Is Ben Shapiro’s career over for good after the BBC interview?

Something that has been trending of late on social media is Ben Shapiro’s controversial interview with BBC journalist Andrew Neil where Shapiro cut short the TV debate. The interview has sparked the question in many leftist circles: Is this the beginning of the end for Shapiro?

Before I detail my response to this question I should add the caveat that I am a supporter of the Intellectual Dark Web (IDW) community where Shapiro resides. If a video appears in my you tube feed with an interview or talk by one of the IDW constituents I normally press the ‘play’ button. I think the IDW has been tainted and misaligned by the ‘modern-left’ to be an ‘Alternative-Right’ soundboard. If one takes a look at the graphic below of the individual political positions of each member I think we can safely discard them being anything which resembles how the modern-left classifies the group:

idw-positions-miesslerNow returning to the question, I have a hunch that the interview probably marks the end of a potential political career for Shapiro. Regarding his social network career (his podcast and public opinion), I think he has a lost a huge amount of respect from people who admired his gusto and honesty even if they generally disagreed with his ultra conservative opinions. I would consider myself in that league of soft followers. Obviously it’s all speculative, but I do think that interview has done him a great disservice; the likes of which may not be known until it comes back to bite him real hard if he ever decides to run for public office. I always found his smugness and ‘I’m smarter than you’ lawyer brashness a turnoff, but I was willing to look past it because he did make some good arguments. But these negative traits and his immaturity were on full display.  I cannot think of another IDW constituent who would act as poorly (and counter IDW intuitive) as Ben did in that interview.

Ben has since admited that he was ‘destroyed’ in that debate which was to be expected. But how much of a lifeline does that give him and how much more patience remains from moderates who had taken the time to hear him out? In my humble opinion very little on both fronts.

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Ham on Rye – Charles Bukowski

“You are thirty minutes late.”
“Would you be thirty minutes late to a wedding or a funeral?”
“Why not, pray tell?”
“Well, if the funeral was mine I’d have to be on time. If the wedding was mine it would be my funeral.”

Observation Blogger

ham on ryeI had been wanting to read a Charles Bukowski novel after seeing the illuminating documentary, Born into this.

As Goodreads describes Ham on Rye, ‘Charles Bukowski details the long, lonely years of his own hardscrabble youth in the raw voice of alter ego Henry Chinaski‘.

What started out seemingly mediocre turned into a tour de force about one of the most vial, detesting characters I have ever read – Henry Chinaski. He could well be the greatest outcast character ever written in contemporary American Literature. This book tells so much about the ugly untold social underbelly (aspire to be rich, but really are poor) of North America during its post Depression era.

The high testosterone, sense of alienation and machismo of adolescence is brilliantly captured in Ham on Rye. You really feel entrapped in the mind of this seriously flawed individual, but by the end greatly…

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The Happy Prince – Oscar Wilde (adapted and directed by Orson Welles)

El Principe felizWhen I was a child, I used to play this record incessantly.  Today, as a 45 year old man, it still brings a tear to my eye! It remains the most beautiful and heart-wrenching fable I have ever had the pleasure to read or listen to. On Christmas Day, as a family we flipped the LP over to listen to Bing Crosby tell the beloved Christmas Story The Small One. I recently procured the The Happy Prince in my children’s native tongue, so I can pass the story onto them (see image inset).


Orson Welles The Happy PrinceWhen I was a high octane and emotionally-charged youngin my father sat me down on occasion to watch his favourite movie Citizen Kane by Orson Welles. I normally made it to the scene where young ‘Charles’ slams his snow-sled into ‘Mr Thatcher’ (his soon to be be foster parent) until I fell into a blissful slumber on the couch whispering Rosebud…………..(Crystal ball falls from hand and breaks into pieces). Don’t mind me..I got carried away there.
Unbeknownst to me for many years it was Orson all along who narrated my all time favourite short story. And of course Citizen Kane would become the ants-pants currently sitting at number 2 in my 100 favourite movies list.

