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an endless succession of beans and nuts.

"How Rod Dreher's Blog Got a Little 'Too Weird' for The American Conservative."

I'm reading this Vanity Fair article by Caleb Ecarma. Subtitle: "The right-wing commentator’s columns, which were unedited and bankrolled by a single donor, will be shuttered Friday after a 12-year run. Sources say it was ultimately a diatribe on circumcision that was a bridge too far."
Over the last 12 years, Dreher... has built a cult following with some of the most bizarre diatribes in opinion journalism. He has warned that so-called sissy hypnosis porn is “profoundly evil;” detailed the “formal” Catholic exorcism of a friend’s suicidal wife; and recalled—in unsettling detail—the time he witnessed a Black classmate's uncircumcised penis....

Howard Ahmanson Jr., the heir to a California banking fortune [was] the sole benefactor of Dreher’s six-figure salary.... This unique funding arrangement—a single donor choosing to cover one writer’s entire salary—was paired with an even more unusual editorial arrangement: Dreher was allowed to publish directly on TAC’s site without any revisions or legal oversight.... 

That is, I would say, Dreher was allowed to write a real blog. And he got real money for blogging the real way. It's appropriate that a writer be paid. But all the money came from one guy. How can you write like that?! I guess it depends on the guy. You'd have to think about whether this one guy is getting what he wants... or enough of what he wants... to keep the money flowing.

Ahmanson must have loved Dreher, so where did Dreher go wrong? Sources tell Vanity Fair it was that post about circumcision. Dreher wrote:

“All us boys wanted to stare at his primitive root wiener when we were at the urinal during recess, because it was monstrous. Nobody told us that wieners could look like that.” 

I took a moment to look up Ahmanson. From his Wikipedia page, check out his "occupation": 

"Heir, idle rich, financier." Oh, Wikipedia!

It wasn't just calling a black man's uncircumcised penis a "primitive root wiener."

Some of Dreher’s commentary on the gay and transgender communities also proved off-putting to Ahmanson, such as his lurid musings on anal sex, rectal bleeding, and the “partially rotted off” nose of a gay man who contracted monkeypox. 
“At some point, he basically decided, 'This is too weird,’” the source, paraphrasing Ahmanson, explained to me. “‘I don’t want to read this or pay for this anymore.’”

The problem was either that or the fact that Dreher, who lives in Hungary, revealed that the Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán said NATO is "in a war with Russia" and he wants out of the European Union. That caused a stir.

In his final TAC post, Dreher closed by saying to his readers: “All you Mongoloids were the Primitive Root Wiener in my Lucky Dog, and I love you very much.” I'm sure his closest readers understood all the references. I only get "Primitive Root Wiener" and it's hard to fathom why he would write that... other than that to blog well you have to take chances and say some unusual things. I'm going to guess that Dreher will be better off on his own at Substack with the money coming from a multitude of readers and not from one man — who, of course, had to worry about having his own reputation wedded to the words of a blogger.

"Meta suffered a major defeat on Wednesday... after European Union regulators found it had illegally forced users to effectively accept personalized ads...."

"The ruling is one of the most consequential judgments since the 27-nation bloc, home to roughly 450 million people, enacted a landmark data-privacy law aimed at restricting the ability of Facebook and other companies from collecting information about users without their prior consent.... The company includes language in its terms of service agreement, the very lengthy statement that users must accept before accessing services like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, that effectively means users must allow their data to be used for personalized ads or stop using Meta’s social media services altogether."

From "Meta’s Ad Practices Ruled Illegal Under E.U. Law/The decision is one of the most consequential issued under the E.U.’s landmark data-protection law and creates a new business headwind for the social media giant" (NYT).

"Once they arrive at the tropical island to the sound of birdsong, users can roam a surreal landscape dominated by a permanent beach party."

"As the music blares out thumping dance songs, computer generated avatars wave their multiple limbs while dancing on raised platforms. Above it all a giant red statue of a shot-put athlete, rendered in heroic Soviet style, looms, tensed and poised to throw a heavy shot. Except instead of an iron shot, his ball is a menacing looking coronavirus.... Avatars can walk on water as dolphins leap through the air around them and drones hover bearing message screens flashing words like 'education,' 'public health' and '#WhoWeAre.' Open books are installed on a liquid floor as a 'symbol of the human journey towards knowledge.'..."

From "EU throws gala party for ‘global gateway’ metaverse — and only a handful of people show up" (London Times). 

By "handful," they mean 6. The EU spent £332,500. So that's £55,417 per person.

"We appreciate any help, but everyone should understand that these are not charitable contributions that Ukraine should ask for or remind of."

