sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

October 11, 2016

Deplorable’s Deplorables

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 4:15 pm

What I find most deplorable about Trump’s “grab them by the p****” boast is not the explicit language, not even the sexual violence, it’s the entitlement: “I am automatically attracted to beautiful women. I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss, I don’t even wait … and when you’re a star they let you do it.” He bragged. “You can do anything.”

It takes a healthy amount of willing disbelief to imagine that Trump’s exploits are nothing more than mere locker room talk. A recent report of Trump’s sexual abuse was a story from a beauty queen who said that he walked into the contestants’s dressing room (I’m glad we are still shocked by such behavior). Previous reports had to do with assault and harassed women exactly as described in the “boast” tape.  All that’s missing is an actual recording of the crime which I fully expect it to turn up this month – who doesn’t?

The obese septuagenarian was once a little boy who was repeatedly told by his father that he is a king. I guess it stuck in the little head of his because Der Drumpf insists that he is entitled to the sexual services of every single woman and that the men stand by and applaud.


Melania, please go easy on those cat eyes and European “pussy bow” blouses.  Yes, we know that some women are smitten when rich and powerful men assault them

What was that about Hillary saying that half of Trumpkins are a basket full of deplorables?  To Trump every American is a deplorable. It doesn’t stop with disrespecting women, in Trump’s opinion every American is his subject, the White House is duly his.  And, of course, Congressional Republicans are “disloyal” for opposing his depravity.

Now that Trump is poised to lose, his most ardent supporters are spewing hatred for the American people. Take this altRight opinion maker:

#MAGA! Everyone. #MAGA!

It’s actually his fans that Donald Trump detests the most. During the primaries he boasted that he could go out on the 5th Avenue and start shooting people and he wouldn’t lose any followers. He sees them as dogs and doesn’t even bother disguising his repulsion, granted, average Americans don’t fare much better.  Still Trumpkins are twice deplored, by both Hillary and their jointly-challenged man-god.

He is not going to build their shiny wall or keep any other promise. He will, however, bow down to Putin and his oligarchs because he admires what they did to their women and their country — after all, Russian people are notorious for slavish devotion to their strongmen. Trump is in owe of their power.

October 5, 2016

Donald Trump Sure Knows How To Pick A Wife

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 12:40 pm

During the primary campaign we, Republican voters, were advised to disregard Trump’s lack of political experience.  His altRight supporters assured us that it’s not a big deal, that if one needs to imagine what he would be like as a chief executive, he’d have to look no further than his family. Sure he had several, but he runs them well, his wives have his children and no one else’s.  His children are all grown up now and are upstanding individuals.


Marla Maples’s only daughter speaks at the 2016 Republican National Convention, for some reason

I wrote about The Don’s marriages a few weeks ago.  Far from being an all-American stud, the billionaire appears a victim of predatory women.  That Trump’s wives were after his money is plainly obvious — and that’s why they had his children, of course.  Donald never found a soulmate, a trusted adviser.  His answer to female ambition is a prenup, preferably signed by a woman who can’t get by on her own very well (due to inability to speak fluent English).

This week’s October surprise contender was Trump’s tax return published in New York Times.  The document didn’t tell us anything we don’t already know about the presidential contender, but it still hurts him in as much as in the final weeks of the election it keeps the focus on miscellaneous nonsense and not on anything that will help him catch up with Hillary.

The likely source of the document leak is believed to be his second wife Marla Maples.  First, as some observers noted, the “sign here” tab points to Marla’s signature.  Furthermore,

And as the Daily Beast’s Olivia Nuzzi noted, Maples had an interesting Twitter exchange on Sunday. Maples, who’s practiced Kabbalah for 20 years, celebrated the arrival of a new season (or her glorious act of revenge) with this tweet:

Politico’s Marc Caputo responded with a joke, and @PoliticalBuffs replied to both of them:

It seems the question was directed at Caputo, but Maples answered:

If Donald Trump can’t manage his harem, how can we trust him to run the country?

In terms of presidential politics none of this matters at this point, I suppose. Donnie’s subpar pick-up skills are not really an issue in this final stretch of the election. However, judging by how well-oiled altRight is, their noxious ideas are worthy of destroying.

October 3, 2016

#Deplorables Please Follow Jello’s Instructions

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 5:46 pm

Over at a hipster deplorable altRight publication called Taki, Steve Sailer updated his following of the exploits of the rootless cosmopolitans:

Hillary was hanging out in Steven Spielberg’s guesthouse in the Hamptons, going to fund-raisers with the Rothschilds, and emerging mostly to denounce the “alt-right.”

In the same essay he attempts to create a mystique around himself and his comrades:

If you can remember back four decades, it might strike you that the alt-right phenomenon of 2016 is basically political punk rock: loud, abrasive, hostile, white, back to basics, and fun.

His description of Punk is rather self-serving because the whiteness of the genre is not prescriptive.  Even though it originated in New York and London, the appeal of Punk Rock knows no borders.  From the altRight point of view it’s not descriptive either because so many key personalities were Jewish and the altRight doesn’t necessarily consider Jews white.

