Today’s Phrase for Latin Lovers

Rem ipsam dic, mitte male loqui.

Translation:
Speak out the whole truth boldly, but use no bad language. -- John Adams, 1775

------------------

Visit Prudy's Latin Lovers Store for textbooks, readers and fun Latin miscellany!

Support this site. Buy a book.*

@PruPaine Tweets

Ancient History

|Pop Culture

The Miley Cyrus Jellyfish Discovered

Adult Swim has located the marine world’s Miley Cyrus. The slower frame rate speed of internet video doesn’t do her performance justice, but technical issus aside, see if you can spot Mileyfish Cyrus:

If you want to see the full speed performance, I suggested checking your cable’s video on demand offerings. Adult Swim has a hilarious show called “Your Pretty Face Is Going to Hell” about a doofus devil-in-training named Gary and his misadventures trying to round up converts among the still mortal. Each episode is less than 12 minutes long, and they often show the Adult Swim “Wiggle With It” ad at the end. Two fun things in one!

Update Note: The shows do have a TV-MA mature rating, so they’re not for everyone.

|Pop Culture | Prudence Potpourri

Survey: Female Millionaires Prefer Conservative Men; Say Liberal Men

richwomen

What does a girl who has everything want when she looks for a companion? A conservative man, says the exclusive dating site MillionaireMatch.com. One of their clients summed up her attitude as “I don’t want a liberal man, I want someone who believes in a traditional family,” which echoed one of the other bachelorettes: “Conservative men plan for the future, they’re in it for the long run.”

In a survey of their female millionaires looking for love, over 81 percent of all respondents across the political spectrum desired a conservative mate over a liberal one. Astonishingly, over 76 percent of just the Democrat millionaire women also wanted a right-wing he-man.

“I want to be with a man who is ambitious,” explained one wealthy woman. “Liberal men simply aren’t as ambitious.” Another kicked blue state boys where it hurts, complaining, “Liberal men are less masculine.”

In contrast, one response seemed to best express the overall opinion of conservative men, saying, “Simply put, conservative men are real men. They are the breadwinners, they wear the pants and they treat you like a lady.”

That’s precisely what turned off the small pool of rich women preferring the liberal man. “Liberal men treat you as an equal, there’s none of this ‘open the car door crap’ that makes me feel like I’m in the 1950s,” said one. Another chimed in: “Liberal men are sensitive and patient. I want someone who understands me and supports my rights as a woman.”

And then there was the one that said: “I want a man who doesn’t force traditional gender roles on me.”

The survey also asked the millionairesses which type of man they preferred in bed. Again, the conservative men won hands down, taking 85 percent of the overall vote. One woman’s rationale for that preference: “Conservative men have so much masculine energy, they’re dominant.”

As this is a family-friendly site, we’ll leave it at that.

|Pop Culture

Obamacare Sales Pitch Gets Desperate

The Obamacare enrollment numbers stink, especially when looking at how few young people are signing up to strap on the healthcare costs of the nation like a bunch of foolish pack mules. So what’s a failed government program to do to save a presidential legacy?

Knowing their target market are the types that would be willing to lick a toad to get high, the Obamacare sales force is resorting to the intoxicating mating dance of the newt. That’s right. Their last ditch effort is the Salamander Shimmy, to the tune of “Drop It Like It’s a Horney Newt.”

Feast your eyes.

The rap video clip is from a new ad/music video by Covered California for their contribution to the Obama administration’s #GetCovered campaign. The Obama impersonator, Iman Crosson, who has done other Obama-praising rap videos throughout the president’s five years in office, again sings the praises of “President Barack, President Barack, President Barack” who is “two terms strong” and “when my critics get an attitude, I tell ‘em to stop.” And that Obamacare stuff? Pseudo-Barack raps that you should “sign up, ’cause it’s hot.”

Plus I’ve got this healthcare which has got it going on! [their exclamation point]
….
Affordable healthcare officially a “go”! [again their !!!!!]
That’s better than what we had a year ago! [again, drop it like it's ditto!!]

