Questions to the Editor

InterviewA StubbornThings Interview by Kung Fu Zu1/20/16
I sometimes tire of the standard 800 word article in which the writer has to concentrate on one subject and pack important thoughts into two pages. I was therefore pleased to read Brad’s interview of Bruce Price on his views about education.

Although the Editor’s opinions on many subjects are presented daily on StubbornThings, there are some questions I have which may not have been asked of him. That being the case, here goes.

Kung Fu Zu: Starting and maintaining a website such as StubbornThings must be a huge amount of work. You also contribute a large portion of the content. Since you are not paid to do this one wonders why go to all the trouble. So, I must ask, “Are you a masochist?”

StubbornThings Editor: First of all, Mr. Kung, let me tell you what an ego boost doing an interview like this is. The only people who typically are interested in what I have to say are my nephews. And ever since one of them has had a steady girlfriend, I’m losing even that.

I think the stars aligned for this venture. WordPress, and the entire genre of online publishing software, had matured to the point where mere mortals could use it. I encourage anyone with anything to say to ditch what Jonah Goldberg calls “Satan’s Urinal” (Facebook) and do some proper blogging. Better yet, save yourself the hassle and put all the time and energy you would have used messing with the software into writing an article and submitting it here. Yes, I’m a content whore. You have to be to some extent for a site such as this unless one is a solipsist or is terribly impressed by the sound of one’s own voice. I prefer collaboration.

Yes, masochism certainly enters into it. Suffice it to say, if you are published here you might not be as famous as Jonah Goldberg or Mark Steyn (both swell people), but you know you’re not a putz. I don’t get out a lot in my personal life so it’s been a bit interesting to have intimate contact with so many egos. I now remember why I became a de facto monk. But it’s worth it because there are some really good writers and splendid people who publish here, or allow me to republish their works here.

But I’m in this to have some fun, to learn something, and most of all because writers must write. I don’t have a lot of time for the nonsense of group dynamics or difficult personalities. So if you’re here, and assuming I’m not Hitler and that my judgment is reasonably sound, you’re likely a splendid fellow and very likely a much better writer than I am. I mean to surround myself with smarter people. My Napoleon complex is a little rusty these days. I’m okay with that. And as I often say, Glenn Fairman is the smartest person in the room so that takes the pressure off of trying to be smarter by half.

KFZ: There is a great amount of garbage spewed forth on the web, yet there are also a few really excellent sites such as “The New Criterion”. Did you model ST on any particular sites? On the flip side, were there any sites that you believed had horrible formats which had to be avoided?

ST: You initially brought The New Criterion to my attention long after ST was formed. I have since used it as a model. It’s a little formal for my taste, but it is a site that excels in minimalism and straightforward organization. What ST will never do is become a junk drawer. Less is more. I think I often have too much as it is and need to clean the look up further. The hyperkineticism of popular culture is not something I want to emulate. I want lean and clean…and that includes the prose as well. And never will readers have crap pop up and thrown in their face as I beg, beg, beg them to sign up for email subscriptions or whatever. One must treat the reader with respect in the overall sense (not that our opinions will be watered down).

Regarding the list of horrible sites, you can just about take your pick. Oy vey. Oh how National Review Online has cluttered what used to be a very useable site.

KFZ: You deal with the public in your day job. Do you have any observations you might wish to make about deportment, education, and manners etc of your clientele? Isn’t dealing with the public a pain in the ass?

ST: My business (the one that pays the bills, not this site which about breaks even because of our resident Koch Brother, Pat) is more word-of-mouth. We get referrals from other businesses and professionals. We’re not so much walk-in. And sometimes it seems as if the men have been banished to another planet. Women are in the front offices now in most businesses and are the ones I typically deal with. Are the guys at home playing video games? I don’t know. But I love working with women and most are smart, professional, and demanding in a way that is polite. But, good golly, I’d hang myself after a week if I had to work retail at Walmart and interact with the general public. People have become impolite slobs.

KFZ: I won’t ask what your favorite movie is, but will ask for your top five. I am also curious about your thoughts on which films have the best cinematography, score, setting and acting.

