Thursday, May 30, 2013

Explaining Right Wing Ideology in the United States

On the surface, the conservative mentality seems more than a little delusional, but is there actually a method to their madness? 

Thanks to some dude named Tom Morris for the above!

If you were to ask me what the primary difference was between right wing ideologues and left wingers (which, in the States, are actually centrists compared to liberal parties elsewhere), I would say it’s a matter of inspiration.

Simply put, conservatives are FUELED by their hatred of liberals. A conservative isn’t so much an adherent to neoliberalism and supply side ethics is he or she is an opponent of the Democratic Party, a human being whose very identity is enveloped in a fuming, inexhaustible miasma of hatred toward leftists. Try listening to an AM radio conservative show sometimes; instead of discussing solutions or policy ideas -- or, pragmatically, how to achieve desirable outcomes pending current resources -- it’s a safe bet that what you will hear is three or four hours of NONSTOP demonization of liberals. Even back in the mid-2000s, when Republicans virtually owned all three branches of government, programs of the type were almost entirely anchored around attacks to whatever  puny resistance movements were mounted on the left. At a time when Democratic clout was underpowered in D.C., the Right still found enemies to perpetually lash out against in the form of entertainment and social activists like Michael Moore and Cindy Sheehan -- sometimes, it feels like this need to berate left-wing opposition is more important to right wingers than actually, you know, implementing and monitoring their own social and economic policies.

In that, anti-liberal rancor is to the American conservative what hydrocarbons are to modern industry -- shut off the fuel supply, and everything just comes to a dead stop.

Liberals, it seems, are ALWAYS on the defensive, while Republicans are always on the offensive. Democrats like Wilson, FDR and LBJ tried to implement new economic and social models -- which, of course, were fought tooth and nail by Republican resistors -- so that by the time those policies come to pass, they’d been largely defanged or neutralized as effective programs. Clearly, this is something you are seeing with the Obama presidency -- alike The United Nations, Social Security and Medicaid before it, it’s almost certain that an Affordable Care Act-like overhaul will be necessary at some point in the nation’s future. And I’d be willing to bet my bottom dollar that, alike Social Security and Medicaid (ironically, two liberally-implemented programs that senior Republicans now deem as necessary social entitlements) the aged neo-cons of 50 years will be screaming to keep ObamaCare models in place when the next great Democratic social reformer comes along with some kooky, crazy idea that might just have the audacity to think more than two years into the future.

And with all of that in mind, you know something? Despite being vilified and constantly obstructed, liberals still don’t hate conservatives with as much soul-consuming hatred as the right wingers hate them. In fact, a lot of times, leftists don’t hate right wingers AT ALL -- it’s just that, alike that one deranged uncle that hears voices in his head telling him to put metal things in the microwave to appease Jesus -- liberals feel like it’s their duty to keep rightists from burning down the retirement home. If liberals are the nurturing, common-sense employing mothers of America -- who just want to see their children grow up as prosperous, civil individuals -- then conservatives are the beer-chugging, deer-killing, job-hating absentee fathers that don’t give a shit what you do when you’re 18, just as long as you keep your radio in your room turned down and you’re home before 11. And heaven help you if they find out you’re dating a black person…

Of course, there’s a wide chasm between what liberals generally think and what conservatives generally think. Leftists believe in collectivism and constant restructuring of social policies -- preferably, with individual economic improvement via secularized, civic-focused structures casting as wide a social security net as possible -- while rightists believe “The Lord of the Flies” is a pretty good document to found an entire sociopolitical ideology upon. Making money is good, government sucks and the government taking your money (and gasp, perhaps using it on social programs that benefit less fortunate people) is the worst atrocity imaginable -- no matter what variety of conservatism you dig, if you believe the above three to be self-evident (alongside a contentious fourth pillar we’ll discuss shortly),  than congratulations, you’ve been invited to the boys’ club.

The fact of the matter is, right wing ideology in the United States covers a lot more territory than some would initially think -- in fact, it covers ground so large that it happens to push completely antithetical sub-ideologies together, as individual values and mores secondary to the much larger values stated above become unlikely bedmates.

As you can see in the figure above, the right wing spectrum runs all the way from God-fearing, drug-hating theocratic prohibitionists -- the sort of Victorian prudes that place religious conviction over personal liberty -- all the way up to market anarchists -- godless, amoral hyper-capitalists that not only believe man is without redemption, but actually EMBRACE humanity’s Hobbesian vileness as financial virtue. Clearly, these folks ought not to be part of the same team, but since they share similar fundamental moral values -- and much more importantly, a common enemy -- they can, theoretically, put their differences aside and declare the same jihad on liberalism.

There are some differences between the two poles, of course, the largest (at first glance, anyway) being the divisive issue of religion. The reality is, outside of their economic convictions, the bookends of modern conservatism -- the Sarah Palin loving, illegal immigrant-despising and Judeo-Christian God worshipping Tea Party side and the Ron Paul celebrating, weed legalizing Reddit atheist Libertarian side -- have almost dialectically opposite social policy beliefs. While the Tea Party side tends to have your “traditional” Republican values, the social policy values favored by Libertarians are not only closely aligned to the social policy values of those dastardly liberals, but in some cases, even more extreme.

Looking at core beliefs, there isn’t a whole lot of common ground between Tea Party conservatives and Libertarian conservatives. While the Michelle Bachmann-followers of America foster a profound hatred of abortion, secularization and drug legalization, the Gary Johnson-ites of America are usually staunch defenders of those same ideals. Two of the more understated, albeit contentious, issues among the Sunni and Shiite Republicans involves military support and the topic of illegal immigration; while most Tea Partiers are damn-damn-damn opposed to comprehensive immigration reform, there’s a large contingency of Libertarian Republicans that are in favor of it. Similarly, while a near majority of Tea Partiers celebrate the military with utmost zeal, a large number of Libertarians are anti-war and would like to see defense spending on the downturn…a sharp contrast to the ideology of Tea Partiers, who believe that the military is the ONLY aspect of big government that’s worthy of funding.

The only omnipresent, hot button issues it seems as if the two poles of conservatism can agree upon are less taxation (obviously) and gun control -- that being, there shouldn’t be any of the latter whatsoever. As a social policy, gun ownership/celebration/worship appears to be the ONLY core cultural value, outside of economic beliefs, that the two wildly divergent camps can agree upon -- in fact, it’s an ideological fixture secured so tightly in both camps that one could make the argument that “gun ownership is completely unquestionable as a civil right” constitutes an unofficial “fourth pillar” of modern U.S. conservatism.

So there’s this concept called “cognitive dissonance.” It postulates that people, by our very nature, are incapable of holding two contradictory ideas in our collective heads at the same time, so as a means of relieving such mental stress, we try to find ways to push out one idea and embrace its opposite. When you look at this modern conservative coalition, however, it quickly becomes apparent that it’s an alliance COMPLETELY anchored around cherished, antithetical ideas -- in other words, an ideological system that not only rejects the whole cognitive dissonance theorem, but completely embraces it’s polar opposite (“cognitive harmony,” would you call it?)

And as such, being a conservative in this day and age entails a necessary investment in contradictory ideals.

As you can see by the examples above, “logical incongruity” isn’t necessarily a problem for modern U.S. conservatives. While one act supposedly celebrating individual liberty and right can be championed as virtue, another individual act of liberty and right can be construed as a socially negative imposition that MUST be corrected by state intervention. Thusly, the logic of “outlawing guns WON’T reduce gun violence” reigns supreme in many conservative circles, where the virtually identical supposition -- “outlawing abortions WON’T reduce women seeking abortions” is completely disregarded. The same can be said of conservative views regarding governmental powers; while federal decrees are largely seen as unfair impositions on states, most conservatives never seem to trudge up that state and local powers are often guilty of imposing FAR more impositions on the citizenry, in much more direct -- and consequential -- ways. Por exemple? Despite federal laws making abortions and adult novelties legal across the land, states like North Dakota and Alabama have decided that “state rights” matter more than federal decree, and have thus levied seriously unconstitutional impositions on its citizens. So if you’re wondering why so many sheriffs in Red State America keep yammering on an on about how they don’t have to follow national policy because of the Constitution -- you know, the same document that has the goddamned Supremacy Clause in it -- I reckon it’s just that inherent conservative cognitive harmonization in full effect.

