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Words and Numbers

These Dang Republicans

Or, Right-Wing Virtue Signaling

Among other elections happening today is the one for congress from my district. It's a fairly close race so I've been getting a fair amount of advertising in the mail. Alabama is essentially a one-party--Republican--state now, so they're all Republicans. Their advertising all contains the following important facts about the candidate:

  • He loves Trump--and if any evidence at all can be found to support the claim, Trump loves him.
  • He will fight for and with Trump (and against Nancy Pelosi and that dreadful "squad").
  • He's a conservative Christian.

There generally follows mention of one or more of the specific issues that get the blood flowing for most Alabamians: abortion, illegal immigration, the 2nd amendment. Anything more definite is hard to find. It's exasperating--and I don't even disagree substantially with them. The candidates are more or less indistinguishable, though I feel pretty sure there would be reason to vote for one over another if I could find it. Journalism used to be helpful in this way but isn't much anymore, at least not around here. The newspapers have been gutted and are either vacant or clearly doing progressive PR, which doesn't seem to do the Democrats much good at the ballot box.

It's almost enough to make me feel sorry for Alabama Democrats, even for Doug Jones, the Democratic senator whose victory in 2018 was a fluke caused by the fact that the Republican nominee was the nut Roy Moore, and who is probably going to be sent back to Mountain Brook in November. Almost but not quite. I mean, Pelosi and the "squad" actually are pretty dreadful. 


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Some of us see the Republican party as a group of old white men doing everything they can to deny Americans health care, and for some reason wanting to pump billions of dollars into the military industrial complex each year instead. Not seeing all of those commercials may be the best thing about my leaving Alabama. I would probably become nauseous watching Jeff Sessions trying to cozy up to Trump after the way he was treated while Attorney General, not that he doesn't deserve to be treated like an idiot, since he is one.

I think "old, white men" Republicans is pretty funny considering how the Democratic presidential primaries are going. I don't know if Bernie really told Warren that a woman couldn't get elected, but it seems to be true.

Since my vote in the Republican primaries would be meaningless (all the other Republican races I can vote in have unopposed candidates), I was going to vote for Klobuchar if I got the chance, but no. I may as well stay home.



I am unhappy with two old white men representing the Democrats also. He probably did say that to her, and so far in our history it is true. Politics in the USA is for the birds! I paid some mild attention to what happened last night, but overall I have been making a concerted effort to avoid all news other than weather. I get up in the morning and watch parts of movies I have DVR'd on Turner Classic Movies instead. It makes for a happier start to my day!

TCM rules.

Trump is such a jerk. He's out there trashing Sessions now.

I doubt Bernie said what Warren said he said in the way she said. Her attack on him for that actually backfired, it appears. It's certainly true that a woman candidate faces difficulties that a man doesn't, but the bigger problem is that the Democrats keep running the wrong woman, a type who puts off a lot of people, male and female. I watched part of one of the Dem "debates" with my 96-year-old mother, who's a Democrat. After Warren had talked for several minutes, my mother said "I don't like her."

I think I know about this guy. If the guy I know is not this one, there are two too many of them out there. I signed up for the Kevin Williamson newsletter on National Review. The first one came the day before Western Lent starts so I read it. The second one came into Lent, so I deleted it. I didn't want to unsubscribe for the duration of Lent because its a nuisance subscribing and unscribing and resubscribing. An hour after deleting it I got a request to give money to some politician who said 'I am a TRUMP Republican'.' It was from NRO. So I tried to unsubscribe from this kind of advertizing. Im not a Trump Republican or a Trump conservative (and neither, to my knowledge, is Williamson unless he changed his mind recently). But when I tried to unsubscribe from this kind of advertizing, the only way to do it was to unsubscribe from the Williamson newsletter. So I did. Im not going to be forcefed that BS.

I assure you there are way more than two of them.

Too bad you've unsubscribed from Williamson's newsletter, because it's really good.

I may go back after Lent. I just thought I might as well because I cant read it anyway until Easter. I think hes about my sixth favourite journalist after Charles Moore, Rod Liddle, Nelson Fraser, Jonah Goldberg and John Podhoretz. Strictly in that order.

I don't even recognize the first three names. Charles Moore sounds vaguely familiar but that could be just because it's a pretty ordinary name. I'd definitely put Williamson ahead of Goldberg and Podhoretz, though. I used to read Goldberg's weekly thing regularly, but I guess he stopped it, or I somehow got unsubscribed. The whole Trump thing seems to have taken some of the wind out of his sails somehow--he sounds kind of dispirited or something. Podhoretz I've never read that much.

But he seems a bit of a lightweight.