ST: My favorite movie starts with a “C” and rhymes with “blanca.” But that’s an interesting question regarding cinematography. I’m not going to remember some of the greatest examples of cinematography because most are obscure films. But off the top of my head: Lawrence of Arabia, Citizen Kane, Seven Samurai, The Third Man, Gone with the Wind. Best score is probably just “John Williams” as an amalgamated pick. If I had to be specific I’d say Lawrence of Arabia. Best setting: Monument Valley. Best actor: Humphrey Bogart, The African Queen. Best actress: Vivien Leigh, Gone with the Wind.

KFZ: Once the economy and social structure of this country collapses, what are your plans? Do you have an extra generator or two?

ST: When the Zombie Apocalypse comes (when the welfare checks become worthless and/or the cost of cell phone plans goes through the roof) I will be busy writing my various “I told you so” essays…assuming the Zombie Apocalypse doesn’t take down (or forbid) the internet. Like many people, I’m learning to live more simply and frugally. I don’t need a weekend trip every month to Cabo to pretend I am happy. I can be quite suitably miserable on a dime. And we’ll all be downsizing soon, like it or not.

KFZ: America has a demographic problem. Not enough native born children are being produced by parents who are able to give them the proper care and education a child needs. Would you be willing to do your duty and propagate for prosperity?

ST: I’m still trying to get on the Swedish Bikini Team’s speed dial. Quantity of population isn’t the problem. The lunatics on the Left are never happy. They’ll say there are too many people. And then they’ll say there are not enough. I say it’s quality, not quantity, that counts. And if this little site here can help improve the quality then I will consider that a bit of artificial insemination.

KFZ: American culture has become so sissified and so many men effeminate; have you given any thought on how to start raising masculine men again?

ST: I’m sorry. I don’t do hate speech. (Just kidding.) Take away their tattoos and have them cut a cord of wood without lopping off any body parts. That will make a man out of them. And tuck in your damn shirt and pull up your pants. Good god, man, have a little pride in yourself.

That is to say, we need to make it uncool to be a juvenile slob. It should be fashionable again to be a wise adult. I’m just not sure how to precisely word the legislation to make that happen.

KFZ: What is your favorite thing about Libertarianism?

ST: I like Libertarianism like I used to enjoy Silly Putty when I was a kid. You can stretch it into most anything. That’s been my experience trying to talk to most Libertarians.

KFZ: Rich Lowry recently made an unbelievably stupid remark regarding Carly Fiorina emasculating Trump (if only Lowry had used such polite language), which will follow him for the rest of his sorry career. What is it that drives the so-called “elites” to be so stupid?

ST: I wonder if Rich was talking for the benefit of his wife. A lot of guys say silly, emasculated stuff because they think it will give them cred with the ladies. It’s the modern equivalent of giving them a dozen red, long-stemmed roses.

Elites are arrogant rather than stupid, in my opinion. Every social group measures its status in various ways. One must keep up appearances. And that means tamping down the people who one views as uncouth. Well, fortunately at StubbornThings, we lack all the things that large egos are needed to protect, such as status, large sums of money, street cred, and Big Donors. (I’m not sure I could ever piss off Pat. He’s so easy-going.)

KFZ: That question brings me to my next one, which is, “are our leaders truly as stupid as they appear to be or are they basically a bunch of criminals in tuxedos?”

ST: Evil tends to be very very clever. We can have an interesting discussion about where malfeasance ends and evil begins. But there are plenty of people (the establishment class) feathering their nests at the expense of today and  future generations. I think of the numbing cold and bloody feet at Valley Forge and am shocked at the contrast of who and what we have become. No one needs be a saint, but could people just give a rest at picking at the carcass of America? The idea of leaving a place better than how you found it is completely foreign to this narcissistic and ignoble group of Americans. Frankly, I think there are a whole lot of people out there who need a “come to Jesus” moment in their lives. They’re living shallow, meaningless, ignoble lives. There’s nothing left for them to do but steal and measure themselves by superficial standards.

