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A Man Stares Into The Abyss

[ 0 ] March 4, 2007 |

It must be said that I, too, saw The Left yesterday–it was truly chilling. I can assure you that even when he was right it was motivated by 100% pure America hatred and expressed in a manner shockingly lacking in civiliosity and integritude.

I would mention my enjoyable meeting with Intertubes Dark Lord and rank Leprechaun Extremist D*ncan Bl*ck, but I fear the mere invocation of his name may bring Josh Trevino to our comments section, and we’re running a family website here.

..They’ve gotten Matt too. Bastards! I always knew The Left was objectively pro-Michael Bay.

You May Be A Complacent Fake-Liberal If…

[ 0 ] March 3, 2007 |

There’s not much to say about this; I agree that it “comes across like something written by a teenage D-List “Youstabee” during the peak glory of the Summer of War.” Particularly instructive is–especially with respect to foreign policy–how much of what defines an “extremist” is based on virtually unfalsifiable attributions of motivations rather than on specific policy preferences (you know the routine–”OK, you were right about the Iraq War, but you’re saying that because you hate America, so it doesn’t count!”), as well as the inevitable dismissal or arguments made in an insufficiently “civil” manner–these are the favored strategies for those would would prefer not to engage with substantive criticism on the merits. And to the extent that there is specific content, the people it applies to have virtually no influence in American politics, which makes arguing against them not terribly productive. To get something constructive out of this, perhaps we can create a more specific typology: the characteristics you’re likely to have if you’re the kind of respectable pundit who can be the token “liberal” at prominent national publications and Sunday talk shows:

  • During the run-up to an exceptionally disastrous war when prescient anti-war voices are scarcer in the mainstream media than people of color at a Nader rally, you can never get around to using your prominent media outlets to clearly disagree with the war, you do find time to suggest that you agree with the war, and yet years after the fact when the war is both an abject disaster and highly unpopular you suddenly start patting yourself on the back for having courageously opposed the war all along.
  • Even as you nominally opposed the war after it became easy to do so, you can somehow never find anybody else who opposes it in the right way–”it’s easy to assume that they are rooting for an American failure,” you claim, never naming any names or giving any quotes–and maintain that another Freidman is somehow always required for people to be Serious.
  • You claim that people who oppose the Bush administration’s illegal warrantless wiretapping program are as “out of the mainstream” as people who think that Terri Schiavo was three days away from walking out of the hospital, despite easily available public opinion data that shows the opposite.
  • You make the transparently illogical assertion that the increasing insecurity of the contemporary job market makes the privitization of Social Security more desirable. (I guess this kind of reactionary and unpopular position isn’t outside the mainstream–and certainly not comparable to the Schiavo wingnuts–but is “speaking truth to power” or something.)
  • You claim, based on inferences gleaned from George Bush’s alleged “authenticity,” that the result of Bush’s election would be “‘a quiet, patient, and persistent bipartisanship,’ with no big tax cuts or Supreme Court ideologues” and suggest that “Bush could easily retain Lawrence Summers at Treasury and Richard Holbrooke at the United Nations.”
  • You dismiss fundamental economic issues that might matter to people not in your highly elevated income bracket as “jobs, health-care, and blah-blah-blah.”

Nobody could hit every one of these, could they?

Ezra: ” Who is Joe Klein arguing against here? Even a left-wing strawman would find this recitation of his positions a smidge reductive. And to say that “it would be wildly stupid for me to get into a pissing match by naming names” is basically irresponsible. Either Joe Klein is arguing against real human beings with a role in the national dialogue or he is not, but until he names some names, the context of the conversation suggests he’s talking about the left wing blogosphere — he’s simply retaining plausible deniability around his insinuation.”

