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July 2003


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The Derb on "Straight Flight" -- At NRO, John Derbyshire coins the term "straight flight," which better describes what I've been calling "gay ghettoization" for some time. 


Newcomers might be interested in my 2000 NRO article, "Do Gays Wants to Be Married or Just to Get Married?" Going back farther, my 1994 NR article "Why Lesbians Aren't Gay" provides a rare objective look at the two main kinds of homosexuals.



'Mom, was Dad really blacklisted or just not very talented?" Practically every interview with Gary Ross, the writer-director of Seabiscuit, includes a reference to how his father, screenwriter Arthur A. Ross (who is best known for 1954's Creature from the Black Lagoon) was "blacklisted" during the Red Scare. I was going to mention that in my Seabiscuit review, but I couldn't find a single source besides Ross Jr. anywhere on Google to back up that claim. The Hollywood Blacklist has been written about ad infinitum, so you'd think somebody somewhere besides the loyal son would have mentioned that Arthur A. Ross had been a victim. But, no. I'll have to remember that excuse -- "Son, the reason I've been playing golf every afternoon instead of working is because I'm blacklisted."



Favorite unscripted Bob Hope moment -- When, during the filming of the opening scene in (I think) "Road to Morocco," a camel hocked a huge loogie right in Hope's eye. Bing Crosby just about has a heart attack laughing and the director has the native wit to just keep the camera rolling while Hope writhes in disgust for about 90 seconds. Since the Road pictures were non-obnoxiously Brechtian in their self-conscious anti-realism, the footage all ended up in the film.


A few years after seeing this film, I had the pleasure of watching a llama at Machu Pichu spit right in the eye of the most obnoxious member of our tour group.


Hope essentially invented modern stand-up comedy for the same reason Crosby invented modern singing -- they were the first to understand how the microphone revolutionized entertainment. Mark Steyn has the rest of the story


If Hope started out as the first modern comic, he quickly became the first post-modern one. Other comedians had writers, but they didnt talk about them. Radio gobbled up your material so you needed fellows on hand to provide more. But Hope not only used writers, he made his dependence on them part of the act: I have an earthquake emergency kit at my house. Its got food, water and half-a-dozen writers. In vaudeville, a performer would have a comic persona hed be a yokel, say, and hed tell jokes about rustics and city folk but Hopes comic persona was the persona of a comic: he played a guy who told jokes for a living, and the conceit (in every sense) worked; by advertising the fact that he had a team who did all the tedious chores like providing the gags, he underlined his extraordinary preeminence. 


To anyone living in the Southeast San Fernando Valley, Bob Hope was the model of the public citizen. We go hiking on land he traded to the state park system in return for permits to develop other land, we attend the beautiful St. Charles Borromeo church his wife Dorothy and Bing Crosby paid for, and we take our kids trick or treating at his estate.


R.I.P., Mr. Hope.



The WSJ's - I seldom buy a copy of the WSJ anymore, so my contact with their famous editorial page is restricted to this free online site of theirs. Here, they seem to let their staffers write most of the pieces, rather than outsider heavyweights, and the results are not reassuring. The Ed Page's writing on lighter subjects is particularly leaden, with staffers just grabbing some opinion out of the air, generally revolving around the feeling that "Things were better when I was young." For example, deputy Ed Page editor Daniel Henninger writes a golf column called "The New Stoicism: Greg Norman, Meet Marcus Aurelius." It's an explanation of why today's golfers are more stoic than in the past (sports psychologists and political correctness are implicated.) 


The only problem is that there is zero evidence that today's golfers are more stoic than pros of the last 35 years. (If anything, they've adopted some African-American mannerisms like the fist pump that make them a bit flashier.) Henninger cites Jack Nicklaus as an example of the mercurial golfers of yore, but that just shows he must know nothing of the methodical Teuton's personality. Nicklaus' success had a huge impact on the manner of pros who came of age after 1970.


