Month: December 2015

Reactionary gay rights

Here’s a great exchange in the comment section of a post over at Slate Star Codex.

One commenter (who earlier identified as queer) marveled at the breakneck speed that culture and policy is moving to the left, and worried about things snapping back in the opposite direction.

No joke. Cthulhu swims left and all that, but I can’t shake the feeling that I’m in Weimar Berlin. The future is unknown territory. But it’s probably just me being paranoid

Another user noted that he might also have to worry about the trend continuing on its current trajectory.

Alternatively, if Cthulhu will swim left fast enough, you could see the Overton Window swoosh above your head and leave you far behind. For example:

Gay marriage could be banned, because all marriage will be banned. The next generation will consider the idea of marriage just as horrible as slavery (or even worse).

Progressives may throw gays under the bus because, after all, they are men, and supporting any kind of men’s rights would be misogynist. Mentioning gay rights online will mostly get you an ironic “yeah, what about teh poor oppressed menz” and a ban. Gay rights websites will be classified as hate speech and will be illegal. Gays will be described in media as men who hate women so much that they even refuse to have sex with them.

Yeah, today both of these examples seem silly, but that’s the point.

Apparently not so silly, since an Oxford student association actually did attack gay men for being the SJW’s version of class enemies, as a third commenter pointed out.

Pretty sure the National Union of Students here in the UK has accused gays of benefiting from male privilege. Or, as one senior member put it, “Fuck privileged gays”.

10 best films of 2015

  1. Mustang (Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Turkey-France-Germany)

mustangcinema

The film deals with the life of 5 teenager Muslim sisters in conservative Turkish family who after having spent a moment in the beach with some boys were condemn to be prisoners of their own home. A film that shows the sensuality of the youth world in the Middle East is not something that one found everyday. Between the sisters it had been a development of a very special relationship base on complicity. The young girls are forced to became brides and each girl has different reaction. According to the credits the Turkish government has partly financed the film despite I don’t think that it fits the Turkish cultural nationalism of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his repressive government. Perhaps this film one of the most honest critics to the female treatment in Muslim countries. One of the most interesting aspects of film is that Turkey is supposed to be a more Western country and in theory more modern but his treatment of woman for a lot of families don’t change much with the supposedly more primitive Arab countries. A real subversive film of a  poetic beauty.

2. Tu Dors Nicole (Stéphane Lafleur, Canada)

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In a cinematic black and white with the particular Québécois accent this film was one of the surprises of the year. The plot is center between the relationship of two twenty something Nicole and Verónique that had nothing to do a summer. There is nothing deep about the story but is the charm that the girls bring to the film that made it almost surrealist. There is a teenage kid with an adult voice in love with Nicole that appear to put a quote of humor in film. The sound is well elaborated from the parent that go in roads with a whale sound to the Nicole’s brother rock band. The finale of the the film is weak part of this masterpiece.

3. The Wolfpack (Crystal Moselle, USA)

thewolfpackcinema

A marvelous documentary of the lives of the Angulo brothers that lived locked away away in a Lower East Side apartment. The only connection for them to the outside world are films which they even reenact. The family is afraid of the outside but these teenagers don’t. The film portray the brothers first contacts with the outside world with they. A history about how the limits of cinema and real life are more blurry that one could usually think. Since their vision of the world had been shaped by cinema, they had despite their early youth the vision of older directors and a commitment to create beauty. If Michel Foucault said that the goal in the life is to make a piece of art of it, for these kids is made a movie about that.

4. Heaven’s Know What (Ben Safdie & Joshua Safdie, USA)

heavenknowswhat

In a year where there had been a lot of films about the homeless, this small budget film which had by far the best. Most films about the homeless had require well known actors to get attention into these complex topic but these film was a blend between documentary and fiction since the main character Harley is portrayed by Arielle Holmes, a real life homeless. Arielle performance is simply magic for a film about a very hard topic. The history of the film is actually based on her real life, Harley and Ilya are couple of addict homeless in New York City.  Certainly not the kind of cinema that is made to be a blockbuster but the honest portray of homelessness made it one of the best indie films of the last time.

