Armed neo-Nazis patroling Sanford, FL:
Neo-Nazis are currently conducting heavily armed patrols in and around Sanford, Florida and are "prepared" for violence in the case of a race riot. The patrols are to protect "white citizens in the area who are concerned for their safety" in the wake of the Trayvon Martin shooting last month, says Commander Jeff Schoep of the National Socialist Movement. "We are not advocating any type of violence or attacks on anybody, but we are prepared for it," he says. "We are not the type of white people who are going to be walked all over."
Because nothing diffuses racial tension like gun-toting racial separatists patrolling an already on-edge community.
Some pro-equality activists don't like what other pro-equality activists do with their money.
Only dubiously witty, but unexpectedly fun: Nicholas Cage does John Cage.
Apparently, Los Angeles isn't superficial, New York drives aren't that bad, and Miami isn't full of fit people.
PinkIsTheNewBlog has a pic of Zac Efron's bum.
Andrew Sullivan on America's bad religion:
"When I go and see young people, their image of Christianity these days is one of judgment, intolerance and to some extent bigotry and politics," Sullivan said. "They associate it with one political party in this country, because of the fusion of evangelical and ultra-orthodox Catholics with the Republican Party. They don't see it as the message of Jesus, they don't see it any more as a message of love and forgiveness. They see it as a bunch of people trying to control their lives through political mechanisms.
Gallup probes American religiosity:
... it’s no surprise that all of the “top” ten [religious] states are in the south save Utah and Oklahoma, which, as Abbie Smith will attest, may as well be in the south. It’s also no surprise that the least religious states are in New England, with the proportion of “very religious” being 23% in New Hampshire and Vermont, 25% in Maine, and 28% in Massachusetts ...
What did surprise me was the 32% of Americans who see themselves as “nonreligious" ... Since roughly 10% of Americans don’t believe in God, and only about 1.5% go so far as to describe themselves as “atheists” or “agnostics,” I wonder how many of these 32% of “nonreligious” Americans are secret atheists who just don’t like the label, or are unwilling to confess to an interviewer that—horrors!—they don’t believe in God.
Teen sells kidney for Apple products:
He received 220,000 yuan ($35,000) for the transplant, gave the student 22,000 yuan ($3,500) and shared the remaining money with the other defendants and several medical staff involved in the operation, Xinhua said.
When the student returned home, he was asked how he could afford a new iPhone and an iPad and he told his mother that he sold one of his kidneys
High up in Chile's Atacama desert -- at almost 17,000 feet above sea level, where heads ache, noses bleed, and "dizziness overcomes the researchers toiling in the shadow of the Licancabur volcano" -- scientists are turning Chile into one of the world's elite destinations for astronomical research. But for how long? From the Times:
At the same time, the financial crisis in rich industrialized countries has raised concerns that funding for some ambitious astronomy projects could face constraints. In the United States, a Congressional panel last year proposed killing NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope before a compromise spending plan saved the project.
“It would be very sad for humankind if we were so spiritually decadent to forgo the pleasures of consciousness and of knowledge,” said Mr. Mosterín, reflecting on the funding choices political leaders need to make. “These things make human beings a very interesting animal indeed.”
Mike Wallace, late of CBS's 60 Minutes, died last night at age 93. He perished in an assisted care facility near New Canaan, CT. From the New York Times:
A reporter with the presence of a performer, Mr. Wallace went head to head with chiefs of state, celebrities and con artists for more than 50 years, living for the moment when “you forget the lights, the cameras, everything else, and you’re really talking to each other,” he said in an interview with The New York Times videotaped in July 2006 ...
Mr. Wallace created enough such moments to become a paragon of television journalism in the heyday of network news. As he grilled his subjects, he said, he walked “a fine line between sadism and intellectual curiosity.”
Wallace retired from 60 Minutes in 2006, at the age of 87. He is survived by several children, the youngest of whom is Chris Wallace, the combative host of FOX News Sunday.