And how about that Ben Hogan, the dominant golfer of the middle decades of the century? He was a riot! Even the Scots were so amazed by his lack of affect that they called him "the wee icemon."  If you go back far enough into the 20th Century, you find a time when a lot of pros made more money hustling bets than winning tournaments, so you had players with colorful con-man facades, but Hogan largely doomed the non-serious hustler/pro with his great 1950-53 run coming back from his near-fatal car crash. But Henninger doesn't seem to know any of this history.


Golf is an extremely frustrating game and it simply requires a strong degree of emotional control to be a consistent winner. Always has, always will. 


Further, it has the strongest tradition of Scottish / WASP gentlemanliness of any major sport, so it has gone the least distance toward adopting the black style of taunting and gloating that Muhammad Ali made so popular. (And gloating in golf is just asking for some bad instant karma.)


I realize I'm devoting more thought to this topic than Henninger evidently did, but my philosophy as a writer is that if you are going to publish something, you ought to make sure you are telling the truth about it. Even if it seems like an unimportant topic, if it's true, it will connect to and illuminate a lot of more serious subjects. But if it's false, it's a dead-end.



The Dr. Strangelove Community on Iraq's Nuclear Threat -- My information, admittedly second-hand and far from complete, is that America's nuclear bomb guys at Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore, Aerospace Corp., etc. in general did not believe Saddam was making progress toward nuclear weapons after the UN weapons inspectors got through with him in 1995. The sanctions left him very little money, and he didn't have the brainpower to do it on the cheap. (His earlier attempts had used a primitive, brute force, extremely expensive technique that the U.S. had abandoned many decades before.)


Iraq's average IQ is 87, according to Lynn & Vanhanen's IQ and the Wealth of Nations, on a scale where the U.S. average is 98. In contrast, North Korea should be considered a threat, in part because, while nobody knows what North Koreans' average IQ is, the best estimate for South Koreans is an impressive 105. Yes, I realize it would be unthinkable for intelligence agencies to consider intelligence in their intelligence assessments, but don't blame me, that's how our nuclear bomb designers and strategists think.


The White House, however, preferred to listen to Ahmed Chalabi, rather than to our own Dr. Strangeloves. Even after none of our tips to Hans Blix on where to look panned out, the Administration still trusted Chalabi's tales.



Limp 'Seabiscuit' hobbles onscreen

By Steve Sailer 

LOS ANGELES, July 24 (UPI) -- "Seabiscuit," the much anticipated 1930s racehorse biopic, turns out to be 2003's "Road to Perdition:" a gorgeous but dramatically inert lump of summer Oscar-bait. Writer-director Gary Ross' long, sentimental, and predictable script is an object lesson in how not to adapt a good book.


I didn't read Laura Hillenbrand's gripping nonfiction bestseller about the life and times of the wildly popular thoroughbred until after I saw the movie, but fans of the book are likely to be even more disappointed.


First, "Seabiscuit" should never have been made into a movie. Like many sprawling books (such as "Bonfire of the Vanities," Tom Wolfe's memorable novel and Brian De Palma's disastrous movie), "Seabiscuit" was best suited to be a three-night miniseries. Much of what makes Hillenbrand's book so popular is that it allows readers to wallow in peculiar horseracing lore.


For example, at the Tijuana racetrack, where much of the pre-Seabiscuit action centers, stables mucker-outers had for years been dumping horse droppings out back until by the late 1920s there was a mountain of fermenting manure "as big as a grandstand." Jockeys desperate to sweat down to the Bataan Death March-level weights their profession requires made it their private sauna, burying themselves in the chemically combusting pile of poop. One day, though, a flood set the mound rampaging across the racetrack, permanently flattening all the facilities.


The bigger problem is that there isn't even room for what Ross crams into his 140-minute movie. The book has four main characters, which is about two too many for you to get know any well enough to care.   More ...



Neocons losing power fast -- Bush wants James Baker, who is hated by the neos, to head reconstruction of Iraq. Baker's too old for the job, but clearly Bush (and presumably Rove) are losing faith in the guys who got them into this mess.


UPDATE - Josh Marshall tracks the fast-evolving story here.



