Archives for category: Literature

While Eye in the Sky is often hailed as Philip K. Dick’s first successful original novel to be published in his lifetime, I find it a bit clunky, a little rough around the edges — a contrivance.

I’m reading, again — after four decades! — his The Man Who Japed, written the same year, 1955. And this is much better constructed, not “clunky” at all. It is an original work, from the title to the imagined future to the plot to the characterizations. Arguably this is his first real success among those published during his waking, breathing life.

I’ve hedged here, twice mentioning the books of Dick’s published while he was alive — and for good reason: early on, he was trying to succeed as a non-genre novelist, but his “realistic fiction” was completely orthogonal to the warp and woof of the age, and all of his “mainstream” novels were rejected until he proved himself a success in science fiction. And then the only one of these early works to be published before he died, Confessions of a Crap Artist, saw print in 1975. I read it in the mid-80s and disliked it, but another of these early novels, Puttering About in a Small Land, came out a few years after his death, and I read it and thought it first-rate at the time. Alas, I now have no memory of it.

The Man Who Japed was one of the very first of PKD’s novels I read, soon after Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) and The Man in the High Castle (1962). I knew nothing about it going in; I just liked the title.

In his first two decades of writing, Dick wrote to keep the wolf from the door. He took amphetamines to enable him to achieve a 60-pages-per-day output. As a consequence, his writing is very uneven, prose and character and plotting. The Man Who Japed stands out among those early works, and shows a writer finding his way.

Here are two early passages. The first helps explain the title, the second builds the social world a century hence, a world Dick explicitly drew to dissuade critics and fans and enemies from thinking he was a leftist — for he based the “highly moral” future America on the totalitarian social controls of pre-Cultural Revolutionary Red China.

Dick was an instinctive individualist. His political thought was thoroughly anti-totalitarian, as can be seen over and over again in his best work, not least being the great paranoiac novel Radio Free Albemuth (1976; 1985). In The Man Who Japed, a contractor-propagandist beheads and defaces the statue of the fascist leader of the future, and does not know why — for he suffers from a kind of amnesia. A blockage of memory. His discovery of his own motive is the reader’s discovery of a key to liberation: mocking the trite and destructive memes of oppression.

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Iris Murdoch published 26 novels during her life. In my late teens, based on a notice in a Britannica yearbook, I read Bruno’s Dream. I was very impressed, and went on to read book after book of hers, including several of her works of philosophy. I would have been more impressed with her work had her politics leaned less left, but her novels were great nevertheless. She became my favorite comic novelist/novelist of ideas, though she denied writing the latter — despite her status as a moral philosopher in the Weil/Anscombe tradition. Her goal was to provide “something for everyone” in her literary efforts. She certainly provided a lot for me.

I have read 19 of her novels, and a few — such as A Word Child, Time of the Angels, and A Severed Head — I’ve read multiple times.

Her mature work, from Bruno’s Dream (1969) onward, falls into two categories: first-person novels with unreliable — or merely overwhelmed — narrators, and vast third-person novels featuring multiple characters.

The early works of hers that I recommend most are Under the Net (1954), The Bell (1958), A Severed Head (1961), and, most of all, the breezy The Nice and the Good (1968).

Of the third-person monsters, I most urgently advise reading An Accidental Man (1971) and The Green Knight (1987).

The first-person novels are the most challenging, and perhaps most rewarding.

The Black Prince (1973) is her refraction of Vladimir Nabokov’s brilliant and controversial Lolita (1955). Her narrator is a pretentious loser, but his actions are so extreme that one must follow him. At least he falls in love not with a prepubescent girl (as did Nabokov’s Humbert Humbert) but an older teenager. His inamorata is not a happenstance stranger, either; instead, she is the daughter of his best friend, who is also his literary rival whom he envies deeply. A great and vexing novel.

If one determines love of a book by how many times one reads it, then A Word Child (1975) is my favorite Murdoch book: I may have read it four times, once per decade. The narrator cannot make good decisions. His compulsion to repeat his biggest personal tragedy is riveting and quite funny. It is time for a fifth and more careful reading.

The Sea, The Sea (a prizewinner from 1978) may be her best work. It tells the tale of an old actor who retires to live by the sea only to discover that his great lost love lives in a nearby village. So of course he kidnaps her! Comedy and tragedy ensue. And a sea monster. This one packs a wallop.

