Friday, March 31, 2006

You like me! You really, really like me!

I'd really like to say more but as soon as I finish this post I'm heading to one of Boston's most convivial alehouses, the 21st Amendment, and treat my liver like Marv Albert's girlfriend, so bleep this. Anyway, I'd like to thank Bubba, Rayne, Jape, Kathleen, Pauli, and the rest of the regulars for making me feel like I wasn't spitting into the wind alone. I'd like to thank K-Lo, John Miller, and of course Rod Dreher for linking to this blog.

When I began writing this blog I had written up several meditations on Marcus Aurelius and was well along on an essay establishing a continuum of ur-counter-neo-traditional thought from Plato to Augustine and finally Bacon. However, my couch said that challenging readers to understand abstract ideas like "theory" would be dangerous, and suggested that I instead write trite, snarky parodies which would make my reader feel better about themselves and thus sell better. It's like a Zen koan: what is the point of an anti-consumerist book that no one buys?

Cheers, everybody. I'm locking the door but not throwing away the key. The sound of crunching may have stopped for now, but we'll stick around just in case.

Farewell crunchies

"We are a nation of Prufrocks. In our


to chase the latest thing,

to have the shiniest

gadget, to think

the newest idea,

to be first in the lock-step march of progress,

we grow old … we grow old."

-- CS March 31

Ah yes, T.S. Stegall. And April is the cruelest month indeed, for we will no longer hear anything from you starting tomorrow ... April fool's day ... such a "Prufrockian" day, n'est-ce pas? My husband had the brilliant idea of reading aloud choice bits from the blog doing one's best sonorous William Shatner imitation. We shall be doing that this evening "in memoriam". Sacramental, no? I have no doubt great swaths of the crunchy con blog will lend themselves *delightfully* to free verse. Naturellement we will do this over a glass of single malt scotch.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

About them Reagan Democrats

Soccer moms, angry white males, security moms, Nascar dads... these trends come and go faster than Eurovision acts. But it's a measure of the man that 25 years later we're still talking about those Reagan Democrats. Kerry and Bush both pleaded their cases in 2004, and these legendary Bud-swilling, Ford-driving, Winston-smoking factory workers are a (the?) leading reason for the candidacies of both McCain and Giuliani.

So of course Bruce Frohnen had to stake his claim on behalf of the Crunchies.

Everyone twirls the ends of their mustaches coming up with theories to "explain" the voting patterns of Reagan Democrats. Naturally these theories validate the position of whichever side advances them.

Well, here's my theory and it's really simple. Reagan Democrats don't vote for weenies. Let's go to the videotape!

1980- Carter: Definitely a weenie. The fact that he was a USN sub captain does not make me think more of Carter, it makes me think less of the US Navy.

1984- Mondale: Complete and utter weenie. In case anyone doubted how big a weenie he was, his vice president was a man named Geraldine.

1988- Dukakis: "Weenie" is the only word in Webster's which does not have a written definition. Instead, they just print a copy of the picture.

1992- Clinton: "Wiener" is only one letter away from "Winner." 'nuff said.

2000- Gore: Realizing the error of running a candidate whom nearly every man in America would love to go out for beers with, the party of Andrew Jackson selects the guy voted "Most Likely to Turn Into Dean Wormer" in college.

2004- Kerry: Because they had such good luck with Hurricane Al, this time around they went for Greg Marmalard. Paging Webster's, your new picture is ready.

The Reagan Democrats have as much to do with the Democrats as they do with Reagan. Like Dubya he may have been all hat and no cattle, but at least he could wear the hat without looking like a damn jackass or reminding you of needle-nosed schmuck in Payroll who kept sending half your check to the IRS and the other half to you ex-wife. The Reagan Democrats are just another pack of superficial nitwits whose asses have been kissed way too often.

Of Convivial Pots and Kettles.

Rod Dreher is worried for our country -- Katrina
and the spectre of suitcase nukes and EMP's. He doubts that we could survive a Depression with the courage of our ancestors, "soft as we are."

