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Saturday Commentary and Review #91
South Africa on the Precipice of Anarchy?, DEI, Race, and Schooling, Civil Strife Coming to Montana?, Canada to Fuck its Own Farmers a la Sri Lanka, Moldbug vs. The Bard
I am willing to concede that my age biases me when I state that large concert festivals don’t seem as important as they once did. The Monterey Pop Festival of 1967 was a watershed moment in the history of popular music. The myths surrounding Woodstock (August 1969) grew to such immense proportions that it became a cultural touchstone for the Boomers, with millions claiming that they were there despite only some 400,000 actually attending the event. I was a pre-teen watching the Live Aid concerts that were held simultaneously in both London and Philadelphia in 1985. It was a live global event, viewed by an estimate 1.5 billion people! Are such things possible anymore?
My generation was the one of Lollapalooza, an event that that heralded the onset of “alternative”, but quickly lost all meaning as that alternative swallowed up and spat out the mainstream, becoming THE mainstream itself. Today’s kids have Coachella and Glastonbury, which judging by their lineups and by the reviews are little more than fun outings that have zero to do with cultural shifting, breaking no new ground whatsoever, signifying no important politics either. They both symbolize the complete capture of popular culture by the corporate realm, totally devoid of any deeper meaning whatsoever, which is fine because not everything has to (escapism and fun are necessary for our own personal happiness and mental well being).
This is a somewhat circuitous route that I’ve navigated so far to get to a bigger point: there was a time not too long ago when people in the West felt that music could help change the world for the better (this isn’t to be taken as me agreeing with the various political stances of that era). A classic example was the 1988 concert at Wembley Stadium in London, UK that was held to urge the release of Nelson Mandela, then a prisoner in a South African jail cell. There was an energy that was building up in the second half of the 80s that gave rise to optimism, especially among westerners, that the world was heading in the right direction. Cracks were beginning to appear in the Eastern Bloc, and a groundswell of international support was putting significant pressure on the Apartheid regime in Pretoria. Only two years later was Mandela freed from prison, with the regime finally collapsing, ushering in the “Rainbow Nation”.
Post-Apartheid South Africa was supposed to be the beacon for the post-racist liberal democratic world, a poster child for how the rest could and should live in unity and in freedom, where the colour of a person’s skin only reflected their personal appearance. This type of magical thinking was on full blast in those heady first days and months after the collapse of the Berlin Wall, with Francis Fukuyama politely and cheerfully opening the door to Mr. History, ushering him out.
And then, oddly enough, South Africa completely fell off of the radar in the West.
The African National Congress (ANC) was swept into power and has served as the country’s natural ruling party ever since. Instead of good governance buttressed by strong institutions that would serve to raise the living standards of its various Black peoples without alienating its Whites and Coloureds, a kleptocracy was firmly put into place that has resulted in clientelism, parasitism, and governmental decay. The poster child grew into a young man who is failing to achieve the potential that others saw in him. Brian Pottinger kindly fills in the gaps in western reporting for us by explaining that South Africa is entering into a state of anarchy:
President Ramaphosa, once hailed as the modernising saviour of the country after the depredations of his predecessor, has not turned the country away from its trajectory towards a failed state. Institutional collapse is obvious in many state and para-state institutions and physical infrastructure is dire. Those citizens who can afford to have turned to private suppliers of health care, security and education. Going off-grid is now a staple of dinner conversation. Recognising the danger of a collapse of the national energy grid, Ramaphosa has belatedly sought support from private energy producers, primarily renewables.
Cyril Ramaphosa was supposed to deliver a turn away from the rampant corruption of his predecessor, Jacob Zuma, but has been shown to be utterly incapable of doing so.
The bolded part to me is most interesting, because it indicates both state collapse and is reminiscent of the parallel states that existed in 1980s Kosovo (where the Albanians set up their own schools, outside of the Serbian Republican state system), and currently exists in Lebanon under Hezbolllah, serving the Shi’ite community there. It’s not coincidental that both of these examples happened in multiethnic states, either.
An alternative to the ANC?
The feuding ANC and its bankrupt state apparatus have lost real influence in the lives of ordinary citizens: so much so that an organisation called Afriforum, initially an Afrikaner civil rights group but now enjoying wide support across all race groups because of its feisty legal defence of wronged citizens, has stated its intention to make communities “state-proof”, ending their reliance on state-provided services.
