Skip to content

Me for Law & Liberty: My politically incorrect summer reading is heavy on Charles de Gaulle, Victor Davis Hanson, and El Cid

Image result for el cid
De Gaulle by Julian Jackson (Belknap, 2018). Jackson’s book has been described as a definitive biography of this towering figure of patriotic resistance who showed that it was possible to be a political and religious conservative and yet hate everything Adolf Hitler stood for. In the bitterest of historical ironies, Charles de Gaulle was ousted from power in 1968 by the feckless, fashionably Marxist, and thoroughly ungrateful generation of descendants of the French he had fought so hard to keep free during the ravages of World War II….
The Case for Trump by Victor Davis Hanson (Basic Books, 2019). Ordinarily I’d be loath to stump for a political figure and suspicious of hagiographical ventures by his supporters. But Hanson is a respected classical scholar with a fine mind and fine writing style who is devoted to his (and my) native California, which, along with the rest of America, is being inundated by uncontrolled immigration and the selfish, destructive political culture of its elites. If Hanson thinks Donald Trump can stanch this bleeding, I want to learn why and how.
The Poem of the Cid (Penguin, 1984). This medieval Spanish chanson de geste, which I’ve just started reading, is my guilty (that is, politically incorrect) pleasure of the summer: Christians versus Moors during the late 11th century. The prose translation in this edition is dull and prosy, but the original Spanish verse is en face, and it’s surprising similar to modern Spanish (a few changes in spelling and word order). The Cid himself is a manly antidote to today’s blather about “toxic masculinity”: brave, yes, but also honorable and generous to both friend and Moorish enemy when he is not on the fields of battle.
Read the whole thing here.
Posted by Charlotte Allen

What would a world run by women be like? It would be like PETA: Chickens are people, too, fish can think, milking a cow is just like “The Handmaid’s Tale”….

Related image
Photo: Baltimore Sun
Women have always ruled PETA—from its founding in 1980 by our president, Ingrid Newkirk, to today, with women holding seven of our 10 top executive positions, including the very top two. Tough, smart, and strategic female activists make up a whopping 80 percent of our workforce….
And so we get, um, this:

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has sent a letter to Caldwell, Idaho, Mayor Garret Nancolas requesting him to rename Chicken Dinner Road to the more vegan-palatable Chicken Road.

It’s a “kinder alternative, one that celebrates chickens as the sensitive and intelligent individuals they are, not ones to be abused and killed for dinner,” Faith Robinson, PETA senior strategist, told Capital Press….

Chickens feel pain and empathy and form strong bonds with one another, and they shouldn’t be considered “dinner,” PETA said in its letter to the mayor.

Also, this:

Traverse City, Mich. – As part of its campaign encouraging people to leave aquatic animals alone—and because Traverse City is a top fishing destination—PETA has placed 40 ads in 20 public restrooms across the area showing a male angler wielding a suggestively placed floppy fishing rod alongside the words “Are You Overcompensating for Something? Fishing Won’t Help.”…

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—notes that fish have unique personalities, can recognize human faces, and can retain memories and think ahead.

And this:

Ear-tagged. Tortured with cattle prods. Confined. Raped. Impregnated, and then, newborns taken away from their mothers.

If you’re thinking that sounds familiar — like the premise of Hulu’s hit series “The Handmaid’s Tale” based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel — you’d be right. But it’s not fiction for dairy cows. For those ladies, it’s reality….

“‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ resonates with women who can relate to being seen as nothing more than their bodies,” animal rights group PETA wrote last year. “Cows imprisoned on dairy farms are valued only for their biology, just like the handmaids in the Republic of Gilead. These cows and their daughters endure a lifetime of trauma and misery, while their sons—who are considered worthless to the dairy industry—are often sold for veal.”

Mmm, let’s turn everything over to women and see what else we’d get.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

Annals of the double-X chromosome: Female New Yorker writer horrified to discover that women…go through menopause

Image result for darcey steinke

Photo: New York Times

I thought maybe I ought to make myself read this New Yorker book review (by Sarah Manguso) over breakfast:

Darcey Steinke is a writer who, through a memoir and five novels, has explored the overlap of the spiritual and the sexual, rendering female subjectivity as both a site of resistance and a simple fact of life. In her new book, “Flash Count Diary: Menopause and the Vindication of Natural Life” (Sarah Crichton Books), Steinke is doing it all over again, this time from the perspective of a postmenopausal woman—herself.