Now here’s the sales pitch for salamander youth:

Your options are really wide ‘sprizzead’
Don’t worry ’bout what them, they, her or he said.
I can educate you, this can be your health ed. [so shout out to Common Core!]
Jump on your mom’s plan that’s how you get ‘ahizzead.’

Wait, is signing up for Obamacare and paying for old people’s healthcare the same as your mom adding an extra person to her policy? Ok, I’m interfering with the sales pitch like some old fogey over 26. Back to the hip messagizzead!!

Pres and I’m the man, been the Pres since “Yes We Can”
And I dealt with all this healthcare while dealing with Iran! [so...2 ka-BOOMs?]
So don’t try to talk about my plan like the people haven’t wanted this [Eminem this Iman is not]
They’ve waited long for this
And it covers all conditions that could preexist? [their question mark. lol]
You should think about it. Take a second.
Matter of fact, you should take it easy
And rock to this jam from ‘B-Rock O-Beezy’

Last verse is a lulu:

If you choose it just use it they can’t refuse it
No preexisting condition could ever make you lose it.
So tell a friend or a random guy
I’ve got a game changer right here that saves lives. [except for the ones it decides to kill]
So don’t stand and diddle, my healthcare’s the ‘shizzle.’
It’s chock full of top notch healthcare ‘provizzles!’ [like maternity care for men and pediatric dental for gramps...mandated by the Presizzle]
We’ll cover all your ‘vizzles’, your ‘dizzles’ AND your ‘tizzles’
Now while you figure all that out, it’s back to that ‘chorizzle.’

So they even admit they’re throwing a bunch of malarkizzle at you, full of nonsense, knowing no one can figure it out, so let’s get on with the chorus while you sign up anyway.

It’s like telling the youth of America at their graduation ceremony to ignore any voices warning you of tyranny. Who needs liberty when you can #GetCovered in government?

_________
Muchas gracias to a mystery man of disputed ethnicity for his superb editing assistance in bringing this news flash to you.

|Pop Culture

Conservative Quotes in Unexpected Places #1

When it comes to fiction—in print or in film—I vigorously avoid reading reviews, or even summaries of the story, because I want the author to have the full pleasure of unfolding his tale to me personally. That’s been a very difficult practice to maintain with the book I finally decided to read this weekend: Life of Pi by Yann Martel.

I bought the book so long ago, the page edges have yellowed ever so slightly. I skipped seeing it in the theaters because I much prefer to read a story first. But the movie keeps creeping up higher in my Netflix queue, so I rescued it from my “frivolous” to-read pile (as opposed to the variously sorted to-read piles of “the great books,” “scholarly studies,” “popular political writings” and the extremely dusty “beginning Latin”). I wish I hadn’t waited so long.

I’m barely a quarter of the way through it, just been introduced to the various characters and themes, but so far, I’m finding it very conservative in an oddly quirky, Tea Party-ish kind of way. (Religious conservatives of a fundamentalist or orthodox nature might be off-put by Pi’s pantheism—devoutly practicing Christianity, Islam and Hinduism, simultaneously, to the dismay of his priest, imam and pandit and the bemusement of his nonreligious parents, all to whom he explains he just wants to love God. But the manner in which Martel writes about religion through the eyes of Pi is very respectful, espousing fundamental beliefs and heralding Pi’s wish to be religious even in the face of mockery and attempts to stop him.)

This surprises me because, even though I haven’t read all the glorious reviews of the book and film, I know most of them had to have been written by liberals. That makes me trepidacious that later in the book, suddenly Pi is going to reject religion and go on a tirade against it. How else could liberals love it? But then the book starts with the warning that the tale “will make you believe in God.” So I read on to get to the bottom of this perplexing mystery.

But it’s not just in the area of religion that I find the book to have conservative tendencies, but also in political philosophy about capitalism. It’s here that I came to a passage that I just had to stop and record.