From an ideological standpoint, democratic liberalism is a much more consistent philosophy than democratic conservatism -- mostly because liberalism anticipates and incorporates societal changes into policy ideals INSTEAD of railing against them like Don Quixote threshing at a windmill. The problem -- which, peculiarly, has become U.S. conservatism’s greatest characteristic in the modern age -- is that it’s attempting to serve two masters: unfettered personal liberty WITH unfettered economic liberty, an order where the market reigns supreme, the government limits social safeguards, and everybody is free(r) to do as they wish. The rub -- as the Great Depression and the post-Gilded Age taught us -- was that a super-unregulated market, sans government interaction, doesn’t necessarily lead to a citizenry becoming wealthier or more civil. In fact, the only times economic growth seems to happen in the U.S. is when federal impositions are placed upon an unfettered market and social safeguards are established for a citizenry…as proven here after the New Deal, here after the erection of the Great Society and holy shit, even right now, as apparent by the nation’s Consumer Price Index, which is at its highest plateau ever. And as far as civility and liberalism goes, look no further than this chart, which saw the nation’s homicide rate plummet underneath FDR, bottom out with Johnson and then decrease dramatically by the end of Clinton’s second term (after reaching its highest levels in modern history during the Reagan Administration.)

According to modern science, underdeveloped anterior cingulate cortexes are probably responsible for the existence of Sarah Palin. 

Not only does it seem as if social security programming correlates with economic upticks, golly gee, it sure seems like such investments tend to have a beneficial effect on general civility, too. But alas, that’s contra to the modern conservative mentality, which says the exact opposite of what empirical data indicates -- that less market intervention and less social services investments result in both economic and social improvements.

It’s not that modern conservative ideology seems impossibly fragmented and ignorant of real world data -- it actually IS impossibly fragmented and ignorant of real world data. Now, to what extent we can pin all of the ideology’s faults and foibles on the “cognitive harmony” theory above is debatable, but it sure seems to cover all of the bases as a potential explanation for why right wing thinking seems so…well, delusional.

And so, it may be disheartening to realize that a good half of the U.S. population subscribes to a political ethos that rejects the notion of cognitive dissonance as a mental practice, with unabashed hatred of the political other serving as the sole adhesive the glues together two utterly impossible ideological pillars together, but on the bright side? Only half of their kind want to take over the nation via an armed uprising, thankfully.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The Rocktagon Recap of UFC 160: Velasquez vs. Bigfoot 2!

Featuring a Canadian Whitesnake Fan Putting a Top Ranked Lightweight to Sleep “In The Still of The Night,” a Brazilian ass-kicker (who bares an uncanny resemblance to Robert DeNiro in “Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein") battling a Super Samoan to the very end and a Mexican-American Proving the Existence of Bigfoot…by kicking its ass, again!

About this time last year, the UFC ran one of its most ass-kicking cards ever -- an all Heavyweight, Knockout-Palooza that featured five main card finishes, and some undercard bouts littered with upsets and similarly awesome finales that made judges that night, for all intents and purposes, useless. Yeah, you can argue that the show was loaded with Strikeforce-esque mismatches, but if you can complain about a PPV event built from the ground up to contain as many face-breaking conclusions as possible, you sir or madam, need to find a new pastime, and hurriedly.

Alike UFC 146, tonight’s Zuffa-branded shindig seems to be genetically structured to result in concussions and bloodshed a plenty. I mean, for Christ’s sake, the main event is a re-do of arguably the most gore-soaked fight in company history, and with TKO-kingpins like Junior dos Santos, Mark Hunt, Glover Teixiera and TJ Grant (well, really more of a submission specialist than a knockout artist, but the dude can throw some ‘bos…just ask Matt Wiman) serving as undercard kindling, I think it’s pretty much a guarantee that the canvas will be painted orange and maroon long before the Heavyweight Championship bout kicks off.

Grab your girl, grab your nachos and grab your, well, whatever it is that you also like to grab folks: it’s time for UFC 160: Velasquez vs. Bigfoot 2!

Tonight’s show is emanating from Vegas, while I’m calling it, as always, from Bailey’s, which is we all know by now, is home to more per capita cleavage and dwarf inhabitants than the original “Total Recall.”

It’s a tradition for the house TV remote handlers to take their sweet time in switching the feed from cable to PPV, but tonight had to set an all-time record. Thank goodness UFC pads their programming with 15 minutes of superfluous B-roll, or else we may have missed the entire first fight of the evening during the delay!

Lightweight Bout
Donald Cerrone vs. KJ Noons

Earlier this year, Cerrone had his spleen pulsed into guacamole by Anthony Pettis. For what it’s worth, it’s been one of the very few missteps of Cerrone’s UFC tenure (well, outside of that one fight he had against Nate Diaz, but we’ll just skip over that one.) Of course, prior to that, Cerrone was one the best lightweight fighters in World Extreme Cagefighting, where he’s probably best known for his, uh, two-logy of fights with current UFC Lightweight strap holder Ben Henderson. Noons, on the other tape-wrapped hand, is a Strikeforce import making his UFC debut tonight. He’s lost four of his last five fights, and he needs a win here like Reese Witherspoon needs a DD on speed dial. And since Cerrone really, really wants to make up for that ass-kicking he suffered back in January, you can figure this one out on your own: folks, somebody’s going to get their head punched off, and it’s going to be awesome.

Cerrone out to “Cowboy” by Kid Rock. The first round begins with a leg kick exchange, and Cerrone connecting with a solid knee. Noons already bleeding above he eye. Cerrone with a takedown, but Noons pops back up. More leg kicks from Cowboy. Noons with some punches in succession, to which Cerrone responds with a decent high kick. Noons with a decent jab to end the round.

Cerrone with a takedown to begin the second. Noons up, and he stuffs a second takedown attempt. Noons with a solid jab, and Cerrone fires back with one of his own. Cerrone with a knee to Noons’ face. Noons with a spinning back fist, and Cerrone with another takedown. Cerrone concludes the second on top, raining elbows from above.

Third round. All Cerrone so far, so Noons needs a finish. Cerrone with some lefts, a knee and a high kick. Cerrone with a takedown. And that’s where Cerrone spends the rest of the fight, as he drops elbows until the bout expires. Noons is a sopping, bloody mess by the time this one’s all over. A 30-27 decision for Cerrone, but you probably didn’t need me to tell you that.

Lightweight Bout
Gray Maynard vs. TJ Grant

Whoever wins this bout, Dana White said, is guaranteed a title bout against Ben Henderson at some point. With just one loss on his record (and this really funky double knockout from 2007), Maynard has already had two opportunities to strap the UFC Lightweight championship around his waist, but as it turns out, that Frankie Edgar dude is really, really hard to kill, even after you nearly kill him in the first round twice in a row. TJ Grant, a Canuck on a four fight winning streak, was last seen elbowing Matt Wiman’s face, hard. Having been in barnburners with solid punchers like Johny Hendricks and Dong Hyun Kim, this Grant fellow seems to be able to take a hit as good as he can give one. No doubt, both these fellows want a highlight reel KO heading in into their presumptive title fights, so for those of you that like dental destruction and nonconsensual face realignment surgeries…well, you might want to stay tuned for this one.

Grant uses “Here I Go Again” by Whitesnake as his entrance them, so I’m automatically rooting for him. Maynard begins the fight tossing some hard shots. Grant firing back now. Grant stuns Maynard, who starts swinging for the fences. Grant catches him again, and drops him with a right. More punches and a knee, and a stumbling Maynard collapses again. A few more shots on the ground, and this one is all over folks.

A super-impressive performance by Grant, who probably did more than enough to earn himself a title shot against Ben Henderson sometime before the year’s over.

