Monthly Archives: August 2015
The Office: Ironic Disdain
Until Malcolm the Cynic’s comments on (the American version of) The Office, I had forgotten what I thought about that show. Spoilers follow. In fact, if you haven’t watched the show through the first five seasons, then a lot of what I say below probably won’t make sense.
The mockumentary conceit is a clever ploy because it gets the audience to celebrate casual disdain for everyday people by disconnecting the audience. Most people rightfully attempt to suppress such feelings. Every so often, the show’s vice pays tribute to virtue with short bursts of compassion, but Jim and Pam’s ironic disdain for bourgeois life is the hipster-nihilist heart of the show.
Pam should have ended up with Roy. She doesn’t because the writers wanted Pam to stop being meek, shy, nice and to become the sort of empowered derelict enabled by the Jims of the world.
Roy will probably never be middle-class. He will never make as much money as Jim. That’s pretty much all Jim has over Roy. Otherwise: Roy is handsomer. He has friends. He isn’t a twerp. Roy doesn’t spend every day trying to make himself look good for the skanky receptionist by putting down his earnest and capable coworker. Roy actually moves wares around the warehouse in his job as a warehouseman.
Meanwhile, Jim steals his paycheck by pretending to work. He only attends so as to steal another man’s betrothed. He mocks his coworkers, and with blank stares he mugs ironic disdain for them directly into the documentary cameras; just to make sure we don’t mistakenly get the impression he is, you know, one of them. Otherwise, he spends his time scheming how he can be among the dupes without becoming one; how to suck up the privileges of middle class economics without actually becoming his horror. Hence his move to the corporate office must be offset by commuting to work on a bicycle. Think of it as trading bourgeois credits.
The Office seduces members of the audience into disdaining everyone; that respect, joy, and love are only illusions in a world composed of selfish pursuit. It is of a piece with the works of The Office’s cynical and atheist creator Ricky Gervais. We–the audience–are the Roys, Michaels, Dwights, Phyllis’, and Merediths of the world. But like Michael Scott we pretend that the Jims of the world are our friends; that like Jims we too are in on the joke. The truth is we are all the joke to Gervais.
There were some really funny scenes in The Office, and I enjoyed it for awhile. But it would be foolish to ignore the overall messaging.
By playing both sides of the suspension of disbelief; if you follow.
A Shield of Faith
16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints
Moose Norseman has an idea for a website focused on meeting material needs in the cause of Christian charity and fellowship. I think it’s a great idea. It has the potential to give organizational focus to local churches and individual Christians who either don’t know how to start, or don’t have the resources themselves.
It’s an ambitious idea, but being small it can be nimble and adapt. Ultimately he can choose to split off missions, redirect efforts, or whatever needs to be done.
Also: Moose himself is generous and bold while remaining humble. So check it out, and follow the progress.
Such ventures will win more Christians–and more ground for Christians–than 100 successful wars against 100 Bad Guy armies because the number of Bad Guy armies are Legion. Our mission is to build the Body of Christ through the Gospel of Christ resurrected, baptism, discipleship, and loving one another. That will very often mean defense of one another; perhaps even physically. Our offensive is the word of God; which is Christ.
EDIT: Updated link to Moose’s new website.
Media Consumed and a Question
I decided against watching the rest of Walking Dead. It was good except in one important respect: It wasn’t fun. Once the events of season two were settled, I didn’t really care what happened; not even about the zombie-slaver thing that rescues the sassy wench. I expect some Amazonian shenanigans ensued. If true, it’s so boring and so stupid.
Speaking of which: A while back I read a comment on Dalrock’s blog that I can’t now find. It cited a study which found that about 1 in 1,000 women are as physically strong as the average man. I’d take it as a kindness if someone could send me a link to the study/materials.
Still haven’t watched the last season of Justified. I was waiting so long for it to be on Amazon Prime, and now I can’t keep it in mind.
I saw Elysium last week, and generally liked it because I’m a sucker for SciFi that at least takes a running jump at earnestness. The overall plot of the elite moving to the ultimate gated community struck me as reasonable. The healthcare MacGuffin was a bit silly, though, because they didn’t explain why they had hospitals on Earth, but Insta-Heal machines in orbit. The write should have attached a horrible cost to them. Suppose every time the Insta-Heal is used, someone has to die to donate the raw materials, or it’s powered by super-expensive, super-delicate crystals. That would explain why only the rich have it. Otherwise they would shut down the hospitals on Earht, put a Insta-Heal Machine in strategic locations, and live in blissful, ignorant, and uninterrupted orbit away from the Latinos.
I’ve been reading some of Robert E. Howard’s Conan stories. Really entertaining.
