You Republicans and your underwear

If you entrusted your wealth and your women to Jeffrey Epstein, this advertisement’s roman fonts are for you.

Graham’s Lectures on Chastity, Specially Intended for the Serious Consideration of Young men and Parents, ed. James Coates. Glasgow: James Coates, n.d.,

But if your holdings are with Fox News, scroll down to the fine italic at the bottom.

It comes from an undated Scottish reprint of an American text by the health lecturer Sylvester Graham of Northampton, Massachusetts: 1834, second edition 1837. Whether you know it or not, Graham occupies a happy place in your kitchen. He is the man who gave his name to the Graham cracker. In his lifetime, however, he thought of small pleasures like that one as aspects of a much larger happiness. It may not have been mere commercial motives that placed his ads in America’s pioneer Abolitionist newspaper.

The Liberator, April 7, 1837, page 4

No; because Sylvester Graham conceived of happiness in what we’d probably recognize in 2021 as Republican terms: a liberation from bondage to bondage. You incels who reverently stood before cross and flag on January 6, 2021, believing yourselves worthy at last to track shit through the Capitol, what do you think? Way back in 1837, wasn’t Sylvester speaking for you? Here you are: described on Coates page 57, and then lovingly prescribed for.

The question is often asked,– Is it best for a young man, of suitable age and circumstances, to marry, when he is in a state of great debility and morbid irritability, resulting from self-pollution. To this I reply, as a general rule, that if a young man has so injured his body by any mode of venereal excess, as to be subject to involuntary emissions of semen on occasions of considerable excitement, or irritations of the parts from riding on horseback, or from other means, and also, to be subject to frequent nocturnal emissions, it is far safer and better to defer matrimony, and to avoid all dalliance and familiarity with females, till he has, by a rigorous adherence to the regimen laid down on the pages from 33 to 35, improved his health to such a degree that he is wholly relieved from his involuntary discharges by day and by night. Let him constantly push his exercise in the open air, so far as he can comfortably bear it. If he finds riding on horseback irritates the parts too much, let him avoid that sort of exercise. Where it can be done, regular labour on a farm is the best mode of exercise for such a person. To use the language of young people, if he is in love and courting, or engaged to be married, let him find some good excuse to go away from home, or, by some other means, which are honourable and kind towards his “sweetheart,” absent himself entirely from her, till he recovers from his difficulties, and is in a proper condition to marry.

By providing himself with a quantity of unbolted wheat-meal sea-bread, made very thin, he may with great advantage go a voyage to sea as a sailor.

Yes, the paragraph is only that single sentence. It stands before you as an oracle, chanting Know thyself; quaff thy nutritional supplements. You once were a mere Graham character, but now you have eaten of that which is unbolted. Making your congé from notional “sweetheart,” you have become your destiny: in this instance, as an extra picturesquely costumed as Leslie Fiedler in the scene from Two Years Before the Mast that got D. H. Lawrence classically off.

Ceteris paribus, of course, as Fox News’s legal department will have reminded you in the fine print.

Fall River Monitor, April 7, 1851, page 2

But doesn’t the magnet feel comfortable as it rusts away next to your skin?

The Grand Old Party assures you it does, by Jove. If it doesn’t, that’s what you get for being a pussy.

It will be interesting to teach Emerson again after two years away

In 2016, all I had to say to get the discussion started about “Self-Reliance” —

What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think–

was “Ayn Rand.” This coming spring, in the Trumpera, the discussion seems all too likely to self-start out of an indignant and rejecting silence.

Still, yes:

Nature is the opposite of the soul, answering to it part for part. One is seal, and one is print. Its beauty is the beauty of his own mind. Its laws are the laws of his own mind. Nature then becomes to him the measure of his attainments. So much of nature as he is ignorant of, so much of his own mind does he not yet possess. And, in fine, the ancient precept, “Know thyself,” and the modern precept, “Study nature,” become at last one maxim.

It’s true, as you see. Nature doesn’t contemplate the possibility of an Ayn or a Donald. In her domain there is only law, reproducing its works by contemplating itself.


Sources: Emerson, “Self-Reliance” and “The American Scholar”

Too obvious to be interesting: decor has an ideology

The New York Times article about a California man arrested for making death threats against employees of the Boston Globe:

A page from the FBI affidavit in support of an arrest warrant:


Photoshopped only for contrast and color balance, an image of the suspect’s home:

17513 Califa St - Google Maps A

The bars on the door. The spiked fence. On a grassy street, the yard seeded with sharp-needled cactus.

There really is no need to quote Robert Frost, is there?


On Ash Wednesday, February 14, 2018, a man with an AR-15 rifle strolled into a high school in Parkland, Florida, and killed fourteen students and three teachers. Unusually, the event remained in the news for days afterward. In consequence, President Trump made a television appearance in which he hinted that he might be in favor of some form of gun control.

President Trump’s Republican party joined in the mourning. On March 1, Republican strategist Rick Wilson searched his language, found the word “horror,” and gave it a larger meaning by connecting it with other bad things, this way.

Trump has seen the fresh-faced, well-spoken Parkland kids, with stories of the genuine horror they witnessed, their push for strict gun control, including the banning of semiautomatic rifles, particularly AR-15s, and for a general rollback of Second Amendment liberties.

Those who witnessed the killing, Mr. Wilson’s language explained, had experienced, in the recent past, horror. But in the present, those who possess semiautomatic rifles may be about to experience rollback. Read literally, that metaphor rollback refers not to a thing, such as a statute governing the sale of firearms, but to an occurrence taking place across time: a change; something not (for instance) written down but in process of being written down. And if the language of statute teaches itself to contemplate rollback, the Second Amendment, whose “well regulated militia” originated with the slave patrols that prevented liberty and killed those who sought it, will be in peril of losing its unchanging ideal meaning as a liberty an sich. It may prove to be rollable back from that interpretation, like a rock from before a tomb.

That would be a horror far worse than anything merely genuine, for once the rock has been rolled back, what can the changeless idea of the genuine mean? In Mr. Wilson’s sentence, the word, having lost its meaning, makes the whole predication ungenuine. “The horror they witnessed,” with no modifier, would have been simple and clear, and a modifier signaling itself to be a rhetorical limiter, such as “the so-called ‘horror’ they witnessed,” would have established a unity of tone with the rest of the sentence. But in “the genuine horror they witnessed,” the nakedness of “genuine” just looks like a typo. It tells a truth that its speaker himself refuses to think. Abstracted from life and the human, it is a verbal phenomenon reduced to nothing but its physical minimum, sound. It would be a word if it had a referent, but it doesn’t have a referent. It is only a lyrical sound.

The party of semiautomatic rifles throws back its head and howls the lyric. It is a next step in the evolution of music.

Source: Rick Wilson, “When you let a closet Democrat like Trump lead the GOP, this is what you get.” Washington Post, March 1, 2018,