In menopause, even the blondest and the most protected of women will join the rest of us in ignominy; they, too, will become, as Steinke writes, “not only invisible but also despised.” A hysterectomy isn’t the same as menopause, but it’s been, for me, a kind of preface to the story of what happens after privileged, fertile womanhood ends—the story that Steinke is committed to telling. Indeed, a hysterectomy can trigger menopause, even if the ovaries are left intact, as mine were. So far, I still have cycles, but they’re punctuated by ghost periods without blood. My primary symptom of perimenopause, which seems to have ramped up since the surgery, resembles the writer Suzanne Moore’s description of her own: “I don’t really have the mood swings that some talk about. I have just the one mood. Rage.”

Why do I feel like making myself another piece of toast and checking the New Yorker cartoons at this point? But wait–here’s a whole lot more about “rage”:

Steinke aptly compares the uncontrollable force of menopausal rage to the transformative anger of the Incredible Hulk and the “thorn in the flesh” of St. Paul. Unsurprisingly, the available analogies are all male; women are accustomed to translating their subjectivity onto men’s bodies. Plenty of movies depict female rage, but that rage is infantilized, sexualized, or subdued by the male heroes of the film. On women, even displeasure is unbecoming. On black women, multiply that a thousandfold.

Lately, female political anger has undergone some reappraisal. (In her book “Good and Mad,” Rebecca Traister writes, “It is bananas that women’s rage has never been given its proper due,” and other recent books by or about angry activist women concur.) Such outrage will perhaps eventually become palatable; we’re more willing to condone anger as long as it’s about something. But what if that anger isn’t separable from physiology? What if, as menopausal women discover more forcefully than the rest of us, the duality of body and mind is simply irrelevant?

Let’s see–maybe Anthony Lane has a movie review in this issue…and look–what a great Gucci handbag in that ad! Nah, better buck up and plug on:

We are culturally prepared to perceive women’s natural aging as uninteresting at best, pathological at worst—deserving of dismissal or disgust or both. Steinke makes a neat collection of five centuries’ worth of vile examples of the “male bafflement and repugnance” and “boilerplate misogyny” through which menopause has been perceived. Demonologists in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries considered signs of aging to be proof of sorcery: “Chin hairs. Witch. Wrinkles. Witch. Warts. Witch. If, in the presence of others, a woman grew red and perspired heavily, then she was a witch. . . . If she was quarrelsome, angry, spoke loudly, and moved, at times, in quick bursts of chaotic energy, to open a window or get a ladle of water, then she was definitely a witch.” Quoting TV shows and movies, Steinke suggests that we’re not past condemning women for the inevitabilities of time and nature: men joke about women’s tantrums, women’s varicose veins, about all the visible proof that women are, strictly speaking, no longer of use.

I think I’ll make myself another slice of toast and pour myself just a wee bit more coffee.

Failing to find common ground in the human world, Steinke turns to the natural one. She takes an immediate interest in pilot whales and orcas, the only other animals known to undergo menopause. She visits Lolita, an orca who has lived at the Miami Seaquarium for nearly half a century, since she was six years old. Her pool is “less than four lengths of her body, its depth less than one length.” Steinke describes her swimming “frenetically from wall to wall, like an agitated soul trapped inside a concrete body.” If she were free, Lolita would likely be entering middle age in her pod, part of the Salish Sea whale clan, in the Pacific Northwest. The clan is led by two matriarchs—Ocean Sun, the eighty-five-year-old whale believed to be Lolita’s mother, and Granny, who is a hundred and four.

Steinke gets interested in these whales, and then obsessed. For her, Lolita becomes an amalgam of scientific proof and spiritual symbol. “I am restricted, stuck in the box the greater culture uses to enclose and reduce older women,” she writes….

