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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

And just maybe we can start hoping for better things in Detroit sports.


At a minimum, it's nice to get a stellar talent who seems genuinely happy to be here.



No jokes, please--we're Woke.

The City of Dearborn's Downtown Development Authority placed some lighthearted signs encouraging social distancing. Here are two of them.






With the second, two young ladies cried "Microaggression!" and let slip the dogs of scold.
[Podcaster Rima] Fadlallah says that this is more than just using a shawarma to represent Arab Americans, but it's about the microaggressions that she feels are constantly targeted to the community. [Fellow podcaster Yasmeen] Kadouh said that Arabs in the country deal with misrepresentation and identity erasure every day, and now it's at home.

"The place that we call home and the place that houses our traditions and our community should not be the place that offends us in a way where we feel like our identities are being made fun of," Kadouh said.

One can legitimately wonder just how many people were offended, apart from the two complainers. But youth must be served, no matter how confused.

Confused? Yes. Because in the name of fighting "erasure," a reference to Arabic culture that has entered the mainstream was erased.

Always remember:


Don't worry: things can and will get dumber still.


Now, the rebuttal is that "hey, we were just going to discuss the issue of why white has to go first."

But...really?

This is what is left of your future, what's-left-of-Western-civilization: having even your hobbies and games questioned--and then Minitru'd--by the Woke Police.

The good news is that that future won't be a lengthy one.

The bad news is that it will seem like forever.

Thomas Mann once pointed out that "everything is politics."

Now we are seeing what happens when that dictum is imbued with a religious frenzy that would have made Torquemada say "hey, slow your roll there, champ."

It will only get worse.




Monday, June 29, 2020

"Y'all young people don't know shit!"


"While Black Lives Matters activists tried to chant them down, reenactors dressed as freed slaves of Capitol Hill and Frederick Douglass gave an abridged version of the dedication speech. When the organizer told the crowd that the older generation had failed them and had nothing to teach them, a black man in a “New York City” shirt followed, raising his voice to tell the crowd his great-great-grandfather is that slave (depicted in the memorial), and “[these] young upstarts” better show some respect for the suffering of their people.

“Do you even know the history of that statue?” [African-American tour company owner Don] Folden demanded, holding court after a fiery speech.

No, they don't. And even after you educate them, they still don't care. There are some pristine moments of actual white privilege chronicled in the article, so make sure to read the whole thing.

Finally, Marcia Cole from the African-American Civil War Museum offers an essential perspective.

Not that education truly matters in this. You are dealing with emoting solipsists who think they have reached the pinnacle of enlightenment. Literally nothing else matters: facts, the experiences and struggles of others, the bloody examples of history, none of it.

They shriek, therefore they are.

Meanwhile, the unenlightened will be expected to atone forever--and there is no forgiveness.


Sunday, June 28, 2020

My son has Typhus.

At least the Warhammer kind.

For some reason, the little heretic has taken a shine to the Death Guard's First Captain.

And he's looking forward to melee combat using the figure. 

He will be a formidable foe in that respect.

If there's a duel, the Ultramarines' weapon of choice will be a Flamestorm cannon....

The insane, pinpoint details on these things. Oof.



And yes, said details can be ouch-sharp. The English gamers originated the term "Spikey Bits," and it stuck for good reason.

Louis has started painting one of the regular Plague Marines. Here it is after a base coat and some detail work. He's going to be good with the brushes.


Friday, June 26, 2020

The Land Raider Redeemer.

Now complete.

[6/29 Edit: weeell...now it is. Turns out I needed to add some front tread armor and rococo Imperial decorations.]

Yes, it's a Mark IV WWI tank which had a love child with a Landing Craft Assault transport from the Second World War.

But the Land Raider is one of the iconic vehicles of the 40K setting. And Tommy and I completed it today...after a near-disaster redeemed with hobby knives and a quick reset.


That's a regular Space Marine manning the lethal "Melta gun" on top.


Diagonal view of the left hatch (held in place with my friend the hobby magnet) and the Flamestorm cannon. GW loves it some sponson mounts.



The right side, with the Flamestorm cannon and more magnet work (visible in the upper left hand corner of the hatch).


The assault ramp deployed. You can run out a formidable batch of Marines after torching the landscape with the main weapons.

Note that GW is very inconsistent when it comes to scaling vehicles and troops. And that's just as well, as consistent scaling would make it a hobby only for the Robb Report set.

The Monument Purge and Artistic Intent.

There is a solution to the monument vandalization wars hinted at here in this piece by Professor David W. Blight, author of a recent and well-received biography of Frederick Douglass.

