The Critics Respond, Special Religious Nutjob Edition

There’s an email. It’s dated December 14, 2011, it’s from the most respected automotive brand in history, and it starts with “We need to talk about the women you’ve been bringing to these events.” Apparently, your humble author had what appeared to be two threesomes, with a total of four different women, over the course of three weeks, at a pair of press events in Las Vegas and Palm Beach. The reality of it isn’t quite that depraved; there was just a time in my life where I slept best if I had a girl on both sides of me, and you’re not going to easily arrange that across the country using the same crew every time. Alright, there was that thing where I ended up in a hot tub with two of those girls plus the fellow who owned the hotel and I was then offered five thousand dollars for half an hour with one of my companions, a nineteen-year-old waitress (they say “server” now) from Nashville, TN — but she ended up being a lovely wife and mother in the years that followed.

At about the same time, I was the tireless and committed musical director for a grassroots church, driving a 90-mile roundtrip twice a week to make sure our crummy little Christian rock band was in perfect working order.

I’ve gotten in more trouble over the past forty-nine years than about 96% of Americans, and that’s not a guess, it’s a statistic. On the other hand, I’ve put about two dozen children on bicycles at my own expense, I’ve helped build an animal shelter, and I’ve loaned or given tens of thousands of dollars, and two cars, to friends in need since 1995.

All this is being mentioned up front as a disclaimer for what you’re about to read regarding my personal justification for;

0. The idea of a Creator;
1. The idea that the Creator is a very specific entity;
2. The idea that this Creator is best experienced as part of a church and/or community.

I’m not trying to convince anyone here. I’m not a role model, nor am I worthy of emulation in this respect. I may be a good writer, but I’m not a good religious writer. If you want that, check out C.S. Lewis. The purpose of this special edition of “The Critics Respond” is simply to answer the above request. If you’re disgusted by religion, or if you think it’s the opiate of the poor, or if you feel yourself to be intellectually above the idea of Space Magic Eight Pound Baby Jesus, you are invited to skip this one and come back tomorrow for the Weekly Roundup, no harm done.

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The Critics Respond, Part Fifty-Three

This one comes to us from long-time TTAC reader/contributor Piston Slap Yo Mama. It’s a standing policy of mine here at Riverside Green to engage with all and sundry in good faith; you can dehumanize me and Bark any way you want to, but we are unlikely to return the favor. Furthermore, there’s no sense in having an echo chamber here. Even if I could figure out a way to populate the commentariat with practical copies of me — populist snobs with a taste for Guns N’ Roses and chamber music, where will I find all of them? — I wouldn’t want to do that. In other words, a Riverside Green with no loyal opposition is no Riverside Green at all.

David, aka Piston Slap, has been wall-of-texting me on an early February post, largely arguing that the entire January 6 incident should be understood through the lens of Brian Sicknick. Officer Sicknick was initially reported as dying from blunt trauma to the face; that wasn’t true, and the Times knew it. Now they’re saying he died of bear spray; it’s in no way clear that this is true, either. All we know is this: two months after the fact, the FBI can’t even say that Sicknick was murdered, much less by whom — this, in an “insurgency” covered from multiple angles at all times by myriad phones and security cameras.

Normally, I’d use this discussion as a jumping-off point to discuss the manner in which “tribal’ affiliations have completely overtaken any individual point of logic, fact, or even rhetoric in the America of 2021. All last summer, we saw Blue Tribe members braying for the blood of cops, throwing rocks at them, attempting to blind them with illegal lasers. At the same time, Red Tribers were festooning their cars in “thin blue line” flags and whatnot. Come January 6th, and everyone effortlessly switches sides. In a true “we have always been at war with Eastasia” moment, the Blue Tribe penned a thousand sobbing editorials about the critical role of law enforcement at a time like this. Meanwhile, the Red Tribe was preparing to give Ashli Babbitt’s killer the full Horiuchi, if the government would only identify him.

In other words, neither tribe has a fixed stance on the worth of police. If they’re rolling tanks through the kids’ playground at Waco, they are heroes; if they are closing down CHAZ/CHOP, they are pigs. Or vice versa. This absurdly facile approach is, of course, born of a 24-hour news cycle in which both tribes scrabble for advantage any way it can be gained. Indeed, it’s the only way a tribe can operate. If you want to stand on principle, you’ve already been consigned to the dustbin of history. You’re boxing in an MMA ring, which means your ass is about to get kicked.

The above is a boring discussion, and it’s too depressing to consider in the middle of the week. Let’s instead look at David’s rather interesting statements regarding what he is for and what he is against… also, let’s examine the people with whom he shares these qualities in real life, as opposed to fantasy life.

