:: Sunday, October 26, 2014 ::
Ann Ravel: Our Wannabe Nurse Ratched
Posted by Edward Cline at 3:10 PM
Real and wannabe censors are up to their
old tricks again. Real censors are the Democratic members of the Federal Election Committee (FEC). The wannabe
censors are also members of
the FEC, and are Republicans. If the latter didn’t think anyone should be
censored in any venue – print, radio, television, or Internet – they wouldn’t
accept appointments to the FEC, nor wish to be in the same room with the real
That being said, the Bipartisan
Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (BCRA,
McCain–Feingold Act of 2002) is
the typical miscegenational product of bipartisanship between Republicans and
Democrats that advances further government controls. But then, that's all one
can expect of pragmatic bipartisanship efforts, in which the Republicans forget
or discard their alleged principles, but the Democrats don’t and get some or
all of what they want: More controls.
I happened by chance to hack into the
personal blog of the Vice Chair of the FEC and discovered this startling and
secret memo passed on to her fellow Democrats on the Commission. The text of it
follows, and seems to be addressed, not to her ideological ilk, but to a
hypothetical individual for whom Ravel nurtures a revealing, disturbing, if not
My name is Ann M. Ravel, Vice
Chair of the FEC. I’m a pal of Cass
Sunstein. Remember him? And David
Brooks? And Justice Stevens? They wanted to regulate your speech, too, or
at least “nudge” you painlessly to politically acceptable and responsible
speech. Now, don’t tell me that you, a lone blogger eking out an existence in
Milord Obama’s trashed economy, aren’t a one-man political action committee, that
you aren’t incorporated anywhere, not even in Delaware, you don’t sell your
drivel to others or pay anyone to run it, and that your only expenses are your
time and whatever it costs you to write and publish in the way of printer ink
and paper. It doesn’t matter to me if you’ve spent a zillion dollars or the
cost of a store-brand chicken pot pie, your speech ought to be regulated, and,
if necessary, squelched.
And if you persist
in running off your mouth about things you aren’t qualified to even think about,
I can sic the IRS
or the DOJ on you. All it will take is a phone call and a pen twirling between my
fingers, just as my boss, President Obama, boasts he can do. He’s my guy!
Listen up, plebian!
Allow me to instruct you in current political realities: The basic end of any
censor is: I don’t want you to know this about this person or issue. I want to
keep you in the dark about this issue. You don’t need to know this and I have
the power to keep you ignorant. The flip side of those desires is that I want
to stop you from enlightening people, or telling them what you think, or
writing or producing biased evaluations of persons and events and issues and
broadcasting it on the Internet unless it’s by the leave of this Commission.
You see, I’m not as creative as you and I have nothing to boast of in the way
of actually creating or producing anything, I’m just a career government wonk.
Also I’m an
ambitious censor. I don’t mind being called a censor. Words and pictures can
hurt people, or causes. But that label doesn’t frighten me or cause me to
shrink in shame. In that capacity I’m a protector of the “public good,” or the “public
interest,” at least, as my party defines them. I’m totally copasetic with the name “censor.”
Don’t think I wouldn’t
hesitate to take drastic action should you not comply with all FEC rules and
regulations. My colleagues on the commission don’t call me “Nurse Ratched” for nothing!
You’ve got to learn the ropes of responsible political speech, and that lesson not
only applies to mere printed words on a blog site, but to YouTube videos and
lectures, as well. Then there’s that nasty Drudge
Report site, so rich in misinformation and lies and libels. You and Drudge and all your compadres in the “free
speech” tent must take your medicine, voluntarily, or “some other way.”
You see, I can
delegate the task of washing your mouth out with soap or cuffing you for a
frog-march to jail, just as my pals Barack and Hillary had done to that Copt
creature who made that reckless and irresponsible “The
Innocence of Mohammad” video. I don’t have to do it myself.
That geriatric dinosaur
Goodman actually “ratted”
on me to the newspapers and blog
sites about my wanting to slap cuffs
and gags on you and your First Amendment chums. He’s the Chair of the FEC
and will retire from it in December. A wonderful Christmas present!. I’m the
Vice Chair, and I hope “Open Borders/Ebola Obama” nominates me as his successor
or just lets me sidle into his place at the table without any fuss and bother
with Congress and the Senate.
