- Apart from the very superficial analogy with the hidden utopia, I just don’t see the comparison with Atlas Shrugged at all. That framework isn’t terribly original; what makes Rand’s novel unique is that it uses the older-than-dirt Shangri-La framework as a premise to allow its half-dimensional characters to read lengthy position papers for and against the position that the world can be divided into great men and parasites. I don’t think that Children of Men has anything in common with this, not only ideologically but artistically. Moreover, in COM there’s complete ambiguity about whether the outside force is a force for good at all–something that certainly doesn’t exist in AS.
- More importantly, I think there’s the perennial problem of the difference between good politics and good art. Certainly, I yield to nobody in my contempt for complacent pox-on-all-their-houses politics. But leaving aside that I don’t think this is quite what Cuaron is up to, would the movie be better if the lefty terrorists were an unequivocal force for good? I think the overwhelming likelihood is that it would be much worse. (I mean, I suppose the fact that Rushide seemed to consider “Gush and Bore” the height of wit and wisdom might be a clue as to why Fury is so unreadable, but his Naderism would be irrelevant if he was still writing with the skill and imagination of Midnight’s Children.) I have no idea if Cuaron can make any useful contributions to political discourse, but he’s a great filmmaker.
This Jonah Goldberg joint is so incoherent it’s hard to know where to begin with it. Well, I think here:
Clark’s comments, predictably, earned him denunciations from Jewish groups. After all, the notion that rich, secretive Jews living in places such as New York are pulling strings to visit war and misery on the masses is a time-honored anti-Semitic cliche heard from Charles Lindbergh, Ignatius Donnelly and “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.”
So comparing someone with Lindbergh is plainly accusing them of anti-semitism. Glad he’s finally conceded this obvious point. And then there’s this:
The first is a rich and fascinating claim. Truth is a defense against slander, but is it a defense against bigotry? Liberals rarely agree when it comes to defending honored members of the coalition of the oppressed. Just ask former Harvard President Lawrence Summers, who questioned whether innate ability explained why fewer women succeed in math and science and who was defenestrated from Harvard as a sexist for his troubles.
Um, well, if truth is a defense then Goldberg is estopped from questioning me for calling Summers a “sexist” because he believes women are genetically inferior–if that’s not sexism, what is? In addition, people who objected to Summers’ remarks most certainly did not do so because they thought they were true. Amazing as it may be for someone who has pulled himself up by his bootstraps like Jonah, but some of us still don’t think that the exclusion of women from science faculties reflects their inability to do the job, any more than the exclusion of women from law firms 50 years ago did (or the must lesser representation of women on the nation’s prominent op-ed pages suggests that women are genetically incapable of matching your remarkable logical skills and command of the evidence.)
Eating disorders are becoming more prevalent among men as well as women:
Contrary to the long-held belief that anorexia and bulimia are female afflictions, the first national survey on eating disorders has found that one-quarter of adults with the conditions are men.
The study estimated that about 850,000 men had suffered from the disorders and, despite two decades of intense attention to the conditions, had gone largely undetected.
“This is a very important finding,” said Ruth Streigel-Moore, an eating disorders expert at Wesleyan University who was not connected with the study. “It suggests a need to move away from gender-based explanations.”
The researchers said the findings, which appear today in the journal Biological Psychiatry, indicated men are vulnerable to the same social pressures that lead some women to uncontrollably binge and purge on food and others to starve themselves.
“Body image has become more important among men,” said co-author Dr. Harrison G. Pope Jr., a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “There’s a large, silent population of men who might be quite ill.”
Overall, the survey found that 4.5% of adults, or 9.3 million people, have struggled with an eating disorder sometime in their lives. Anorexia accounted for 1.3 million of the cases, and bulimia 2.1 million. Binge eating, a disorder of frequent, uncontrollable periods of gorging, accounted for the largest number of cases, 5.9 million.
The study, conducted by researchers at Harvard University Medical School, was based on information obtained from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication, a mental health survey of nearly 9,000 adults across the U.S.
I’m sure putting BMI on report cards will solve that!
What’s frustrating is not only that this shallow, misogynist claptrap is filling up op-ed space at the Times, but that Dowd is often portrayed as a liberal and sometimes even as a feminist.
…or, to put it another way, the Times is the organization that fired Molly Ivins but continues to sign Dowd’s paychecks.
I understand why the Air Force is going to be stepping up patrols along the Iraq-Iran border. The USAF needs to be able to tell Congress that it’s contributing in a positive way to the war effort, and the Bush administration needs to blame its failure in Iraq on Iran. Stupidity explained is not stupidity excused, however. The whole project stinks of the absurd. The Iran-Iraq border is very long, very poorly patrolled, and sees a tremendous amount of traffic, especially in southern areas. The idea that a few more fighter-bombers zipping along the border are going to do anything to reduce the (largely imaginary) traffic in weapons and IEDs is just silly.