Watched a brief series of Conan webisodes from the comic book publisher. They gutted the female character of the story to make it palatable for feminists. Really lame.
Clash of the Nomenklaturas
Awhile back, the term “Overton Window” was popular in the comments of the blogs I read. There was a lot of moaning about the fact that conservative or traditional ideas had been moved outside the Overton Window; that they were considered unfit for public discourse. Basically: Saying conservative ideas were outside the Overton Window was another way of saying that conservative ideas weren’t politically correct.
I put it to you: Concern for the Overton Window is itself conservatism. A battle over what is politically correct isn’t a battle between liberals and conservatives, but between two groups of conservatives. If you’ll notice, in the Wikipedia article it lists the outmost points from the Overton Window as “radical”; which is a much better descriptor for the opposite of conservative.
The anti-homosexual marriage crowd lost the war over homosexual marriage licenses because they could not bring themselves to talk about homosexuality in its most flaming form: anal sex. Just as the defining characteristic of marriage is a man and a woman who have license to have sexual intercourse with each other, the defining characteristic of homosexuality is anal sex. Anti-homosexual conservatives (those who rejected the topic as illegitimate) lost the battle against agnostic- homosexual conservatives (those who wanted to license the topic away) because they couldn’t be bothered to confront the true nature of the acts under consideration and then ask poignant questions about it, such as: What good is anal sex? Why should we create a civil ceremony centered on anal sex? What are the advantages of anal sex? What are the disadvantages of anal sex?
I don’t know about how you felt reading those questions, but I didn’t care to even write them.
Meanwhile, the pro-life crowd is just steps from crushing Planned Parenthood because–as the old chestnut informs us–truckloads of dead babies are not funny. How did The Center for Medical Progress shake the foundations of PP? By holding dead babies into the frame of the Overton Window; which is unseemly. It was a radical departure from political correctness, and like a Molotov Cocktail through the pane it set the well-established Planned Parenthood ablaze.
Conservatives usually won’t do that for three reasons:
- They believe it soils them to even discuss it. Essentially, they desire political correctness even if they don’t like the current view out the Overton Window.
- They’ve seen self-identified conservatives take each other down for even small, brief, breaks in political correctness, i.e., not being religiously nice.
- They like to feel righteous. In the meantime, accusations of someone else being un-PC are an easy force multiplier to achieve the sensation.
ASDGamer asked why I even bother writing about conservatism.
And my comment is “Who cares?” I don’t consider myself Progressive or Conservative.
One reason is that I believe that a number of our future fellow travelers will come from those who (at least recently) thought of themselves as conservative, or are sympathetic to what they perceive as conservative. Many Christians are found here; even if slovenly. I think it’s a mistake to harden the hearts of those people by name-calling them; especially if it’s done from a place of misunderstanding. That will beget more apathy. Apathy is bad.
Another reason is that these are fluid and nigh-borderless times. It’s hard to know who to fight and who to defend. Our time and energy are too precious for us to spend it impulsively. If we spend them in attempts of anti-liberal tactics then we’ll most likely fail because what we need are anti-conservative tactics. Their traditions are becoming entrenched! It’s not always going to feel good confronting the truth (and then upholding the truth!) after we’ve spent years conforming to lies. Even if they were “merely” lies of omission, then it’s going to take resolve to see clearly and act appropriately. We cannot afford to be reflexive. Our children almost certainly won’t be able to.
Finally, because it’s my blog. I want to write down my thoughts, and this is the place I do that.
The Hollow Victory of Conservatives
Ponder the path of your feet;
then all your ways will be sure.
Do not swerve to the right or to the left;
turn your foot away from evil.
There is this idea out there that “Everyone is (more or less absolutely) a modernist”. Maybe instead you’ll hear it moaned that “Liberals won the culture war”. Closely tied to these is the idea that individualism, freedom, and a hatred of authority are the forces pushing evil social changes. But is it true?
Of two black “liberal” comedians I once wrote:
Chris Rock and Dave Chappelle traded their jokes on a conservative understanding of the world because they are (unknowingly) conservatives. So fundamental is their conservatism that as penance for causing whites to laugh at blacks they both took back-to-basics trips to Africa; that they might be cleansed.
Ethnic pride. Patriotism. Pilgrimages. Repentance. Those are traditional ideas. In the previous post I wrote:
What [sexbots and VRporn] will do is make homosexuality seem authentic. “At least,” they’ll say, “a man having sex with another man is natural.”
At the same time, robosexuality will make sexual perversion un-real. “It’s not really gay,” they’ll say, “to pretend to have sex with a pretend man.”
