Quotulatiousness

July 1, 2017

Trump’s Twitter tactics are still working to perfection

Filed under: Media, Politics, USA — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

David Warren, while not a fan of Trump, notes that Trump’s use of Twitter is still serving to keep his critics in a state of impotent rage:

Twitter is anyway full of foul; and I first observed that Trump is exceptionally crass, long before he ran for public office. I have never expected better of him, and as we say, pessimists are never disappointed. Rather I’ve noticed that he uses his indecencies to clever effect. For he is intentionally driving his opponents crazy; counting on them always to take the bait. This works better for him than any other tactic. Take his Twitter account away, and the Democrats would soon have him cornered. Instead they stay too angry to land a telling punch.

Today, I just smile at the antinomian craftsmanship.

I used to like boxing, when I was a kid, including the first-round knockouts in which Trump specializes. Liston versus Patterson, 1962 and ’63. Clay versus Liston, ’64. In the latter case the media had predicted a one-round outcome, but said it would go the other way. Liston, whose manager had been a mob hit-man, learnt boxing in the Missouri State Penitentiary, and never played cat-and-mouse. Imagine his surprise when Cassius Clay connected. The young lad had sparkling reflexes, on very quick feet, and was secretly more ruthless than the evil-eyed thug who’d come the hard way from Arkansas. It was all in the stars Hillary Clinton was seeing the night of the big match. I meant, Sonny Liston, who thought so little of Clay, that he was drinking the night before Clay flattened him. For Clay combined arrogance with a devilish sense of humour — and “we all know” funny people are ineffectual.

What might have driven me crazy in the old days was not Trump’s tweet, but seeing it at the top of the BBC World News, and played for all it isn’t worth by the various other “commie” networks. Their humourless malice against Trump is like Liston’s against Clay: something they don’t bother to hide. But malice is not the same as ruthlessness. The ruthless strategize; the malicious merely lunge.

Meet the Romans with Mary Beard 2/3 – HD

Filed under: Europe, History — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

Published on 16 May 2013

1. All Roads Lead to Rome
2. Street life
3. Behind Closed Doors

Happy 150, Canada … now get back to work

Filed under: Cancon, History — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

Chris Selley on the artificial sesquicentennial celebrations beginning today:

On Wednesday evening, indigenous protesters marched on to Parliament Hill and, after some back and forth with the local constabulary, erected a large white tepee. The group’s leaders told reporters they intended to “reoccupy” “unceded Algonquin territory,” and remind Canadians that “reconciliation” with the people who were here before them lies far down a bumpy road.

If nothing else, it was a welcome moment of coherence: big white tepee, Parliament Hill, three days before Canada Day — no one is going to wonder what that’s about. By contrast, I’m not sure what “Canada 150,” the officially branded and hash-tagged celebration of this country’s existence, is supposed to be. It certainly isn’t a focused reflection on Canada’s history, much less on Confederation. Passport2017.ca, the Canada 150 online portal, reads like an in-flight magazine’s Canada Day edition.

You can check in with the “Canada 150 Ambassadors.” Singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright appreciates Canada’s “civility, reasoning and compassion.” Sprinter Bruny Surin appreciates moving from Haiti to a country where, his mother told him, anyone can accomplish anything. Nobel laureate astrophysicist Art McDonald provides the obligatory shout-out to Lester Pearson’s role in the Suez Crisis.

[…]

Had Canada 150 been a thoughtful reflection of Canada’s history, it might have been worth defending against rhetorical excesses and disruptions. Instead we got a Molson commercial gone to seed — a facile, hackneyed celebration of our national superiority. Amidst all that, if Canadians and their big-talking government are forced to confront some of this country’s most notable failings, I would deem that a Canada 150 Essential.

Also in the National Post, Colby Cosh is not feeling the paroxysms of nationalistic fervour and joy he’s supposed to be feeling:

Could it be that going all-in on a 150th anniversary… was a mistake? One hundred and fifty is sort of an awkward number to be the occasion for a grand national celebration. That the word “sesquicentennial” exists, and that it is only ever used to describe contrived festivals of this sort, seems like a hint.

Me, I would probably be unenthusiastic over a rounder number anyway. My suspicion and resentment of any state-led hoo-rah or whoop-up is probably about half politics and half personality. No doubt in 1967 I would have been writing columns grumbling about Expo 67 being a showcase for high-modernist delusion, doomed hopes for national unity, and brutal industrialism.