Pi’s father runs a small zoo in India. While not politically active, he is no fan of Indira Ghandi’s socialist policies, and when she began her harsh crackdown and ruling by decree, he had enough. He decided to uproot his family and business and move to Canada. Martel sums up his rationale beautifully:

People move because of the wear and tear of anxiety. Because of the gnawing feeling that no matter how hard they work their efforts will yield nothing, that what they build up in one year will be torn down in one day by others. Because of the impression that the future is blocked up, that they might do all right but not their children. Because of the feeling that nothing will change, that happiness and prosperity are possible only somewhere else.

He’s writing about India in the 1970s, but it’s amazing how apt that description is for so many people across America today in the 2010s. For some in states like California and Maryland, where the governments are determined to soak the money makers and businesses to fund their progressive folly, they have the freer states to which they can flee.

But when looked at from a national perspective, as our government tightens the yoke on its productive citizens and progressives howl for even more government control, where can the anxious move? As America is transformed into a second-rate European socialist barnacle on the Earth, where is that “somewhere else” where happiness and prosperity are possible?

|Pop Culture | Prudence Potpourri

I Don't Think You're Ready For This Peanut Butter Jelly

Just for fun, to refresh my basic editing skills, I present for your viewing pleasure a mashup of the Peanut Butter Jelly Time dancing kitty viral video with the Buzzfeed still shots of Beyonce’s worst moments in her 2013 Super Bowl performance. Enjoy.

By the way, the “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” song is by Chip-man & The Buckwheat Boyz and is available for purchase at iTunes and Amazon.

|Pop Culture | Prudence Potpourri

Obama 2012 Co-Chair to Have Her Own NBC Millionaire Dating Show

NBC has begun running promos for its newest reality TV show, a dating game for the 1%, for the Buffett Rule eligible, called Ready for Love. And guess who is serving as the face of this slice of entertainment: none other than the National Co-Chair of the Obama 2012 Campaign, Eva Longoria.

How odd that just a couple of weeks ago when the Latina hottie appeared on Fox & Friends to promote her love of all things Obama, she made no mention that her campaign role would coincide with a high-profile run as a primetime reality game show executive producer and spokeswoman:

Longoria said that after Desperate Housewives ends, she plans to hit the road for the president’s reelection effort engaging in voter contact and outreach. “I’m one of the co-chairs for the Obama campaign,” Longoria told the Fox & Friends panel. “So I’m going to be really dedicating a large amount of my time going to the swing states.”

In previous interviews about the show, Longoria has claimed that she won’t be on-air, so it makes it a very odd choice that NBC’s entire promo for the show prominently features her.

Poor old Guilianna and Bill Rancic, the supposed real hosts of the show, are apparently too homely to feature on the show’s promo pictures and videos. People would probably run screaming if the couple popped up on the show’s Facebook page. Even the three rich guys being set up are but briefly flashed on screen in the advertisement. These promos are about one person: Obama 2012 co-chair Eva Longoria.

Longoria’s bio at the show’s site gives a full account of her entire resume, but just happens to neglect to mention that she is a co-chair of a presidential campaign, and thus putting NBC in an ultra biased position.

So the question is, when will NBC give a top Romney advisor his or her own primetime TV show as well? Wouldn’t that only be fair? Hello, FEC.

|Pop Culture | Prudence Potpourri

Movie Review: Act of Valor

Once upon a time, Hollywood loved to splash all that made America great across the silver screen. It made our heroes larger than life, made the whole world look upon us with awe, envy and desire. We were the strong and the brave, striving to do the right thing, fighting the good fight. In times of trouble, Hollywood cheered us and rallied us, kept the home fires burning.

Then came Vietnam, and suddenly the men that put their lives on the line for us were no longer treated as heroes—they were barely even treated with respect. Not much has changed in the nearly 50 years since then. Hollywood lost touch with the common man. It went from being cheerleader to scold and naysayer.

Therefore, it’s a refreshing experience to see a movie in which America’s military is portrayed with pride. Act of Valor is one of those rare films that isn’t ashamed to be patriotic. Yet it’s not sugar-sweet; it doesn’t make battle pretty.

