Culture Warriors category archive
Leonard Pitts, Jr., marvels at the plethora of prophets proposing to profit from meteorlogical despoilation.
The Biblical “scribes and pharisees” had nothing on this lot.
The Miss Grundys of the world are never satisfied.
By the by, if you have not read William S. Borroughs’s Naked Lunch, do so. Among other things, you will learn the etymology of the phrase “Steely Dan.”
In a lengthy article at The American Scholar, physician and journalist David Brown explores the genesis and state of the prescription opioid* problem in the United States. He traces the history of it in terms of evolving attitudes towards the treatment of pain and patients’ perception of pain in the medical profession and in society and ends with some recommendations.
I’m not sure how much I buy the recommendations, but, given the growing problem, I commend the article to your attention. Here’s a bit:
If the use of opioids for chronic pain were just making the practice of medicine less rewarding, the problem would be tolerable. But it’s changing the country, creating a new underclass in the United States, no less real (or less fraught with the potential for controversy) than the black underclass whose existence has been so central to American history of the past half century. The new underclass, mostly white, is distributed widely, with hot spots—Appalachia, rural New England, and surprisingly, far-northern California. Like those in the black underclass, members of the new underclass usually have no more than a high school education and suffer high unemployment. Unlike the black underclass, whose chief impediments are discrimination, social dysfunction, and the trauma of imprisonment, the new underclass is stymied by economic obsolescence, a sense of victimhood, and an exaggerated view of its own physical damage.
*Remember, when Not White people do it, it’s simply “drug addiction” and get them off the streets.
In The Roanoke Times, a Liberty University graduate shares the letter she wrote when she returned her Bachelors diploma to Jerry Falwell, Jr., in protest of Liberty’s political agenda.
Busy day today.
In a lengthy article at Psychology Today Blogs, Rosalind C. Barnett and Caryl Rivers consider whether science supports James Damore’s recent misogynist memo. You’ve probably heard of it; Google fired him for it and he’s now threatening to sue them for something or other his ittle bitty fees-fees got an owie cuz his male pwivilege didn’t give him the fwee pass he’s enjoyed up till now.
In the memo, he whines about political correctness, claiming that being polite (which is fundamentally what “political correctness” boils down to) is somehow a thing of “the left.”
(Remember, those who complain of political correctness wish the license to offend others without penalty.)
Opinions vary on his chances of winning any such suit.
Anyway, here’s a bit of Barnett’s and Rivers’s piece:
But are they? What are the real facts? We have been researching issues of gender and STEM (science, technology engineering and math) for more than 25 years. We can say flatly that there is no evidence that women’s biology makes them incapable of performing at the highest levels in any STEM fields.
They go on to skewer the so-called science that Damore cited in his screed.
Follow the link to take a look.
*Middle name: That’s Ross “Why does anyone give me money for being always wrong” Douthat, in case you were wondering which one.
In The Roanoke Times, John Freivalds muses on the monetization of the miraculous.
Dick Polman reports that, as Trump administration spokespersons were not to be found on the Sunday yak shows, the networks turned to the D-list. He stands aghast at Jerry Falwell, Jr.’s, performance on Meet the Press. Here’s a bit from his column (emphasis added–follow the link for the whole article):
Was Falwell offended when Trump equated Nazis and white supremacists with those who showed up to oppose Nazism and white supremacism? Was Falwell offended when Trump said there were “very fine people” among the marchers who carried Nazi flags?
Ah, nope. Falwell replied: “I didn’t hear anything there that would offend somebody.”
Falwell sorta conceded that perhaps Trump could’ve been more sensitive to “my friends in the Jewish community,” that perhaps “he could be more polished and more politically correct.”
(Hang on a sec. Since when is it “politically correct” to condemn Nazis? Didn’t we conclude as a nation, on a bipartisan basis 75 years ago, that Nazis were bad?)
He goes on to report that Falwell asserted that Trump “spoke from his heart.”
If this is indeed the case, and there is no reason to doubt it, said heart is not a pretty place. Nor are the hearts of ones who would defend it.
Several advisory boards to the President have recently resigned en mass as a result of Trump’s embrace of Neo-Nazis and his mealy-mouthed refusal to condemn the Confederate insurgency in Charlottesville, Virginia. Admittedly these groups are largely symbolic, but there is a larger symbolism in their resignations.
At the Washington Monthly, Nancy LeTourneau considers the implications of corporate CEOs’ jump off the Trump ship. A snippet (follow the link for the complete article:
Our current president is now getting the same kind of treatment from corporate CEOs over his racist remarks that Republican governors and state legislators have been getting over other so-called “cultural issues.” But that exacerbates a collision with what we’ve called “nostalgia voters,” or the “confederate insurgency” that has been ignited to defend against the very racial/sexual/religious changes that threaten their world view.
This move brings into focus a growing fissure within the Republican Party. Historically, corporate leaders have been one of the key members of the Republican coalition—along with military hawks and white evangelicals. But some of the cultural issues that define the attachment of evangelicals to the party are the very ones that are driving the corporate world away.
The conventional wisdom is that the Republican Party’s corporate masters have been willing to tolerate the Republican Party’s bigots and culture warriors so long as the corporations get the tax cuts and other breaks they want. It will be curious to see whether Trumpery leads to the dissolution of that uneasy partnership.
Writing from disgust, Robert F. Lyons protests Donald Trump’s and the Trumpkins’ immigration proposals by telling the story of his Irish immigrant ancestors.
Paul said, “Faith is the evidence of things unseen.”
He did not say that it is the disproof of things seen.
Thom rounds up a few stories that haven’t gotten much notice in the furor over healthcare.
Elise Viebeck discusses the bullying behavior of the macho, macho men of the Republican Party and their nasty, nasty attitudes towards women Republican. A snippet (follow the link for the rest):
In the last week, Sen. Susan Collins has been challenged by a male lawmaker to a duel. She and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Alaska, were told they and others deserve a physical reprimand for their decisions not to support Republican health-care proposals. Murkowski, who voted with Collins against starting the health-care debate this week, was specifically called out by President Donald Trump on Twitter and told by a Cabinet official that Alaska could suffer for her choice, according to a colleague.
The language of retribution increasingly adopted by Republican men reflects Trump’s influence and underscores the challenges Republican women can face when opposing the consensus of their party, which remains dominated by men, outside experts said.
I think an argument can be made that the bullying impulses have always been there in the party of family values. What has changed is that the bullies now believe Donald Trump’s ascendency has given them permission to be what they always have been.
Timothy Egan marvels at the unwavering support that evangelical they-call-themselves-Christians have for Donald Trump, a venal vulgarian who makes Bob Guccione look like a choir boy, and concludes
Follow the link to learn why he says that.
Leonard Pitts, Jr., notes that it’s a thing:
Has anyone else noticed that the more power the extreme right wing amasses, the less satisfied it seems to be? That the more government it controls, the more fearful and angry the extreme right becomes?
More at the link.