Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Taco Bell's Cheesy Double Beef and Fritos Beefy Crunch Burritos (RE)-REVIEWED!

Two of the most beloved value menu offerings from Taco Bell have returned - but are the much ballyhooed "fan favorites" as good as our nostalgic recollections have led us to believe? 

By: Jimbo X

Having written so many articles about Taco Bell menu items, I often find myself wondering just how in the hell I am going to be able to do a product review about the latest and greatest Taco Bell foodstuff without sounding like a broken record (or a scratched CD  if you are under the age of 30, or a corrupted MP3 file, if you are under the age of 18.) I mean, there are only so many different ways you can describe a tortilla and its contents, right?

Thankfully, Taco Bell is quite a bit more than just another fast food establishment. Indeed, it is a shining exemplar of American consumerism excess, with a fervid fandom that rivals the intense team loyalty of just about any sports organization. There is unquestionably a "Taco Bell culture," and the social media origins of the returning Beefy Crunch and Cheesy Double Beef Burritos demonstrates both its enormity and passion for all things Bell.

About five years ago, the establishment introduced a $1 sour-cream, beef and rice burrito, which also came loaded with a handful of spicy Fritos chunks. Unsurprisingly, the product proved a smash hit with stoners and broke ass college students across America, but eventually, it was bumped off the main menu to make way for the Bell's grandest marketing blitzkrieg to date - the Doritos Locos Tacos

So, for most Americans, it has been about five years since they last tasted the Beefy Crunch Burrito. Because we really don't have anything more important to do with our lives than start up petitions to bring back novelty fast food items, a Facebook campaign urging T.B. To resurrect the item eventually grew to 41,000 backers. The leader of the so-called "Beefy Crunch Movement" was so adamant that his favorite fast food provider bring back the item that he even mailed them a 14-page manifesto describing in insane detail why the company ought to bring it back into production. 

And - because corporations have a more thorough understanding of the power of social media-borne movements AND the ironic, kooky passions of Generation Bernie - they FINALLY decided to wheel the "fan favorite" product out again. And if that wasn't enough, they even decided to bring back another long-forgotten value-priced item, the Cheesy Double Beef Burrito, at the same rock-bottom price of just-o uno dinero

As you can no doubt see, the exterior tortilla shells are completely unremarkable. It's just your standard, soft flour wrap, slightly toasted but not enough to make it more crispy than mushy (except, maybe, around the enclosed "folded" pocket corners.) While the recipe should be the same no matter where you pick up the burritos, we must remind ourselves that humans are indeed fallible creatures, so the overall quality of your wrapped comestible will vary. By now, though, you should have a firm idea of which restaurants in your vicinity make the best burritos, and which ones have insanely high turnover rates and are stocked with high school juniors that just don't give a fuck. And yes, one glimpse at the haphazardly constructed pseudo Tex-Mex meal offering on the right ought to tell you PRECISELY the type of personnel staffing the Bell nearest my abode.

Let's start with the Cheesy Double Beef Burrito first, why don't we? For those not in the loop, the product was introduced at the height of the Great Recession as an 89 cent item, and was officially discontinued in 2010 (although I have heard reports that the product, in some locales, was on the menu up until 2012.) As the name implies, the hook here if that you get a double portion of seasoned beef and a shit load of melted cheese (with some rice in between, playing the stratosphere to the troposphere of ground up cow and the mesosphere of congealed udder runoff.)

To be frank (but not this Frank), I really don't have any recollections of the original Cheesy Double Beef Burrito, so yeah, the nostalgia quotient isn't too high for me here. On the whole, it is a fairly serviceable little burrito, although I'm not entirely sure my local Bell really doubled the meat ratio for my $1 item. It's good, I suppose, but honestly, nothing worth writing home about. Speaking of, isn't it about time that colloquialism was replaced with "nothing worth sending an email about?" anyway? 

And now we come to the big enchilada (which, technically, isn't an enchilada, but you know what I'm trying to say.) Now, I do vividly recall the Fritos Beefy Crunch Burrito from back in 2011 and eating a whole shit load of them - this, despite the fact that my professed food faith back then was "vegetarian." Hey, when you are a broke-ass junior in college, ain't nobody got time for food ethics, y'know. Of course, anyone with even a cursory understanding of the Fritos Beefy Crunch Burrito can see where the staffers at my nearest Bell royally messed up...

