(Last) Weekly Roundup: Masculine Fragility Edition

As cultural headshots go, the idea of “fragile masculinity” is just about perfect. Grown from the Marxist concept of hegemonic masculinity, it adopts Saul Alinsky’s fifth Rule For Radicals (“Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon”) to associate the legitimately risible — “Is it gay to use scented soap?” — with the traditionally male — “Shouldn’t I, the husband, have the final authority in my house?” Naturally, the media uses it with abandon, creating the hashtag #MasculinitySoFragile to drive the nails into the coffin just that much further in hopes of immanentizing the eschaton before the 2020 election.

You suffer from fragile masculinity if you voted for Trump, at least according to the Post, which published a study on the topic. (Even if you’re a woman.) If you disapprove of relaxing the standards applied to firefighters or SWAT troops or Green Berets so more women can qualify, your masculinity is fragile. If you own a gun… well, I’m literally shaking right now, I can’t even, wow just wow. In fact, if you are any more conventionally “manly” than the nu-male in the Swagger Wagon ad, you have gone right past Fragile Masculinity, all the way to Toxic Masculinity. Even African-American men can suffer from Fragile Masculinity, although in their case it was. apparently, forced upon them by white men.

Expressing dissatisfaction with the idea of fragile masculinity is also, you guessed it, a sign of fragile masculinity. Pay no attention to the non-binary character behind the curtain. If you see something, say nothing.

Ah, but this isn’t the Fragile Masculinity Edition of Weekly Roundup, it’s the Masculine Fragility Edition. Which, as you will see, means something quite different.

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Weekly Roundup: Today In Naples Edition

BO KNOWS. If you are a man of, shall we say, a certain age, you most likely recall the Nike ad campaign from 1989 that suggested Bo Jackson wasn’t just a sui generis athlete with professional-level talent in both football and baseball, but that he was brilliant at a variety of other sports, such as road cycling, hockey, and surfing. The irony of the campaign is that the sporting press crucified Jackson for being a two-sport superstar quite a bit more often than they lionized him for it. “Pick one or the other,” they’d screech, with the common opinion being that Jackson should focus on baseball since it paid better and rarely crippled its participants. After a career-ending football injury, Jackson spent four more years playing baseball before retiring at the age of thirty-two.

Jackson was neither the first nor the last casualty of our collective national unwillingness to allow the famous or talented to escape their pigeonholes. Be an NFL player or a major league slugger — but under no circumstances should you be both. We like to freeze people at the moment they enter the national imagination. Any attempt to deviate from that results in opprobrium at best and obscurity at worst. Ask Bob Dylan or Joni Mitchell… or Marcus Mumford. On exceptionally rare occasions, we will permit a move from rapping to acting (cf. Ice Cube, Ice-T) but attempts to move in the other direction are treated as comic relief.

Kenny Gorelick, aka Kenny G, made a name for himself as a smooth-jazz superstar, earning a sharp diss track from Pat Metheny in the process. At the age of forty-two, he decided to veer back towards the “real jazz” that he played in his youth. No such luck. So he returned to the smooth jazz, with a roundly ridiculed detour into investment management. Today, he’s back out there playing the music people want to hear, which is the music he recorded a quarter-century ago.

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(Last) Weekly Roundup: The Drive-Through Edition

In the words of the great Detroit-area bard, it seems like yesterday / but it was long ago. On Tuesday, September 23, 2008, I drove over to Midwestern Auto Group in Dublin, Ohio and signed the papers on my vaguely-famous lime-green Audi S5. As excited as I was about the car, it was just one in a long string of deliveries from that store, starting with my four-speed Fox in the spring of 1990 and encompassing about a dozen cars in the eighteen years that followed. Volkswagens, Rovers, Audis, a Saab, a Bimmer. My mentor and business partner of a decade ago was an even more dedicated customer, signing at least one but usually two leases per year there. It wasn’t just his company cars, of which he usually had three at any given moment. Every time he broke up with a woman, this deeply sentimental fellow would lease her a BMW or Volvo convertible as a parting gift, leading to no shortage of jokes on my part about these chicks “upgrading their rides”. My father, too, was a frequent flier at “MAG”. We knew the general manager, the service writers, the top-performing salespeople, and the occasionally fascinating dealership owner. It seemed reasonable to assume that I would continue to be one of the store’s best customers for a long time to come.

