Life is hard. It's harder if you're stupid. Burn a US flag at LSU? Really?

He wanted to burn the flag in the name of “due process for students and suspected terrorists alike,” but either he thought better of it or, per the second clip below, he couldn’t get a safety permit from the school. So he came out to make a statement instead — and a huge crowd came out to shout him down. At first it’s simply chants of “USA,” but then it turns more aggressive; before long this guy’s being hit with water balloons, to laughs and cheers from the crowd, and by 2:42 the cops are sufficiently worried about the vibe that they have to pull him out of there for his own safety. You can see the fear in his face, too. It’s really unpleasant to watch. Why this is considered a free-speech triumph by some of the people who sent us the link, I have no idea. It’s the heckler’s veto in action. Had the shoe been on the other foot politically — and it has been, as the boss emeritus can attest from attempts to intimidate her during her public speaking engagements — it would be the blogospheric scandal du jour.

Allahpundit over at Hotair isn't really happy with the crowd's behavior, because as he points out, it's the heckler's veto--but it seems to me that people are only doing what they've seen others do elsewhere--It's easy enough to find instances where a left wing college crowd has shut up somebody they don't want to hear, as Allah also points out.

Kinda funny how that works.

But it's also comparing apples and oranges, as Michelle Malkin (and others) have been heckled at venues where they've been invited to speak, as opposed to this sorry, miserable attempt at political agitprop, the purpose of which was to outrage patriotic citizens. Which I guess it did.

So, no, it's not a free speech triumph. It's more like some clown being put in his place for trying to do something unnecessary, pointless, meaningless and stupid.

I trust

I Trust You Have Seen...

...Matty O'BlackFive's post identifying the SEAL who killed Bin Laden.

More seriously, though, see Froggy's.

Short Song

Twas a Short Song...

But a good one.

That seems like the sort of song that must be based on something. Joe, I think old popular opera songs is your department?


Use the Force:

The comments are the best part of this parody. It has its moments, though, even in the main text:

When the end came for Kenobi, he was found not in the remote uncharted areas of Wild Space and the Unknown Regions, where he has long been presumed to be sheltered, but in a massive compound about an hour’s drive west from the Tatooine capital of Bestine. He had been living under the alias "Ben" Kenobi for some time.

The compound, only about 50 miles from the base of operations for the Imperial Storm Squadron, is at the end of a narrow dirt road and is roughly eight times larger than other homes in the area, which were largely occupied by Tusken Raiders. When Imperial operatives converged on the planet on Saturday, following up on recent intelligence, two local moisture farmers “resisted the assault force” and were killed in the middle of an intense gun battle, a senior Stormtrooper said, but details were still sketchy early Monday morning.

Continuing Education

Continuing Education

My neighbor, who lurks here, referred me to a website with short education videos on a variety of subjects. They're all free. When the author discovered that he had a knack for explaining technical subjects, it occurred to him that he could reach more people with his skill by publishing his lectures online than by teaching small classes in person. You don't see the lecturer at a podium but instead a blackboard with his live scribbles. I tried out a few series -- one on the use of commutators in electric motors, and one on differential equations -- and found his style engaging and helpful. It's a remarkable list of lectures, several hundred at least, covering everything from math to economics to hard sciences, from basic to college level. I'm going to recommend these to my friend who home-schools her son.

On the same note, because my sister has persuaded me to take a trip with her to France this fall, I thought I should brush up on my rudimentary French. I found some excellent free websites with phrasebooks, including audio clips.

All these lectures are an especially pleasant find because I've been engaged in recent weeks in a number of arguments over what has gone so wrong in public schools. It's nice to know that access to the Internet, which most Americans have, is enough to permit a motivated student to overcome a failed public education in a core math and science curriculum, and cheap, too.

Mother's Day

The Decline and Fall of Motherhood:

The New York Times has an interesting article on motherhood that I find, having read it, to fit in better with my understanding of 19th and 20th century history than the standard reading that we often hear.

ONE of the most enduring myths about feminism is that 50 years ago women who stayed home full time with their children enjoyed higher social status and more satisfying lives than they do today.... That myth — repeated in Suzanne Venker and Phyllis Schlafly’s new book, “The Flipside of Feminism” — reflects a misreading of American history.