We go on a couple of missions with the SEALs, during which they operate with skill, precision, professionalism and honor. The incredibly difficult, tense missions pit them against tough, ruthless opponents. The SEALs don’t waver for a moment. They do their job, without apology. The film is made without apology.

While the actors were Hollywood amateurs yet military professionals (real-life active-duty Navy SEALs), they performed quite well. Some of the dialog came across as a bit hokey, a little stilted, but that was easily forgiven, in that the film was much more action-based than dialog-focused, letting the guys do what they do best.

The filmmakers packed the movie with action from start to finish. The audience was thrown into the adrenaline and confusion of a firefight, as the SEALs on screen achieved their objectives calmly and purposefully, with awesome firepower, using much of the latest weaponry and surveillance tools.

Throughout the film, the families of the sailors aren’t far from their minds or the minds of the audience. Before the men go off to battle, they say they have to make everything right at home so they have no distractions in the field. America’s military families can take pride in knowing their sacrifices, their strength and contributions, were well represented in the script.

If the movie had a downside, it was the portrayal of whom we were fighting. The terrorists were not Middle Eastern bad guys. Instead it was an odd assortment of two Russian kingpins (and a handful of babushka seamstresses sewing suicide vests), Costa Ricans, Mexicans and a few Filipinos thrown into the mix. The movie has drawn some criticism because one of the Russians, the billionaire money man funding the terrorist operation, is called out in one line of dialog as being Jewish. Islamic terrorism commentators Debbie Schlussel, Bookworm and Pamela Geller claim this makes the movie anti-Semetic. I disagree. It wasn’t a central point of the film.

I do agree it is rather stupid to make the financier of Islamic jihad a Jew. Would radical Muslims even want to take Jewish money to pay for their supposed way to heaven? I rather doubt it. By inserting this one line (“But you’re a Jew”), the filmmakers ask the audience to suspend disbelief that the money man is so down with the cause that the Muslims could overlook their religious animosity. But that premise isn’t supported at all. For one, the head Muslim honcho is a Chechen convert to Islam. No lifelong Muslim takes part in directing the operations. We’re told the Russian Jew and the Russian Muslim convert have joined forces because they were friends back in childhood. Yet they don’t seem to like each other, and they never give the audience any common goal that has now brought them together after all these years.

In fact, the billionaire tries to back out, saying he doesn’t want to be directly involved anymore though he’ll keep paying for the plans in motion. We’re never told why this billionaire, who has made his rubles as a drug smuggler, would benefit from blowing up Americans. Throughout the first part of the movie, we are left to assume he is a radical Islamist too. Later, when the Rob Reiner-looking SEAL senior chief confronts him on his yacht and mentions he is Jewish, it makes no sense.

It’s just all so preposterous, the Russians’ backstory, that it is easy to dismiss as lousy scriptwriting and forget it all when the action soon retakes the screen. And that’s the last we see of the inexplicable Mr. Russian Jew Islamic Jihadist.

Schlussel, Geller and Bookworm seem to be upset that anyone engaged in terrorism could possibly be Jewish. But this guy didn’t seem very religious or very bright. (From the start, I was wondering how in the world this greasy-haired hippie could have possibly amassed a billion dollars, even in a corrupt Russia.) I could see someone who was obsessed with making money by any means could associate themselves with terrorism if they were gonna make money off of it, but this guy was funding it, not profiting from it, thereby negating that angle (and potential charge of pushing a negative Jewish stereotype).

But I ask Schlussel, Geller and Bookworm, why should Jews be excluded from being the bad guys? Are all Jews perfect angels, never driven by baser motives? Wouldn’t it be anti-Semetic to say Jews can’t be treated like everyone else? Be bad guys in action movies? Granted we would all prefer bad guys that make sense in the constructed scenario….

