Lazy Sunday LXXXIX: 100 Week Review

Today marks the 700th consecutive day of posts here at The Portly Politico.  That’s 100 weeks of daily posts, which sounds like a prison sentence for a first-time criminal offender.  Writing the blog daily has occasionally felt like serving a self-imposed prison sentence, but it’s overwhelmingly been a source of joy.  I’ve made a number of great friends, and have accumulated a respectable daily readership, as well as eight faithful subscribers.

According to my WordPress stats, I’ve written 516,512 since 2018.  Those haven’t all been consecutive, but looking at just 2019-2020, it’s still a respectable 459,252 words.  Granted, there are a lot of TBT posts in there, so that pads the stats a bit, but I imagine I’m still safely in the half-million-word mark.

To observe the occasion and still maintain the spirit of Lazy Sunday, here are the Top Three Posts (based on views) since 2018:

  • Tom Steyer’s Belt” – By now it’s predictable, but this single post brought more traffic to my blog than the next seventeen posts combined.  At the time of this writing, it’s had 2997 views—2560 more than the second most popular post.  Most of that traffic is purely organic, meaning I didn’t encourage people to read it beyond my usual sharing to Facebook and on Telegram.  Basically, the post became popular because Tom Steyer blew a ton of cash airing obnoxious television and Internet ads, and mine was one of the few sources to cover his colorful belt.
  • Napoleonic Christmas” – This post—with 437 hits—explored an interesting revisionist take on Napoleon from a PragerU video, as well as the idea that not all non-democratic or non-republican forms of government are bad.  There were, objectively, monarchies and dictatorships that were better off—materially, spiritually, culturally, etc.—than democratic republics, contemporary and present.  That doesn’t mean I endorse those forms of government as somehow preferable to a liberty-loving republic, but I can appreciate the argument that Napoleon was a reform-minded figure, not merely an ingenious brute.
  • Milo on Romantic Music” – One of many things I appreciate about Internet provocateur and author Milo Yiannopoulos is that he is exceptionally erudite.  He might act frivolous and catty—and I suspect he genuinely is—but he’s also deep and interesting.  This post—with 279 views, thanks in large part to Milo sharing it on Telegram—looks at an exchange between Milo and another figure about Romantic music versus Baroque music.  Milo clearly prefers Romantic music overall, (while acknowledging Bach’s essential nature), arguing that it’s “the only proper soundtrack to the trad life.”  Great point!

Well, that’s it—100 weeks!  Thank you again for all of your support.  Keep reading, leaving comments, and subscribing.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Tip The Portly Politico

Support quality commentary on politics, education, culture, and the arts with your one-time donation.

$1.00

Lazy Sunday LXXII: Forgotten Posts, Volume I

I’ve been blogging daily for over a year-and-a-half now, with a smattering of posts going back to 2009 (on the old Blogger version of the site, which I call TPP 1.0).  While I think I have some decent posts—my buddy fridrix of Corporate History International once told me my material was in the top ten percent in terms of quality on the Internet—I’ve written a lot of garbage, too, including placeholder posts for times I can’t really get something fresh posted.

Of course, I’ve written essays that I think are excellent—or, at the very least, very important—that get virtually no hits.  Then I’ll write throwaway posts, like “Tom Steyer’s Belt,” that blow up the view counter.  That one at least made sense—I was one of the first sources to write about his goofy belt, and his ads were so ubiquitous in late 2019, people searching for his belt got my blog.

What’s interesting to me is that forget some of the things I’ve written.  It’s another reason we shouldn’t be so fast to crucify television personalities who posted something incendiary on their blog fifteen years ago.  Views change, although I think sometimes folks in the hot seat exaggerate how much they’ve “evolved” on an issue.  Then again, we’re responsible for what we put out there.

That’s all a long way of saying that I’m doing some deep dives for an indeterminate number of Sundays into some forgotten posts.  These are posts that don’t immediately spring to my mind when I’m referencing my own work.  These posts may or may not have had high or low hit counts; they are just posts that don’t linger strongly in my memory.  They’re the red-headed stepchildren of my churning mind.

To find these posts, I just looked back at months in 2018 and 2019 to see what didn’t leap out to me as familiar.  You’ll notice that February 2019 is heavily-represented here, as that was early in the process of what became my goal of one year of daily posts.