5. Beyond Clueless (Charlie Lyne, UK)

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A documentary about teenage movies. The film is a reflection about how cinema has portrayed with coming-of-age stories the youth. A truly sociological look to high school films. Center around American cinema the fact that in other cinematographies, coming-of-age films are rare, makes one wonder why is the fascination of America with its youth. Is America the eternal teenager that is tired of the Old Europe. Is he or she, the jock, the cheerleader or nerd, maybe America of is all of the above. Even in some other countries there had been some films about high school is very strange that they merge science fiction and horror, something quite common in America. The question will is if one day would America grow up.

6. Dope (Rick Famuyiwa, USA)

dope

The history of Malcolm a geek teenager and two of his friends in a black neighborhood. After founding a bag full of drugs they decide it to sell it in the deep web and they change the money they earn to Bitcoin. There is love, there are pop culture references and there is dream of Malcolm of getting into Harvard. A geek black comedy that is maybe inaugurating a new sub-genre.

7. Eden (Mia Hansen-Løve, France)

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A film about the underground electronic music scene in Paris with the one best soundtracks ever, the movie is a narrative tale of the life of these musicians from the love relationships to their addictions. Hansen-Løve is a young director that had been able to find her own voice, every film of her had a particular taste. These film is the first since her debut trilogy and is prove that she is one of the most promising filmmakers of this generation.

8. Appropriate Behaviour (Desiree Akhavan, USA)

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Described as the film Woody Allen would made if he was a lesbian Persian girl. The film follows Shirin portrayed by the  Akhavan herself as a hipster lesbian Persian-American girl living in New York City with dream of becoming a director. An autobiographical film that reflects on hipster culture but also on what it means being “ethnic” in the hipster scene. A truly charming film that put a Akhavan on the map both as a director and an actress.

9. Lost River (Ryan Gosling, USA)

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The directorial debut of Ryan Gosling was a truly surprise. One best cinematography works of the last time is shown on these film that in technical aspects is perfect. Is not easy to make films about ghost towns and Gosling has made it. The script is far from perfect but having actress like Christina Hendricks and Saiorse Ronan, good performances are secured.

10. Félix et Meira (Maxime Giroux, Canada)

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The film name the two principal characters a single middle age man and younger orthodox Jewish mother and wife. One amazing love story between two persons coming from two very different worlds. The Israeli actress that portrays Meira is Hadas Yaron, one of the most promising rising star of Israel.

We’re all fascists now

You know. I know it. Everyone knows it. So let’s admit it: The American government is very fascist-like. And Donald Trump’s much-needed candidacy for the White House is not ushering in a Brown Shirt Era any more than the docile campaigns of Hillary Clinton or Marco Rubio.

That’s the topic of my Taki’s Mag piece today. An excerpt:

Fascist-mongering is not exclusive to the left. A national security advisor for illegal-alien-loving Jeb! Bush is guilty of the verbal slander. One of Ohio governor John Kasich’s super PACs is subtly linking Trump to fascism by comparing him to Nazi Germany. Marco Rubio’s war cheerleader Max Boot called Trump a fascist while admitting it’s not a term he “uses loosely or often.” Libertarian writer Jeffrey Tucker says that Trump’s ideology “is best described as fascism.”

With all this fashy talk, one might get the idea that the two sides of the political establishment are working in cahoots to take down the candidate who best represents all those Middle American Radicals. You might also think that Donald Trump is an anomaly—that his creeping fascistic style is new to American politics.

But what does “fascism” even mean? The way commentators toss around the word, you’d think it came with a precise definition. And you’d think that Mr. Trump embodies that definition in his unpredictable, fuck-you-style campaign.

Love the Übermensch and give the whole things a read here. Mussolini would be proud.

Make America renegade again

 renegade

The book A Renegade History of the United States by Thaddeus Russell, a professor of History and American Studies at Occidental College is maybe inaugurating a new genre in American History. Russell is a maverick historian whose family come from the Trotskyist left and is very interested in libertarianism, however not a libertarian or a socialist but something in between. In a time when political correctness is dominating left-wing activism on campus, these professor tell a tale that is not going to please a lot of liberals. The premise is that renegades made America great. But who are these renegades?