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The Critics Respond, Part Fifty-Two (Special Double Critic Edition)

I came home from dinner this evening to find two very different recent responses to posts here on Riverside Green. The first one, shown above, was a past-the-buzzer drop-in on this month-old post about the largely unremarked-upon death of a veteran at the Capitol. The second one was in response to yesterday’s post about Chinese power and influence in this country. In addition to being longer, it was considerably better-argued.

If you will all permit me a bit of latitude, however, I’d like to address them together, because I believe there’s more to be learned by doing so.

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The Critics Respond, Part Fifty-One

Let us take a moment to appreciate what a finely crafted jab this is, dear readers; it was written by someone who somehow understood that I would be fundamentally disgusted at any comparison, favorable or otherwise, between my work and that of automotive journalism’s sole Pulitzer Prize winner. And just in case my blood hasn’t reached full boil in the first half of the sentence, there’s a throwaway jab at “Trump’s America” just to drive home the point that this person feels himself to be fundamentally superior to me on a socio-economic basis.

Having thus received such a kid-glove slap, I see no issue with devoting a thousand or so words — maybe more, if it proves amusing — in the cause of countering sixteen.

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The Critics Respond, Part Fifty

Jeff, you have a point. Like a totally legitimate point. So while I originally planned to make this episode of “The Critics Respond” a stout-ish defense against your allegation, complete with various facts and figures concerning what percentage of my published output contains Accord-related content, I’d rather spend this time talking about the truly odd things that occur at the intersection of talent, opportunity, and motivation.

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The Critics Respond, Or; Dr. Detroit Meets Dr. Delete

avatar Tom Klockau

This generation has been referred to as the “Glamour Birds” for some time. I reviewed a friend’s immaculate ’71 Landau last year. Not to be confused with the 1964-66, AKA the “Flair Birds.”

http://jackbaruth.com/?p=7088

It’s too bad about what’s going on at the site I used to write for. What was a nice little community that just liked yakking about old cars is slipping away into a fiefdom. Hell, I’m not the only one who took a powder from there; we could start a club. Oh sure, if you agree with the big cheese, you’ll probably be fine, but heaven forbid you stray from the party line.

It was my own fault. I commented and should have known better…

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The Critics Respond, Part Forty-Seven

This one is funny, for a couple of reasons. First of all, it shows everybody’s favorite troll, Deadweight, in full-on Baruth Derangement Syndrome mode. Guys like this fail to understand the economics of the internet—if you really hate me so much, the absolute WORST way to protest me is to click on everything I write, read every word of it, and then leave a comment. Seriously, that’s a triple fail.

The other reason that this is such a poor troll is that he’s protesting a guy who has literally made it his job to call out unethical behavior in others. I am the reason that TTAC has a disclosure policy. You can read my arguments for it here. I have never accepted anything over $50 in value from an OEM, and I’ve left a few presents behind at the hotel that were excessive in nature.

Let me go ahead and recap everything I’ve ever accepted from a manufacturer in my five years in this “business.”

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The Critics Respond, Part Forty-Six

The Huffington Post just published what I can only describe as a “multi-media document” regarding the economic plight of Millennials. It combines graphics, animation, and a series of 8-bit-styled “adventures” to enhance (or detract from) a fairly conventional explanation regarding “structural disadvantage”. I can only imagine how much effort it took to assemble — the list of credits at the end would be enough for an indie film — and even at the poverty wages paid by HuffPo to its contributors it must have been quite expensive as well. Yet it’s mostly an example of what the proprietor at Chateau Heartiste calls a “pretty lie”.

I read the whole piece with attention, wondering if they would ever get around to the economic elephant in the room. You won’t be surprised to find out that they never do. If you scroll through all the animations, you’ll find some terrifying statistics. The author’s father bought a house in Seattle for slightly less than twice his annual income at the age of 29; the author would need more than a decade’s worth of income at the age of 35 for the same house. A four-year public-college degree costs about eight times as it did in 1980, compared to minimum wage. In the country’s 10 largest metros, residents earning more than $150,000 per year now outnumber those earning less than $30,000 per year. More Millennials live with their parents than with roommates.

There are plenty of reasons given for this mess, although most of them magically boil down to racism and none of them even dare to touch on the truth of the modern economic disaster in America, the actual reason for everything from urban housing shortages to the nationwide healthcare crisis. In a single phrase, it is this: Americans no longer make what they buy, and they no longer buy what they make. It’s that simple — and despite the dismissive tone taken by the Tweet at the top of this article, “Scary China” is at the heart of this disaster.