...those no-count motherfuckers used REGULAR Fritos when we all know you have to use those spicy red ones! Needless to say, this spectacular display of ineptness irked me to no end, so after I was down setting fire to the establishment - oh, the things you can get away with when nobody working the late night shift speaks English as a first language - I hauled my ass off to a better Taco Bell affiliate literally a county over. Extreme measures, some may say, but then again, we've been waiting five years for these suckers to make a comeback ... not only is a little arson to be expected, it might as well be encouraged

It may have taken me an extra 30 minutes in combined queue-and-sitting-in-traffic waiting time, but seeing this tightly rolled beauty was well worth it. In the pantheon of Taco Bell products - from the long, long forgotten first wave of Loaded Potato Grillers to the short-lived Country A.M. Crunchwrap to the blink-and-you-missed-'em Chickstar wraps - the Fritos Beefy Crunch Burrito is certainly one of the more gustatorily pleasing novelty products the franchise has released this decade. It is big, it is bulky, and - despite the pell-mell assortment of ingredients - it actually does taste surprisingly delicious. Alas, did the Bell meddle with the tried-and-true formula for this re-do, George Lucas-style

Thankfully, the answer there is a big "nope, they sure didn't." Indeed, the relaunched Fritos Beefy Crunch Burritos - when properly assembled by a well-trained and qualified crew - taste EXACTLY the same as it did in our Year of the Lord 2011. Rest assured, obscure fast food menu offering fanatics, T.B took great strides to ensure the historic quality of the product remains intact for its big re-introduction. The tortillas are still hefty and a little pokey (as you would expect from a burrito stuffed fool of fiery corn chips), and the amalgamation of greasy beef and sour cream is just sheer, obesity-baiting perfection. A fast food behemoth that has more or less made its cultural imprint by providing filling, low-cost, weird-ass novelty consumer products, this remains one of the absolute most brilliant - and astonishingly tasty - creations the Almighty Bell has ever produced. And at just one dollar, even the most lumbering lard-asses out there can pound their colons into Tex-Mex submission for less than an Abe Lincoln. Ultimately, the popularity of the product relaunch will determine whether or not the second wave of Fritos Beefy Crunch Burritos is a two-and-done failed experiment, but financial hit or not, I at least hope Team Bell makes an effort to release the offering as a Shamrock Shake\Pumpkin Spice Latte-like seasonal item every Cinco de Mayo. I mean, considering all the Metformin I have to take after spending the last five years reviewing nearly every limited time only product they have hawked to the masses - yes, even the Cap'n Crunch-co-branded cinnamon roll balls - I think that is the absolute LEAST they owe me, and human civilization as a whole. 

And if the relaunched burritos wasn't a big enough deal, guess what else Taco Bell decided to roll back out? Consider me tickled pink when I waltzed into my neighborhood Bell and saw a whole slew of these bad boys just hanging out behind the cash register, anxiously awaiting to be stuffed in those little plastic cubby holes next to the sporks and brown paper towels. By now, my adulation for Diablo Sauce is well documented, so I shan't squander too much time restating what everybody with half a brain and  quasi-functioning taste buds already know. Rest assured, however, that this stuff is H-O-T (at least a 7 on the "adjusted for white people" Scoville scale), flavorful and the perfect complement to your value-priced nostalgia-ritos. Also, it will make your butthole burn for at least a solid 24 hours, but hey - that's the price you gotta' pay sometimes.

So, to recap? The Cheesy Double Beef thing is just sorta' meh, but a good goddamn, is the Fritos Beefy Crunch Burrito - especially one soaked in the savory, NWO Wolfpack-colored hot sauce - a fantastic little novelty product. And who knows? Perchance the success of the relaunched 'rito will convince the Bell to trot out some of its other long-forgotten offerings. I mean, if Burger King is willing to bring back the motherfucking Yumbo, they at least owe us a L-T-O Bell Beefer, don't they? 

Saturday, May 28, 2016

This Week in Social Justice Warrior-Dom

A fond look back at all the things that had ultra-P.C. jihadists OUTRAGED ... before they forget all about them in just a few days. 

By: Jimbo X

Sanders supporters demonstrate collective tolerance, maturity by threatening to kill Nevada Democratic Chair

While the mainstream media - and hell, non-mainstream media, for that matter - has spent the better part of the last six months trying to convince everyone that Donald Trump supporters are closeted neo-Nazi Klansmen (even though most violence wrought at Trump events were actually enacted by protesters who hate The Donald's guts), much, much less attention has been paid to the hyper-violent, destructive pro-Sanders camp, whose borderline cult-ish behavior represents an objectively worse threat to public civility and safety than pro-Trumpers on their absolute worst days, times ten. Even the heavy-hitters of the so-called "fifth estate," however, had to take a step back and marvel at the vehement, petulant carnage of the Bernie Bros. when a mob of Sander-nistas at a Nevada State Democratic convention in Las Vegas May 14 went buck wild upon learning that about 60 Sanders delegates - who, apparently, were so busy feeling the Bern that they forgot to actually register as democrats before the convention - were disqualified. As you'd imagine, the Sanders-faithful nearly went into full pissed-off-toddler mode, as fists flew, chairs got tossed and the National Guard had to be called to get the blue-bedecked dead weight to leave the convention halls. That was just the beginning of the hilarity, however, as Nevada Democratic Chairwoman Robert Lange had her personal cell-phone number leaked over the weekend, leading to her receiving a deluge of not just mean-spirited, but downright ominously violent messages. Of course, these bastard sons and daughters of the Occupy Wall Street movement apparently forgot that turnabout was fair play, and as such, have had their lives promptly destroyed when Lange published some of the "heartwarming" texts and phone calls she has received from America's most progressive voters. Wondering what some of the highlights were? Well, here are just a few choice cuts from America's left-most, hive-minded ideologues: 