No Podhoretz is wise imho

Would’ve thought that if you subscribe to the newsletter you will get this same ad

Charles Moore was editor of the Spectator then editor of the Daily Telegraph. He wrote a Three volume biography of Mrs. Telegraph. Now he just writes a column in the telegraph

Elizabeth Warren is the kind of professor I've worked with for the past thirty years. I could easily imagine having lunch with her. For me, she passes the have a beer test. But also, my Chicago hairdresser, who does not have a college degree, has been a Warren supporter since the start of the primaries. She cannot quite forgive me for saying, from the start, that Biden looked like he would win it. (A point on which Jonah, Pod, and KDW were all wrong - they all said at times that Sanders looked set to get it, all claiming that because the Republicans radicalized themselves in chosing Trump, this would cause an equal counter reaction amongst the Democrats, causing them to go crazy and chose Sanders). Like Janet, I did wish that Amy Klob had half a chance. I got annoyed with commentators going on and on about how she once ate salad with her comb. If Im in my office with no knives and forks, I'll eat with any conceivable implement!

Jonah Goldberg pulls out a hilarious G-File about once a month. He writes too much and repeats himself, but when he is on a roll, he is uproarious. I don't *read* much of Pod, but on the Commentary podcast, he seems to me like a really wise man.

I don't listen to podcasts very often. Generally I'd just rather listen to music. I remembered a little while ago that Podhoretz got on my bad side a long time ago, when Bergman died: JP sort of scoffed at his reputation and put forth some mediocre Hollywood thing as superior.

The Sanders story is not by any means over. Those guys were on to a real phenomenon about the reaction to Trump. Many others have said similar things, but they usually also include something to the effect that the Democrat Party establishment might succeed in stopping Sanders. Right now it looks like that may be happening. The conventional wisdom has jumped back and forth wildly several times in the past months.

Completely apart from any personality qualities, Warren really hurt herself with some notable instances of apparent dishonesty. I feel a little guilty about it but "Fauxcahontas" is funny. Coming in third in the state which she represents in the Senate is pretty sad.

But as for the personality and general vibe, clearly she is off-putting to a fair number of people. Somewhere in the past couple of days, can't remember where, somebody told about watching Warren on tv when his 11-year-old daughter came into the room. The girl watched for a minute and said "She's like the teacher you never want to get." She does seem to affect some people like that. Not me, particularly. It's her views and policies that are the problem for me.

I agree Warren’s lying is just weird. I saw the video clip where she tells a working class woman that she did TOO send her son to public school and the wiman is just shaking her head in disbelief

Inability to admit she's wrong? I don't know.

Re Biden's resurgence, I'm sort of tempted to log in to Facebook and see how my Sanders-fanatic acquaintances are handling it.

I just read an article on about the probability of Biden winning, and he and Trump debating, both of them being in decline and not knowing what they're talking about. I really don't think I could watch those debates, maybe they shouldn't even hold any. I was just wanting someone smart who could think on their feet to debate him. No, Sanders was not that person. He is more with it than Biden or Trump, but he really just yells his talking points all the time.

As a confirmed liberal I do admit to liking Jonah Goldberg a lot. His writing, and when I have seen him on TV. But you are right Mac, the Trump phenomenon has left him pretty unhappy.

My uncle said to me that the worst of the people with TDS (Trump Derangement Syndrome) are those that love him, not the haters.

Yes Stu, Jonah talks about two forms of TDS, pro and anti. I don't know which is the more rabid.

I cannot think of any successful female politician who is not accused of being too bossy, or 'the bossy milk monitor type.' Its said today about Priti Patel, and it was said about Mrs Thatcher in her day. I used to laugh when Jonah said that Mrs Clinton was like the kind of monitor who tells you not to eat in the library. People say that Amy Klobachar is mean to her staff. This kind of criticism is made of all women politicians, whether of the left or the right. It may be that only bossy school-marm/librarian/milk monitor types of people want to go into politics and are successful in politics. So maybe there is some truth in the complaint. But in the end, given that its said of most women politicians, I think we have to leave the bossiness on one side and just see if they achieve good things. These women would not be where they are, successfully at the top of politics, if they were not hyper-energetically into organizing our lives.

It's an interesting question. I was thinking I might try to sort out my thoughts on it in a blog post, but I don't know that there's anything coherent enough. It is definitely true that women are susceptible to this complaint in a way that men generally aren't. (Bloomberg is to a degree.) And it's not fair. But it's hard to pin down the phenomenon. "Organizing our lives" sort of suggests it--the sense that they want not just to govern but to micro-manage, the way a first-grade teacher micro-manages her students. It's necessary there, otherwise the kids would be all over the place. But it comes across as petty in a politician.

I've had...let's see...three female bosses over the years, and none of them had very much of that quality. For what that's worth.

With Hillary Clinton, it was made much, much worse by her air of entitlement and disdain for the masses. Leona Helmsley as schoolmarm.

TDS on the right is very real. I don't know that I'd say it's worse, but it's about as bad. I don't run into it very often, because the conservative sources I follow are at best ambivalent about Trump. But yesterday, curious about the outlook for Tuberville, I read one of the very right-wing blogs (forgotten which now). The post just reported on the election, but the comments were 80-90% "off with his head" (politically speaking) about Sessions. The fact that Tuberville has no apparent knowledge of government and in fact is just barely even an Alabama resident didn't matter. **All** that mattered was that Sessions had been disloyal (as they see it) to Trump and must be punished.