Thanks to Joe.My.God for unearthing the following video -- an investigation into homosexuality in America hosted by Mike Wallace and aired in 1967. Given the era in which it was produced, it's admirably open-minded: gayfolk, at least male ones, are allowed to speak their pieces freely and at length. (I was especially interested in the weird hand-wringing about the possibility of a "gay mafia" ruling pop art and fashion, which seems rather incidental to the segment's central question: Is it desirable to legislate against private sexual behavior? On this question, at least, it seems Wallace wished to alight gently on the side of history.) Watch AFTER THE JUMP ...
The polemecist, novelist, and National Review writer -- who long ago made the admission that he was a "homophobe, though a mild and tolerant one, and a racist, though an even more mild and tolerant one" -- last week published a not-at-all mild or tolerant article in the online journal Taki's Magazine entitled "The Talk: Nonblack Version." The article is a response to the dozen or so other articles published since the killing of Trayvon Martin in which black American parents discuss "the talk" they must have with their children about dealing with white authority figures. (The talk goes something like this: Do as you're told servilely, even if you think you're being treated unfairly, or else you might wind up in trouble far greater than your alleged misdeeds would warrant.)
There is a talk that nonblack Americans have with their kids, too. My own kids, now 19 and 16, have had it in bits and pieces as subtopics have arisen. If I were to assemble it into a single talk, it would look something like the following.
Among your fellow citizens are forty million who identify as black, and whom I shall refer to as black ...
As with any population of such a size, there is great variation among blacks in every human trait (except, obviously, the trait of identifying oneself as black). They come fat, thin, tall, short, dumb, smart, introverted, extroverted, honest, crooked, athletic, sedentary, fastidious, sloppy, amiable, and obnoxious. There are black geniuses and black morons. There are black saints and black psychopaths. In a population of forty million, you will find almost any human type ...
... and because of this variance, Derbyshire explains, it is important for his children to treat each individual black person with the same courtesy and kindness accorded to strangers of any hue.
As you go through life ... you will experience an ever larger number of encounters with black Americans. Assuming your encounters are random -- for example, not restricted only to black convicted murders or to black investment bankers -- the Law of Large Numbers will inevitably kick in. You will observe that the means -- the averages -- of many traits are very different for black and white Americans, as has been confirmed by methodical inquiries in the human sciences. ...
Of most importance to your personal safety are the very different means for antisocial behavior ...
A small cohort of blacks—in my experience, around five percent—is ferociously hostile to whites and will go to great lengths to inconvenience or harm us. A much larger cohort of blacks—around half—will go along passively if the five percent take leadership in some event. They will do this out of racial solidarity, the natural willingness of most human beings to be led, and a vague feeling that whites have it coming.
Which is why Derbyshire wishes his children to avoid "concentrations of blacks not known to you personally," black neighborhoods, beaches and amusement parks frequented by blacks, concerts and other events frequented by blacks, and depart public events at which large numbers of black people show up. Which is really five ways of saying the same thing, which Derbyshire nevertheless thought necessary to separate into bullet points. Perhaps he ran out of things to say.
But no! Derbyshire continues:
Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians.
Before voting for a black politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a white.
Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway.
If accosted by a strange black in the street, smile and say something polite but keep moving.
Most of the rest of Derbyshire's screed deals with the alleged relative stupidity of black people. Nevertheless, Derbyshire admits the existence of "intelligent and well-socialized blacks," which he abbreviates as "IWSBs," and about whom he writes:
You should consciously seek opportunities to make friends with IWSBs. In addition to the ordinary pleasures of friendship, you will gain an amulet against potentially career-destroying accusations of prejudice.
... Unfortunately the demand is greater than the supply, so IWSBs are something of a luxury good, like antique furniture or corporate jets: boasted of by upper-class whites and wealthy organizations, coveted by the less prosperous. To be an IWSB in present-day US society is a height of felicity rarely before attained by any group of human beings in history. Try to curb your envy: it will be taken as prejudice (see paragraph 13).