Oh, now I know what I’ve got to do right now–fold the laundry! I knew there was something on my chore list that I’d forgotten. Right now!

Posted by Charlotte Allen

Dear E. Jean: I’m a fan of your advice column in Elle–and I’m so upset because I can’t stop thinking about that handsome pirate captain who raped me in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room

Image: Frontpage Mag

Dear E. Jean:

I met the most wonderful man. We’ve had three amazing dates and have spoken almost every day on the phone. Everything was going perfectly until two days ago, when he stopped answering my calls and texts.

I texted him because I was worried, and he responded by saying he was swamped at work, and he’d contact me after he completes his big city-planning project. Then he blocked me on every social media platform and blocked my phone number. I sent a bunch of texts to his business number, just to tell him that he could count on me for at least some moral support. His secretary called back to tell me that his decision (blocking me) was final as of right now. I sent him one last text to tell him that I was there for him no matter what. But now I’m scared that I pushed too hard and that he’ll never want to see me again. Did I do the right thing by trying to contact him, even though he said not to?—Hating to Lose Him

Dear Hating to Lose Him:

The man snatches the bodysuit up and says: “Go try this on!”

You try it on,” I say, laughing. “It’s your color.”

“Try it on, come on,” he says, throwing it at me.

“It goes with your eyes,” I say, laughing and throwing it back.

“You’re in good shape,” he says, holding the filmy thing up against me. “I wanna see how this looks.”

“But it’s your size,” I say, laughing and trying to slap him back with one of the boxes on the counter.

“Come on,” he says, taking my arm. “Let’s put this on.”

Dear E. Jean:

I’ve been dating a boy for seven months and am head over heels in love. Very early in our relationship, he mentioned he had a fiancée who died unexpectedly after being with him for four years. He will not answer any questions about the dead fiancée because he said it would be too painful for me (huh?). He’s secretive about everything. He has a number of aliases, won’t share his e-mail address, phone numbers, etc., and has no close friends or family. And now there are four years of his life about which I can’t ask any questions.

My friends and family all think I’m going to wind up in a body bag. But I think his fiancé’s death was so painful, he can’t talk about it because he doesn’t have closure. I’ve suggested he see a therapist, but he says that’s “not an option.” Should I forget it? Or give the guy more time and see if he’ll open up? —Stuck in a Fog

Dear Stuck in a Fog:

The moment the dressing-room door is closed, he lunges at me, pushes me against the wall, hitting my head quite badly, and puts his mouth against my lips. I am so shocked I shove him back and start laughing again. He seizes both my arms and pushes me up against the wall a second time, and, as I become aware of how large he is, he holds me against the wall with his shoulder and jams his hand under my coat dress and pulls down my tights.

I am astonished by what I’m about to write: I keep laughing. The next moment, still wearing correct business attire, shirt, tie, suit jacket, overcoat, he opens the overcoat, unzips his pants, and, forcing his fingers around my private area, thrusts his penis halfway — or completely, I’m not certain — inside me. It turns into a colossal struggle. I am wearing a pair of sturdy black patent-leather four-inch Barneys high heels, which puts my height around six-one, and I try to stomp his foot. I try to push him off with my one free hand — for some reason, I keep holding my purse with the other — and I finally get a knee up high enough to push him out and off and I turn, open the door, and run out of the dressing room.

Dear E. Jean:

What would you say if I told you that the man I love is bankrupt? What if I told you that his bankruptcy was due to professional incompetence, that he has no signs of income, and that he cheated on me for six months ’till I took him to a therapist and made him stop? E. Jean, what would you say if I told you this same guy can be loving, good in bed, and excellent at household chores, and that I’ve asked him to move in with me?

I make plenty of money for two (I’m in the one percent), but I have three kids to put through college. Am I being stupid about letting him move in? Or just petty about money?—Mother-in-Love

Dear Mother-in-Love:

CNN’s Anderson Cooper quickly cut to commercial Monday after the anchor was visibly taken aback by a comment from Elle columnist E. Jean Carroll.

Carroll, a longtime advice columnist, recently came forward to accuse President Donald Trump of raping her decades ago in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in New York City….