Jerry Pournelle has placed on his website Greg Cochran's latest posting to our Human Biodiversity email group: "How the Ashkenazi Got Their Smarts." Essentially, Ashkenazi Jews filled economic niches with "higher IQ elasticity" than did their gentile neighbors, who tended to be either warriors or farmers. For example, after the Mongols wiped out urban Poland and the Ukraine, the nobles invited German Jews in to be the middle class. Smart merchants, moneylenders, and estate managers could afford to have many more healthy children than could dumb ones, but IQ was less useful to knights and peasants, so there was less Darwinian selection pressure for higher IQ on gentiles. In contrast, in the Islamic world, the Muslims were less likely to permanently cede white collar jobs to Jews and more likely to force Jews into low IQ elasticity jobs like tanners and executioners, so that's why there's the big IQ gap between Ashkenazis and Oriental Jews that is such a major factor in political and social life in Israel today.


Greg has to hurry up and finish the formal version of this for publication in a scientific journal. I don't want to delay Greg any longer, but I do think that David Phillips' defense of the Norbert Weiner / Nathaniel Weyl theory of selection for rabbinical disputation skills seems like a reasonable complement to his theory. After all, Ashkenazis are not just excellent businessmen, but also, per capita, the world's foremost critics. It's because they were such good businessmen that they could afford to have so many religious scholars with large families -- the mechanism was for the brightest yeshiva boy to be married to the richest merchant's daughter.



"Iraq: The 'Duh' Theory" -- The War Nerd explains why Iraqis don't love us. Why isn't the War Nerd on the National Security Council? He understands how human beings tend to feel about being conquered better than most of Bush's advisers.



Getting in touch with our medieval sides -- It sure seems like we Americans have just gotten too darn nice to do what needs to be done to rule our new Mesopotamian satrapy. We finally do something useful -- exterminate Saddam's two sons -- and then we refuse to show the pictures to the Iraqi people because that would be "gloating." 


What were we thinking? By now, a large chunk of the Iraqis have no doubt decided that we didn't really get the Gruesome Twosome and that any pictures we show them in the future will be Photoshopped fakes.


Look, there's a tradition for how to handle situations like this: cut their heads off, stick them on pikes, and display them at Traitor's Gate until they rot and fall off.  Does that sound a little too medieval for modern American tastes? Well, then, maybe we should have thought of that before conquering Iraq.



Baseball's hidden ethnic bias

By Steve Sailer

UPI National Correspondent


LOS ANGELES, July 23 (UPI) -- The uproar over Chicago Cubs Manager Dusty Baker's assertion that black and Latin American players get less worn down by the heat isn't baseball's only ethnic brouhaha. A more important controversy involves the disparate impact of the ongoing revolution in how baseball teams evaluate players. Is the trend pioneered by the statistics-savvy general managers of Oakland, Toronto and Boston toward more rigorous evaluations of ballplayers' records -- such as searching out low-priced players with the unglamorous skill of being able to wheedle bases on balls from pitchers -- biased in favor of white American players?


Or, when looked at from a more politically incorrect perspective, does this new trend mean that previously the Anglo white-dominated baseball establishment had actually tended for decades to discriminate irrationally against Americans and in favor of more free-swinging Latin hitters, who on average weren't quite as productive as their batting averages indicated?


This controversy can help illuminate issues of discrimination and disparate impact stretching far beyond baseball. The remarkable quantity and quality of baseball statistics allows for careful testing of theories about ethnic bias. More ...



9/11 report: No Iraq link to al-Qaida 

By Shaun Waterman 

UPI Homeland and National Security Editor 


"WASHINGTON, July 23 (UPI) --  Former Democratic Georgia Sen. Max Cleland, who was a member of the joint congressional committee that produced the report, confirmed the official's statement. Asked whether he believed the report will reveal that there was no connection between al-Qaida and Iraq, Cleland replied: "I do ... There's no connection, and that's been confirmed by some of (al-Qaida leader Osama) bin Laden's terrorist followers."


"The revelation is likely to embarrass the Bush administration, which made links between Saddam's support for bin Laden -- and the attendant possibility that Iraq might supply al-Qaida with weapons of mass destruction -- a major plank of its case for war. "The administration sold the connection (between Iraq and al-Qaida) to scare the pants off the American people and justify the war," said Cleland. "What you've seen here is the manipulation of intelligence for political ends."" More ...



