A Former Alt-Right YouTuber Explains His Methods (4-15-21)

00:00 Caolan Robertson: Walking Away from Extremism, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FU7k91OxRFw
02:00 Feeding Hate With Video: A Former Alt-Right YouTuber Explains His Methods, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/04/15/technology/alt-right-youtube-algorithm.html
33:00 Victor Davis Hanson: Lots of us are tired of the virtue-signaling
38:00 Philip Roth Was His Own Favorite Subject. What’s Left for a Biographer?, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/30/magazine/philip-roth-biography-blake-bailey.html
42:00 Ezra Levant: Blackmail: Setting the record straight, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTfSgnWeL48
58:00 The inconsistent Christianity of John Updike reminds me of fake religiosity in the DR, https://www.nybooks.com/articles/1986/12/04/mr-updikes-planet/
1:15:50 Vaush: Tucker Carlson Admits – Plainly – That He Plans To Support Fascism, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ot3QTsU_cv0
1:21:50 REDBAR – Self-help guru Andrew Tate gets questioned about Mikhaila Peterson’s $600 Meat Scheme, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMMbJOaPJr8&t=2127s
1:30:30 Millennial Matt Takes TIM POOL’s hat off!, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3HS89yPpwA
1:55:50 Ron Unz on anti-semitism, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yb4_O5IB-sk
1:58:00 Andrew Gelman: That claim that Harvard admissions discriminate in favor of Jews? After seeing the statistics, I don’t see it. https://statmodeling.stat.columbia.edu/2013/02/12/that-claim-that-harvard-admissions-discriminate-in-favor-of-jews-after-checking-the-statistics-maybe-not/
2:15:00 Jason Unruhe: Vaush fans are a special kind of creepy, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjiqC6Y0p44
2:20:00 WP: Tucker Carlson villainizes journalists on his top-rated show. Then the threats pour in., https://www.washingtonpost.com/media/2021/04/15/tucker-carlson-journalists-threats/
2:37:00 “Stick To the Thigh High Boots!” Tucker RUTHLESSLY TRIGGERS Teen Vogue Feminist Lauren Duca, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eX_8wZ3N8XA
2:39:00 Just a closer walk with thee, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vx827qXcvY

Posted in Alt Right | Comments Off on A Former Alt-Right YouTuber Explains His Methods (4-15-21)

The Power Of Flannery O’Connor

Frederick Crews writes:

O’Connor had no cause to disprize university writing programs, for she herself, despite the marked individuality of her work, was the first prominent American author to have been significantly shaped by one. Scholars who examine her early manuscripts, housed at what is now called simply Georgia College, are always taken aback by their awkwardness. As she freely acknowledged, she came into her own as an artist only after undergoing a full New Critical initiation at the University of Iowa’s Writer’s Workshop under the tutelage of Paul Engle and Andrew Lytle, with Brooks and Warren’s then ubiquitous Understanding Fiction providing the models.

Like so many college-trained writers who have succeeded her, O’Connor never wrote without a sense of the critics looking over her shoulder. Nor, in her shorter fiction at least, did she ever stray from the regnant Creative Writing mode. Even the most impressive and original of her stories adhere to the classroom formula of her day: show, don’t tell; keep the narrative voice distinct from those of your characters; cultivate understatement; develop a central image or symbol to convey your theme “objectively”; and point everything toward one neatly sprung ironic reversal. No one has ever put it all together with greater deftness.

A cynic might say, then, that in lionizing O’Connor the American university has not so much acknowledged a literary genius as bestowed a posthumous laurel on its most diligent student. Whatever the reason, O’Connor now holds a niche in the anthologies nearly as secure-looking as Hemingway’s or Faulkner’s and more so than those of, say, Anderson, Fitzgerald, Lewis, and Dos Passos. Virtually every American survey course sets aside a day for one of her crystalline, eminently teachable stories such as “Revelation,” “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” or “Good Country People.” The violence of action and freakishness of portraiture that troubled many of her earliest readers scarcely raise an eyebrow today, while the ironies, paradoxes, Doppelgängers, and image patterns that she so painstakingly implanted in her texts stand available for moralized “close reading” of exactly the sort that she herself mastered at Iowa four decades ago.

* Connor’s sensibility, as she well knew, was maladapted to the incremental, circumstantial, untranscendent development that typically sustains a novel between its moments of peak signification. Her two quirky novels, Wise Blood and The Violent Bear It Away, are considerably alike in theme and structure if not in texture. Both of them, especially Wise Blood, are top-heavy with obvious symbols. More damagingly, neither succeeds in enlisting most readers’ sympathy with, or even their credence in, the final turn toward salvation that the author imposes on her spasmodic, one-dimensional, Christfleeing protagonist. And even the individually dazzling stories, once we have been alerted to the world view that animates them, can all be seen to be performing the same religious maneuver—namely, a humbling of secular egoism to make way for a sudden infusion of God’s grace. That is not, one would think, a device with a great deal of literary mileage left in it, either inside or beyond the university.

