(Last) Weekly Roundup: The Fate Of The Flying Wing Edition

I have trouble shaking the feeling that our distant posterity will look back at the America of 1945-1968 as the apex of human existence. It was an era of nearly full employment, remarkable public morality, and tremendous creativity across pretty much every industry or discipline one could imagine, from jazz to jet planes. Which is not to say that everything was hunky-dory, of course. Invisible Man was published in 1952; Last Exit To Brooklyn in 1964. Still, it was an era of exceptional safety and certitude for the vast majority of Americans. It was also a world where something like COVID-19 would have been swiftly handled, assuming that it somehow managed to make it across the Pacific Ocean in the first place. Most people behaved like grownups back then. It was expected of them. If Eisenhower had gone on television and asked people to wear a mask, then the masks would have been worn. If he’d asked people to stop burning down Rolex stores, the media would have reported this as a singular and outstanding idea rather than as incipient fascism on the hoof, and perhaps the store-burning would have stopped. Who knows? We had not yet acquired enough stupidity, as a nation, to create our current conditions.

It was the kind of era in which flying wings could happen, and did. As with so much else of our postwar tech Renaissance, the science behind the flying wing had been proven by Germans — in this case, a few Germans who managed to get a 55-foot-span jet-powered flying wing built more or less underground, with ersatz materials, during 1944.

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1967 Dodge Monaco: Join The Dodge Rebellion!

Here’s a nice time capsule to prove Dodge did sell vehicles other than loud, brash muscle cars in the ’60s.

While the most famous Monaco is a certain black and white 1974 model, the nameplate initially appeared in 1965 as a special top of the line two door hardtop with bucket seats, console and wicker door panel trim, meant to compete with the Pontiac Grand Prix.

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(Last) Weekly Roundup: Under The Guys Of Equality Edition

Sherryl Kleinman, a former professor of sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill… reserved a special disapproval for “you guys,” which she considered the “most insidious” of these phrases, and with the help of former students made a small card that anyone could print out and, for instance, leave behind at a restaurant to communicate their dislike of the term to an employee who had used it.

If you want a vision of the future, Winston, imagine professors and students haranguing service-industry employees via passive-aggressive cards left behind at a restaurant table, forever.

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1977 Oldsmobile Toronado XS: Excess is Good

I always liked Toronados. My favorite is probably the inaugural 1966 fastback, but I love them all, right up to the final 1992 models.

But as those of you fine folks following my random scribblings over the past three years know, I also have a MAJOR soft spot for the more formal, glitzy and Broughamtastic 1971-78 Toros.

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Weekly Roundup: Matt Runs The Voodoo Down Edition

If you want to know why so many young people call today’s American society Clown World, start with this: In a moment where race relations have forcibly erased all other possible subjects of conversation everywhere from the kitchen table to television news, the best-selling book in America is an oddly racist treatise on “whiteness” written by a white “corporate diversity trainer”. Every single person who spends time reading Robin DiAngelo’s White Fragility would be better off reading Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man: that’s a brilliant work of art that any English-speaking human would be better off for having read, written by a thoughtful and perceptive African-American, rather than a dime-store novelization of those bizarre corporate meetings where someone screams at you for thoughtcrime while you mentally calculate how many times you can look at your iPhone in any given ten-minute period before it gets taken away.

In addition to being a litmus test for limousine liberalism, White Fragility further exposes a genuine division in the American Left. A secret (and, sometimes, not so secret) battle was waged over the past two decades as to who would guide the Democratic party. You had the class-and-economy people, represented by Bernie Sanders at one extreme and William Jefferson “It’s the economy, stupid!” Clinton at the other. Then you had the all-about-race-and-gender people, who started off way behind in this race but eventually overtook and then purged their opposition. No doubt they would attribute this overnight success to the essential justness of their cause; a cynical person might point out that Bank Of America is perfectly willing to donate one billion dollars to people who frame the American discussion in terms of race but will not give a single penny to anyone who wants to overturn the existing economic order.

Seriously. Take a look at the OpenSecrets pages for Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden. Warren’s top donor was the hard-left EMILY’s List, which gave her under $150k. Biden’s top donor was a hedge fund manager, who gave him EIGHT MILLION DOLLAR. Hell, Biden has gotten $1.9 from… wait for it… Bain Capital. That’s right. The 2012 “Republican” candidate for President just gave nearly two million bucks to the 2020 “Democratic” candidate. After hearing that, do you still think there is any genuine difference between the “mainstream” politicians in this country?

Matt Taibbi is firmly on the “class war” side of the Democratic divide, so it’s no surprise that he would be slightly cynical about the idea of white women earning millions of dollars as experts on race relations. What is surprising, for me at least, is the complete and pitiless broadside he launches against DiAngelo’s rather feckless and aimless book. You’ll want to read it.

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Those Who Can Make You Hate Karens, Can Make You Believe Absurdities

The Karen I knew didn’t want to speak to a manager — unless it was the manager of getting high. We shared a school bus stop in 1984. I was a twelve-year-old high-school freshman (excuse me, first-year student) and she was a fifteen-year-old high-school junior… who didn’t even go to high school. It was more than a little disconcerting for me to consider, but Karen rode the bus with me to Dublin High School (now Dublin Coffman, 10/10 GreatSchools for “College Prep” but 4/10 for “Equity”) and then took another bus to the Tolles Technical Center in Plain City, Ohio. Tolles was the vocational-tech school run by the neighboring school district; since only about fifteen of Dublin’s 1200 students were on the “vo-tech” path, they double-bused over there every day.

Information on Karen was hard to get, particularly for a twelve-year-old. She would be there at the bus stop every morning when I arrived, despite the fact that the bus stop was literally in front of her house. She was bleach blonde, five foot six, just a little bit too much Appalachia in her face to be classically beautiful, with what looked like a perfect body covered by JC Penney clothing from ten years ago. She always had a cigarette in hand right up to the moment the bus arrived, at which point she would flick it onto the driveway behind her in a motion that was both careless and completely rehearsed. The rumor in our neighborhood was that she was going to Tolles so she could be a hairdresser. The idea that someone could pick a career at seventeen, and that the career in question could be cutting hair, frightened me in a way I couldn’t articulate.

I don’t recall ever speaking directly to her, nor she to me. The next year they added a bus stop closer to my house, which put paid to our daily coexistence, but in the years to come I would occasionally see Karen on a neighborhood street, behind the wheel of her old Datsun or in the passenger seat with some older, scary-looking dude, never the same one twice. An friend of mine who’d been in a few classes with her during freshman and sophomore years, before she left for Tolles, said she was an easy lay. I nodded knowingly, but we both understood that there was no definition of easy lay in the world that included the possibility of lanky, flat-broke kids on $169 BMX bikes.

What happened to Karen? Turns out she is still in Columbus, Ohio. Not cutting hair, but working an entry-level gig in pharma tech. Her LinkedIn profile photo leaves no doubt it’s the same person. Two marriages, two divorces, a couple of wage garnishments when she failed to pay her state taxes or various bills, a lawsuit from king-of-the-in-store-credit-card Synchrony Financial to which she offered no convincing defense. Still a bleach blonde, still looks a little dangerous to my sedate suburban eyes. Fifty-one years old. Hard to imagine.

It’s become popular lately to use “Karen” in a derogatory fashion. It’s the successor to “Becky”, which was the media’s first shot at creating a slur for white women along the lines of other slur names for women of other races. Why did “Karen” stick when “Becky” didn’t? And why is everyone using it? I doubt you will be surprised by the answer.

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