The 9/11 attacks changed him -- so he's the one whose worldview was changed by that non-event! -- and he worries about our continued refusal to take Islamism seriously.

(But, gosh, defeating Islamic extremists in Iraq sure is hard!)

Now, this morning, Rod is writing about the hard ideological and political divides between the right and the left. You know what their problem is? Both sides "gin up such fear and hatred of the Other that they get us to be loyal to them no matter how badly they’re failing, or lousy their agendas."

Yeah, shame on them, for such damnable fear-mongering.

You know, I think the Crunchies should promote their agenda--I mean, sensibility--with a television campaign. I'm sure they would be open to the idea of recycling an old commercial, and I know just the thing.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Another Worthy Counter-Crunchy

I'm way behind on the email here, but Greg of the Hobbesian Conservative wrote me last week with his own contribution to the oeuvre. He wrote, "I can't decide whether I got a little too mean with it or not." We repost, you decide:

RE: What's wrong with Yurts [Rod Dreher 03/23 4:30PM]
I think the problem is that people read that email and thought "Hey, Rod's saying that I can't be a good person unless I live in a yurt!" They focused on the oddly named domicile and ignored the greater lesson: That you should be willing to sacrifice and make your life a little harder to achieve eternal rewards.

It may be a little mean, but Greg, we like it anyway. Read the whole thing.

Customer Appreciation Week

To my regular commenters: in celebration of the impending finale of the CrunchBlog, I'd like to invite you to join the masthead so we can all post together on the main page just like our friends Rod, Caleb, Bruce, and Frederica. Just send your email address and the name you've been commenting as to and I will send you an invitation.

Jape, you're invited too, in the spirit of ecumenicism.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Reconsidering "charity"

Thank you your thoughts, Contra. If I may be the Frederica to your Caleb: I too have been pondering the highly extended life expectancies that we have come to expect in this country, while in other parts of the globe life remains nasty brutish and short -- but REAL. So often, Americans under misguided notions of "charity" seek to extend our health expectations to those of other societies/communities that have developed themselves organically. For instance, Oprah (who, like Martha Stewart, "functions to shield people from ever even approaching anything real" see Stegall, March 27, perhaps paraphrasing Pfeffernusse or Liverwurst) just featured yet another imperialist do-gooder who operates surgically on the damaged brides of Ethiopians -- it seems many of these girls gave birth "too young" and in the process their insides were destroyed to the point where they are constantly leaking waste (again, mainstream American notions of "sanitation" come to the fore). So this do-gooder surgeon repairs the girls on an assembly line basis, presumably without garnering permission from the native community. Worse yet, one of these young women stated after her surgery that she wishes to go to medical school "when she is [healed and] dry" so she can help out other child brides. Just what we need, another young woman foregoing the joys of marriage, motherhood, and community for a "career" in "medicine".

Think also of the Smile Train, a "charity" which repairs the cleft palates of children in poor countries. Aren't we depriving these communities of living with cleft palate individuals as they were created in their mothers wombs? Do we really need to export mass-manufactured sterilizers, surgical equipment, doctors (medical school is an assembly line if there ever was one) etc. to impose American notions of what a "smile" should be? Because after all, every American needs a Coke and a smile -- and now the rest of the world does too!

Finally, the donation of prostheses to landmine victims in Cambodia and elsewhere should be reconsidered. Instead of merely shipping "custom fitted" plastic overseas to achieve the goal of ambulatory individuals, perhaps missionaries could go to these countries and help them establish a community-wide ceremony in which each member of a family whittles away at a tree until a appropriately sized prosthetic leg, or arm, is achieved. True, these natural tree-stump prostheses will be considerably more cumbersome and less "individualized" than American exports, but the process of communal tree whittling would reinforce the ties of kith and kin. More important, we teach these people not to be dependent on the abstract, non-localized, mass-produced, technologically-indulgent brave new world of western "medicine".

The Problem with Longevity

We have spent a lot of time talking about First Things, and that is all well, but as we close up this week we should focus on what truly matters, and those are Last Things: death and judgment, Heaven and Hell. In an earlier age a small cut could bring about a blood infection that would in a matter of days take the life of even the richest man, and old age and dotage were gifts bestowed only by the almighty.