But, of course, there is much to be said for the grouchy view. From our vantage, we look back mostly on the fashions and design coups of Expo 67 and ignore the larger details. Any ordinary cultured person of 2017 whisked back to Expo 67 in a time machine would step out of the pod and recoil instantly at the sexism of signs blaring “Man And His World.” We would look askance at the abusive landscaping of the Montreal riverside. We would sprain our eyebrows raising them at the glorification of European explorers and the endorsement of an unjust world order.

[…]

So maybe the grouches are usually right in the long run, and particularly about moral enterprises of the state, which are so often born and planned in a frenzy of self-congratulation and political calculation. Celebrating a 150th anniversary is inherently weird, but when I have pointed this out I have usually been offered the justification that Gen X-ers like me missed out on Expo 67 by accident of birth, and probably will not make it to see Hadrien Trudeau preside over CanadaFest 2067.

He also posted something on Twitter that might well be a response to Chris Selley’s article:

Hunting the Bismarck – III: A Chance to Strike – Extra History

Filed under: Britain, Germany, History, Military — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on May 25, 2017

Sponsored by Wargaming! New players: Download World of Warships and use the code EXTRA1 for free goodies! http://cpm.wargaming.net/i3v7c6uu/?pu…

The order went out: Sink the Bismarck. Ships converged from all over the Atlantic to hunt down the pride of the German navy, and Swordfish planes launched from the aircraft carrier Ark Royal raced to harry the great warship.

QotD: Lying about our age on Canada Day

Filed under: Cancon, History, Humour, Quotations — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 01:00

“We are a young nation,” declared Prime Minister Paul Martin. “Look into the face of Canada, and you will see the world.”

Well, maybe. But, more likely, if you looked into the face of Canada, you’d wonder why the old gal keeps lying about how old she is. “We are a young nation.” How old were you when you first heard a Liberal apparatchik drone about what a “young” nation we are? Maybe you were young yourself, and now, as the healthy glow of late middle-age fades from your cheeks, you’re wondering why you’re so old but your country is younger than ever. It’s like The Passport Photo of Dorian Gray.

For me, no sooner did Paul start burbling about what a young nation we are than the years fell away, like calendar leaves signalling flashback-time in an old movie — the sort Hollywood used to make before it discovered there was a young nation up north where you could make them a lot cheaper. Anyway, the years fell away, and suddenly I was a wee slip of a thing again and it was 1497 and on the windswept prow nice Mister Cabot was saying to me, “Aargh, Mark lad, is me eyes deceiving me or is that a big rock up ahead?”

No, hang on, that can’t be right. We’re a young nation. My mistake, it was 1997 and I was at the “Canada Day” festivities at the Old Port in Montreal. We’re a young nation with an old port, don’t ask me how that happens. And Lucienne Robillard, then our citizenship minister, was addressing a couple of dozen brand new Canadians: “Fifty years ago we were British subjects,” she said. “We forget how young a country we really are.” Mme Robillard forgets more than she realizes: it was only 20 years — 1977 — since the term “British subjects” was discreetly removed from Canadian passports. But what’s a decade or two when you’re shaving half a millennium off your age?

Isn’t there something deeply weird about an entire nation that lies about its age? Canada is, pace Mr Martin, one of the oldest countries in the world — the result of centuries of continuous constitution evolution. Even if one takes the somewhat reductive position that Canada as a sovereign entity dates only from the 1867 British North America Act or the 1931 Statute of Westminster, that would still make us one of the oldest nations in the world. We are, for example, one of the founding members of the United Nations, ahead of three-quarters of the present membership.

As George Orwell wrote in 1984, “He who controls the present controls the past. He who controls the past controls the future.” A nation’s collective memory is the unseen seven-eighths of the iceberg. When you sever that, what’s left just bobs around on the surface, unmoored in every sense. Orwell understood that an assault on history is an assault on memory, and thus a totalitarian act. What, after all, does it really mean when Mme Robillard and Mr Martin twitter about how “young” we are? Obviously, it’s a way of denigrating the past. Revolutionary regimes routinely act this way: thus, in Libya, the national holiday of Revolution Day explicitly draws a line between the discredited and illegitimate regimes predating December 1st, 1969, and the Gadaffi utopia that’s prevailed since. In Cambodia, the Khmer Rouge literally reset the clock, to “Year Zero.”

Mark Steyn, “Happy Dominion Day!”, The Western Standard, 2005-07-01 (reposted at SteynOnline, 2015-07-01).

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