Month: November 2014

Bad Boys Make Bad Men

At PJ Media, I ponder the idiotic human attraction to “bad boys” and their rebellious behavior:

But why is this destructive and often sociopathic behavior so appealing to so many people? I learned yesterday, for instance, that Charles Manson, the 80-year-old psychotic who has been in prison for decades with a swastika etched into his own forehead, is to marry a not-unattractive 26-year-old frequent visitor of his. I really do give up. Like much about human psychology, the what is very easy to ascertain, but the why eludes us. We all know that many people find rebelliousness, and even criminality, attractive. And we all know that the standard reason given is that it’s sexy to break the rules. So we are stuck in a circular argument that tells us that it’s sexy to be rebellious because rebelliousness is sexy. We are still not any closer to understanding why certain criminals are more sexually marketable than the quiet solid-state physicist or the hard-working janitor.

Read the whole thing here. (more…)

Is Your Neighbor an ex-Stasi Agent?

At PJ Media, I investigate what happened to all those agents of the Stasi, the brutal East German secret-police force, after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the crumbling of Communism:

Though the post-Communist German government shied away from hiring too many ex-Stasi officers for state positions, pilfered documents from Wikileaks show that the German government does employ them in (of all places) the federally administered archive of Stasi records—a revelation that caused some dismay in German society. Many other ex-Stasi personnel eventually went on to careers in the private sector. After the Wall fell, it was, oddly enough, the newly reunified German government that urged corporations to absorb former Communist encryption experts, fearing they would otherwise be driven to aid Western enemies with their skills. One German company, Rohde & Schwarz SIT GmbH, a supplier of encryption and communications technology to NATO, employs plenty of former Stasi codebreakers.

Enjoy the rest of it here.

Happy Belated Veterans Day, But Not to Salon

My apologies to whoever actually reads my work. I have been contending with personal and family issues for the past week—specifically my gravely ill brother. But it’s time for a few words on an important subject, even if they are a bit late.

We just passed Veterans Day, and with the predictability of a coke freak reaching for a shard of broken mirror, Salon has published its annual teenage tantrum against the U.S. military. They must think this is still impressive and edgy to do, like wearing bell bottoms, and I wouldn’t be surprised if next year’s slander is already commissioned and queued up. This year’s breach of good manners comes from David Masciotra. (I’m not linking to it.) The editors chose the headline “You don’t protect my freedom: Our childish insistence on calling soldiers heroes deadens real democracy.” One wonders what “real democracy” is; it must be something like a true Scotsman. (more…)

When The Wall Came Down

It’s been twenty-five years since the Berlin Wall fell—more precisely, it’s been twenty-five years since Guenter Schabowski, spokesman for the GDR Central Committee, mistakenly announced during a press conference that East German citizens were free to travel to West Germany, prompting a mad rush to the wall that eventually brought it down forever.

Asked by an Italian journalist about a new law that relaxed travel restrictions, Schabowski said the law took immediate effect—a remark that goaded thousands of East Germans to flood the wall (die Mauer in German) hoping to gain access to the free and prosperous western portion of Berlin. After a three-hour standoff with the border guards, they were allowed to cross into the West. (more…)