Was it truly a better age when death stalked us all daily from cradle, to, well, grave? This is a question I will leave to the noted medieval German philosopher Gewürtzraminer, whose most well-known work, Schweineschnitzel mit Kartoffelnsalat und Pflaumenmuß lays out a comprehensive system of metaphysics and gustatory erudition not matched since the late Myopic period in early Jerusalem, and against which all modern "filosophers" are mere rumpskates.

That being said, it is beyond any notion of civilized discourse to suggest that the world of two hundred years ago, a world that to our modern and coddled eyes appears unsanitary, barbaric, and utterly lacking a decent range of soft drink choices, was an ineffably more spiritual place than the world is today. In fact, this is the single greatest change that has taken place since this nation's founding. The chief problem we therefore face is quite simply the unearned longevity we greedily enjoy. I'm not saying we should ban the use of highly-profitable and industrially-produced antibiotics, or tell cancer patients to "quit whining and die like a man," but unless we discuss the problem of artificially-prolonged lifespans, I fear this whole exercise is Onanistic.

Friday, March 24, 2006


Only one thing can adequately explain the bull-headedness of Rod Dreher and his compadres in the face of devastating criticism. This is a question of product placement. Whole Foods and Birkenstock were getting tired of the same old marketing ploys to attract liberals (for example, Birkenstock's disproportionately high ratio of brown suede birks as opposed to other colors in the rainbow ... Yoga magazines at the Whole Foods checkout ...). Both companies were between a rock and a hard place; they were forced to cater to their liberal base, but simultaneously were alienating the conservative half of the country. Enter Rod Dreher, new marketing genius! He offered to lessen the liberal stranglehold on both beleaguered companies by writing an entire book justifying, indeed GLORIFYING, conservative consumption of Birkenstocks and organic leeks. Dreher is doing nothing less than creating an entirely new marketing demographic. Birkenstock is prepared for the new onslaught of nascently-crunchy conservative customers -- they market sandals in precious metal sheens now. Whole Foods is prepared too -- they sell non-organic vegetables and non-microbrew beer. It all makes sense ... even Dreher's citation of an article critical of Whole Foods was an obvious ploy to put us off the scent.

But I think we should be told.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Oh no she dint!

Broadcasting live from Crunch Central, Caleb Stegall quotes yours truly from my comment on the previous post. He writes,

I described the need to preserve, protect, and in some cases, revive, a truly social sphere distinct from either the state or the individual which can create a sense of home — which I hear echoed in the comments about Boston above — that is “not just four walls and a roof” but encompasses “the highways and byways that weave together the strands of memory, church, kin, work, and play into a place of belonging; home in this sense is seen and ought to be experienced as the central focal point of man’s contact with God; with the divine and holy ground of being.” None of this is aimed at fetishizing tradition for tradition’s sake.

Well, around here Fenway Park is certainly "divine and holy ground," and it's interesting to note that when talk of building a new ballpark came up five and six years ago, the real deep fans (i.e. the ones who were there on opening day in 1987) were generally thrilled by the idea of a modern stadium. The "Save Fenway Park" crowd on the other hand was composed mostly of Back Bay anthropology professors and South End real estate agents who, if they ever actually set foot in Fenway, would spend the whole time admiring about the left fielder's butt and whining that you couldn't get a glass of pinot grigio. What gives them the right to claim the mantle of "tradition" over lifelong fans without whose support the institution they claim to love would not exist?

Good Germans?