Master Class

[ 0 ] March 2, 2007 |

This probably should be djw’s job as his biggest fan on this weblog, but Jackmormon notes that there will be a major Abbas Kiarostami retrospective at MoMA this month. However, while she points out that “NYU turned down his offer of a master-class,” she leaves out the most important part of the story: happily, by turning down those West Village gangsters Kiarostami ended up at New York’s finest institution of higher learning instead:

This March, Hunter College film and media students will have the rare opportunity to learn filmmaking under the mentorship of the acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami, who will hold a nine day film production master class in the Department of Film & Media Studies. Mr. Kiarostami’s visit to Hunter is being underwritten by The Rifkind Foundation.

Kiarostami has developed and led master classes for film students around the world and Hunter College is the first college in the United States to host the filmmaker. His master class at Hunter College coincides with a retrospective of his films and photography at the Museum of Modern Art and P.S.1.


Feminism and Ex Ante Housework Standards

[ 0 ] March 2, 2007 |

Matt interprets data adduced by Jessica and finds more evidence for my assertion that the typical arrangement of housework in households occupied by heterosexual couples reflects unjust gender balances combined with actually different ex ante standards of cleanliness/tidiness (which are related to said equalities, of course, but a feminist analysis doesn’t require any specific ex ante level of domestic work beyond what is necessary for sanitation, cooking, childrearing, etc.) With all due respect to the great Marcotte and Waring I continue to disagree with the implied solution of creating equality within domestic work norms that are an unholy marriage of 1)patriarchy, 2)the related assumption of one partner devoted full-time to domestic work, and 3)general cultural assumptions that unstructured leisure time is somehow immoral, and instead think that it makes more sense to try to achieve equality within a more rational allocation of priorities that doesn’t take 50s-bourgeois standards of tedious domestic busywork as a given. An additional advantage of my idea is that I think gender equality will be much more viable if the total work is reduced. To once again borrow from Jacob Levy the idea that “[t]he only non-sexist equilibrium is for both partners to converge on the preferences that got inculcated in women by societies that had one partner be a full-time housekeeper, sometimes with additional paid help” is plainly erroneous, and assuming such standards on average puts women in an exceptionally weak bargaining position in which gross inequalities are inevitable. The underlying differences don’t justify the inequality, but I think they do make clear that trying to equalize at an anachronistically high level of domestic work is a bad feminist strategy.

The Perfect Follow-up?

[ 0 ] March 1, 2007 |

Lance on The Black Donnelys:

Note to Paul Haggis, Oscar winning director intent on ruining his reputation by producing a TV show so cliched and hackneyed it will make his Walker Texas Ranger days seem like a time of ferocious artistic integrity:

You are not excused for indulging in an ethnic stereotype just because you’ve acknowledged you’re indulging in an ethnic stereotype.

Five minutes into the first episode of The Black Donnellys tonight the Donnelly brothers get into a fistfight. In a bar. During a wake.

But just before all hell breaks loose, the narrator, a character named Joey Ice Cream, who is supposedly telling the story from his jail cell to a couple of cops, says something like, “The Irish are often stereotyped as drunks who like to get into fights. This is so unfair it makes you so mad that sometimes you just got to get drunk and punch somebody.”

I should have turned it off right then.

I didn’t see it, so I can’t judge its overall quality. But having characters justify the stalest cliches by pointing out the cliches? You can’t get a better replacement for Studio 60 than that!

Catherine Andrews and the rest of the flophouse think it’s horrible, although unlike Lance think it’s marginally better than Studio 60.

L, G & M ’08!

[ 0 ] March 1, 2007 |

Huh, Unity ’08 predicted that they’d have 5-20 million people participating in their pointless onanism “online primary”? Pikers! I would like to take the opportunity to announce the Lawyers, Guns and Money primary, which I predict will have 40, 50, maybe even a hundred million voters! Finally, we can heal this country’s deep political wounds by coming together and admitting, in a nice, civil, nonpartisan way that I’m right about everything.

(Via MY.)

But At Least We Didn’t Do What Clinton Did!

