TBT: The Creation of Culture

The theme of this Spring Break Week is short stories, but more deeply it’s that of culture generally.  Indeed, The Portly Politico has dedicated itself increasingly towards cultural, filmic, musical, and literary matters far more over the past few months than ever before, for a reason:  creating culture is far more powerful and interesting than largely meaningless squabbles over minute points of policy.  That’s not to say that politics aren’t important—at the local level it’s very important—but there’s not much we can do in a practical sense to sway the indifferent national government at this point.

Culture, on the other hand, is something we can proactively create and promulgate.  A major push on the traditional Right as of late has been to do just that:  create a compelling (counter?)culture to the prevailing popular culture of nihilism and materialism.  Rachel Fulton Brown’s Centrism Games: A Modern Dunciad, the product of her excellent Telegram chatroom Dragon Common Room, is one exquisite effort at creating (and reviving) a rich literary culture on the Right.  The collaborative nature of the work—RFB is the editor, with sections of the epic poem composed by different members of the chat—further highlights the proactive act of creation among like-minded individuals, each mixing their unique voices into a scathingly satirical blend.

My own book, The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard: The Ultimate Flatfoot, is my own meager contribution to this new culture—a work so honestly reflective of my teenaged self, I didn’t even fix some of my collegiate typos!  It’s a bit postmodern and absurdist, but it at least gives a glimpse into the gradual transformation of one young creator (in this case, me!).

My music, too, is a humble contribution to cultural creation.  I’ve always thought of The Four Unicorns of the Apocalypse, in particular, as an eschatological statement of sorts.  At the very least, it attempts, musically, to reflect a civilization‘s fall into decadence and nihilism, before the cycle repeats.

But I digress.  For this week’s edition of TBT, I thought I’d do something I’ve never done before:  bring a post from my SubscribeStar page out from behind the paywall.

The occasion for writing this post—“The Creation of Culture“—was the release of my friend Jeremy Miles‘s collection of poetry, A Year of Thursday Nights.  Jeremy is no Right-wing traditionalist, but his collection is the result of a year of attending open mic nights and performing his (very entertaining) poems.  In essence, he created culture out of a vibrant community of artists and musicians, both chronicling and enhancing the performances that took place at a local coffee shop’s open mic night over the course of 2019.

But I’ve gone long enough in this rambling preamble (a “preramble?”).  Here is 25 January 2020’s “The Creation of Culture” (on SubscribeStar):

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Monday Morning Movie Review: High-Rise (2015)

Lately Hulu’s algorithm—in the bleak future math problems determine our entertainment choices—has been suggesting tower-based movies to me.  Yes, it is a genre:  films that take place in the claustrophobic confines of apartment buildings, like the 1993 thriller Sliver, starring Sharon Stone and William Baldwin.  That flick was so-so, and the character motivations didn’t really make sense, especially the dashing computer nerd Baldwin portrayed, but it was one of several Hulu has recommended lately that depends upon a high-rise for its setting.

So it was the Grand High Algorithm suggested 2015’s High-Rise, a film both set in and an homage to the 1970s, specifically the dark sci-fi flicks of the decade.

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More Pillow Hoggin’

Well, it looks like self-righteous twerp David Hogg’s proposed progressive pillow company is, so far, a colossal flop.  Hogg announced a pillow company to rival Mike Lindell’s popular MyPillow, and immediately the mainstream press went to bonkers:  Washington Post published a fluffy feature before the company even had a name, and Newsweek thinks that Twitter followers are a substitute for actual clients.

Hogg is so clueless that he failed to register the trademark “Good Pillow,” the ultimate name of the company; a clever individual from North Carolina snagged it the day after the Newsweek piece was published on 10 February 2021.

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Saint Patrick’s Day

Today is Saint Patrick’s Day throughout the Western world, a day to venerate and celebrate the life, death, and Christian service of Saint Patrick (the day coincides with the supposed date of St. Patrick’s death).  Of course, now the holiday has devolved into a drunken festivity in which everyone pretends to be Irish for a day, downing pints of green beer and wearing green.

The real story of Saint Patrick is far more interesting than the debauched modern celebration.  Patrick was the son of a wealthy family in what is now Britain in the declining years of the Roman Empire.  Irish raiders captured Patrick and sold him into slavery in the Emerald Isle.  Working alone as a shepherd, isolated and afraid, Patrick turned to Christ for solace and strength.

After escaping captivity, God called him back to Ireland, not as a slave, but to deliver Ireland from its spiritual bondage.  After his ordination, Patrick returned and preached the Gospel to the pagan Irish, sparking a major religious revival among the people there.  Ultimately, Ireland became second perhaps only to France in its dedication to the Catholic Church, and unlike its Gallic co-religionists, maintained that devotion well into the twentieth century.

