Don’t Gaslight on Me

Fenster writes:

This is kind of a continuation of the note to W– I wrote here.

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Imran Awan Update

Fenster writes:

I have written previously on the press’s predilection to not cover things, and how it can be more effective to ignore than to risk the fabrication of fake news.  That practice can be spotted, with practice, if you have an eye out for what Holmes called the dog that didn’t bark–the absence of something being the clue to something else.

The habit of ignoring is especially prevalent at my hometown newspaper, the Boston Globe (see here and here).

Back in 2018 the Globe did a bang-up job ignoring the Curious Case of the Congressional IT Specialist–Imran Awan.  A case with a very large non-barking dog.

There’s the case of Imran Awan, the congressional tech staffer who may or may not be implicated in larger political issues.  I won’t go into those issues here except to say that the story has been alive and kicking for a long time now, well over a year.  The theories about Awan being linked to bad political derring-do are not proven.  But any review of the facts as reported outside the mainstream strongly suggest that this is if nothing else a story.  There is something to report on that is not just vapors.

I watched the Boston Globe archives for the last year and a half looking for any mention of his name.  Zero.  He was apparently simply not newsworthy.  If you read the Globe for all your news you would not have known who he is.

Awan is still in the fringes of mainstream discourse, with his name appearing from time to time, mostly to suggest tales of shenanigans have been “debunked”or that any case that may have been opened against him for his actions has been closed.

But maybe not so fast.  The Daily Wire reports that the reason the government will not turn over information on Awan is not because of “technical difficulties”, as it originally asserted, but because “there is a secret ongoing case related to the matter.”

Well that’s interesting, right?  Maybe the case is not closed.  Maybe as the article suggests the reason for the secrecy is that there may be actual, you know, national security issues at stake.  Like, I mean, like what the original concerns were before the stories were “debunked.”

Now that might be something that a real newspaper-newspaper (e.g., truth to power; custodians of virtue, indefatigable shoe leather sleuths, Woodstein/Watergate blah blah blah) might be interested in, no?

But no.  That is: no interest.  I checked the Globe archives again. Still nothing new on Awan.  I will keep checking and let you know when hell freezes over.



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Note to W–, on Donna Zuckerberg

Fenster writes:

I see we are both reading Donna Zuckerberg’s book Not All Dead White Men.  Since I know you as one who will tackle the classics head-on I am interested in your reaction to Zuckerberg’s glancing blow at some of its fans.

Me?  I found it underwhelming. Not that I expected that much since I come at the notion of a feminist reading of the classics with some skepticism.

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I yam what I yam

Fenster writes:

I yam what I yam.


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Trump’s New Executive Order

Fenster writes:

President Trump has issued an executive order on the enforcement of Title VI relative to anti-Semitic acts.  OK, but what is Title VI?

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Notes on “Cruising”

Fabrizio del Wrongo writes:

It’s possible that writer-director William Friedkin allowed “Cruising” to go so far, to be so extreme, in part because he felt that his experience directing the 1970 “The Boys in the Band,” often acknowledged as the first movie to treat gays sympathetically, provided him a degree of cover. He was wrong: “Cruising” was controversial from the get-go. Although I dislike the term “homophobic,” it aptly describes the attitudes on display in “Cruising”: The movie treats gays the way “Alien” treats xenomorphs. The frankness of its homophobia is what makes it compelling: Friedkin dives right into his ambivalence (which amounts to a kind of fascination), hits the bottom of the pool, and keeps pushing. He revels in his discomfort and does all he can to push it onto the audience. He pushes it onto star Al Pacino, too: Playing a cop who goes undercover in the studs-and-leather gay scene, the actor seems cowed and uncertain; he’s roosterpecked. Friedkin’s manner of shooting Pacino highlights the actor’s physical oddity — his big head and bigger rump, his Mephistophelean facial features. We’re rarely not aware of his shortness. When Pacino dons a muscle shirt and tight jeans and struts into a bondage cellar, you feel the put-on more than the machismo. (The movie consistently blurs disguise, performance, and identity.) And Pacino is cunning in the way he occasionally slips into the little-boy affectations of the young Michael Corleone and Bobby from “The Panic in Needle Park,” flashing his puppy eyes and using an altar boy’s voice, like he’s apologizing. Are these Pacino’s inventions or the results of Friedkin’s efforts to keep the actor unbalanced? I’m not sure. (Friedkin claims Pacino was terrified of the role and the outraged reactions of the gay community. I believe him.) Off-putting at first, Pacino’s performance gradually becomes engrossing. The movie probably wouldn’t work without it. Boldly, Friedkin equates the penetration of gay sex with the corporeal damage inflicted by piercing weapons in a manner sometimes attributed — often not very convincingly — to supposedly gay Renaissance artists. But where penetration is an understated element of Mantegna’s “St. Sebastian,” there’s no subtlety in Friedkin’s approach: His metaphors are as explicit and as brutal as his kill scenes. This association of gay sex with death, and the related suggestion of gay behavior patterns spreading to the straight populace, drives the film’s paranoia, and in hindsight lends it the force of prophecy. In 1980 most people hadn’t heard of AIDS or considered anal sex. The most impressive aspect of Friedkin’s direction is its ambiguity. The movie’s metaphors may be blunt, but it’s often sophisticatedly hazy at the narrative and thematic levels. Themes are stated and inverted. Characters show up on one side of the gay-straight divide, then turn up later on the opposite side. In particular, Friedkin gets a kick out of the way in which cops, with their intimations of order and their fetishistic uniforms, blur the line separating the conventional from the outré. This absence of fixedness has a larger meaning: We’re being asked to contemplate — with horror — the permeability of our inhibitions.

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Michael Malice’s Red Pill Test

Blowhard, Esq. writes:

On a recent episode of his podcast, Michael Malice gave the following red pill test to his guest. I don’t agree with all of it, and I think it omits some things, but it’s still pretty good:

Do you agree that….

1. …the corporate press is the enemy of the people?
2. …conservatism is progressivism driving the speed limit?
3. …public schools are literally prisons for children?
4. …when it comes to Trump we don’t deserve him?
5. …the corporate press generally believes they’re your betters?
6. …progressivism is domesticated imperialism?
7. …the three legs of progressivism are the universities, media, and politics?
8. …the battle is won when the average American regards corporate journalists exactly the same as a tobacco executive?
9. …some people are better than others?
10. …Pinochet did nothing wrong?
11. …many people on the left wouldn’t care if you and your family were vanished?
12. …progressivism is a thinly-veiled fundamentalist faith?
13. …the biggest failing of the American Right is that Americans don’t understand how bad communism was?

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