Interestingly enough, one of the Bernie Bros. who decided to violate interstate federal communications law was shrill-voiced, Atlanta-area SJW Austin Gates, whose mopey YouTube video entitled "Me, Depression, Coming Out and Abuse" has about 120,000 views and more than 2,000 likes. Oh so ironically, in another video, the twink-tastic Beliber boldly declares that "bullying someone is the same as killing someone." Well, if that's the case, somebody needs to lock this pipsqueak up for life after the following homicidal text messages:

Eerily portending some 1968-style mayhem later this summer, many irked Sanders fans left cryptic messages about "Philadelphia" and "fires" - indicating that when the Dems gather for their national convention in the City of Brotherly Love in late July, a whole bunch of aggrieved Bern-Outs might be looking to spoil the fun and games with some good old, Maoist-style populist violence. Property owners in Philly, take heed - now might be a good time to re-up on the best insurance policy you can get. 

Black Lives Matter organizer arrested for pimping 17-year-old white girl

There is irony, and then there is super-irony. After that, you've got super-duper-irony, and now - perhaps setting an unsurpassable benchmark for most ironic thing in the history of humanity - we now have ourselves a vaunted Black Lives Matter leader being charged with owning an underage, Caucasian sex slave. It took a month, but word has finally gotten out that Charles Wade - co-founder of the Ferguson-borne Operation Help or Hush - was arrested April 25 and is now facing no less than seven felony charges stemming from the alleged human trafficking of a 17-year-old child. Per Maryland police, an undercover officer responded to an ad for an "escort" on Backpage, and when he showed up at 33-year-old Ward's door step, the underage prostitute introduced him as, and I quote, "her manager." As expected, Ward has unfurled an incredibly convoluted backstory on why he's innocent - as if ANY excuse as to why you are splitting a hotel room with a minor will suffice - and said he believes all charges will be dropped when he's due back in court June 3. 

For the record, Wade was named one of the 100 most influential black activists by The Root last year and spoke before the United Nation's Committee Against Torture in Geneva in 2014. And unbelievably - even AFTER his arrest for pimping - he has been invited to attend White House events as recently as May 17

Fun with surveys!

As the old adage goes, there are three levels of lies - regular, boring old lies, "damned lies," and the most egregious of them all, statistics. Despite surveys, poll and other egghead data collecting methodologies being prone to oversights and insane biases, we nonetheless are expected to invest huge dollops of faith in the latest report or research findings from The Institute of What-The-Hell-Ever or the University of Who-Gives-a-Shit's School of I-Don't-Really-Give-a-Half-Fuck - this, despite the fact that such data is often funded by large companies, foundations and think tanks who obviously have a clear-cut agenda they are trying to express through - ahem - empirical sciences. But what happens when all of that data collection winds up telling a story you didn't exactly want it to tell? Funny you should ask, as several intriguing findings made their way into the national consciousness lately...

And, as odd as it may sound coming from we here at The Internet Is In America, we have to give mad respect to the intrepid journalists over at the New York Times for a recent data-driven piece that dispels one of the greatest myths of our time - that "mass shootings" are a predominantly "white" activity. Evaluating the total number of 2015 shooting incidents in which four or more people were killed or injured, analysts determined that three-fourths of all victims were African-American ... and so were three-fourths of all the perpetrators

Back in Black (crime) 

Although the idea of all 40 million or so African-American peoples in the United States somehow sharing the exact same sociopolitical interests and concerns sounds a little impossible (if not downright segregationist, to some capacity), we nonetheless are bombarded with news stories and press releases about how the social outrage du jour is impacting, and I quote, "the black community." Although this hypothetical "black community" has no formal structure, elected figureheads or even a public charter, politicians, media folks and really, anyone who decides to raise his or her voice in the public sphere will eventually be scrutinized by the invisible construct, which is totally not at all a phantom, arbitrary interest groups comprised primarily of wealthy, white liberals exploiting poor black peoples to further their own political agendas. Alas, if we just HAVE to clump every dark-skinned person in America - involuntarily, I might add - into a rigid sociopolitical grouping, I reckon it is only fair to also clump said individuals into a massive, de-individualized blob that seeks to blame all individual transgressions on some sort of overarching, collective culture. So who is ready to cherry pick some recent illegal escapades of African-Americans and use said isolated incidents to make mass generalizations about an entire ethnic group? Oh, that's right, every last one of us...