I have to admit, it’s tempting to think of Trump as a political three-chord wonder.  He can be funny, he knows how to please his fan base, but has no clue how to appeal to anyone else.  He’s decidedly low-brow: no, he’s not going to cram for the next debate.  Yet neither he nor his altRight champions are Punk rock because abrasiveness is necessary but not sufficient for this rock-n-roll subgenre. Malcolm McLaren didn’t invent rudeness after all.

I once wrote about Andrew Breitbart as a Punk Rock situationist, and James Parker’s essay Donald Trump, Sex Pistol is more to my liking:

Donald Trump is not Igor Stravinsky. And although, yes, he boasted about the size of his ding-dong in the middle of a televised debate (kick in that screen!), he’s not a Sex Pistol either. Nonetheless, with his followers—about whom one should not generalize, except to say that most of them would rather be waterboarded than sit through an episode of Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me!—he has co-created a space in American politics that is uniquely transgressive, volatile, carnivalesque, and (from a certain angle) punk rock.

This is an interesting argument, but I’m afraid Parker is giving too much credit to #EmperorHiroCheeto and his flock.  Trump is reality TV, not Punk.  There isn’t a hint of ironic distance between Trump’s performance at campaign events and Trumpkins’ expectations. More about it later.

In response to these two pieces Mark Judge noted that when it comes to women altRight is very much anti-Punk:

Women aspire to be—and are—journalists, doctors, musicians and scientists, and it is anything but punk to deny them these roles. Punk has always been about more than just giving offense—it has been about the ability to “become what you are.” That phrase was once sung by punk-inspired musician Juliana Hatfield, who came to music in the 1970s, when a babysitter introduced her to the great Los Angeles punk band X. The lead singer for X is Exene Cervenka, a poet and political conservative who recently moved to Texas because California has become “a liberal oppressive police state.” Punk music would be far less rich had Exene done what Gavin McInnes advises—stayed home and had children. Ditto the women in the punk bands Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney. Of course, it’s also possible to be a working female musician and have a family.

One last point is worth noting. One of the most infamous moments in punk history was the live 1976 interview the Sex Pistols did with British journalist Bill Grundy. The Pistols cussed on the show, dropping S-bombs and F-bombs, and the appearance became a sensation. Most rock and roll fans know the story, citing it as a flashpoint of punk nihilism, but few remember what actually set the band off. In the Pistols’ entourage was a nineteen-year-old woman named Siouxsie Sioux, who told Grundy, an established, middle-aged man who goaded the Pistols throughout the entire interview, that she’d “always wanted to meet you.” Grundy replied they could “meet after” the show. The Pistols’ guitarist Steve Jones called Grundy a “dirty old sod” and a “dirty bastard” and a “f***ing rotter.” Siouxsie Sioux would go on to become one of the most talented and accomplished songwriters to come out of the punk movement.

So a pivotal punk rock moment was not about louche rebellion and senseless anarchy, but defending a talented woman, an artist, against a leering old man with views about women that belong in another age. Trump and the Alt-Right should get that story right, and think about its implications, before calling themselves punk.

Trump and Trumpkins are wholly at odds with what every Punk rocker knows about gender.  In Punk Rock, wearing a tiara is an ironic statement and Melania Trump is the very bimbo stereotype against which the young women rebelled. Yet for Donald Trump crowning a beauty queen is a life’s achievement, especially if he gets to humiliate her in the process.


The Donuld’s aesthetic sensibility, or whatever passes for it, is as un-Punk as it gets.  The man made a name for himself erecting unironically flashy skyscrapers.  Not only did he built the costly monstrosities, it turns out he was wholly unappreciative of an effort to make anything artistic out of them — he failed to buy Andy Warhol’s paintings of his marquee property. Andy Warhol’s!  The only people who don’t know that the Trumpster has crappy taste are Russian mobsters and Donald Trump.

This excess earnestness does not stop with gold-plated nurseries; it is characteristic of the entire Trump public life.  While it’s true that, as Parker points out, Trump creates a carnivalesque atmosphere at his rallies, I think it’s wrong to reduce them to mere performance.  Sure, to Parker it’s a spectacle, to white college grads who will probably cast the decisive votes in this election it’s a spectacle, but for the participants it’s not.  They actually believe that Mexico will pay for the wall and that Trump “fulfill every single wish and every single promise”:

Punk rock brought egalitarianism and can-do attitude — equality between the bands and the audience and the DIY ethic. Trumpkins have idol worship, and their idol lives in the above-mentioned opulent towers and manufactures his ties in China.  They might live on the margins of the society, masturbating to Anime in their mothers’ basements, but altRight internet memes are financed by a near-billionaire.  Generally, their creative energy is what you’d think it is and what it’s always been: their darling frog Pepe is the work of a Hillary voter.

Sailer recalls that early Punks, we are talking 1970’s-early 80’s, wore swastikas.  That much is true.  Why they did so is well-known: they attempted to shock and to create a picture of human depravity.  And how did that end?