I see where Warren has dropped out. This is what makes the Democrats' situation re Sanders as a reaction to Trump different. The other Republicans mostly hung in there as long as they possibly could, dividing the non-Trump vote among them and allowing Trump to win. The Democrats wanting to stop Sanders seem to have learned that lesson. The cost of that is going to be some really enraged Sandernistas.

Neo-neocon (a woman) on Warren:

"A couple of years ago Warren seemed like a rising force in the Democratic Party, but she was limited by her own grating personality. She’s one of those people who doesn’t grow on you, even if you’re a Democrat. She always reminded me of certain energetic gym teachers I had, full of wearyingly peppy harangues, and looking like if they had a makeover they’d look really pretty, or at least much prettier."

Then she adds "I can say that because I'm a woman."

I never said that only sexist males use that meme. I said that its pretty useless because female politicians are universally accused of bossiness, from the left and the right, and so one has to go past that, and consider if they are good at their job.

Accuse me of TDS if you like, but I don't look at Neo-Neo Con any longer. From the day of the Inauguration, where she gushed over Melania's clothes, she has lost her initial scepticism about Trump. The thing is, I don't care if she likes Trump, but Im not going to read baroque explanations of how Trump's action B superficially looks bad but deep down its good. I believe that the reason Neo-Neo-Con became a Trumper is that her hatred of leftism is deeper than her her love of conservative principles. She is ultimately more driven by hatred than by love of conservativism.

Im not impressed to hear that Neo-Con pulled out the gym teacher meme on Warren (or any female leftist politician). Its just that she won't notice if a conservative female politician is just as much like a gym teacher to their adversaries. Or a milk monitor, librarian, etc. 'Gym teacher' is such a stale cliche, and a good explanation for why I stopped reading NNC. Because NNC would never have found any successful left wing female politican not to be a gym teacher, and she would never have noticed the bossy propensities in any conservative women politicians.

As I said, I think possibly very many female politicians *are* into organizing our lives. You can call it micro managing if you want. Golda Meir was scarey and so was Mrs Ghandi. That's what they are like and how they succeed and get to the top. Irresponsible, broad minded, artistic, soft-hearted women don't get there.

The only problem is that the good ones are just as much like this as the bad ones. That's what gives them the oomph to be successful female politicians.

Mrs Thatcher was a bossy woman - she was called (amongst many other things!) the only man in her cabinet. I would argue that she did good, in GB, for instance in facing down the over powerful unions and enabling the selling off of council houses so that the working class could be home owners. France has never had a Mrs Thatcher, and its never updated from the 1970s. But I don't want to go into a debate about Mrs T - I would just say, she was a bossy micro-managing woman, and that's what made her what she was. If someone on the left likes their bossy women to be leftist, the same would be true of their politicians.

My point is that *some* of these women are good at their jobs, and achieve some common good - regardless of their librarian, milk-monitor, teacher propensities.

Mac, I think you would have enjoyed Charles Moore in the old days when he wrote long editorial pieces. He seldom writes like that any longer. Just little diary pieces in the Telegraph and the Spectator. He was an Anglican and became a Catholic. His wife is still Anglican. He's very gentlemanly and sharp. He did a BBC program recently where he talked with his niece who had transitioned into a man. It was a model for how to conduct such a conversation. When I was a gofer girl at a conservative think tank in the 1980s, my boss, who was much older than Moore at the time, said he learned a great deal from reading his columns.

"I never said that only sexist males use that meme." I never said you did. :-) Or intend to imply it. I'm just thinking out loud about the phenomenon. What interests me is the question of why forcefulness on the part of women so often comes across as including a pettiness. Is it fair (insofar as you can say that an involuntary impression or reaction to a personality is "fair")? If so, why, and if not, why not? (Not putting those questions to you for answers, just saying that's what I'm wondering about.)

I was trying to think of a woman who has or has had a powerful public presence and did not come across that way, and couldn't think of one. Fortunately, a commenter at NNC reminded me of one: Jean Kirkpatrick. She simply had an air of authority which did not include that whatever-it-is that I'm talking about. But she was not exactly a politician, in the sense of needing to be elected. (The commenter, by the way, is someone you may remember: Art Deco.)

I'm not qualified to have an opinion on Thatcher or Ghandi, and not much of one on Meir, but from the little I recall I'd say she is more Kirkpatrick than Warren.

I don't totally agree with you about NNC, but I think there's some validity to what you say about her. She is definitely more indulgent of Trump than I think he deserves. I find her commentaries very valuable in part because she's very fact-oriented and is a good counter to the media treatment of Trump--for instance, pointing out that the what the "narrative" says Trump said or did is often a significant distortion of what he actually said or did. And she follows stories like "collusion" and impeachment a lot more closely than I would ever want to do, and sorts out the wheat from the chaff.