Time for an interview with some online poker bloke. Since that last fight ended so quickly, looks like we’re going to have to reach into the bag of prelims for some time filler.

So, we’ve got George Roop taking on Brian Bowles. Both dudes begin the fight swapping paint hard, with Roop deciding to throw in some head kicks and stuff. Bowles retaliates with some punches, and Roop is doing his thing with the low kicks. Bowles with a stiff body shot that drops Roop with seconds left in the first. He aims for a guillotine, but the clock saves him.

Roop with a body kick to begin the second. And then, he drops Bowles with jab. Some follow-up punches on the ground, and that’s all she wrote.

MIKE TYSON and Chuck Liddell are in the House! And also, Lil’ Jon. But mostly those first two.

Light Heavyweight Bout
Glover Teixeira vs. James Te-Huna

Unless the rules of the cosmos no longer apply, this should be the last night we see James Te-Huna’s face, with all the usual adornments like teeth and noses, for quite awhile. Despite the New Zealander’s four fight winning streak (over such illustrious “who the hell are theys?” such as Ryan Jimmo and Aaron Rosa), Te-Huna is a MASSIVE underdog in tonight’s fight, primarily because his opponent is a Brazilian ass-and-face-kicker riding an EIGHTEEN fight win streak, who since 2006, has collect 16 finishes. UFC fans probably know him best from when he made Quinton Jackson look like a bitch, and also that one time he turned a dude into a zombie halfway through a fight at UFC 153. Of course, anything can happen in the Octagon, but if I was a betting man? I’d say that somewhere between the seventh or eighth row is where you’ll find most of Te-Huna’s bicuspids in about five minutes.

Crowd is definitely behind Glover. Te Huna keeping his distance, trying to find his range. Glover closing in. Glover with a takedown. Te Huna back up. And Glover says “I don’t think so,” locks in a standing guillotine, drops, rolls, twists, and this fight is over.

In the post fight, Glover said getting to meet Mike Tyson was better than winning the fight. Looks like somebody spent the better part of their childhood playing “Punch-Out!!”, no?

Heavyweight Bout
Junior dos Santos vs. Mark Hunt

In this absolutely inconceivable fight, one of two things is destined to happen: either Mark Hunt’s nigh-impossible, Cinderella with love handles comeback story will continue with one of the greatest upsets in Heavyweight MMA history, OR Junior dos Santos -- the world’s consensus number two Heavyweight -- will brutalize his Kiwi combatant like it was a PRIDE FC show circa 2005 or something. Granted, we all know Hunt -- a legitimate three-combat sport heavyweight -- can strike like a mofo, but Junior dos Santos? That dude can…well, just look at what he did to Shane Carwin back in 2011. This much we know: there is absolutely no way this fight can end WITHOUT someone splayed out on the canvas, minus several attached bones they used to have. As to who will be the hurter and hurtee, however, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Mark Hunt…with silver hair…out to some “Lion King” sounding shit. JDS, as always, is out to “Gonna Fly Now.” JDS clearly the house favorite. Both guys circling, JDS with two solid punches, and dos Santos DROPS Hunt with a looping overhand…you know, the same one that murder-death-killed Cain Velasquez in their first fight. Hunt, of course, is impervious to what we mortals call “pain,” so instead of passing out like 99 percent of the rest of humanity, he stumbles back to his feet and starts throwing these wild ass haymakers. Hunt throwing some serious punches, but nothing connecting. Meanwhile. JDS uses that scientific boxing to, you know, connect, with his punches instead. Hunt pressing forward, but JDS clearly landing more (and more effective) strikes so far.

Hunt out swinging. JDS using the jab to keep Hunt at bay. JDS looking for the knockout blow now. Hunt trying to mix in some low kicks, but they’re not really doing much. Tons of punches from JDS, but Hunt keeps going forward. Spin kick from JDS, and he whiffs on what would have been a devastating jab. Hunt looking gassed, but still throwing some threatening punches. JDS says “eff this mess” and takes him down instead. The crowd boos, of course. JDS drops some elbows as the round expires. Definitely dos Santos’ fight after two.

Hunt needs to finish. He comes out throwing these wild overhands and trying to toss out some low kicks. To no avail, clearly. JDS with two jabs and a low kick of his own. Hunt’s accuracy when it comes to connecting with those bombs is probably about as good as Shaq’s free throw percentage. JDS with a barrage of punches now. Hunt closing in, but JDS starts clipping him with uppercuts. About a minute left in the fight now. JDS with several right hands, and he DROPS Hunt with a wheel kick. One punch on the ground, and this thing is waved off with less than 50 seconds left in the final round.

A really, really good fight. Probably worth going out of your way to see, if you’re a huge enough MMA fan. And shall we turn our attention towards dos Santos’ presumptive next opponent now?

UFC Heavyweight Championship
Cain Velasquez (Champion) vs. Antonio Silva (Challenger)

The last time these two dudes met, the end outcome was a five minute fight bloodier than the first eight “Friday the 13th” movies combined. For those of you that have forgotten about that fateful evening almost one year ago today, here’s what happened…and if you’re eating anything with ketchup on it right now, you might want to put down your grub before clicking on the link. Anyway, Velasquez, fresh off beating the tar out of Junior dos Santos last December, defends his strap against “Bigfoot” Silva -- a man who pulled off one of the greatest upsets in UFC history when he KTFO of Alistair Overeem back in February. The last go-around, saying that Velasquez utterly dominated Silva would be like saying Grenada was a bit lop-sided; and yeah, there’s a very, very strong chance we’ll be seeing a similar slaughter in the cage this evening.

Huge ovation for Velasquez. Silva, obviously, looks a lot bigger, but Velasquez looks a bit more muscular. Cain shooting for a takedown. Can’t get it. Shoots for another. Can’t get that one either. Velasquez with a right, and Silva goes down. Velasquez with some brutal shots from the side on the ground, and this one is already over. Official stoppage time? Just 1:21 of the very first round.

SO WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE? Well, it’s pretty much a given that we’ll be seeing Velasquez vs. dos Santos 3 before the year is over. And considering their dominance of the division, it’s likely we’ll be seeing these two go toe-to-toe like Sugar Ray and Jake LaMotta over and over again for the next five years or so. As stated earlier, I think TJ Grant was impressive enough here tonight to get that Ben Henderson shot, and I think it’s time we finally gave Glover somebody in the top ten to tango with. Phil Davis, perhaps? As for Silva, looks like its back to the end of the chow line for awhile, while Hunt -- now out of title contention -- has at least made himself look bankable and credible as a division threat. Of course, we all want to see Hunt vs. Roy Nelson at some point, but for the time being, how about putting Hunt in the cage against the winner of the upcoming Matt Mitrione/Brendan Schuab battle?

THE VERDICT? A really good show, with four out five main card bouts featuring finishes -- three of which came in the very first round, and one that entailed one of the best bouts of the entire year. Really, this is one of the stronger shows the company has put on in quite some time; if they manage to outdo this one later in 2013, we’re in store for a hell of a year at the fights, my friends.

HIGHLIGHT OF THE NIGHT: The dos Santos/Hunt fight is already one of the best heavyweight bouts this decade. Oh, and TJ Grant’s knockout of Gray Maynard was similarly dope.

LOWLIGHT OF THE NIGHT: …well, I kinda’ want my main events to last a little bit longer than a millisecond, so consider me mildly irked by the Velasquez/Silva re-do.

ROGAN-ISM OF THE NIGHT: Not so much a quote as it is an astute observation -- just how DOES that dude manage to pinpoint an exact number of ice cubes scattered about on the canvas between rounds? Apparently, weed gives you super-vision or something.


  • Blood stains are a real bitch clean off canvassing.
  • If a dude comes out to an eighties hair metal ballad, he’ll probably win. 
  • Meeting a one-time boxing legend turned disgraced pop cultural icon is better than earning a paycheck. 
  • A wheel kick to the side of the face is a Super Samoan’s kryptonite. 
  • Sasquatch DOES exist…and it can’t take a punch, either. 