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Phone it in Friday XVII: Modern Homesteading

The weather is getting warmer—it hit a balmy 77 degrees at least one day this week here in South Carolina—and that means Spring is near.  Spring means gardening, and if I’m going to dive into the deep-end of converting my humble half-acre into a very small-scale farm, I’d probably better get crackin’ now.

As such, it was with great interest that I listened to an interview with Owen Benjamin, the stand-up comedian-turned-survivalist.  Benjamin is a controversial figure, and I don’t agree with some of his views, but, again, I can respect his knowledge in the area of homesteading without endorsing, say, his belief that the Earth is flat.

Regardless, Owen Benjamin’s message is a very Christian onedon’t despair about the wicked craziness of the progressive Left and the materialism of the modern world.  Instead, “crush” it—be your own man (or woman), build something for yourself and your family, and give glory to Christ JesusCreating culture is the way to save it.

With that preamble, I thought I’d share Benjamin’s recent interview with Blonde in the Belly of the Beast.  It’s a little over an hour long, but it’s worth your time.  One thing I learned is that growing some tomatoes and raising a few chickens is very easy, and that the barrier to entry for small-scale homesteading and farming is much lower than I initially thought.

Enjoy!

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SubscribeStar Saturday: Blue State Secession

Today’s post is a SubscribeStar Saturday exclusive.  To read the full post, subscribe to my SubscribeStar page for $1 a month or more.  For a full rundown of everything your subscription gets, click here.

I’ve written several times about the possibility of secession—of a (hopefully) peaceful dissolution or separation of the United States.  To be clear, I do not want that to happen, and I fear such a separation would be anything but peaceful.  But if it means a world where the progressive crazies can test out their wacky theories and policies in their own land with its own borders—and I am well outside of those borders—then it may be the best possible of all options.

I tend to disagree with Daniel Webster’s assessment that “Liberty and Union” are “now and forever, one and inseparable.”  While I think the Union of the States did at one time strengthen the defense of liberty, it increasingly seems that the Union—as manifested through the power of the federal government—is trampling those liberties.  I prefer John C. Calhoun’s rejoinder to Andrew Jackson:  “The Union, next to our liberty, most dear. May we all remember that it can only be preserved by respecting the rights of the States and by distributing equally the benefits and burdens of the Union.”  The Union is great, but only so far as it preserves liberty and the rights of States.

Quoting John C. Calhoun favorably, of course, is dangerous in these woke times, as he was an evil slave owner (per the social justice warriors) and argued that slavery was a “positive good.”  Of course the man wasn’t right about everything, but he was right about States’ rights and the importance of liberty.  I can acknowledge that Truth without accepting his other beliefs.

But I digress.  It seems that secession or peaceful separation is not merely a conservative pipe dream, a distant hope for some second chance at liberty.  The progressives are getting in on the action.  The ultra-progressive publication The Nation has a long op-ed published entitled “The Case for Blue-State Secession.”  Most of the piece is ridiculous Leftist dogma, but the fact that the totalitarian Left is toying with the idea is intriguing.

H/T to Brion McClanahan of The Abbeville Institute and McClanahan Academy for this piece; below is his YouTube podcast explaining the op-ed:

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Lazy Sunday XCI: Questions, Part V

It’s another weekend full of questions here at The Portly Politico, as we continue our review of posts that pose a question in their titles.  Each of this Sunday’s posts were written during the heady, violent days of Summer 2020, when the nation was aflame with lawlessness and disorder.  Naturally, they reflect the fears and anxieties of those days, when it seemed like everything was coming apart at the seams:

  • SubscribeStar Saturday: Civil War?” (post on SubscribeStar) – Perhaps one of my most powerful essays (if it’s not too much to give myself such accolades), “Civil War?” spells out the irreconcilable differences at the heart of the United States today.  I wrote it at a time when local governments in progressive urban centers refused to put a stop to the looting and rioting, and instead tacitly encouraged the destruction.  That mental and physical divide between progressives and conservatives is so profound and deep, I expressed pessimism of any kind of peaceful resolution—though I continue to pray I am wrong.
  • Law and Order?” – Just as urban progressive mayors failed to address the violence in their cities, so President Trump—who I love as a president—dropped the ball on quelling riots and the ridiculous CHAZ/CHOP experiment.  As I wrote at the time, it seemed that his strategy was wise—give the Left rope with which to hang themselves, allowing CHAZ to fizzle out under the weight of its own insane contradictions—but also undermined the legitimacy and authority of the government, and Trump’s own calls for “law and order.”  Here was a moment where President Trump could have acted decisively with a legitimate display of power, and give proof to his claims to want law and order.  That only comes with the firm smack of power.
  • What is Civilization?” – As progressive mobs continued to burn cities, Milo Yiannopoulos argued “that by abandoning our cities, we are, essentially, abandoning our greatest cultural products.”  Milo was engaged in a discussion with Steven Franssen and Vincent James, who countered that Americans who fled the cities were not abandoning their civilization, but something that had become alien and foreign.  I tend to favor the latter argument, but the post is worth reading as my summary of the discussion between such intriguing thinkers.