If I had to guess, I’d say Obama’s Defense Department had a lot to say about whom the bad guys were to be. The people that Obama has spent most of his presidency bowing to, giving apologizing speeches to, relinquishing all American military superiority to, attempting to ignore all their connections to violent terrorism, are the people that are completely left out of the movie: radical Islamist Middle Eastern Arabs.

At first glance, it seems surprising the Defense Department consented to make Russians the bad guys, no matter how bumbling and disconnected to true Islamism they were. Obama has been courting the Russians since Day One, unilaterally giving up key strategies and forsaking our allies for them. But one bad guy was a Chechen, whom the Russians don’t like anyway, so they’d be cool with that. Making the other Russian Jewish also fits with Obama’s world view of good and evil. With the animosity this current administration has shown towards Jewish people, it would not surprise me if that group would be Obama’s personal choice to make the bad guys (if he had to choose some group other than American right-wingers).

As far as the Mexican connection is concerned, hey, the Obama administration has sent Americans guns into Mexico and caused Mexican deaths and crime as a result, without giving Mexico the typical apologies they love to give to our foes, so it’s no surprise they wouldn’t care much about making them the bad guys. I don’t know what beef the Obama administration has against Costa Ricans. Perhaps they better start worrying what Obama has up his sleeve for them.

So yes, having a Russian Jew fund the operation was a dumb, unexplained twist. But it was such a minor plot point, it did not impair my enjoyment of the movie. (In fact, Bookworm retracts the charge of anti-Semetism after more consideration.)

Our military deserves to finally have a supportive film in the long 10 years of war they have endured. Films like Act of Valor and Restrepo have sadly been few and far between. In an torn America that can’t even bring itself to give our returning warriors a parade, supporting this little film feels like a fine way to support our troops.

Good job, guys. Bravo, for all you have done.

|Pop Culture | Prudence Potpourri

Twitter Akbar

As Twitter takes on a Saudi prince as a $300 million investor and attempts to find ways to remove tweets that various governments around the world find offensive, they have used an unusual photo for their welcome page:

It’s understandable that they have pride in being a vital communication vehicle during events such as Iran’s Green Revolution and the so-called Arab Spring. But for their home page, why would they have a romantically dusty photo of a bunch of guys playing cricket in front of a mosque? (I presume that’s Pakistan, due the mountains and the residual colonial enthusiasm for the British sport.)

It’s a little jarring, as if I’m signing into Al-Jazerra. It doesn’t seem to have much to do with me or with the Arab Spring. But it definitely makes a statement. I’m just not sure what they are saying.

 

 

|Pop Culture | Prudence Potpourri

Occupy Men's Wearhouse

Last night, a reporter for the Contra Costa Times and Oakland Tribune photographed a surprising sign in the window of the Men’s Wearhouse Oakland store:

Photo by Matt O'Brien (@mattoyeah)

 

The sign reads “We stand with the 99%. Closed Wednesday November 2.”

That’s the day the Occupy Wall Street movement in Oakland called for a general strike.

Men’s Wearhouse is a publicly traded corporation (MW on the New York Stock Exchange) that takes in over $2 billion a year selling suits, with a net profit of over $67 million last year. So a company that caters to capitalists and businessmen chose to strike against its customers in support of the socialist, communist, anarchist movement that has violently clashed with police in Oakland and has had scores of reports of degenerate behavior across the country, ranging from numerous rapes to defecating on a police car.

The photo of the closed sign was tweeted last night, but nearly 24 hours later, Men’s Wearhouse has still not made a response to the numerous tweets sent to them. (The @Mens_Wearhouse twitter account says that it is staffed by four people. Surely one of them took notice of the hoopla their Oakland store had created.)

I contacted the corporate headquarters by email and phone to get an official response, and to learn how the store closing came about. However, I received no reply to my multiple inquiries.

Men’s Wearhouse does not have franchises. The Oakland store is corporate-owned. No one answered the phone at the Oakland store (store ID 2169, to the best of my knowledge) during business hours to give their side to the story either.