As I was saying earlier, though, we don't want to typecast African-Americans as people disproportionately inclined to commit violent crimes. After all - there are also plenty of Hispanic criminals out there, too, murdering their entire families and killing cops sans any signs of remorse

Your regularly scheduled round-up of miscellaneous fabricated outrages

By now, we should all be keenly aware that there are a lot of thin-skinned pussies and political opportunists out there, just waiting to take the most niggling of minor incidents and blow them up into national-level controversies. Alas, sometimes these agenda-driven advocacy groups make maddened grasps for the absolute shortest of straws - and as you will soon see, no fruit appears to be too low-hanging for some of America's most perpetually aggrieved whiners, cry-babies and pro-secularist bullies.  

And for our pro-victimization porn offering of the week, Australian "video artist" Sophia Hewson recently released a short film featuring herself having sex with an alleged stranger, which she said is designed to get across the idea that - and I quote - "rape is more than an unwanted sexual act, that it is the foundation of the entire institution of the patriarchy, and hence it is the crucial battleground for dismantling male power." Unfortunately, actual rape victims aren't too happy about Hewson's latest masterpiece. "Her fear could not possibly have been real," said Katrina Keshishian, who was sexually assaulted in a heinous attack just outside of Sydney in 2008. "The fear from having sex with a stranger isn't the same fear as being raped. She was a willing participant, rape is being taken forcefully." 


Of course, it wouldn't be a complete This Week in Social Justice Warrior-Dom without a thorough recap of all of the rabble-rousing coming out of the non-cisgender, non-heterosexual lobby. Wondering what the great 4 percent has been miffed about as of late? Well, here's just a sampling of the things the new NRA (Non-Reproductive Americans) are fuming about these days...

And in a shocking turn of events that undoubtedly lends itself well to an FX mini-series 15 years from now, billionaire homosexual Silicon Valley libertarian Peter Thiel was revealed to be the secret bank roller of Hulk Hogan's astounding $140 million lawsuit against Gawker for publishing clips of him having racial epithet-laden sex with Bubba the Love Sponge's wife. Purportedly, Thiel's financing of the Hulkster's legal battle is retaliation for Gawker publisher Nick Denton outing him as a homosexual in a piece from almost 10 years ago, so let that be a lesson to all of us - don't ever fuck with a rich gay dude who knows the legal system. Ever

Academia continues fight for the common (or is it commune?) good of all peoples

Ah, good old college - where America's healthily suspicious and uncertain teenage youth are slowly but surely shpaed into hive-minded relativists who worship multiculturalism and think everything that doesn't conform 100 percent to their progressivist ideals are racist, sexist, homophobic or fascist. Well, it's not like a bunch of old, rich, white people yammering on and on about how evil other old, rich, white people are to incredibly impressionable, idealist youth would ever backfire on the the upper echelon of academia, right? Well, just take a gander at the following higher education happenings, and I think the question answers itself...

And hey, why wait until gets get into college before we start teaching our gilded youth to stop trying so dang hard and think, look, and not give a shit about their actions like everybody else? Wake County in North Carolina is apparently way ahead of the curve, having announced they will stop giving out high school valedictorian and salutatorian honors because it encourages students to chase meaningless grade point averages. Portending some incredibly distressing things to come, school board chair Tom Benton explained the decision thus: "We have heard from many, many schools that the competition has become very unhealthy ... students were not collaborating with each other the way that we would like them to. Their choice of courses was being guided by their GPA and not their future education plans."

Living the socialist dream in Venezuela

¡Ay, caramba! Things keep on getting worse down there in the rotting, stinking, reverse-paradise commie hell-hole Hugo Chavez left behind for all la gente. In case you are wondering what happens when a national economy heavily invested in social entitlement programs that don't work but still cost an arm and a leg sinks like a bucket of kittens in a well-tied burlap sack, all you got to do is hit up the Internet (fuck the Associated Press, I'm leaving it capitalized) and take a look at the poor fortunes - and I mean poor - in the ironically nicknamed "Land of Grace." Do you start with the fact that sugar production is so low that Coca Cola said "fuck it, we're out of here" or that Bridgestone, after six decades in the country, recently decided to abandon ship - this, after rival tire manufacturers Pirelli and Goodyear hauled stakes earlier this year, resulting in at least $1.6 billion being sucked out of the national economy? Oh, and how about the almost Zimbabwean-levels of inflation going on, with corn flour prices increasing 900 percent and a Happy Meal now costing the equivalent of a third of the average worker's monthly salary? With armed national guardsmen having to stand watch over grocery stores to prevent starving hordes from killing each other over chicken and mobs setting people on fire for the theft of five dollars in local currency, one can't help but dare aver that most hideous question - does a similar fate await the U.S. someday? Don't get too comfy, folks - that day might be coming a lot sooner than later

