From the monthly archives: "November 2012"
  • “The Beatles are not merely awful, I would consider it sacrilegious to say anything less than that they are godawful. They are so unbelievably horrible, so appallingly unmusical, so dogmatically insensitive to the magic of the art, that they qualify as crowned heads of anti-music.” — William F. Buckley Jr, 1964.*
  • On jazz: “An idiotic little hammer knocks dryly  one, two, three, ten, twenty knocks. Then, like a clod of mud thrown into crystal-clear water, there is wild screaming, hissing, rattling, wailing, moaning, cackling. Bestial cries are heard: neighing horses, the squeal of a brass pig, crying jackasses, amorous quacks of a monstrous toad…this excruciating medley of brutal sounds is subordinated to a barely perceptible rhythm. Listening to this screaming music for a minute or two, one conjures up an orchestra of madmen, sexual maniacs, led by a man-stallion beating time with an enormous phallus.”– Maxim Gorky, 1928@
  • “If you would have your son soft, womanish, unclean, smooth-mouth, affected to bawdry, scurrility, filthy rimes, and unseemly talking; briefly if you would have him, as it were, transnatured into a woman or worse, and inclined to all kinds of whoredom abomination, set him to dancing school and to learn music, and than you shall not fail at your purpose. And if you would have your daughter riggish, bawdry and unclean, and a filthy speaker and suchlike, bring her up in music and dancing and my life for yours, you have won the goal.”– Phillip Stubbes, 1583#
  • Supposedly from a list of Nazi prohibitions on jazz (the music itself was not entirely banned, but rather it had to be proper sort of jazz): “5) strictly prohibited is the use of instruments alien to the German spirit (so-called cowbells, flexatone, brushes, etc.) as well as all mutes which turn the noble sound of wind and brass instruments into a Jewish-Freemasonic yowl (so-called wa-wa, hat, etc.);”–Rest over here at The Atlantic.
  • “If you don’t thrill to Mr. Kinkade’s magnificent landscapes of bridges, cottages, streams, and profusely blooming gardens, all glowing in light from sun, moon, or lamp, you are probably a member of the sniveling ‘art establishment.’ Mr. Kinkade eschewed the nihilism, obscenity, and utter nonsense of modern “art” in favor of truth and beauty.”– Becky Akers, Lew Rockwell blog.

And this particularly sad one:

  • “I had not come to be their guest that night; for, it being New Year’s Day, several of the neighbors were met together to divert themselves by dancing country dances. By the advice of my companions I went in amongst them whilst a woman was dancing a jig. At my first entrance I endeavored to shew the folly of such entertainments, and to convince her how well pleased the devil was at every step she took. For some time she endeavored to outbrave me; neither the fiddle nor she desisted; but at last she gave over, and the musician laid aside his instrument…Christ triumphed over Satan. All were soon put to silence…”– George Whitefield, 1740#

Bonus points for several hilariously paleo quotes about culture that my friend Ricardo has written on my facebook.

Anyone else have any favorites?

(H/T *The Deceleration of Independents, #:A Renegade History of the United States, @QI)

For half a century, we were told John Steinbeck’s beloved road book “Travels With Charley in Search of America” was a work of nonfiction. It wasn’t.

As former Post-Gazette staffer Bill Steigerwald proved on the road and in libraries during 2010, Steinbeck’s iconic bestseller was a literary fraud. It was not a true or honest account of the cross-country trip Steinbeck made in the fall of 1960. It was mostly fiction and lies.

“Dogging Steinbeck” is Steigerwald’s new ebook.

Part literary detective story, part American travel book, part history book, part book review, part critique of the mainstream media, part primer in drive-by journalism, it is the true story of his own 11,276-mile road trip across America and how he stumbled upon the truth about Steinbeck’s last major work, ruffled the PH.Ds of some top Steinbeck scholars and forced the publisher of “Charley” to tell readers the book was too fictionalized to be taken literally.

“Dogging Steinbeck” will soon be for sale on for $5.99 — only $1.04 more than what Steinbeck’s hardback sold for in 1962. Anyone who’s interested in John Steinbeck, the truth about “Travels With Charley” and how much America has changed in the last half century America should read it — and help Steigerwald recover the costs of his adventure.

Bill Steigerwald

John Payne, executive director of Show Me Cannabis Regulation would like everyone, including people who are pro-legalization, to stop acting like the topic is an excuse to make jokes about Cheetos.

Yes, jokes can be found in all subjects, and allies doing it is less offensive than when the president brushes legalization questions off with a stoner joke, but the point still stands. This issue is finally, almost, something legitimate to discuss after only a trillion dollars, 50,000 dead Mexicans, militarized SWAT teams, and scores of thousands of arrested Americans. We get it, the munchies, LOL, so funny.