That’s all for this weekend.  Here’s hoping everyone is doing well and staying safe.  Christmas is almost here!

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

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Lazy Sunday XC: Questions, Part IV

After last week’s celebration of 100 weeks of posts, I’m continuing my review of posts that pose questions in their titles.  Also, today’s post marks the 800th post on the blog, which is pretty nifty.  Regardless, I’ll likely depart from these posts to do some Christmas Lazy Sundays as the holiday approaches, but for now, let’s dive back into some questions:

  • The Collapse of the Obama Coalition?” – This post considered the future of the so-called “Obama Coalition,” a coalition of various fringe identity groups to deliver electoral victory to the Democrats.  The occasion for the piece was Kamala Harris dropping out of the Democratic primaries.  Turns out I wasn’t as wrong about her future success as I thought at the time—she’s very likely going to become president thanks to Biden’s advanced age and blatant election fraud.  But it’s still an open question whether or not identity politics will succeed long-term.
  • SubscribeStar Saturday: What is Political Moderation?” – In this essay, I explore the question “what exactly is political moderation” and a sub-question:  does political moderation truly exist?  My basic argument is that when we call for “political moderation,” we’re really just surrendering slowly to the side that wants more via compromise—in this case, Republicans compromising with Democrats until progressivism reigns supreme.
  • The Revival of Traditionalism?” – This post looked at the possible impact of The Age of The Virus on a revival of more traditional modes of living.  Perhaps my assessment of that impact was overly optimistic, as it seems The Virus has merely encouraged us to depend even more on mind-numbing entertainment and social isolation.  But it was nice to see feminists complaining about having to spend more time with their kids.

That’s it for this week.  Here’s hoping you found some answers.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

 

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TBT: Support Milo

On Tuesday I wrote a “Giving Tuesday” post to give some shout-outs to conservative and dissident content creators and organizations that could use your support.  In my haste, I neglected to include a man who could always use another leopard-spotted ivory back-scratcher:  Milo.

As a mea culpa to His Majesty, I’m dedicating this week’s TBT to a post in which I urged readers to “Support Milo.”  I think it speaks for itself, so without further ado, here’s “Support Milo“:

I hold a soft spot in my heart for conservative gadfly and Internet provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.  I recall fondly his heyday in 2015-2016, when he championed free speech in the Babylon of Progressivism, Berkeley, California.  I still wish President Trump would appoint him White House Press Secretary—it would be must-see TV every day.

Behind the flamboyant, cartoonish homosexuality and the over-the-top trollery, though, is a talented journalist and writer; indeed, Milo’s work is some of the best long-form journalism I’ve ever read.  His writing, like his public speaking, is engaging and well-researched:  he really checks his facts and his sources, while still delivering that withering Coulterian death strike upon his unfortunate target.

Unfortunately, even fewer Americans will have the opportunity to read his work, as he’s apparently sold his websiteDangerous.com.

I understand that for many conservatives Milo can be a bit much.  I love his public speaking, but you have to realize that the first twenty or thirty minutes are going to be Milo playing his best and favorite character—himself.  Once he’s paraded around in drag and told some incredibly off-color jokes, he’ll get down to the raw facts—where he truly shines.

In the years I’ve followed Milo’s work, I would wager that 90% of his factually-supportable positions are inside the conservative mainstream.  Yes, he’s made some wacky statements before, but these are generally hyperbole in service to the overall experience:  he draws crowds in with shock value, but wins them with knowledge.

But Conservatism, Inc., couldn’t have an effective proselytizer cutting into their racket.  The David Frenchian pseudo-Right—the controlled opposition of neocons who don’t want to ruffle feathers lest their Leftist masters call them “racists” or “bigots”—cut Milo off at the knees.

For years I read National Review, and always heard conservatives pining for a cool, gay and/or minority Republican (because the establishment Right is desperate to prove to progressives that they aren’t racists or homophobes).  Along came Milo—fun, smart, and into biracial man-love—and the decorum caucus suddenly realized that a cool, gay Republican was, by definition, going to be pretty melodramatic.

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