With that, here are some forgotten posts of yesteryear:

  • Reality Breeds Conservatism” – This post isn’t totally forgotten, but it’s one of those keystone essays that, for whatever reason, I don’t link to frequently (unlike “Progressivism and Political Violence,” which I have probably linked to more than another other post).  I also wrote this post before diving into Russell Kirk’s ideas about conservatism, which themselves reflect Edmund Burke’s notions of “ordered liberty” and the organic nature of a healthy society.  It’s a decent, if lengthy post from 2018 (TPP 2.0 era), and it explores the influence of risk upon one’s political affiliations and leanings.
  • Twilight Zone Reviews on Orion’s Cold Fire” – My blogger buddy photog undertook a project in 2019 to watch and review every Twilight Zone episode.  He’d obtained the full box set, I believe, and set about his task, initially with daily reviews, which he then scaled back to a few times a week.  He’s now writing reviews of Shakespeare in Film, which I will confess I have not followed as closely, but is in the same spirit as his TWZ project.
  • The Good Populism” – This post was one in which I mused about running the first iteration of History of Conservative Thought.  The essay explores a post from classicist Victor Davis Hanson entitled “The Good Populism.”  I enthused at the time about how I would “definitely include” this essay in the course.  Oops!  The best-laid plans of mice and men oft go astray, eh?  But it is a great essay, as VDH delivers keen analysis once again.  In an age in which populism has newfound purchase on the American political imagination, it’s worth understanding that not all populism is the wicked machinations of demagogues swaying the rubes.
  • More Good News: Tom Rice on the State of the Economy” – I completely forgot about this short post, which features a YouTube video of my US Represenative, Tom Rice, discussing the good economy.  That was in The Before Times, in the Long Long Ago, before The Age of The Virus, when things just kept getting better and better.  Just can the headlines at Zero Hedge and you’ll see pretty quickly that we’re headed for multiple financial cliffs if we don’t cease with all this shutdown nonsense.  Yikes!

Well, that’s it for this Sunday.  I’m looking forward into further deep dives over the coming weeks.

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Lazy Sunday LIII: Democratic Candidates, Part II

Last Sunday I began this two-part retrospective of the Democratic primaries.  The lengthy preamble to that post serves as an introduction, so read it first if you want to get caught up.

Here’s Part II:

  • New Hampshire Results & Analysis” – In this post, I looked at the results from New Hampshire.  Bernie Sanders doing pretty well at this point, even with the results of the Iowa caucuses still unclear.  At that time, I wrote that “South Carolina’s is Biden’s to lose,” and I was right (see below).  One thing that caught my eye:  Tom Steyer suspended his campaign after NH, but still took third in SC.  How much better would he have fared had he not announced the suspension and hung in there through SC?  The outcome likely wouldn’t have been too different, but imagine if Steyer had seized second instead of third?  The complexion of the last few weeks could have been quite different.
  • Nevada Feels the Bern” – The Nevada caucuses really marked Bernie’s rise to dominance, albeit short-lived.  Most of this post I spend analyzing the danger of a Sanders nomination and potential presidency.  But then….
  • Biden Blowout in South Carolina” – Biden destroyed his competition in South Carolina.  As I had predicted, black Americans were not going to vote for Buttigieg, and seemed skeptical of The Bern.  And Joe Biden is Obama’s heir-apparent, so he was bound to do well with Obama’s biggest supporters.
  • Super Tuesday Results” – If South Carolina weren’t enough, Biden decisively dominated the Super Tuesday primaries, as he did this past Tuesday.  Bernie is hanging in there, but his path to victory is narrowing.  I’m still holding out hope for a brokered convention, but just as South Carolina was “Biden’s to lose,” at this point, I think the same could be said of the Democratic nomination.

Of course, if Biden gets the nomination, we have to pull out all the stops to defeat him.  Bernie is dangerous because of his ideology.  Biden is dangerous because he’s an empty husk of a man in a rapidly deteriorating mental condition, who will do whatever his Democratic masters demand of him.  The erosion of freedoms may be more subtle under a Biden presidency, but they will be there, nonetheless.  Don’t succumb to the siren song of “moderation!”