Convicted murder demands taxpayers pony up for sex change operation

Scott Lynn Gibson, 38, is a prisoner in a Texas state prison currently serving a 51-year sentence for murdering another inmate, trying to murder a correctional guard and robbing a convenience store clerk at gunpoint. Gibson - who looks suspiciously like every female over the age of 40 in your office - claims to be a woman trapped inside a man's body and is currently under the state's hormone therapy treatment program - which, by the way, is completely subsidized by the Lone Star State's taxpayers. Well, one thing that isn't covered under Texas' socialized inmate health care plan is gender reassignment surgery, and now, Gibson is threatening to sue because he believes the state not agreeing to pay the costs of whacking his wing wong off is a form of, and I quote, "cruel and unusual punishment." And if Texas taxpayers' don't pony up for his sex change? Ever the resourceful sort, old Gibson's got himself a heck of a backup plan. "I will go ahead and castrate myself," he told KWTX. Which, naturally, begs the question - if having male genitalia causes Gibson as much mental anguish as he claims, then why hasn't he lopped off his own Johnson already?

Forget worrying about transpeople in bathrooms ... what are you going to do when transanimals are in the stall next to you?

There's this old logical fallacy often referred to as "the slippery slope argument," which basically states that saying something is bad more or less because it opens the door for something worse to come along later is just flat out irrational. While the egghead elitists out there will no doubt keep droning on and on about how its an insurmountable cognitive construct, you have to at least give all the anti-gay marriage folks a teensy-weensy bit of credit, because what do you know, all that LGBT-acceptance stuff has indeed ripped the floodgates wide open for all sorts of legal, social and ethical issues we're perhaps not ready to wrap our collective minds around yet. Sure as sugar, just as soon as the gay marriage thing was wrapped up, this trans-debate all of a sudden became a huge election year issue. Well, modern day post-post-liberalism being the unstoppable juggernaut it is, it's only a matter of time until the Supreme Court likewise puts the transpeople in equally untouchable civil footing. But prey tell, what sort of non-cisgender, non-hetero sexual subculture are we going to turn to to promote our miscellaneous progressivist agendas by shaming everyone who thinks such is abnormal into a spiral of silence? Well, throuples are already a thing, so polygamy might be on the docket next. And of course, trans-ageism is going to be a whole hell of a lot of fun when that gets its day in the sun. But after we've decided that gays, lesbians and transpeople can marry three or four other people and pee-pee and doo-doo wherever they want and 84-year-old men can legally declare themselves to be 13-year-old girls, what in the world are we going to fight for? Well, it might be a few decades away, but fellas, eventually, we're going to have to figure out what we're going to do with transanimals. Never heard of transanimals before? Well, they are "people" who decide to live their lives as animals - as in, they put on skintight animal costumes, play with chew toys, walk on all fours and periodically lift their hind legs to mark their territory on the furniture. Now, to the non-insane person, such is already pants-pissingly horrifying enough, but just you wait! There are already people out there who - through extensive cosmetic augmentation - have effectively transformed themselves into chimeras, such as this "trans-dragon" from Arizona. That may disturb you to some degree, but hoo boy, trust me, it gets even betterThanks to ongoing, groundbreaking innovations in the field of genetic modifications, in a good 40 or 50 years - perhaps even sooner - humans will likely be able to have their DNA altered so as to physiologically be more animal than man. Which, as Francis Fukuyama tried to warn us about in his admittedly underwhelming tome Our Posthuman Future, will break open a scientific Pandora's Box that stands to completely change our precepts of our own humanity. 

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Book Review: 'The New Thought Police' by Tammy Bruce (2002)

It's just another meandering, hyper-conservative screed against the so-called "liberal agenda" ... written by a gun-toting lesbian who was once the head of one of the largest chapters of the largest feminist organization in the U.S.? Hmm ... maybe we ought to pay attention to this one

By: Jimbo X

Perhaps the most remarkable cultural upheaval I've witnessed in my lifetime has been the slow transvaluation of the American free speech dilemma. Up until very, very recently, the First Amendment discussion in the United States has almost exclusively revolved around instances of liberal progressives fighting against the nation's super-traditional arch-conservative tastemakers. We can cite the landmark Supreme Court rulings by heart now: Tinker v. Des Moines, New York Times Co. v. United States, Hustler Magazine v. Falwell, Texas v. Johnson - all narratives in which "the man" and his outmoded, prejudicial ways were steamrolled by the wave of the future, the more forward thinking, secular-progressive of the species. Granted, the "good guys" don't always win - see Miller v. California - and periodically, there have been a few First Amendment challenges from those to the right of Attila the Hun - see Brandenburg v. Ohio - but by and large, the greater cultural narrative shines through the high court dockets like a highlighted object in The Sims. Slowly, but surely, the collective psyche has drifted away from the old-school, patriotic, Protestant-work ethic mentality and embraced its ideological opposite - that being, the new-school, anti-theist, pro-multiculturalism Tao. 