Well, that’s all I’ve got this week. Crank up “Hand Over Your Guns” by Adil Omar and “Point of No Return” by Hard Target, and I’ll be seeing you in just a few.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Marginalization of the Heterosexual, White Anglo-Saxon Protestant Male?

Are the relatively recent cries of oppression just a bunch of bellyaching, or is there actually a granule of truth to the majority’s accusations of persecution?

The future, it appears, doesn’t look to good for Caucasian males.

According to United States Census Bureau projections, the total percentage of white people in the U.S. in 2060 will be just 43 percent -- making white people a plural “minority” for the first time in the country since white folks killed off all the Indians way back when.

According to researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, the birth rates for males in the U.S. have dropped considerably over the last 40 years, with 104.6 male births being born for every 100 girls born in the U.S. in 2001. However, in 1970, the ratio was 105.5-to-100, and among white births? The ratio dropped from 105.9-to-104.7 over the same time frame.

Those 2060 Census projections tell us that the male to female birth ratio will remain locked at 104.7-to-100 for the next 45 or so years, but at the same time, the contemporary ratio of males to females in the U.S., ages 18-to-65 right now is just 98.9 men for every 100 women. And looking at retirement-age statistics, things get even worse: regarding the nation’s current 65-and-older population, there’s just 77 men for every 100 women in the U.S.

From 2010 to 2100, the United Nation’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs predicts that the male-to-female gap will close just marginally, with the ratio predicted to increase from 97-to-100 in 2010 to about 99-to-100 by the dawn of the 22nd century. The wildcard here is the average life expectancy, which from 2010 to 2100, is supposed to jump from 81.3 to 90.8 for females, while expectancies for males are projected to increase from 76.2 to just 85.7. Coupled with a seemingly slight increase in the net production rate (the number of females born per woman is predicted to increase from 1.00 to 1.02), and you have yourselves a fairly unavoidable predicament: whatever shape America’s future takes, it’s one that’s pretty much guaranteed to have less males in it.

On the global level, UN predictions have the United States population swelling to about 400 million or so in 2100. Besides Russia and France, it’s the only country with a sizable Caucasian population to make the list of most populous countries by the time the 22nd century kicks off -- while mass population increases are predicted throughout Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, overall population totals in Europe and the Americas are expected to bottom out, and hard.

No doubt reading the proverbial scrawling on the wall, some of the more extreme-minded white folks out there have begun to pitch fits about this all-but-inevitable demographical switch-up, resulting in the explosion of both men’s rights (or “anti-misandry”) organizations and pseudo white nationalists groups over the course of what seems to be just a few years…heck, maybe even the last few months, for that matter.

On one side of the fence (and on opposite sides of the Atlantic), an expected reaction to the biological decline of whites has been nativist movements in the U.S. (where groups like VDARE declare that Hispanic immigrants and African-Americans of supposed lesser intelligence are destined to burn U.S. culture to the ground) and continental alliances like “Stop the Islamification of Europe”, who are convinced that Caucasian genes are soon to be extinct due to dwindling European birthrates in conjunction with mass Muslim immigration. To be fair, organizations of the like have been fairly visible for quite some time, but it hasn’t been until fairly recently that said organizations have taken up this deathly serious, pseudo-genetic jihad against absolutely unstoppable statistical realities.

Of course, it’s quite difficult to talk about white males without also talking about two of the utmost “qualifiers” for Anglo-Saxon-hood -- those being heterosexuality and Protestantism. Needless to say, quite a number of miffed, hyper-heterosexual, hyper non-Catholic honks have taken to the Internets in protest, accusing the proliferation of the “homosexual” and “atheist” agendas as global endeavors to eradicate “whiteness” from the face of the Earth.

With that in mind, it’s a little hard to see where all of this “persecution” is supposedly taking place: currently, homosexuals across the “gay spectrum” -- meaning, ostensibly, everyone from “barsexual” college girls that occasionally French kiss one another to post-op transsexual Ultimate fighters -- make up less than 4 percent of the national populace. By comparison, an estimated 30 percent of Americans -- including a whopping 42 percent of U.S. males  -- have suffered from alcoholism at some point in their lives, while about 3.5 percent of the U.S. population, a sum tantamount to the nation’s estimated LGBTQI populace, are purported to suffered from some form of PTSD. Despite representing a good 96 percent of the entire national population, however, this hasn’t prevented a great number of extinction-threatened white men from claiming to be victims of some nefarious plan to “homosexualize” American culture.

Even Protestants (*) -- in 2008, representing a plurality of the total American populace -- claim to be objects of persecution in this, the waning days of supposed white male superiority. This, despite projections from the Pew Research Center that assert that the number of Christians in the US is expected to INCREASE from about 250 million right now to an assumed 329 million in 2050 (and making things really interesting? The same forecast predicts China -- yes, that China -- to have the world’s second highest per capita Christian population by the midpoint of the 21st century.)

(*) Why Protestants instead of just Christians, in general? Primarily because larger throngs of non-Caucasians are Catholic rather than Protestant - indeed, outside of every predominantly Anglo-Saxon country on Earth (which is most of them), it’s pretty much a guarantee that if someone’s Christian, they’re going to be one of the Catholic denomination (or some other nationalist orthodoxy which doesn't really resemble Protestantism at all.)

In the face of such a perceived decline in global power (let us not forget that most of the world’s most powerful conglomerates are still owned by white men, and perhaps the white man’s “greatest” cultural imposition -- the English language -- remains the international lingua franca of business and politics) it’s not surprising that so many frightened white folks take refuge in these extremist ideologies. Indeed, this perceived “diminishment” of Caucasian influence has led some -- including Anders Breivik -- to retaliate with extremely deadly force. Alas, while many culturally threatened white men turn to pseudo (and sometimes, just straight-up) racist causes and organizations to quell the pain of their own envisioned downfall, others have instead been drawn to what can only be called a horrifically misguided rejoinder to feminism.

The Men’s Rights Movement isn’t necessarily a new thing -- according to the world’s most reliable source of information, it’s been a fairly sizable cause since at least the 1970s -- but it hasn’t been until recently, as in, the last five or so years, that the cultural spotlight has been focused on the matter.

Now, we're not saying that Jimmy Buffet should contact his lawyers are anything, but...

With organizational monikers like “A Voice For Men,” “The Men’s Rights Association” and “The National Center for Men,” thousands of wannabe Al Bundys have congregated together, establishing what is, in essence, their own chapters of the National Organization of Men Against Amazonian Masterhood. And unlike the protagonists of “Married…with Children,” the supporters of such organizations treat their cause as a serious political matter, tackling hard-hitting issues like domestic abuse laws and paternal guardian rights with the sort of gruff self-righteousness that would surely make Gloria Steinham envious. Well, probably more furious than envious, but whatever.

The MensRights subreddit  -- populated, as of May 2013, with almost 70,000 subscribed readers -- teems with vein-popping declarations of reverse gender discrimination.

“Female Teachers Give Male Pupils Lower Marks, Claims Study” reads one post.

“Norway’s first female admiral was hired illegally,” reads another.

“Lauryn Hill gets 3 months for failing to file taxes. Wesley Snipes got 3 years,” reads yet another.

On a “fact sheet” posted on the same forum, a number of examples of “male discrimination” are listed. Among other tidbits, the frequenters of the site note the following as “proof” that gender inequality is a reality, only tilted against those with penises:

- Circumcising male babies “against their will” is illegal, while female circumcision remains illegal. (Note how the language makes no clear distinction between the forced genital mutilation of women and the common medical practice of removing a day old infant’s foreskin.)

- Female-owned businesses receive free money from the government, simply because they are owned by females (as verified by a Reason Magazine op-ed, far and away the least biased news source in the history of humanity.)

- The majority of homeless are men. (No doubt due to some mysterious, international cabal of men-haters, and having nothing at all to do with the poor, individual decision-making of said homeless individuals.)

