Cultivation is expectation: Sane, middle-class adults cannot be converted, only cultivated.

Why are tactics aimed at converting adults futile? For the same reason that cultivating virtue in toddlers is so propitious: Attitude is everything.

Me from Church last week:

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President Biff Tannen in four words: Accidentally like an übermensch.

“What? Me, president?”

A Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Willie Story

Thursday, January 26, 2017

“So here’s the idea,” said Manny Kant. “It’s the ‘Big’ trope – boy wakes up in adult’s body – but with a twist.”

“Seen it, done it, took a bath on the action figures.” That was The Movie Mogul’s clipped retort. He’s a big, imposing guy, so he’s The Movie Mogul because, if I told you his name, he might punch me in the nose. He’s the big boss of a small film studio – some production, mostly investment and distribution – lots of indies, lots of awards – and they throw dollars around like blocks of ice. He said, “What else ya got?”

Manny was caught short – and it could be he’s losing his edge. He’s certainly grayer than I’ve ever seen him: Not just the threads of gray in what used to be jet black hair, but gray in his skin, too – gray in his soul, maybe. Wearing a gray sharkskin skinny-suit didn’t help. He might have seemed merely desperate in Lower Manhattan, but he was a man out of time in the sculpted greenswards of a suburban Los Angeles office park. “But you haven’t let me tell you the twist!”

“You came to me with one idea?” The Movie Mogul demanded. “You finagled this appointment, and all you had to pitch was one tired, played out gimmick? Fine. Hit me with your twist and get out.”

Manny stood up, but I don’t know if that helped his case. The Movie Mogul’s office might be in an unimposing location, but it’s a very imposing space. Huge, for a start, with The Movie Mogul’s desk, a sitting area and a conference table all surrounded by vast wide-open spaces. The soaring windows look out onto the greensward, with a view of the freeway in the distance. The furniture is Danish Modern, black and chrome. Standing up seemed like a misstep to me, because the chairs are so low and deep that you sit in them by falling into them, and, as Manny demonstrated, you get up by clawing your way (more…)

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If you want for there to be fewer abortions, show the world how wonderful children make it.

If you expect for kids to know that children are worth raising, first you will have to convince them that a child is something worth being.Photo by: Pedro Klien

Yesterday on Facebook, I linked to an article called 10 Ways You Can Contribute To The Pro-Life Cause. It’s mainly practical tactics, with only a little bit of shaling and propitiation, and I’ve proposed similar ideas in the past.

At the same time, we are told that abortion rates are at the lowest they’ve been in 40 years. Some of that drop, I expect, is Fad Mechanics, a math that should exist if it does not. It’s sick to think that abortion could be a fad, but, if it was, I’m glad that part is waning. What remains, we can hope, is the growing awareness that rhetoric cannot trump reality, that you cannot shout down remorse no matter how hard you try.

I am over being dismayed by the silence of the libertarians on abortion and its consequences. With each funeral they excuse themselves from attending, they underscore their enduring irrelevance: No fathers, no families. No families, no future. The ideas may live on. The people – and the movement – are simply temporarily unexpired.

There is obviously only one ontologically-consonant stand on the self-willed slaughter of one’s own offspring – true of organisms, true of mammals, true of men. People will let themselves be lied to, but we all know better. Accordingly, if you want to do something to prevent abortions, eight of the ten ideas in that article can have real-world efficacy.

But the real challenge is to change the minds of the people who might at some point consider having an abortion, so I can give you a more comprehensive – more leveraged and more scalable – solution to the problem:

Make children feel welcome in the world by showing the world how wonderful children make it.

Our children kill their children because we have taught them that children have no value in the world, that they are a burden and a curse, a booger to be flicked away when no one (more…)

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Donald #Trump is Prince Hal, not Henry V. Here’s how you can spot the tells.

Cleaning up this mess? That would be women’s work.

Cleaning up this mess? Now that would be women’s work.

Once more unto the breach:

This weekend’s events demonstrate that newly-anointed President Donald Trump is an Incandescent temperament, not a Driven personality.

(Say whuuut? If you’re new, here’s the Cliff’s Notes on DISC my way.)

To Church:

Filling in the blanks:

Donald Trump’s fatal conceit? You can’t fake leadership.

Seeing Claudius from Hamlet as an overmatched Incandescent.

By taking account of the Driven and Incandescent empathy strategies discussed here, it will prove possible over time to predict what Trump will do and to posit what an actually-Driven personality would do instead.

What if Trump tries to fake the Driven strategy? That’s what he’s been trying to do all along – all his life! – “by gut.” But you can’t fake leadership, and you can’t fake magnanimity for long. Humiliation rankles the Incandescent in ways none of the rest of us can fully understand.

Accordingly: Trump will out.

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Making a #MyKindOfBenedy-making machine.

Like everything else, the art of romance is upside down. Righting it is simply a matter of demonstrating why well-working real-life romances work so well: Because there is a man in charge.Photo by: Andrew Crump

Like everything else, the art of romance is upside down. Righting it is simply a matter of demonstrating why well-working real-life romances work so well: Because there is a man in charge.Photo by: Andrew Crump

A while ago I wrote about using the Judds’ song “Why Not Me?” as a sort of chorus for understanding a type of second-chance-at-love love story:

As story, it’s “Thunder Road” inverted, which I think is fun. But as cinema, it’s a sweet rom-com aimed right at the sweet spot in the rom-com marketplace: People who are ten years late to the wedding chapel. Showing how to make that kind of romance endure happily will prove to be a growth industry.