He writes in the book about prostitutes as the pioneer of women’s rights. Now these is not something that contemporary feminists from Gloria Steinem or Lena Dunham are going to agree since they support banning prostitution. But Russell had some strong arguments, prostitutes were among the first American woman’s in achieve economic independence. A lot of the brothels were managed by madams that not only become wealthy but influential in local politics. Prostitution also broke race segregation of the early since most prostitutes didn’t had problems in offer their services to non-white customers and also there were some Asian, Native American and Black prostitutes as well.

There are some interesting things about race relations. He talks about the fascination with black culture and slavery from White Americans as something that goes beyond the puritan ethics of the time. He talk about ethnic groups like Irish, Italian and Jewish and how they became White Americans after being marginalized Europeans. Irish and Italians join the police, the military and became important politicians while Jews were successfully in business and the academia.

But he also has some strong disagreements with mainstream left-wing historians about the Civil Rights leaders because he consider MLK and others were too puritans and on a lot of issues on the side of conservatives. He made a point that is not necessary understood that the radical Black Power movement was crucial for the achievement of Civil Rights since MLK had the leverage to say to the white political class that could choose between non-violent Cristian Afro-Americans or the dangerous black radicalism.

He talks about how the mafia was fundamental for the LGBT movement since a lot of gay bars used to be ruled by the mafia. But also when he talks about the LGBT movement he spoke about how the early leaders of the movement try to present their self as regular Americans and not crazy queers. About how the early LGBT movement there was a desire of acceptation in the society.

There is also a powerful tale about the similarities between the New Deal liberalism, Italian fascism and German Nazism as totalitarian programs. In which popular leaders use centralized government in the name of progress. He talk about the early good relations of these governments and how the World War II wasn’t a fight of ideology but of geographical influence.

By far Russell has write one of the most interesting books on American history of the last years. His book is Michel Foucault meets Howard Zinn. The history of how some times are not virtuous leaders or courageous activists that had made America a better place but the lowlifes that are more interested in their self than the in country whom however by different ways conquest the liberty that today Americans celebrate.

Given how dumb our democracy is, kids might as well vote

Lord help me, I think I agree with a Vox article.

The wonky, smug liberal rag birthed by dweeb Ezra Klein is well-known for its clickbaity style that masquerades as journalism. From arguing that the American Revolution was a mistake to claiming that Hong Kong protesters used the “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture without evidence, Vox publishes Salon-style retardation without the depravity.

But by golly, they might be onto something with one of their recent shock pieces.

I’m talking about executive editor and sartorial ignoramus Matt Yglesias’ case for “letting children vote.” There is no good reason for disallowing children to vote for public officials, Yglesias argues. “It’s time to do away with another taboo,” he declares, “and start letting people vote regardless of age.”

I know the proposition sounds insane. Voting should be a privilege conferred on responsible, property tax-paying adults. It’s not a right. And it’s not a ticket to the welfare trough, as many leftists seem to think.

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Sometimes our political rhetoric ties us up in knots

Reprinted from the Press and Journal

If you were paying attention in philosophy class, you’ll remember Aristotle’s law of non-contradiction. Without this ontological law, Plato’s most famous student thought that we could never know anything about the things we already understand – for instance, the science of mathematics would mean nothing if it couldn’t be differentiated from biology.

Aristotle, smart as he was, would be baffled by today’s political rhetoric. His logical approach to the world does not fit well with our discourse over public affairs.

Too often, politicians choose subterfuge over truth and circumlocution over clear language. This makes the act of governing extremely difficult.

Some examples: In a recent Republican candidate debate, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio defended his call for a bigger Pentagon budget by declaring, “We can’t even have an economy if we’re not safe.”

We can’t? Last I checked, economies are nothing but the sum total of individuals trading goods and services. Even in the most rudimentary societies, barter still existed. And let’s not forget that in order for the military to function, tax dollars must be collected from business to finance its operations.

All that said, Rubio has a point: If we’re dead, we aren’t buying and selling things. So in a sense, you can’t have an economy without a certain degree of safety.

Confusing, right?

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