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

New Hampshire Results & Analysis

What a night!  The Democrats in New Hampshire at least know how to run an election.  Those early write-in votes for Bloomberg were red herrings; instead, the old-school red ran away with the most votes and delegates from New Hampshire, with his twinky acolyte nipping at his heels.  Pete Buttigieg still leads Senator Sanders by one delegate thanks to his performance in Iowa (and the possibility of insider rigging).

With two competitions under their belts, the Democratic field is narrowing out rapidly.  Andrew Yang, the pro-math, pro-universal basic income candidate, dropped out early in the evening.  Joe Biden slunk away to South Carolina, where he will make his stand.  Elizabeth Warren, the shrill cat lady in the race, was fairly drubbed.

Amy Klobuchar, the slightly-less shrill, younger cat lady with a fiery temper, managed to come in third, putting her one delegate behind Warren and one delegate ahead of Biden.

Read More »

Election Season 2020: Iowa Caucuses

After all the anticipation, it’s finally here—the proper beginning of the 2020 presidential election.  The Iowa caucuses kick off tonight, and there’s no telling how it’s all going to shake out (although it looks like Bernie is on track to have a good night).

The Iowa caucuses work differently than the primaries in other States.  Scott Rasmussen’s Number of the Day today explains the process succinctly.  Essentially, if a candidate does not receive 15% of the votes at a precinct, his or her supporters must recast their votes for one of the remaining candidates.  That means that, while a candidate always wants to be a voter’s first choice, being the second choice can still work well.  It also makes it possible to see where support will go if a candidate drops out.

Read More »

TBT: Tom Steyer’s Belt

Like many bloggers, I wrote a “2019’s Top Five Posts” feature to acknowledge the most-trafficked posts of the year.  One of the surprise sleeper hits was this post, “Tom Steyer’s Belt.”

I wrote this piece on September 30, 2019, largely as a cheeky throwaway.  It didn’t seem to get much traffic initially, but that’s true of many of my posts.

Then, probably in late November, but certainly by December, I noticed something:  it was getting a handful of clicks everyday.  It was just a few at first—maybe four or five, sometimes less—but then the views grew.

Now I’m getting dozens of views everyday from this post alone—usually more than fifty!  As the Democratic primaries approach and challengers drop out, Tom Steyer and his stupid belt continue to hang in there, running ads all over the place.

Perhaps not surprisingly, other people want to know the meaning behind the belt.  According to my WordPress analytics—limited as they are—a few of the clicks to my piece come from the search terms “why does Tom Steyer wear that stupid belt” and “Tom Steyer’s stupid belt.”  Less judgmental permutations also bring up my site.

The belt has, apparently, captured the nation’s imagination (and, presumably, Steyer’s waist):  it has its own Facebook page, where “The Belt” posts hilarious comments.

Well, at least some good will come from Steyer’s campaign—a good laugh at a clueless Leftie’s expense.

Here’s 2019’s “Tom Steyer’s Belt“—now the most popular post on The Portly Politico:

When I was in college, I formed this ridiculous pseudo-band with a suitemate of mine (who has, apparently, now gone down some dark roads) called Blasphemy’s Belt, which my bio on another band’s website refers to as an “electro-pop humor duo.”  I can’t remember how we came up with the name—our music wasn’t particularly or purposefully blasphemous (or good), and while we wore belts, they weren’t outrageous (just to keep our pants up)—but it was apparently catchy enough that people picked up on it.

The Belt never performed live, other than for an annoyed roommate, and a highly grating pop-up concert (at least, that’s what hipsters would call it nowadays) on our floor’s study room, but we generated enough buzz to get people to vote for us in a “Best of Columbia” survey in The Free Times.  We didn’t win anything, but it was an object lesson in how enough hype can make people believe you have substance when you really don’t.

That’s my self-indulgent way to introduce some literal navel-gazing—at Democratic hopeful and wealthy scold Tom Steyer‘s virtue-signallingsanctimonious belt.

Tom Steyer is a former hedge fund manager and current environmentalist nutcase who, along with half of the population of the United States, is running for the Democratic presidential primary in 2020.  Unlike Blasphemy’s Belt, nobody knows who he is; I don’t even think he qualified for the debates. Unfortunately, he’s trying to rectify that by running incessant ads on Hulu.