Actually, I would
like to be appointed to a Cabinet post in this or the next administration. Then
I could wield more power as a “czarina.” Excuse my drooling!
I understand you’ve
written a number of books, fiction and nonfiction, in addition to your
scurrilous and badly written column. And in many of them you depict government and
public service and the like in a very negative light. That has got to stop. And in three
of your nonfiction books, you practically libel retired Justice
Stevens and in another portray my friend Hillary as Lady
Macbeth! Not very funny! We are not amused. Wait until she’s President. She’s
going to have you for dinner and feed the scraps to Huma Abedin and her other pigeons
and lackeys. I'll have a hand in that, count on it. And wait until we get
Congress to amend the Campaign Finance Law and gives the FEC wider powers of
enforcement! I hope we’ll get our own SWAT team!
But maybe we won’t
need those extra powers and an army of body-armored bodkins . I’m sure the NSA
has had you red-flagged for a long time and is only waiting for the opportunity
to swoop down on you and sweep you off the Internet. Let’s see how long you
last under a few sessions of electrical water-boarding!
Your nemesis and
eternal enemy, Nurse Mildred Ratched. Oh, excuse me! Ha, ha! Wrong name! Ann M.
Ravel, FEC Vice Chair.
And that was the end of the memo. Quite a
confession. Of course, if one proposed that the Campaign Finance Law be
abolished by repeal as being in violation of the First Amendment, and all its
attendant commissions and bureaucracies be disbanded and its personnel put out
to pasture to fend for themselves in the real world, that proposal would be
laughed right out the door, and possibly be frowned upon a politically
And that would suit Wretched Mildew a.k.a.
Ann Ravel just fine.
1 Comments ::
:: Friday, October 24, 2014 ::
Majesty vs. Myopia
Posted by Edward Cline at 7:32 PM
I begin this column by offering a measure
of what I choose to uphold what ought to be a standard of esthetics, at least
in portraiture. It is by no means my only measure, but it does reflect a person
I once knew, and who is still close to my conception of a romantic ideal. If
she is reading this, she will recognize herself.
Lady Agnew of Lochnaw is a luxuriant
representation of the kind of woman a man ought to want: In the frank,
steadfast glance at her auditor is the knowledge of how she is being regarded,
that knowledge shamelessly obvious in the set of her eyes and face, in the
quiet confidence of her bearing, in her total expression. It is, from my own
perspective, at least, a seductive, come-hither look. The hues of her satin
gown, the purple sash, and the relaxed set of her arms, the surrounding colors
of the armchair, the neutral background, in terms of composition, together all
highlight and are all calculated to guide one’s glance to the focal point, that
unforgettable, alluring face….
I have other such conceptions. Some are
photographic, others cinematic. But Lady
Agnew has been anchored in my gallery most of my adult life. A framed
reproduction of it hangs on one of my walls. Two of my fictional characters are
also painters and portraitists, literary versions of my projection of a
romantic ideal: Stella Dawn in Run From
Judgment, and Dilys Jones-Skeen in the Cyrus Skeen detective novels.
Well, enough of that. My point here is that
this caliber of art has virtually vanished. There are some capable, unsung
artists able to produce that quality of portraiture, but they are invisible to
the cultural establishment, and if recognized, then shunned, banished, and
deprecated. I happen to know at least two such artists, but only one has a website.
To create Lady Agnew required an enormous context and a measure of beauty. Sargent produced other exquisite
paintings, some of which I like, others I do not. But, regardless of the quality
of his work, it demanded a nominally rational epistemology and metaphysics.
Otherwise, his paintings would be incomprehensible as selective recreations of
reality, just as contemporary art is largely incomprehensible and
incommunicable in meaning.
A canvas of dots and slashes is just a
canvas of dots and slashes, regardless of the artist says it is. A pile of I-beams
welded to hubcaps and fenders is just a collection of junk, regardless of what
the “sculptor” says it is. He could give it some metaphorical name that may
mean something to him, but that is just an arbitrary label.
even have a name. One knows what she is. She has an identity apart from
Sargent’s title. She is an abstraction reduced to a concrete.