Siouxsie Sioux (center) was a first-rate moron in her first youth. The singer’s shtick was to piss off WWII vets.  One of the main reasons I don’t really enjoy her song Israel is because, as my husband likes to say, that was her doing community service

Nazis across the Atlantic saw an opportunity. UK’s National Front started recruiting from the punk scene, neoNazis adopted the hard mod look of shaved heads and leather boots.  The American scene was always less political, but in Southern California neo-Nazis showed up at the shows and beat up people.  That’s why Rock Against Racism festivals became necessary, Siouxsie Sioux wrote “Israel”, Jello Biafra wrote “Nazi Punks Fuck Off” and every European squat has the graphic of a stick figure throwing swastika into a garbage can.  Nazi chic is most certainly out.

By the early 90’s Nazi Punks, or, in contemporary lore, #Deplorables, were run out of the Punk scene.  They still exist, though, ghettoized into their own subcultures.  Far from legitimizing Nazism, Punks first embracing and then rejecting the Fascist paraphernalia became that dreaded (for the altRight, anyway) moment in history of the West when profanity, for which Punks never apologized, came to be viewed as a mild transgression and racism, for which they atoned, became the ultimate taboo.

There is something Punk rock in some Trump’s supporters’ embrace of the term deplorables levied on them by Hillary Clinton.  It’s the elevation of the depraved and the perverse pleasure taken in the process.  On substance, however, altRight ideology has been explicitly rejected.

What is not at all rock-n-roll in spirit is pretending that Hillary’s attack on Trumpkins is somehow anti-working class or not grounded in substance. No, the deplorables are real, and while they are certainly less than “half” of Trump’s constituency, they clearly command an outsize influenced.  To insist otherwise is either dishonest or manipulative.


A common meme of the Don gassing an altRigh nemesis, a Jewish one in this case.

One can pretend that the AltRight is simply having “trolly fun” – I believe this is Milo Yiannopoulos’s description. But if they are merely posting memes of their political opponents in gas chambers to get a rise out of us, how come their friends espouse alleged black genetic inferiority and Holocaust denial?

And even if it is just “trolly fun”? Every society has taboos, every society has villains. Our greatest villains are the Nazis.  I’m very comfortable with organizing our society this way. Yes, Hitler was the most evil person to ever walk this earth (I know about Stalin and Mao).  I would like for our country to remain the outpost for individual rights, something that is anathema to Nazism.

I noticed people on social media added the word “deplorable” to their profiles. I don’t believe most of them are neoNazis; I believe they are wrong in doing so.  Dislike for the Democratic nominee is one thing, embrace of racial supremacy is another.  For a “normie”, which is what me and you are to altRight, to call himself a deplorable is to give legitimacy to them: see we, ordinary Americans, don’t mind at all being lumped together with David Duke and Alex Jones.  In this case David and Alex become so much more acceptable. The fact is, ordinary voters are being played, and they are being played not by Hillary but by Eric Trump and the white nationalists who wasted no time distributing deplorable memes.

Part of altRight’s pitch to conservatives is that liberals don’t make a distinction between conservatives and neoNazis, that to them we are all the same.  Unfortunately, to a large extent this is true.  However, simply because the left is bigoted, doesn’t mean that we need to act out their fantasy of evil racist conservatives.  Their name-calling should not force anyone to join the KKK.  We are more disciplined, more measured, more thoughtful, more moral than that.  (Did I say “moral”? According to altRight I’m “virtue signaling”.  Or maybe I’m just a cunning Jewess.) It’s up to us to run Trumpkins out of the conservative movement and the Republican Party — just like punk rockers did thirty years ago.

September 29, 2016

The Donald Is Un-Middle Class

Filed under: elections2016, politics — Tags: , , — edge of the sandbox @ 9:53 am

In this week’s debate, Hillary’s goal was to show that she has a pulse and a heart, and Trump’s goal was to show that he’s something like presidential. Trump went into the debate as a psychopath with stamina and Hillary — as a tell-tale lung on the take.

I didn’t care much for either candidate on the issues. I would like to hear a serious discussion about Liberty, the Constitution and the size and scope of the federal government.  Because no conservative was present on stage, it didn’t happen.

Watching as a suburban middle class woman with a college degree, a demo that might turn this election, I have to say Hillary won.  Not because she was any good — she was mediocre, but because Trump destroyed himself.  For Donald Trump, the optics were just awful. Bill Kristol thinks he choked under pressure; many other commentators noticed his lack of preparation.

In my demographic his lack of preparation was off-putting.  We run our families sweating every detail: kids’ pick up time from different schools rounded up to the nearest 3 minutes, the tempera colors for the class auction art project, the volume of Harry Potter to be ordered on Amazon for niece’s Birthday.   It’s not because we are particularly uptight (in fact, I praise myself on being relatively lax), it’s because what it takes to maintain the normal flow of life.  That volume of Harry Potter means a whole lot to somebody.  Organization is a simple necessity, and even the most laid back among us have to start each and every day prepared.