My gut tells me that a pan-racial solution simply cannot work due to the ease that racial tension can be played up and exploited by others such as the ANC. If that makes me a cynic, so be it.
Causes of the current rot:
All of this is a direct consequence of Ramaphosa’s refusal to reverse the core drivers of collapse and the enablers of corruption: race-based economic empowerment policies, inappropriate state appointments, expensive social welfare programmes, land seizures and a culture of impunity at all levels of state and elected office.
All of these can be seen in certain countries in the West, done in the name of “equality” (now being pushed aside for the more aggressive goal of “equity”).
The prognosis for South Africa is bad, with even ultra-corrupt ex-President Thabo Mbeki warning of civil war:
With all this looming, Mbeki’s reference to the Arab Spring is intriguing. Then, Arab despots were thrown out by a popular democratic uprising. Despite the limitless optimism of Western liberalism, most of the countries subsequently relapsed into either civil war or a re-engineered authoritarianism. All South Africans can do is pray that in 2024 they get the first part without the latter.
Ultimately, it may not matter much who governs South Africa. The existential threat faced by the country is the terrifying loss of skills, much of it driven out by the ANC’s affirmative action policies. Collapsed state training and educational institutions cannot introduce black candidates at sufficient a rate. There is the rub.
Yet South Africans are by and large a patient people. Even their rage tends to be expressed through activist forums, marches and legal channels. The prospects of a general insurrection, an Arab Spring, are thus limited. After all, the nation had that chance in July last year when KwaZulu Natal and parts of Gauteng burnt. It remained quiescent.
But without a competent state the nation will devolve into communal zones. The rich will live well. The poor will endure. The gaps will grow. This cantonising of the country is already happening and it is still largely around apartheid-era geographical divisions. The threat is therefore not popular uprising but decay: social, economic, political and cultural, just like the old days.
The collective memory of the West gets shorter and shorter; Mandela was freed and was tasked with creating a utopia. When that didn’t happen overnight, South Africa disappeared from the news. The toppling of Gaddafi in Libya was also supposed to result in liberal democracy for Libyans, just like it was supposed to happen for Egyptians as well. This messianic belief in the trappings of liberal democracy has a tendency to run head first into the wall of reality.
*we’ve looked at South Africa here before, with the first piece from this August 2021 entry being the best example
It’s a good idea to observe South Africa closely, with a particular eye on what Pottinger calls “race based empowerment programs”, because they are also being experimented with in North America and elsewhere.
A lot of the readers here have experience teaching in the US and Canadian public school systems, and they will from time to time send me horror stories detailing them. I’m certain that all of you have heard many of these as well over the years. Here’s one more, courtesy of a strident leftist (as he explains several times in his piece) who appears over at Wesley Yang’s excellent Substack.
The summer program where I'm currently teaching enrolls about seventy students between the ages of six and twelve. Classes are technically open to any child in the district, but only a few parents actually sign their children up themselves; instead, the vast majority of kids are registered for the program by a teacher who was concerned with their academic performance the previous year. Parents can choose to accept or reject the enrollment, but the acceptance rate is something like 90% – it's free, after all, and plenty of these parents are already looking for a safe place to send their children while they work during the day.
This "enroll first, ask questions later" approach removes many of the obstacles that keep struggling students from engaging with other summer programs, many of which have complicated application processes and require children to meet certain academic standards. However, it also means many families aren’t particularly invested in the program itself and, as a consequence, both parent and student engagement is lower than it might otherwise be.
Early on, an administrator confessed that this sort of setup could lead to "attendance issues," which I took to mean some kids showing up late or even skipping class once in a while. Nine of the eleven students in my grade level were absent the first day. The next day, it was ten. By the end of the week, I had one student consistently attending and a few who had been officially withdrawn by their parents – but there were still eight children on my roster who were technically enrolled while having never once shown up.
The teacher suggests a doable solution that would benefit others:
At this point, I took a look at the waitlist to see if there were any students I could bring in to replace them; the games and activities I’d planned needed more kids anyway, and I knew the waitlist was where families who actually wanted their children to attend usually ended up (students who were just referred by teachers had priority placement). On my lunch break, I walked into the administrator’s office and asked them when I could expect the half-dozen or so children on my grade’s waitlist to be let in.