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‘The Future of War video’ and Political Grace (The art of disagreeing well)

I think anyone who uses social media needs to see this video especially right up until the end because in a sense the future of war most definitely will involve each one of us. If you haven’t got time to watch the whole video you can read the brief extract below.
Some may view it as war propaganda.  It depends if you are talking about the derogatory word for propaganda, that lies in order to manipulate perspectives falsely and not in good faith. The way I see it is purely information.

‘(25.15) We like to think of this Internet place as just a fun consequence free place…(but) Something’s happening. I just had a four star general tell me that the cyber domain and specifically the human elements – that being us affected within that cyber domain is one of the 5 most important components to modern warfare…I believe the biggest threat right now is division. They are going to find the division within our society and they are going to try and amplify it. I would like to submit for your consideration a countermeasure….a way to get through this modern bombardment; this new battle-space that we haven’t considered before. I think if they are going to divide us, I think the way to get around this is proactive intentional unity. We all need to be more conscious of what types of content we are consuming online. What are we liking and what are we sharing. How is it affecting our minds. Is it affecting the way we treat people both online and offline. If we just extend patience and political grace but also to those we disagree these maneuvers in the cyber domain meant to divide us simply will not work. Political grace, the art of disagreeing well. This is the ultimate countermeasure.
– Destin Sandlin SmarterEveryDay

So modern cyber combat is coming in the form of creating and exacerbating division within our societies. Well it already has occurred as you maybe be aware by foreign meddling in elections and targeted consumer research on Facebook to exacerbate political divisions.

Political grace (The art of disagreeing well)

I couldn’t help but reflect on what Jordan Peterson said or words to the effect: ‘What you really want to do if you have an argument with someone is you help them. You want to make their argument as magnificent as you possibly can and then see if you can undermine it… Don’t strawman it, rather steelman the opposing view until it’s the best it can be and reflect on it until you respect it highly. Like how the Russian author Fyodor Dostoevsky empowers his characters with immense impartiality no matter their psychological state or philosophical bent. Then and only then only can you disagree well.’ Peterson expands on this in the snippet of his lecture below.

I’m currently reading Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment and like Peterson I can attest this book flattened me. Rarely these days do I read with that kind of hopeless, helpless feeling of being completely, utterly lost in the imaginary world. Who else can create such authentic human emotions that I feel I’m experiencing all of them myself?

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Music homage films abound in 2019 (Beatles, Springsteen, Elton John & Bob Dylan)

After the big box-office smash hit Bohemian Rhapsody, film studios must have been wiping the dust off dozens of musical homage scripts faster than they could sing: ‘We will, we will rock you!’.

Yesterday and Blinded By The Light
In similar vein to the upcoming movie about the Beatles if they had never existed called Yesterday, another UK movie set to be released in June this year which pay’s tribute to Bruce Springsteen called Blinded By The Light.

IMDB Storyline: In 1987 during the austere days of Thatcher’s Britain, a teenager learns to live life, understand his family and find his own voice through the music of Bruce Springsteen. 

Based on the trailer, I could relate to the teenager being swept up by the lyrical worlds of Springsteen. Coincidentally it was also 1987 when I was introduced to the Boss by a friend at school. I was in absolute awe of Springsteen’s odes to the working class, striking melodies, not to mention the superior musicianship of the E Street band.

I saw rock and roll future and its name is Bruce Springsteen
– Jon Landau’s Real Paper column on Bruce Springsteen’s May 9, 1974 performance in Cambridge’s Harvard Square.

In May this year we are set to be treated to the Elton John biopic RocketMan by the same director who polished up the Oscar Award winning – Bohemian Rhapsody. Like many of us, I was brought up on Elton John’s music as soon as I was able to hear so I need to keep my expectations in check on this one. From gleaning the trailer below, I don’t see Elton John in Taron Egerton nor hear Elton in his renditions. I hope I come around by the end credits.