“The word ‘rape’ carries so many sexual connotations,” Carroll explained. “This was not sexual. It just … it hurt … it just was …”

Cooper interrupted then, saying, “I think most people think of rape as a … it is a violent assault, it is not sexual.”

Carroll, nodding her head, fired back, “I think most people think of rape as being sexy. Think of the fantasies.”

h/t: Steve Sailer

Update: Thanks, Instapundit!

Posted by Charlotte Allen

What the NXIVM#%&? Rich ladies pay to join sex-slave cult with unpronounceable name run by guy who can’t even spell Latin–and HE’s supposed to be the criminal?

Keith Raniere interviewed by Allison Mack.
Image: The Guardian/ YouTube

My favorite paragraphs from the lurid U.K. Guardian story about 58-year-old self-help guru and former multivitamin salesman Keith Raniere, convicted by a federal jury on June 20 after a seven-week trial on charges that included forcing well-heeled women to become his sex slaves in a cult he ran in an upstate New York suburb:

Clare Bronfman, a high-level member of the group charged as a co-conspirator, is the daughter of Edgar Bronfman Sr, the late patriarch of of the Canadian distillery fortune Seagrams.

While the heiress, whose fortune is estimated at $250m, was passed over as a sex slave, she bankrolled the group’s frequent lawsuits and could call on the family jet for business and holiday excursions.

She was “passed over” as a sex slave? She didn’t make the cut?

According to the Guardian–and federal prosecutors–some 19,000 people (translation: mostly women) signed up over the years to join Raniere’s unpronounceably named NXIVM, a multi-level marketing organization devoted to developing “self-empowerment” via “executive training sessions.”

On the side, Raniere was also running another, more secretive group called “Dominus Obsequious Sororium.”

Ha ha! I can’t tell whether Raniere flunked high-school Latin, was running a riff on A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, or deemed his rich-lady customers too dumb to notice the obvious misspellings. (The name–acronymed to “DOS”–supposedly translates as “Lord of the Obedient Female Companions.”)

At any rate the goings inside that suburban DOS dungeon were pretty hair-raising–and Bronfman wasn’t the only well-off female to get involved:

Among those was Lauren Salzman, daughter of the Nxivm co-founder Nancy Salzman, who told jurors of how she became Raniere’s “slave” and recruited other slaves for herself.

The Smallville actor Allison Mack, allegedly second in command of the group, admitted to extortion and forced labor in her role as recruiter for Nxivm. According to prosecutors, Mack starved women until they fit her co-defendant’s sexual ideal “under the guise of female empowerment”.

Others included “Nicole”, believed to be the daughter of the Dynasty actor Catherine Oxenberg, who spent a year on a 500-calorie-a-day diet to reach a target weight of 107lb, a goal designed to ensure she remained obedient to the cult as well as please Raniere….

The unassuming suburban locality proved a perfect foil for the brutal behavior within. Prosecutors said the group’s homes, one of which included a dungeon, functioned as the set of a “horror movie”.

During closing arguments, the prosecution pointed to a map marked with the houses where Nxivm members lived, then described what witnesses said had happened inside several homes.

In one, the jury heard, a naked woman was held down – “her arms above her head like a sacrifice, screaming” – while she was branded with Raniere’s initials. Another was tied to a wooden table, blindfolded, while 15-year-old “slave” Camila, one of eight “first-line masters”, performed oral sex on her as Raniere looked on.

Now–involving a 15-year-old girl is definitely criminal, and anyone who does that deserves to go to prison for a long, long time. Although I’d like to know where Camila’s parents were when all this was going on and why they weren’t being prosecuted as well.

But the rest? Wasn’t there a series of best-selling books made into movies about that sort of thing? Fifty Shades of something or other? And wasn’t the readership for that trilogy nearly 100 percent women?

And this seems odd:

The trial featured testimony from four women, Sylvie, Daniela, “J” and Nicole, whose full names were withheld because they were considered victims….

What, a “J” but no “O”? And what about an accused’s right to confront witnesses against him? And why, exactly was this a federal case? Most sex crimes are tried at the state level.