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The Critics Respond, Part Forty-Five

Why and wherefrom the trigger warnings, and whose innocence or interest are they meant to comfort, defend, and preserve? Who is afraid of whom or of what, and why do the trumpetings of doom keep rising in frequency and pitch? — Lewis Lapham, “Petrified Forest”

It was just coincidence that I happened to finally get around to my newest issue of Lapham’s just after squabbling online with one of the Best&Brightest’s fussier members, but the contrast between the two could not be more stark. That goes for the men behind the statements as well. Lewis Lapham, as I don’t expect any of you to know, is the former editor of Harper’s and a Renaissance man whose intellect continues to shine brightly and forcefully although he is now in his ninth decade. “Arthur Dailey” is, by, a Canadian citizen who claims to be a wealthy human-resources executive and investor.

It is only reasonable that these two individuals would come at the free-speech issue from divergent, if not entirely opposing, places. “Arthur” spends his days protecting the interests of his company in a country where feelgood socialism tends to dominate the public discourse. Mr. Lapham, with his outstanding and thoroughly recommended current publication, seeks to discover truth and beauty by juxtaposing the best of classical and modern writing. He is also a staunch defender of traditional American values, if not necessarily friendly towards the Republican Party and/or the current President.

My sympathies are naturally with Lapham here. I’m an American by birth and culture. I believe in the unrestricted freedom of speech and in the latterly controversial idea that the truth is best discovered when no voice, however distasteful, is silenced. Towards that end, I believe that nothing should be held as sacred or above discussion — even if, in a bit of an ouroboros-esque twist, we are talking about free speech itself. So lets give Arthur’s ideas a workout, shall we?

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The Critics Respond, Part Forty-Four

Crimestop means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought. It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop, in short, means protective stupidity

— Goldstein, in 1984

George Orwell’s primary brilliance was in his recognition that crimethink was going to be the primary offense prosecuted in any future progressive/socialist society. As the power of the state increases, fewer and fewer people will actually act against it because to do so is increasingly futile. One hundred and fifty years ago we had states seceding. A hundred years ago we had thousands of veterans marching on Washington and getting murdered for their trouble. The most anybody’s been willing to do lately is “occupy” a public park or a wildlife refuge until the men with guns ask them politely to leave. There’s not going to be any further resistance to the United States Government — at least not until paper money runs out of steam.

In truth, The Year Of No Lord 2017 resembles Brave New World more than it resembles 1984. The Alpha and Beta citizens of American society are “decanted”, sometimes literally via IVF, in Manhattan and Chicago and San Francisco. They are programmed from birth with the gentle secular monotheism of the modern age, a ridiculous pablum of moral equivalence belied at every turn by the lily-white gated-and-guarded circumstances of their daily lives. They attend good schools and take jobs in the so-called FIRE industries. They wet their beaks in the stream of commerce and make effortless millions. They advocate for unlimited immigration then build walls around their homes.

Only an idiot could fail to notice the massive gap between the “everyone is equal” media-delivered catechism and the astounding inequality, racial and otherwise, of the globalist illuminati. (Lower-case “i” there; I don’t believe in conspiracies.) Therefore, you cannot be a successful member of progressive American society until you develop crimestop. Until you do so, you will forever be in a situation where any offhand comment on your part could lead to you losing everything from your home to your health insurance to custody of your children. The above comment by “bikegoesbaa” above illustrates this. He “cries no tears” for somebody who loses a job because his Facebook posts are judged to be “racist”. HAHA LOL SUCKS TO BE THAT DUDE. The typical justification of this is the XKCD comic explaining that you have no “free speech” right to a job, a home, a living, or anything else. “The First Amendment doesn’t shield you from consequences.” It’s perfectly reasonable to destroy somebody’s life if they say something that doesn’t agree with our oh-so-gentle-and-nonjudgmental single-party, single-opinion progressive culture. They become unpersons and they literally disappear from middle-class life overnight.

The problem with this approach is that the definition of acceptable doubleplusgoodthink is a moving target and as you’ll see below, the actual comment by “bikegoesbaa” is on its way to being seen as massively racist and discriminatory. Twenty years from now, people will read it and consider it approximately equivalent to spray-painting the “N-word” on your African-American neighbor’s house. I will also show you how credit ratings themselves, although originally designed to help prevent racist behavior on the part of banks and lenders, will come to be seen as thoroughly racist devices. Finally, I will explain how the progressive theology will eventually come into violent conflict with the banking system and how only one of those two things will manage to survive. Allow me to explain.

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