Some people might consider it onanistic but I like to re-read my old posts as I find I often discover new insights in doing so. Well, I just noticed a lacuna a camel could walk through in that Bruce Frohnen quote I posted below. Bruce says,

Lest we forget, corporations are granted by the state huge advantages that often harm innocent investors

Now, far be it from me to judge (that's Caleb's job) but is there really any such thing as an "innocent investor?" After all, are we not to be mindful of where we lay up our treasure? To the extent that the "small, old, and local" are preferred, investing, which is usually done in the "large, new, and high rate of growth," clearly works against the goals of a sacramental life. Frankly, if you have enough money left over to invest after buying groceries for your family of 6 at Whole Foods your local farmer's market, then you're probably working too many hours, or living in a low cost "exurb." The crunchy thing to do would be to sell your cheap cardboard tract house and move to an expensive brownstone on the edge of a housing development in a large city. Be careful though! Gays love neighborhoods like that too and you wouldn't want your kids to be exposed to that lifestyle and its "galleries" and "antique stores" and, worst of all, "brunch."

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

What's in your wallet?

Bear with me while I explicatea very subtle and important aspect of the crunchy approach to contract law and responsibilities. Bruce Frohnen writes,
Lest we forget, corporations are granted by the state huge advantages that often harm innocent investors and even bystanders seeking to recover damages. The current code allows lawyers to hide behind limited liability even in
partnerships, and allows developers to form shell corporations for each subdivision they build, avoiding liability for wrongdoing even as they sell themselves as "in the business for 50 years."

So, a man's word ought to be his word, and that ought to be carved in stone tablets carried down from the mountain. I'll buy that. But perhaps not with a credit card, since Rod approvingly cites an Allan Carlson essay which says,

Contemporary Republican leaders need to do better — much better — toward social conservatives. They must creatively address pressing new family issues centered on debt burden. And they must learn to say "no" sometimes to Wall Street, lest they squander the revolutionary political legacy of Ronald Reagan.

Based on this, I would posit that Crunchy Contract Law actually recognizes two types of legal agreements: contracts between corporations and people, which are "crunchy" contracts, and thus binding in all instances, and contracts between people and corporations, which are "soggy" contracts and open to discussion.

Now some would protest that this is arbitrary, but that's typically simple-minded mainstream thinking. Credit-card agreements are "soggy contracts" because credit cards are used by "consumer-vatives" to fill their oversized suburban houses with aesthetically pleasing but insufficiently costly Ikea furniture, and Internet pornography. This credit card debt is therefore "blood money" and the right of the credit card companies to expect cardholders to live up to their agreement is forfeit. As for the cardholders, it is important that they repay their debts--by prayer and fasting, that is. Repaying them in the form of cash money might require them to spend time working, away from children who would thus be deprived of the strong role models needed to inculcate critical values, such as the deferral of gratification.

In Crunchstitutional Law, we refer to this as the principle of "Heads I Win, Tails, You Lose."

Welcome Kathleen

Sometimes love is like a bag of manure: you gotta spread it around if you want it to do any good. That's why I'm pleased to double our counter-crunchy capacity by adding regular commenter and house lyricist Kathleen to our no-star lineup.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The Crunchy Granola Song

I'm terribly flattered to have been asked to post on this blog. I would like to introduce my sophomore effort, which premiered in the comments below

my followup effort is
(sing to tune of Pina Colada song)

I was tired of the mainstream
We'd been together too long
Like a worn-out recording
Of a favorite song
so after drinking a six pack
I took my laptop to bed
And at the NRO website
There was this blog that I read

"If you like crunchy granola
making flour out of grain
have a house near the ghetto
ride a bike or the train
If you'd like reading Kirk at midnight
growing organic dates
I'm the guru that you've looked for
email me and escape."

I quickly hopped out of bed then
threw my TV away
-- hoped the crunchies would like that
I'm insecure that way.
Then I emailed Rod Dreher
hoping he would approve --
Since he posted my email
he must have been moved

"Yes I like Crunchy granola
dumped the car for the train
I am way into health food
and organic champagne.
oh yeah i really hate the mainstream
so cut through all this red-tape
sign me up as a crunchy
together we'll escape."

So I became a crunchy
and I felt so astute.
Threw out all my rock music
learned recorder and lute.
But then I read mainstream Jonah
And I said, "wait it's true."
sometimes mainstream IS crunchy
And I said, "I never knew...

that Jonah likes some granolas!
sometimes he takes the train!
doesn't only eat junk food!
tried organic champagne!
He thinks children are important!
and community too!
So what's a crunchy con then?
Now I don't have a clue.