I am not even aware of Iris Murdoch writing any short stories — I have not read any. Her philosophical work is a mixed bag. I read and enjoyed her The Fire and the Sun: Why Plato Banished the Artists (1977) soon after it first came out, and I have also read a number of her most important essays. But I do not fall into her camp of theorizing about ethics — I am closer to Spencer and Santayana. Nevertheless, her philosophical work is both historically and dialectically important. Like Anscombe and Weill, she opposed the meta-ethical turn of British moral philosophy, and her criticisms of that tradition are mostly on point, except to the extent that she misses the point. The meta-ethicians of the emotivist-prescriptivist school were trying to confront the reality of the origins of ethics in utility; their grave errors were in not drawing all the vital connections from this relativistic foundation to a full and substantive ethical understanding.

Alas, she may be most well-known for suffering from Alzheimer’s at the end of her life. There was a movie. It’s good, but nothing like her novels, really.

If I live long enough, I will read the seven novels of hers I have so far neglected. I will probably start with The Message to the Planet (1989), which I may have avoided because I suspected it could not possibly live up to its science-fictional title.

I believe that Murdoch is the writer who took George Meredith’s method and made it high art. Her books are better than Meredith’s, for the most part, mainly by controlling her need to “riff” off of the action and characters. She let her characters have independence from her control and her personal perspectives. She did not “editorialize.”

One of the main themes in her work is the problem of predatory and domineering egoism. (Meredith explains his take on egoism in his famous and worthwhile 1877 An Essay on Comedy and the Uses of the Comic Spirit and in the preface to his 1879 novel The Egoist.) This antagonism to egoism puts her in fascinating contrast to Ayn Rand, a novelist more popular with my friends. Rand infamously celebrated a kind of “a new concept of egoism.” Years ago, after reading Barbara Branden’s The Passion of Ayn Rand (1987) and while reading the opening pages of Nathaniel Branden’s Judgment Day: My Years with Ayn Rand (1989), it became clear to me that Rand herself was a figure out of a Murdoch comedy — an enchanter figure — as was the much-younger Nathaniel, whom she made her lover. Indeed, I do not think the whole “egoism” thing of Rand’s “Objectivism” can be fully understood until one recasts the whole silly drama as if from the mind of Iris Murdoch.

I have known enchanter-egoists. But then I have known enchanter altruists, too. The worst sort of people on the planet are enchanter-egoists who pretend to be savior-altruists, but that is not, alas, a theme that Murdoch explored seriously. Rand could have, had she not been broken in spirit by Nathaniel Branden.

But I read Rand too late in my life — after reading Murdoch, actually — so I had been immunized against the kind of traps set by the worst sorts of enchanters.

I mention all this not merely to round out my reading notes, but also to indicate, if clumsily, that one can indeed learn important truths from literature. Moral lessons. You just cannot stop thinking. You have to read between the lines and think between the books. And figure out that both egoism and altruism can be poisonous to the virtuous life . . . to what Murdoch expressed no hesitancy in calling The Good.

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The pristine date-of-publication order that I try to establish in my library here obviously failed.

I don’t think John Carter is a bad movie. Some people do. Aspects of it are ingenious — its adaptation from Edgar Rice Burroughs’s original seems quite clever to me. Even the frame story was brilliantly handled, and that almost never happens.

But the movie was perhaps too long.

Now, the original novel was . . . a bit of a mess. Not dramatically written. Filled with invention, it nevertheless somehow sags. Worse than the movie, in my opinion. I read it not too long ago, and gave it high marks at the time, but the unevenness of the novel lingers in memory more strongly than its high points.

Anyway, I hear it’s the tenth anniversary of the John Carter box-office flop. So we get the memorials, such as an interesting one in The Wrap, and an enthusiastic discussion on Gizmodo of the never-made sequel.

Of the original Burroughsiana, the best I’ve read are the Pellucidar novels. I just read At the Earth’s Core a few days ago, and am re-reading Pellucidar, the second in the series, right now (I first read it when I was about 13, I think): solid adventures that would be much easier to adapt for the film.

The interesting thing about reading Burroughs as a very old adult is that these are boys’ adventures, filled with aggression, fights, escape, slavery, escape, wandering, discovery, conflict, escape, etc etc. And I am not a boy. Still, the action keeps one going — that and the invention. I am more interested in the invention. The characterization is rudimentary.