Enter Donald Trump, who appears for presidential debate unrehearsed. It’s not just that he missed many opportunities to hit his opponent and hit her hard, the most damage came when he bursted into bumbling, incoherent tirades. Consider his unexplainable references to celebrities or his answer to the question about nuclear weapons, of all things, which deserves to be reprinted in its entirety:

Well, I have to say that, you know, for what Secretary Clinton was saying about nuclear with Russia, she’s very cavalier in the way she talks about various countries. But Russia has been expanding their — they have a much newer capability than we do. We have not been updating from the new standpoint.

I looked the other night. I was seeing B-52s, they’re old enough that your father, your grandfather could be flying them. We are not — we are not keeping up with other countries. I would like everybody to end it, just get rid of it. But I would certainly not do first strike.

I think that once the nuclear alternative happens, it’s over. At the same time, we have to be prepared. I can’t take anything off the table. Because you look at some of these countries, you look at North Korea, we’re doing nothing there. China should solve that problem for us. China should go into North Korea. China is totally powerful as it relates to North Korea.

And by the way, another one powerful is the worst deal I think I’ve ever seen negotiated that you started is the Iran deal. Iran is one of their biggest trading partners. Iran has power over North Korea.

And when they made that horrible deal with Iran, they should have included the fact that they do something with respect to North Korea. And they should have done something with respect to Yemen and all these other places.

And when asked to Secretary Kerry, why didn’t you do that? Why didn’t you add other things into the deal? One of the great giveaways of all time, of all time, including $400 million in cash. Nobody’s ever seen that before. That turned out to be wrong. It was actually $1.7 billion in cash, obviously, I guess for the hostages. It certainly looks that way.

So you say to yourself, why didn’t they make the right deal? This is one of the worst deals ever made by any country in history. The deal with Iran will lead to nuclear problems. All they have to do is sit back 10 years, and they don’t have to do much.

Trump’s inability to form a complete sentence, let alone use the sentences to express his vision for our country, is most troubling.  W got knocked down for clumsy wording of otherwise well-thought-out ideas. The Donald is not even halfway there; he showed himself unable to form an idea. For our demographic, for people who went to college, who write essays, who give presentations on a regular basis, this is unacceptable.


Grimacing and body language didn’t help either.  Sniffling invited all sorts of [trolly] speculations of drug use.

In the weeks leading up to the debate, instead of immersing himself into policy details, Trump chose to bask in the attention of admiring crowds and spend his time chatting with friends.  This is not aspirational middle class behavior, this is not what we teach our kids.  If he was their son, some mothers I know would go as far as to put Donald Trump on Ritalin for his inability to focus and pay attention.  I personally don’t approve of it: the GOP candidate is a brat; he doesn’t need meds, he needs discipline.

As I mentioned above, Trump’s strong suit, according to his admirers at least, was his stamina, a component of muscular vigor.  After this debate the myth of Trump’s stamina is busted.  While he started out on more or less equal footing with his opponent, his energy and focus evaporated within a half an hour.  A man unable to participate in an intellectually challenging conversation for a few hours should occupy a rocking chair, not the Oval Office.

His asking for my vote is paramount to an insult.  His lack of respect for the American people is stunning: If you are running for the president of the United States, have some decency and prepare for the nationally televised debate!

To remain a Trump fan at this point is to ask for more abuse.  Monday night Donald Trump went in front of the audience of 80 million people and let his supporters down. Their votes, the money they contributed, their hopes and dreams — all of it means absolutely nothing to their Cheeto idol.  He could have easily found the time to master basic facts, to commit a few dozen coherent paragraphs to memory, and he didn’t.  He was winging it, and you need an intervention.

September 25, 2016

Is Donald Trump A Victim of Predatory Women?

Filed under: politics, whatever — Tags: , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 10:09 am

I am a strong believer in keeping an eye on the significant others of political figures.  We need to mind the size of their shoes closets, but, more importantly, the choice of partner reveals more about a man’s personality and decision-making than anything in his public life. Also, I’m not above a bit of middlebrow gossip.

That a wealthy man like Donald Trump is able to stage appearances surrounded by an array of hot escorts is not at all surprising.  Admittedly, I know next to nothing about the lives of multimillionaires, but judging by the steadiness with which stories about the likes of DC madame or Trump’s and Clinton’s buddy Jeffrey Epstien pop up, arranging a rendezvous with “a young a beautiful piece of ass” is not an insurmountable challenge in this income tax bracket.

What sets the Donald apart from other rich and famous is the degree to which he very publicly and conspicuously perfects his womanizing image.  Not content with merely sleeping with hotties, he has to established his own bordellos (he’d slept with his Miss USA contestants and his modeling agency’s employees) and then make the reputation for himself as an owner of said bordello by publicizing his affairs.

Some Trump champions, especially at the intersection of the Pick-up and the Artist/altRight, hail him as an “all-American alpha” and vow to support the presidential contender for that very reason: just look at him, he’s wealthy, powerful, and he has the women.  Surely he has a good game, which, in their view, is a manifestation of good leadership skills.


Although the autistic precision with which many PUA’s build their theories of womanizing makes the whole enterprise a bit silly, certain biological rules of courtship doubtlessly exist.  That some men are more gifted at the dating game (or that there are natural born leaders) is obvious at plain sight.  An alpha would have easy and satisfying relationships with the kind of women that seem out of his league, and he’d get the most out of them — and out of life.