To think -- instead of composing this ditty I could have been doing something "sacramental" like spinning my own wool. -- Kathleen

Isn't It Awfully Nice to be a Genius?

Commenter Kathleen was kind enough to send a submission last week in response to my plea for help. I'd like to keep this site fresh but I'm buried in my highly unsustainable 16-hours-a-day-on-my-butt job trying to start a new company. Kathleen, thanks for your contribution to the good fight!

Isn't it awfully nice to be a genius?
Isn't it frightfully good to have a book?
It's swell to join the fray,when they agree with what i say.
those who just don't get it
must be heathens dolts or crooks!

So three cheers for my taste and sensibility.
My friends and i are more advanced than most.
The shoes we wear, our real estate ,the foods that my wife cooks.
The way we teach our children,to shun tv for books

I'm so glad we aren't similar,to those greedy mainstream schnooks...
cuz i am

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Dear Readers

Do you people have any idea how hard a job this blog is? Exaggeration is usually the easiest way to parody someone, and Rod recently suggested that Maggie Gallagher needs to get her religion up with a straight face. Meanwhile, the Crunchys' dime-store Savonarola just blew the lid on the whole thing.

People, I want to keep the mockery flowing, but I need help. Even Ionesco would have a hard time with this bunch of huckleberries.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Crunchy Theme Song

To the tune of The Lumberjack Song by Monty Python (Click for MP3)

I'm a crunchy-con, and I'm okay
I sleep all night and I work all day

Farmers: He's a crunchy-con and he's okay, he sleeps all night and he works all day

I compost greens and I eat my lunch
I go to the lavatory
On Wednesdays I go to Whole Foods
and pick up some Pouilly-Fuisse

Farmers: He composts greens and he eats his lunch, he goes to the lavatory. On Wednesdays he goes to Whole Foods, and picks up some Pouilly-Fuisse

Refrain: I'm a crunchy-con and I'm OK, I sleep all night and I blog all day!

I compost greens, I skip and jump
I like taxing capital gains
I put on Ralph Nader's clothing
And hang out with PETA

Farmers: He composts greens, he skips and jumps, he likes to tax capital gains, he puts on Ralph Nader's clothing, and hangs around with PETA!?

Refrain: I'm a crunchy-con and I'm OK, I sleep all night and I blog all day!

I compost greens, I hate SUVs
I love to regulate
I wish I was born a liberal,
Just like my dear Carter!

Farmers: He composts greens, he hates SUVs, he loves to regulate?!

I'm a crunchy-con, and I'm OK, I sleep all night and I blog all day!
Yes, he's a crunchy-con and he's OK, he sleeps all night, now go away!

Monday, March 13, 2006

My Crunchy Weekend

Sunday afternoon I hopped in my seven year-old Ford econo-$@%!box car and drove over to the Whole Foods in Cambridge, Mass. to stock up for the evening meal. "Air chilled" free range chicken, carrots, celery, onions, $4/pound locally-grown mushrooms and two bottles, one Rhone, one Alsace, one for the pot and one for the glass since my dining companion doesn't fancy reds.

Being Cambridge, the store was filled with the entire cross-section of society from bearded plaid-shirt wearing misanthropes who teach Anthropology at the little local college called Harvard to Europeens in their pointy hats and funny wooden shoes and a thirtysomething woman wearing a pair of boots that I'm pretty sure cost more than my car, to working-class people who were, duh working there. Luckily I had my Amex Platinum on me (no pre-set spending limit, baby!) because this was not the kind of place to shop on a budget, at least not one defined by a maximum rather than a minimum.