The best thing about them is the thing most people regard as the worst thing: a strange hint of racism. Though Burroughs was a white supremacist — this is clearest in the Tarzan books — he gave other races their due. I mean, the ones he created, like the Tharks. The ruling race in At the Earth’s Core, though, are mini-pterodactyl-like creatures, the Mahars. They are genuinely creepy: a race consisting entirely of telepathic females who have engineered a breeding program to exclude males. This is a first-rate science-fictional concept, and our hero’s grisly dealings with this race makes the first book in the Pellucidar series interesting.

I didn’t find anything in A Princess of Mars nearly as interesting.

The problem with the title John Carter of Mars (which is what the movie was titled while in production) is that Mars movies tend to fail. It’s like a jinx: apparently the word in the title is a jinx. So Disney dropped the offending word and went with the witless title of John Carter, which gives prospective viewers no hint of the nature of the movie.

Could no one think of a better title? The movie was based on the 1912 novel, A Princess of Mars. Why not A Princess of the Red Planet? Too old-fashioned? If Mars had to be avoided at all cost, what else? A Princess of Barsoom, based on the Martians’ own name for their planet, is ridiculous, I admit. The MacGuffin of the movie adaptation, the “nine rays,” suggests a title: A Princess of the Ninth Ray, which, while not making perfect sense, is better than we have any right to expect. But, right as the princess in the movie discovers the truth about her ninth ray (skip ahead to 1:11), she also discovers the truth about the man she loves, and immediately proceeds to grant the movie the best title I can think of, from her own lips: John Carter of Earth.

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Paul Jacob’s weekend podcast was especially good this current episode; check it out:

This Week in Common Sense, January 15, 2022: audio hosted on SoundCloud.

I help Paul make these podcasts, and mine’s the first face you see this episode. To avoid my face, or Paul’s, listen to the audio version.

Andrew Sullivan tweets:

2016 election. Rittenhouse. Covington. Russian collusion. Vaccines. Bounties on US soldiers. Lab-leak theory. Jussie Smollett. The Pulse shooting. The Atlanta shootings. Hunter Biden laptop. Inflation. Steele Dossier.
The MSM got every single one wrong.

The major (Mockingbird) media didn’t merely get these stories wrong, they told untruths: they lied and spun and propagandized for the maximum state, for their beloved Woke Leviathan.

I confess to having thought that we had reached Peak Progressivism with the mass excoriation of the Covington kids, but O, how much lower journos could go!

In Sullivan’s think piece he links to, he writes that

when the sources of news keep getting things wrong, and all the errors lie in the exact same direction, and they are reluctant to acknowledge error, we have a problem. If you look back at the last few years, the record of errors, small and large, about major stories, is hard to deny. It’s as if the more Donald Trump accused the MSM of being “fake news” the more assiduously they tried to prove him right.

Regarding the Rittenhouse case, Mr. Sullivan tries to sound level-headed: “Almost immediately, the complicated facts became unimportant. The far right viewed Rittenhouse as a hero — which he surely wasn’t. He had no business being there with an AR-15.” This is very similar to Paul Jacob’s opinion, actually, who makes similar points in his most recent podcast:

But as I mentioned to Paul in this episode (I interview him for this project of his, every weekend), my position is far less centrist.

Now, when the Kenosha, Wisconsin, riots and Rittenhouse shootings occurred, I decided to wait until more information came in. I did not make a big deal of his innocence or guilt. I was willing — nay, eager — to let a jury decide. In that I was being as normal and centrist-civilized as one could hope for. But as evidence mounted, young Mr. Rittenhouse’s innocence looked quite likely. Then, after the prosecution has made its opening “case,” an acquittal seemed to me as obviously the only just result.

All those media mavens, Democrats and beltway libertarians who jumped on the bandwagon against Rittenhouse have lots of egg on face.

Rittenhouse acted in self-defense. The men he shot were trying to kill him. They were criminals and were very much acting in the wrong. Paul Jacob, being a nice person, states that it no one wants to see them killed, but — after the fact — I see no reason to shed the tiniest tear for these miscreants.

And while I am unclear as to the legality of Rittenhouse’s open carry, I admit: I do not much care. He was just to carry his weapons, and the rioters were in the wrong, generally, and politicians and cops who let it all happen were cowards at best.