Immediately, I was informed of something truly absurd: The district is not allowed to remove any student from the program on the basis of non-attendance. A child remains enrolled in my classes until a parent explicitly states they’d like them removed, even if they have never once actually shown up.
Now, when I say the district is “not allowed” to do so, I don’t mean they’re forbidden by some state law or local ordinance. Rather, the district actively embraced this policy as part of their larger equity and racial justice overhaul, and even bragged about doing so in public-facing materials. Their explicit position is that requiring attendance for any district program unfairly victimizes children of color, as does factoring in attendance to any student’s grades during the regular school year.
There is little point in me adding commentary when the source material is so patently absurd and self-evidentally wrong.
A leftist comes to grips with himself:
To most people, this sort of policy is absolutely inexplicable. How could it possibly benefit racial justice or equity to keep classrooms half-empty, excluding students who want to attend in deference to those who don't? The whole thing sounds like the sort of outrageous Kafkaesque fantasy a conservative would invent to satirize the ultra-woke and their bigotry of low expectations. But that’s precisely the problem. After all, what options do you have when so many of the people in charge of our schools have priorities so disordered that merely describing them, no matter how dispassionately, will earn you accusations of strawmanning?
…but still won’t accept the larger picture:
This is where I have to stop and make one thing very clear: I’m a leftist. Like, a big one. I hate capitalism, I support abortion on demand, and I unironically use phrases like “systems of oppression” and “the dominant culture.” The last big paper I put together for my undergraduate degree was on critical race theory, for the love of God! I’m not the sort of person who can be easily dismissed as a conservative crank. But plenty of my fellow leftists are still willing to try, on the grounds that anyone who thinks there might be any problem with DEI policies must necessarily be a slack-jawed MAGA troll.
Two more examples courtesy of Mr. Van Driessen:
In my short career as an educator, I’ve had countless experiences like this – encounters with colleagues and administrators so surreal that even close friends chided me for exaggerating or “playing into right-wing tropes” when I repeat them. And there’s a sense in which I don’t blame them, because things really are that crazy out here. Let me rattle off two quick examples for now, in case the summer program wasn’t bizarre enough:
1) I once attended a meeting where we brainstormed strategies to increase AP enrollment. When we moved to discuss the gap in enrollment between Black and white students, a senior teacher said that trying to register more children of color for AP classes is inherently racist and that putting greater value on AP classes at all is an expression of white supremacy. To clarify: I don't mean that a senior teacher expressed a complex set of ideas regarding racial justice that could be uncharitably reduced to those claims. I mean I sat in a room where a senior teacher literally spoke the words Trying to register more students of color for AP classes is inherently racist and Putting greater value on AP classes at all is an expression of white supremacy, to an audience of other teachers who nodded along or otherwise kept quiet.
2) I once attended another meeting - lots of meetings when you’re a teacher! - where we were working to approve a new weekly schedule for students. When I said I was concerned that it would require leaving some sections of the curriculum untaught, a colleague said that might actually be a good thing, because most of our students are white and their test scores dropping slightly would help shrink the racial achievement gap in our state. Again, to clarify: I don’t mean my colleague had a a more nuanced approach to testing that a dishonest interlocutor could twist to sound like that. I mean my colleague literally spoke those words. (To be fair, one other teacher did speak up and challenge them this time, albeit very politely.)
This war on common sense in the West reminds one of the way ordinary citizens in the Eastern Bloc would nod their hands in agreement when the local party chief of factory director would outright lie to them about something so ridiculous wrong because it “helped progress the revolution towards socialism”.
There has been a noticeable uptick since Trump entered the White House (especially AFTER he left) in think pieces about the rising possibly of civil conflict within the USA, largely pitting “red” vs. “blue”. It’s undeniable that there has been a rise in temperature setting people apart in the USA politically, and that each now have their own media ecosystems that each tell their own “truth”, usually 180 degrees opposite of what the other side is saying. This suggests a critical state of affairs. When two sides cannot even agree that ‘water is wet’, communication is broken and might be beyond repair.
There are a thousand different reasons (and just as many examples) that explain this divide, far too many to go into at length in this weekend commentary and review. Luckily, a very interesting piece has popped up on Substack that takes a close look at the present conditions in the State of Montana. Incorporating elements of politics, class, economics, and culture, the writer has concluded that civil war is all but inevitable in that part of the USA.