I just got Adam Bellow's "In Praise of Nepotism." Go buy it. It's much more important than the topline controversy over the title suggests. It covers the crucial subjects of ethnic nepotism and inbreeding.


I provided Adam with few of his countless examples, like the six Newmans who have received Oscar nominations for Best Score, and I helped him land his number one blurb on the back cover, where Steve Pinker says: 


"Nepotism, like sex, is a powerful human motive that many people are too squeamish to examine. Adam Bellow has made an important contribution to our understanding of the human condition with his sparkling and eye-opening natural history of an underappreciated but eternally fascinating topic."



Atheists Richard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett are mounting a campaign, modeled on the one that homosexuals carried out to turn the word "gay" into their private property, to make "bright" a synonym for "atheist," as in "I don't believe in God because I'm bright." (I guess we'll next be hearing about "brights' rights.") 


C'mon, Dick and Dan, don't be modest. Why piddle around with "bright?" Let the world know how you really feel about yourselves! Make the synonym for atheist be "brilliant." Repeat after me, Dick and Dan, "I don't believe in God because I'm brilliant." Isn't that better? I bet you two feel like you've finally come out of the closet.


(Have any writers done more damage to the popularity of Darwinism than those two?)



A few excerpts [with UPDATES below] from the appropriately bitchy NYT article on Ann Coulter:


"Ms. Coulter's beauty is not cuddly and accessible. A quick look at the cover of "Treason," with her black dress an etched hourglass against a white background, suggests she has the fat content of a can of Diet Coke. ...


"David Brock, a former friend and recovering conservative, said blah, blah, blah ...


"Although she chose to lease an apartment in Miami this year to be close both to the beach and Mr. [Matt] Drudge, who is among her best friends, ..."


I'm picking up a weird vibe here. I'm trying to picture exactly what kind of relationship there is between Ann Coulter and Matt Drudge that would maker her move to Miami to be close to him, but I keep coming up with "Does Not Compute." I mean Matt's a bachelor, but I've long assumed he's one of nature's bachelors, right? I guess he's the new David Brock.


A friend claims Ann has the biggest Adam's apple he's seen on a woman since Babe Didrickson Zaharias, but I don't watch TV pundits much, so I don't have an opinion on that.




She's bone-thin, so the impression she has an Adam's apple might be a function of this.


More generally:


There used to be a term "fag hag". As you have pointed out, lesbians generally don't enjoy homosexual males' company, so 'fag hags' are not necessarily or even probably lesbian. They do seem to be sort of ... asexual.  Also, the 'hag' part is significant, as they do seem to be a) mannish and b) older . Generally the kind of female that the term "handsome woman" can apply to.


Maybe. My impression is she's as aggressively heterosexual -- not the wife and mother type -- as she's aggressively everything else. A high testosterone individual, presumably. I wonder how Camille Paglia would pigeonhole her. Another reader says:


Give Drudge a break, he is trying to do the right thing. And, by tapping into their networks of gossipy gay reporters, Drudge and [Andrew] Sullivan have created some very useful turmoil and humiliation in the world of prestige media, which is always helpful. I'd still like to see the President nominate Coulter for the next Supreme Court vacancy. For a change, it would be Senators who dreaded confirmation hearings, instead of nominees.



"Northfork": Annoying ... but awesome

By Steve Sailer

LOS ANGELES, July 18 (UPI) -- "Northfork" is the most spectacular looking $2 million movie in decades. One staggering image succeeds another in the Polish Brothers' precocious and precious vision of a half-mystical Montana. For example, early in the movie a little boy goes outside to  play on what becomes -- due to the treeless desolation of the foreground, the mountainous grandeur of the background, and the monumental symmetry of director Michael Polish's framing -- the Platonic Ideal of backyard swing sets.


