Archive for the news Category

Something rotten in Australia

Posted in news, other, politics on September 3, 2010 by Jonathan

The latest chapter in the War of the West:

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – A well-known Australian Muslim cleric has called for the beheading of Dutch anti-Islamic politician Geert Wilders, a newspaper said on Friday.

But it’s to be a peaceful beheading.

Given the fate of Theo Van Gogh and the numerous attempts on the lives of Muhammed-caricaturing cartoonists on the continent, Mr. Wilders’s bodyguards had better be good.

[HT: Drudge Report]

Rumblings

Posted in culture, news, other on August 31, 2010 by Jonathan

A major German banker is making headlines for some controversial comments ahead of the release of the latest entry into the literary genre that could be known as The Decline and Fall of Europe:

Thilo Sarrazin told the Sunday newspaper Welt am Sonntag that “all Jews share the same gene” and that Muslim immigrants across Europe were not willing or capable of integrating into Western societies.

Yesterday at the launch of his book, Germany is Abolishing Itself, which warns against the effects of Muslim immigration, Mr Sarrazin denied he was a racist and insisted on his right to freedom of speech.

As of this morning, Mr. Sarrazin’s book is at #1 on Amazon Germany’s bestseller list.

UPDATE: It’s also quite popular in Austria:

Sarrazin’s book sold out in Vienna immediately after reaching bookstores at the start of the week and has dominated newspaper front pages and editorials.

Manly men vs. modest men?

Posted in culture, news, other on August 6, 2010 by Jonathan

I once heard a pick-up artist give his opinion on why women favor jerks over nice guys. After years of approaching numerous (ie, thousands of — this guy was experienced) women, he concluded that in fact women don’t desire jerks. What women want is a guy who is strong, and too often nice comes across as weak. The lesson, therefore, is for men to learn how to be nice while exhibiting a backbone. (Or, to put it neatly, to emphasize the man in “gentleman.”)

Now comes a British study that says that women find modesty in males to be a sign of weakness. The first line of the Telegraph article:

Research suggested that females have found the rise of the “more feminine man”, or “metrosexual”, a big turn-off.

Now, you could argue about whether or not modesty automatically excommunicates one from the ranks of manly men. I’m not sure it does. (For instance, how modest are we talking about? Excessive modesty, or just a hint of it? At which point does it become “a poor character trait?”) Still, despite the questions I have over the study, the gist of its findings seems to substantiate what that pick-up artist learned years ago: Women want men to be strong. It’s refreshing to find evidence that females in the 21st Century cosmopolitan West find feminized guys to be such a drag.

[HT: Dr. Helen]

Tick, Tick, Boom (or, A Swedish Rock Band and the End of Europe)

Posted in culture, music, news, other with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 29, 2010 by Jonathan

A few years ago, the Swedish garage-rock band The Hives released a song called “Tick Tick Boom.” Like most bands of the genre, they weren’t concerned about being deep, or even understandable, with a chorus that went:

It’s too late
It’s too soon
Or is it tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, boom?

Again: garage rock, not the stuff normally written about beyond the pages of Rolling Stone. But with the specter of the demise of the euro, and the specter of the demise of the European Union not far beyond that, and the specter of the demise of Europe itself not far beyond that, these lyrics, from a band best known for its black and white wardrobe, take on a more prescient tone. Is it too soon to sound the warning bell for Europe, as doom-and-gloomers like Mark Steyn have been doing on a regular basis? Or is it too late, and we are indeed witness to the final tick, tick, ticks of Europe’s doomsday clock?

In the Sixties, if you were to tell people that the Berlin Wall would come down two decades later, you’d have been met with laughter. Everyone knew that the Berlin Wall, like the Soviet Union, was always going to be there. But then it wasn’t. Similarly, the EU, many erudite men and women on both sides of the Atlantic put forth, is always going to be there, centralizing a continent that for centuries refused to be centralized. But given the fact that Germany may no longer want to be the go-to nation that bails out a bunch of less-industrious neighbors who can’t handle their money, and that France may not want to be the next go-to nation should Germany pull out, one day the EU too might not be there. Soon after, we’ll be treated to footage of the various MEPs leaving Brussels as they’re sent back to countries where euros are being traded for lire or deutschmarks or pesos. Not as exciting as footage of reunited Berliners tearing down the Wall, but still significant.

Forget for now the euro and the EU. Even if these two are kaput, surely the secular-progressive, post-Christian Europe of today will always be there, exporting its sophisticated politics and worldview to the gun and liberty-drunk cowboys in the United States? Well, no, not where the trends are headed now – trends that have to make those who’ve steadfastly promoted the European model as the ideal more than a little nervous. The main trend in the news is the economy – turns out that the lavish welfare state that lets you retire in your fifties or early sixties isn’t the easiest thing to prop up – but the real trend, the one being talked about behind closed doors in desperate tones, is the population. The religious are more likely to populate than the non-religious. Thus, we have the present phenomenon of secular Europeans dwindling to make room in the future for the children of pious Muslims. If the Muhammads begin, or in some cases continue, to outnumber the Jacques or the Williams in cradles across the continent, then the advocates of today’s Europe are one-third right: Europe will remain post-Christian. It just won’t be secular or progressive.

But if these are the last ticks, what will the boom look like? Will it be civil war between Muslims and non-Muslims? Partitioning? A resort to tribalism, as is seen with the rise of parties such as Hungary’s Jobbik? Or will it be complacency – a population too sedate with benefits, too glued to the latest issue of Vespa Digest, to deal with the falling apart of their world? Different countries will most likely resort to different things – Italy, say, will be more open to partitioning than the Netherlands or France. Spain might return to the days of civil war. No one will notice Belgium.

The music video that accompanies The Hives’ song takes place in the Liljevalchs Konsthall museum in Sweden. The band is depicted as an art exhibit; at one point the musicians break free and, this being rock and roll, go about destroying the various galleries in anarchic exuberance. It ends with a scene outdoors: a mother and her two daughters smiling and waving at a home movie camera, a happy moment, when the museum behind them suddenly blows up – the final boom of the song. (Mom and children are thrown to the ground from the explosion.) Perhaps a decade or two from now we’ll see reenactments of this across Europe, with citizens smiling and waving at their own home videos as the background goes up in flames. Or perhaps it will be a slow, steady crumble, not as dramatic but still destructive. Either way…

Boom.

Hope for Holland?

Posted in news, politics, religion on June 10, 2010 by Jonathan

Big night for the Netherlands: A conservative party won the most seats in the latest election, narrowly beating out the leftists. But the real story is the success of Geert Wilders’s anti-Islam party, which came in a strong third and will be an indicator of what future voting throughout Europe will look like. Holland’s reputation may be as the cradle of tolerance and coffee shops, yet below the surface lies real anxiety that things are getting out of control. Expect more elections like this one.

Again?

Posted in news on June 4, 2010 by Jonathan

If two words were thought to be taboo for the last sixty years, they were “German nationalism.” But if current economic forces in Europe continue, those words, while taboo to the rest of the world, may not sound so bad to the ears of fiscally-responsible and burden-shouldering Germans.

[HT: Ed Driscoll]

Dissing Dubya

Posted in culture, news on June 4, 2010 by Jonathan

Sir Paul McCartney, while being honored at the White House for his contributions to music, gave one of the lamest putdowns of a president who was a lightning rod of the lamest putdowns:

“After the last eight years, it’s great to have a president who knows what a library is.”

Even John Lennon would have come up with a better line than that.

Also, the “last eight years”? Obama’s been in office for a year and a half; how long will his supporters continue to use that phrase?