More interesting to me were the parts of Montana I saw by accident. A new coldness grips the relationship between visitors and locals. I first noticed it at the ranch. Six years ago the kitchen helpers were a happy mix of blue collar whites, hispanics, and native Americans. The chef was known for his thoughtful local cuisine, elk with au jus, beef burgers from ranch cattle, loaded baked potatoes, hearty mac and cheese. The servers wore big smiles. The progressive boomers attending the reunion were comfortable with this type of staff, the same hodgepodge they interacted with at home. Much backslapping occurred.
This time, the help had clearly experienced a vibe shift. They were all white, and distant. The food was awful—boiled carrots and reheated pork steaks, clearly the result of some Aramark-type lowest-bidder supply chain. The new staff had been mostly hired on Coolworks, a website for low paid service jobs on ranches, resorts, and other “great places.” They came from the surrounding towns, forgotten about, left behind, bright red Trump country. Young women with sloped posture and heavy eyeshadow, barely 18. Their clothes don’t fit, they looked impoverished, hungry, skittering. The young chef who had once proudly presented his take on local food was gone. The guests no longer chatted with servants. There was separation and silence.
Then my wife tested positive for COVID so we fled to Bozeman. Throughout the subsequent week, I explored Bozeman and Big Sky, ultra-hot destinations (and now homes) for the woke bourgeoisie, and Three Forks, the polar opposite, a totally different world a razor thin distance away. I saw two groups of people, an overclass and an underclass, pressed up against each other, spoiling for a fight, just waiting for the littlest spark to set their fury ablaze.
Mutual antipathy, not unlike the class antagonisms in England.
What makes this different than previous city slicker vs. country bumpkin loathing?
What’s new is the character of the warring factions. They aren’t who you see on TV. On one side you have global interests imputing their values, importing cheaper labor, hollowing out Montana’s attractions and selling them to an international bourgeoisie for maximum profits. On the other you have the new underclass. Not the friendly Christian country folk of times past. And not Cowboy Hat Republican Rancher Dad either. No, these are a new kind of country person. Angry, exasperated, poor, Trump-loving service-workers—the Oxy takers, the meth cookers, the eaters of Chick-Fil-A. This group is acutely aware of just who controls Bozeman and Big Sky, and believe that the same people are coming for their territory. And they’re right.
If you listen, you can hear the two groups screaming at each other in silence, waiting for their very own Gavrilo Princip to spark this thing off.
Big Sky is a REIT’s terrible fantasy. The soul of private equity made flesh. Thin walls, $23 flatbreads, yoga pants, white people overpaying for ski condos they use twice a year. Third wave coffee seeped in. Then Female Owned™ retail stores with names like Twig and Whistle and Bird in Hand. Then REI. Then, finally, Starbucks. The home buyers think it’s a good thing, nice to have the comforts of home out here in the woods. Jen needs her cold brew, it’s, like, not even a choice. Big Sky is gingerbread land for bourgeois cattle who—distracted by golf or skiing or fly fishing or hiking or anything else they can possibly do with carbon fiber poles—somehow don’t see the mechanical claw shifting, siphoning, sucking above their heads.
Bozeman much the same, unrecognizable from even six years ago, even further down the path to hollowed out soullessness. Where Big Sky is sold as Marshmallow Puff Mountain, Bozeman is packaged as Cosmopolitan Outdoorsperson’s Paradise: “Bozeman is nature’s playground no matter the season, whether you ski, snowboard, hike, fish, or just want to go for a scenic drive.” The local spend on Patagonia and Lululemon alone must crack $10 million year.
Bland and boxy hedge-fund-chic architecture, sometimes called "Minecraftsmen,” “Developer Modern,” or “LoMo,” has taken over. Work.Play.Live. Lofts with local Hazy IPA on tap. Sidewalk sculpture series featuring abstract takes on local animals. Feminist book store that kindly asks you to wear your mask. Ukraine flags. Translucent rainbow heart decals in the upper right hand corner of almost every storefront.
The other side:
26 minutes away, Three Forks, Montana. Sick with a different disease. If Bozeman has parasites, Three Forks has dysentery. 2,000 impoverished white people play host to stragglers who’ve fallen like expensive pebbles over the edge from Bozeman. A beaten down main street, a few residential blocks and an electron cloud of mobile homes and trailers with kids playing out back and parents drinking out front.