Another major defeat for “woke,” riot-loving leftists. Good. They deserve nothing better than our spittle.

And as for Rittenhouse being imprudent for carrying an AR-15 — really? He had “no business” carrying it into a riot zone?

Everybody has by now seen the judge’s remonstrance of the prosecutor for a line of interrogation that is germane to the issue. The prosecutor was trying to show that Rittenhouse came to the event wanting to kill. The prosecutor was aiming to take a weeks’-old statement by KR about wishing he’d had his rifle with him to shoot some looters as evidence. The judge had declared that line of inquiry off limits earlier on, and, after removing the jury from the room, “yelled at” the prosecutor.

The principle the prosecutor relied upon (and got Rittenhouse to admit on stand) was that we do not have a right to defend property with deadly force. Democrats hold this as a bedrock principle. Perhaps that is why they let rioters riot. After all, a mob won’t stop mayhem upon mere instruction. Deadly force is required. So Democrats have convinced me that the use of deadly force to protect property must be at least sometimes OK.

Thanks, Democrats. You’ve changed my mind.

So I disagree with both Paul Jacob and Andrew Sullivan: when cops and politicians don’t do their jobs, it is up to citizens to take up arms and defend life and property. It is obvious that, contrary to the prosecutors, Rittenhouse did not go out hoping to shoot anyone. But taking a weapon did lead the crazies to attack him. And since Rittenhouse had been doing nothing wrong, their attacking him was a gross violation of his rights. His shooting of them was just. But I also go further: his arming himself in the melee was just, and more citizens should have done it.

Sure, it seems wrong for a 17-year-old to do this job. But that is not his fault. The adult officials who shirked their duty are to blame. And so are the fully adult citizens who should have taken up arms. And, if necessary, did what the prosecutor wanted to convince the jury that Rittenhouse himself itched to do: shoot at rioters.

Mobs are evil. That is, rioting mobs are evil.

At some point, they must be opposed just like we oppose marauding bands.

But Democrats are incapable of admitting that this is what a civilization must do. Democrats are so into “inclusion” that they look at all outsiders as “oppressed” and not, as rioters and illegal immigrant invaders are, themselves the actual oppressors.

Because Democrats no longer believe that the State is justified by the civilizational need to destroy those who would destroy us — hordes and mobs and criminals and even armies — they corrupt the institutions of police and courts and border guards and military so to disenable them from protecting us. I simply submit that when governments give up their prime task, citizens must take the necessary work.

Don’t want to see “vigilantism”? Then make sure the state does its Job One. When the State won’t do this job, it not only de-legitimizes itself, it legitimizes vigilantism.

Don’t want vigilantes? Then make sure the State (including local governments) does Its Job (their jobs) — or else consider institutional alternatives to the State. There are such alternatives, and maybe now is the time to talk about them.

Until then, young Mr. Rittenhouse may not be the hero we wanted, but he appears to have been the only hero on the streets in Kenosha that fateful day.

We just cannot expect the major media to even understand this. They have been trained to serve as (and are paid to be) the lickspittle of the Leviathan State.

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The recent ITV reënactment (adaptation) of William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair looks really good, but it seems unfortunate that the character Sambo — described as badly legged and black on the first page of the novel — is here a well-shaped, stately black African (played by a British actor), not an Indian, and is called “Sam.”

Racial, racism, stereotypes, blah blah blah. What would Thackeray make of P.C.?

The show is on Amazon Prime, but the book is everywhere. I have in my hand a very nice Könemann two-volume, boxed edition.

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The Sambo I knew as a kid.

What is meant by the phrase “there is no god but the unknowable, and Herbert Spencer is its prophet”?

. . . as answered on Quora. . . .

This is a taunt from the pages of Jack London’s great novel Martin Eden, 13th chapter:

Martin had heard Herbert Spencer quoted several times in the park, but one afternoon a disciple of Spencer’s appeared, a seedy tramp with a dirty coat buttoned tightly at the throat to conceal the absence of a shirt. Battle royal was waged, amid the smoking of many cigarettes and the expectoration of much tobacco-juice, wherein the tramp successfully held his own, even when a socialist workman sneered, “There is no god but the Unknowable, and Herbert Spencer is his prophet.” Martin was puzzled as to what the discussion was about, but when he rode on to the library he carried with him a new-born interest in Herbert Spencer, and because of the frequency with which the tramp had mentioned “First Principles,” Martin drew out that volume.