Blight defends the continued placement of the Emancipation Memorial in Washington D.C. And while I disagree with the declaration that the statue is inherently racist, he makes some excellent points about chronological superiority.

Memory is always about the politics of the present, but the righteous present is not always right.

Do not tear down this monument. I fully understand that protests are not forums for complexity; current demonstrations are the results of justifiable passion and outrage. It is reasonable to clear our landscape of public commemoration of the failed, four-year slaveholders’ rebellion to sustain white supremacy known as the Confederacy, even if it doesn’t erase our history. But the Freedmen’s Memorial is another matter. For those contemplating the elimination of this monument, including D.C.’s delegate to Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), please consider the people who created it and what it meant for their lives in a century not our own. We ought not try to purify their past and present for our needs.

A huge parade involving nearly every black organization in the city preceded the dedication of the monument on April 14, 1876. The procession included cornet bands, marching drum corps, youth clubs in colorful uniforms and fraternal orders. Horse-drawn carriages transported master of ceremonies and Howard University law school dean, John Mercer Langston, and the orator of the day, Frederick Douglass, a resident of that neighborhood. Representatives of the entire U.S. government sat in the front rows at the ceremony; the occasion had been declared a federal holiday. President Ulysses S. Grant, members of his Cabinet, members of the House and Senate and justices of the Supreme Court all attended.

The $20,000 used to build the monument had been raised among black Americans, most of them former slaves. A former slave woman, Charlotte Scott, had donated the first $5. The sculptor, Thomas Ball, lived and worked in Italy. The model for the kneeling slave, Archer Alexander — a former slave — was photographed numerous times and had his pictures sent to Ball. Ball believed he depicted Alexander as an “agent in his own resistance,” an assumption of course roundly debated to this day.

. . .
 Rather than take down this monument to Lincoln and emancipation, create a commission that will engage new artists to represent the story of black freedom from one generation to the next. Let today’s imaginations take flight. Perhaps commission a statue of Douglass himself delivering this magnificent speech. So much new learning can take place by the presence of both past and present. As a nation, let’s replace a landscape strewn with Confederate symbols with memorialization of emancipation. Tearing down the Freedmen’s Memorial would be a terrible start for that epic process.
I think Bright's argument that we need more monuments is a superb one, and worth implementing. And in-housing it for American artists is ideal. I wish that had been done for the King Memorial, whose Chinese origins are obvious in a stern, distant sculpture more fitting for a Maximum Leader.

Where I think he trips up is in arguing that the sculpture was racist in conception. That seems flatly-wrong, not to mention unfair. It indicts the scupltor, first as a liar, and then with the damning label by assigning motives--and that only after viewing the piece with contemporary (and dare I say academic?) lenses. At a minimum, the emancipated slave is depicted with dignity, preparing to rise to the freedom he received from emancipation.

To assume racism is to give the game away to the vandals.

It reminds me of the discussion of some of the works of one of my favorite American artists, Thomas Hovenden. Hovenden was a 19th Century painter of Irish extraction, and he did a large number of portraits on subjects historical and contemporary. He is most famous for "The Last Moments of John Brown," which has become iconic. Portraits of African-Americans became popular at the time, and Hovenden did his share. Below are ones called "Contentment," and "Dem Was Good Ole Times." Remember to click for better detail.



I can hear you cringing at the title of the second one, and I do, too. And there are those who got tense with the first one:

"Contentment"? In a time of increasing legal restrictions and the reversal of the gains of Reconstruction?

But let's bracket those reactions for a moment and look at the subjects.

The persons in each portrait are that--persons, depicted in moments of domestic life.

The cringe-inducing Joel-Chandler-Harris-esque titles (yes, plural--there are others, alas, in Hovenden's oeuvre) aside, there is nothing dehumanizing or caricatured about the figures themselves. Their garb is different, but it was accurate for the time. And each one appears like a real person--caught in a quiet or happy moment.

You can argue that they were depicted in poor, threadbare clothes, but Hovenden portrayed Breton peasants similarly. Poverty is no respecter of color.

And even though explanation and context are usually met with righteous howling, I'm going to give you them anyway:

Hovenden's black models were his neighbors in Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania. It was the home of his wife's family, and a renowned hotbed of abolitionist sentiment before the War. Which would neatly explain the presence of African-American neighbors. And Hovenden instructed, among others, Henry Ossawa Tanner, a pioneering African-American painter, at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts.

So while the horrid caricature of the happy black man or woman who allegedly fondly remembered the allegedly-benevolent age of slavery would grow and be eagerly spread by the same folks who gave us Lost Cause historiography, that's not remotely what Hovenden did.