Raniere, who claimed to be one of the smartest people in the world and boasted a devoted following, was found guilty of all counts against him, including racketeering, forced labour, sex trafficking and child abuse images charges. The jury reached their decision in less than five hours of deliberations.


Posted by Charlotte Allen

Is Jezebel a Trump stealth site? Buttigieg: “extremely annoying”; Biden: “keep him away from women!” Bernie: “You know him from the last time! He’s from Vermont!”

Image result for pete buttigieg dogs
Photo: New York Post

Is Jezebel running a stealth campaign to get Donald Trump re-elected as president?

Here’s Jezebel on Dem contender South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg:

The first thing that made me go, Oh f[—], I kind of like Pete, was an interview he did with NowThis, in which he shares that he doesn’t think a hot dog is a sandwich! That he used to be a dog sitter and loves his dogs! That he’s a nail biter, just like me! That his husband Chasten says he is a loud chewer….

It turns out it’s easy to like Buttigieg, even when he comes off as extremely annoying (see: the didgeridoo and the curated whiskey collection while at Harvard, and the seemingly endless interviews in which he talks about his love for James Joyce). Buttigieg gets teary and emotional when talking about gun violence and school shootings, as he did during a recent campaign stop in Austin. His two dogs, Buddy and Truman, are adorable rescues; his husband Chasten, an extremely friendly teacher, comes off in profiles of the two as the more vibrant, lovingly exasperated foil to Buttigieg’s more measured calm. (“It’s sort of like always being in grad school,” Chasten has said of being married to Mayor Pete, which, ouch but also awww?)

Here’s Jezebel on Dem contender former Obama-era HUD chief Julián Castro:

But it’s his mom Rosie Castro, a former activist with the Chicanx rights organization La Raza Unida, that I really love. “When I grew up I learned that the ‘heroes’ of the Alamo were a bunch of drunks and crooks and slaveholding imperialists who conquered land that didn’t belong to them,” she told the New York Times Magazine in a 2010 profile of her son. Julian, more of your f[—]ing awesome mom, please!

Here’s Jezebel on Dem contender former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper:

He did admit to once watching porn with his mom, which is a deeply weird anecdote to tell an audience of prospective voters. He also divulged, in his 2016 memoir, how hard it was for him to lose his virginity.

Here’s Jezebel on Dem contender Ted Cruz-loser Beto O’Rourke:

O’Rourke was such a catalyzing figure in the state that, after losing to Cruz, he could have continued to ride that genuinely moving grassroots enthusiasm to do any number of things to further the project of unlocking Texas from a Republican death grip: he could have challenged John Cornyn for his Senate seat in 2020 or spent time in the state helping to build out the political infrastructures that might help a more progressive candidate win any number of things in the future. Instead, he ran for president on a platform of—what, exactly? Your aunt’s friend Lisa wanting to f[—] him? Thanks for nothing, Beto!

Here’s Jezebel on Dem contender former veep Joe Biden:

Maybe he’ll win this thing. Just keep him away from women! After Lucy Flores accused Biden of smelling her hair and kissing her on the head, three more women came forward alleging that Biden made them uncomfortable. In response, Biden said that “social norms […] have shifted,” and promised to be more “mindful” of personal space.

Here’s Jezebel on Dem contender Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders:

You know this guy from the last time! He’s from Vermont! He wants everyone to have free healthcare and college! HIs hair is soft like candy floss, birds love him, he yells an awful lot, and even though he tried this s[—] the last time around, he’s still ready and raring to give it another go.

With friends like Jezebel, what Democratic presidential candidate needs enemies? So I’m deeming Jezebel a Trump stealth site that’s definitely to be watched as 2020 approaches.

Posted by Charlotte Allen

Annals of cultural appropriation irony: Latina fashionista Carolina Herrera accused of stealing “indigenous” designs from…fellow Latinos

Photo: New York Times

It’s delicious irony time: Latina fashion designer gets accused of “cultural appropriation” by….other Latinos.