So the great discovery began. Once before he had tried Spencer, and choosing the “Principles of Psychology” to begin with, he had failed as abjectly as he had failed with Madam Blavatsky. There had been no understanding the book, and he had returned it unread. But this night, after algebra and physics, and an attempt at a sonnet, he got into bed and opened “First Principles.” Morning found him still reading. It was impossible for him to sleep. Nor did he write that day. He lay on the bed till his body grew tired, when he tried the hard floor, reading on his back, the book held in the air above him, or changing from side to side. He slept that night, and did his writing next morning, and then the book tempted him and he fell, reading all afternoon, oblivious to everything and oblivious to the fact that that was the afternoon Ruth gave to him. His first consciousness of the immediate world about him was when Bernard Higginbotham jerked open the door and demanded to know if he thought they were running a restaurant.

Martin Eden had been mastered by curiosity all his days. He wanted to know, and it was this desire that had sent him adventuring over the world. But he was now learning from Spencer that he never had known, and that he never could have known had he continued his sailing and wandering forever. He had merely skimmed over the surface of things, observing detached phenomena, accumulating fragments of facts, making superficial little generalizations—and all and everything quite unrelated in a capricious and disorderly world of whim and chance. The mechanism of the flight of birds he had watched and reasoned about with understanding; but it had never entered his head to try to explain the process whereby birds, as organic flying mechanisms, had been developed. He had never dreamed there was such a process. That birds should have come to be, was unguessed. They always had been. They just happened.

Herbert Spencer (1820–1903) was a Victorian Era polymath, remembered for

  • his early development of evolutionary theory — “The Development Hypothesis” (1852), “A Theory of Population, deduced from the General Law of Animal Fertility” (1852), Principles of Psychology (first edition, 1855) and “Progress: Its Law and Cause” (1857);
  • his political liberalism — in Social Statics (1851), Justice (1891, Part IV of Principles of Ethics) and The Man versus the State (1884), all celebrated only by libertarians, today;
  • his pioneering of sociology — Study of Sociology (1878), Descriptive Sociology(19 vols., 1873–1934), and Principles of Sociology (1876–1896 );
  • coining the term “survival of the fittest” after hearing Charles Darwin’s initial presentation of “natural selection,” and as introduced formally in Principles of Biology (1864).

But Spencer first made his name as a metaphysician and religious philosopher. His main concept was “the Unknowable,” as indicated in the quip in above. It received its main exposition in the first half of First Principles (1860). Spencer was trying to show the limits of human knowledge, but also address an understanding of what he regarded as the underlying foundation to all existence, which, he argued, we know of but cannot actually know. Spencer believed that awe and reverence for this “Unknowable” is the remaining — “ultimate” — religious idea, after science had done its work.

The best treatment of this peculiar element to his philosophy is by George Santayana, in his Herbert Spencer Lecture at Oxford in 1923, “The Unknowable.” I highly recommend this beautiful and profound essay, to every thinking person — see Obiter Scripta (1936), but I first came across it in Clifton Fadiman’s Reading I’ve Liked (1945).

Spencer’s agnostic concept of “The Unknowable” was once all the rage. Victorian scientists such as John Tyndall, rapidly losing their faith, grabbed at it as if a lifeline in deep ocean. Since then, however, it has dropped out of circulation. I did once hear it discussed in the 1990s’ TV dramedy Northern Exposure, though.

So why the sneering remark? It apes the famous Islamic credo, sure. But it was from a socialist character. Herbert Spencer was deeply anti-socialist. No more need be said.

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Herbert Spencer

As you can see by the image of my Goodreads review, it took me a while to finish reading it. But since there is no story, no plot, it doesn’t much matter. Little “violence” is done by intermittent reading, as is also the case with Impressions of Theophrastus Such and The Book of Disquiet.

In my reading, though, this long span of occasional picking up and putting down of the book was the result, mainly, of repeatedly losing track of it. My library is too large, my reading spots too numerous, and my office is too messy: it is easy to lose track of books. There was no plan — or even economizing of effort — going on in my seemingly studied inattention.

Gissing’s reflections on the British national spirit.
Gissing was not very “pro-science.”
Back cover to the edition I read.
This reminds me of Pessoa’s reflections.

