Lechers and Gossips

The lecherous man is such a staple of literature and television that it has a very well-documented page at TVTropes. Everyone knows about the dirty old men who prey upon the innocent young women, sociopathically using defenseless young ladies in order to satisfy their carnal desires. I was not surprised to see this trope in action when I saw the new movie adaption of the musical Les Misérables. Fantine, played by Anne Hathaway in the new movie, is a single mother working at a factory to pay for herself and her daughter, who is in the care of an innkeeper in another town. The lecherous foreman makes advances, which she spurns:

Have you seen how the foreman is fuming today?
With his terrible breath and his wandering hands?
It’s because little Fantine won’t give him his way
Take a look at his trousers, you’ll see where he stands!

And the boss, he never knows
That the foreman is always in heat
If Fantine doesn’t look out
Watch how she goes
She’ll be out on the street!

He has no sympathy when he discovers that Fantine has an illegitimate child:

Ah yes, the virtuous Fantine
Who keeps herself so pure and clean
You’d be the cause I had no doubt
Of any trouble hereabout
You play a virgin in the light
But need no urgin’ in the night.

We all know that this sort of man is a villain. Though some stories play up the humor aspect of the dirty old man, nobody seriously believes that this trait is anything but sinful. There are many, in fact, who seem to think that this is the default state of all men.

After seeing the movie, I decided to read the book. I was surprised, then, to find that the circumstances of Fantine’s sacking were different in Victor Hugo’s original novel. Instead of a lecherous foreman, she was fired through the actions of a gossipy old woman. I would say that in our culture, gossips are held to be rather harmless, minor annoyances at worse. Certainly they are not considered to be villains on the level of a lecherous man. Victor Hugo would disagree, however. Here is what he had to say about the gossip:

For prying into any human affairs, none are equal to those whom it does not concern. ‘Why does this gentleman never come till dusk?’ ‘Why does Mr So-and-so never hang his key on the nail on Thursday?’ ‘Why does he always take the by-streets?’ ‘Why does madame always leave her carriage before getting to the house?’ ‘Why does she send to buy aa quire of writing-paper when she has her portfolio full of it?’ etc. etc. There are persons who, to solve these enigmas, which are moreover perfectly immaterial to them, spend more money, waste more time, and give themselves more trouble than would suffice for ten good deeds; and that gratuitously, and for the pleasure of it, without being paid for their curiosity in any other way than by curiosity. They will follow this man or that woman whole days, stand guard for hours at the corners of the street, under the entrance of a passage-way, at night, in the cold and in the rain, bribe messengers, get hack-drivers and lackeys drunk, fee a chambermaid, or buy a porter. For what? for nothing. Pure craving to see, to know, and to find out. Pure itching for scandal. And often these secrets made known, these mysteries published, these enigmas brought into the light of day, lead to catastrophes, to duels, to failures, to the ruin of families, and make lives wretched, to the great joy of those who have ‘discovered all’ without any interest, and from pure instinct. A sad thing. (Les Misérables, by Victor Hugo. Wordsworth Classics Edition. Page 120.)

Just as a lecher will use another person for his carnal satisfaction, a gossip will use others for her emotional satisfaction. The end result is the same: people hurt and lives destroyed. Lust and lechery are clearly condemned in the Bible, and are nearly universally condemned in modern Christian society. Let us do the same for gossip and slander.

These six things the Lord hates,
Yes, seven are an abomination to Him:
A proud look,
A lying tongue,
Hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that are swift in running to evil,
A false witness who speaks lies,
And one who sows discord among brethren.
(Proverbs 6:16-19, NKJV)

The Bifactional Ruling Party

Rachel Lucas points out how mainstream Republicans are not really for smaller government, they just want to be in charge of the big one:

I was told during the election season by a few people I know personally and who read my blog that a casual observer of this space could easily come away with the impression that I’m a Republican because I oppose Obama and the Democrats and progressives. So for the record, once again: I am a libertarian. I supported the GOP candidate in the last few elections because I thought that was better than the only other viable alternative.

But I’ll never do that again. I’m never voting for someone like Romney or McCain or Dubya again; they’re just as useless as their opponents, just as happy with oppressively huge government as Obama is. Let the progressives burn it all down; it’s happening anyway and we may as well speed it up. I’d rather have the collapse come when I’m young(ish) than when I’m old and relatively helpless.