* In the entire body of Flannery O’Connor’s available statements, both public and private, one finds not a whisper of dissent from the central teachings of Roman Catholicism—from the Incarnation, the Resurrection, and the reality of heaven, Satan, and the angels to the belief that the Church is God’s sole medium for dispensing both redemption and divine truth. The literally present body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist, she declared, “is the center of existence for me; all the rest of life is expendable.” Nor did she experience her hereditary faith—she was a fourth-generation Georgia Catholic—as inhibiting her art in any way. On the contrary, she considered Christian dogma at once “an instrument for penetrating reality” and a preventative against the relativism that was threatening, she felt, to leave modern fiction insipid and directionless.

* O’Connor’s real reason for writing, she said more than once, was simply that she was good at it. In her view, a writer could only follow her imagination wherever it led and then hope to exert some ethical control over the result.

Posted in Literature | Comments Off on The Power Of Flannery O’Connor

The Rorschach Test

Frederick Crews wrote in 2004: Both dreams and Rorschach responses can be “explored” with disastrous effect; think of the role played by dream analysis in recovered memory therapy, and think of Robert Lindner’s suggestion that shock treatment may be indicated when Rorschach answers reveal a desperate mental state. The story told with admirable patience and logic in What’s Wrong with the Rorschach? speaks more clearly than its authors do here at the end. This test is a ludicrous but still dangerous relic of the previous century’s histrionic love affair with “depth,” and the only useful purpose it can serve now is as a caution against related follies.

Posted in Psychology | Comments Off on The Rorschach Test

Roger’s Version

John Updike’s pragmatic embrace of Christianity reminds me of many on the Dissident Right (as well as former Nazis in post-WWII Germany) who take on Christianity as a socially acceptable expression of their traditionalist views.

Frederick Crews writes:

* Updike’s academic critics are right on at least one key point: his religious position is indispensable to any broad comprehension of his work. Updike has always been a visible Christian, and he is more insistent about theological niceties today than when he started out. The enduring, autobiographically urgent, themes of his work are Christian-existential: a fear (bordering on phobia) of eternal nonbeing; an attempt to reconcile both spiritual and erotic striving with awareness of the implacable heartlessness of the natural world; and a resultant struggle to believe in the grace of personal salvation.

* he has radically divorced his notion of Christian theology from that of Christian ethics. It is precisely that dissociation, I believe, which accounts for the main dilemmas posed by his most ambitious fiction.

In Updike’s youthful works, righteous belief and righteous conduct marched confidently hand in hand.

* We can see the new, morally emancipated Updike quite clearly in his credo poem, “Midpoint,” of 1969:

Our Guilt inheres in sheer Existing, so
Forgive yourself your death, and freely flow. Transcendent Goodness makes elastic claims;
The merciful Creator hid His Aims.

What this meant in practice was that Updike would not feel bound by standard notions of sin. Instead, he would seek in sheer experience, and above all in sexual experience, continual reassurance against the terror of nothingness which has haunted him, so he tells us, since his preadolescent years. As he put the matter succinctly in the same poem,

That is, sex—the more the better—had become Updike’s answer to Kierkegaard, his preferred means of validating his existence through immersion in the tangible.

Needless to say, what Updike had in mind here was not the obligations of the marriage bed. As his fictions repeatedly implied, the seeker’s wife was almost by definition a death bearer who could clip his metaphysical wings and, by entrapping him in bland and benign routine, allow the doomsday clock to tick irreversibly away. Somebody else’s wife, on the other hand, would be another story. Thus Updike wryly recast the ninth (Lutheran) commandment as follows: “Don’t covet Mrs. X; or if you do, / Make sure, before you leap, she covets you” (M, p. 41). Since the time of Couples, that has been pretty much the extent of Updike’s ethical vision.

But no one could imagine that Updike’s leave-taking from his first wife and children in 1974, after twenty-one years together, was effected without remorse. The many stories and novels that dwell upon that trauma tell us that his Christian upbringing and his sense of fair play would not leave him in peace. Nevertheless, we can also gather that he fiercely resisted the condemnatory internalized voice of his Pennsylvania forebears, steeling himself, perhaps like the philandering Tom Marshfield in A Month of Sundays, to register “no distinct guilt but rather a sort of scrabbling restiveness, a sense of events as a field of rubble in which he is empowered to search for some mysterious treasure.”

That struggle, I believe, was directly responsible for the anesthetic tone and the moral inconclusiveness of Updike’s novels about disintegrating marriages—books that stew in a pervasive yet unacknowledged atmosphere of self-reproach. The author made no effort to disguise the unprovoked, perverse quality of his heroes’ yearnings for escape. Readers thus found it hard not to side with the long-suffering wives—Janice in the Rabbit books, Angela in Couples, Ruth in Marry Me—who had to put up with the compulsive Updikean man-child. But at the same time, for obvious reasons, Updike could not afford to register the full asininity of Piet Hanema and Jerry Conant, “heroes” who are routinely unfaithful, maddeningly indecisive and self-absorbed, yet nonetheless religiously priggish.

