Tag: Shame

History and the Vector of Shame

 

Perhaps you have seen the meme that shows WWII soldiers and says something along the lines of “they stormed the beaches for us, we’re just being asked to stay on our couches.” As far as exhortations to stay home go, I suppose it is one of the less annoying and more anodyne ones, but it’s still full of a smug, pompous, and scornful shame directed at us today, extolling the virtues of our honored ancestors over and against the alleged sins of our current generation.

It absolutely reeks of the sort of derision that says “not only are you no better than them, but you’re actually likely a great deal worse since we have to nanny you into staying in your own home.” It is an appeal to heroic nostalgia for a sepia-toned and non-existent past, where somehow the people were “more real,” more manly (or womanly) than today. Putting aside my general annoyance with such nannyism, as a perpetual student of history, I also have to cry foul over the comparison and call it what it is: bilge.

Ridiculing Joe Biden

 

Any conservatives worth their salt know about the despicable behavior of Joe Biden over the last 50 years: he has lied, touched women inappropriately, misused the power of his office, railroaded Justice Clarence Thomas in his Congressional hearings, and attacked voters. Under the spotlight of the 2020 campaign, his flaws are even more obvious, particularly his verbal gaffes, confusion and other attributes of potential dementia, as described in Brian Watt’s excellent post.

But in our discussions of Joe Biden, I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable, not about criticisms of Joe Biden from the past, but the efforts to humiliate, ridicule, and shame him for his actions and behaviors during the campaign. Especially notable are shows like “The Next Revolution” on Fox News, which had a segment (preceded by a cartoon of Biden dressed as a clown) with a series of his gaffes. I dislike Joe Biden, but this segment made me very uncomfortable.

In the discussion of Biden on Brian Watt’s post, a number of people also seemed to be gleeful, assuming (I suppose) that Biden was getting what he deserved. Many people were bothered by the apparent effort by Biden’s family and handlers to put Joe through the grueling process of a campaign to be president. People can speculate on their reasons, but most of them are not beneficial to Biden himself, to the Democrat Party (unless they think they can control him if he’s elected) or to the country.

Baby, Were You Born Fat Way?

 

My grandma was a fat woman trapped in a thin woman’s body. Or rather, she was a woman for whom thinness required more mortification of the flesh than is usual, eating like an anorexic (they do eat — sometimes) simply to get her BMI down to normal. At times, this meant weeks of her eating nothing but carrot broth. More generally, it meant cooking deliberately unpalatable food (justifying it as “healthier”) for her whole family, to discourage “overeating”. She was also a hypothyroidic woman who came of age in an era when thyroid supplementation was not widely known.

Trouble keeping weight off isn’t the only sign of an underactive thyroid. The other signs — frizzy, thinning hair, the perpetual frog in the throat, catching chills — grandma had those, too. Not that you’d know it when you met her, since she wore a wig and retained just enough foreign accent to dress up her chain-smoker’s growl (in one who never smoked) as the smoldering alto tones of another Marlene Dietrich. My grandma was an elegant lady; built like a brick house even at her thinnest, but trim and sexy, very sporty; the kind of woman who’d pester the local rowing club into admitting women in the morning, then doll herself up for the evening in a dress looking far less shabby than it really was to go out on the town, dancing and pretending to sip fancy cocktails (not really sipping them, though — calories). My grandma had an iron will, not just iron but huge, rolling and inevitable, a steamroller. Her physical beauty was a manifestation of this, winning her several proposals when she was widowed before her time. For grandma, thinness was a moral issue.

My mother, inheritor of the same complex of maladies that had dogged my grandma (including but not limited to an underactive thyroid), felt differently. Once Mom took anatomy in high school, she learned about the thyroid gland and demanded to see an endocrine specialist. Mom was tired of years of being the fat kid, tired of being judged by her own mother as immoral (a liar, a sneak, weak-willed, etc, etc) for not slimming down on ever-more-restricted diets. The spartan eating habits that had worked for my grandma clearly weren’t working for Mom. Maybe my mom’s problem was weakness of will — compared to my grandma, that is. Compared to the rest of the population, Mom was also a steamroller. Just a fatter steamroller.

What Boundaries Defined by Liberalism Looks Like

 

Can this culture get any more vulgar, disrespectful and trashy? Well, it did and raised some money for charity in the process. Guests at the “Met Gala” were asked to dress in outfits that did not just reflect Christians, but specifically The Catholic Church.

“The Met Gala, hosted by Anna Wintour and celebrity co-chairs each year, is a fundraising effort with all proceeds going to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute, which is the only curatorial department at the museum that is self-funding. This isn’t a difficult task given that tickets to the event can cost $30,000 each, with a table running $275,000.” Well, as long as it was for a ‘good cause’  …

Member Post

 

I’m on facebook. Are you? It’s written with a minuscule, because it’s democratic; which is also why the self-made billionaire your countrymen have made pretends to have donated to democrats endless wealth; & why he really is donating to Democrats, though rather more shrewdly… I’m there on a limited basis, because I could not find a […]

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I ask you, fellow Ricochetti, is The Federalist a den of philistines or only a hotel of philistines? How silly can conservatives get about vulgarity? Here’s the shot–get your own chaser. Mr. Jeselnik is not known to you decent, not to say lucky folks. He is known to me by his work. He pretends that his […]

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Hello, everyone, the poe.pod series on Ezra Pound’s poetic art continues with a discussion of his comic sense of the relation between beauty & shame. My friend Felix & I are trying to bring out his allusions to love poetry in the Western tradition & his attempt to show how poetry emerges from the conflict of […]

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