I imagine that many of those who agreed with me shook their head at such an impending liberal argument for more homosexual activity. But what I wrote was a conservative appeal. They have the shells of legitimate arguments, and so they will pass the muster for most conservatives.
Conservatism/traditionalism is essentially an aesthetic–an outward appearance–to control the pace of change; to establish our notions of legitimacy and authenticity. I may want it to be about conserving “bedrock principles” and “the wisdom of the ages” and so forth, but in practice it can only be about conserving establishment. Whatever is not established in my life or in the wider culture cannot be conserved. And a preference for establishment is not the same as a love of truth. If truth is roaming around unestablished (I mean not part of the culture) then acquiring it is not a conservative act.
Let me cite some other current examples of misleadingly conservative trends:
- Egalitarian couples wandering around flea markets, plotting to “distress” rocking chairs with chalk-paint, and mooning over organic vegetables.
- Hipster men of all colors dress in slacks, loafers, boat shoes, Chuck Taylor’s, button-up shirtsleeves, belts, suits, briefcases, cardigans… It’s Mr. Roger’s Catwalk out there.
- Big-name pop-rock bands have that clean-cut, high-and-tight-with-the-combover hairstyle; as if Harvard’s championship rowing team from 1918 just took the stage. With mandolins.
- The acceptance of gay marriage among Most People is, I believe, not about homosexuality or marriage, but about establishing tradition so they can stop talking about homosexuality. There are villains and vandals who savor the destruction of marriage and family, but Most People believe that the topic of sexual deviancy will disappear under a license.
- Individual liberty is on the wane nearly everywhere but inside churches. There is a direct correlation between the (naturally conservative) desire for more regulation, and the importance of the institution.
The beatniks, hippies, cross-dressers, crips, bloods, and all the rest lost the aesthetic argument. So if we are unhappy with the state of life and culture then part of the solution will be to address our complacency in regards to the inside of the cup.
 It must work because chalk-paint distresses me.
 That aren’t.
Real Colored Jazz: Pretension, Robosexuals, and Homosexuals
One of my favorite movies was A River Runs Through It. It may still be. It’s been a long time since I’ve last seen it. It’s a story during the 1920s about two Montana brothers; one dangerously adventurous (Paul), and an older, pensive writer (Norman); who is the narrator.
In one scene, Norman comes back home from between semesters at a Chicago college. As he attempts to regale his old friends with big city life he boasts about the jazz he’s heard in clubs; “real colored jazz”, he calls it. He also derides a popular white jazz act of the day called the Clicquot Club Eskimos. His gambit of ur-hipster status-signaling fails among his townie friends when the bird he likes protests that her mother loves the Clicquot Club Eskimos. It won’t be so simple in the near future.
When the robots… arrive they will quickly become townie objects. When that happens, the Normans of the world (and most people are Norman at one time or another) will begin their search for authenticity. This earnestness won’t cause them to get rid of their robots and virtually real pornography. Nor will the pressure robosexuality will exert on human mating choices be lessened. People will still want increasingly unrealistic standards of more and better sex.
What it will do is make homosexuality seem authentic. “At least,” they’ll say, “a man having sex with another man is natural.”
At the same time, robosexuality will make sexual perversion un-real. “It’s not really gay,” they’ll say, “to pretend to have sex with a pretend man.”
Robots with Benefits
For women, this has already happened with the explosion of the sextoy market, and now Lesbian Until Graduation is an accepted practice. The thinking goes (not that there’s much consciousness involved) that, if its ok to pleasure yourself just for the sake of pleasuring yourself, then what is the problem with allowing another to pleasure you? Just as there is no romantic attachment or sexual orientation in regards to vibrators, then there needn’t be the implication of romantic attachment with a sexual partner.
And so–somewhat athwart my previous statement that the sexbot apocalypse will generate male homosexual activity–the robot-buying-base will be women. (I think male homosexual activity will increase [especially among affluent whites and asians), but it won’t overtake heterosexual fantasies.) I base this on the fact that while sales of male sextoys have increased a bit in recent years, they are far from overtaking the smorgasbord of options on the female market.
From a cultural perspective, I’ve never actually known of a man who owned a sex doll or other item. If they did they hid it. Meanwhile, vibrators have been sold for decades as “personal massagers” in beauty supply stores; right next to the old lady hair blueing.
If I’m right, none of it bodes well for anyone.
Further Thoughts on the Original Entryists
Under normal circumstances: I think and then I write. Tonight I will write while I think and so this is an immediate follow-up to my last post…although it’s been on my mind for well over a year.