Regarding the strike itself, many businesses fear the damage the protests have done and could do to their businesses. According to the Oakland Tribune’s “Oakland businesses brace for general strike by Occupy demonstrators“:

The Oakland Chamber of Commerce raised alarms about the continued economic impact.

“There are a number of negative ramifications from these protests,” said Paul Junge, director of public policy with the chamber. “A number of local businesses are seeing sales drop off dramatically.”

The Fountain Cafe, in the Oakland City Center complex downtown, is among those that have already felt the bite of Occupy Oakland.

“The protests have hurt our business,” said Elias Salameh, owner of Fountain Cafe. “If it goes on any longer, I’m sure it will hurt more.”

Robert Guevera, manager of La Salsa in Oakland City Center, echoed him, saying, “We don’t know if we’re going to stay open. This is affecting our business.”

An Occupy Oakland representative, Tim Simons, said major corporations are the primary focus.

“This movement has never targeted small businesses,” he said. “It has always been explicitly against the largest corporations and banks.”

Simons conceded that some restaurants may have suffered a decline in business. But he argued that the effects aren’t monolithic.

“There are numerous businesses in downtown Oakland around the occupation,” Simons said. “Some are doing the best business they have ever done.”

It’s highly doubtful that Occupy Oakland’s hippie protesters have caused Men’s Wearhouse’s business to boom. Yet, these are the people with whom Men’s Wearhouse has chosen to stand, in opposition to their customers. On the bright side, should riots break out, the store won’t have to fear looting from the hippies and hipsters.

Note that this is not the first time that Men’s Wearhouse has, as a corporation, supported left-leaning politics. In 2009, the company removed its ads from the Glenn Beck show on Fox News.

Perhaps Men’s Wearhouse would be more comfortable selling tie-dyed t-shirts and Nehru jackets, because those Occupiers throwing rocks and bottles at the Oakland police weren’t wearing their product.

UPDATE:

Men’s Wearhouse has now released a statement on their Facebook page. It reads in full:

We closed our store near Oakland City Hall today, for one day, to express the company’s concern for the issue of wealth disparity in our country. The issue affects our employees and customers across the political spectrum.

UPDATE:
Thanks for the links!
ResistTyranny (h/t for alerting me to the story)
SooperMexican.com (h/t the Glenn Beck angle)

UPDATE:
Michelle Malkin has up-to-date reports on the violence occurring this evening in the strike that Men’s Wearhouse is publicly standing behind. Her post: “Live from Occupy Oakland: Window smashing, vandalism, and more; charter buses to port, Teamsters in the house; port shut down, trucks overrun.” I can guarantee you are NOT going to like the way it looks.

UPDATE:
Men’s Wearhouse CEO George Zimmer is a confirmed liberal, putting his money where his mouth is. Since 1989, according to the website Newsmeat.com, he has made $304,000 in political contributions. $1,500 of it (less than 0.5%) went to Republicans.

(h/t Nathan Wurtzel)

UPDATE:
An Insta-lanche!! Thanks, Professor, for the link! Welcome to Glenn Reynolds’ readers.

UPDATE:
Soopermexican had the brilliant idea to have people tweet him photos of their cut-up Perfect Fit cards from Men’s Wearhouse, like this one:

He is posting a collection of them here.

UPDATE:
Welcome to readers/listeners of DaTechBlog!

HotAir also joins the reporting of Men’s Wearhouse siding with the flag-burning, window-smashing hoodlums, as Ed Morrissey waxes poetic….quoting Kipling.

UPDATE:
Welcome readers of The Conservative Commune!

UPDATE:

RB of The Right Sphere reports that Men’s Wearhouse’s siding with the hippies, communists and anarchists of Occupy Wall Street and OccupyOakland didn’t save them from having their window smashed as their non-suit-wearing friends rioted on Wednesday night.

@PoliticalMath tweets with the picture: “Huh. Men’s Wearhouse took down the ‘We are the 99%’ sign.” I presume it was a joke to get people to look at the photo, but he has a point. Why would they take down the sign, when leaving it up would have shown their continued solidarity with rioting anti-capitalists?