This brings me back to the Donald.  At no point did he bed a gal above his social status — or even one at his own level.  For instance, in two of his Howard Stern interviews the tangerine playboy revealed that he’d developed somewhat of a crush on Princess Dianna.  Well, did he get anywhere near her?

The businessman from New York and his now wife Melania once admired the sex tape of family friend Paris Hilton.  (Gross, I know.  But the fact that Trump himself bragged about it and that he would like for us to believe that he’s such a Casanova makes it fair game to mention it.  Also, I’m sure he can take it as well as he gives.)  I suppose Paris just wasn’t that into them.

Although the mogul has a habit of regurgitating the lists of female celebs who arouse him, he sleeps with marginal, ambitious women he dedicated his life to collecting.  Most puzzling, he marries out of his harem — he already has the woman, why does he need to put the ring on her finger? If most wealthy men don’t follow in his footsteps, it’s probably because this is not a good idea.

When he divorced her, Trump’s first wife, a noted gold digger, accused him of rape.  Wife number two played the oldest trick in the book — she got pregnant on him.  According to the official story, the current appropriation accordingly traveled to New York City at the sunset stage of her modeling career. There, she attempted a business connection with Donald Trump, the man who, she was forewarned, would make a pass at her.  When he did, she took his number instead of giving away hers and called him a week later.  In other words, she had him in her sights for a while.

Not to say that Melania and the Donald aren’t made for each other.  The two share the taste for the unironically opulent decor, for instance.  Melania doesn’t nag.  The respective worldviews of this daughter of a nomneclaturish Yugoslav communist and the free world mogul appear to align.  Consider their opinions of the First Amendment.  I previously wrote:

When Pamela Geller organized Draw Mohamed contest, attracting, predictably, jihadist violence, Trump blamed Geller for “provok[ing]” the Religion of Peace.  Likewise, when Julia Ioffe profiled the mogul’s third wife in Vanity Fair in the feature that was not entirely to Melania Trump’s liking, bands of altRight antisemites  barraged Ioffe online.  Melania’s reaction?  “She provoked them.”

One can imagine them finishing each other’s sentences — to the extent to which Melania is capable of formulating sentences in English.

Trump once said that he doesn’t think Nancy Reagan was all that beautiful, provoking the outcry that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  What’s not in the eye of the beholder is that Ronald Reagan is a two-term president and a revered conservative icon.  And what is Donald Trump?  The all-American alpha is currently stuck in a close race with a corpse of a diaper granny.  She’s winning, too, albeit by a nose.  And if she’s bleeding votes, she’s bleeding them not to Trump but to a not exactly charismatic, yet trim and youthful third party candidate who once climbed Mt. Everest.

What Trump seems to be lacking is a trusted adviser, somebody who can say: “Darling, put down your cell. You will not be baited with a tweet” and then makes sure he does.  A real man will marry a woman who will help him to live up to his potential; the thin-skinned Donald purchases arm candies who let him be himself.

In April of this year Liz Mair produced an ad with a photograph of Melania posing in the character of a high society call-girl.  I thought Trump would laugh it off: the picture in question was not pornographic, it was humorous, actually. It accompanied a decade-old magazine piece that the mogul himself approved, presumably, that further advanced the lucky gold digger image of his future wife.  Yet he became incensed.  Why?  It could be because he knew Melania’s porn work will eventually come up.  More likely, however, hiding behind the orange spray tan and the shiny teeth is a lonely man who never found his soulmate.

Why do I get the impression that the closest he ever came to finding a soulmate was in his daughter Ivanka?  Maybe because he makes incest jokes about her, or maybe because he’s entirely comfortable with putting the liberal democrat in charge of high level policy decisions.  Daddy granted Ivanka’s wish to craft the federal maternity leave policy, a government handout staunchly opposed by the GOP. Is it not ironic that at the time conservatives are told by Trump loyalists to put their party above the country and vote for him, Trump is putting his loyalty to family above the party?

For the altRight PUA’s to jump on the Trumptrain is a form of self-congratulation. In their dating science, alphas are attracted to alphas, and, therefore, their conviction that Trump is an alpha proves that they are too. (But wait, what about Reince?)

The flip side of this kind of self-congratulatory thinking is the desire to by 47% of American women.  No less than Rush Limbaugh, a fellow who certainly knows how to hold on to a wife, opined that “real” “wholesome American women” like Trump.  He elaborated:

He’s not PC-whipped. He’s not politically correct-whipped. He stands up for himself.

Remains to be explained: if wholesome women like The Don, how come he never dated any?  What does he have against wholesome women?  And: is our society really so emasculated that We can’t tell a hero from a clown?

