Comprachicos

The word literally translates from Spanish as “child-buyers” – as defined by Wikipedia in one of their less politically unstained entries: “a concept coined by Victor Hugo in his novel The Man Who Laughs. It refers to various groups in folklore who were said to change the physical appearance of human beings by manipulating growing children, in a similar way to the horticultural method of bonsai – that is, deliberate mutilation … stunting children’s growth by physical restraint, muzzling their faces to deform them, slitting their eyes, dislocating their joints, and malforming their bones.” The mutilated or stunted children were then provided as dwarves to amuse a noble court, or as performers in traveling circus sideshows. A historical truth, folklore repeated to frighten children into good behavior, or just a melodramatic literary creation? Who knows for certain?

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Duly Noted

A marked increase in the number of rude, rotten, and outright dangerous drivers is a local thing that my daughter and I, and a scattering of friends have noticed over the last several months. It has been, as my daughter noted, an increased number of Third World drivers, on our local roads. A lot of near-misses, carelessness in lane-changing, ignorance of use of the turn indicators, and a fair amount of road rage… including a shooting on a stretch of the IH-35 on the South Side of the city. While the South Side is largely and traditionally Hispanic, and has neighborhoods in it which have a reputation for being violent, especially after dark, I used to drive clear across town on my daily commute, from the largely Anglo, or white north-east side of town, to the Southside, and I often noticed that the drivers on the South side were a hell of a lot more courteous about allowing merges and lane changes on the IH-35.

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Around the Next Corner

What lurks in hiding for us there? Nothing good, and that is the general feeling one gets from the ripples and small currents in the wide ocean of the blogosphere. I’ve been paddling in that ocean since … 2002, when I gave up on Slate as an original aggregator news site shortly after 9-11, because the communities which gathered in the various comments sections just got too angry and irrational for words. Something let me to Instapundit, and through his links to the original incarnation of Sgt. Stryker’s Daily Brief. I became a contributor when the original Stryker appealed for other contributors and have been paddling away at the margins of the digital information ocean ever since. Back in the pre-internet day, I had subscriptions to all kinds of magazines. As a military public relations professional, I reasoned that I should know when and from which direction the next political-military-social sh*t-storm would arrive. Tracking blogs and digital media serves the same purpose for me that print media once did.

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Two of the Most Disturbing Things I’ve Seen So Far…

…in a month with many disturbing things, are these:

a collection of articles…from ‘respectable’ media…which are basically demanding that individuals stop trying to do critical thinking.  Does this represent the start of an extensive media campaign in that direction?

nihilistic and anti-human tendencies on the part of the new head of a major Federal agency…at least, that’s certainly how I would interpret her statements.  And plenty of media people are cited with viewpoints which are basically similar or more extreme.

The War Against the Middle Class

It’s one of those things of which I was mildly aware for decades, mostly through the medium of novels with an English setting … but now it has become painfully and bitterly obvious that there is an American class system, and in it’s present incarnation, malignant. We had always prided ourselves on being relatively class/caste fluid, a place where one might go from rags to riches through striking it rich, developing a better mousetrap, investing cannily, and still be on the same social level as ‘old money’. This new divide is bitter, hostile, and possibly lethal. It’s the social and political authoritarians, who crave power over the rest of us, pitted against the working and middle classes – those who have a degree of control over our own lives, enough income to be at least tenuously comfortable, the leisure and energy to take part in public matters, even if only in a small way. The middle class have the effrontery to believe that yes, we ought to be able to control our own lives, rather than have every aspect controlled by the authoritarians.

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