You’ve seen the amount of Trump flags that supporters put on boats and cars; these aren’t the mild mannered conservatives of yore. Their propaganda yells, shrieks something that the other side refuses to hear. In Three Forks, every vehicle is a pickup truck and in every truck bed a hostile dog and on every bumper a hostile statement. “My Carbon Footprint is Bigger than Yours” “Proud to be Everything a Liberal Hates.” “Welcome to Montana, Now Go Home.” “We the People.”
Palpable nativism. An ungoogleable Blood and Soil biker gang thunders through town. On the beautiful plantation porch of the Sacajawea Hotel the country station plays 14 hours a day. “These are my people/This is where I come from/We're givin' this life everything we've got and then some/It ain't always pretty/But it's real/That's the way we were made/Wouldn't have it any other way.” A woman eyes me from a porch swing, sees me clacking on my laptop and says to her family, “Think about our ancestors sittin’ out here with books. Now people have laptops!” No elevator at this hotel. No disabled access. No concierge even. Just a “fine dining” restaurant that serves dressed up versions of the food from the basement bar, a local’s hangout, one of three dives in the span of maybe 1000 feet.
Locals avoid eye contact, sneer, or give overtly friendly helloes that feel like interrogations. I’m sitting at the basement bar not sixty seconds before I hear the N word. The upstairs/downstairs drama of this bar and the hotel a manifestation of the relationship between the locals and us tourists. They hate us, but they need the money. The streets feel pressurized. Bikers. Drunks. A man slides into his car holding a clear plastic cup of whiskey in one hand and a six pack of Bud in the other. In between rows of teal mobile homes sit obese wheelchair families, cackling, drinking, staring. Two drunks catcall my wife from yet another pickup. Another bar is full of methed-out faces at midday sipping away from the sun. A Black Rifle Coffee sign sits in the window of a closed gym. We’re 20 minutes from Bozeman. No rainbows, many Trump flags.
The author suggests that it’s precisely these new groupings that makes the situation as precarious as he illustrates:
But this is a new thing. Montana has always been the site of land battles—but these warring factions are brand new. The Washington Post presents the risk as one-sided—that angry Trumpists are going to soon resort to violence because, well, that’s what they do when the modern world comes knocking. The media doesn’t notice that Trump flags are being raised in reaction to the rainbow ones, not in spite of them. The anger bubbling up from Three Forks isn’t happening because Montanans, left alone for decades, somehow developed into anachronistic bigots unready for the modern world. It’s happening because Montanans got their sh*t taken. They were intentionally shoved out, left behind. Their music, their signs, their cars, their language—they’re all born from a fresh wound.
Private equity fears nativism because nativism equals economic protectionism—no free access to markets, no distant ownership of local assets, no importation of cheap labor. Blood is thicker than water, and private equity is terrified of relationships it can’t buy. This is why it posts Live Local! on its LoMo buildings and serves frozen versions of authentic Montana cuisine. It needs to placate people just long enough to take over the land, hollow out the existing culture, and replace it with a replica that siphons the locals’ milkshake back to itself.
It took awhile for Montanans, and the rest of White Working Class, to realize this, but now they do so they’ve become reactionaries. In response, private equity has given up convincing them and focused on the liberal cosmopolitan, the bourgeoisie whom they want to buy condos and flatbreads in their newly conquered lands.
Private equity knows that the bourgeoisie is reliably distracted by rainbows. To them, the rainbow represents tolerance, and tolerance (of everyone besides 100 million Trump supporters) must be exported everywhere. So, hand in hand, the bourgeoisie and private equity raise the rainbow flag over Montana. The new underclass shouts back. Buys another pickup. Tacks on another Trump flag. Digs in. The bourgeoisie gets more triggered, hunkers down, more rainbows, more Washington Post articles. Back and forth until it feels like we’re one mistake away from all those pickup trucks becoming the war machines of an American Taliban.
The piece is full of rhetorical flourishes, and I can’t say much as I have never set foot in Montana. Hopefully one or two of you readers can relate your experiences there and let us know if this is an accurate assessment, alarmism, or something in between.
Remember when even saying the word “Globalist” meant that normal people would automatically dismiss you as a “crank” or a “conspiracy theorist”? Overplaying their hands these past few decades, globalists have managed to let us peek behind the curtains, so that we could see just who is pulling the levers. And the people are not happy with what they saw.
