Metaphor, Trump and the antlike Antifa

Army_ants
…Antifa, sundry mad lefties etc…

One thing is true about contemporary politics in the UK, the EU and the USA – it’s not boring. Not only the facts, the events, the personalities, but also the conversations. The internet has liberated all of us, and for every crank theory there is an intelligent analysis that you won’t get in the mainstream media. It’s brilliant. A lot of it is also very funny/entertaining, though hardly ever emanating from the more left inclined end of the spectrum, where humour is suspect.

Whether or not we’re currently getting good government, we’re certainly benefiting from the theme of John von Kannon‘s wonderful quote “If you can’t have good government, at least have entertaining government.”

la-ol-le-berkeley-antifa-radicals-20170829
….army ants

A rising star in 2017 is Thomas Wictor, whose biography is pretty extraordinary, and who has a dedicated bunch of followers on Twitter, waiting for the next in his series of long threads, centring around government, lefties, war, the military, pictorial analysis and flamethrowers. Yes, flamethrowers.  In fact, with respect to the latter, read the genius thread starting here.

He’s an erudite man, and a terrific writer. Here is his series of tweets creating the ‘Trump is Leiningen’ meme. A sheer delight. You don’t have to be a Trumpkin to enjoy the point.

A story.

Leiningen Versus the Ants,” by Carl Stephenson (1893-1954). A plantation owner versus army ants.

Leiningen is a middle-aged man who refuses to give up. He enemies are the ants–robotic, vicious, inhuman.

My father’s most inspired quote: “Can you reason with a wasp?”

Of course not. Leiningen tries everything to save his plantation.

The ants won’t be stopped. They want what they want, and they’ll get it by any means necessary.

When all seems lost, Leiningen realizes that there’s one last chance, but someone will have to run through two miles of ants.

So Leiningen tells his men what will happen:

“I’m not going to let you try it; if I did I’d be worse than one of those ants.”

“No, I called the tune, and now I’m going to pay the piper.” Middle-aged Leiningen will run through two miles of ants.

How many people know that those who call the tune must pay the piper?

President Trump knows. He pays the piper daily, without complaint. That’s why Trump is winning and will be completely successful.

Army ants–no matter how many there are–can’t think. Last night I was told by THIS person that leftism will win.

Delusional army ants. That’s what Trump and his supporters face.

“Leiningen Versus the Ants” has one of my favorite lines ever:

“They had been delivered into the annihilation that was their god.”

Watch it happen. And celebrate.

…and Tom goes on to provide a handy CNN video. Hilarious

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Random Lists (2): likeable lefties

gorbachev_and_reagan
…historic stuff. Could it work with the Norks?

I’m not always sure why I like them (and I don’t always like them either), but here you go:

  1. George Galloway (right about so much eg. Iraq **, wrong about everything else)
  2. Neil Clark (journalist and ace tipster)
  3. Yanis Varoufakis (for being sharp about the EU)
  4. John Pilger (a certain gritty integrity after all these years)
  5. Gorbachev (never got as much credit as he deserved)

(Note that the list does not include irritating boorish underachieving egotistical ‘national treasure’, Dennis Skinner)

**though to be fair on one point,  the Iraq army is a very effective fighting force now, in 2017

Political debate is currently dead

graveyard
*

Would anyone like a neat precis of the state of play in contemporary political debate? I should probably write that as ‘debate’, such is the atrophied intellectual atmosphere surrounding much of it. As yet there’s no sign of this changing.

Here you go, courtesy of Kevin D Williamson – who, it should be emphasised, is no Trumpkin. While he’s writing primarily about the US, it seems globally applicable:

The Left, for the moment, cannot seriously compete in the theatre of ideas. So rather than play the ball, it’s play the man. Socialism failed, but there is some juice to be had from convincing people who are not especially intellectually engaged and who are led by their emotions more than by their intellect — which is to say, most people — that the people pushing ideas contrary to yours are racists and anti-Semites, that they hate women and homosexuals and Muslims and foreigners, that they could not possibly be correct on the policy questions, because they are moral monsters. This is the ad hominem fallacy elevated, if not quite to a creed, then to a general conception of politics. Hence the hoaxes and lies and nonsense.