KFZ: David Bowie recently died. I think he was a mediocre musician at best, but his death was covered as if he were Princess Di. (sarcasm intended) What do you think is behind such insanity?

ST: My younger brother likes Bowie. And I’ve therefore certainly been exposed to a lot of his music because we work together. My absolute favorite is Bowie singing a duet with Bing (The Drummer Boy). Marvelous. Magical. Magnificent. But I’ve never warmed to Bowie as a singer or song-writer, although I think he’s a better singer than he is a song-writer. I think he represents cool. And however “cool” becomes enshrined, one must in this pop culture kneel at the altar or else one is irrelevant (the most horrendous thing). I think that’s what is going on. It’s cool to think he’s cool whether or not his music is all that good. To me it all sort of sounds the same.

KFZ: Leftism for the masses is largely based on grievance and the myth of alienation. In a country as wealthy and as free as the U.S.A. how is it that this dishonest ideology has been so successful?

ST: Beats the heck out of me. We hear all the time that the generation who beat back the Nazis and Imperial Japan were “the greatest generation.” And yet these folks spawned the Red Diaper Doper Baby generation, the beatniks, and the hippies. Liberalism is, at heart, the rejection of adulthood and the belief that we can all just have fun all the time. This is based on the idea that it is the stodgy, judgmental, non-creative “traditional” types who self-created most of the world’s problems due to their stodgyness. It’s a Peter Pan never-have-to-grow-up philosophy.

I truly now believe the words written by Paul: “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” That’s not to say that we can’t have fun, be spontaneous, irreverent, and even quite silly. But it does mean we have to live with at least one foot atop reality or else we lose our footing. • (920 views)

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14 Responses to Questions to the Editor

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Mr. Kung, thanks for taking the time to do that. It’s good and fun practice. I love reading Mark Steyn’s creative obituaries, for example. I think interviews can be fun instead of dull. Your questions (at least for me) helped to make it so. I hope to return the favor in the future and pick your brain on life in the Orient.

  2. Timothy Lane says:

    Well, anyone looking at responses will understand that Brad’s relatives aren’t the only ones to pay attention to him. I first heard of this site through CCWriter, an NRO blogger who later disappeared from here (unfortunately). As for me, I write to express myself. To a great extent, StubbornThings (and other sites where I blog, though this is the only place I do articles) has replaced FOSFAX.

    Elizabeth and I are senior citizens of increasingly limited physical ability (and in my case heavily dependent on a variety of prescription drugs, a consequence of those little things like congestive heart failure). So we can only hope the apocalypse waits long enough for to escape it (though Elizabeth, as a Southern Baptist, may feel differently if by that we mean the Second Coming).

    David Bowie is familiar to me mainly from one of his movies, The Man Who Fell to Earth. A friend of mine recommended it to me because he was a big fan of Walter Tevis, who wrote the original novel (which I’ve also read). I was glad that some of the obits mentioned it.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Here’s to the Second Coming. Hope it gets here just before the Zombie Apocalypse. And thanks for hanging around, Timothy, and smartening up the place. You up for an interview on sci-fi sometime?

      I just got a notice from my provider that they are upgrading the PHP. That could potentially mean the death of this place. Big upgrades like this can tend to break stuff badly. Cross your fingers. If we go down soon and for a few days, you’ll know what happened.

      And “The Man Who Fell to Earth” is simply awful, in my opinion.

      • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

        And “The Man Who Fell to Earth” is simply awful, in my opinion.

        It was so bad that I stopped watching it after 5 or 10 minutes. Yuk!

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Seeing a movie with someone who likes it does have an effect. Tevis had a severe problem with alcoholism, and it definitely shows in the book and movie.

        As for an interview on science fiction and fantasy, or on true crime, or on baseball . . . I’m game. As much fan as Elizabeth and me being Fan Guests of Honor at Windycon in 1997 (and that happened because the con chair — who didn’t attend the con because he was dying of pancreatic cancer that had come upon him suddenly — was a fan of FOSFAX).

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Yes, seeing a movie with a fellow traveler can make all the difference. And I wish I could tell you about all the fun my brother and I have watching what I call “The Man-Hater Series.” I, of course, mean CSI: Special Victims Unit where every criminal is a man, and every criminal is always white…without exception. It’s a running joke.