Do you remember / the twenty-third day of September, ten years ago? I do now, because that was the end of the party, and I never bought a car from Midwestern Auto Group again.

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Weekly Roundup: A Tale Of Two Cities Edition

It’s the Christmas season in Northern Ohio, but the blessings of the holiday will not fall evenly on all God’s children. In Toledo, they are preparing for the arrival of the Gladiator. Since September, FCA has been preparing a third shift for the plant based on Wrangler volume alone; Gladiator makes it a certainty. More than one thousand new workers will find their lives permanently changed by membership in the UAW and a job assembling one of the most steadily popular nameplates in the auto biz.

A few hours to the east, the workers at the General Motors plant in Lordstown are preparing for a closure on or about the first of March. At the Los Angeles Auto Show, while FCA showed off the Gladiator and Honda announced the discovery of a previously-unknown gap in its tall-wagon lineup that would be immediately and profitably filled by a shrunken Pilot, GM announced the corporate equivalent of a high-school girl cutting off all her hair and putting on Goth lipstick because her boyfriend dumped her for someone thinner. Lordstown is just one of the several plants being closed on short notice. Their products will die with them. The vast scale of the ignorance and wastefulness on display is breathtaking to behold; the brand-new CT6 V-Series, equipped with a massively expensive bespoke engine evocatively yclept “Blackwing”, is dead on arrival. Pause, if you will, to admire the stupidity verging on genius here; it was already a nearly impossible task to sell an S63AMG competitor with a Cadillac badge on the grille, so GM simply went the rest of the way by declaring in advance that the car would be discontinued. Thus the CT6 V-Series ticks every possible box in the disaster checklist: hideously expensive, undersized, impossibly complex, terrifying in the contemplation of future maintenance expenses and resale value, abandoned by its parents at birth.

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Weekly Roundup: That’s Not Very Cash Money Of You Edition

One of our most, ah, energetic commenters accused us here at Riverside Green of “staying silent” on the Jamal Khashoggi “situation”. I am not certain why he thought I should write something on the topic. At least forty-five journalists were killed in 2018, including the four killed by Jarrod Ramos in the United States earlier this year. (As seems to be the usual practice nowadays, Ramos was demoted to white after the fact.) Approximately 150 journalists have been killed since I started this site, and never have I written a word about any of them.

After reading a bit about Mr. Khashoggi and his likely fate, however, I thought that it might be worth a few words to discuss just how oddly, and perfectly, the situation serves as synecdoche for many of the issues currently occupying the national conversation. None of this is meant to be conclusive; please feel free to offer your opinions below, whether you agree or disagree with me.

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Weekly Roundup: Oceania Has Always Been At War With Sheryl Sandberg Edition

“Truly,” I wrote last year regarding one of my favorite billionaires, “it would be impossible for Mrs. Sandberg to have a tragedy now. Her money is permanent, immutable, too powerful to wither in her lifetime.” Turns out I was wrong. Because what is money, what is power, what is permanent #Blessed status, if you are declared a nonperson by the Deep State and all its tentacular appendages?

Today was the day that Ms. Sandberg became a nonperson, courtesy of a New York Times hit piece that ran yesterday and was immediately echoed everywhere from Vanity Fair to the Post to the Atlantic. “Sheryl’s Facebook Disaster,” brays one article; “Sheryl, We’re Revoking Your Mensch Card” bleats another. CNBC openly called for her dismissal today, as if she were some sullen Starbucks barista who had been caught spitting in Rachel Maddow’s soy latte. Yet I wasn’t completely certain that Sheryl was about to disappear from history like one of Stalin’s disgraced associates until I read that Jezebel had hit her with what I call the “George Zimmerman”: “Sandberg has built her personal brand on a particularly aggravating strain of capitalist-empowerment feminism, one that is built for rich white women…” Emphasis is mine. As long as she was identified by the press as Jewish, as was almost always the case in the past, I figured she had a chance — but the minute the media demoted her to Wypipo it was Game Over. Those whom the media gods would destroy, they first make white.