I searched out Charles Moore after you mentioned him yesterday and he does sound interesting.

I thought the collusion and impeachment stories were just utterly boring and I never followed them

Sara Palin is not bossy but She is so utterly tacky in every other respect that it doesn’t really help

I think I would’ve left school and got on the run if I had to have Mrs. Thatcher as my science teacher

She would’ve told Jonah not to eat in the library at the drop of a hat

Condy - Also a professor like Kirkpatrick - Does not seem to me to be bossy


Funny you mention Palin--I was thinking AD had named someone else but couldn't remember who. It was Palin. True, she did not have that whatever-it-is, as far as I remember. Unfortunately she was not competent. I thought she was very promising when she first appeared, but it soon became apparent that she was in way over her head. Sad story, really.

Btw, I'm not suggesting that the w-i-i means the person can't be very capable and achieve a lot. Seems to be a barrier to getting elected, though.

Where that little girl said Warren is the teacher you hope you never get, Jean Kirkpatrick was the professor you hope you do get, if you're really serious about the subject and think you can handle a challenge.

And are willing to work hard, I should add.

I had a high school English teacher like that. I complained vehemently at first but ended up thinking she was one of the two best teachers I had pre-college.

What about Carly Fiorina? Don't think she came across as petty. But then she had Trump's "Look at that face!" working against her.

I don't think I ever heard her speak, so no opinion.

Lordy, I had forgotten that Trump remark. Such a jerk. I don't see how anybody, even if they think Trump is saving the country, can not see that he's a jerk.

Mac, I just dont think its worth holding WII against a politician Because most of them across the spectrum have it.

Marianne, I liked Carly But she did not get very far

I think the US just doesn't want a woman president, period. People can talk all they like about Obama being black, but he is half white, very educated and well-spoken. Al Sharpton he is not. As impressive as Buttigieg is, the US also would not elect an openly gay president. That's how we got where we are, with three men in their 70s as our choices.

I see where Kevin Williamson is calling Biden a liar, a coward, and a partisan. That may be true, but they would certainly also apply to Trump, so what is his point?

I'm not holding it against Warren, or anybody else. Well, maybe Hillary a little, but it's just one element of her whole unpleasant vibe. I do in fact think it's often unfair, and probably unfairly affects a female candidate's appeal to voters. My interest is more or less clinical, because I'm fascinated by gender differences.

I missed your earlier comment about Condi Rice. Agreed, she didn't have that quality.

And how could I forget my very own governor, Kay Ivey? She doesn't, either.

Oh my goodness, Kay Ivey! Alcoholic, closeted lesbian, and sounds like she is on death's door. The perfect female politician! :)

Cross-posted with Stu. Stu, Williamson is not a Trump admirer, so that's not really relevant. He's just talking about Biden specifically, not surveying the ranks of jerks at large.

I disagree that the country would not elect a woman. I mean, look how extremely close H Clinton came, and she was a really terrible candidate, in just pure "retail politics" terms.

Hillary was terrible. My Trump-crazed friends continue to complain about her for some reason (because Trump himself won't stop mentioning her?) and I always say that they should thank her every day because without her he would most likely not be president!

I know that about Williamson, but it just doesn't make logical sense. So Biden is a "habitual" liar. Well, Trump is a "pathological" liar. What do we do then, turn to a panel to comment on their lies and the differences?

All of it is really a no-win situation, and is why I now watch TCM in the morning instead of any news! I don't want to hear about these people at all, especially the entire Trump family. Ugh.

That's about as close to certainly true as any might-have-been can be.

Argh, there seems to be a delay in some comments. My "That's about as close..." was response to "without her he would...". I had reloaded the screen before posting that.

Stu, I think what you're missing about Williamson's column is that he's comparing Biden to Sanders, not to Trump. He's a addressing conservatives who are thinking "yay, the country has dodged the socialist bullet." At least that's how I took the column when I read it this morning.

Mac, I've been reading Charles Murray's new book on Gender, Race &. Its very interesting. Im only a little way in, but he parades evidence that the more gender equal a society is, the more the males show male traits (interest in things) and the females show female traits (interest in people). So far, its enjoyable although I don't understand the science, just the conclusions. In the old days when a scientist argued for gender difference, there was always a whiff of misogyny in the air. I don't get the faintest hint of that with Murray.

The problem for female politicians is that people tend to see women as persons, not as roles. I've given up hope that in a meeting of professors someone will call me 'Professor Grumpy', and not just Grumpy. Because they never do, and its hopeless to wish for it. Someone as powerful as a would be president or the PM of GB or Israel or India, is ok if we see the power as the role they bear, not the person - the president, not JFK himself. But we see Mrs Thatcher or Indira Ghandi as power-wielding persons. Not as the PM but as people. It makes it very hard for them not to come across as power crazed micro managing gym teachers who tell you not to eat in the library. A few manage it.