At age 44, visual artistry seldom provides me anymore with that old rapturous buzz, but "Northfork" delivered, for perhaps the first time since last year's "Unfaithful." At age 31, Michael and Mark Polish are still in the extended prime of what novelist Milan Kundera calls the "lyric age." They possess the young artist's obsession with finding beautiful patterns in the world and revealing them with hallucinatory emphasis. There's something spiritual about their search for the perfect camera angle to show that even in the dingiest of diners, the ceiling lamps recede with a lavish regard for the laws of perspective that would have delighted Van Eyck or Vermeer.


Nonetheless, audiences watch movies for plot and personality, not perspective. "Northfork" is reminiscent of "2001: A Space Odyssey" in the way it elicits both awe and annoyance. Sure, "2001" is a classic, but, admit it, there were times Stanley Kubrick got so pretentious and ponderous that you felt like punching him on the nose. Indeed, I frequently wanted to wring the Polish Brothers' identical twin necks for making a film more grating than great. Yet, who else's movie this summer deserves even slighting comparisons to "2001"?   More...



Living in Studio City, I run into various character actors (stars live on the other side of the mountains in Beverly Hills), but I never know what the proper protocol is for appropriately acknowledging their celebrityhood. For example, we had a weenie roast for my ten year old's baseball team last month and one of the moms who came was Laurie Metcalf (best known as the sister on "Roseanne," but she's also one of the finer stage actresses of our generation). So, I start telling her about how my wife and I had season tickets for years for the great Steppenwolf theatrical company in Chicago, where Metcalf was a mainstay.


I gushed, "My favorite performance of yours was in 'Earthly Possessions!" 


She looked puzzled and then replied, "That wasn't me, that was Joan Allen."


So, today I'm playing golf at Rustic Canyon, and one of the players assigned by the starter to my foursome is an older Jewish gentleman with a really likeable face. He introduces himself as "Judd." I start trying to remember something about Judd Hirsch. Did he win the Oscar for "Ordinary People?" Maybe he didn't and he's still sore about it. He's pretty old so his career's probably gone down the toilet, I think, so I'd better not ask what he's doing now. (I find out from IMDB tonight that he's got a major role in an ABC sitcom. Of course I'd never heard of the show, so maybe he'd be offended by that.) So, we just talked golf. 


Of course, I have exactly the same problem making small talk with noncelebrities because I overthink every possible topic. I'm always reluctant to ask an acquaintance, "So, how how's the wife and kids?" because I worry that he might say something like, "She left me after our son went to jail. I wish you hadn't brought that up."


Of course, that kind of small talk paranoia might actually make some sense with another actor I ran into at my kid's ballgame last month ... Robert Downey Jr. I'm not sure I could imagine all the disasters he's actually gotten into. (I'm glad to say that he was looking healthy, clear-eyed, and eminently respectable as he watched his son play ball on a Saturday morning in slow-lane Studio City. I wish him well.)



Freedom Fries, the epilogue: "If the French were really our enemies, they would have encouraged us to go into Iraq." -- Greg Cochran.



Analysis: The future of race quotas

By Steve Sailer

LOS ANGELES, July 14 (UPI) -- Is the Supreme Court's decision endorsing race and ethnicity as valid factors in choosing law students at the University of Michigan just a fading echo from the past?


According to conservative commentator George F. Will, a tidal wave of Hispanic immigration is washing away "a vanished America's problems with a binary, black-and-white understanding of its racial composition." In his June 24 column headlined "A Crude Remedy for a Disappearing Problem," Will also rejoiced that, "Rapidly rising rates of intermarriage further the wholesome blurring of the picture of the nation." He summed up, "Demographics, not constitutional litigation, are determining the destiny of a post-racial America."


But the same broad facts can suggest a much more disturbing picture -- one illustrated by the title of a 2002 book published by the late University of California-Santa Barbara historian and political scientist Hugh Davis Graham, "Collision Course: The Strange Convergence of Affirmative Action and Immigration Policy in America." The message of Graham's book is that without reforms, mass immigration will make ethnic preferences an increasingly contentious and racially divisive issue for future generations of Americans.