Novelist/philosopher Ayn Rand offered a
philosophy of art that could’ve been understood by Sargent, had he been able to
read it, but is basically hieroglyphics to modern artists. In her essay, “Art and Cognition” in The
Romantic Manifesto, she wrote:
Art is a selective
re-creation of reality according to an artist’s metaphysical value-judgments.
Man’s profound need of art lies in the fact that his cognitive faculty is
conceptual, i.e., that he acquires knowledge by means of abstractions, and
needs the power to bring his widest metaphysical abstractions into his
immediate, perceptual awareness. Art fulfills this need: by means of a
selective re-creation, it concretizes man’s fundamental view of himself and of
existence. It tells man, in effect, which aspects of his experience are to be
regarded as essential, significant, important. In this sense, art teaches man
how to use his consciousness. It conditions or stylizes man’s consciousness by
conveying to him a certain way of looking at existence.
By a selective
re-creation, art isolates and integrates those aspects of reality which
represent man’s fundamental view of himself and of existence. Out of the
countless number of concretes—of single, disorganized and (seemingly)
contradictory attributes, actions and entities—an artist isolates the things
which he regards as metaphysically essential and integrates them into a single
new concrete that represents an embodied abstraction.
consider two statues of man: one as a Greek god, the other as a deformed
medieval monstrosity. Both are metaphysical estimates of man; both are
projections of the artist’s view of man’s nature; both are concretized
representations of the philosophy of their respective cultures.
Art is a
concretization of metaphysics. Art brings man’s concepts to the perceptual
level of his consciousness and allows him to grasp them directly, as if they
This is the
psycho-epistemological function of art and the reason of its importance in
Every color, hue, and line in Lady Agnew constitutes a concrete
integrated with countless other concretes to recreate an identifiable entity
which has been reduced to a single, concretized entity. Those colors, hues, and lines were determined
by Sargent to be essential to the image. They reflect his epistemology and
metaphysics in his sense of life and in an estimate of himself.
But, what makes modern artists tick? Why do
they continue to present artworks that seem to confess a madness or insanity
that is in violent conflict with the norm of “common sense” or which clashes
with everyone else’s sensory experience?
Briefly, their epistemologies and
metaphysics are arrested at the concrete level. Whether that is a matter of
choice or is self-induced or is congenital, is irrelevant. To them, reality is
a chaos and no sense can be made of it. Themes are impossible and comprehension
of anything is subjective.
Modern art is a child of Immanuel Kant, the 18th
century Prussian philosopher who never ventured from his hometown of
Königsberg. His philosophy was that “true” reality was unknowable to man, that
the contents of his mind are subjective according to layers of filters that
sift thru sensory data and produce a false knowledge of existence. Existence
was dichotomized into the noumenal world, which man could never know
“directly,” and the phenomenal world as conveyed by our senses, which distort
or mistranslate the noumenal.
Which, in turn, presents to modern artists
a maelstrom of disconnected concretes, an unintelligible universe, with no
unifying law or system, in which identities or labels are arbitrary and subjective.
In most cases it is very unlikely modern
artists have ever even heard of Kant (or of any of his reality-contesting successors
of the 19th century). But by either conscious, calculated inclination to put
over a fraud (as Picasso
did), or because an artist is an obsessive schizophrenic, chronically nauseous,
and who is burdened with a mental cyclic vomiting syndrome and can only “express”
himself in episodes of expectoration .
For example, Marcel Duchamp’s “Nude
Descending a Staircase” is not how anyone will see a nude woman descending
a staircase, not even Duchamp. Remove one of the elements in the image, and it
wouldn’t make a difference. Add one or more, and it wouldn’t make a difference.
It could have the same title or any other title, such as a “Rasher of Bacon” or
“Portrait of My Garbage Man.”
Subtracting or adding a drop of paint or
slash of color to or from one of Jackson Pollack’s canvases would not make a
difference to the overall, alleged “composition,” regardless of the name given
it by Pollack. It
could be “Splashes No. 46,” Or “I was drunk as a laird, No. 2,” or have no
The focus of modern artists is not on
universal themes – which require some level of abstraction – but mere concretes.