Some interesting trivia detail about RocketMan from IMDB:
* Elton John told Taron Egerton to not copy him too much in the film, and make his own version out of it. (So that takes care of any criticism that John’s alluring singing and presence isn’t present!)
* Taron Egerton does all of his own singing in the film.
* Back in 2012, Elton John revealed his top choice to play him in a biopic was Justin Timberlake.

Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese
If all this wasn’t enough to get us salivating at the bit, Martin Scorsese’s No Direction Home follow up  Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese is due for release on Netflix on June 12:

IMDB Storyline: Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese’ captures the troubled spirit of America in 1975 and the joyous music that Dylan performed during the fall of that year. Part documentary, part concert film, part fever dream, ‘Rolling Thunder’ is a one of a kind experience, from master filmmaker Martin Scorsese.Written by Netflix.

Also Dylan will release on June 7th his much anticipated  14-CD “Rolling Thunder Revue” Live Box Set which will coincide nicely with the the Scorsese documentary on June 12.

Well at least this old nostalgic fart is licking his chops!

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Heaven Knows What (2014)

Observation Blogger

802341_040Every two weeks or so I check out the movie database Rotten Tomatoes which lists amongst other things – the latest DVD releases. The movie information of Heaven Knows What caught my eye.

Heavan Knows What blends fiction, formalism and raw documentary as it follows a young heroin addict (Arielle Holmes) who finds mad love in the streets of New York.’ – Rotten Tomatoes

I truly didn’t expect anything out of this, which is why it was such a huge surprise.  Its near-flawless as far as documentary-style films go. The plot takes a back seat in Heaven Knows What which might turn people off, but that’s what I adored about it; raw, real and totally honest which defies the limitation of its budget. Too bad the score was detracting especially in the beginning.

IMDB Trivia: The lead, Arielle Holmes lived on the streets of NYC prior to this…

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20 Seconds of Insane Courage

Observation Blogger

we-bought-a-zoo-Scarlett-JohanssonFor the school social I gargled Listerine. The pain felt reassuring. I sprayed my hair with Mum’s hairspray, “Taft”.
In the school hall, we shuffled to Toto’s “Africa”. Girls on the other side, giggled about stuff we’ll never be privy to. They did, however, have pert adolescent tits. We puffed out our chests, bobbing over exaggeratedly to the beat.
The girl of my dreams, South African-born Cheryl V hardly notices me as I do everything in my power just to meet her eyes. The next day she went steady with an acquaintance of mine.
He later told me, “Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage, just literally 20 seconds of embarrassing bravery, and I promise you something great will come of it.”
I replied, ‘Did you just buy a fucking zoo’?

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My Wooden Cutting Board

Observation Blogger

Cutting BoardJust after breakfast, I developed this fascination with my wooden cutting board. This is where I prepare nearly all my food.

The shades of stains,
the mesh of grooves,
the spread of cutting angles
how one side is more indented than the other,
the alluring smell if you snuck a whiff.
I was entranced.
I marveled at it for well over a minute.

1024px-Chopping_BoardI couldn’t bare to show off a plastic cutting board. So dull and unrefined; no style whatsoever. Even worse would be a brand new wooden cutting board. How demonstrably ugly are those. Look!

Instead in these well-used wooden boards, there is history. I use one side more than the other, slowly sculpting it to become undoubtedly my greatest work of art. The unplayable golf green.

If this bacteria ridden monstrosity doesn’t wet one’s appetite, then nothing will.

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11.00 am ANZAC day 2003

Anzac Day
My brother Jonny and I sat on two wooden chairs opposite the bed hunched over our knees. Numb. The chairs had never got so much use as they did that morning nor would they get any kind of practical use again except as features in Mum’s new bedroom. Dad’s eyelids started to rise slowly and it appeared he was looking at us. We shivered and Jonny said, “That’s a bit eerie huh?”