There was indeed a time when full-time mothers were held in great esteem. But it was not the 1950s or early 1960s. It was 150 years ago. In the 19th century, women had even fewer rights than in the 1950s, but society at least put them on a pedestal, and popular culture was filled with paeans to their self-sacrifice and virtue.

When you compare the diaries and letters of 19th-century women with those of women in the 1950s and early 1960s, you can see the greater confidence of the earlier mothers about their value to society. Many felt they occupied a “nobler sphere” than men’s “bank-note” world.

The wife of the novelist Nathaniel Hawthorne, Sophia, told her mother that she did not share her concerns about improving the rights of women, because wives already exerted “a power which no king or conqueror can cope with.” Americans of the era believed in “the empire of the mother,” and grown sons were not embarrassed about rhapsodizing over their “darling mama,” carrying her picture with them to work or war.
This is quite right, at least in the English-speaking world. The reign of Queen Victoria sparked a revival of interest in the ideals of chivalry, as we have discussed here before at length. Eric reminds us, rightly, that 19th century reconstructions of chivalry were different from the original in many respects; but they aimed at reconstituting the core of the thing, part of which was an ethic of mutual service between knight and lady, man and woman, husband and wife.

What went wrong? Frankly, the next part of the article is so heavily pointed in the direction of my own thoughts that I have to be suspicious of my ability to judge it. (Confirmation bias, and all that.)
In the early 20th century, under the influence of Freudianism, Americans began to view public avowals of “Mother Love” as unmanly and redefine what used to be called “uplifting encouragement” as nagging. By the 1940s, educators, psychiatrists and popular opinion-makers were assailing the idealization of mothers; in their view, women should stop seeing themselves as guardians of societal and familial morality[.]
How bad did it get?
In 1942, in his best-selling “Generation of Vipers,” Philip Wylie coined the term “momism” to describe what he claimed was an epidemic of mothers who kept their sons tied to their apron strings, boasted incessantly of their worth and demanded that politicians heed their moralizing.

Momism became seen as a threat to the moral fiber of America on a par with communism. In 1945, the psychiatrist Edward Strecher argued that the 2.5 million men rejected or discharged from the Army as unfit during World War II were the product of overly protective mothers.

In the same year, an information education officer in the Army Air Forces conjectured that the insidious dependency of the American man on “ ‘Mom’ and her pies” had “killed as many men as a thousand German machine guns.”
The ethic of chivalry -- or, if you like, both the medieval chivalry and the 19th-century chivalry -- was one that encouraged men to be guided by ladies. The era of Queen Victoria had heroic gentlemen whose highest aspiration was to be of service to the Queen; to be influenced by the lady herself was the highest praise. To be of service to any lady was great praise. As the biographer of Chretien de Troyes describes the work of his patron:
[She was] the Countess Marie de
Champagne. She was the daughter of Louis VII, and of that famous Eleanor
of Aquitaine, as she is called in English histories, who, coming from
the South of France in 1137, first to Paris and later to England, may
have had some share in the introduction of those ideals of courtesy and
woman service which were soon to become the cult of European society.
Those hours -- renewed in the 19th century, and not abandoned yet by some -- were the height in all human history of the relationship between the sexes. However we came to the place where men were despised for being influenced by the women in their lives, it is a poorer place. This is Mother's Day, so I will simply close with a story that happened to me recently.

I stopped at a service station and, when I arrived at the door, I noticed that on the inside of that door was a woman confined to a walker trying to get out. I opened the door for her, and held it while standing aside as any gentleman would. As she passed me, she said: "Thank you, young man. Tell your mother that she did a blessed job."

I did just that, this morning. This, though, is the finest of things: it is what being a man is all about. To defend and to protect, to uphold those who find themselves struggling with a fate that has made them weak, these are the things for which strength was made. We are fortunate to enjoy it, for an hour. Strength will pass from us, and we to the grave, all too soon. To use our strength in a fitting way, while we are granted that extraordinary boon, is a great honor and a great joy.