As the last election cycle played out, I found myself willing to vote Republican one more time. Mitt Romney was not a perfect conservative, but he was better than the alternative. He was better than President Obama, for sure, but he was also better than Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum. I thought he might – just might – be able to postpone America’s inevitable judgment day. Alas, the American people voted for more bread and circuses as the cliff approaches. So far, it seems that the GOP’s response is to tack even further to the middle, to try and win votes as the Democrats-lite.

The end is nigh, and neither party is willing or even able to save the nation. I suppose it is time to enjoy the decline.

Islamic Intolerance

Michael J. Totten writes about culture and current events in the Middle East not from a comfortable office, but from the front lines. He has spent many years traveling through the Muslim world gaining firsthand experience with what life is like over there, the good and the bad. This week, he wrote about the bad:

Free speech is under attack in the West, and it’s under attack from abroad. For years radical Islamists have targeted embassies abroad and individuals at home for “insulting” the Prophet Muhammad. And now diplomats and heads of state from Islamist countries are using international oganizations to pressure the West to criminalize blasphemy and are even lobbying for a global censorship regime.

Just like the leftist students who took over the campus in the 1960s in the name of free speech, then began to censor disagreeing viewpoints, Islamic activists see tolerance as a tool rather than an ideal. They know that we in the West worship at the alter of tolerance, and they will use that to achieve their aims. Notice that they have little use for tolerance in their own societies. In many Islamic countries, Christianity is essentially outlawed, and converting from Islam to another religion will often cost a man his life. Anti-blasphemy legislation is an attempt to impose the will of Islam on the Western world, contrary to our beliefs in freedom of speech and freedom of religion. It is not an altruistic endeavor, it is a cudgel. The question is, are we going to be so naive as to let them use our love of tolerance to dismantle our civil rights in the name of their prophet?

“The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” – President Barack Obama, in an address before the United Nations

The End is Nigh

While pundits trumpet the imminent recovery, the truth is that the economy is poised for a crash that will make 2008 look like boom times.

All is not well. Any awake and aware citizen knows the economic, financial, societal and social fabric of this country is in tatters, and is getting progressively worse by the day. Since this supposed economic recovery began in mid-2009, the country has added 4 million jobs, more than 100% of which went to workers over the age of 55, forced into the workforce by Bernanke’s zero interest rate policy. Over this same time frame of economic recovery, 16 million Americans went on food stamps. How could this possibly happen if the economy has been recovering? Either the government and mainstream media are lying about the economic recovery or the Obama administration has been fraudulently encouraging people to go on food stamps to win votes in elections. Which of these truths is more palatable to your sensibilities?

Read the whole thing, and prepare for the cliff. Hat tip to Captain Capitalism, who reminds us to enjoy the decline.

Spinster Nation

Sunshine Mary discovers an unpleasant feminist who thinks we should celebrate singleness rather than marriage:

You know what I like about this BuzzFeed story (h/t The Bitter Babe) about a woman who has started using Facebook to congratulate her friends on being single?  First, I like that it is so obvious that the bad-tempered spinsters are aware of the fact that they have made themselves a really miserable bed to lie in.  Second, I like how very easy it is to see the parallels between their behavior and my four-year-old’s when she doesn’t get that cookie she wanted.  She just pretends like not only did she not want that cookie to begin with, but there is probably something wrong with those cookies anyway and they’re probably gross and I’m probably just trying to trick her into eating something disgusting that she doesn’t want anyway, so there!

As one of the commenters points out, singleness is our natural state, so congratulating someone for being single is like congratulating someone for breathing. I know that St. Valentine’s Day is coming up, and for single people it can be tough seeing the entire world celebrate relationships. But sour grapes are unbecoming. The same effect is seen with obese people. Thin, athletic people are celebrated, and fat people can find that tough. Getting in shape can be difficult, so difficult, in fact, that some people want to end the shame and simply celebrate obesity as a lifestyle choice, as valid as any other. So we end up with bitter fat people who try to tell themselves that it is ok, when they know deep inside that it is not. So it is with singleness.

In completely unrelated news, Hasbro has decided to update Monopoly by removing the iron token and replacing it with a cat. I am not making this up:

In what some might call a ruthless abandonment of the old and others a democratic approach to the new, Monopoly magnates have spoken. The board game’s month-long “Save Your Token” contest ended at midnight, and fans’ least favorite token was officially replaced with a newer model.