Of course, these organizations say nary a damn thing about the pay wage gap, which in case you haven’t heard, favors men by a ludicrous margin. Nor do these organizations bring up the fact that a majority of Fortune 500 companies are owned by males (almost exclusively of the Caucasoid variety, I might add), and that while women represent a clear majority in the total U.S. population, females only account for about 38 percent of the 113th Congress.

Now, do these men’s rights advocates have some basis in their accusation of legal and educational practice discrepancies among the sexes? Well, seeing as how 59 percent of graduate students in America are female, and that mothers receive primary custody anywhere from 66 percent to 88 percent of the time in U.S. divorce hearings, I think it’s stupid to say that they’re not onto something. That said, if there is such a pervasive bias against men in American culture in general, than how come men, despite being a statistical minority, still maintain almost utter control of the nation’s economic and political institutions?

...and I will give you one guess as to which major cable news website this little exchange comes from...

In that, you start seeing the fundamental absurdity of the “discriminated man” theory. Granted, there may be some institutional peculiarities at play, but by and large, social power is still vested, almost exclusively, in the hands of males in the United States. The same can very much be said of Christians, white people and heterosexuals -- together, a quartet of allegedly persecuted majorities that claim to be marginalized by those that are actually marginalized as peoples.

Even in the midst of all those afore-mentioned demographical changes that are almost certain to occur over the next 100 years or so in the States, the status quo doesn’t seem like it will be getting any less status or quo than it is right now. Unless the combined minorities of America form some sort of militantly anti-whitey voting bloc between now and 2050, it seems very unlikely that Caucasian Americans will lose any of their grip on national economic and political power over the 21st century. While there may be less men than women, and more non-whites than there used to, it’s not really a sure bet that this demographical change will effectively result in more women in “minority” populations obtaining political or cultural power. In fact, through the global expansion of Christianity and English, it’s quite likely that Anglo-Saxon Protestants could actually increase their worldwide, geopolitical clout over the next decade: whatever perceived cultural power the supposedly oppressed white man may lose in a hypothetical “Eurabia” or “Aztlan,” the WASP would almost certainly make up for with a heightened cultural presence in Asia and, irony of ironies, central-Africa.

Realistically, outside of a few, comparatively minor legal policies and institutional practices (which in no way, shape or form seem to have any profound influence on the gender dynamics of social power in the U.S.), there can hardly be considered a systemic oppression of males in America, at all. Rather, most of the cries of “male persecution” are nothing more than the piping of radicalized losers, who attempt to mask their own social ineptitude under ridiculous, synthetic causes such as “involuntary celibacy” or “reverse racism.”

There’s something to be said of a peoples that can be a geographical, economic and social majority -- with utmost control of a nation’s cultural institutions, to boot -- and still claim to be a marginalized population.

And whatever that “something to be said” is? I assure you…it’s probably not worth wasting your time to hear.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

B-Movie Review: “Mikey” (1992)

The movie the nanny state (still) doesn't want you to see!

In 1993, two-year-old James Bulger was brutally murdered by two 10-year-old boys outside of Liverpool. The shocking case rattled U.K. society to its very core, with plenty of concerned folks pointing the finger of blame at violent media. Of all things, “Child’s Play 3” became the immediate scapegoat, seeing as how one of the kids that committed the murder had rented the film prior to the slaying. Never a peoples to freak out over isolated social incidents and invoke sweeping legislative measures as a result, the killings lead directly to a revision to the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act, making England’s already restrictive-as-a-set-of-tight-undies Video Recordings Act even stricter.

In the aftermath of the Bulger homicide, the British Board of Film Classification (who, even now, bars films like “Murder Set Pieces" and “Grotesque” from public screenings) clamped down on American imports, censoring the poop out of flicks like “Natural Born Killers” and “The Good Son.” While almost all of the films heavily cut by the BBFC back in the mid ‘90s have been granted certificates since, one film from the era, in particular, stands out.

“Mikey,” a 1992 offering from Warner Brothers, was a direct-to-video cheapie in the States, that seemed like it was destined for late night Showtime screenings and then, eternal irrelevancy. While nobody in the U.S. gave two shakes of a rat’s Johnson about the flick, the censors in the U.K. were downright HORRIFIED by the film’s premise, and with the Bulger murder still firmly embedded in the national consciousness, the BBFC decided to ban the film outright in the parts of the United Kingdom that weren’t called “Northern Ireland.

But, here’s the really interesting thing: the film was never re-granted certification after being initially pulled, and as a result? For all intents and purposes, “Mikey” remains a verboten film in the U.K. to this very day. That’s right, muchachos: the film we’ll be looking at today is more or less STILL ILLEGAL in jolly old England.

Let me start off by saying that this movies wastes absolutely ZERO time at all before things get all murdery and stuff. The film begins with a kid playing with fire, who is subsequently bitch-slapped by his adopted mama for his reckless behavior. Exacting revenge, the murderous moppet proceeds to drown his adopted sister in a swimming pool and electrocute his state-appointed mother via the old “hair dryer in the bathtub” routine. His adopted pa ambles in after a busy day at the office, and the main character greets him by sending him through a plate glass window (he got “Home Alone-d” by some conveniently scattered marbles -- as it turns out, marbles serve as a more prominent plot point in this film than in “Marble Madness,” ultimately.) After that, the kid breaks out a metal baseball bat and pummels his guardian to a bloody pulp, all the while recording his onslaught on one of those early ‘90s camcorders that, back then, cost more than a Chevy Tahoe. All this, and we haven’t even reached the 10 minute mark of the movie yet!

On the silver screen, he's a murderous moppet that periodically defrauds millions from the FBI. Is it any wonder he ended up with a rap sheet like this one in real life?
Afterwards, we have the obligatory “detectives investigate the crime scene”, uh, scene, in which the main character -- the eponymous Mikey -- tells a whopper of a lie to the Lorenzo-Lamas coiffed homicide investigator about what “really happened” that fateful day in the suburbs. Garnering an automatic nomination for worst forensics team in the history of motion pictures, nobody in the damn unit questions the kids’ accusations that everyone was killed in a robbery -- especially since nothing was stolen, and there were no signs, whatsoever, of a break-in.

Next, Mikey does some play therapy with a guidance counselor, who totally buys into his façade of innocence. Following a totally irrelevant scene where Mikey’s leather-clad foster aunt refuses to take custody of him (seriously, it’s the only scene in the film where she makes an appearance), we witness Mikey meeting his new adoptive family -- a disgustingly, early 1990s late-phase yuppie couple -- at an Arizona airport.

In the next scene, we learn a little bit more about Rachel and Neil, Mikey’s new guardians. Subsequently, we’re introduced to half the damn neighborhood, who show up to congratulate the family on their latest acquisition. Mikey rummages through his new toys, and his dad -- while dressed up, not at all insensitively, in Native American regalia -- teaches his new son how to use a bow and arrow. And as Nancy Lanza so perfectly illustrated for us last winter, perhaps teaching your child how to be better at a decisively deadly skill may or may not have been this Neil fellow’s moment of parental excellence.

In the next scene, Mikey is in class for the first time, and the teacher just so happens to be that one chick from “Hellraiser.” All the kids hoot and holler as she places another marble -- told you about those things being a prominent plot point -- in this weird-ass Rube Goldberg machine. After that, Mikey and one of his school chums take a short cut through a cemetery, where Mikey -- channeling the spirit of Morrissey, it seems -- remarks that his friend should be worried about living people, not the dead ones. Not like that’s eerily ominous as a statement or anything.

While Mikey’s new parents -- who I am convinced are anthropomorphic versions of Tommy Pickles’ folks from “Rugrats” -- discuss how happy they are to be moms and dads, Mikey sits in class, in utter awe of this electricity generating contraption. Hmm. He attempts to cheat at the marble-prize-contraption thing from earlier by placing a few marbles from home in the device, but his teacher catches him. She said she won’t tell his parents -- whom are her neighbors -- but she fully expects Mikey to tell his ma and pa himself about the incident. Mikey and his new parents then take a day off at the zoo, where Mikey returns a purse to an elderly couple without asking for a reward. Then, the teacher procures a gun from Mikey’s mom, because that’s certainly not going to be relevant at any point later on in the movie.