The key variable in judging how disruptive reverse discrimination might eventually become is the "racial ratio." This measure refers to how many whites there are to shoulder the cost of preferences relative to each legally protected minority member. Other things being equal, as the proportion of whites to other races shrinks due to the very demographic changes that Will celebrates, the higher the cost of preferences rises for the individual white. And if the burden of preferences grows seriously in this way, white Americans are likely to feel more resentment toward minority beneficiaries.


There are other costs to race preferences, of course, notably that they may cast doubt on the qualifications of minority applicants. But these costs have been widely debated, whereas this whites-per-minority concept is rarely used in discussions of race preferences -- even though this racial ratio is directly analogous to the well-known ratio of workers per retiree that is central to debates over the future of Social Security. In the debate over Social Security, moreover, the fact that payers and payees are each other's children and parents alleviates some of the bitterness of the conflict. In contrast, fewer family ties exist to temper racial and ethnic struggles, which is why they are so rightly feared.


If the current rules are maintained the racial ratio will plummet for the rest of the century. 


The rest of the article, in which I make the first-ever estimates of changes in the "racial ratio" over time, appears in the July 28 Summer Double Issue of The American Conservative. (Subscribe here.)



Latinos, Protestantism, and Max Weber

by Steve Sailer

First and second parts

LOS ANGELES, July 14 (UPI) -- Blacks pose a challenge to Weber's doctrine of the link between internalized Calvinism and capitalism. If Weber is right, how come black Catholics generally do better economically than black Protestants, according to data from the General Social Survey? "So much for Max Weber's famous hypothesis," mocked William Darrity of the University of North Carolina.



Gay Marriage around the Globe

by Steve Sailer, et al

LOS ANGELES, July 15 (UPI) -- Having already decriminalized soft drugs and euthanasia, Holland became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriages on April 1, 2001. The Dutch government agency Statistics Netherlands reported in late 2002, "Same-sex couples do not seem to be very interested in marriage. Statistics Netherlands estimates that there are about 50,000 same-sex couples in the Netherlands, of whom less than 10 percent have married so far." In the last nine months in 2001, 2,400 single-sex couples married. That number fell to 1,900 in 2002, compared to 85,500 male-female marriages in the Netherlands. ... More



Apparently, gay marriage is turning out to be a fizzle in the Netherlands. If you read the American media this summer, it sounds like there is this huge backlog of homosexuals dying to get married. Yet, in the Netherlands, which doesn't have the marryingest straights in the world, it's turning out to be a a damp squib -- less than 3% of all marriages the first year, barely 2% the second, and who knows how low it will go once whatever backlog there is is finally worked through.


Still, the combination of an aggrieved fashionable minority, the dread of appearing "homophobic," the power of the wedding-industrial complex, and the desire of the Bar to get their hands on the gay divorce racket seem likely to make gay marriage in America a juggernaut that that will come to pass no matter what the American public feels.


So, what's the next issue after gays win on marriage? I've always doubted male homosexuals are desperate to be married, especially in a sexually monogamous marriage, but they very much want appreciation, or as Stephen Sondheim would put it, "Applause." In what way will they decide they feel unappreciated next? 



Jon Entine has a short piece on the WSJ's commenting on the Dusty Baker brouhaha. It's nice to see something interesting on what's normally a boring site.



Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is a new makeover show on arts channel Bravo, where five bitchy gay men provide style advice to some straight guy. 


"OK, remember the Gap in 1985?" Carson Kressley asks as he begins pulling unacceptable clothes from Butch's closet with salad tongs. "Were these alphabetized by ugly, ugly and uglier?"


Here's the question I've had for years: Does this kind of thing make gays more "mainstream" or, in the minds of more than a few straight guys, does it make more "gay" such previously unsuspect activities as tucking in your shirt, combing your hair, shaving on some non-random schedule, occasionally picking your dirty clothes up off the floor, and not blowing your nose on your t-shirt? Obviously, a higher percentage of gays perform such basics of civilized living than do straight men, but I would bet that the percentage of straight guys who follow basic rules of neatness goes down the more you remind them of that statistical fact. Because nobody wants to be accused these days of being "homophobic," it's hard to get anyone to admit this, but it sure looks like single straight men are acting more slobbish each year to assert their masculinity.



My Sunday night column is up at left.