Nor was it remotely what Thomas Ball did with the sculpture based on Archer Alexander. By calling each artist's work "racist," there's really no reason to spare their works from the dustbin any more than there is to spare a Confederate monument.

And say what you will about Confederate monuments: every last one of them is innocent of the charge of racist depictions of black men and women.


Thursday, June 25, 2020

Speaking of McDonalds...

Hope you like eating there.

Or at one of the other "doggy burger stands," as my late Uncle Don used to call them.



It is difficult for me to explain my anger right now.



At least in a way that is somewhat family-friendly or dignified.




I do not share citizenship in the same nation with the mobs. Yes, they are presumably composed of American citizens, but shared citizenship indicates devotion to common ideals no more than standing in the same line at a McDonald's does. My enmity for them grows by the day.

There is a hellish spectre abroad in our land right now, and it has possessed countless mobs. That self-same mania is aided and abetted by the sympathy of countless political figures, or the cynical calculation, cowardice or fecklessness of the rest. The rage we are seeing was ably described by a wiser man than we currently possess as "the simple gratification of a hell-black spirit of revenge." It is a hatred for our past and all that represents it, and no amount of explanation or context matters.

As the proverb goes, you cannot reason someone out of a position he did not reason himself into in the first place.

And what will happen when they run out of memorials to destroy? Communal violence gets nearer by the day.

I will leave you with extensive quotations from Frederick Douglass's oration at the dedication, which was attended by everyone in high federal office from President Grant on down:
For the first time in the history of our people, and in the history of the whole American people, we join in this high worship, and march conspicuously in the line of this time-honored custom. First things are always interesting, and this is one of our first things. It is the first time that, in this form and manner, we have sought to do honor to an American great man, however deserving and illustrious. I commend the fact to notice; let it be told in every part of the Republic; let men of all parties and opinions hear it; let those who despise us, not less than those who respect us, know that now and here, in the spirit of liberty, loyalty, and gratitude, let it be known everywhere, and by everybody who takes an interest in human progress and in the amelioration of the condition of mankind, that, in the presence and with the approval of the members of the American House of Representatives, reflecting
the general sentiment of the country; that in the presence of that august body, the American Senate, representing the highest intelligence and the calmest judgment of the country; in presence of the Supreme Court and Chief-Justice of the United States, to whose decisions we all patriotically bow; in the presence and under the steady eye of the honored and trusted President of the United States, with the members of his wise and patriotic Cabinet, we, the colored people, newly emancipated and rejoicing in our blood-bought freedom, near the close of the first century in the life of this Republic, have now and here unveiled, set apart, and dedicated a monument of enduring granite and bronze, in every line, feature, and figure of which the men of this generation may read, and those of after-coming generations may read,something of the exalted character and great works of Abraham Lincoln,the first martyr President of the United States.

. . .


Truth is proper and beautiful at all times and in all places, and it is never more proper and beautiful in any case than when speaking of a great public man whose example is likely to be commended for honor and imitation long after his departure to the solemn shades, the silent continents of eternity. It must be admitted, truth compels me to admit, even here in the presence of the monument we have erected to his memory, Abraham Lincoln was not, in the fullest sense of the word, either our man or our model. In his interests, in his associations, in his habits of thought, and in his prejudices, he was a white man.

He was pre-eminently the white man's President, entirely devoted to the welfare of white men. He was ready and willing at any time during the first years of his administration to deny, postpone, and sacrifice the rights of humanity in the colored people to promote the welfare of the white people of this country. In all his education and feeling he was an American of the Americans. He came into the Presidential chair upon one principle alone, namely, opposition to the extension of slavery. His arguments in furtherance of this policy had their motive and mainspring in his patriotic devotion to the interests of his own race.
To protect, defend, and perpetuate slavery in the States where it existed Abraham Lincoln was not less ready than any other President to draw the sword of the nation. He was ready to execute all the supposed constitutional guarantees of the United States Constitution in favor of the slave system anywhere inside the slave States. He was willing to pursue, recapture,and send back the fugitive slave to his master, and to suppress a slave rising for liberty, though his guilty master were already in arms against the Government. The race to which we belong were not the special objects of his consideration.

Knowing this, I concede to you, my white fellow-citizens, a pre-eminence in this worship at once full and supreme. First, midst, and last, you and yours were the objects of his deepest affection and his most ernest solicitude. You are the children of Abraham Lincoln. We are at best only his step-children; children by adoption, children by force of circumstances and necessity. To you it especially belongs to sound his praises, to preserve and perpetuate his memory, to multiply his statues, to hang his pictures high upon your walls, and commend his example, for to you he was a great and glorious friend and benefactor.