This policy is killing thousands of people abroad, eroding our civil liberties by ransacking our homes and suffocating free speech, and creating a permanent underclass of people who have been convicted of nothing more than possessing a plant. I can think of no other domestic policy in the United States today that does so much damage and all in the name of a policy that has been entirely ineffective at preventing people from using marijuana.

When most politically-engaged Americans start to think of cannabis prohibition in these terms, the laughter will stop, and newscasters will stop showing B-roll of people taking bong rips every time they interview a cannabis law reformer. The consequences of cannabis prohibition are deadly serious, and it is time that this issue moves from the periphery of our political discourse to front and center.

The whole thing here.

Previous heroics on the subject: Penn Jillete’s delicious rant about Obama not taking the issues seriously, this video response to hack extraordinaire Kal Penn’s winking video that urged stoners to vote Obama, Michael C. Moynihan, omsbudsmaning on Red Eye, reminding a former prosecutor/bimbo that the drug war is terrible and wrong.

  • Uuuuuuuugh. 
  • This photo is so hard to look at.
  • “Surreal” is right, I’m cringing, which may not be entirely rational.
  • Over at The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorf has a fascinating look at the War on Terror as filtered through a 2003 highschool textbook.
  • The extremely talented Jim Epstein of Reason TV would like to remind us all that prices matter, yo. Check out his new piece “Oklahoma Doctors vs. Obamacare.”
  • The extremely talented MY DAD wrote this here Kindle book on John Steinbeck’s Travels With Charley fraud. Go, read, marvel at the Bill Steigerwaldness of it all.
  • The CIA has no privacy, you definitely have no privacy.
  • And privacy is important.
  • Good music actually comes from Pittsburgh. Even good, countrified  killing your abusive husband-style music.
  • Remember when I said I didn’t care about there being more females, or diversity-tastic folks in government? Here’s a much better summary of that feeling.
  • You should always read Tony Pierce’s endearing, Bukowski-ish Bus Blog, but let’s generally agree with him that The New York Post is awful for having such a lede. Bad, bad people.

This Competitive Enterprise Institute video is sort of touching, but it doesn’t work for me the same way that simple, wonderful Leonard Read essay did.

Something about about the graphics and the narration both suggest that I, the viewer, am about to be sold life insurance, or just the merits of a particularly caring bank.  Maybe it will work better for other people, though.



  • Brian Doherty on Ron Paul’s farewell speech, with transcript over here.
  • It was all excellent and deliciously libertarian, but my favorite bit was this particular jab: “a society that boos or ridicules the Golden Rule is not a moral society.” You could have dropped the mic right there, Dr. Paul.
  • If you haven’t read Gene Healy’s The Cult of the Presidency, you must. Regardless, I was excited to see that he has an e-book that follows that topic into the Obama presidency. 
  • A drug legalization debate is happening in NYC tonight, and you can watch it stream live at 6:45 over here. It will include Nick Gillespie and a former DEA dude. Guess which one is on which side!
  • Mike Riggs for White House Press Corp. Except he would probably shoot himself, which is to his credit. 
  • Jonathan Blanks is not optimistic about the prospect of federal hands-off-ness in respect to Colorado and Washington.
  • One of the most positive Radley Balko articles of which I am aware. Kind of scared.
  • Secession! 
  • Which Paul says is “very American.”
  • Aliens?
  • This is very gift of a cassette tape for Christmas, age 9 or ten, though seasonally inappropriate. H/T Spotify is awesome.
  • “I don’t want people who are in poverty, in pain, or suffering, to suffer because it’s for their own good and they can pull themselves up by their bootstraps. I want to help them. I want us all to help them. I just don’t want to use guns to do it.” Penn Jillette is awesome, go read this Washington Times interview with him at once.
  • If you want to be a sex worker…
  • Wired seems awfully convinced that you are an enemy of the state, which is why they wrote about how the next president is going to kill you with technology.
  • Cracked post about secret languages includes an entry on nushu (which I just learned about on QI) which was the secret woman’s tongue in China.  It seems that a decade ago, there was only one woman who spoke it. That article has a little too much “boohoo, girls get educated now!” but it’s rather a beautiful thing that women not given education or autonomy, not even given the pleasure of the written word, found a way around that and made their own characters (phonetic, too!) I love humans for just reasons like that.
  • Reason TV wandered about the Bastiat dinner and asked folks what writers got them into freeeeeeeeedom and things like that.
  • Oliver Sacks is amazing. Oliver Sacks wrote a letter back to me when I was 13. Oliver Sacks has done more drugs than you might have guessed.