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Random Notes

[ 0 ] March 3, 2010 |
  • Great stuff from Joe Posnanski and Tom Scocca on the Pete Hamill non-review of the new Mays biography.
  • To apply what Atrios said yesterday to a more trivial subject, I suppose the real person to blame here is not so much Hamill as Sam Tanenhaus. As Posnanski and Charles Pierce point out (and in this respect the analogy with Hiatt is null), it’s not that Hamill isn’t a gifted writer, but that he was obviously the wrong person for the review. It’s an editor’s job to find a more appropriate reviewer, and failing that to at least make clear that he’d like a review that was something other than an unholy mix of cliched nostalgia and abject nonsense about the “innocent” 50s. Given the Book Review‘s track record, it seems pretty clear that dreary cliches, preachy drug war moralism, and abject nonsense are exactly what Tanenhaus wanted.
  • Speaking of preachy moralism, Emily Bazelon has a good piece about “sexting” by teenagers being inappropriately criminalized. As to this question: “Give prosecutors the discretion to charge sexting as a juvenile offense and trust them to use it wisely—or don’t give them this new tool for fear it will be misused and a lot of more or less good kids will end up with a record” — the answer is pretty clearly “B.” The law should be unequivocal that the consensual, noncommercial dissemination of pictures taken of one’s self between teenagers should not be illegal, and absent such clarity you’d have to be crazy to trust prosecutors with broad discretion.
  • I think Neyer has a good response to the question of who should be on a “Mount Rushmore of managers,” except that McCarthy has to be on it. It’s Cox’s misfortune that he managed Atlanta in the 90s rather than in Brooklyn in the 50s; in the right context one World Championship and (many fewer) playoff losses (with only one round to win) could make you part of the Purest Expression of Baseball Greatness There Ever Was rather than being part of a alleged bunch of chokers.
  • Marc Danzinger’s sputtering defense of Mickey Kaus fails to understand that it’s not a defense of drawing conclusions based on transparently unreliable evidence that a conclusion happened to be true. Obviously, when you assume that every rumor about a Democratic politician you dislike is true sometimes you’re going to be right, but that doesn’t retroactively make weak evidence reliable, let alone mean that someone owes Kaus an apology. Danzinger tastefully omits further discussion of some other examples of Kaus’s methods in action which make this clear. This campaign’s promise of comedy gold is already off to a promising start, though — the yostabee set will be partying like it’s 2002.

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