My boss at the think tank was afraid of Mrs Thatcher - he said being interrogated by her was terrifying. He had the best first in 'Greats' of his year at Oxford.

" the more gender equal a society is, the more the males show male traits (interest in things) and the females show female traits (interest in people)"

Jordan Peterson has said exactly the same thing.

"The problem for female politicians is that people tend to see women as persons, not as roles."

Hmm, that's really interesting. I'll say more later--time to fulfill my manly role of cooking dinner.

There's definitely something in the male-female dynamic that makes men tend to personalize women in a way that they don't men. For instance, I find it somehow off, something that I more or less unconsciously resist a little, to refer to Flannery O'Connor as simply "O'Connor." I've pretty much trained myself to do it anyway, but it doesn't come naturally. It almost feels almost rude. And I guess that has something to do with it being comparatively impersonal, and that seeming inappropriate. So maybe something like that is going on with "Professor Grumpy"? But aren't women that way with other women as well?

I'm not sure that matches my experience in academia. I don't mean "I'm not sure" as in "I doubt" but literally not sure. In staff meetings with my female PhD bosses we used their first name. But those were very casual. In any less casual kind of meeting she was Doctor. But it was a very small place so people were just naturally on a first-name basis all around.

The specific thing that certain women in politics communicate--presumably unknowingly--is not just that they want to control things but that they want to do it at a very detailed level. Like if they had their way they might prescribe a national diet structured for optimal nutrition. And monitor it.

Feminists are particularly prone to that because their ideal of leveling all gender differences requires it--detailed control of language and the like. Many years ago I reviewed a feminist book on child-rearing and the intensity and specificity of the indoctrination it advocated was extreme. I remember saying in the review that it was way beyond any kind of child-molding that the Catholic Church had ever envisioned.

I didn't know about this Murray book but I just looked it up. Very interesting but I don't know that I want to invest the time.

And back to Warren and her problems: yes, her personality may have hurt her. Did hurt her, I guess. But I don't think that was the decisive factor. In one sentence, her big problem seemed to me that she fell between the two stools of proudly radical Sanders and the ostensible moderates. That's more or less the gist of this analysis.

I don't really read very many of the articles online, I just look at the headline part, and maybe the very beginning. If that wasn't already obvious. So I did not read Williamson's article. I did read a funny but depressing one on written by a woman. She was quite sad about Biden, and it was all sort of a comparison between he and Trump, mental decline, etc. I'm trying to remember who she liked, probably Warren since she was the last non white male candidate standing. I think there should be an age limit for running. Since you must be 35 it seems logical that there should be a high number too, and 70 seems reasonable. I'm just 53 and already feel so different from say when I first started at SHC and was only 36. Hard to imagine 70 along with a very stressful job like POTUS.

There's something to be said for that. I'm 71, and it seemed to me that there were some noticeable physical changes around the time I turned 70, sort of a general lessening of strength. Seems like if I don't make an effort to keep it up, muscle tone disappears more quickly. I'd like to think there was no mental equivalent but there probably is. I think 75 is the age when bishops have to retire.

I have made a couple of fairly serious mistakes when driving that I don't think I would have made twenty years ago. Fortunately they didn't cause accidents but they were sobering. I guess I'd reluctantly support testing drivers past age 80 or maybe 75.

But on the positive side I am way less susceptible to road rage. :-)

This is a review by Alan Jacobs of the new Malick film

Lovely. As best I could tell it never showed around here. I guess I'll eventually see it on DVD.

Concerning old age. I have friends on Facebook actively campaigning for me to stay home to avoid the plague.


Meaning they're concerned for your health? Or their own?

I was a bit concerned about doing the camino this summer but live reports on the camino forums since the albergues reopened for Spring on 1 March indicate its the same as ever. There are not people in the streets pushing wheelbarrows shouting bring out your dead. There is no Monty python plague scenario

On a zero to ten scale, my level of concern right now is about .5. At most. If a lot of cases start appearing around here that would change. I've had a cold for going on two weeks now so maybe I'm the first.



If you have a runny nose, it's not the plague. Or so I have read. My concern < yours.


According to the CDC recommendations, all the presidential candidates should be staying at home.


I keep joking my cold is the plague too

I’m sort of beginning to wonder. I thought mine was gone but it seems to be coming back worse.

It would certainly be a great benefit to the nation if all the lovely candidates stayed home.

Horrible joke I just heard:

Personal ad:

Man With Coronavirus Seeks Woman With Lyme Disease

That's just weird.

I read Ted Cruz is staying home. Hopefully he will start a trend among politicians.

How's the cold? You too, Grumpy.

I am off to work in a town somewhere in Mississippi. I have never been there before. I never even heard of it until recently. Hope I can find it. I think it's in the Delta.


It's kind of sick, actually (the joke), but it made me laugh in spite of myself.

The cold is better, thanks. Good luck finding your town.

