May 1, 2023
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Rags and Bones

by Jonathan Wallace

Zombie Comstock

In one of the most extraordinary ethical spectacles of my lifetime, the shambling corpse of Anthony Comstock, who died in 1915, is trying to bite people again.

Comstock was a nineteenth century dry goods salesman who bootstrapped his way to becoming the chief censor of the U.S. Post Office. For more than forty years, he prosecuted and persecuted feminists, suffragists, writers on birth control, novelists and others. He bragged about the number of them who committed suicide as a result of his attentions. The censorship law he sponsored, and which bore his name, also criminalized sending birth control devices through the mail.

The Comstock law was never repealed. It merely became a dead letter. Legislation and case law validating, and protecting, birth control accomplished that-- you would think. But last week Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, the Batshit federal judge Trump appointed, invoked the 150 year old and very defunct Comstock law, as one of his reasons for reversing the FDA's approval, 23 years ago, of mifepristone, the abortion pill.

You can't make this shit up.

Fox defamation lawsuit

Fox News just settled the lawsuit brought by Dominion, the voting machine people, for three quarters of a billion dollars. Dominion obtained, and made public, evidence that Tucker Carlson et al. knew perfectly well that the 2020 election was not stolen, and that Dominion voting machines were not creepily possessed by the spirits of dead leftist dictators from South America; but said or implied as much on air anyway, you know, to Serve the Base. To keep the Base. To kiss up to the Base. The problem is, given how Batshit the Base is, Rupert Murdoch, who also knew perfectly well what was happening, is promoting the end of American democracy, and amplifying the forces that will get us there-- in a different way than Mark Zuckerberg is, but for the same reasons: to make another billion dollars, and another, and another...


This is the most annoying, tritest empty word in recent memory. I really have no idea what it means--except "I don't like [insert name of target here]". I was amused and entertained when a right wing celeb, asked to define it on air, drew a blank also.

Scott Adams

In the 1990's, workimg in a midsize technology company with Internet pretensions, I enjoyed Dilbert very much. I remember two strips in particular. One was the new employee who wanted to work at home unsupervised, and be paid by direct deposit, which was new at the time. The other was the software project manager who, when programmers fell behind schedule or short of specifications, brought in a small dinosaur to beat them with its tail. I thought Adams was very funny-- and sophisticated.

Adams has now been bloviating about race for some time, making some statements that sound both inane and insane. The first thing I always think of in these cases, that rarely gets discussed publicly, is an actual mental illness. The second is too much solitude: he's been working from home all these years unsupervised, and paid by direct deposit...

Whatever it is, basic civility and business caution should have prevented him from sliding there. Once he did, its not a free speech issue, because the newspapers dropping the strip are not, you know, the government. Their right to freedom of association means a right not to associate with him. All this blather about cancel culture, like "woke", has no precise definition. The Batshit right has no problem demanding that you or I be fired, or dropped from the schedule at a conference, or review bombing your "woke" movie, or or or, but when we criticize someone, we are canceling them. This rhymes with the statement I make, in the main essay, that the Batshit believe the Second Amendment is only for them. They are advancing the same theory for the First apparently: it protects all Scott Adams speech, against everyone, including left wing private individuals who are not the government; but none of our speech is protected in any context, against anyone. In other words, only the Batshit have a right to express opinions in America, just as they are the only ones with a right to use guns. Or try it this way: we cannot speak against their opinions; but they can shoot us for ours. Wow. Apparently, while you were sleeping, a Totalitarianism seeped in, and they are the new ruling class.