Perhaps Men’s Wearhouse didn’t want to shame its uncouth, uncivilized comrades. Perhaps it wants to act as if it never cast its lot with the barbarians. Those people are gonna need a lot more than a new suit to take their place in polite society.

Greg Pollowitz notes the coverage of the nightmarish scenes of destruction in the San Francisco Chronicle, which pins the blame squarely on the protesters.

An excerpt:

“We had people who were attempted to break into our building,” the landmark Rotunda Building on Frank Ogawa Plaza outside City Hall, Tagami said today. He grabbed a shotgun that he usually keeps at home, went down to the ground floor and “discouraged them,” he said.

No police were in sight, he said.

“Basically, people were pushing to get through the door,” he said. “I was standing there and they saw me there, and I lifted it – I didn’t point it – I just held it in my hands. And I just racked it, and they ran.”

Although they didn’t get inside the building – Tagami oversaw its $50 million renovation and has an office there – vandals did scrawl graffiti on the outside walls during the post-midnight riot that broke out after Occupy Oakland’s daylong general strike.

The Rotunda Building was far from the only victim. Graffiti was spray-painted on many buildings along Broadway from 14th to 16th streets, where masked vandals shattered windows, started fires and threw objects at police.

To steal a bit more from Political Math, he tweets: “If this is Krugman’s army, think of all the jobs they’re creating w/ all those broken windows!” So true. Think of all the Men’s Wearhouse suits that will now be able to be purchased due to the repair of that broken window. Oh, wait, no. Proper, non-Keynesian economics proves that broken window will reduce the number of suits that con now be purchased. Confused? This short little economic cartoon will enlighten you while entertaining you:

Pop Quiz! What item did the baker say he would have spent his money on if he didn’t have to waste it repairing his window? Oh, the irony of this pre-Occupy Oakland video tutorial!

P.S. Welcome to Lonely Conservative readers!

|Pop Culture | Prudence Potpourri

Occupy Wall Street Hipsters v. the Original Hippies

When Mario Vargas Llosa won the 2010 Nobel Prize for Literature, I was surprised to see conservative commentators giving his selection approving nods. I’d only read his entertaining, soap-opera-esque Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter and hadn’t considered its politics at the time. But if his novels have conservative themes, I’d sure like to read them. So I’ve begun to progress through his oeuvre.

Somewhere in some review, I read that his characters are secondary to the socioeconomic, political backdrops of the historical events of the period in which the characters are immersed. I don’t agree that they are secondary, but the real histories do add a sense of vibrancy and tension to the stories.

In Vargas Llosa’s novel The Bad Girl, which spans several decades and countries, his protagonist Ricardo finds himself amid the hippie scene in 1960s London, and it struck me as a contrast with today:

I liked Earl’s Court very much and fell in love with its fauna. The district breathed youth, music, lives lived without caution or calculation, great doses of ingenuousness, the desire to live for the day, removed from conventional morality and values, a search for pleasure that rejected the old bourgeois myths of happiness—money, power, family, position, social success—and found it in simple, passive forms of existence: music, artificial paradises, promiscuity, and an absolute lack of interest in the other problems that were shaking society. With their tranquil, peaceable hedonism, the hippies harmed no one, and they didn’t proselytize, didn’t want to convince or recruit people they had broken with in order to live their alternative lives: they wanted to be left in peace, absorbed in their frugal egotism and their psychedelic dream.

Reading that passage, my mind fast-forwarded to New York City, lower Manhattan, 2011, and the swarm of wannabe hippies at the Occupy Wall Street “protest,” proselytizing utter ignorance about the financial system and the economy, demanding handouts, defecating in the doorsteps of the surrounding good citizens, and drumming incessantly, noisily keeping the neighborhood children awake all night and distracted in school all day.