Since it is mainly just a series of reflections it is not an autobiography. So what is this genre? Belles lettres, I think.

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The zodiacal ages since the Ice Age ended.

We have abortion, the ancients had child sacrifice.

We are profane, they were pious.

That was my first takeaway, anyway, from “Ancient Carthaginians really did sacrifice their children,” an article from the University of Oxford.

Next, try to understand the idea of sacrifice. The religious fixation on the rite of sacrifice is fascinating. For years I’ve pushed the notion of the practice as important in establishing a moral universe with an integral cost concept. Without a sense of cost, morality is impossible. Sacrifice is crude but perhaps effective in this task.

I think I have heard Jordan Peterson pushing something like that.

Anyway, the ancient Egyptians sacrificed bulls. But that was in the Age of Taurus. Upper Egypt kept the Apis Bull Worship going even after the Age of Aries began. In Lower Egypt, the folks living next to the Giza pyramids knew better, that the Ram had replaced the Bull. This became a central concept in the development of Mediterranean (“Middle Earth!”) and Mesopotamian religion. Genesis and Exodus both encode that transition. And the BC/AD divide marks the beginning of the Age of Pisces, of the Fisher Kings — the sign of the fish and all that.

Could the Carthaginians have engaged in holdover rites from the Age of Gemini, when twins were the religious fixation? I know not. Seems a stretch.

We are still a ways away from the Age of Aquarius. Or already in it. Depends on who you ask. I am unsure of why this would be of prime importance for philosophy — but the ancients were obsessed with the Great Year. Still reeling from the catastrophes of the Ice Age, they were understandably obsessed. And putting the idea of cyclical regularity into the major religions was, for them, a natural notion. And interweaving it into our collective unconscious with sacrifice? I guess that seemed vitally important.

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Remember that much-shared “meme” about how a certain hospital was being flooded with people overdosing on the “horse de-wormer” Ivermectin? Rolling Stone even published an article running with it.

I saw friends share the story on social media. And curse Fox News, Alex Jones, etc. ZeroHedge explains:

The report, sourced to local Oaklahoma outlet KFOR’s Katelyn Ogle, cites Oklahoma ER doctor Dr. Jason McElyea — who claimed that people overdosing on ivermectin horse dewormer are causing emergency rooms to be “so backed up that gunshot victims were having hard times getting” access to health facilities.

“Rolling Stone ‘Horse Dewormer’ Hit-Piece Debunked After Hospital Says No Ivermectin Overdoses,” ZeroHedge, September 4, 2021.

That story has been revealed as completely false. The hospital denies it. ZeroHedge cites the hospital in question:

Although Dr. Jason McElyea is not an employee of NHS Sequoyah, he is affiliated with a medical staffing group that provides coverage for our emergency room.

With that said, Dr. McElyea has not worked at our Sallisaw location in over 2 months.

NHS Sequoyah has not treated any patients due to complications related to taking ivermectin. This includes not treating any patients for ivermectin overdose.

All patients who have visited our emergency room have received medical attention as appropriate. Our hospital has not had to turn away any patients seeking emergency care.

Rolling Stone did not fact check the article before publication. It was completely fake news — likely perpetrated to induce you to take Big Pharma’s experimental pseudo-vaccine.

The story stank as propaganda from the beginning. But until I saw the debunking, I wasn’t going to say anything. Maybe I should have said something. But you are an adult, right?

And as an adult, you know that the whole “horse de-wormer” meme is b.s., right? (Or, as one Twitterer put it, “horse shit.”) Ivermectin has been a prescription drug for the human animal for a long time. It has known and previous uses. Repeating the “horse de-wormer” meme amounts to a lie. It was obvious from its first social media deployment. But because the left is now thoroughly servile to the Therapeutic State, leftists now eagerly defend Big Pharma medicine.

Ivermectin is far safer than the Pfizer and Moderna mRNA treatments. Of course, it is always dangerous to use drugs, and going off established protocols is risky. Take your own risks. Don’t blame others for your anxieties. Be rational.

But remember: ideologues are happy to lie to you, and if you have any political opinion, you will find folks on your side of that issue lying.

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Tweet, which I grabbed from the ZeroHedge article, superimposed on story.

N.B. A not-irrelevant meme of my own devising might be worth looking at: Mind+Virus.