After that I hopped in my sled and boogied over to Target in the South Bay center to pick up some kitchen-wares. Tar-jhay as we call it in the hiz-ood is all about this thing called "Masstige" which is like prestige except that poor non-white people from the rough side of town can afford it too, so now they don't really have any excuse for looking like a bunch of punks all the time. I mean, Isaac Mizrahi placemats for $3.99? What a country! China, that is, since that's where it all comes from. So, what I don't understand is the whole Wal-Mart Bad, Target Good deal. People would rather get caught scratching their butt and then sniffing their hand than be seen shopping at Wal-Mart. As far as I can tell they're both big stores full of cheap crap that came here on a boat, though I will admit there is something more pleasingly perky about the whole red theme. But it's no problem around here in Boston because there are no Wal-Marts, presumably because people here are too smart to shop there.

Anyway, after Tar-Jhay it was back to my studio apartment in a lovely restored Victorian-era brownstone in a majority-Hispanic neighborhood next to the airport. There's a grocery store here (and it has an amazing waterfront view from the parking lot) but I dare you try find glace de poulet there. They do however have a more comprehensive selection of Central American foods than the Shop-Rite in Guadalajara, I bet.

With all that settled I spent a nice afternoon preparing a non-cream of broccoli soup (Recipe: broccoli stalks, water, boil, salt, blender, olive oil, blender, yum!), chocolate mousse, and a big kettle of Coq au Vin, though unfortunately it's hard to pick up Coq in the grocery store, even in Cambridge, so I had to stick with th female version which just isn't the same. Apparently there are "special" places where you can buy real (live!) rooster but those are in a different part of town.

Naturally I shared this elegant repast with a certain lady-friend and we had a most convivial evening with the wine and food, and later a viewing of one of my favorite romantic comedies of the past decade, Fight Club, which she thought was really cute. How did it all turn out? Well, as one of Paris Hilton's ex-boyfriends so memorably put it, "she loves the Coq."

Oh, and please stop your tittering and get your mind out of the gutter. The only sin that got committed that night was gluttony.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Ee-i Ee-i Oh!

Ahh, for the yeoman farmer! Unlike Office Man, preoccupied with his "TPS Reports" and allergic to plaster, toner, and crabbing about his red Swingline stapler, the rural gentleman is the aristocrat of our bedrock agrarian class, indeed the rock on which the ship of state sinks or swims.

Yes, I come to praise the farmer, for in him alone resides the great and lasting values of free men. As Victor Davis Hanson writes,
What other profession is there now in this country where the individual fights alone against nature, lives where he works, invests hourly for the future, never for the mere present, succeeds or fails on the degree of his own intellect, physical strength, bodily endurance, and sheer nerve?

It may or may not be true that the French have no word for "entrepreneur," but they certainly have one for "Farmer," and there is no question which of those two things they respect and value. For here in America we are indeed overrun by people fiendishly and greedily starting new businesses, often with the sole (if unspoken) intent of putting fine old ones out of business, as if we needed a better mousetrap. Let the poor mouse have some food, you cruel harridan!

Yes, this is a point our European friends know too well. Small farms, brimming with expensive but high-quality local produce, consumer appetites kept in check and devoid of the harsh glare of the Wal-Mart Super Center, Europe indeed understands the value of its noble agrarian heritage. What does the entrepreneur, with his sleepless nights peckign at the keyboard, his years without salaries, his constant attempts to evade government regulators, waiting perhaps years to reap his "capital gains" (more like windfall profits!), what indeed has he to teach the farmer?

Yes, the Europeans know the score here. And well we should mind them, for while America's economy stagnates, Europe's religious faith is experiencing a profound rebirth, particularly in the most traditional and "strict" forms. Not to mention that they do it all without those hideous agribusiness subsidies.

Indeed, one need look no farther than 3,000 miles over the horizon to see how the health of the small local farmer is the health of the nation.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Simple Rules for Crunchy Living

I've received some mail from readers concerned because they want to live their life in a more Crunchy fashion, but are confused by what seem like an arbitrary set of rules. In order to illustrate these more clearly, I've put together a bunch of examples which I hope will serve to clarify matters:

Food: This one is very simple. You should buy organic, but it's OK to complain about the quality and prices. Spending a lot of money on food is bad, but if you're eating with friends, it's acceptable. Caviar is OK so long as you actually enjoy it, and are not just doing it to act all sophistimacated. Wine, especially a bottle or two over poulet in Paree is OK, though dandelion wine is a safer, more convivial choice. And you should always buy locally, except when the guy in NYC has better coffee at a good price.