I’ve seen enough attack ads from Democrats to tune them out—they’re just a more overt form of the dishonesty progressives usually engage in—but Steyer’s ad brings bile to my throat.  It’s not because of his ludicrous claims (that President Trump is a “fraud and a failure”), idiotic as they are.

It’s because of his stupid belt.

Tom Steyer has no chance in the Democratic primary because a.) he’s unknown; b.) he’s an old white guy and c.) he’s not the old white guy who was President Obama’s VP.  As such, he no name recognition or intersectionality points.  He’s not even a pretend Indian like Elizabeth Warren.  He wears a blue button-up shirt with rolled-up sleeves and jeans in his commercials—the default uniform of politicians trying to appeal to the working man—and is utterly forgettable.

Except for that belt!

Here is the one picture I could find of it online, and it’s just a picture of someone’s television showing the ad (care of a Kenyan newspaper):

Steyer Belt.jpg

Here is an excerpt from the article (again, it’s from a Kenyan newspaper, so the written English is prone to syntactical errors):

The Presidential hopeful revealed while responding to a curious netizen who inquired the significance of the belt since he had worn it in one of his campaign videos.

Steyer noted that he bought the belt during his visit to Kenya.

“Thanks for noticing my favorite belt! I bought it on a trip to Kenya from female artisans,” he tweeted.

Additionally, he affirmed that the belt is a reminder that the world benefits when women are educated, as the belt was made by female artisans.

“I wear it as a reminder not to be so formal, and also as a symbol that the world is a better place when we educate women and girls,” he mentioned.

This kind of pandering makes my skin crawl.  Look, I have nothing against unusual belts.  But you look at a guy like Tom Steyer wearing this ridiculous belt in a campaign ad for president, and you know he’s trying to virtue-signal.  He said as much in the excerpt above—“I like the belt, but I also want to show how progressive I am by buying colorful belts from African women.”

His very sartorial choice is a political statement.  If you’re a punk rocker, yeah, you’re showing your disdain for order with your outrageous duds.  But you’re not likely to run for President of the United States (that would be too normie and conformist—being a part of the system, rather than trying to tear it all down).

Also, how much education does it take for a Kenyan woman to make a weird belt?  She probably learned how to do it from her mother, not from a progressive public school (there, she’d just learn to resent her skillfulness making belts as a form of patriarchal, white oppression—then no belts would get made at all).

Mostly, though, Steyer’s belt highlights his own clueless elitism.  Nobody cares about your belt you picked up at some street bazaar on a luxury safari in Kenya.

Clothes say a great deal about a man (or woman).  I feel better about myself when I’m dressed well (and it’s not 8000 degrees and 400% humidity outside).  I, too, have an unusual little ornament that I sometimes wear, that often draws attention—but it’s way more endearing than some empty gesture of my multicultural bona fides.

Years ago, I had a student who was obsessed with South Korean culture and music.  She especially loved a K-pop group called Exo—basically a Korean boy band.  Before a big concert, she asked if I’d wear an Exo tie if she bought me one; naturally, I said yes.

A couple of weeks later she came to be with a little felt bag.  She explained that Exo did not have ties, but they did have tie clips.  I pulled from the bag a little piece of silver-colored metal, with a button-sized picture of Korean teen heartthrobs.

I wear it frequently, as it’s functional (it holds my ties in place) and a conversation starter.  It’s always fun to tell, as I lead with, “Oh, it’s a Korean boy band” so I get weird stares, then I tell the story above, which is an endearing example of a close and respectful student-teacher relationship.

I’m not saying I’m immune from self-righteous outbursts, but I don’t politicize a sweet, unique gift from a student (it also doesn’t look like I’m wearing the clothing of another culture in order to make myself appear more diverse and progressive).  If I wore that tie clip in a political ad (a distinct possibility), no one would be able to tell that there are ten Korean boys on it (at least, I hope not!).  Tom Steyer knows people will see his colorful, clearly-exotic belt, and he’s banking on progressive voters saying, “Wow, this old white Wall Street hedge fund manager is really down with the struggle.”

Perhaps, like the great David Carradine, Steyer’s ham-fisted belt will be his undoing.  Then again, he was never really done up in the first place.

Lazy Sunday XLII: 2019’s Top Five Posts

2019 is winding down, and with this being the last Sunday of the year, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to look back at the most popular posts of 2019.