I saw a headline this morning saying the coronavirus death rate in Italy had "soared by 50%," or something like that. I read the story and it repeated the statement, but without numbers. I finally found a number: 42. That means the rate the day before was 28. There was no indication of whether that meant 28 people had been dying every day (since when?), or that 28 was the total number of deaths up until that day. This is kind of crazy.

I didn't laugh and I laugh at mean things. My niece has had Lymme for six or seven years and its just a nightmare.

Im getting better. Its spring break and Im resting a lot. Last week I was dog tired and sneezing, but just lying in in the mornings and walking the dogs at 8.30 is curing me. Six weeks to the end of term once the kids come back from break. Brexit will have her puppies about 20 April, I think, and Im leaving for the camino 20 June. So I need to keep training. Back to the gym tomorrow after ten days off.

This is something I read about the Coronavirus. The style of ranting sums up what I don't like about Trumpism. The resentment of the wealthy and the rancorous fantasy about state run TV and elitists telephoning Uber to send out for food. Someone should tell Steve Hilton that everyone in America has a hand phone of some kind.

I've bought a plane ticket to Biarritz, France for 20 June, which puts me somewhere on the spectrum of a Corona agnostic-denier. What annoys me is not so much the content of what this man says so much as the spewing with rancour against an imagined elite. One of these wealthy 'conservatives' who somehow imagines he is on the side of those good boys with pick up trucks (and no phones).

One other thing on the subject of the thread before I forget. Charles Moore said apropos of his biography of Mrs Thatcher that she was lucky to be PM when she was, because she didn't have to 'be a woman.' In a strange sort of way, people didn't see her 'as a woman' in those days. The convention of the day was that a successful woman had to be a surrogate man. Whereas today, Moore said, every successful female politician is analyzed 'as a woman.' He said that having to 'be a woman' is making women less successful in politics these days.

I decided this year to restrict my usual 'giving up all newsprint, dead-tree and online' to just giving up any news that is political commentary. No Spectator or Daily Telegraph. No Charles Moore or Jonah. I haven't given up the web, which is why Im here. But because I can't read any political commentary, all the emotions I would usually put into politics are flooding onto the coronavirus! Im following the coronavirus like a hawk, 1) because its the only part of the internet Im allowed and 2) Im allowed it because I better find out if Spain is going to quarantine itself like Wuhan and Italy. I doubt it, but it would be nice to know if Im going to lose the price of my airticket!

I don't know how you manage to get onto the net at all and not read a certain amount of political news. Though I guess avoiding specific writers goes a fair way toward that. I have a feeling that the coronavirus thing will be over by June, but obviously that could be totally wrong. Rod Dreher has been in a panic, which of course is kind of what he does, and has a post titled "It's Not Panic. It's Reality." Well, why can't it be both? There is unquestionably some panic and hysteria going on. And added to that, now that every damn thing is political, this is, too. So the Dems are feeding the panic in hopes that it will help them depose Trump and the Repubs are pooh-poohing it.

I never heard of Steve Hilton before and will not be seeking out more of his commentary. I have a perverse relationship with the Fox News web site. I quit looking at CNN years ago after one too many Christmas and Easter stories saying "Scholars say none of this crap ever happened." I go to Google News for a look at the headlines, but it tilts left, so I look at the Fox site to see if there's anything useful there. I half-wrote a post a while back saying The Fox News Web Site Is Garbage. And it really is. It's kind of nauseating. For every two actual news stories there's at least one celebrity gossip story and an Instagram model in a bikini.

Very interesting remarks about Thatcher. I'm not sure what he means by "be a woman." Be a conscious representative of the entire female sex? He doesn't mean deliberately or stereotypically Feminine, does he?

About Warren: whatever people may find annoying or not-annoying about her manner and so forth, the policies she advocates are way more important. Thought experiment: imagine Warren with her same personality but Ted Cruz's political views. She'd be a fairly big hit with conservatives who now snark at her bossiness or whatever. It wouldn't be enough to make them reject her.

I had a frustrating conversation about Hillary on Facebook back before the 2016 election. This was with a guy who is very smart but absolutely locked in to the left-wing bubble. He said "The Republicans have nothing to run on except hatred for Hillary as a person." I suggested a similar thought experiment to him: imagine Hillary's personality but with conservative politics. She might not win the Republican nomination but she could certainly be in the game. It would be Democrats saying nasty things about her as a person.

I think he just went on saying the same thing.

Mac, gosh, how do I explain 'being in politics as a woman'. It means that people see you as a 'WOMAN in politics.' I remember students telling me they saw me as a role model, a woman in theology. I never saw myself in that role at all - I was interested in Maritain and Gilson and von Balthasar! That's how I see Mrs Thatcher and her generation. I don't think Golda Meier saw herself as a woman in politics.

I invented the 'as a surrogate man' stuff to try to help explain what Charles Moore means. We are so used to the opposite perspective now that its hard to remember when a woman in politics was not a 'woman in politics'. Or not particularly.