Phony hate crimes. Phony hate.

Short and sweet

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Twitter, as ever, rapidly provides an example

Things that I wish I’d written (1)

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Liddle, as he should be?

If you blog you have to hone your writing skills, and try to be concise. I’m sure that I often fail. However, you do occasionally sit back and admire something that you’ve produced with a friendly inner smug voice gently praising your brilliance.

There are a few writers though who consistently trump what you’ve done, and make it seem effortless. Wrong though he is about most things, Matthew Parris is one. Kevin D Williamson (right about most things) is possibly the dean of this school. Here is another, now a hate figure for half of the middle classes, Rod Liddle. Very funny, and peerless prose:

The remarkable thing is the change. The degree to which liberal lefties now cling to these most unlikely of heroes – a former right wing quasi fascist self-publicising dwarf like Bercow, or an investment banker like Gina Miller. Or a stupid bureaucrat like Jean Claude Junckers. And they do this because, I suppose, they have nothing left to cling to. Everything else is gone. They are left with these pathetic, bourgeois, right wing, half-wits. It really is all they have, so swiftly has the ground shifted beneath their feet. Sometimes I almost feel sorry for them.

Perfect

Clarity of expression: left v right

It was an erstwhile leftie** – albeit a privileged and well educated one – George Orwell, who wrote the classic guide to good writing, Politics and the English Language. The whole thing is great, but here is the distillation:

(i) Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.

(ii) Never use a long word where a short one will do.

(iii) If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.

(iv) Never use the passive where you can use the active.

(v) Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.

(vi) Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

It is quoted continually, and I would say that it’s an excellent basis for anyone who enjoys writing – bloggers, for example. A more recent teacher, from the other end of the political spectrum, would be Simon Heffer, in his Style Notes.

Orwell-2
*

Sadly, lefties have fallen far from grace in this important area. Here is (non-leftie) Douglas Murray critiquing ‘Jack’ Monroe and ‘their’ employer, the Guardian:

Soon afterwards, even the award of “Woman of the Year” to someone with a penis seemed passé as a far-left blogger and “anti-austerity activist” called Jack Monroe came out as “nonbinary transgender”. A few days later she accepted a “Woman of the Future” award,  which was not merely undeserved but (if Monroe were to be taken at her word) singularly inaccurate.

Or not. For although Monroe has announced that she is “trans” she expressed herself unwilling to do anything about it. Indeed, she demonstrated even less skin in the game than Caitlyn Jenner. Personally, I slightly admire people so sure they are stuck in the wrong body that they go through the terrible operations necessary to change sex cosmetically. But I feel reluctant to go through the necessary language hurdles if they won’t do anything other than “declare” themselves something. And what hurdles! In reporting Monroe’s desire to “transition”, Pink News adopted the new house style which makes pronouns for trans people not only non-gender specific but also plural. So we read, “Writing on their blog, Jack said . . .” Also (lovers of our delicate and beautiful language look away now), “The Guardian columnist and poverty campaigner changed their name to Jack when they was younger.”  The new newspeak is the old illiteracy.

That ‘they was’ hits you hard at the end of the beautifully written paragraph.

liddle1
*

Which brings me to my main reason for writing this post, which is to find an excuse to quote Rod Liddle, who is a unique political mix of left and right, and extremely funny with it. Here he is in the latest Spectator, on two of his bêtes noires (permitted, as I  can’t think of an English equivalent):

Let me mention a couple of names to you: Alan Rusbridger and Yasmin Alibhai-Brown. One is the former editor of the Guardian, the latter a columnist at the Independent until it went digital, and read by almost nobody, anywhere. Between them they are or have been honorary visiting professors at four universities — Nuffield Oxford, Queen Mary, Cardiff and Lincoln, and possess honorary doctorates from four more. I know this because I hate both of them and regularly check what they are up to.

Limpid, direct prose, perfectly expressing his point. Orwell would have been proud.

**should it be lefty, or leftie?