[ 0 ] March 1, 2007 |

I assume that Rob may have more to say about this, but in the meantime allow me to point out that the Bush administration’s foreign policy can be summed up in two words: “in” and “ept.”

…Update by Rob; I have very little to add, other than this.

An Applied Experiment

[ 0 ] March 1, 2007 |

Inspired by Atrios’ comments below, let’s take Instapundit’s invitation and compare the George Carlin civility indexes of Glenn Reynolds and Josh Marshall. Don’t give me guff about “who cares?” or “what does this mean?” or “isn’t comparing criticism of the Bush administration you disagree with to the Turner Diaries much less civil than using the word “piss”?” We have been informed that this is a highly meaningful comparison that will Embarrass The Left! Onward:

#1: Reynolds, 6 pages of hits. Heavens to Betsy, get me the smelling salts and the fainting couch! JMM, only 5.

#2: Reynolds: 5 pages of hits! Shocking! Marshall gets 2 pages, not all of them his.

#3: Reynolds: 4 pages of hits! Calling miss manners! Masrhall himself seems to have one usage, some more at the Horses’ Mouth and/or its comments.

#4: Reynolds is clean. Give him a Fauntleroy Ribbon of Civileritude. With the spam eliminated, JMM is also clean.

#5 The word has appeared twice in Instapundit’s hallowed pages, the horror! What will we tell the children!?!?! JMM is clean.

#6: Reynolds has allowed this word to appear twice! Oh my! JMM is clean.

#7: Appears chez Reynolds only once. His participation in the smear campaign against Jessica Valenti doesn’t count because he avoided this word. Marhsall gets some hits but none referring to the female breasticle, so he’s clean.

Anyway, the evidence is clear: Josh Marhsall is a Serious Thinker Interested In Ideas, while Glenn Reynolds is an uncivil potty mouth who can be safely ignored, QED.

…Ted Barlow, in the thread below: “There isn’t much left of the dried up corpse of “South Park Republicanism”, is there? Just the feeling of entitlement to mock minorities, then sneer and say “Jeez, just kidding.”" Heh. Indeed!

Perverse Values

[ 6 ] February 28, 2007 |

Shorter Glenn Reynolds: Coming up with kooky schemes for illegal death squads and casually accusing political opponents of hating America for disagreeing with your idiotic foreign policy preferences represents a Serious Interest In Ideas as long as you don’t swear.

And for bonus serious ideas, John Quiggin documents how Reynolds has Very Seriously repeatedly touted George W. Bush’s masterful outfoxing of Moqtada al-Sadr. Thank heavens he didn’t curse and deprive us of these profound insights!

…And I forgot to mention–InstaPunk says that we should also take the comments sections of the blogs into account. Given that most top 20 liberal blogs have comments and a majority of Top 20 reactionary blogs don’t, that’s a nice hedge!

Open Heart

[ 0 ] February 28, 2007 |

Make sure to send your best wishes to Steve Gilliard.

Not That I Intend To Find Out, But…

[ 0 ] February 28, 2007 |

When I saw the jaw-dropping preview for Black Snake Moan, it seemed to either be 1)some sort of mutli-layered critique of patriarchal gender relations, or vastly more likely 2)a movie so bizarre and creepily misogynist it would seem to be a screenwriting collaboration between Joe Francis and Ace of Spades. Apparently, it’s what’s behind door #2… Ew.

Full Canadian Takeover

[ 0 ] February 27, 2007 |

Apparently CanWest has bought 100% of The New Republic. Which makes this rather puzzling:

Marty Peretz, who no longer owns part of the magazine, for the first time since 1974, will remain as Editor in Chief.

Um, why? Was that part of the deal? Can the suits think that Peretz makes the property more valuable on its merits? I’m also puzzled by the logic here. If one agrees with Peretz about Al Gore, they’re not allowed to disagree with sentiments like these? I wish TNR had a different editor-in-chief not out of some inherent animus but out of a desire to see a magazine that has a lot of good stuff in it to get better.