"What Would You Rather Click On? That Message From Your Boss Or This?" Edition
Obligatory shilling. This week I wrote for the liberal magazine Areo about the great British travel writer Patrick Leigh Fermor and the tensions between travel and home. I really liked writing this piece.
I wrote for the Spectator World about Stone Cold Steve Austin, Tony Soprano and the age of the antihero.
I wrote for my paying Substack subscribers about man's relationship with dogs (and the sadism of editors).
Finally, I wrote a free Substack post about how Wrestlemania X-Seven represented the peak of the USA as a superpower.
NIMBY, YIMBY, MAYBE. Widespread surprise in the Britain as the Liberal Democrats have unseated the Conservatives in the middle-class Chesham and Amersham constituency after locals protested against the creation of the HS2 rail line and housing development.
This has fueled the NIMBY versus YIMBY debate. In general, right-wingers, myself included, are inclined towards defending the preservation of local character. That said, life is full of trade-offs. If that makes conservative and reactionaries defend a state of affairs in which young people are effectively excluded from the housing market - becoming less liable to start families and more liable to vote left-wing - then both trends are doomed.
A lot of NIMBYism is just selfishness (“but what if the value of the house I bought for £200,000 falls below £800,000?”) and sentimentality (“protect our local empty, unused patch of grass”). On the other hand, right-wing YIMBYs have to accept two things: modern buildings tend to be downright ugly and neighbours can be uglier still. To support housing development - which I do - must be to support beautiful buildings and an iron attitude towards crime and noise pollution.
Lindyman. Improbably, the New York Times interviews Paul Skallas, the much-parodied online theorist of what is and is not “Lindy”, or effective in accordance with time-tested wisdom. Processed foods? Not Lindy. Nightclubs? Lindy. Cigarettes? Not Lindy. Aimless strolls? Lindy. Bodybuilding? Not Lindy. Sex toys? Lindy.
The absurd features of Skallas’ system and style could obscure the fact that he is actually an interesting writer, especially on the evolution of human identity. Take this piece on transhumanism or this series on designing one's own environment. One almost has to be a bizarre character to stand out as an interesting writer beyond the mainstream media ecosystem.
Whether that can survive being profiled in the New York Times is another question.
Plastic, not fantastic? Scientists from the University of Bayreuth claim to have found evidence that plasticisers found in everyday products can cause brain damage. They conducted their research on fish, rather than humans, but it still seems worth attention. Earlier this year, research suggested that microplastics are a threat to fertility. Could this be a case where no one wants to think too much about it because the alternatives would be so much more expensive?
On oikophobia. Ed West is typically entertaining and incisive in his assessment of English Anglophobia:
Similarly, “flag-shagger” as an insult almost invariably comes from people with flags in their Twitter bio – Palestine flags, EU flags, gay flags, trans flags, any flags just as long as they’re high status rather than low — the Union Jack and, worse still, the prole’s apron that is the St George’s Cross.
Tangentially, I've heard complaints on Anglo Twitter about right-wing usage of the term “high status”. Are we giving progressives too much credit? Well, no one is saying that what is “high status” is actually charismatic, enlightened et cetera but that it is a cultural signifier for cultural elites. Leftists do not use the term “upper class” with approval.
Still, I think our anonymous cousins have a point. Perhaps acting like a cultural elite is essential to being one - assuming one's fashionability until it catches on. People side with winners, after all, or at least with people who behave like them.
I seem to have written some 1,000 words about white fragility without saying anything about White Fragility. These pages suggest that Robin DiAngelo is very familiar with her subject, at least as I define and understand it, which is no bad thing in an author.
The performing monkey trap. The always interesting In the Sight of the Unwise blog observes a common problem for right-wing commentators:
The answer, I think, is that they’ve fallen into the Performing Monkey Trap. This phenomenon only exists on the political right. Because older generations are so culturally, politically, financially, and numerically dominant, and because the old lean right-wing, younger right-wing voices have an absolutely massive incentive to repeat back to Boomers what Boomers want to hear.
The life you save. A lovely story from Esther O'Reilly.
RIP Janet Malcolm. Helen Andrews pays tribute.
Home front. We have had beautiful weather in Poland this week so I have spent as much time as possible outside. I hope you have the chance to as well! After all, no one spends their twilight years thinking, “God! I wish I had spent more time indoors.”
Have a lovely week,