Discover more from Rod Dreher's Diary
Oliver Anthony, On His Way
And: heroic Laurie Schlegel; plus villainous UK cop who looks like Lesbian Nana
Y’all get an extra post because I have some good news to share (but also, at the end, some grumbling). First, the good.
That young, unsigned country singer Oliver Anthony has really blown up, in the best way. If you haven’t yet seen his “Rich Men North Of Richmond” song, stop what you’re doing and watch.
Look what I just saw on Twitter, from a philanthropist who just got off the phone with Oliver:
There’s a new Oliver song up on YouTube, titled “Virginia”. It’s really good:
Sounds like he’s had a hard life up till now. Hard lives can make great country songs. If you saw his nine-minute self-introduction talk, you’ll see that he started making music when he got tired of dealing with his pain by staying drunk and high. In this song, “I’ve Got To Get Sober,” he sings of knowing that he can’t carry on like this, but also about the power of addiction. Oliver Anthony’s vocal delivery is the galactic opposite of slick Nashville pop country. This is the voice of raw human experience.
Listen to the lyrics of this one. I know a lot of us can relate:
I hope God will send this young man an honest and capable manager now. Things are going to start coming at him at lightning speed.
The reason I’m not really a country music fan is because most of it sounds like a form of radio pop. When I’m in a country mood, I’ll listen to 1970s Willie Nelson, Dwight Yoakam, stuff like that. Oliver Anthony is right in that tradition. This is the sound of the America I love, and the America I miss. May it rise again!
Laurie Schlegel, Rock Star
I’m so proud and grateful of my fellow Louisianan, Rep. Laurie Schlegel. She was the first in the nation to pass a simple law that has effectively shut down Big Porn online. Politico tells the story:
On June 15, 2022, a freshman legislator in Louisiana’s House of Representatives accomplished something no other lawmaker or activist in the country could claim: She passed a law that is changing the online porn industry.
If you think this was the result of a bitter culture war battle, think again.
“Pornography is creating a public health crisis and having a corroding influence on minors,” asserts the bill that state Rep. Laurie Schlegel introduced. Almost no one in the capitol in Baton Rouge disputes the statement; the bill sailed through the Louisiana House 96-1 and the State Senate 34-0. The bill holds pornography websites liable unless the websites “perform reasonable age verification methods” — in short, requiring users to show government ID to prove they are 18 or older. Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards, no fan of the legislature’s Republican super-majority, signed the bill about a week after it arrived on his desk.
A few other states followed suit, with overwhelming bipartisan votes from their legislatures. In response, the global porn giant PornHub decided to stop doing business in some of those states.
Here’s the amazing thing about it: Schlegel is a sex addiction therapist who knows from firsthand experience how devastating porn is. She decided to do something about it after hearing the young singer Billie Eilish telling Howard Stern on the radio how she started watching porn at age 11, and watched so much she feels that it damaged her. More:
Schlegel isn’t a social worker. She’s a sex addiction therapist. “That’s my specialty,” she told me, proudly. It’s even in her X bio. Already aware of the problem of childhood exposure to pornography due to her work, the Eilish interview inspired Schlegel to act. “I just thought how courageous it was. … It just sort of re-emphasized to me what a problem this is, especially for our children.”
But how would Schlegel, a freshman representative, convince her colleagues to take on an industry that seemed too big to curtail? She needed an expert to persuade the legislature, she figured, and she had just the person in mind: Gail Dines, whose anti-porn research and activism had been on Schlegel’s radar for years. Schlegel first discovered her work through a 2015 TEDx talk entitled “Growing Up in a Pornified Culture.”
Dines is a self-described radical feminist, sociologist and anti-porn crusader from Manchester, England who has lived in the United States for 37 years. It’s a strange coupling, between an anti-abortion Louisiana Republican and a professor who says her radical feminism “encompasses many socialist feminist principles.” But they know that.
“It’s not a marriage. Let’s be very clear on this,” Dines told me. Though they share the same goal of diverting kids from porn, they don’t necessarily see it as part of the same larger project. For Dines, “This is about doing the right thing when it comes to controlling capitalism that’s out of control.”
They’re both right. The man who wrote the Politico story recalls that when Dines came to speak to his high school class, he and his fellow porn-watching male classmates laughed at her, thought she was out of touch. But:
Six years later though, while I still find Dines to be overzealous (the porn-to-rape argument feels like a stretch), it’s hard not to question whether the sexualization of everything and the proliferation of internet porn were good for us. Visit any number of massively populated internet forums (combined members 1.4 million) if you don’t understand what I mean; bask in the endless tapestry of loneliness, broken marriages and 20-something-year-old men who can’t get it up for women they’re in love with, but have no trouble when they’re watching videos of strangers.
Thank you, Laurie Schlegel. Thank you, Gail Dines.
UK Cops’ Cruel & Unusual Punishment Of Autistic Girl
I’ll end today on something truly infuriating. I’m going to work on a longer piece about it for The European Conservative over the weekend, but I want to share the basics with you now.
In West Yorkshire, British police escorted a drunken autistic teenager back home. When they handed her off to her mother, the girl mentioned that one of the female police officers looked like her lesbian grandmother. Next thing you know, a phalanx of West Yorkshire’s finest arrived at the autistic kid’s house to arrest her on hate crimes charges. This tweet has video of the police dragging the terrified kid out of her hiding place in a cupboard. She’s so distressed that she’s hitting herself (you have to click on the link to watch the video, which I can’t embed here).
I couldn’t watch it all the way through. I helped raise a kid who was mildly on the spectrum, and the thought that these police officers were putting this teenager through that kind of pain, simply because while drunk, she said that a female cop looked like her own lesbian granny — it put me in a fighting mood.
The thing is, the cop really does look like a lesbian
— but so what? There’s no indication the girl meant it as a slur — her grandmother is gay, after all — and even if she did, is that justification for dragging an autistic kid out of her house and jailing her overnight alone and terrified?!?
(The cop also looks like a stone cold bitch, which, on videotaped evidence, she obviously is. Can you really imagine dragging a drunk autistic teenager to jail for 20 hours because she made a mild, ambiguous remark about your appearance?)
The Leeds police released this statement:
“A homophobic public order offense.” For one thing, it’s absurd that there is any such offense. For another thing, since when is it homophobic to say that a cop reminds you of your lesbian nana?
You may have seen that there is a crime problem in the UK. Looks like the cops are too busy policing the speech of drunk autistic kids and people silently praying near abortion clinics, such that they haven’t got time for fighting street crime, or dealing with grooming gangs, or anything else. And some people wonder why public trust in our institutions is in decline.
What we have here is a cruel and unusual example of the kind of privilege Sacred Minorities enjoy under woke soft totalitarianism — except there’s nothing particularly soft about rousting a distressed autistic teenager out of her home and to jail because she said a few words that offended a cop. Not “all cops are bastards” or “I’m going to kill you, officer,” but “I think she’s a lesbian, like nana.”
Please watch the video. It will burn you up at the abuse of power.
I wonder when the British people will have had enough. I wonder if they are still capable of having had enough. Brits all over the country ought to say to every passing officer, “You look like my lesbian nana.” They can’t jail everybody.
If only Britain had a Conservative government! /sarc