"These are not noble gestures for which Ukraine should bow low. This is your contribution to the security of Europe and the world. Where Ukraine has been a reliable shield for eight years. And for eight years it has been rebuffing one of the world’s biggest armies. Which stands along our borders, not the borders of the EU.... And I hope no one thinks of Ukraine as a convenient and eternal buffer zone between the West and Russia. This will never happen. Nobody will allow that. Otherwise – who’s next? Will NATO countries have to defend each other?... I thank all the states that supported Ukraine today. In words, in declarations, in concrete help. Those who are on our side today. On the side of truth and international law. I’m not calling you by name – I don’t want some other countries to be ashamed. But this is their business, this is their karma."

Said Volodymyr Zelenskiy, quoted in "Ukrainian President Makes Historic Speech in Munich (English Translation)" (Kyiv Post).

"A European campaign celebrating the 'joy' and 'freedom' of wearing the hijab has been cancelled after fierce objections from France."

"President Macron’s government denounced the campaign by the Council of Europe as deeply unacceptable, left-wing politicians criticised it and right-wing candidates for the presidency denounced it as Islamist propaganda.... The council, which works for human rights and democracy... showed young women in the head-covering with the slogans 'Bring joy and accept hijabs,' 'Beauty is in diversity as freedom is in hijab' and 'My headscarf my choice.'... Marine Le Pen, the National Rally leader who has been increasing her criticism of Islam to rival the more virulent discourse of Zemmour, called the campaign 'outrageous and indecent when millions of women fight bravely gainst this enslavement.' Voices were raised in the left-wing opposition, which subscribes along with most of the French political world to the view that the headcovering for Muslim women represents a denial of equality. Laurence Rossignol, a Socialist senator who served as women’s rights minister under President Hollande, said: 'A reminder that women are free to wear the hijab is one thing. Saying that freedom is in the hijab is another.' Under France’s tradition of strict secularism, known as la laicité, the wearing of religious head covering is barred in state schools and by women employed in public services."

If "freedom is in hijab," then France's forbidding of religious head covering in schools is a denial of freedom. Maybe that's correct, but France can't support the ad campaign while maintaining that policy. So it's really not surprising that both the right and left denounced the campaign.

By the way, I considered putting a "sic" after "gainst," but it's in the OED, spelled without an apostrophe. For example, Christopher Marlowe used it in 1602: "Why figthst gainst odds?"

IN THE COMMENTS: J Oliver writes:
Marlowe died in 1593, so he said nothing quotable in 1602, unless you believe his death was faked and he lived on in Italy writing Shakespeare plays. But All Well that Ends Well.
As I said in the comments, this uncovers a problem that is always there when I use the book publication date and language like "X wrote" or "X said." 

"Poland’s top court ruled Thursday that its national laws can trump those of the European Union...."

"The Constitutional Tribunal in Warsaw ruled that parts of E.U. law were not compatible with the country’s constitution. They include an article that says that laws from Brussels have primacy over conflicting national legislation and another relating to the binding nature of decisions of the European Court of Justice. Those principles are essential to how the union functions legally.... 'It’s at the core of the union,' said Didier Reynders, the European Union’s justice commissioner.... Poland’s justice minister, Zbigniew Ziobro, described the decision Thursday as 'historic,' saying it set the 'constitutional limits' of E.U. 'interference' in Polish cases.... The move puts the country on the path to 'Polexit' said Jeroen Lenaers, justice spokesman for the largest political bloc in the European Parliament.... 'Enough is enough. The Polish government has lost its credibility.'"

"On the continent, 'pro-Europeans' believe they have something in common with other Europeans that separates them from the rest of the world..."

"... they think of Europe as what the Germans call a Schicksalsgemeinschaft, or community of fate. Few remainers think in this way; many are genuine cosmopolitans.... It is particularly odd, when you think about it, that identifying with 'Europe' should be thought of as an expression of cosmopolitanism. Europe is not the world and supporting the EU, or thinking of yourself as European, does not make you a 'citizen of the world,' let alone a 'citizen of nowhere,' as Theresa May famously suggested in 2016. Rather, it makes you a citizen of a particular region – one that happens to be the whitest on earth... [W]hile the EU was based on learning the lessons of centuries of conflict within Europe that culminated in the Second World War, and gradually also came to incorporate the collective memory of the Holocaust into its narrative, 'pro-Europeans' did not even attempt to learn the lessons of what Europeans had done to the rest of the world and never had anything to say about the history of colonialism.... [T]he fragile civic identity that emerged during the postwar period seems to be giving way to a more cultural or even ethnic identity – defined, in particular, against Islam. In other words, whiteness may actually be becoming more, not less, central to the European project."