It is some species of mental myopia that would limit an alleged artist to pick
some concretes that attracts him in the swirling dust devil of existence that
comprises such a person’s metaphysics.
In your mind’s eye picture a modern artist frantically
in search of some one entity his myopia can focus on and recreate (or not) to
the exclusion of context. Ah, there’s Andy Warhol’s eight hour “movie” of the Empire State
Building. Who can forget his Campbell
Soup Cans? And then there’s another fellow who photographs a collection of
light bulbs. An American creates a sort-of blowup Christmas tree,
but it actually looks like a sex toy. It sits in the Place Vendome, Paris. Then there’s a very-well done, “realistic”
sculpture of copulating
crickets, with commendable attention paid to anatomical detail. The art
that sits inside this Silicon Valley exhibit hall is on a par with the “erotic”
insects. “Composer” John
Cage focused on sounds
without melody or a shred of continuity. Or no sounds at all. (He studied under Arnold Schonberg, so
what else could you expect but noise?)
Want to distort the human face (“…a boot
planted on the human face forever….” Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four), then try and compete with Chuck Close’s
gallery of horrible, Halloween-caliber faces. except they aren’t for Halloween,
they’re “high art.” Collectors pay fortunes for these…”portraits.” After all,
ugly or nondescript visages are concretes, too.
I could go on indefinitely about the number
of utilitarian objects that have been the subjects of modern artists. It was
not my intention to subject the reader to a menu of modern art, but I couldn’t
think of a better way to dramatize the difference between the minds that could
produce Lady Agnew and the myopic,
very disturbed minds that could produce rubbish.
Please see a gallery of Sargent’s works as an
4 Comments ::
:: Tuesday, October 21, 2014 ::
Metropolitan Opera Joins the Jihadists
Posted by Edward Cline at 1:17 PM
It’s a sign of how far America has been
corrupted by political correctness, subjectivism in ethics, and relativism in
the arts that a shoddy opera that romanticizes murdering terrorists can be put
on by a major cultural institution, the Metropolitan Opera of New York City.
I am not an aficionado of heavy weight
opera. I won't go into my esthetic tastes here, because those are irrelevant.
What is relevant is the obscenity of John Adams’s The Death of Klinghoffer, which debuted at the Metropolitan Opera
last night (October 20th), whose libretto is a long-winded, atonal propaganda
piece for the Islamic jihadists who hijacked a cruise ship and murdered Leon Klinghoffer,
a passenger because he was a Jew. Listen to the sing-song screeching here
and also a trailer.
But even the discordant singing and jumbled
orchestral score are irrelevant. Even had Adams’s opus been written in the
disciplined and original style of Georges Bizet or Giacomo Puccini or Giuseppe
Verdi, Klinghoffer remains a sucker
punch to all standards of moral decency and civilized taste.
More importantly, staging The Death of Klinghoffer is in
conformance to the prescriptive steps for “cultural jihad” promoted by the
Muslim Brotherhood in its 1991
memorandum for “transforming” America from a free republic into a bastion
of totalitarian Islam. The Brotherhood’s “master plan” calls for “eliminating
and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its
miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers…” Peter
Gelb, the Met’s general manager, composer John Adams, and director Tom Morris I
guess don’t mind lending their hands to the PLO, ISIS, Al-Qaeda, the Taliban,
and other Islamic gangs.
Death of Klinghoffer
is fundamentally a U.S. State Department and New York taxpayer-funded exercise
in malodorous agitprop for anti-Semitism and
Islam. John Adams and the Met may as well have staged an adaptation of Leni
of the Will as a musical with dialogue. Better yet, he could have turned “Springtime for Hitler” from
The Producers into a serious,
Wagnerian style opera, with no dancing and no plumbing for laughs. Why not?