Cars are an important thing because your choices affect the lives of working men. Environmentally speaking an eight-year-old Honda or Toyota is really best, but you should buy American, because the auto companies allow honest men to support a wife at home. And despite what everyone thinks, Cadillac builds a very good quality car, though perhaps too luxurious; while aesthetics and beauty are valid concerns for the food you put on your plate, in choosing a car you should opt for the Buick instead. Joining a hot rod club is OK, but a motorcycle gang probably isn't, though if you bought a Harley, which is built in America, and always followed the speed limit and didn't get into turf wars with your rivals, I guess that would be convivial enough to be OK.

In terms of recreation, video games are really bad, bad, bad, and you should forget the fact that demand for games produces a huge industry full of high-paying jobs for creative people and that the production and consumption of video games has very little bad impact on the environment. But just because video games destroy the fabric of our civilization, using puppies for target practice is not an acceptable substitute. Try making some dandelion wine instead.

As for the Internet, we should keep in mind that it's a shallow, fake community and vastly inferior to the varied and rich choices that were offered by most small rural towns in the 19th century. The fact that Frederica met Rod on an AOL chatroom proves how great a sacrifice these two pioneers were willing to make to help the rest of us avoid the seductive sirens of cyberspace. How they managed to avoid having their souls shredded to ribbons in the process is really a tribute to their crunchiness.

Thinking about buying a washing machine? Try washing your clothes in the river like your great-great grandmother and countless generations before her! Imagine the conviviality.

Needless to say, church-shopping is wrong, though it is OK to switch from the denomination ten generations of your family worshipped at, to one run by the world's largest and oldest global enterprise because you think it's a better fit for your "traditional" beliefs. And while you should pay attention to your impact on the environment, large families are more important, so be (naturally!) fruitful.

I hope that clears things up!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Crunchy, Soggy, Salty, Minty, and Sweet-and-Sour Conservatism

Apropos Caleb's post on ur-crunchyism in the Economist, I can only say he doesn't go nearly far enough. Why stop at "crunchy" versus "soggy," when granola comes in so many more varieties? In the interest of turning a relatively unified right wing into as many squabbling cliques as one sees on the Left, I would like to revise and extend Caleb's thoughts:

Salty-cons: A salty-con always tells it like it is: straight-up, no rocks, stop-your-whining-and-take-it-like-a-man. The best example is George Will, who hasn't smiled since that "lost weekend" when he sailed out into international waters with WFB in the late 1960s. Charles Krauthammer is also pretty salty, as demonstrated by the fact that he's hidden the fact that he was a cripple since his early 20s almost as well as FDR did. Come to think of it, FDR is about as salty as Jimmy Carter is crunchy, so I'm going to call him a salty-con. Besides, he looks really cool with that cigarette holder.

Ed: Several people have suggested I should add John Derbyshire to the list. At first glance there is a strong case to be made. He is so gloomy that physicists have recently discovered that light actually bends around him. However, he is also English, and as anyone from West Texas knows, that's pretty much the same thing as "gay." It doesn't matter how much of a homophobe he pretends to be. Have you ever noticed that he and Andy Sullivan agree on nearly everything else? In fact, Greg Gutfeld recently told me that Annie Proulx actually based the original "Brokeback Mountain" short story on the summer that Derb and Sully spent herding sheep in the Scottish highlands back when they were in college.

Sweet-and-Sour Cons: Where saltycons want to make you cry, sweet-and-sourcons wrap harsh truths in humor. Think TimesSelect abductee John Tierney, who became famous for his article on why recycling is environmentally hazardous. The fact that S&Scons (not S&Mcons, this is a family blog) delight in making Big Macs out of sacred cows makes them the arch-nemeses of Crunchy Conservatives, who distrust humor as "a frivolous and undignified pursuit unworthy of free men."