Have you, men, ever noticed the pattern in Jesus’ communications with women? I can only think of two times when He addresses a woman without telling her to–essentially–shut-up. One is the woman who is dragged before Him for adultery in John 8:1-11
1 but Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. 2 Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.5 Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”]]
Before I go on let me also point out those closing brackets “]]”at the end of the passage, and the fact that John 8 begins with a lowercased conjunction. They inform us that this passage–which actually beings in John 7:53–is not recorded in the earliest known manuscripts of the book of John.
Even when Jesus’ own mother comes to Him, Jesus is, at least in speech, dismissive.
On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples. 3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
And later when His ministry is in full season:
31 And his mother and his brothers came, and standing outside they sent to him and called him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers[c] are outside, seeking you.” 33 And he answered them, “Who are my mother and my brothers?” 34 And looking about at those who sat around him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers! 35 For whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother.”
This last passage in Mark is of further interest because it seems to share a pattern with a passage from Luke 11 which I quoted in the previous post. In Luke 11 Jesus calls out to the scribes and pharisees because they are whispering to each other that Jesus is from Beelzebub and that is where He gets His power over demons. The same thing occurs in Mark 3. In both cases–immediately after Jesus’ preaching to the people and just condemnation of the pharisees–He is interrupted by appeals to and for His mother. In both cases Jesus rebukes the interruption and says that His family is whosoever does His will. (Go read Luke 11 and Mark 3. See for yourself!)
The second woman is another adulteress, the Samaritan woman at the well; another story only recorded in the Gospel of John chapter 4.
7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again.[b] The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.”
See that? As soon as talk gets real, Jesus asks for her husband.
17 The woman answered him, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You are right in saying, ‘I have no husband’;18 for you have had five husbands, and the one you now have is not your husband. What you have said is true.” 19 The woman said to him, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.20 Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews.23 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he.”
27 Just then his disciples came back. They marveled that he was talking with a woman, but no one said, “What do you seek?” or, “Why are you talking with her?”
They marveled that He was talking with a woman.
[…] 39 Many Samaritans from that town believed in him because of the woman’s testimony, “He told me all that I ever did.” 40 So when the Samaritans came to him, they asked him to stay with them, and he stayed there two days. 41 And many more believed because of his word. 42 They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.”
There’s nothing else like that in the NT. It is not recorded that people don’t believe because of the apostles, or that people don’t believe because of John the Baptist. Yet John decided it should be noted that the authority of Jesus should not rest on this woman’s verbal testimony.
There’s the story of Jesus’ visit to Martha and Mary. Mary sits quietly at Jesus’ feet while Martha busts her butt in the kitchen and complains. Jesus says Mary chose the better part.
What I am describing to you goes on throughout the Gospels. Women do not believe it, but they have power in their quiet obedience; ordered, focused power that is greater and more glorifying to God than their utterances before men.
They just don’t believe it. It is analogous to the way in which most Christian men do not believe that there is power in turning the other cheek to an insult or giving our jacket to those who ask for our shirt.
These are the hallmarks of the conservative.
The Original Entryists
The distinguishing characteristic of an entryist isn’t that it wants to be in somewhere, but that it doesn’t belong.
When I stopped allowing comments from women I probably spent too much time explaining why. That might have given the impression that I thought women were simply more wrong; more stupid, or something similar. The reality is that it’s as simple as They don’t belong in the Men’s Sphere. If the Men’s Sphere/Manosphere?Androsphere means anything then it means a Sphere of Men. By definition that means any woman in the Men’s Sphere is out of place.
Sometimes a woman gets lost. That happens. Once a woman is found, however, she ought to go home. Otherwise she is a pollutant; an entryist. Tolerating them is a mistake that injures the community. Not because said woman is “bad”, but because no woman is man enough to be a man.
Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord God had made.
He said to the woman, “Did God actually say, ‘You shall not eat of any tree in the garden’?” 2 And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden, 3 but God said, ‘You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the midst of the garden, neither shall you touch it, lest you die.’” 4 But the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5 For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
Eve, who was made without sin by Him who is without sin, couldn’t resist this offer even though she was already made in the image of the same sinless God. She was already like Him. Just so: Beware the woman who “gets it” and tells everyone else to “get it”. Women who actually “get it” are old; as in not young. Not a little older. Not smarter. They are old.
Quick: Who sweeps houses?
24 “When the unclean spirit has gone out of a person, it passes through waterless places seeking rest, and finding none it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ 25 And when it comes, it finds the house swept and put in order. 26 Then it goes and brings seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they enter and dwell there. And the last state of that person is worse than the first.”
27 As he said these things, a woman in the crowd raised her voice and said to him, “Blessed is the womb that bore you, and the breasts at which you nursed!” 28 But he said, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and keep it!”
Be blessed, rather, and guard yourself and your spaces against entryists lest they bring in seven more like themselves. Keep what you have been given!