Warning: The items in this column, though weird, surreal, distasteful and kooky, are by no means aberrations. Really. Lefties think like this.
… juft then Jefferfon rode up on his favorite horfe, Priuf, looking quite pleafed with himfelf. “Adamf,” he called, “are you ftill riding that old oat guzzler of yourf?!” Nobody much likef Jefferfon … From the Diary of John Adams
Fun fact: When he wasn’t bedding his slaves, “purchasing” Louisiana and warring against peaceful Muslim trading ships, Thomas Jefferson was a proto-environmentalist. So were the other Founding Male-Identifying Parents. Joe Romm, at ThinkProgress tells us so.
The only thing better than being lectured about Independence day by a liberal is being lectured about Independence Day by liberal who anachronistically insists the Framers shared his obsessions. So Romm’s article is a real treat -- hysterical in both senses of the word.
It’s also, of course, a stick to beat Donald Trump with. In fact, according to the headline, Trump “is destroying what July 4th stands for.” Is he reuniting the nation with Great Britain? Endorsing taxation without representation? Quartering troops in our homes? Taxing stamps?
No, he’s overseeing “the most anti-science and anti-truth administration in U.S. history.” Worst of all, his “most consequential assault on science and America’s founding principles, Trump abandoned the Paris climate deal, whereby 190 nations had unanimously banded together to save themselves (and us) from catastrophic climate change.”
Got it, Romm is upset about the U.S. dumping a meaningless document that -- if it did anything at all -- would hobble our economy while letting China adjust it’s pollution from “pea soup-thick” to “Jello-thick.” That’s his problem. What does it have to do with the Founding? Well, “the Declaration’s drafters were undeniably men of science, devoted to the truth.” Undeniably. So? So they “saw preserving the environmental [sic] for future generations as a core principle.”
Romm spends a lot space proving that Jefferson, Franklin and others were influenced by Isaac Newton and David Hume and, had they been modern liberals, their Twitter bios would include some variation of “I f**king love science!” Again, nobody argues differently.
Here’s his real evidence that the Framers were all about recycling and carbon credits and banning plastic straws:
The key question for Jefferson was very simple: Must later generations “consider the preceding generation as having had a right to eat up the whole soil of their country, in the course of a life?” Soil was an obvious focal point for examining the issue of intergenerational equity for a Virginia planter like Jefferson.
The answer to Jefferson was another self-evident truth: “Every one will say no; that the soil is the gift of God to the living, as much as it had been to the deceased generation.”
That’s it. Jefferson believed in stewardship, and opposed heedless destruction of resources. So do I. So does everybody. It's a heckuva long stretch to get from there to making climate change the meaning of Independence Day., let alone to charge Trump with destrying it.
“It is immoral for one generation to destroy another generation’s vital soil or its livable climate,” Romm says, knocking another strawman out of the park. It’s immoral to degrade the standard of living for actual people here today in service of something you have faith -- not proof -- might happen. It’s also immoral to scream about rising oceans and dust bowls and failed states and millions of refugees based on contradictory evidence coming from imperfect and sometimes rigged climate “models.” It’s immoral to demonize political opponents and smear them by saying they’re pro-pollution. But Romm doesn’t hesitate.
Jefferson et al faced real crises with very real consequences. Being men of fortitude and faith, I doubt they’d wet themselves over climate change. Being men of science, they might just lose lose their wigs over “scientific consensus.”
And now more oddities from the Museum of Progressive Ideas.
Quick Take: That’s what the handcuffs are for. “This Female Porn CEO Thinks Kink Can Bring People Together” -- from Vice.
The Princesses and the Peed-Off Feminist -- Disney has a lot to answer for, starting with Miley Cyrus and the rest of its pop tart alumni. Then there’s the lame Mickey Mouse cartoons that when I was a kid took valuable air time away from vastly superior offerings like Tom & Jerry and Looney Toons. And one too many listenings to “It’s a Small World After All” would turn Barack Obama into a hardened xenophobe.
But my beef with The House of Mouse is nothing compared to the scorn of Bidisha, a feminist “broadcaster, critic and journalist” writing in The Guardian about Disney princesses. Bidisha doesn’t like the princesses -- not one little bit (perhaps it was a Disney princess that made off with her other name) -- and she used a recent YouGov poll about them as an opportunity to itemize her gripes.
According to the poll, the top quality people want in a Disney princess is “kindness.” This drew a thoughtful response from Bidisha.