Minty-cons are fresh and fun and utterly forgettable once you're done with them. They're the Jessica Albas of the right-wing: more deserving of celeb status than Paris Hilton, but still clearly cruising thanks to a face made for television. Michelle Malkin is today's leading MintyCon, and gets the Scrabble double bonus for being both hot and Asian. Sorry Michelle, but let's be honest: if she was as talented as William Safire and ugly, you know what she'd be doing? That's right, answering Bill Safire's mail. It's not just a girl's game, either, as Sean Hannity proves. Still, just because life isn't fair doesn't mean we should dislike the minty-cons among us. They're useful, so long as they don't make the rest of us look stupid.

Related to the minty-cons are the Glamservatives, who manage to be as intellectually compelling as they are shaggable. All bow to Virginia Postrel, whose opinions will still be widely read long after Fox News replaces Hannity and Colmes with a pair of Brazilian strippers. While standing next to a minty-con just makes you look ugly by comparison, a Glamservative's casts an glow of fabulousness that makes the rest of us look a little bit better by association. William F. Buckley, Jr. is thus the original Glamservative. Anne Coulter could be glam, but she's a bit too harsh. I'll bet she calls her gay male hairdresser "Nancy Boy" and needs to be tied to the chair to prevent her from bashing him. Come to think of it, that should be a show on Fox.

Friday, March 03, 2006

How many Crunchy Cons does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

ConCrunchy blog secretly surveyed the contributors on the Crunchy Con blog to answer the question: How many Crunchy Conservatives does it take to screw in a light bulb? Their answers, in no particular order:

Angelo Matera: We really need to get practical here. Light bulbs should be taxed by the number of lumens consumed per household family member, which would serve to incentivize the building of smaller homes that make more efficient use of incandescent devices. Let's not fool ourselves into thinking that "casino illumination" is a permanent fixture of modern life like the Pet Rock or Flowbee.

Frederica Matthewes-Green: I confess: my family now uses light bulbs on a daily basis. However, some of us hold a candle (tee-hee!) for the campfire or open-hearth fieldstone fireplace, which really a more wholesome form of illumination. But, we need to recognize that the traditional isn't always easy- there's wood to split, ashes to shovel, and frankly, we got tired of hearing the older kids yell, "Mommy, Kaitlyn's on fire again!" every time she walked a little too close.

Rod Dreher: I wrote the other day about these people who live in Alaska and appreciate elctric lights because of the whole 24-hours-of-darkness thing, which prompted this email from a reader who doesn't buy it:

Rod, the electric companies were the original anti-crunchy mega-enterprises, forcing people to tear apart the walls of perfectly sound houses for the sake of "artificial illumination." The fact that no one seriously considers living without electricity here in America just goes to prove how complete the scam is. Just consider how dangerous the stuff is- the number of fires it causes, and electrocutions... Amazing. My husband and I gave up "juice" decades ago and have lived happily ever since.
Sent from my BlackBerry Wireless Handheld

Bruce Fohnen: Liberal society emphasizes that man is somehow in control of light, that with the simple "flip of a switch" he can lift the veil of night which God himeslf draws over the Earth. After all, the Bible opens, "And then there was light." By appropriating the God-head for ourselves, we become arrogant of the light, and fearful of the dark.

Caleb Stegall: Bruce is clearly onto something. Rod and others fall into the trap of thinking that we're all entitled to make our own hours. It gets dark at a certain hour for good reason, to encourage one to lead a disciplined and temperate life. If one must stay up late, then he should emulate Rusell Kirk, who told ghost stories by candlelight.

Sara Butler Nardo: What are you talking about? It's past your bedtime. Put that flashlight away! Wait, is that a copy of Reason you're reading? Damn you Mendoooooza!!

John Podhoretz: Knock-knock. Who's there? Nobody answered the #*&^%@! question, that's who. If this is what crunchy conservatism is about, count me out. You can pry my light bulbs out of my cold, dead hands.

Jonah Goldberg: I think this goes to prove what I've been saying all along about Crunchy Conservatism. It's a complete load of crap and I disagree with every word of Rod's book, which I highly recommend you buy in order to see for yourself how utterly wrong such a likeable person can be.