It was in his face too, you could tell. It wasn’t him anymore. Then we realised ‘it’ is gone altogether. It wasn’t ‘him’ gone so much, but ‘it’; the heartbeat, the rhythm, the core, the point around which the wheel of our family span. All incomprehensibly gone. The ‘something’ who always put us in front of himself as if he was of no consequence.  Other days may have passed by barely noticed, but this day, this hour, this minute would stick in our minds for the rest of our days.

I didn’t know then what I knew now – my ground of history gave way. It was a changed world. Well it would be years later when I realised how changed it was.
I remember Mum walking in, grabbing his hand, and shaking it, yelling “Come Back Colin, Come Back!”. Finally I curled up on the couch, wanting to sleep. Dad still laid in the bedroom for hours. The ringing in my ears of Mum’s plea wouldn’t go away. The replay was relentless. I would also learn that tragedy is repetitive. Offering neither the fulfillment of detachment or release from change, it would merely always be there, always terrible.


Neglect was a solution I took after Dad died. I lived in a culture which turned its back on its annoying traditions. I turned my back on the family.  Family seemed a vehicle of oppression. Family was like a tapestry of characters who I belonged to but didn’t quite gel. At middle age I still felt I can’t turn back. I had learnt this in my own traditions and rituals. You are probably more self conscious, a bit more vain, a bit more brittle in your youth which scars you later.
But there is a lot in the culture which is nurturing.  Only now in a sense I felt I betrayed Mum. I kind of turned my back on her. I didn’t give her her due. My method of problem solving is avoidance. But what I know and struggle to embrace is there is so much culture in the family. I will revisit the same place because it’s me, it’s who conceived me into this world and out of that learn to recuperate from the self obsessed world I built since then.

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Tarot Suite – Mike Batt and Friends (1979)

Tarot Suite - Mike BattNo other album was played as often in our house during my youth than Tarot Suite by Mike Batt (with the London Symphony Orchestra). My father adored this album like no other. When my parents entertained new friends at our house my father was insistent that this record be played. Like my father I had this urgency to get this album out there. I played songs from Tarot Suite for school friends in the hope that they would reaffirm it’s ‘greatness’ and low and behold they did. At the time a version of Introduction (The Journey of a Fool) from Tarot Suite was used as the theme for the Sydney, Australia radio station, Triple M. Yet everyone was seemingly oblivious to its origin.

All Music Review by Dave Sleger:

Mike Batt’s second solo release on Epic, Tarot Suite, was inspired by the 22 major arcana trump cards of the tarot deck. If the listener wants to make sense of the concept of this album, the insert provides a handy description and explanation of the various cards and how they relate to the music. If not, Tarot Suite certainly holds its own as an artfully and literate collection of orchestrated rock & roll.

To this day it boggles the mind how underappreciated and unrecognized this album is. It doesn’t even have it’s own Wiki-page. It is scantily mentioned in Mike Batt’s wiki-bio.  Believe me I have read my fair share of music blog posts in my life and talked to lots of music aficionados, yet still no mention of this album. Only when I searched it on Google did I find some glowing music reviews such as the one above. Despite that, it’s as though it never existed.

I still consider Tarot Suite one the greatest albums I have heard and I don’t put that solely down to my having succumbed to unbridled nostalgia. The album’s opener ‘Introduction (The Journey of a Fool’) and Imbecile (presented below) are probably in my top 20 favorite songs. Two other standouts on this album are Lady of the Dawn and Run Like the Wind. Overall the album is a real trip when listened to in its entirety.  To me the album has a medieval-mythological movie soundtrack feel. The only other music I’ve heard which faintly resembles it is Mark Knopfler’s The Princess Bride soundtrack and Dylan’s Street Legal (which is my favourite Dylan album by the way) particularly Changing of the Guards and No Time to Think which has medieval tarot card references in it.

To give you just a small taste of the magnificence and originality of this album; below is the riveting Imbecile sung with full gusto by the much-maligned singer Roger Chapman:

I would normally put ‘Related Articles’ in this section of my post, but there just isn’t anything noteworthy available on this album. It remains perplexing to me and will continue to be so I gather until I rest my weary head.

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