In an essay way too good to be written on the occasion of the Donald Trump candidacy, David French wrote about heroes:

Trump’s masculinity is a cheap counterfeit of the masculinity that’s truly threatening to the cultural Left: man not as predator but as protector, the “sheepdog” of American Sniper fame. This is the brave man, the selfless man who channels his aggression and sense of adventure into building a nation, an economy, and — yes — a family. This is the man who kicks down doors in Fallujah or gathers a makeshift militia to rush hijackers in the skies above Pennsylvania. Or, to choose a more mundane — though no less important — example: This is the man who packs up the household to take a chance on a new job, models strength for his family when life turns hard, teaches his son to stand against bullies on the playground, and lives at all times with dignity and honor.

Clowns are different.  Their role is to disobey the normal rules and conventional behavior, to question societal conventions.  Political correctness is something to be questioned, no doubt.  Thank you, Donald Trump, for your service, now please be dismissed because you are right up there with Sid Vicious and Candy Darling with your disobedience.

There is a category of women who like men that constantly embarrass them.  The Squint is one, I suspect — she allowed Donald to drag her into this campaign, something she doesn’t seem to want at all.  Most of us will love a guy who can tell a good joke (or a bad joke), but not when the joke is on us or on him.  When smashing of the idols is in order, we’d love our man to go out and do just that.  What we don’t want our men to do is to make fun of disability or diminish the heroism of others.  We cannot take Donald Trump seriously as a leader.


Global elites: daddy’s girl Ivanka and Wendy Deng, the alleged Putin’s girlfriend.  Ivanka posted the picture of herself with GF to her Instagram account this August

Lack of leadership qualities is important for reasons other than mere optics.  Make no mistake, if elected, Trump will be Putin’s mat.  He will be otherwise manipulated by individuals who know how to properly massage his ego.  And if in 2020 Democrats nominate somebody with a modicum of charisma, that person will win.

July 2, 2016

The New and Expanded SF MOMA: Now Open for Gazing

Filed under: art, politics — Tags: , — edge of the sandbox @ 5:39 pm

I’m a big fan of modern art. I like the way it permits an artist to break the rules to achieve his objectives.  Its inherent quirkiness makes it more dear to my heart than anything created before 1880 (personal opinion here, I realize).

I was excited to check out the newly expanded San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to see what they were able to bring out of the coffers after it reopened this May.


OK, this one is funny.

During the remodeling stage, the museum boasted that they are now erecting the largest modern and contemporary art museum in the world.  Unfortunately, most visitors won’t get the impression that San Francisco has finally arrived on the world art scene.  The museum either doesn’t have much of anything in storage or prefers to hoard it.  This is what the museum looks like today:


Nice chairs, is this a garage sale or are they going for the chic vintage boutique look?

MOMA’s permanent collection, which I like very much, hardly expanded.  They are still featuring the same artwork by Matisse, Magritte and Kahlo that visitors have admired for decades.  (As much as I want to hate Frida Kahlo for her politics and her all-around annoying persona, Me And Diego, her self-portrait with her equally annoying husband, is so very tender that I can’t.  I do think she’s overrated, though.)  That’s nice, I suppose.

Unfortunately, for the most part SF MOMA is not so much a museum of modern art, as it is a museum of contemporary art.  Second floor aside, all exhibits were produced after 1950, and most of them are nearly impossible to like.

I can’t deny appreciating some of the contemporary art exhibits.  For instance, Andy Warhol, whose work is scattered throughout the museum space, is among my favorites.  Considering how Andy is the man of the current four 15-minute intervals, MOMA should probably give his prints more prominent placement.


The ironic likeness of a mass murderer right next to rather trannyish Dolly Parton.  Not Warhol’s best work, but it’s amusing to see them side by side

I like Wayne Thiebault’s landscapes and my kids like his deserts.  Having been both a student and a teacher, I found his painting of a student at her desk evocative.  I feel both that I’ve seen this girl many times and that I once was her.  That Thiebault is a local artist makes it all the more exiting to see his work.

I’m impartial to Richter’s eerie, blurred photorealism.  Richter is from West Germany, but his black and white image a sprawling, unimpressive midcetury administrative building looks familiar to those who, like me, grew up with east block bureaucracy.


Feels like a snapshot taken out of a car’s side window.  Makes me a bit dizzy…

Richter, Warhol and Thiebault are exceptions in the sea of MOMA’s contemporary offerings that are, as a rule, neither evocative nor thought-provoking.  I walked through gallery after gallery of abstract expressionism.  I can squint and note that there is a certain “rhythm” to the way the paint is splashed on the canvas… and  I don’t care.  That said, giant abstract expressionist canvases fill the galleries rather nicely.

Likewise, Alexander Calder’s mobiles are likewise helpful in taking up exhibition space.  Several galleries were devoted to the sculpture subgenre known as an installation.  The common denominator in the exhibit appears to be the place of origin of the installation, Great Britain.


A pertinent question: is this some authentic UK fishing gear, a backdrop for an S&M nightclub or both?

“What is it, mommy?” Asked my son about a two-feet high heap of red sand quartered by two perpendicular glass walls in the middle of one gallery.



Right next door was a circle of rock.  Did the artiste trek it across the Atlantic or did he use local, sustainable material?