          A lot of things about a popular program such as this I find hilarious. You see some of the libtard views being indoctrinated into the populace. But we sit down and watch it and have a great time. It has some great characters (and some cheesily bad ones, such as Amaro) and some good stories. But always it is laughably funny (at least we make it so) in regards to the plethora of PC stuff.

          But honest to God, I think “The Man Who Fell to Earth” was made by people on drugs so that during the filming they probably thought what they were doing was the most riveting film-making ever.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            Well, most criminals are males, though they certainly aren’t predominantly white.

            I have at times studied commercials as an exercise in observing propaganda. I suppose one can do the same thing with propagandistic movies and TV shows. For example, I enjoyed Starman even as I also recognized that every character came off the way a typical Hollywood liberal would think of them.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              Watching this show you would expect that all criminals are white. I don’t expect an affirmative-action-like proportional representation. But it’s hilarious how safe it is simply to demonize white people and present “people of color” as innocents. The white man’s burden has moved Left.

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          As for an interview on science fiction and fantasy, or on true crime, or on baseball . . . I’m game.

          Timothy, I will prepare for you a set of questions. Feel free to not be bound by them…like the typical politician. But in a good way. I’ll see what I can come up with and then give both you and Elizabeth a writer project.

  3. Bell Phillips says:

    More excellent reading.

    If I may be so bold to suggest, could someone who knows Mr. Kung interview him? I get the feeling he has a fascinating biography.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Realizing we are becoming toady, ingratiating, weak socialists now, the subversive premise of this site is still that those people who have been out in life, made a living, raised a family, made mistakes, made triumphs, and have suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune have more wisdom in their little finger then all the douche-bags in Washington DC as a bureaucratic collective.

      Bell, I do plan, Kung willing, to interview Mr. Kung. I’ve gotten to know him at least superficially well over the last year or so and know the kinds of questions to ask…and perhaps the ones not to ask. Not everything needs to be shared with everyone. But I think he would share enough to give us quite a perspective on our own culture. We’ll see.

  4. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    But off the top of my head: Lawrence of Arabia, Citizen Kane, Seven Samurai, The Third Man, Gone with the Wind. Best score is probably just “John Williams” as an amalgamated pick.

    I have to agree with your choices, very hard to improve on them. Except….I would choose Elmer Bernstein’s score for “The Magnificent Seven” as the best single score.

    While I like John Williams, I have to deduct points because he “borrows” heavily from Holst and Wagner. At least he did in the Star Wars movies.

    As regards “Citizen Kane”, I like to brag that I realized the sled was Rosebud within seconds of its appearance in the snow scene. I thought the message was very clear.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Note that The Magnificent Seven is an Americanized version of Seven Samurai. I once read a short article in a fanzine that compared the two movies, especially the characters.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      I think I suffer a bit from Moviezheimer’s. I tend to watch so many that I forget which ones I watched. And I have watched a plethora of foreign films, many with outstanding soundtracks and cinematography. And I could have easily put “Raging Bull” on the list in regards to cinematography.

      But certainly Hollywood has done enough great stuff to fill the list. And my choice of Bogie as best actor in African Queen is a bit of a lark. He’s arguably better in Casablanca. And I won’t argue against Jimmy Stewart being better in some other role. But we’re lucky to have so many good ones to pick from. Frankly, if you Google “top acting performances” you’ll come up with some very cheesy and embarrassing lists, clearly reflecting the lack of taste of today’s reviewers.

      IMDB has a typical list lacking in taste. There are some good choices, but is Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada” really above Vivien Leigh in “Gone with the Wind”? A frivolous list for a frivolous generation.

      You’re ahead of the curve on Rosebud. I also admit not knowing that in the “I see dead people” film that Bruce Willis was dead. But my brother had scoped that out early, he said. But I never had a clue as to who was getting on the plane at the end of Casablanca until it happened. And going by what I’ve read, neither did the filmmakers. They kept writing and re-writing the ending until they came up with something at the last moment that they liked.

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