If you’re going to shill for Islam and its
core Jew-hatred and its unapologetic ugliness, why not go whole hog? I’m sure
the cost of producing a musical Triumph
of the Will can be recouped in the usual ticket prices, which for Klinghoffer are going from $35
to $145 a seat. I’m sure the Met’s general manager, Peter Gelb, could offer
special discounted prices to Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, and to the
whole staff of the Council on American-Islam Relations. Perhaps even offer
private showings for the staffs of every Islamic front group in the country.
Full houses guaranteed.
of Klinghoffer is
being vigorously protested,
and the Met’s Peter Gelb has been hard-pressed to cancel its debut and
Yet, the opera has its defenders. New York’s
Communist mayor, Bill de Blasio, for example, according to a New
York Daily News article of October 20th, said:
Mayor de Blasio
defended the Metropolitan Opera's right to show "The Death of
Klinghoffer," and criticized predecessor Rudy Giuliani's protest against
the controversial work.
think we have to be very careful in a free society to respect that cultural
institutions will portray works of art, put on operas, plays, that there will
be art exhibits in museum," de Blasio said Monday at an unrelated press
"And in a free
society we respect that. We don't have to agree with what's in the exhibit but
we agree with the right of the artist and the cultural institution to put that
forward to the public."…
"I think there
is a serious problem today in the world that has nothing to do with this
opera," the mayor said.
anti-Semitism problem in this world today, particularly in Western Europe, that
worries me greatly. That's where my focus is. I don't think an opera is what
the focal point should be right now."
thing I know about the opera is that the Metropolitan Opera has a right to show
it," he said.
That’s rich, coming from a politician who
hankers after the power to squelch freedom of speech, and who really isn’t for
a “free society” at all. And it’s evidence of his cluelessness, one shared with
countless others about government-subsidized “art,” that he can claim that the
Met has a “right” to force taxpayers to fund any kind of propaganda, which is
what Klinghoffer is.
Excuse me, Bill, but the Met would have a “right”
to show Klinghoffer if it were
completely privately funded, and even then it would raise issues. But it isn’t
completely privately funded by donors; it’s funded in large part by government money,
that is, taxpayer money. Institutions that receive a single cent from the government
to push rubbish like Klinghoffer to
the forefront of “culture” do not have
“freedom of speech” rights. Taxpayers, who had no choice in the matter,
however, do have a right to protest such “art” and to gag its shills and
Further, Klinghoffer is implicitly about Islam. The terrorist protagonists
are Muslims. Islam also believes in “freedom
of speech,” that is, the freedom to censor any critics of Islam – or behead
them, shoot them, hang them, rape them, stone them to death. Islam believes in
free speech, and will tolerate you as long as you don’t talk back.
Daniel Greenfield, in his FrontPage article
of June 3rd, “Should New York Taxpayers
Fund Pro-Terrorism and Anti-Semitism at the The Metropolitan Opera?”, revealed
some interesting facts about the Met:
The Metropolitan Opera has been having serious financial problems. Its
programs regularly mention support from public funds from the New York State
Council on the Arts. Its 2012 report mentions
$500,000 in support from the New York City Department of
Cultural Affairs. The year before that it was $100.000.
website shows six figure funding going to the Metropolitan Opera every year
under General Opera Support. There are also other grants. That means that when
a terrorist screams about the Jews on stage, he’ll be doing it with funding
from New York taxpayers.
Maybe it’s time to put a stop to that.
If the Met wants to promote the murder of 9 percent of the population of
New York City, New Yorkers shouldn’t have to pay for it.
That means eliminating all city and state funding for the Metropolitan
Opera. The most obvious place to start is by killing the annual six-figure New
York State Council on the Arts giveaway.
It’s something that a New York State Senator or Assemblyman can do.
At the Federal level, the Met receives funding from a variety of
agencies, including $1 million from the State
Department and from the usual suspects such as the Department of Education.
Need I say more?
Staging the anti-Semitic The Death of Klinghoffer in the face rising
anti-Semitism around the world is not about “freedom of speech.” It is about the
power to defy all standards of rationality and morality because of political
correctness and an amoral indifference in the ugly, sorry souls of Peter Gelb,
the director, and the whole cast.
isn’t only Leon Klinghoffer who has been shot in the head and tossed overboard.
It is the American public and in particular, New Yorkers.
0 Comments ::