And you can’t get more Latina than fashion queen and brand tycoon Carolina Herrera:

She was born María Carolina Josefina Pacanins y Niño[6] on January 8, 1939, in Caracas, Venezuela,[1] to Guillermo Pacanins Acevedo, an air force officer and former governor of Caracas,[7] and María Cristina Niño Passios.[

And then, not one but two Latino husbands:

In 1957, at the age of 18, she married Guillermo Behrens Tello, a Venezuelan landowner.[31] Before their eventual divorce in 1964, they became the parents of two daughters:[32]…

In 1968, in Caracas, she married Reinaldo Herrera Guevara, who had inherited the Spanish title The 5th Marquis of Torre Casa in 1962 upon his father’s death.[35][36][37] Reinaldo was the host of Buenos Días, a Venezuelan morning-television news program and the elder son of Don Reinaldo Herrera Uslar, 4th Marquis of Torre Casa, a prominent Venezuelan sugarcane plantation owner, aristocrat and art collector.[36] Therefore, by marriage, Carolina held the title The Marquise consort of Torre Casa, until it was retracted in 1992, as Reinaldo had issued no son.[38] Her husband is a special-projects editor of Vanity Fair magazine.[8] Together, they have two daughters, and six grandchildren…

Ookay. But then we have this (reported in the New York Times):

This week Alejandra Frausto, the cultural minister of Mexico, wrote a letter to Carolina Herrera, the New York fashion brand, accusing it of using, for its own ends, embroidery techniques and patterns specific to certain Mexican indigenous communities in the resort 2020 collection, which was shown in a series of appointments last week at the Herrera headquarters in the garment district….

[T]the collection…included floral and bird embroidery on strapless gowns, perforated leather coats and baby-doll cocktail dresses that Ms. Frausto cited as belonging to the community of Tenango de Doria in Hidalgo, as well as a striped knit shirtdress that she saw as too closely resembling a serape from Saltillo.

[W]hile in the past such offenses have most often been uncovered by industry watchdogs and the groups in question, this is the first time a national government has gotten involved.

In the letter, Ms. Frausto wrote, “This is a matter of ethical consideration that obliges us to speak out and bring an urgent issue to the UN’s sustainable development agenda: promoting inclusion and making those who are invisible visible.”

The Social Justice Tweeters chipped in:

This is THEFT plain and simple!


designer calls it a “tribute”. I call it plagiarism and stealing and making a hell of a lot of money from it, too.

The fact that the Herrera organization’s creative director, Wes Gordon, is gay cut no ice:

Recently Mr. Gordon and his husband had taken a trip to Mexico, where, he said, they were “mesmerized by its beauty.”…

When Mr. Gordon posted photos from the line on his personal Instagram page, the comments were likewise dismayed.

Andto top it all off:

Herrera, which is owned by the Spanish fashion and beauty group Puig, has not posted a public response on any of its social media channels, issued a clear apology or revealed plans for reparations…

No “plans for reparations”! We can’t have that!

Making the Latina-appropriates-from-Latinos irony even more delicious is the fact that the “indigenous” embroidery “techniques” that Herrera and her minions supposedly stole (see gown in photo above, although the “embroidery” on it actually appears to be a print) aren’t as age-old as you might think. In fact, the charmingly primitive-looking bird-and-flower patterns were unknown in Mexico until the 1960s–when some entrepreneurial locals came up with the idea as a way to make some money after their farms turned non-productive:

The Otomí, from the municipality of Tenango de Doria, an area of the Eastern Sierra Madre in the Mexican state of Hidalgo, have for centuries embellished the ancestral costume worn by local women. The colorful, intricate designs of their dress were characterized by elaborate embroidery and brocade patterns. Only 50 years ago—following the severe drought of the1960s which devastated the agricultural economy in the area—did the Otomí bring their creations to market. However, it was soon apparent that the intensive labor required by detailed traditional methods were not economically viable. In response, the Otomí adapted to the reality of the situation and re-envisioned their embroidery process. By creating a more elemental style of needlework and design, they were able to apply the craft to a greater range of textiles.

In other words, it’s “indigenous” art specifically created for the tourist trade. Seems that the Mexicans themselves were doing cultural appropriation long before anyone in the West thought of it.

It’s layers upon layers of Latino irony.

Posted by Charlotte Allen