Call it a warning sign if you must, but if you ask me, this thing would just make for an AWESOME Troma movie. 

In class, Mikey draws a picture of a mutant turkey bloodily mutilating a pilgrim -- could it be that this entire film is an allegory for the colonialization of the Americas, with a hyper-lethal Caucasian invading the homeland of a naively receptive peoples and spreading death and misery around like smallpox-coated blankets? A little freaked out by the art project, the teacher decides to show it to some of her superiors, who really don’t give much of an eff. Afterwards, Mikey daydreams about beaning Major League Baseball batters, and his coach -- a dead ringer for George Hardy, he of “Troll 2” fame -- shows him a real-life child skeleton in science class. Spoiler: that’s not the last time we see that skeleton, either.

From there, we’re introduced to the older sister of Mikey’s friend-next-door, who scores some mouth-to-mouth after faking his own death (ever the way to endear yourself to potential romantic partners, clearly.) Later that evening, Mikey SNEAKS INTO HER BEDROOM and then he records a video of a fish eating its offspring in an aquarium. In class the next day -- I think, the chronology in this one is  a little difficult to pinpoint -- the “grand prize” within that Rube Goldberg thing is revealed, which I think is just your standard watch -- you know, something second graders are REALLY into at that age. Then, Mikey goes on a boat ride with his outside-the-statutory-limits crush, who praises him for his kissing abilities. Man, this homicidal elementary school student would NEVER misinterpret that innocuous statement as an invitation to stalk her and ruin her life, step-by-step, right?

After a brief chat with his new dad about what love is (awesome how he never asks any questions about that video his kid is watching, which just so happens to be a RECORDING of his former guardian’s murder), Mikey tries to film his crush undress, but her boyfriend shows up and they start making out. Infuriated, Mikey strikes back by killing her cat and placing it behind her boyfriend’s car, so that when he backs out of the driveway…a-ha! In class the next day (probably), the teacher takes note of Mikey poking himself with push pins, and starts lobbing around the term “unattached syndrome,” which apparently, isn’t a real disorder, whatsoever. Mikey then walks in own his new mama taking a bath (which should be warning sign number one that, as the great child psychologist Henry Hill oft remarked, “that boy ain’t right.”) offers her some flowers, and then starts talking about how he could potentially electrocute her with a hair curler. The hyper white person she is, she doesn’t think anything is, you know, peculiar about any of this.

Mikey is once again scarred, when his crush and her boyfriend make up after a brief falling out over the whole cat-squishing thing. The teacher -- over the course of the film, doing some lite sleuthing on this Mikey character -- ends up learning about Mikey’s former family getting Chris Benoit’d, and says its finally time shit got real. Meanwhile, Mikey decides to crash a Jacuzzi party being thrown by his crush and her BF, which concludes with Mikey showing us all why you should NEVER, EVER leave a ghetto blaster right next to a hot tub.

The teacher contacts the almost-mulleted homicide detective we haven’t seen since the movie began, and Mikey sees some indelibly creepy shit to his crush. After making a joke about her boyfriend recently receiving “a huge shock,” his crush finally starts thinking, “you know, this little kid might be a little messed up.” And then, the teacher gets a fax about Mikey’s former mom getting electrocuted and…well, you can almost smell the dénouement a-brewin’.

My favorite part is how he's watching a video cassette without their being anything remotely resembling a VCR in the shot.
Anyway, Rachel walks in on Mikey, who claims to be watching “Mikey’s Funniest Home Videos” -- i.e.,  some footage of his recent murderous antics. He then picks up a hammer and goes after his mama (who is absolutely, unbelievably calm about the fact that someone is trying to kill her) like a barrel in Donkey Kong. Cue the “Halloween” chase section of the movie, that concludes with a stairwell tumble and some glass shards jammed into some highly vital organs. The teacher (with handgun en tow) and the coach from earlier decide to break into Mikey’s parents’ house, and uncover the “bodies” of Mikey and Rachel. Of course, Mikey survived the fall, and he quickly unloads the bullets from the gun his teacher picked up from his mom earlier in the picture. For his intervention efforts, the coach quickly receives an arrow through the gizzards. Yes, I guess it would’ve been easier had the kid just SHOT the dude with the handgun, but even in the pre-Columbine world, movie makers were more than a little concerned about depicting youngsters popping caps in the asses of others.

With his teacher cornered, Mikey whips out a sling shot, places a metal marble in it, and asks his instructor to teach him one last subject (and I swear, this is the actual, DIRECT quote from the movie): “How to diiiiiiiiiie!” Cue slow-motion, Raimi-cam headshot, and we are quickly running out of people to kill in this picture.

Mikey’s dad calls, and anticipating his arrival, Mikey begins fiddling with some gas lines. He then saunters over to his neighbor’s house, and is quickly rebuffed by his crush. Dad comes home, and uncovers a ghastly “dinner” waiting for him, which includes his recently butchered wife and neighbors. One Molotov cocktail later, and the property value in that subdivision gets lowered in a hurry.

The film concludes with Mikey’s crush asking if Mikey really did die in the explosion. The police say they uncovered an eight year old skeleton from the charred ruins, but what do you know, it was actually the skeleton of that kid from science class! And our ultimate, ultimate image of the movie is another yuppie WASP couple meeting with a child welfare agent, who are so excited to pick up “Josh,” whom family services allegedly found ambling around in the desert, apparently addled by amnesia. And what do you know, this “Josh” kid is actually “Mikey,” and his new guardians have no idea that he’s a psychopath that’s going to systematically kill them and everyone they love! And on that upbeat note, the film fades to black, and the credits start rolling.

Admittedly, I had some pretty low expectations heading into the movie, but dabnabbit, I actually kinda’ enjoyed it. Granted, it’s not a great film by any stretch of the imagination, but as disposable piece of cornball cinema, it’s actually way better than it probably should’ve been. It’s got some tense moments, the pacing is pretty good, and the acting -- while occasionally cheesy -- is quite a bit better than what you’d see in most straight-to-video offerings from the era.

Probably the only time you could say "flying silver death ball" and "horror movie" in the same sentence and NOT be referencing one of the "Phantasm" movies. 

The film was directed by a guy named Dennis Dimster, who, judging from his IMBD page, must’ve been a child actor himself at one point. Maybe the entire film is a metaphor for the rigors of being an underage thespian, in a Hollywood climate that treats youngsters like slabs of meat as opposed to children, then? The teacher, as noted above, was played by Ashley Laurence -- aka, the early ‘90s scream queen that starred in the first two “Hellraiser” movies before fading away into B-moviedom (but by all means, if you haven’t seen her in “Lightning Bug,” it’s probably worth catching on Hulu or something.) But the PREMIER mind-eff of the entire picture is that the psychotic kid in the movie is played by THE KID FROM “BLANK CHECK!” As soon as I made that connection, my skull almost exploded, I tell you what.

As far as the subtext of the film goes, I’m not really sure if there’s supposed to be some sort of deeper message here about child psychology or WASP culture. I mean, you could possibly chalk up all of the brazen ignorance of the counselors and parents in the film as indicative of an anti-psychiatry or anti-yuppie ideology, but I kinda’ doubt it. And hey, what the hell: if “The Shining” can furtively be about ethnic genocide, then why can’t this movie be an even subtler allegory about the plight of Native Americans?

The ultimate question, I suppose, is whether or not “Mikey” lives up to its legendary banned status. To be fair, there are a lot of uncomfortable scenes, but it’s not really all that explicit a movie, and I figure unless your kid is the most impressionable moron on the planet, this film likely WON’T turn them into the next Jeffery Dahmer. There are thousands upon thousands of movies “worse” than this out there, and why it remains verboten in the U.K. today is simply perplexing -- well, until you remember that the BBFC is operated by a bunch of twits, anyway.