I finally saw Finding Nemo. A few years ago, I mentioned how the comic sidekicks in kids' animated features were always male. Now there are two exceptions to this rule -- the characters voiced by Rosie O'Donnell in Disney's Tarzan and Ellen DeGeneres in Pixar's Finding Nemo. Or, then again, maybe they aren't such big exceptions to the rule.



Sorry about having so little to say here lately (and have fallen behind in answering my email), but I've written about about 6,000 words that are in editorial pipelines. So much work that I just slept 32 hours in a two day stretch. 



Film reviews: 'Gentlemen' & 'Pirates'

By Steve Sailer 

LOS ANGELES, July 11 (UPI) -- A couple of American adventure movies set in British Empire days are bringing old-fashioned subject matter back to the theaters. Of the two, Johnny Depp's "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl" definitely has the longest title. 


It's also better executed than Sean Connery's "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen," which always seems about to collapse in a heap, especially during a chaotic car chase through the streets of Venice. Personally, I wasn't aware that Venice had streets. Perhaps the filmmakers got Venice confused with Vienna? Still, murky as it is, "Gentlemen" somehow keeps its act together well enough to achieve a surprisingly consistent level of mediocrity. At least it's built on a more intriguing premise than "Pirates," although that's not saying much because "Pirates" is inspired by an amusement park ride. A very good amusement park ride indeed, my favorite, but not something that the world has been crying out to see on screen.


I wonder what's next in this trend of leveraging non-narrative brand names into movies. Maybe "Ralph Lauren's Polo: The Movie," in which Edward Norton plays a young WASP blueblood from the Bronx who lights out for the Wyoming Territory to ride herd on a seersucker ranch? Or possibly "Krispy Kreme: The Artery Strikes Back"? More...



I have to write about gay marriage around the world. Does anybody know anything about this? A more fundamental question: does straight marriage exist as an institution around the world?



The great Dusty Baker controversy: The study of baseball statistics comprises a vast cottage industry. Has anybody ever tested Baker's theory that blacks and Latinos play better than whites in hot and humid conditions? I'm writing about it Sunday in



You probably heard that Canada's only conservative magazine, the Report, has gone out of business, but here's the latest out of our dreary Neighbor to the North: the spectacularly talented Canadian Mark Steyn is no longer published in his native land. He's published in six countries, including Italy and Thailand. He's even published regularly in The Nation. But nobody publishes him in Canada. What a country ...



Lots of discussion lately about fashions in naming babies. A couple of points I haven't seen elsewhere:


- The rise in popularity of names like "Jacob" (apparently the number 1 boys name in America now, displacing Michael, now that Michael Jordan has faded from the limelight) that in previous generations were disproportionately found on Jews reflects the popularity and success of Jews in America.


- The continuing imperialism of perfectly good boy names for girls. This is cruel because boys hate to be mistaken for girls, as my wife found out when she assumed a "Riley" was a girl. "Dylan" is turning into a girl's name, although if you named your son for that self-absorbed little wanker, you're probably getting what you deserve. Still, your baby boy doesn't deserve it, so, to be safe, I recommend you name your baby boy "Dick" -- not "Richard," just plain "Dick." I don't think any parents, no matter how trendy, are going to name their daughter "Dick" anytime soon.



Weather forecast for Baghdad: Highs from 114 to 116 this week. Our boys are wearing helmets and body armor. The Third Infantry Division fought their way into Iraq in March and the poor bastards are still there.


Obviously, our soldiers deserve a long vacation on Maui. Instead, the armchair warriors are talking about sending troops to ... Liberia.



From the Dept. of Now They Tell Us:


The WSJ editorializes: "Quit beating around the bush: America faces a guerrilla war."


However, famous military strategists Instapundit, James Taranto, and Andrew Sullivan explain that that's a good thing! According to somebody they all cite named David Warren, the ongoing killing of American troops in Iraq is just part of the Administration's diabolically clever Master Plan. See, there didn't used to be any active anti-American terrorists in Iraq, but ... now there are! Get it? We've got them right where we want them! 


Just wait for the Pentagon to start announcing the week's Body Count. They can get Robert McNamara to crunch the numbers for them.