Instead of supplanting you at this altar, we would exhort you to build high his monuments; let them be of the most costly material, of the most cunning workmanship; let their forms be symmetrical, beautiful, and perfect; let their bases be upon solid rocks, and their summits lean against the unchanging blue, overhanging sky, and let them endure forever! But while in the abundance of your wealth, and in the fulness of your just and patriotic devotion, you do all this, we entreat you to despise not the humble offering we this day unveil to view; for while Abraham Lincoln saved for you a country, he delivered us from a bondage, according to Jefferson, one hour of which was worse than ages of the oppression your fathers rose in rebellion to oppose.

Fellow-citizens, ours is no new-born zeal and devotion--merely a thing of this moment. The name of Abraham Lincoln was near and dear to our hearts in the darkest and most perilous hours of the Republic. We were no more ashamed of him when shrouded in clouds of darkness, of doubt, and defeat than when we saw him crowned with victory, honor,and glory. Our faith in him was often taxed and strained to the uttermost, but it never failed.

When he tarried long in the mountain; when he strangely told us that we were the cause of the war; when he still more strangely told us to leave the land in which we were born; when he refused to employ our arms in defence of the Union; when, after accepting our services as colored soldiers, he refused to retaliate our murder and torture as colored prisoners; when he told us he would save the Union if he could with slavery; when he revoked the Proclamation of Emancipation of General Frémont; when he refused to remove the popular commander of the Army of the Potomac, in the days of its inaction and defeat, who was more zealous in his efforts to protect slavery than to suppress rebellion; when we saw all this, and more, we were at times grieved, stunned, and greatly bewildered; but our hearts believed while they ached and bled. Nor was this, even at that time, a blind and unreasoning superstition.

Despite the mist and haze that surrounded him; despite the tumult, the hurry, and confusion of the hour, we were able to take a comprehensive view of Abraham Lincoln,and to make reasonable allowance for the circumstances of his position.We saw him, measured him, and estimated him; not by stray utterances to injudicious and tedious delegations, who often tried his patience; not by isolated facts torn from their connection; not by any partial and imperfect glimpses, caught at inopportune moments; but by a broad survey, in the light of the stern logic of great events, and in view of that divinity which shapes our ends, rough hew them how we will, we came to the conclusion that the hour and the man of our redemption had somehow met in the person of Abraham Lincoln.

It mattered little to us what language he might employ on special occasions; it mattered little to us, when we fully knew him, whether he was swift or slow in his movements; it was enough for us that Abraham Lincoln was at the head of a great movement, and was in living and earnest sympathy with that movement, which, in the nature of things, must go on until slavery should be utterly and forever abolished in the United States. When, therefore, it shall be asked what we have to do with the memory of Abraham Lincoln, or what Abraham Lincoln had to do with us, the answer is ready, full, and complete.
Though he loved Caesar less than Rome, though the Union was more to him than our freedom or our future, under his wise and beneficent rule we saw ourselves gradually lifted from the depths of slavery to the heights of liberty and manhood;under his wise and beneficent rule, and by measures approved and vigorously pressed by him, we saw that the handwriting of ages, in the form of prejudice and proscription, was rapidly fading away from the face of our whole country; under his rule, and in due time, about as soon after all as the country could tolerate the strange spectacle, we saw our brave sons and brothers laying off the rags of bondage, and being clothed all over in the blue uniforms of the soldiers of the United States; under his rule we saw two hundred thousand of our dark and dusky people responding to the call of Abraham Lincoln, and with muskets on their shoulders, and eagles on their buttons, timing their high footsteps to liberty and union under the national flag; under his rule we saw the independence of the black republic of Haiti, the special object of slaveholding aversion and horror, fully recognized, and her minister, a colored gentleman, duly received here in the city of Washington; under his rule we saw the internal slave-trade, which so long disgraced the nation, abolished, and slavery abolished in the District of Columbia; under his rule we saw for the first time the law enforced against the foreign slave-trade, and the first slave-trader hanged like any other pirate or murderer; under his rule, assisted by the greatest captain of our age, and his inspiration, we saw the Confederate States, based upon the idea that our race must be slaves, and slaves forever, battered to pieces and scattered to the four winds; under his rule, and in the fullness of time, we saw Abraham Lincoln,after giving the slaveholders three months' grace in which to save their hateful slave system, penning the immortal paper, which, though special in its language, was general in its principles and effect, making slavery forever impossible in the United States. Though we waited long, we saw all this and more.
And it is the memorial dedicated by this speech that the hate-filled mobs have come for now.

Worse is yet to come. We are not close to the bottom of this spiral.


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Prediction: There won't be any sports this year.

