

    It really is an odd kind of magical thinking – that just imbuing an act
    with the word “government” or “business” changes entirely the nature of
    that act.

    I’m reading a book on the recent jump in inequality in the US, it’s causes and solutions, and one thing the author fingers is the rise of belief in inerrant markets. He points out that economists haven’t believe in inerrant markets for about 30 years…Which is right about the time that the belief in them infected most US politicians.

    In a way it makes sense: A truly free market probably will hit on the best solution to a problem faster than any other method I can think of. The problem is that it’s trivially easy to make markets not-free and, indeed, it’s very much in the interests of every business to make the markets as restricted as they can, so you need some pushback, and since you can’t count on businesses to provide it, you really have to use the government. Libertarians seem to miss that part.

  • Jim Roberts

    I had this discussion on a message board, on how no one, regardless of education, work experience or wage experience, could be coerced into taking a low-paying job because, “They always have choices.”

  • Lori

    Idiot person on the internet saying stupid things to Jim Roberts, meet me. Tomorrow I start another job making less than half what I was making 7 years ago. I am not taking this job for fun. I am not researching a book. I’m taking this job because in my present circumstances it’s that or have no job at all. I guess strictly speaking that’s a choice.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-McGraw/100001988854074 Patrick McGraw

    I met a libertarian a few years ago who was going on about those lazy and stupid people working low-paying jobs. When asked what he would do if he lost his job tomorrow, responded “I could starve, go on The Dole, or start my own business.”

    He pretty clearly felt that the A) “The Dole” is some kind of all-expenses-paid life available to anyone who doesn’t feel like working, and b) “starting a business” is an option available to everybody.

    This guy also insisted that company towns were actually caused by governments, not corporations. I guess deciding that a bad thing must have been done by your favorite bogeyman is slightly better than twisting yourself into knots pretending it was actually a good thing.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Libertarians always seem really big on ‘Work or Starve’ setups.  I suspect it comes from their delusions that they’ll naturally rise to the corporate aristocracy once the Dead Hand of Government Interference stops holding them down.

  • Lori

    When asked what he would do if he lost his job tomorrow, responded “I could starve, go on The Dole, or start my own business.”   

    And he would “choose” option 2. Because there are precious few people who will starve for their principles and starting a business is, as you say, not actually an option for the majority or people in the majority of places.

     

    This guy also insisted that company towns were actually caused by governments, not corporations. 

    This is a surprisingly common notion among libertarians. (Surprising in the sense that it’s always a bit surprising to see multiple people believing something so manifestly stupid.) IIRC our resident libertarian believes it.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yes, I suppose slow suicide is a choice…

  • Jenora Feuer

    How about Roger Whittaker’s ‘Song for Erik’, which was a musical version of Rudyard Kipling’s ‘IF’?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4QXGCG6mMQ