Check out this fine contemporary art specimen:


Having recently painted my house, I think I know what the iconoclast creator was trying to do here.  The museum generously mixed some wall paint meant to resemble Benjamin Moor’s 50% Gray Owl, the hue touted to be the new Navaho White.  The white oak floor is tres chic these days and every self-respecting cafe uses black chalk boards to advertise its menu.  So the piece above, with its erased blackboard must be evocative of an empty trendy eatery, something akin to Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks.  Or else it’s an exercise in empty self-congratulatory hipsterism.

In his very excellent 1975 essay The Painted Word, Tom Wolfe recalled that the arty New York socialites turned up at the opening of an Op Art exhibit wearing dresses cut out of fabric printed with the very paintings on display.  Wolfe commented that back in the 60’s it was possible, by looking at the brochures of the forthcoming exhibit, to have the Op Art fabric printed and the dresses manufactured just in time for the opening.  In 2016, however, minimalist grays were in fashion for nearly a decade before the leading museum of contemporary art put the blackboard against the grey wall.  It’s no longer the case of art leading design but of mass culture leading art.

The Brit show is on rotation, visiting the leading exhibition spaces around the world, but I recall seeing some of the other MOMA installations years ago.  The one bellow, for instance.


If only Omar Mateen had seen that splash of silver paint in the corner, he would never have shot up that gay club!

Oversize objects displayed were by no means limited to installations.  Observe the masterpiece below:


This one is located in the Sculpture Garden

This configuration of pipes and sheet metal shook when touched, and, as curators put no rope around it, it was touched often.  When that happened, a soft-spoken Muslim lady with a museum badge invariably approached the meddling visitor and asked him to “please stop”.  Is she part of the exhibit too?  Is she there to challenge our ideas about what a bouncer should be?


Both the metal creation in center and the wall of ivy appear to be a part of the museum collection

Then there is the case of the sculpture garden wall covered in a variety of ivies.  It’s pleasant, and I have nothing against gardening.  I can see how the project can strike all the right notes on the grant application: the artist wants to explore the use of natural materials while “pushing the boundaries of art” to heighten our awareness of the climate change.  Except that “climate change” is ubiquitous, gardening is a millennia-old activity and no, he’s not creating any conceptual breakthroughs.  One hundred years ago Marcel Duchamp already pushed “the boundaries” as far as they go.  What artistic establishment does today is dutifully policing the boundaries, making sure that, God forbid, they don’t slip back to where they belong – to making something meaningful.


Predictably, the most famous potty in the world is a part of SF MOMA’s permanent collection

Tom Wolfe’s brilliant insight was that most of contemporary art amounts to an illustration of lofty art theory, and that the art theory comes first.  The artists and the critic insist that they want to get beyond narrative, but, in effect, they do just the opposite, artists would be nowhere had critics not developed a thesis that they later paint.  In reward critics write books about them.

The 1970’s were the apogee of obscure academic theory, resulting in equally obscure art trends like abstract expressionism.  That’s because if the viewer didn’t understand those trends or jargon-laden theories, it was because he was stupid, and, incidentally, because he was stupid, he also didn’t understand Marxism. Today, as the long march through the institutions achieved its ends, every artist wants to be “relevant”.  He takes his dictate directly from the politicians and the bureaucrats, hence the incorporation of  environmentalism and the language of “natural elements” like sand, rocks and plants into their projects.

Some MOMA artists paint words literally.  I apparently glossed over the one canvas that had the words YOU ARE ALL FOOLS drafted on it.  My husband was less fortunate.  “How true,” he commented. “If one is not somehow making a living off this kind of ‘art’, but allows himself to be suckered into even entertaining the idea of admiring it, he is a fool.”


A number of visitor sat gazing at an installation that flashed random words at them

Is there any surprise that one critic left their own mark on the museum floor?  (Via Legal Insurrection):

Several visitors to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art this week were fooled into thinking a pair of glasses set on the floor by a 17-year-old prankster was a postmodern masterpiece.

“Upon first arrival we were quite impressed with the artwork and paintings presented in the huge facility,” TJ Khayatan toldBuzzFeed. “However, some of the ‘art’ wasn’t very surprising to some of us.”

“We stumbled upon a stuffed animal on a gray blanket and questioned if this was really impressive to some of the nearby people.”

To test out the theory that people will stare at, and try and artistically interpret, anything if it’s in a gallery setting, Khayatan set a pair of glasses down and walked away.

Soon, people began to surround them, maintaining a safe distance from the ‘artwork’ and several of them taking pictures.

I like to think they imagined the floored glasses to represent the dumbing down of culture, or perhaps the viewing of life through a lens, possibly with a nice, lower-case title like ‘myopia‘ or ‘real eyes (real lies)‘.

SF MOMA charges a $25 admission fee.

One of the better works displayed in the pop art section of SF MOMA is the ceramic self-portrait by Robert Arneson titled California Artist.  The sculptor made it as a response to a New York critic in whose opinion Arneson represented “impoverished sensibility of the provincial cultural life of California”.  Arneson sculpted a smirking hippy perched on a podium adorned with marijuana leaves and squirrels grazing on acorns, a stereotype of a California artist.


