Saturday, January 11, 2014

My Daddy Can Beat You Up Morally

Rod Dreher sics his father Ray Dreher, Sr.'s work ethics on the widowed, disabled Alan Beggerow.

You don’t need to sit down with me and talk, Mr. Beggerow. You need to sit down and talk to my elderly father. I doubt you would enjoy it, but it would probably do you some good, like it did me.

I think we all understand why Dreher chooses a proxy for this duel instead of himself.

Beggerow, in Dreher's initial post, reveals details unreported by either The New York Times or Dreher. Mr. Beggerow also, in my opinion, acquits himself as far more of a man temperamentally and rhetorically than Ray Dreher, Jr. or, by the unfortunate route of Junior's proxy, Ray Dreher, Sr.

Having somehow established himself as The Hardest Working Boy in Show Business - Rod keeps this country running, after all - Dreher proceeds to wring this teat out even more painfully by offering up some Cambodian refugees as the latest heirs of the Dreher Family Work Ethic.

So, after this many bracing rounds of Dreher sanctimony shots (like retsina, except crafted with the finest local turpentine), why don't we all cleanse our palates now by wishing Mr. Beggerow well for his remaining years while praying that Rod never finds himself in an occupation like steelworker, McDonald's associate, or flunky when one of his regular mono naps or anxiety attacks comes a-calling.

Oh...would it be insufferably ironic of me to point out that the work ethic of Ray Dreher, Sr., which Ray, Jr. opportunistically straps on here as his battering shield, is that historically well-known  Protestant work ethic fundamental to the Moralistic Therapeutic Deism which Senior shares with his late daughter Ruthie?

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Walmart / Obamacare Cost Comparison

Finally! Conservatives are getting in on the infographic market. Formerly most of these were ridiculous visual fabrications of Occupy nutters.

Now don't get me wrong. I'm sure this graphic is fraught with the typical misrepresentations to which all such over-simplifications are prone. But it will make all the right people howl and that makes it worth it.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Is there really any difference between Rod Dreher and Frank Luntz?

After reading Molly Ball's recent piece on Frank Luntz in the Atlantic and blithely skipping most of it for not "cohering as a sociopolitical diagnosis", Rod Dreher finally finds a soft underpart he can sink his prehensile lips into with a condescending pity:

When he’s at home in Los Angeles, The Newsroom is the high point of Luntz’s week. He turns off his phone and gets a plate of spaghetti bolognese and a Coke Zero and sits in front of his 85-inch television, alone in his 14,000-square-foot palace. “That’s as good as it gets for me,” he says.

Let's leave for another day the fact that, first, it wasn't all that hard at all for Luntz's comments throughout Ball's article to "cohere as a sociopolitical diagnosis" (duh: Obama is a ferocious demagogue, and we are lucky we don't yet have class riots in the streets) for anyone not indentured to Obamacons like Wick Allison for their daily bread, and, second, Luntz's tone throughout the article and especially at the ending was anything but Dreher's opportunistically projected and self-serving "despair":

But today, Luntz is late for his afternoon talk to a D.C. lobbying shop. "Am I whining?" he asks. "Just say it if I am." I tell him it sounds like he's going through something very real, very human. "I am nothing if not human," he says, breaking into a grin. "I'm super-human. I'm a human-and-one-fifth. My God, if I'm not careful, I'll have to go not to the big and tall but the big and bigger store!" And then he walks away toward the elevator, off to do his soft-shoe routine for another audience of the rich and powerful.

Throughout the article, far from despairing, Luntz appears to be, at worst, merely reflective, and, at his wickedest, having a bit of fun at Ball's expense seeing how far he can put her on about the "agony" she finally takes away for her typical reader.

Dreher, though, in typical fashion thinks he has found another now-lower-on-the-food chain prey item he can pounce on when it finally seems safely down, cloaking his rush for the underparts in his trademark unctuous concern trolling compassion.

But for whatever Luntz's current career and life transitions, he's not having to let his pipes drip and he's not dependent on drugs and meditative prayer simply to function as an organism because of his congenital anxiety.

So that may be one difference between Luntz and Dreher.

Aside from that, though, both are word mechanics for hire who have built careers using their understanding of the uses and effects of language on the easily gulled to manipulate and control the destinies of their respective religious, political and cultural allies and enemies to the best of their abilities.

Luntz, however, has made no effort to disguise what he does for a living as anything else.  So that may be another sharp difference from Dreher.