In preference to thinking about Trump, I thought up a story like that in the shower yestermorning, and in the process thought about a way to build a #MyKindOfBenedy content machine.

First the yarn, a 90-minute feature:

Mister Peterson’s Dowry – a romantic comedy of manners and marriage

The chorus, revisited repeatedly throughout, is a couple in formal attire making passionate love in a snowed-in car. We see their furtive frenzy progressing against windows blanketed in snow.

The couple is rushing home from their participation in a wedding party – rushing in the vain hope that they will miss the snowstorm. When they become trapped and are obliged to wait, they are thereby engaged in an encounter neither one can escape.

She’s 30 and the divorced mother of two kids. He’s 32, never married. They’re seeing each other exclusively, and she wants to know – in light of the matrimonial celebration – when he’s going to commit.

The ensuing conversation, fleshed out with flashbacks, is his negotiation of the terms on which he will marry her: “You’re recruiting me. I’m not recruiting you. What do you have to offer me compared with what I’d be putting at risk?”

The story is male leadership in marriage, so he secures the dowry he needs to secure all of their futures, with the consummation of their love-making being the seal on their bond – their marriage.

And seven of those words – “the story is (more…)

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How I justify my long-standing policy of racial profiling.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
If we should judge people by the content of their character, the black middle-class is getting screwed.dbking / Foter / CC BY

One of the more repellent tropes of race relations, by me, is the deeply earnest white guy who is trying way too hard to prove he is not racist — which of course proves to me he is. People who have no hatred for baseball don’t feel any huge need to talk about how baseball-tolerant they are. That this fellow is almost always an avowed Marxist does nothing to improve my opinion of him, and, of course, it is avowed Marxists like him who have destroyed education, turning all of America into a vast racial-grievance-mongering machine.

As a doctrine, if you can even call it a doctrine, racism is simply Collectivism-for-dummies, an EZ-reading way to rationalize obvious injustice under the color of ‘even-better-justice.’ This is true no matter what race is hating which other race — or all other races.

Race itself is a useless standard for judging the character and behavior of individual people, just as height or place-of-birth would be. The characteristic being pounced upon, whatever it might be, is meaningless to the task at hand: The person you want to malign absent any valid evidence could not control for the despised characteristic, and being short or from Fiji or black or white or yellow are not indicia of character or behavior in any case.

Racism asserts propositions that cannot possibly be true, because failures of character or behavior — as well as acts of virtue! — can only be attributes of specific individuals, never of identity groups.

But racism as a doctrine is not very interesting to me. Among white people whom I’ve met, it is exceedingly rare. Among black people I’ve met, it is more common. But among all dogmatic racists I have encountered, the characteristic the adherents had in common was a matter of character, not identity: Racists are profoundly ignorant people who are doing nothing to correct their ignorance.

But so what? Ignorant people are powerless people. Racism matters not because dumb people think and say dumb things, but (more…)

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From Traindancing: The life cycle of the mall, how the ducks get plucked.

“Oh, the huge Manatees! Oh, the huge Manatees!” I hear that sometimes, in the chuffa-chuffa rhythms of the train. What started as a tiny minority of very fat people – mainly very old, very fat people – has become a stout plurality of the middle aged. And the out-waisting of the Western world includes almost all of us, not just the folks who have already broken the bathroom scale. It is rare at the mall to see anyone older than a teenager who is not continuously outgirthing his clothes, and it is not at all rare to see two- and three-year-old incipient Manatees.

“Oh, the huge Manatees! Oh, the huge Manatees!” I hear that sometimes, in the chuffa-chuffa rhythms of the train. What started as a tiny minority of very fat people – mainly very old, very fat people – has become a stout plurality of the middle aged. And the out-waisting of the Western world includes almost all of us, not just the folks who have already broken the bathroom scale. It is rare at the mall to see anyone older than a teenager who is not continuously outgirthing his clothes, and it is not at all rare to see two- and three-year-old incipient Manatees.

Just for fun, here’s slab of red meat from Traindancing, a book of Willie stories I’m working on about the choo-choo train at the mall.

This is ha-ha fun stuff, but it’s also a fun way for me to wrestle with the canons of art: How tiny a stage can I use to enact all the universe? That much is humor for one, I guess, but without humor for one there would be no Willie stories.

This bit is extracted from Like Holden Caulfield – the second time as farce: Turning the mirror on Loco Willie:

More grotesque than the Grotesques at the mall, for all of me, are too many of the Normals.

First we have the sheer weight of these creatures, with the outrageous corpulence of Americans being a recent, and, we can hope, a temporary phenomenon. I called all of the morbidly obese mall patrons Manatees, at first, but I’ve since developed gradations of gluttony: Turnips are almost normal-sized at the head and ankles, but they bulb out like, well, turnips, in-between. Manatees are wide everywhere, even at the face, and they look like big rounded boxes from the shoulders down. Double-Wides are even-huger Manatees, and there are even some Triple-Wides out there, still able to lumber along on feet all-but-enveloped by their own ankle-fat.

All of these folks are big front-to-back, as well as side-to-side, so they seem to sail slowly through the mall like so many (so very many!) ungainly yachts. And while it may (more…)

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