All in all, I kinda’ dug “Mikey.” As before, it’s not a truly great B-movie, but for a boring weekday screening, you could really do worlds worse. And if you are a young couple contemplating childrearing, this is the perfect method of cooling those loins if you are trying to avoid a trip to insemination-town, ostensibly.

Two and three quarter stars. Jimbo says check it out.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Propaganda Review: “Trickle Up Poverty” by Michael Savage (2010)

In which a gay-bashing Mexican-hater suggests the only way to defeat make-believe despotism is to counter it with ACTUAL fascist policies

I didn’t really know all that much about Michael Savage until I read “Trickle Up Poverty: Stopping Obama’s Attack on Our Borders, Economy and Security.” After completing Savage’s gargantuan, hate-filled manifesto, I took it upon myself to learn as much about this “Savage” character as I could.

After all, I’d hate to write about one of the worst pieces of shit I’ve ever read without knowing as much as I could about the even bigger piece of shit that wrote it. (And throughout this review, I’ll drop some periodic facts about the book’s author. They’re all 100 percent true, even though you’ll be praying to whatever deity you elect to follow that I was making them up.)

The big problem with “Trickle Up Poverty” -- an already dated, Tea Party-flavored piece of 2010 agitprop that I picked up for approximately one/twenty-fourth its original MSRP -- is that it’s loud. As in, voluble, ear-splitting and shrieking. You may not think that its physically possible for a book to give one a cochlea-ache, but trust me, after churning through all 316 pages of Savage’s spite-spewing opus, you’ll feel like you just returned home from a Slayer show, too. “Trickle Up Poverty” is an apoplectic, vein-stretching, spit-scattering, insane diatribe the likes of which is rarely seen outside of mental wards; once you finish off the tome, you’ll feel less like you just read something than you had your ear canal raped by a coked-up Glenn Beck.

My, where to begin on this one? Before I begin analyzing Savage’s wildebeest-on-angel-dust-like tirade about how everything even remotely associated with Obama is part of a Satanic communist ploy to overthrow America, I guess I should start off by stating my opinion on this Barack fellow. (Side note: just how long do we have to wait before Spell Checker accepts “Barack” as an official pronoun, anyway?)

On Obama, I’m fairly neutral. I can’t say that I’m a big fan of all of his practices, and pretty much all of that stuff he said he was going to do back in 2008 never came to fruition, but on the whole, I admire the guy for being able to put up with so much bullshit from the radical right contingency (and also, I kinda like the cut of his jib when it comes to healthcare, military and telling Wayne LaPierre to shut his face hole policies, but those are merely asides, I suppose.)

While it is true that W. caught a lot of flak during his presidency, at least the things people accused him of doing were, you know, based on actual things, like Iraq, Katrina and all of that suspicious market deregulation nobody on the right ever seems to bring up when discussing today’s contemporary economic unpleasantness. What Obama deals with, however, is something completely different -- as in, large throngs of people thinking he’s an impossible Marxist Communist Muslim Socialist Black Panther from Kenya that may or may not have killed his gay lover in a cocaine-fueled rage and/or teleported to Mars before. When tens of millions of people genuinely believe the logic-defying, lunatic rancor that neo-conservative blowhards like Savage puke over the airwaves, I think it’s next to impossible to NOT feel a little bit of sympathy towards this Barry chap.

A Russian Jew that grew up in New York, Michael Savage (born Michael Weiner…seriously) frequently criticizes leftist academics, despite the fact that he holds a Ph.D. (in ethnomedicine, of all things) from one of the nation’s foremost leftist academic hotbeds.

In the introduction to the tome, Savage wastes no time at all before mercilessly deriding Obama, slandering him as “The Destroyer” of American exceptionalism, the “traitor-in-chief” and a “reverse Robin Hood” that steals from the middle class and redistributes to the wealthy. Of course, Savage never really makes an effort to explain what constitutes “middle class” in America, but hey, who needs to elaborate on what class divisions are in order to refute the existence of class divisions, anyway?

As Savage continues to barf out his fingertips -- spreading the vitriolic upchuck through his keypad and into an electronic document, no doubt through some sort of nutritional science black magic he picked up at Berkeley -- he accuses Obama of attempting to forge a two-class society (the “U.S.S.A.,” as he nicknames it), which is part of some greater Pan-Leninist movement that the author never really elaborates upon. Which is probably for the best: the last thing this already backbreaking literary cinder block needs is a couple of  more irate pages on the European welfare state. He writes that the American “sheeple” (a term which he uses more frequently in the book than punctuation marks) are tired of Obama’s (at-the-time) one year reign, and cheers the then-emerging (and now practically mummified) Tea Party Movement as a citizens revolt against communist tyranny or some other buck wild bull shit that don’t make any sense.

Savage is the author of more than 35 books (some of which, it is worth noting, aren’t even written in crayon.) Among his illustrious literary forays? Books with such affable monikers as “The Death of the White Male,” “Liberalism is a Mental Disorder,” a book where he spends 200 pages comparing political figures to various zoo animals and no less than TWENTY tracts about homeopathic medicine (including 1984’s superb “Getting Off Cocaine,” which considering the palpable author slobber all over this book, is probably something Savage never actually did)

Chapter one begins with Savage referring to Obama as a “red diaper doper baby,” which must really sting if you’re in the first grade. His tendency to constantly use rhyming patterns as sentence glue becomes apparent quite early on in the manifesto -- at one point, equating “science” with the utterly nonsensical “lie-ence,” because that really gets the message across. For all you communication majors out there, you might note Savage’s logorrhea, tachylogia and cluttered speech as symptoms of “flight of ideas” syndrome -- a brain-to-mouth disorder that’s generally indicative of ADHD, schizophrenia or abuse of psycho stimulants. Not that this dude is a self-professed expert on cocaine, or anything.

More nerve-popping, schizoid rage follows, as he accuses Obama of appointing Maoist land grabbers to cabinet positions. He drones on some more about the redistribution of middle class wealth (once again, without giving us a number to demarcate WHO is middle class) and praises the proven to be Astroturf tea-party movement as a genuine grassroots phenomenon. He brings up Dale Robertson’s 15 Tea Party demands (a not at all fascist laundry list that defines gun ownership as a divine right and that once and for all, this here country belongs to Jesus and nobody else) and considers them a good start to mass reform. He then said that Obamacare is actually a thinly veiled reparations program, and that America’s entitlement programs are being exploited by “parasites from a different country of origin.” Citing a Tax Foundation study, he said that 60 percent of U.S. citizens take more from the government than they pay in taxes. You know, because all of those disabled people, senior citizens and children? Just eff them, man, just eff them. Taking a detour into some magical fantasy land where Reagan’s supply side policies created “trickle up affluence” (historical note: it did the exact opposite), he then segues into chapter two, which is more or less a putrid character assassination attempt that starts off with the author referring to Medicaid as nothing more than “socialized medicine for welfare recipients.”

Cue that old chestnut about Obama being trained by commies like Frank M. Davis and Bill Ayers, and some utterly imaginary chatter about the president going on a global “apology tour” to various world leaders. Then, Savage describes Obama as both a communist AND an anarchist, because shit, it’s apparently possible to be two completely antithetical things at the same time now. He calls Van Jones a thug (remember: to all right wingers, any black dude taller than Webster and more muscular than Urkel HAS to be a street criminal) and says Obama will do whatever he can to censor negative portrayals of him in the media, which fully explains how Savage has been able to successfully mass market half a dozen books accusing the President of being a Moslem Marxist that wants to destroy America without any difficulties.

Direct quote time: “Without question, Obama and his minions are out to do nothing less than imprison us in a totalitarian socialist system in which the federal government usurps our God-given right to make decisions for ourselves. That’s what his socialist redistribution of our earning through confiscatory tax policies and legislative initiatives is all about. He’s assuring that trickle up poverty becomes institutionalized in America.” Anyway, imagine that blowhard, grandiose bullshit being reshuffled over and over for 300 pages, and you pretty much have the entire book right in front of you.