Mac: About Warren: whatever people may find annoying or not-annoying about her manner and so forth, the policies she advocates are way more important. Thought experiment: imagine Warren with her same personality but Ted Cruz's political views. She'd be a fairly big hit with conservatives who now snark at her bossiness or whatever. It wouldn't be enough to make them reject her.

That's what I've been trying to say up above. Conservatives wouldn't be calling Warren a gym-teacher if she were not advocating a sort of American NHS.

I actually find her personally quite likeable (because she's so similar to the kind of people I work with all the time), but I am very glad she is not going to run against Trump. It gives the Dems a chance, but not the far left Dems.

So far I've managed to avoid political news almost entirely - at least 95 percent of it. Google news gives me some news, and its mainly about celebrities. Max von Sydow died. And I google 'Coronovirus', 'coronavirus camino de santiago' and 'coronavirus, spain' about five times a day.

One of my colleagues comes from a conservative protestant family, and he became a Catholic in grad school. He brings seven little kids who all look identical to him to the Byz Catholic liturgy. He says his wife's family all watch Fox News, and in their eyes Trump cannot ever do anything wrong, because Fox would say its not true and didn't happen.

Im not honestly sure if I've seen Fox for more than a few minutes at a time. There are TVs in several of the diners I frequent, but they are usually on 'fixer upper' programs, of which I am fond.

Re Moore's view that Thatcher didn't have to "be a woman" and people then not seeing her "as a woman". Maybe my memory is simply screwed up, but I recall that much was made of her "heartlessness" in her policies and actions. Which I always thought was endlessly played up mainly because she was a woman.

Yes that is true Marianne. And even then she was such a bad feminist non woman, going to the hairdresser every week.

But I still think he’s right - the intensity of viewing each female polician as a champion of the female species was not there

I thought that was what you meant with "as a WOMAN in politics," Grumpy, just wasn't sure.

That makes me think of the feminist who decreed that Sarah Palin was not a woman.

I remember Thatcher being portrayed as heartless etc. Or even as actively sadistic. Which of course they always say about conservatives and conservative politicians, but it seemed to be especially intense with Thatcher. Not that I was paying much attention. And I think it probably was "gendered," as some feminist said the other day about Warren's lack of support.

I'm usually inclined to think those cliches about right-wingers who only watch Fox and believe everything it says etc. are exaggerations, but then I run across people like you (Grumpy) described who seem to fit the description.

Something over ten years ago my wife and I had the habit for a year or so of watching both Fox and CNN, switching back and forth between them. Fox *NEWS* actually wasn't so bad. It wasn't so much biased as sensationalistic and superficial. But the opinion shows were awful--just blowhards.

One day we agreed that we were sick of all of them and quit watching. Since then we get news mostly from the web.

Back in the early '70s when I was in English grad school for a bit my 18th c lit class was taught by a woman professor who had been at it for a long time. I'm guess she was 60-ish and I think she'd been teaching for decades, as far back as the mid or late 1930s maybe. I venture a guess that she encountered obstacles as a woman in academia, but I am pretty sure she did not engage in the thing you're talking about, being a WOMAN in academia.

I just searched for her online and found this:

RIP, Dr. Locke. That was a good class. I still remember how she loved Swift.

I have been very tempted to take a look at Dreher over the past few weeks, just to laugh at his girly panic. But TAC is obviously just as much out as KDW newletter, even if I never read TAC.

I know Mrs T was criticised as a an'uncaring woman' or a 'bossy woman'. That's why I said I don't care if NNC thinks Elizabeth Warren is the gym teacher from hell: English leftists thought Mrs T was the science teacher from the ninth circle on steroids. They all use sexist or gendered steriotypes to criticize the women whose policies they don't like.

But I still think there is some truth in the idea that our perspective is increasingly gendered. It may be part of what Charles Murray claims when he shows the evidence that the more egalitarian a society is, the greater the difference between men and women.

I suspect that one reason for the widening of the gap is that in a male dominated society, women have to be surrogate men to succeed, whereas in an egalitarian society, even women have to be surrogate women.

IF I manage to get to Spain this year, it will be due to Brexit's fertility cycle. I wanted them to have a litter this spring, because I thought a spring litter would be much easier than an autumn/winter one - the puppies can be outside a lot of the time, as we are having very mild weather and an early Spring.

As it came up to the time for Brexit's heat to begin, it looked very promising. They were clearly getting into practice and my neighbours were telling me there would be puppies in the near future. They follow the Beatles' adage and 'do it in the road.' But when she actually came on heat, they stopped doing it. From what I could see from the upstairs windows, she was biting him and preventing him. Basically, Olivier is the bitch 651 days of the year, and he was still the bitch. She just attacked when he came near and he retreated.