Coronavirus hits the Detroit Tigers.

Granted, athletes tend to be younger and fitter, and from what we have seen thus far, shake this off with comparatively small difficulty. 

Plus, it's baseball, which has built-in distancing and limited contact between players.

All that said:  

Between the schedule ramdown and the apparent spread among athletes across the sporting world, I just don't see any sports returning to action this year. 

Paved with good intentions.

Yes, the New York Post is one of the Big Apple's tabloids (the more right of center one as opposed to the resolutely-left Daily News).

But both tabloids get their basic facts right, and the Post is right about the basics of this one: people of color are exempted from wearing masks in Lincoln (the fragments of my latest irony meter just reached escape velocity) County, Oregon.

From pages 2 and 3 of the relevant health directive:

 The following individuals do not need to comply with this directive:
. . .
People of color who have heightened concerns about racial profiling and harassment due to wearing face coverings in public.
The phrase "strict scrutiny" leaps to mind.

To be fair, let's stipulate that it is still a debated question how effective non-respirator masks can be in protecting/stopping/slowing the spread of coronavirus. And it is correct, as the directive points out, that social distancing is still more important and that even an effective mask is no substitute for that. But, on balance, it appears that masking is a helpful supplemental measure which should be used. The order certainly states as much.

What cannot be denied is that coronavirus has been especially destructive in the African-American community.  

Van Jones has been ringing the bell for months about how horrible the pandemic has been. Because it has been and still is.

But now, the authorities of Lincoln County, Oregon, noting both a spike in cases and community spread, have determined that asking everyone to engage in the same health-protecting practice might somehow make some people of color feel that they are being singled out for harassment or profiling. Instead, an exemption has been offered to those who feel they might be harassed or profiled for wearing a mask. 

Which, with horrible irony, will make the objector stand out even more from everyone else who is complying. 

And it is sadly-foreseeable that this could cause friction within the communites between those who mask and those who object--because that's how human nature works.

And the reality is, Lincoln County is an overwhelmingly white, hardcore Democratic county on the Pacific Coast, with 0.4% of the population identifying as African-American, 1.1% as Asian, 3.5% as American Indian and 7.9% as Hispanic.

Does Lincoln County have a history of racially-harassing and profiling its minority populations? Quite possibly so--reliably Democratic local governments have some grim contemporary histories with respect to minority populations. Even when those populations themselves reliably vote Democratic.

But if so, such a history is not cited as a basis for the exemption. 

And, honestly, given the dire toll racked up by this scourge, the exemption offers a vector for infection and transmission.

The virus will not be moved by paternalistic good intentions toward vulnerable populations. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Memes!

Here you go!


The Church VERY Militant.



Yeah, this happens.


I'm with Grandma. The Weeaboo Space Commies and their ludicrous battlesuit units are really annoying.

Except for Commander Farsight. He's awesome.



Explaining this to the uninitiated would take a lot of pixels and just leave you looking slumped at the end like Captain Picard.


Lego Rogal Dorn is most excellent.

Being a Sister of Battle is hard sometimes.


The first of Bobby G's many, many disappointing moments of discovery after hovering near-death in stasis for eight millennia. Here, he discovers that the traitor space marines have been quite literally warped into something else during his nap.

In the lore, the battle around his former stasis chamber ceased for several seconds after he stepped out of it. "Because Loyal Son of the Emperor is Alive and Well" was hard for everyone to process. Then a Black Legion berzerker lunged at him and got bisected by RG.

Whatever else you want to say about Guilliman, he can certainly adapt on the fly.






Hmm.

I can imagine some people nodded thoughtfully at this on Facebook, which is another reason I cast the platform aside.


In response, I want you to imagine the following scenario.

·       Picture a southern man--albeit one currently married to an African-American woman--whose relevant documents identify him as "white."

·       Imagine him being very, very cagey in how he describes his background.

·       Now imagine him raising millions of dollars explicitly for black improvement.

·       And then picture said man repeatedly failing to deliver on the various fundraisers' promises.

·       And then visualize the same individual alienating the employees who work for him in these endeavors--95% of whom he describes as people of color. At least in the one that’s still in existence.

·       And then imagine him repeatedly pulling the plug on his efforts, all the while refusing to submit his fundraising to an independent review.

·       Then picture him taking credit for $22 million in fundraising he had nothing to do with.

·       Then imagine him telling staffers in his remaining struggling enterprise "to be your best black self."


A tooth-deficient white supremacist from Central Casting couldn't have done as much damage.

By the way, if you are interested, you can check out this compilation of nicknames for Mr. King from Black Twitter

In other words, don't overestimate his influence.