Public Art and Freedom of Speech…

… such as they are, in these distressing days. It’s come to be a standout exception in the last half-century when a piece of public art is actually attractive, engaging, relatable to the place and the audience, and exhibits moderate to advanced skills and aesthetic sense on the part of the artist. Noted in Tom Wolfe’s book-long evisceration of modern architecture, altogether too many post-WWII public buildings got finished off with installing a barren plaza in front, a plaza featuring a water feature with an enormous concrete turd dropped into it. There are exceptions to this bleak and ugly trend, of course – but the monumental MLK/Coretta Scott King statue unveiled last weekend in Boston is, alas, not one of them.

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Covid and Credibility

So it is fairly certain that Damar Hamlin took a hit to his chest at just the right time, angle and force to inflict sudden cardiac arrest. The correct term for this relatively rare occurrence is “commotio cordis”, although a fair number of comments to various news stories – comments from the public at large and experienced professionals alike – initially wondered if it was the result of a vaccination for Covid, since there seem to have been many incidents in the last few years of fit young athlete-types suddenly dropping from heart attacks during practice, games, or just going about daily life. Neo at Neo-Neocon attributes this to a wide-spread misunderstanding or misreading of statistics, arguing that sudden cardiac arrests in young and relatively young healthy athletes are happening about as frequently as they have pre-Covid – it’s just that we are paying attention and noticing such anomalies.
Perhaps; perhaps not. Perception, reality, anecdote, or data. The unsettling thing about this is that our trust in the accuracy of news and social media reports, of the studies of so-called medical experts and our elected officials and bureaucrats has been so degraded of late that it’s honestly hard to be certain of much, other than what was once considered to disinformation, or a conspiracy theory is now turning out to have been true after all. After so many exaggerations, reversals and outright fraud over the Covid epidemic it would be almost impossible for most people to accept any authoritative conclusions about the dangers posed by the Covid vaccines and boosters. What to credit in a climate of doubt and distrust, save that which we have either directly experienced first-hand, or those whom we trust have experienced and reported?

The trouble is that we never had – or were permitted to have had a free and fair public discussion about Covid, and those methods and means of effectively countering the epidemic, starting from the jump. Was Covid really that dangerous? The example of the Diamond Princess seemed to indicate that no – not that dangerous to healthy young adults or even older adults without pre-existing health issues. But the national and international news media, well aware that panic, disaster, and potentially massive casualties draw eyeballs and interest went all-out in scaring the general public out of their ever-loving minds. And then it was off to the races – the most threatening pandemic in living memory! OMG, they were dropping dead in the streets of Chinese cities! Shades of the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic! Mass graves! Overwhelmed hospitals! Packed morgues, full of the dead! We must do something – our phoney-baloney jobs are at stake! Harrumph, harrumph, harrumph!

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Rigid Conformity

I suppose to me personally that the additional tragedy with regard to so-called “trans kids” is the absolutely unyielding and rigid characterization of tastes and preferences as being specifically either male or female. This tragedy is aside from the aspect of irreversible chemical and surgical mutilation of otherwise normal body parts attached to troubled teenagers and gaslighted small children, but the whole rigid concept of personal traits, tastes and enthusiasts all being locked into the notion of being ‘male’ or ‘female’ and that if a child displays one or another of that set or tastes or behaviors antithetical to his or her biologically-determined gender … well, then that child must therefore be chemically and surgically altered to conform.

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9/11 and the Attrition Mill

A few years after 9/11, I visited an old industrial facility which had been restored to operating condition. One of the machines there was an attrition mill. It consists of two steel discs, rotating at high speed in opposite direction and crushing the substance to be milled between them.

I immediately saw this machine as a political metaphor. Western civilization is caught in a gigantic attrition mill, with one disc being the Islamofascist enemy and the other being certain tendencies within our own societies. The combination of these factors is much more dangerous than either by itself would be.

For example,already  in 2015 the student government at the University of Minnesota has rejected a resolution calling for annual commemorations of the 9/11 atrocity.  Why?  It was argued that such a resolution would make Muslim students feel “unsafe.” The “Students for Justice for Palestine” said that being reminded of 9/11 on its anniversary would lead to increased “Islamaphobia.”

It seems pretty clear that this sort of ridiculously deferential “sensitivity” does not make immigrants, or children and grandchildren of immigrants, more likely to assimilate.  Contrarily, it reinforces group identifies and intergroup hostilities.  And in doing so, it creates a social environment in which it is much more likely that actual terrorists–representing the upper disk of the Attrition Mill–will go unreported or even be actively supported in their ethnic/religious communities. And that, in turn, greatly increases the risks inherent in large-scale migration.

Hillary Clinton reacted to the Benghazi murders by blaming a video, going so far as to tell a grieving father that  he would have his revenge–not on the killers, oh, no, but rather we are going to have that filmmaker arrestedHere, we see the threat and actuality of Islamist violence being used as an excuse for interfering with the free-speech rights of Americans…and you can bet that if that precedent is successfully established, it will be applied with plenty of other justifications, too.

And, of course, Islamist murder threats–such as the fatwa against Salman Rushdie–have helped accustom people to keeping their mouths shut, for the sake of safety.

Related post in The American Mind:  The Woke-Islamist Axis Against Free Speech.


Americans – both those born on this soil and those who weren’t but who got here as fast as they could – are natural rebels, stiff-necked, stubborn, and not inclined to bow the knee and truckle to those who think they are our betters. Oh, it might not seem so in these dolorous times; too many of our fellows seem just too ready to be passive, landless serfs with an appetite for crumbs and approving notice from the wanna-be-nobility’s table, and too damned many outright want to be the nobles, or their willing henchmen/women/whatever. But a preponderance of us are not that ready to be pushed into servitude to the State – witness the drubbing at the pools that the voters of Wyoming gave to the presumed princess-heir of the landed house of Cheney yesterday. Losing an election by a 40% margin is not just the voters saying ‘no, thanks’, it’s the voters escorting the candidate to the city limits, brandishing buckets of tar and bales of feathers while snarling, ‘…and don’t come back!’
Ah well – I have long disapproved of political dynasties – the Kennedys, the Bushes, the Murkowskis, the Gores and their similar and lesser-known political ilk. The only political dynasty that was ever any good for America as republic and in the long term was that of John Adams, and that was back in the day when we all were pretty adamant that there would be no patents of nobility issued, tither formally or otherwise in this blessed experiment in citizen governance. For myself, I hated the choice I had between two scions of political dynasties in the 2000 election. What – a choice between two sons of political privilege? I think I held my nose and voted blindly, and can’t remember who for, not that it made much of a difference then or now. Although one of the two has retreated to a relatively quiet life in Texas, and the other has chosen to humiliate himself on the international stage as one of those campaigners for radical actions to oppose climate change, traveling hither and yon at great expense on energy-spewing jets.

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