These posts aren’t necessarily the best posts—although that’s an entirely subjective measure—just the ones that received the most hits.

When looking through the most popular posts, there were a few surprises.  One thing I’ve learned from blogging is that posts I pour my heart and soul into may walk away with five views (and, oftentimes, only one!).  Then other posts that I dash off in a hurry to make my self-imposed daily goal take off like Rossini rockets, garnering dozens of hits.

Some of that is timing and promotion.  I find that the posts I have ready to launch at 6:30 AM do better on average.  But some generous linkbacks from WhatFinger.com really created some surprises here at the end of the year, surpassing even the exposure I received from Milo Yiannopoulos.  Writing posts about hot, current news items, the dropping links about said items in the comment sections of prominent news sites, also helps drive traffic, but I often lack the time required to do such “planting” (and it is a practice that can come across as spammy if not done with finesse).

Some posts take on a life of their own; I see consistent daily traffic from one of the posts on this list, “Tom Steyer’s Belt.”  Apparently, a bunch of people are as mystified as I am with Steyer’s goofy, virtue-signalling belt.

Well, it’s certainly been an adventure.  And while it may be premature—there are still two days left in the year!—here are the Top Five Posts of 2019:

Read More »

Lazy Sunday XXXIII: Virtue Signalling

Hard to believe that in sixty-four days, we’ll have reached one year of daily posts here at The Portly Politico.  In that time, I’ve done my fair share of exposing one of my least favorite activities:  self-righteous virtue-signalling.

So, what better way to signal my virtue in exposing virtue-signalling than by feature virtue-signalling for today’s Lazy Sunday?

Without further ado, here are my selfless, virtuous contributions:

  • Self-Righteous Virtue-Signalling Lives On” – This post looked an egregious National Review piece by Nicholas Frankovich in the wake of the Covington Catholic situation.  That seems like a distant memory now, but it was one of my battles in the never-ending culture wars.  The issue was that Frankovich, in his zeal to show to a Left that hates him that conservatives can gang up on themselves, threw innocent children under the bus.  Disgusting.
  • The Leftist Pantheon, Part I: Environmentalism” – This piece looked at Scandinavian eco-troll Greta Thunberg’s environmental apocalyptism.  Thunberg is the victim of environmental education indoctrination, in which everything we do is somehow destructive to Mother Gaia—one of the Left’s many neo-pagan gods and goddesses.
  • Tom Steyer’s Belt” – I love to rant about television commercials.  Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer has a series of them he runs on Hulu, in which he’s wearing a ridiculous belt that makes him look like the old hippie he is.  This dumpy, stoop-shouldered elite tries to jazz up his look with some multiculturalism by wearing a Kenyan belt—sartorial signalling at its worst.
  • The Dirty Pierre” – Mitt Romney is the Establishment Republican King of Virtue-Signalling now that John McCain, the loathsome Arizona Senator and necromancer, is dead.  His “Pierre Delecto” Twitter account, which Romney used to defend himself against online detractors, rather than being a man and doing it as himself, is a despicable, cowardly example of a man who wants the Left to love him.  They never will, Mitt!

That’s it for this week!  It’s a muggy Sunday in South Carolina—typical Halloween weather for us.  D’oh!

Happy Sunday!

—TPP

Other Lazy Sunday Installments:

Tom Steyer’s Belt

When I was in college, I formed this ridiculous pseudo-band with a suitemate of mine (who has, apparently, now gone down some dark roads) called Blasphemy’s Belt, which my bio on another band’s website refers to as an “electro-pop humor duo.”  I can’t remember how we came up with the name—our music wasn’t particularly or purposefully blasphemous (or good), and while we wore belts, they weren’t outrageous (just to keep our pants up)—but it was apparently catchy enough that people picked up on it.

The Belt never performed live, other than for an annoyed roommate, and a highly grating pop-up concert (at least, that’s what hipsters would call it nowadays) on our floor’s study room, but we generated enough buzz to get people to vote for us in a “Best of Columbia” survey in The Free Times.  We didn’t win anything, but it was an object lesson in how enough hype can make people believe you have substance when you really don’t.

That’s my self-indulgent way to introduce some literal navel-gazing—at Democratic hopeful and wealthy scold Tom Steyer‘s virtue-signalling, sanctimonious belt.

Read More »