The reactions from Derbyshire's fellow conservatives and National Review collegues were swift and brutal. (Even though a perusal of their own published opinions suggests that they agree with most or all of Derbyshire's points, if not with his method of expressing them.) Jonah Goldberg, author of Liberal Fascism, called Derbyshire's article "fundamentally indefensible and offensive." National Review editor Rick Lowry decried Derbyshire's "appalling view." Asked if he wanted to associate with such "racist trash" as Derbyshire, National Review writer Ramesh Ponnuru tweeted "I know I don't." And in the article containing these very condemnations, Matt K. Lewis, of the right-wing, Daily Caller wrote:
I believe in free speech — especially unpopular speech. But that doesn’t mean National Review has to subsidize it. And it certainly doesn’t mean we shouldn’t condemn it.
Some people aren’t worth the fighting for. Some things are indefensible. This is one of those cases.
The National Review announced Derbyshire's firing in a post on Saturday night, and it seems unlikely anyone other than Taki's Magazine will ever publish his polemics again. It's a shame, in a way, that we'll never know what kind of conversation he might have had with his children about gay people. Though we may obtain hints here, and here, and here.
Kudos to BuzzFeed for unearthing a truly bizarre anti-VD PSA from 1969. In it, a sultry-voiced so-and-so sings a vaguely Weillian song about VD -- it's "for everybody!" -- that makes gonorrhea sound downright delightful. The ditty is accompanied by images of people having a fabulous time with their VD. Shopping, putting on makeup, dancing, slicing meat, playing the violin. Perhaps the intended point is that there's no shame in contracting a sexually transmitted disease, but the actual takeaway is something else.
Watch AFTER THE JUMP ...
The Sydney Morning Herald today published a small feature on pray-the-gay-away cults around Sydney, Australia. It's a good read, and it bears good news: The ex-gay movement in Sydney, like ex-gay movements everyplace, is on the wane, and groups which once claimed to utterly rejigger clients' sexual orientations now have lesser ambitions:
... the Australian ''ex-gay'' movement has shrunk and become more marginalised than it was when he went through homosexual ''healing'' in the 1970s. The sessions today are more in the style of confessional support groups, not dissimilar to Alcoholics Anonymous ...
Of the three groups contacted by The Sun-Herald, only Haydn Sennitt, the pastoral worker at Liberty Christian Ministries, agreed to be interviewed. Sennitt says: ''We do not offer 'fixes' or 'cures' for homosexuality, but we do believe that it can be healed over time.''
''I have seen in myself and others an ability for people to overcome same-sex attraction by persistence, prayer, and patience,'' says Sennitt, who after years of living as a homosexual is now married with a child.
(" ... and who is therefore probably naturally bisexual," one wishes the editors would add.)
The article's good tiding's aren't its most striking feature. That would be the description of the "treatments" used by Australian ex-gay groups to heterosexualize their clients, which are far more dramatic than those used recently by equivalent American organizations. In particular the "treatment" of Anthony Venn-Brown, "a former leader in the Assemblies of God who for 22 years tried to change his homosexuality through psychiatric treatment, exorcisms, ''ex-gay'' programs and 40-day fasts." According to the Sydney Morning Herald:
He was assigned a ''minder'' to monitor his behaviour. The minder combed through his wardrobe to remove all ''gay-looking'' clothes such as pink socks and colourful underwear, stood outside while he showered to stop him from masturbating, and made him do more manly activities such as gardening and maintenance.
(If you were running an "ex-gay" group, wouldn't you be more concerned by the proclivities of your willing shower-minders than those of your clientele?)
Read the full Sydney Morning Herald feature here.
It's on! Porn stars against Rick Santorum! Rick Santorum doesn't like pornography, and porn, like many an embattled industry before it, has marshalled its moxie to influence the American presidential election. Only porn's not doing battle through bribes and SuperPACs. (Though, who knows. It's probably doing that, too.) It's simply bringing together a few stars (employed by Vivid Entertainment) to look into a camera, talk politics, and encourage citzens to express solidarity with the porn industry through a national evening of wanking.
Senator Santorum says watching porn causes profound brain changes resulting in negative consequences. Besides not being supported by any facts, wouldn't the opposite seem more true? Porn lets you visualize your fantasies so you don't walk around like a tightly-wound sexually repressed time bomb.
Watch Porn Stars v. Santorum AFTER THE JUMP ...