If only these hipsters “wanted to be left in peace, absorbed in their frugal egotism and their psychedelic dream.” But that’s the difference between these hipsters and old-school hippies. These people also reject conventional morality and values—but only because it’s too hard. They want stuff that others have, but don’t want to work for it, don’t want to start at the bottom and climb as they build experience and skill. They want the bourgeois money, power, position, social success; they just don’t see the need to earn it. It’s simply unfair if others have it, so they’re gonna pout and stamp their feet about it, and tweet their outrage from their iPads.

Another Vargas Llosa description pointed out, however, that the types of people drawn to 1960s London hippieville and 2011 NYC hipsterville are essentially the same:

Many hippies, perhaps the majority, came from the middle or upper class, and their rebellion was familial, directed against the well-regulated lives of their parents and what they considered the hypocrisy of puritanical customs and social façades behind which they hid their egotism, insular spirit, and lack of imagination. Their pacifism, naturism, vegetarianism, their eager search for a spiritual life that would give transcendence to their rejection of a materialist world corroded by class, social, and sexual prejudices, a world they wanted nothing to do with—this was sympathetic. But all of it was anarchic, thoughtless, without a center or direction, even without ideas, because the hippies—at least the ones I knew and observed up close—though they claimed to identify with the poetry of the beatniks (Allen Ginsberg gave a reading of his poems in Trafalgar Square in which he sang and performed Indian dances, and thousands of young people attended), in fact read very little or nothing at all. Their philosophy wasn’t based on thought and reason but on sentiment, on feeling.

All that dopey folly was tolerable enough, by virtue of being so inane it could be ignored. However, it came with a very dark side back then:

One morning I was in Juan’s pied-à-terre, dedicated to the prosaic task of ironing some shirts and undershorts I had just washed in the Earl’s Court Laundromat, when someone rang the doorbell. I opened and saw half a dozen boys with shaved heads, commando boots, short trousers, leather jackets with a military cut, some wearing crosses and combat medals on their chests. They asked about the Swag and Tails pub, which was just around the corner. They were the first skinheads I had seen. After that, these gangs would appear in the neighborhood from time to time, sometimes armed with clubs, and the benign hippies who spread their blankets on the sidewalks to sell handcrafted trinkets had to run, some with their babies in their arms, because the skinheads professed an obstinate hatred for them. It wasn’t only hatred for the way they lived but also class hatred, because these hoodlums, playing at being SS, came from working-class and marginal areas and embodied their own kind of rebellion. They became the shock troops of a tiny party, the racist National Front, which demanded the expulsion of blacks from England. Their idol was Enoch Powell, a conservative parliamentarian who, in a speech that caused an uproar, had prophesied in an apocalyptic manner that “rivers of blood would run in Great Britain” if there wasn’t a halt to immigration. The appearance of the skinheads had created a certain tension, and there were some acts of violence in the district, but they were isolated….

Is the reemergence of a skinhead movement likely to occur in 21st-century America with the Democratic Party and President Obama’s constant stoking of class warfare? Our top levels of government and media and entertainment now tell people they should look to scapegoat others for their lack of success instead of picking themselves up and attempting to succeed on their own. I fear this will not end well.

A revival of skinheads is only one group to worry about. The organizers and propellers of Occupy Wall Street are not dopey hippies. They are hard-core Marxists, communists, socials, anarchists. They don’t want to be left alone. They want to coopt our American way of life, our American dream. They want to finish the job that Barack Obama has so successfully begun. They don’t intend to fade away peacefully in a haze of pot smoke.

The neighborhood had filled with small cafes, vegetarian restaurants and houses where all the varieties of Indian tea were offered, staffed by hippie girls and boys who prepared the perfumed infusions in front of the patron. The hippies’ scorn for the industrial world had led them to revive handicrafts of every kind and to mythologize manual labor: they wove bags and made sandals, earrings, necklaces, tunics, headscarves, and pendants.

I’ll take hippies over hipsters and union thugs. We’ll know they’re winning the battle for control over Occupy Wall Street if there starts being more tables selling macrame potholders and tie-dye t-shirts than copies of the Daily Worker and the Communist Manifesto.