After today, Sheryl will still be unimaginably rich. She will not lose her home, her remaining family, her permanent ability to do as she likes and to pass that distorting wealth unto the seventh generation and beyond. But she will no longer be welcome in The American Conversation. What happened?

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Weekly Roundup: For Me But Not For Thee Edition

As Steve Sailer notes, it’s not “cultural appropriation” if the “good” people are doing it. Take Normal Rockwell paintings, turn them into posed photographs, remove all the white people. Presto, you got some “culturally relevant” art.

I’m not as upset by this as Steve is. In a way, this project promotes cultural literacy, which is sorely lacking in America. Some percentage of the people who look at these photographs will no doubt be inspired to seek out Rockwell’s originals, the same way that Steve Harris launched thousands of stoners in the direction of Coleridge and Wordsworth with Iron Maiden’s take on ancient mariners. Furthermore, the freedom to make reference to existing art and/or to re-imagine it is the very foundation of culture as a whole. It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about John Milton “remixing” the Bible to create Paradise Lost or The Notorious B.I.G. sampling Herb Alpert’s “Rise”. The notion that art can exist outside of context has been rightly torpedoed in even the most moronic of universities. Even your humble author stands on the shoulders of giants when he writes, often relying on phrases from Updike, Bellow, Roth, and others to get the point across.

All that aside, I have a particular gripe with the new take on Rockwell’s “Freedom Of Speech” painting. Allow me to explain.

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(Last) Weekly Roundup: (Not All Of) The Kids Are Alright Edition

Kids really do have it better nowadays: As two yoofs in the Eighties, brother Bark and I had relatively few options for unconscionably expensive evening entertainment, most of them being some kind of take on the Mechanical Rat And Child Casino known as “Chuck E. Cheese” or “Showtime”. (Columbus, being a primo test market, had both, naturally.) There was a Malibu Grand Prix in the area as well — and I’ll have more to say about that in a future article — but our age difference prevented us from competing directly.

Thankfully, we can now rectify this for our own children by dropping $250 for an evening of “high-speed” go-kart racing at Full Throttle Karting in Cincinnati, Ohio. How did it go? Well, I wouldn’t be writing this if everything had gone perfectly, would I?

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If You Have A Spare $9k-200k, Check Out The Indulge Gift Guide

 

My first work for INDULGE magazine is now online—rejoice (updated with a weblink)This magazine is a genuinely beautiful piece of work, with high quality photography and writing about South Florida lifestyle. It will mostly make you feel poor. But you should read it anyway, specifically my suggestions for gifts for the car collector in your life. It will come as no surprise to the RG faithful that I’ve recommended an NSX, an Evora, and a Mustang, as well as a Yamaha saxophone, Weiss watch, and EXR Series Racing school experience. What can I say…I’m consistent.

Next issue will have some super fun stuff about a very fast, very expensive supercar, as well as the world’s prettiest electric car in the Keys. Check it out.

 

Weekly Roundup: The Undefeated Season Edition

Looking back, Spike the Accord was too good, too soon. After lapping the field in my first few NASA Honda Challenge races this year, I never again faced any proper competition. I set the lap record at Mid-Ohio and came close-ish at NCM. Seven starts, seven wins. And that’s how I became the 2018 Great Lakes Region Honda Challenge Champion.

I have different plans for next year, plans that will probably see me in the middle of a pack instead of running away from one. Until then, check out last week’s articles, and enjoy this weekend’s highly dramatic race starts…

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