If you want to be reminded of how 3rd World nationalist guerilla wars really work, take down your no-doubt dog-eared copy of Paul Johnson's Modern Times and reread the pages on the French in Algeria. Guerillas can be beat, but you've got to be willing, as Hunter S. Thompson would say, to go to the mat with them.


We Americans are rightfully even more squeamish than Charles de Gaulle was four decades ago about doing what it takes to root out guerillas. We need what we had in El Salvador in the 1980s -- our own side in a civil war to do the dirty work for us. Right now we don't have anybody on our side -- it's just us vs. anybody who doesn't like us. Maybe we'll wind up starting a divide and conquer civil war with us, the Kurds, and the Shi'ites against the Sunnis.



Big new column up at left: Rove Means Never Having to Say You're Sorry



Film review: Arnold in 'Terminator 3'

By Steve Sailer

LOS ANGELES, July 3 (UPI) -- The fast and funny "Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines" demonstrates a surprising advantage to being a sequel. An original film with T3's purported budget of $170 million would have needed a script dumbed down for the broadest possible audience. Fortunately, the "Terminator" series is by now so embedded in world popular culture that screenwriters John D. Brancato and Michael Ferris can simply assume that everybody is familiar with -- and takes an intelligent interest in -- James Cameron's epic of killer robots from the future...


In T3, Arnold's back in awesome shape, perhaps suspiciously Michelangeloesque for a 55-year old man who might run for governor of California this fall. Did he go back on the juice to prepare for his nude arrival scene? Beats me, but it's a question Republicans should ask him before they fall in line behind the man who was the Timothy Leary of steroids. Admittedly, as Schwarzenegger frequently points out, his years of steroid use didn't damage him. But, then, he's obviously a man of superior resilience, while most of the boys who tried steroids to be like him were not.


Cameron, as much as anybody, is responsible for the contemporary film fetish for butt-kicking women, like big Sigourney Weaver in "Aliens" and the beefed-up Linda Hamilton in T2. This is always hyped as feminist empowerment (a la "Charlie's Angels"), but it's driven far more by the adolescent male's wish that sexy girls would stop being interested in all that boring girl stuff and start being interested in cool boy stuff like fighting and guns.


Mostow tops Cameron's obsession when in T3 we get to watch a potential governor of California pile-drive a pretty girl headfirst through a ceramic urinal. Most women, however, aren't made out of instant-healing liquid metal. Do they really benefit from Hollywood telling males to forget the tradition that it's unmanly to hit a girl?   More...



Sailer: Black Illegitimacy Rate Down to 68.0% -- But national rate is up to 33.8%.



I hadn't mentioned the Supreme Court's sodomy decision, but the commentary since has become so detached from the real world that I guess I've got to make a few points based on dispassionate realism:


- If the state only attempts to prosecute every, say, 300,000,000th breaking of the law, the (very) rare defendant has a prima facie case that he is not enjoying equal protection under the law. So, the Supreme Court could have rightly invalidated the Texas law on the grounds of extreme arbitrariness of enforcement alone.


- Homosexual sodomy laws had been de facto repealed across America by 25-30 years ago when police forces had stopped sending undercover agents into gay bars, raiding them, and taking other proactive steps. Before then, these police actions hardly stopped gay sodomy from occurring, but they did make it harder for it to happen on the industrial scale that became common in the 1970s.


- Very, very few police chiefs would like to go back to a system that corrupted cops and pestered lots of otherwise law-abiding citizens.


- On the other hand, under such a system there was no massive lethal venereal epidemic, like the one that erupted in gay hotbeds like San Francisco and New York not long after gay liberation. Hundreds of thousands of gays killed by AIDS might be alive today if the old system had stayed in operation.


- But that's all water under the bridge now. It has become almost forbidden to mention the causal relationship between homosexual anal sex and the AIDS catastrophe. A gay venereal epidemic ten times as deadly as AIDS could break out tomorrow and we wouldn't take any legal steps to discourage gay sodomy. That would be insensitive. We'd all just agree to never mention the plague's cause in polite society.




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