Apart from the minor factors of being less well known, less influential, less affluent, less honest and aboveboard about his career efforts and in poorer mental and physical health than Luntz, then, how is Rod Dreher really any different from Frank Luntz at all?

Simply because, within that carefully curated chamber Dreher has created to shelter his high anxiety, the rebounding echoes of his own voice and those of that select handful of sycophants who are admitted to the temple claim he is?

How do you see it?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Orthodox ethics in St. Francisville, LA

If your ethical compass developed growing up in St. Francisville, LA and is regularly calibrated by a ROCOR Orthodox church there, you, too, may want to learn to daisy-chain tax-deductible organizations to serve your personal interests the way Rod Dreher demonstrates for us.

You first use the money you're paid by the magazine funded by The American Ideas Institute, a nonprofit, non-partisan 501(3)(c) organization based in Washington, D.C., money you yourself have solicited on one occasion after another, to write a post, not on American Conservatism, but rather to promote another, different tax-deductible foundation in your home town, the Freyhan Foundation, the organization you're using to fund the literary festival you decided you wanted to create, promote, and spend other peoples' money on in ways you're not revealing but in which you'll play a substantial role. Funny, the Freyhan Foundation's tax-deductible objectives, as shown on its Web site, seem to be a bit different from tax-deductible-funded whiskey tastings ostensibly in the name of some author. Though, come to think of it, I took a couple drinks while talking about author Mas Ayoob just the other night. So it's a thing, and, anyway, what's a tax expenditure other people have to make up for with their personal income taxes between friends, eh?

And then, because that slides through your conscience like grass through a goose, you immediately turn around and use that same original tax-deductible organization, The American Ideas Institute, to promote the ongoing marketing and sale of your book by private publisher Grand Central Publishing. Why fight with your commercial book publisher for a larger marketing budget to push your book when you can use a wholly-unrelated tax-deductible organization and the innocents foolish enough to trust it with their dollars to do the job instead? After all, "American ideas" is a pretty broad umbrella, with plenty of room for you to snuggle yourself under it if you've a mind to.

Alabama-born Walker Percy, of course, was a resident of Covington, LA in St. Tammany Parish on the other side of the state from St. Francisville and set his writing, not in the real West Felicia Parish or the real East Feliciana Parish but in a wholly fictional "Feliciana Parish", in the same way that Willian Faulkner created his fictional Yoknapatawpha County, MS. This fictional Feliciana Parish, though, stretching "'from the Mississippi [River] to the Pearl [River], from the thirty-first parallel to...Lake Ponchartrain'" dwarfs anything possibly real in Louisiana and would be far more at home in a much vaster state like Texas or Alaska.

Unless, of course, you desperately needed a far-up-list writer to hopefully have others compare yourself to during the period in your life while you have a Feliciana connection handy for manipulation to that end. Couldn't hurt your local deeper pockets/political/social dinner party cred either. You can even use the tie-in that Percy was buried nowhere near your West Feliciana Parish festival home but instead just up the road from Covington in the St. Joseph Benedictine Abbey in St. Benedict, Louisiana - why, the very same St. Benedict who's your patron saint! And even though you probably haven't thought of it yet but inevitably will, you still have time, to borrow from a joke our regular commenter Diane gifted us with, to arrange to serve Eggs Benedict to your Freyhan Foundation-funded Walker Percy Festival goers while you chat them up for any publishable interest in your long-promised Benedict Option book. That's a three-fer, dude!

But...if your ethical compass didn't develop growing up in St. Francisville, LA, where "conflict of" and "abundance of" seem to be nothing more than synonyms when modifying "interests", and if that ethical compass is not regularly calibrated by the tiny ROCOR Orthodox church there you were instrumental in establishing, then you'd probably find it a little hard to sleep at night if you tried to hustle yourself through life in this way.

So never mind. Instead, treat people you know with money to give and handle the institutions you have access to the right way, the way your parents and your own church taught you to. That's what the orthodox in the subject line refers to, at least ideally: the customary and proper way things should ethically be done.

UPDATE (as they say)- how Louisiana back-scratching works: One of Dreher's festival sponsors (near bottom), Kevin Couhig is the new Parish President Dreher promoted and helped elect by serving as his unpaid political publicist, the option we're left with after Police Juror John Kean laid out for us in withering detail why Dreher could not possibly have been functioning as a journalist.