The oddest-looking element in this picture was surely Updike’s and his heroes’ dogged insistence on conservative Protestant theology. His zeal for salvational dogma, it is clear, waxed in direct proportion to his abandonment of sin as a judgmental category. But that development looks less paradoxical if we reflect that orthodoxy can itself be a means of discharging guilt, and doubly so when the favored tenets minimize the importance of virtuous conduct. Indeed, Updike’s whole project of mooting ethical injunctions looks like an overreaction to self-judgment on the single point of adultery. A truly untroubled existentialist would hardly think to take such casuistic pains.

* The action of Roger’s Version spreads across a Boston-like city whose slums and upper-middle-class enclaves are drastically, perhaps terminally, disconnected. The threat of criminal black incursion hangs like smog over the Lamberts’ tidy home on Malvin Lane (another, too cute, reference to a Hawthornian Roger), and the protagonist’s involvement with the ghetto-dwelling Verna brings the black menace psychologically closer. Beyond Roger’s academic dignity, what is threatened is the once-smug WASP mentality which, like Roger himself, has lost “whole octaves of passion” and now appears helpless to cope not only with technically apt Asians and “grounded” Jews unhobbled by the Puritan legacy, but also with that supposedly violent, licentious, imperfectly quarantined black race which, Roger vilely thinks, “travels from cradle to grave at the expense of the state, like the aristocrats of old.”

The “messy depths” that Roger encounters on the black side of town, suggesting a “random human energy too fierce to contain in any structure,” are at once an emblem of his inner condition, a counterpart to the untamably alien physical universe, and a reminder of the socioeconomic chaos that goes unrecognized by most Americans, who prefer to live “inside Reagan’s placid, uncluttered head as inside a giant bubble.” Updike implies that his propertied white readers had better wake up—not, however, to social injustice, but to the fact that their homes, jobs, and persons cannot be indefinitely safeguarded against the covetous have-nots.

Unfortunately, this show of class-based misanthropy cannot be dismissed as a passing aberration. A general ill will toward the marginal has informed Updike’s outlook at least since the time of Rabbit Redux (1971) and probably much earlier. Remember, he has always given fair warning that he is “not necessarily advanced over Harry Angstrom” (PP, p. 508). Some of the low remarks that his protagonists toss off about spoiled youth, loud and ugly Jews, freeloading, animalistic blacks, butch feminists, degenerate hippies, and whining peaceniks find counterparts in cartoonlike figures who pass through his works, from the demonic Skeeter and the spaced-out Jill in Rabbit Redux to the pudgy, obnoxious Myron Kriegman in Roger’s Version and the ghetto girls whom Roger must hurry past, “fat, with fat Afros and fat rubber-dark rounded arms and fat false pink pearls.”

Posted in John Updike | Comments Off on Roger’s Version

The Unknown Freud

Frederick Crews writes in 1993:

* That psychoanalysis, as a mode of treatment, has been experiencing a long institutional decline is no longer in serious dispute. Nor is the reason: though some patients claim to have acquired profound self-insight and even alterations of personality, in the aggregate psychoanalysis has proved to be an indifferently successful and vastly inefficient method of removing neurotic symptoms. It is also the method that is least likely to be “over when it’s over.” The experience of undergoing an intensive analysis may have genuine value as a form of extended meditation, but it seems to produce a good many more converts than cures. Indeed, among the dwindling number of practicing analysts, many have now backed away from any medical claims for a treatment that was once touted as the only lasting remedy for the entire spectrum of disorders this side of psychosis.

…Without significant experimental or epidemiological support for any of its notions, psychoanalysis has simply been left behind by mainstream psychological research. No one has been able to mount a successful defense against the charge, most fully developed in Adolf Grünbaum’s meticulous Foundations of Psychoanalysis (1984), that “clinical validation” of Freudian hypotheses is an epistemic sieve; as a means of gaining knowledge, psychoanalysis is fatally contaminated by the inclusion, among its working assumptions and in its dialogue with patients, of the very ideas that supposedly get corroborated by clinical experience. And Grünbaum further showed that even if Freud’s means of gathering evidence had been sound, that evidence couldn’t have reliably yielded the usual constructions that he placed on it. We cannot be surprised, then, by Malcolm Macmillan’s recent exhaustive demonstration that Freud’s theories of personality and neurosis—derived as they were from misleading precedents, vacuous pseudophysical metaphors, and a long concatenation of mistaken inferences that couldn’t be subjected to empirical review—amount to castles in the air.

Nevertheless, Freudian concepts retain some currency in popular lore, the arts, and the academic humanities, three arenas in which flawed but once modish ideas, secure from the menace of rigorous testing, can be kept indefinitely in play. There psychoanalysis continues to be accepted largely on faith—namely, a faith in Freud’s self-description as a fearless explorer, a solver of deep mysteries, a rigorously objective thinker, and an ethically scrupulous reporter of both clinical data and therapeutic outcomes.

* Dostoevsky was an unlucky man in several ways, but he did have the good fortune to have died without presenting his troubles in person to Sigmund Freud and his epigones.

Posted in Freud | Comments Off on The Unknown Freud