Arnesen deserves our thanks for his glossy f*** you! to the art establishment

It didn’t take the establishment long to figure out that Arneson is actually one of them and to properly enshrine him at the MOMA.  And yet his story makes me wonder how many artists who live and work here in Northern California today are disregarded of utterly despised by the taste-makers for their provincial sensibilities.  Meantime we fill gargantuan  museum spaces with sand.

June 3, 2016

Does Trump Want His Fans To Die For Him?

Filed under: election2016, politics — Tags: , , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 1:57 pm

Donald Trump is a free man and this is still a free country.  He can schedule a rally in California, in Utah or New York.  We don’t have dictators in power telling us we can or cannot go and who we can or cannot listen to.

And yet, judged by the presumptive Republican nominee’s own standards, the responsibility for yesterday’s violent San Jose riots during which Trump’s adherents were attacked is on Trump.  When Pamela Geller organized Draw Mohamed contest, attracting, predictably, jihadist violence, Trump blamed Geller for “provok[ing]” the Religion of Peace.  Likewise, when Julia Ioffe profiled the mogul’s third wife in Vanity Fair in the feature that was not entirely to Melania Trump’s liking, bands of altRight antisemites  barraged Ioffe online.  Melania’s reaction?  “She provoked them.”  In Trump’s mind, the onus for violence is on the provocateur.  Milo Yiannopoulos and other assorted AltRight professional trolls should know that Daddy doesn’t like them petty mischief makers; he only tolerates them so long as they are of service.

To make it clear, this is how Trump thinks, not me.  Like Senator Cruz, I believe that the direct responsibility for violence is with the people who insight and commit it. At the same time, it’s important to acknowledge Daddy’s own ideology and strategy to understand what it is that we are asked to cast our votes for.  After all, none of the riot organizers are on the ballot this November, at least not on the national level.

Trump says he will campaign heavily in California and New York, assuring his followers that he can turn those states red.  I live in California.  In the past few months I began to notice “Now Hiring” signs in my neighborhood; this is something that had not been happening for many years.  The mood here is upbeat, favoring the incumbent party.  And this is already a heavily Democratic state with surging (thanks to Trump, no doubt) youth and Latino voter registration.

No way he wins California.  It’s a gorgeous state, and campaigning here is a pleasure, I’m sure, especially considering that with the Secret Service protection the candidate himself doesn’t need to worry his bright (color-wise, anyway) head about the violence.  But I’m sure there is more to Trump’s campaign strategy than quality of life.  The reason Trump campaigns in CA is to produce spectacles for national TV hoping that it will move the needle in some other state. Trump fans are ponds in this game.  If they are pelted with eggs and it’s a national news story, can you imagine (it’s easy if you try) what will happen if someone, lets say a person with a heart condition, dies?

Trump’s lack of action in re BLM is unnerving.  BLM thugs who attacked Trump’s fans are financed by George Soros.  But Soros is a friend of Trump, so much so that the left wing benefactor built the Trump tower in Chicago.  If Trump cares at all about the well-being of his followers, why doesn’t he pick up the phone and tell his buddy to cut it off?

I wrote about Trump and victimhood before.  Like all bullies he knows how to make himself into a victim, and he knows how to channel violence to benefit himself. Before we start imagining Trump as a victim in need of our defense and our votes, we need to remind ourselves that Trump himself actively encouraged violence when he notoriously offered to pay his violent fan’s legal fees.  Trump’s courting KKK and the neoNazis also worth remembering.  The New York billionaire continuously retweets them, and only disowed the KKK endorsement when under media pressure, and even then doing it in an entirely unconvincing manner.  I can’t help but wonder what other plans Trump has for his neoNazi contingent.

The Donald’s belief that the responsibility for the offensive speech lies with the offender and his hunt for the status of victimhood are not hard to reconcile.  This is the man who sided with the ChiComs at Tienanmen and who sings praises to Putin.  This is the man who slept with Mein Kampf by his bedside.  This is the man who believes that the three key functions of the federal government are defense, healthcare and education.  Donald Trump has no clue about federalism, limited government and liberty.  I don’t believe his little hands ever touched the Constitution.  He fancies himself a father of the nation and his overarching worldview is that might makes right.


Donald Trump is a run-of-the-mill statist

And so the provocateurs like Pamela Geller are at fault simply because they misjudged the power dynamics.  Journalists like Julia Ioffe are at fault because she should have known that somebody is not going to like what she said.  (Say what you want about Hillary, but journalists don’t buy guns because of threats emanating from her fanbase.)  Similarly, if a lady is attacked just for wanting to listen to her candidate talk — well, how can we ask Trump to sympathize with her if she is the one who put herself in peril?  The candidate, on the other hand, has all the right to exploit her suffering simply because he can.  Again, this is not my line of thought.

A true lover of liberty will not ally himself with Trump.  In the face of violence and threats coming from both the Democratic core and the Trumpistas it is very important to be with neither violent lefties nor Trump.  And let us not forget that we, those who are unhappy with the Hillary/Trump choice, are a clear, overwhelming, absolute 4/5 majority in this country.

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