Now, that isn't to say that this takeover is inherently a bad thing. Indeed, having to live in a theocratic, super-prudish society that equates any dissatisfaction with governmental actions with communist sentiment sucks just as bad as living in one where a bunch of hyper-offended, leftist nut-bags accuse everything and everyone of being sexist and racist. The frank reality, however is that - not unlike the nerds who killed off all the jocks in Massacre at Central High and slowly found themselves establishing their own hierarchical constructs of oppression - really, all we are seeing is the exchanging of the whips so the other side can take turns flogging the despised political other. Instead of a bunch of empowered, bigoted dudes who watch John Wayne movies persecuting diempowered hippies who smoke dope and give each other tie-dyed hand jobs at Grateful Dead concerts, for the forseeable future, it's going to be empowered transgender flag-burners and virulently anti-racist Yale Law School grads who think anyone who uses the term "illegal immigrant" should be sentenced to death beating the living - and legal - shit out of all the disempowered people who think homosexuality is a sin and that they ought to be able to pray in schools and hold up signs at Tea Parties stating that, yes, they do indeed dislike them some Muslim peoples

As much as some want to ignore it, today, the freedom fighters on the front line for the First Amendment aren't your liberal super-heroes like Lenny Bruce or George Carlin or Eugene Debs. Instead, the people really making a stand for free expression - and telling the government to fuck off for trying to tell us what to think and feel - are those guys who hold up signs saying "God Hates Fags" at dead soldiers' funerals or protest abortion clinics by holding up giant posters of disemboweled fetuses (which, from my observations, always kind of look like either gummy bears or half-eaten spaghetti dinners.)

Of course, the big problem with the free expression debate in modern day America is that - while there is at least the illusion that there are barriers in place to prevent the feds from silencing you - there is absolutely no legal safeguard in place to prevent the masses from ripping those with unpopular opinions to shreds. Since they can't technically imprison you for going against the herd consensus, the great contemporary leftist brain trust has instead developed a neo-McCarthyist approach that seeks to not only exile those with antithetical opinions from participating in the public sphere, but to prevent them from earning a paycheck to support themselves and their families. As influential as the racist, xenophobic, hive-minded John Birch Society types of the 1950s may have been, they would have been in awe of just how deeply their 2010s counter-parts in the liberal think-o-sphere have embedded themselves in the national conscience. Even if you strongly disagree with the pillars of modern liberalism - diversity is great and has absolutely no scientifically-verified negative repercussions whatsoever, America's borders should be open because it adds to the prosperity and richness of our culture, embracing LGBT identitarians and reshaping national policies to give them unparalleled civil protections from criticism is absolutely necessary, etc. - odds are, you are too afraid to ever admit it in public or on social media. While it is perfectly fine and dandy for your colleagues to spout off about how great gay marriage and transgender bathrooms and affirmative action is, you know that if you ever said something that criticized or questioned their belief systems, it would fuck you over hard. Your coworkers and peers would brand you as a racist or a sexist or a homophobe - the 21st century scarlet letter - and you might even lose your job. Shit, I've talked to more than one person who supports Donald Trump 100 percent, but they won't tell anybody because they are afraid that will automatically get them labeled as prejudiced. Try as the may, the commie-hunting queer-haters of the Eisenhower never had as tight a stranglehold on the American consciousness as today's reactionary leftists, whose dogma is probably about four or five years from becoming the cultural mainstream.  

To the uninitiated, this whole "social justice warrior" stuff is a relatively recent phenomenon. Of course, the real roots of SJW-dom stretch back to at least the mid-1970s, with the proliferation of this little thing called "political correctness" (fun fact: the modern use of the term was coined by democratic socialists as a derogatory way to describe the official Stalin-era communist party line, if you ever wondered.) Although it lay dormant for most of the later half of the decade, one could feel the movement slowly sinking its way into the bedrock of the social conscience, even during that uber-Patriotic, kitsch-as-kitsch can epoch in American history called "The Post 9/11, Pre-Obama World." 

What makes The New Thought Police such an interesting little tome - besides its author's unique blend of conservative idealism and quasi-progressive identity politicking - is that it was released right in the middle of the modern day SJW movement. Published  in 2002, the book came out in that weird interphase where everyone knew what affirmative action was but things like "intersectionality" and "cisgenderism" were still a good decade away from becoming conceptualizations bolted into our youth's minds like rainbow-hued rivets. As such, the gloriously anti-P.C. screed at times almost feels like an ominous warning from way back when that we should have listened to but didn't because we were all too busy with American Idol and the first Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie. 

Following a foreword from Dr. Laura (boy, THAT doesn't make the tome feel archaic or nothing), Tammy Bruce introduces herself as "an openly gay, pro-choice, gun-owning, pro-death penalty, liberal, voted for Reagan feminist," which is probably the first time any of us have heard at least four or five of those identity qualifiers uttered in the same sentence. Oh, and did you know that Ms. Bruce - now a Washington Times columnist and periodic Fox News talking head - served as the president of the Los Angeles chapter of the National Organization for Women from 1990 to 1996? Well, she did. 