Savage asks why Obama hasn’t released his college records yet. Apparently, despite having a PhD and spending all those years in post-secondary education, nobody told the author what FERPA was. He says that the primary reason liberals exist is to bring about the downfall of Western capitalist democracies (yep) and then rounds out the chapter by illustrating the fact that he has no idea what the differences are between Trotskyism, socialism and Leninism.

Savage, an ardent critic of homosexuality, was fired from MSNBC in 2006 after telling a gay listener to “only get AIDS and die.” Interestingly, Savage’s only “non-fiction” work, a 1984 book titled “Vital Signs,” was about a secretly homosexual, middle aged Jewish herbalist with a father complex that liked to hook up with ethnic prostitutes and say things like “Inner voice screaming at me for years, first rational, then crazy, telling me to do mad things. Every form of relief tried, painting, psychotherapy, running, diet, vitamins, etc., etc. Almost uncontrollable now. Impulses to stab children, strangers, wife, self with scissors.”

Chapter three is all about Savage’s anti-communist upbringing in New York, which includes a passage on how Marx was a deadbeat hippie (probably one of the few statements in the book that has any historical merit to it whatsoever.) He goes on a couple of more tirades against Lenin, Stalin and Saul Alinksy (as in, that guy that all neo-cons perpetually demonize, even though the entire Tea Party organizational structure and outreach model were patterned after “Reveille” and “Rules for Radicals”) and he says some shit about how Boeing is so much better than Airbus because Boeing wasn’t receiving government subsidies (even though they were - in the form of about $5 billion in illegal state aid.) Also, the irony meter almost breaks when Savage quotes J. Edgar Hoover -- the liberty-torching mastermind behind the Gestapo-esque COINTELPRO program of the 1950s -- on the subject of how precious freedom is.

With chapter four, things start getting REALLY kooky, with Savage stating that the Great Recession was actually engineered by George Soros through manipulation of his hedge fund management firm. Of course, Savage never explains WHY multi-billionaires would want a socialist-regime in place, before halfway (and by halfway, I mean not even remotely) explaining it by way of the BILDERBERG/NEW WORLD ORDER conspiracy. And how exactly bitter market/ideological rivals like Eric Schmidt and Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch and Diane Feinstein can furtively work together to bring about Armageddon is thoroughly explained by…not being explained, in any way, shape or form, by Savage.

He said that auto union and SEIU employees were Nazis, and says that government employees, by way of benefits, make more money than private sector employees (or do they?) And of course, during Savage’s phlegm spraying spiel about the market meltdown, not once does the word “deregulation” appear as a potential (read: the actual) culprit behind the economic downturn.

The healthcare chapter begins with Savage telling a story about how he was an unlicensed pharmacist in his youth, and how he felt there was nothing at all wrong about  middle schoolers chopping up and distributing prescription drugs to members of the community. After making a reference to the “Jerk-it Court in San Fran-sicko,” Savage goes on a warpath about the Ready Reserve Corps and the Independent Medicare Advisory Board, stating that such ACA components are PROOF that death panels are real. He then starts referring to liberal adversaries as “demoncats” (which sounds like the name of an awesome 1980s cartoon, by the way), calls Dennis Kucinich a “whore,” and says Nancy Pelosi “desecrated” God by holding an ACA vote on Sunday. He rounds out the chapter by saying that everybody should just claim a religious exemption from Obamacare, citing Schechter Poultry Corps v. United States as a basis for “defeating” the Affordable Care Act.

Chapters six, seven and eight can be summarized as such: climate change is a pseudoscience (unlike herbal medicine) that will lead to $7 a gallon gas and the government forcing us to own electric cars, illegal immigrants cost us $4.3 billion a year in health costs (while pumping in about $1.4 trillion in total economic expenditures, but shh!) and are spreading DENGUE FEVER all over the place and that the ACORN scandal that wasn’t really a scandal at all is proof that Obama hates Israel because he’s a “Marxist Islamist.” And as to how someone can be a radical adherent of Allah while simultaneously being a radical adherent of a necessarily godless socioeconomic policy…well, uh….


Right after saying that the Obama regime is trying to create a “permanently disadvantaged underclass” of uneducated and uncultured Americans (which, last time I checked, is already a plurality in the nation), Savage said that the House Un-Americans Committee ought to be brought back to root out “Marxists” like Thomas Friedman from media occupations. He talks about how leftists gutlessly compared Bush to Hitler, yet sees not a shred of hypocrisy in the fact that he just spent the last 200 pages of his book comparing Obama to everybody from Stalin to Pol Pot. He said that the NEA had been infiltrated by communists (calling Rod Paige a “terrorist” in the process) and accuses D.C. of having the world’s worst public school system -- yes, even worse than those schools down south that teach kids dinosaurs and humans once coexisted. After attacking Air America, “Avatar,” Wolf Blitzer and Keith Olbermann, he said that Canada is the most restrictive non-Arab nation on the planet -- even though our neighbors to the north posted identical scores to the U.S. in the four leading freedom indices in 2013.)

The book’s penultimate chapter starts off with Savage recounting his childhood love of the local freak show, which segues into a passage about how AWFUL it is that the U.S. ratified a new START agreement in 2010. Being anti-nuclear war, you see, is actually being a “radical Marxist,” he explains. While the privatization of virtually everything else in America doesn’t draw a peep from Savage and his neocon kin, the fact that NASA outsourced some of its bids to private contractors draws the full ire of the author, who goes on to champion the racial profiling of Muslims and claiming to be “a pacifist,” even though he routinely promotes the idea of executing liberal opponents and gunning down civil rights proponents on his syndicated radio program.

The final chapter of “Trickle Up Poverty” is basically Savage parroting the “Contract from America” demands, alongside a few more suggestions to “improve” American life. Among the executive orders President Savage would issue, if he could: militarize the U.S/Mexico border (which is clearly something a self-proclaimed “pacifist” would lobby for), cut government spending across the board (except for the military: we need to increase that shit), INCREASE tensions with Iran, place Japan-like tariffs on China, give government subsidies to heterosexual couples to combat gay marriage, outlaw abortions, force welfare recipients into mandatory community service and MAKE women on welfare take birth control (nothing freedom-squelching about government-endorsed druggings and indentured servitude!) and establish a “contract with the Judeo-Christian god.” His final advice for the reader is that leaders should operate America like a business instead of an empire: because as we all know, tyrannical, centrally-planned businesses, with clear class divides and open exploitation of cheap labor, are, never, EVER successful. Ever.

I only spent one dollar on Savage’s potboiler, and I already find it a much worse waste of 100 pennies than that time I bought a supposed spider prop for Halloween that was just a garbage bag and a couple of twist-ties. The Internet is prone to hyperbole, but I am 100 percent sincere when I say that successfully completing Michael Savage’s 2010 tome is one of the worst experiences of my life. I’m not sure how many hours I put into that hardback turd, but it’s probably enough to make me question the decency of my soul. Why would I invest so much time and energy and effort into such a black hole of ideological hatred? All in all, I think I had more fun reading my mother’s obituary than I did “Trickle Up Poverty.”

There’s absolutely nothing here of intellectual nutrition. Unless your idea of “enlightenment” is having some narcissistic, self-loathing wannabe-shaman yell permutations of “commie” at you and blame America’s poorest citizens for the downfall of the nation for 300 pages, I’d highly suggest you steer clear of this mental toxic waste. A rebuttal to its contents and claims isn’t even necessary: the greatest criticism you can lob at the book -- and Savage’s outlook as a whole -- is to simply restate what he says, take a step back, and marvel at the insanity of his comments. The fact that there are people out there that legitimately share this dude’s perspective (which I believe is, mostly, played up for the hayseeds and mega-nationalists) is not only depressing, but pretty damn frightening, too.

Only to bulimics would I consider “Trickle Up Poverty” a worthy investment. For if you’re in
in the mood to feel the core of your humanity vomit, this stuff acts as the literary equivalent of syrup of ipecac.