From now on, a cat will round the board in iron’s place.

What better symbol of our new national consciousness? Gone is the iron, the stereotypical emblem of marriage as seen in the 1950s housewife. In is the cat, the best friend of single women everywhere.

A Double Standard for Murder

John Hinderaker reports on the man who tried to shoot his way into a Family Research Council office:

Will Floyd Corkins become the poster boy for gun control? He certainly deserves the honor. Corkins pled guilty today to firearms, terrorism and assault charges in Washington, D.C. Corkins shot and wounded one man in a terrorist attack last August, but he admitted in court that he had intended to kill as many as possible. He was carrying a loaded 9 mm handgun and had in his possession two additional loaded magazines and 50 loose rounds of ammunition. So the Democrats and their media outlets should be talking up Floyd Corkins, right?

Wrong. Because he carried out his attack on the Family Research Council’s Washington headquarters. Corkins is a left-winger who set out to murder FRC’s employees because he “didn’t like [their] politics,” specifically the fact that they oppose gay marriage.

Remember when an insane man killed several people in Arizona and seriously wounded Congresswoman Gabi Giffords? The left and the media (but I repeat myself) said that private citizen Sarah Palin had blood on her hands because she used a target icon to identify Giffords’ district as one to focus GOP efforts on. What do those same people have to say about the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “hate map,” which the shooter was using as a blueprint for murder?

As always, with the left it is “who, whom.” The SLPC is good and blameless always, while conservatives such as Palin are evil and always to blame. We know this, so let us stop taking the left and the media seriously.

Government-Sponsored Cuckoldry

Vox Day reports on a French law banning paternity testing:

As one woman mentioned on Twitter, the French argument completely misses the point.  If the child doesn’t belong to the father, there is no family in the first place!  Notice the pattern: evil is always opposed to the truth and inevitably seeks to hide its actions from everyone.

I would like to see a defender of this law, or a proponent of a similar law in the United States, seriously explain their position. The argument I usually see from feminists is that it is the right of every woman to choose who will raise her children. Yet fraud is usually prohibited, for a reason. Building a family upon a lie is a recipe for disaster, and forcing a man to work to support a child who is not his is just plain evil. But go ahead, try to convince me.

The Ikea Effect

This has been bouncing around the internet today. Apparently, people are more psychologically attracted to things they build themselves:

Have you ever spent a couple of hours working on a craft project — or a presentation for work — and then fallen in love with what you’ve accomplished? Do the colors you’ve picked for your PowerPoint background pop so beautifully that you just have to sit back and admire your own genius?

If so, get in line: You’re the latest person to fall victim to the Ikea Effect.

I have maintained for a while that my food is objectively better tasting the more I make it myself. When I pick the blackberries from a park and make the crust by hand, the experience of the pie is many times better than if I just went to the store and bought it. When I make something with my own hands, I am more intimately involved in the process of creation, obviously. I am more invested in the object than if it is mass-produced in a factory somewhere and arrives in my hands fully constructed.

On the other hand, buying something from Ikea does not necessarily fit that description for me. Sure, their products require assembly at home, but on the other hand, they are still mass-produced somewhere.

Vibrant Multiculturalism

Rachel Lucas brings some attention to an expression of culture that is not getting much airplay:

A Saudi preacher who tortured his five-year-old daughter to death has been released after agreeing to pay ‘blood money’, activists said.

Lama al-Ghamdi died in October having suffered multiple injuries including a crushed skull, broken ribs and left arm, extensive bruising and burns.

The child had also been repeatedly raped and the burned.

Leftists and feminists ally with radical Muslims in their desire to overturn traditional western Christian culture, which is supposedly oppressive and repressive. Yet there is no corner of western society where something like this would be condoned.

The Demagogue Express

President Obama brings his gun control message to Minnesota, but he is light on the facts:

The speech, while brief, was marked by Obama’s trademark incoherence. Everything is “reasonable,” and “common sense,” and favored by pretty much everyone. And yet, if you actually listen to what he says, it makes no sense at all.

President Obama comes across as a poor student debater, who would rather pretend everyone agrees with him than actually confront opposing arguments. He has nothing but straw-men.