The overconfidence of the “Masters of the Universe” combined with the contempt that they have for the masses has resulted in the plummeting of trust in governing institutions all throughout the West (and beyond). The massive bailouts that banks received in 2008 (as wages remained stagnant for the non-wealthy) were paired with the fact that no big names went to prison for financial malfeasance. Epstein Island taught us that yes, important men fuck underage women and get away with it due to ‘national security'. The list of events hammering the credibility of institutions is endless.
2022 has not failed to bring us more. The collapse of the government in Sri Lanka and the ongoing protests by farmers in The Netherlands have informed us that the globalist powers-that-be really do intend on restructuring not just our economies, but what we eat and how and where we live, in order to ‘combat climate change’. Not content with trying to rip children from their parents by way of educational indoctrination (such as transgenderism), these forces want to open up a second front where they declare war on their own citizens. Canada, that ridiculous post-national country with an absolute idiot for a Prime Minister, is only happy to join the Climate Crusade by way of sacrificing its own farmers, which will inevitably lead to not just higher food prices, but impoverishment for many more.
The Saskatchewan government is slamming Ottawa on the heels of talks that will set the terms for the agriculture sector for years to come.
Agriculture Minister David Marit vented his issues with the federal government’s fertilizer emissions targets in a news release dropped minutes before he appeared at a press event alongside Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Marie Claude Bibeau.
“We’re really concerned with this arbitrary goal,” Marit said in the news release. “The Trudeau government has apparently moved on from their attack on the oil and gas industry and set their sights on Saskatchewan farmers.”
Bibeau responded that the idea behind fertilizer emissions reduction wasn’t to reduce fertilizer use, and her aim is to achieve goals through “research and innovation.” The federal government is aiming to reduce fertilizer emissions by 30 per cent by 2030.
“We will find — (through) new types of fertilizer, through better practices, through new technologies — ways to be even more sustainable,” she said.
The talks held this week in Saskatoon between provincial and federal agriculture ministers aimed to finalize an agriculture policy framework that will be the backbone of the sector for five years when the previous Canadian Agricultural Partnership expires in April 2023.
It’s not just Europe happily destroying its economy.
Kristjan Hebert, a farmer from near Moosomin, delivered a presentation to the agriculture ministers meeting in Saskatoon this week. He said he can’t reasonably reduce fertilizer use, comparing it to reducing the minimum number of calories in a diet.
Governments should spend more attention on proactive spending rather than reactive spending like risk management programs, he said.
Hebert proposed investing in agriculture infrastructure and developing a value-added processing facility to boost exports. He further suggested data infrastructure measuring soil and grain to give farmers more accurate targets to shoot for.
This is the exact same situation that led to the collapse of Sri Lanka’s agricultural sector, and then its government. But the Masters just don’t care.
We end this weekend’s Substack with a fun little piece from our friend, Curtis Yarvin, who has decided to dip his toe in the frigid waters of Shakespeare Authorship Denialism.
Now: it is a documented historical fact that the author of these lines lived for at least 28 years after writing them. What did he write in the next three decades? A mystery. As the Britannica, not an Oxfordian source, puts it:
It has therefore been suggested that the [1000-pound, ie, huge] annuity may have been granted for his services in maintaining a company of actors (Oxford’s Men, from 1580) and that the obscurity of his later life is to be explained by his immersion in literary pursuits. He was indeed a notable patron of writers, and numerous books were dedicated to him, including ones by Robert Greene and Anthony Munday. He also employed John Lyly, the author of the novel Euphues, as his secretary for many years and gave the lease of Blackfriars Theatre to him.
The Oxford theory of Shakespeare is that the Shakespeare corpus was written by a brilliant, super-educated poet (the quality and intensity of classical education given to Oxford, one of the highest nobles in the realm, is not available anywhere today), who for the last quarter of the 16th century was “immersed in literary pursuits,” yet who has no known literary output for that period.
This is like hearing a bark and assuming that it was produced by a dog. Also, there is a dog around the corner, which is known to bark. I also do a pretty good bark. Maybe I snuck up next to the dog, and barked. Or maybe the dog barked.
How did a rural bumpkin who could barely sign his name write Shakespeare’s plays? Also a mystery—see below. These mysteries fit as nicely as the outlines of Africa and South America. (Most people don’t know that plate tectonics was a crackpot theory between 1912, when it was invented, and the mid-1960s.)
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