I kept harrying them on, because alongside wanting the litter this spring, I had been hoping to do a very early camino. I wanted to get off by mid May when its not too hot in Spain. And there's 60 days gestation followed by 7 weeks before the puppies can safely leave the litter. They seemed entirely uninterested in each other. My lodger thought maybe she got pregnant right at the start, but this seemed overly optimistic from the signs on the kitchen floor - she was still on heat. I googled something called 'remnants of the heat cycle', but my vet said he'd never heard of it. I started separating them and crating Brexit because I didn't want to go to Spain in June/July when it will be HOT.

Finally I gave up. It seemed by the 19th of Feb to be too late in the month for Brexit's heat cycle to be still on. We went to the disc golf course, they were off the leash, and out of control by a bi-ped, and at the top of the hill they got locked back to back. We went back the next day and they did it again just for luck (it was freezing cold and icy too and Im standing around saying 'get on with it fellas'). And maybe Olivier knows hes got 362 days as the bitch ahead of him.

So that delays my possible departure right down to 20 June. To me now, looking at the camino forum, this looks like great good fortune. Lots of people who were hoping to travel in March from Australia are having their flights cancelled, and people who would have travelled in April are pulling out. It seems to me that the late travel date gives my camino much more chance of happening this year. Im glad the dogs overthrew my plans.

The truth is that a bitch is more and more fertile as the cycle continues, and she wants to make good and sure of getting pregnant. Plus, Nature knows that humans are just sick and tired of trying to keep them apart after three weeks of this.

It MAY be, of course, that the camino won't happen for anyone this year, or for very few who can afford to stay twenty nights in hotels. Or for campers. They just have to lock down one village or town that is on a camino route, and it becomes very difficult to see how to continue. You could try to circumvent it, but that could add days to the trip. Most of the camino is through countryside where there are buses every couple of days or so. You can't 'just hop on a bus' and skip a few towns in lock down. For a person in a car, an added 30 or 45 miles is nothing. On foot, that is a big obstacle.

But that's all speculation. My hope is that this virus will burn itself out by the end of June.

"I don't care if NNC thinks Elizabeth Warren is the gym teacher from hell"

I don't *care*, either, in the sense that it affects my view of Warren. I'm just interested in the phenomenon, that people have that reaction to her manner. Bernie Sanders is similar ideologically, and also very forceful and kind of arrogant about being sure that he's right. But when people mock him it's in very different terms: he's the old coot chasing kids off his lawn, and that sort of thing. That's probably "gendered."

One of the weird things about the whole transgender phenomenon is that it relies completely on gender stereotyping: a little girl can't just be a tomboy, she's now got to be trans. A little boy likes something pink and suddenly he's considered trans. A total reversal of some feminist doctrines--which of course some feminists recognize.

"in a male dominated society, women have to be surrogate men to succeed, whereas in an egalitarian society, even women have to be surrogate women."

And still surrogate men, too. I mean, it's still a feature of feminism that it urges women to be more like men in many ways. To be ruthlessly career-driven and all that. There's still a whole lot of that "anything you can do, I can do better" stuff.

I cross-posted with your dogs-and-camino comment. If I were going to bet, I would be on the plague having burned itself out well before June.

That's hilarious about the dogs. Reminds me of a very funny scene, which had to be seen, when my daughter's little mostly-cocker-spaniel was in heat. We were keeping her inside but she escaped and went running around the neighborhood creating an enormous uproar among all the male dogs. She apparently was not in the mood, or playing hard to get, so she was running away from them. We were trying to get her back in the house so the front door was open. We live at the bottom of a hill, and Tess (the dog) came flying down the hill at an absolute dead run, with a male right behind her. Without slowing down at all, at the same dead top-speed run, they both flew up the front steps, through the open door, and all around the house, until we finally managed to expel boy dog.

The panic caused by the virus certainly is part of the problem. They could find a vaccine tomorrow and the panic could rumble on for a month

When the virus started being reported, I found Dreher's panic comforting. "The news hypes it, Rod panics, just another day." But this does seem to be more than hype. I wouldn't worry too much if i weren't flying later this week.


I read someone who said, look, its not 'just flu' but its not the ebola virus either.' I think that's about it.

Yeah, that seems right. Speaking of Dreher, someone he quoted (I think) pointed out that it's more the rapid spread than the seriousness that's causing hospitals in some places to be overwhelmed. Too many people getting sick at the same time. I can't help wondering how many of those actually need to be hospitalized.

Interesting post from NeoNeocon about the psychology of the panic:

Midwestern University went online until Easter. Some irresponsible faculty were texting things such as this is better than a snow day! Wahooo Better than a snow day

A bonanza of snow days--forty or so of them. :-)

I read Rod Dreher regularly, and more or less agree with him most of the time. But "a national crisis unprecedented in living memory"? That's really over the top.

Thirty. I don't think I can cope with 40 days to Easter. Its too brutal watching my Orthodox lodger eat french fries with jam as a whole meal.

Just vegetarian Byz Cath here!

Yeah, I guess we are a bit along now. French fries and jam?!? That's sort of perverse.

Grad students eat weird but its getting to where i avert my eyes

The teenage girl's term is appropriate: gross!

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