Tammy makes her hypothesis pretty clear early on in the book, alleging the contemporary left is guilty of using "perpetual victimization" narratives and "P.C. codes" to maintain political and cultural power. She then chides the lefties for being perpetually offended about EVERYTHING, stating "opinions, in and of themselves are not harmful, regardless of the subject or conclusion." 

From there, she wastes no time at all before harping on organizations that claim to "represent aggrieved minorities"  like NOW, GLAAD and the NAACP, stating that their "protection" of particular interest groups is really just a ploy to take down any contrarians who disagree with their authority. This in turn creates a dreadful "spiral of silence" that fool special interest groups into believing they have more social clout than they really do - the trick, Bruce postulates, is for advocacy organizations to make it look like they are making some progress with their agendas, but never enough, naturally, to make them obsolete as activist organizations.

As a result, Bruce suggests that many Americans now find themselves gripped in the paralyzing fear of offending "protected groups" - consciously or unconsciously. Liberals today, she continues, have completely abandoned the Lockean classical liberalism for a dogma utterly obsessed with identity politics, sustaining "victim" status and fostering an "us vs. them mentality." Instead of rallying behind "equality of opportunity," they now campaign for "equality of outcome," and rather than promote personal rights, they are now infatuated with the sanctity of group rights

She takes a brief detour to dissect some of the more popular 20th century liberal-progressive icons. She refers to Betty Friedan as a communist and trudges up the trifecta of "anti-capitalist" MLK advisers (Hunter Pitts O'Dell, Stanley Levison and Bayard Rustin, for those of you out of the loop.) She brings up the fact that Rosa Parks was already an NAACP officer before her famous protest, and how the organization didn't rush o the aid of two African-American women - Claudette Calvin and Mary Louise Smith - who made earlier stands against Montgomery's bus policies. Focusing the discussion on slightly more modern figures, she chides the secular progressives for tearing apart Cruz Bustamenta for accidentally saying "nigger" at a Coalition of Black Trade Unionists speech and John Rocker for his string of somewhat insensitive comments to Sports Illustrated in 1999. "It's not really the use of a term, it's what you're thinking when you use it," Bruce says of the omni-offended - and bordering on impossibly metaphysical - liberal M.O.

In a chapter on the ills of groupthink, Bruce explores the discrepancies in how the media covered the murders of Matthew Shepherd and Daphne Sulk, reminds us that just 17 hate crime homicides were recorded in 1999, that the cable news complex royally fucked up in their coverage of the Columbine Massacre and gives us a quick primer on the work of Irving Janis and a few case examples from a peer-reviewed periodical called the Cultic Studies Journal (which I really need to subscribe to, it seems.)

This segues nicely into a lengthy passage on homosexual lobbyist hypocrisy, which is prefaced with a rather spiffy quote from Animal Farm - "once in power, the oppressed will become the oppressor." Our author describes in great detail how GLAAD has taken Lord Acton's maxim about "absolute power corrupting absolutely" to heart, eschewing the character-building exercises of yore for nonstop character assassination attempts today. She discusses the organization's role in the harassment of Dr. Laura - including how she ironically received death threats for "not being tolerant enough" - and wonders why they don't go after non-Christian-conservative homophobes like Eminem. "The left doesn't want you tolerating anything they won't tolerate," Bruce sums it up. 

If you think that's a knee-slapper, just wait until you get to the chapter titled "Misery Merchants," which gives the NAACP the old what-fer. Bruce recounts the Tawana Brawley debacle from 1987 and that one time Alton Maddox accused Robert Adams of masturbating to photographs from the (totally fabricated) crime scene. She accuses black interests organizations of promoting what she deems "a victim industry" which propagates racial division and hopelessness with the endgame of "holding onto the money, power and prestige that comes from leading the supposedly downtrodden." She then elaborates on Dick Armey's assertion that the organization practiced "racial McCarthyism," drones on for a bit about Jesse Jackson's union collections and proclaims that by making people uncomfortable discussing race and constantly ripping open the wounds of the sins of the past, we are guaranteed to never get past the painful legacies of historical racism. She cites a few studies with some surprising findings (for example, she mentions one RAND report that determined 51 percent of those arrested in the 1992 L.A. riots weren't black, but Hispanic, and a 1997 JCPES national survey that indicates two-thirds of blacks in America have "moderate to conservative" political leanings) and brings up the words of Walter E. Williams, who once declared that African-Americans' political leanings were more alike Jerry Falwell than Al Sharpton and that Jesse Jackson's platform more closely resonated with old white hippies than poor, inner-city blacks. Then there's some stuff about "aversive racism" and the 1990 eight circuit case U.S. v. Weaver and the holding "facts are not to be ignored simply because they are unpleasant," but eh, it didn't make that much of an impression on me, frankly.