Kindness. You’re joking. Disney princes should be kinder – like that manipulative hostage-taker and groomer the Beast, or the prince in Sleeping Beauty who sexually assaults a drugged-by-magic princess. These are the Disney douchebags who need a kindness makeover, or a prison sentence.
She seems sort of bitter about something, no? It must be the poll, which she called “just another Miss World beauty pageant for assessing and ranking women.”
Or maybe it’s Disney’s transparent attempts to make some princesses strong, diverse role models. “And of the many producers, directors and writers,” she thundered, “90% are white and male. So, in Disneyland head office, you and your team of bros feminist-wash or brown-wash a film, the global audience feels a lovely glow – and all the profits seem to flow to white men.”
Ooh, Bidisha’s got your number, white guys! Unencumbered by two names, she wields her Injustice Finder with awesome focus. She sees through everything and then is able to connect the dots of grievance in the powerful summation of her closing paragraph:
Disney reaches a huge, young audience that is absorbing and internalising white supremacy, the tyranny of femininity, female isolation (few of the princesses have prominent female friends), ageism against women (so many Disney villains are older women), the class system (if in doubt, marry rich), bullshit romantic myths and US cultural dominance. Disney is the western patriarchal capitalist industrialist complex in cartoon form and its female characters are overwhelmingly beautiful, feminine, sexualised, nubile, Aryan, thin, young and adorable, like snack items modelled out of refined sugar. When its fans aren’t carefully answering poll questions to make themselves look open-minded and just list their favourites, they reveal that they like their princesses just like their Starbucks coffees: hot, skinny and white.
Her world must be a very dark place.
Quick Take -- Yeah, it’s a waste of a gorgeous woman. Scarlett Johansson “is slated to star in Rub & Tug, a biopic about a transgender man … The problem with this entire situation should be immediately apparent.” -- From Vice
Old books are such a drag. That Joan of Arc is a handful! Dead for 587 years, the armor-clad tomboy is still causing trouble. Only this time it’s not trouble for Henry VI and his army, but for … transgenders.
You see, “classic stories of women masquerading as men for freedom and fortune damage transgender understanding today.” So writes Alex Myers at Slate. And it’s not just Joan -- there’s a whole genre of adventure literature from the 18th and 19th centuries that features plucky young women dressing as men and pursuing swashbuckling adventures they wouldn’t otherwise have. In real life too, newspapers of the time would note the odd story of a woman pretending to be a man. Myers explains:
These tales, fictional and not, follow a similar pattern: The young woman needs to leave home, often because of an unpleasant suitor or other disagreeable domestic situation; the young woman disguises herself as a man to escape the trouble; in disguise, the young woman succeeds in undertaking a male occupation (usually a military role) and maintains her chastity despite temptations; the young woman sheds the masculine disguise and resumes her life as a woman.
Sounds like a harmless bit of fun. But Myers sees the (oddly dainty and soft) hand of repression reaching across the centuries to taint acceptance of trans people. “Though these novels and memoirs are no longer commonly read,” he writes, “they nonetheless still contribute to our understanding of what it means for a woman to pass as a man.” And the problem with that?
“First, that the woman is forced or compelled to pass as a man,” to escape something or gain something. “These stories present living as a man as something that a woman must do out of financial or social necessity: Her desire to live as a man has nothing to do with identity or self-understanding.”
Yeah, well, makes sense. A normal, healthy woman doesn’t just up and decide to pretend to be a dude. If she’s not driven by necessity, then she’s driven by mental illness.
“Second, all of these popular tales embrace the idea that the passing is temporary,” Myers says. “They end with the restoration of gender norms: The women put on dresses once again.”
Mmm hmm. Even costume parties come to an end. Back to reality. That’s how things work.
“The narrative insistence on restoration undermines the idea that these women truly wanted to be men,” Myers says, “that their passing as men commented on their idea of self, or how they wanted to be perceived in the world.” Right, because they didn’t truly want to be men.
By repeatedly asserting that women only dressed as men to gain some advantage, we dismiss the notion that some women understood themselves to be men … Telling these progress narratives erases the presence of transgender people from the historical record.
Except for one little detail: they weren’t in the historical record to begin with. Myers writes, “Of course, we can’t go back and ask these historical persons what they really felt about their gender.” Of course not, because asking them would get you a horse whip or a musket ball. They’d call you a lunatic. And they’d have a point.