"The scenery that annually draws 120 million tourists would not exist if not for cows grazing."

"It has been cultivated over seven centuries of farmers driving their herds to mountainside meadows in the summer. The animals’ hoofs firm the soil, their tongues gently groom the grasses and wildflowers. In the process, they continually sculpt verdant pastures — beloved backdrops for movies like 'The Sound of Music.' All that seemed at stake when a court in the western state of Tyrol found [a farmer named Reinhard] Pfurtscheller solely responsible for the [death of a German woman hiker who was trampled by his cows] and ordered him to pay more than $210,000 in damages to her widower and son, plus monthly restitution totaling $1,850. The 2019 decision shocked farmers, and not just in Neustift im Stubaital, a village of fewer than 5,000 inhabitants who live at the foot of a glacier promoted as the 'Kingdom of Snow.' As foreclosure on Pfurtscheller’s home and farm loomed, some farmers contemplated banning hikers from their land, a move that would cut off access to the Alps. Others threatened to stop taking their cows into the Alps altogether, a move that would allow nature to cut back in. Forests would soon begin to take over.... Governments quickly acted to keep cows on the pastures. State governors, federal ministers, even the Austrian chancellor spoke out in support of Pfurtscheller, a slender man of 62 who has been farming since he was 10. Last year, federal law was changed to block similar litigation.... "

From "In the Alps, hikers on the trails and cows in the pasture make for perilous pairings" (WaPo).

It's dangerous to walk around cows! "Walkers in Britain, it seems, are killed by cows all the time," writes Bill Bryson in "The Road to Little Dribbling":
Four people were fatally trampled in one eight-week period in 2009 alone. One of these unfortunates was a veterinarian out walking her dogs on the Pennine Way, another long-distance trail, in Yorkshire. This was a woman who understood animals and liked them, probably had treats for cows in her pocket—and they still trampled her. More recently, a retired university lecturer named Mike Porter was trampled to death by an angry herd—yes, angry—in a field near the Kennet and Avon Canal in Wiltshire, a place where I had been walking only the year before. “It looked like they wanted to kill him,” one eyewitness breathlessly told the Daily Telegraph. It was the fourth serious attack on walkers in five years just by this one herd. 

How old is thought? I don't know. Maybe thought is so old, it's dying out.

It sometimes seems that way. Here's a headline on the front page of WaPo:

How old is thought? I don't know. Maybe thought is so old, it's dying out.

Click through and you get a headline that has one more word — "Ancient teeth show history of epidemics is much older than we thought" — a mere 2-letters without which you have a ludicrous second meaning.

From the article, presumably a worthy article by a man who surely didn't write the front-page teaser:
Scientists and archaeologists now believe... that the plague bacteria, which caused the medieval Black Death that killed up to half of Europe’s population, infected humans roughly 5,000 years ago in the Stone Age. The bacteria, after it had entered the bloodstream and likely killed the host, circulated into the pulp chamber of teeth, which kept its DNA insulated from millennia of environmental wear and tear. In the past decade, scientists have been able to extract and analyze that DNA. The Stone Age plague was, however, an ancestor with a slightly different genetic identity....

Kristian Kristiansen, a University of Copenhagen archaeologist and a co-author of the plague study, believes his group’s research illuminates the causes of a Stone Age demographic transformation, called the Neolithic decline, which archaeologists have long studied. Settlements at the time were disappearing faster than they were appearing, and within a few hundred years, most of the population had been replaced by migrants from the Eurasian Steppe. Researchers had only ever hypothesized that disease may have played a role in crippling the native population before it was overtaken, but now they have evidence, Kristiansen says.

“The steppe migrations would not have succeeded without the plague . . . and [those living in what is now Europe] would not all have spoken Indo-European languages,” Kristiansen said. “Later prehistory has been turned upside down to say the least.”

"So this is it, the final chapter..."

"We love Europe, we just hate the European Union. It's as simple as that.... I'm hoping this begins the end of this project. It's a bad project. It isn't just undemocratic, it's anti-democratic, and it puts in that front row, it gives people power without accountability.... There is a historic battle going on now across the West, in Europe, America, and elsewhere. It is globalism vs. populism. And you may loathe populism, but I tell you a funny thing: it's becoming very popular."
"How Rod Dreher's Blog Got a Little 'Too Weird' for The American Conservative.""A European campaign celebrating the 'joy' and 'freedom' of wearing the hijab has been cancelled after fierce objections from France."How old is thought? I don't know. Maybe thought is so old, it's dying out. "So this is it, the final chapter..."

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