As you would expect from the former head of the largest NOW chapter in the nation, Bruce clearly holds some grudges against the late second wave/early third wave feminist ideologues. After chiding the Steinem types for their less-than-secretive ties to socialist organizations, Bruce goes on a long tirade about how so many feminist groups gave confirmed spouse abuser and unconvicted double murderer O.J. Simpson a free pass because he was black and raises some questions about why exactly federal "tobacco control" grants were given to NOW during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Go ahead, make your own cigar-in-the-vadge joke now, you low-fruit-grabbing motherfuckers. From there, Bruce tackles the touchy topic of multiculturalism, describing it as a code word for "moral relativism" and an ideological structure that encourages Balkanization and shields minorities from accepting self-responsibility for their own actions. Rather than create a more "inclusive society," she makes a very solid argument that multiculturalism actually has the OPPOSITE affect, instead rewarding ethnic enclaves for self-segregating and promoting the abstract conceptualization of a collective culture over their own individual values and aspirations (and by golly, wouldn't you know it, independent research from the guy who wrote Bowling Alone verifies pretty much every negative thing about "mandated diversity" Bruce posits here.) Don't ask me how, but this section somehow ends with some commentary on the Kennewick Man and why it's bullshit that "ebonics" is categorized as an official ESL subject in certain school districts out on the Left Coast. 

The sections on the media and academia are pretty much what you would expect - lots of pissing and moaning about Dan Rather sticking up for Gary Condit during his 2001 missing-intern scandal and that one time a bunch of black kids stole 14,000 copies of The Daily Pennsylvanian because they didn't like what one of the articles had to say. There's also a great section where Bruce talks about just how much power advocacy groups have over the media, and how in many situations, special interest organizations pretty much put words in the mouths of newspapers and news sites by feeding them pre-packaged "stories" expressing some sort of manufactured outrage or grievance. As someone who has worked in media\public relations his entire career, I can firmly attest to just how common an occurrence this is - to the point I have seen entire press releases published as factual news stories with a reporter's byline on it, even though every word was penned by someone on the activist organization's payroll. 

Whether in the classroom or in the entertainment biz, Bruce says the liberal war machine modus operandi is the same - silence differing opinions, squelch public debate and punish all those who foster dissent against the supreme, totalitarian ideology. After talking about something called "Cuntfest" (fun for the whole family, I presume!), she describes how the leftist machinery pushes a peculiar racial narrative to children as young as elementary schoolers. "It can never be too early to teach white kids the importance of self-censorship when it comes to issues of race, and to infuse black and Hispanic kids with a victim mentality that they may never be able to shake," she writes. 

So far, so good, right? Well, at the very tail end of the book, Bruce just has to up and derail the entire thesis by concluding her tome with a chapter about the necessity for activism. Yes, after spending 200-plus pages describing how collective identitarianism is destroying civility, she opts to wrap up The New Thought Police with a section describing the "success" of her protests against book stores selling copies of American Psycho (uh, what was she saying about freedom of expression earlier?) and how great it felt to that one time she got Dan Ohmeyer's interview with O.J cancelled. As insightful and entertaining as the book is, alike a lightning fast stallion that trips up 200 feet from the finish line, you can't help but be disappointed by Bruce's premise-defeating finale, I am afraid. The book concludes proper following a suggested reading list that includes the likes of Andrea Dworkin and Hannah Arendt and a preview for her 2003 treatise The Death of Right And Wrong - which, yeah, appears to be pretty much the exact same material as this book, only slightly reworded so as to contractually fulfill the author's three-book deal or whatever sort of arrangement she had back then. 

So, 14 years since The New Thought Police was released, what sort of intrinsic value does it retain? Well, a lot of the material is supremely outdated, but it is nonetheless pretty hard to not comb through it and feel a sense of spooky prescience. Back in the heyday of Pepsi Blue and Eight Legged Freaks, who'd ever thunk that Bruce's then-hilarious-paranoid-sounding musings would eventually come to represent our shared societal norms? Well, this gun-toting, Reagan-voting lesbian feminist was way ahead of the curve, and in much the same way you can't help but be awestruck by the uncanny soothsaying of something like Camp of the Saints, this vaticination of this one will really give you the heebie-jeebies.

Now, is Bruce's book a revelatory, ideological masterwork on par with, say, Ideas Have Consequences or The Closing of the American Mind? Well, no, but unlike a lot of books with political agendas from the early 2000s, it still seems fairly relevant and contemporary. It may not be something that will change your life or your way of thinking - indeed, it pretty much espouses stuff we've heard a million billion times before, albeit a good decade and a half before it became the beckoning call of the reactionary post-W right - but if you can pick up a copy at a used bookstore at a reasonable price, it's probably worth the investment. 

Considering how astoundingly well Bruce predicted the modern Generation Y diversity-at-all-costs mentality at least 10 years out, I suppose just one question remains - will The New Thought Police seem so remarkably oracular another 15 years from now, too?

Call it progress (or regression, if you are on the other side of the aisle), but something tells me Tammy's tome is going to sound stunningly sibylline for a LONG time to come, unfortunately.