The Air Force’s problem is that it believes its PR. Of limited use even in a conventional conflict, the promiscuous use of airpower is downright counter-productive in a counter-insurgency conflict:
A counterinsurgency manual developed by Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the new U.S. commander in Iraq, only briefly mentions air power in fighting the insurgency. And the commander of day-to-day operations, Army Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, comes from a background in heavy infantry units, traditionally less dependent on air power.Some military officers have argued that dropping bombs in dense Baghdad neighborhoods would be counterproductive, and Petraeus has warned commanders against operations that might alienate the local population.
Stymied by its more sensible Army and Marine counterparts, the Air Force searches for alternatives:
Thomas G. McInerney, a retired Air Force lieutenant general who advocates military strikes in Iran, said U.S. planes along the border could be better used to keep bomb-making materials out of Iraq.
“We know they are doing this. Why do we accept it?” McInerney said. “For every [improvised explosive device] that goes off in Iraq, a bomb should go off in Iran.”
This is a position which, I daresay, would make even the craziest of wingnuts blush. I really have to wonder whether all of this doesn’t find its origin in a frustrated 35 year desire to pound “Charlie” as he came down the Ho Chi Minh Trail…
The South Dakota legislature is planning to reintroduce an abortion ban that (unlike the law overturned by initiative last year) includes exemptions for rape and incest. Jessica Valenti notes that “this is going to mean a change of fighting words on our part. After all, a lot of what pro-choicers talked about when trying to defeat the last ban was the lack of exceptions.”
Although I can understand that sometimes you have to take advantage of what opportunities you have in the short-term, I’ve always thought that from a pro-choice perspective focusing on the lack of a rape or incest exemption is a disastrous long-term strategy. First of all, in practice rape/incest exemptions are unlikely to afford much protection to women, so women don’t really gain anything. Given the compressed time frame, states determined to prevent abortions can make the procedural hurdles to proving that a pregnancy was the result of non-consensual sex so difficult and humiliating that most women who could clear them could probably obtain abortions under any legal regime anyway. And second, to imply that forcing women to carry pregnancies to term is uniquely bad in cases of rape or incest is to essentially accept the reactionary sexual mores that underly the criminalization of abortion in the first place. Implicit in such exceptions is the assumption that if a women gets pregnant through voluntary sexual relations she can be punished by being forced to carry her pregnancy by the coercive authority of the state; rape victims get a pass because they didn’t “choose” to become pregnant. To pro-choicers, this should be viewed as nonsensical. A woman’s reproductive freedom should not depend on whether or not she is a victim of rape or incest. As the South Dakota case demonstrates, pushing pro-life positions toward their logical conclusion is the much better strategy.
[Also at TAPPED.]
Via Thers, I see that Paul J. Cella and Maximos–RedStaters who articulate Strom Thurmond’s political views in prose that suggests that they think Josh Trevino could use a little more pomposity–have put forward a “reactionary catechism.” Apparently, one central feature is that Jim Crow was a just social order:
¶ A healthy polity will have a majority population and culture; contemporary orthodoxy on diversity tends towards anarchy and strife.
¶ The right of a community to maintain its identity, autonomy, and independence is among the first principles of a free polity.
¶ Tradition and custom need not constantly explain or justify themselves as practice or policy. The presumption is in their favor. To drag them before the bar of a rigid rationalism is profound impiety.
¶ Men, and societies of men, are ultimately more apt to maintain loyalties among those who are like them. This is natural and not to be either deplored or extirpated, but rather disciplined by civic virtue.
¶ Indiscriminate blending of cultures is thus undesirable, and more often than not an at least implicit act of aggression against the existing majority culture.
¶ Voting is not a right but a privilege. Its abuse is rampant, and to contain it is a valid object of public policy. More damaging to a republic than corrupt politicians are corrupt voters.
¶ The American traditions of federalism, states’ rights, and localism deserve the deepest respect and cultivation: for in them is the truest protection of liberty.
Loverly. It’s not just that these principles would logically require defending apartheid against the federal government’s attempts to enforce the Constitution–although they certainly would–but that these were the arguments that were used. I guess the precise reference isn’t Strom Thurmond, but Bill Buckley circa 1957…
I look forward to RedState’s endorsement of Joe Biden.
Jack Shafer has a terrific piece debunking the myth (recently seen in Newsweek) that Vietnam vets were routinely spit on:
In researching the book, Lembcke found no news accounts or even claims from the late 1960s or early 1970s of vets getting spat at. He did, however, uncovered ample news stories about anti-war protesters receiving the saliva shower from anti-anti-war types.
Then, starting around 1980, members of the Vietnam War generation began sharing the tales, which Lembcke calls “urban myths.” As with most urban myths, the details of the spat-upon vets vary slightly from telling to telling, while the basic story remains the same. The protester almost always ambushes the soldier in an airport (not uncommonly the San Francisco airport), after he’s just flown back to the states from Asia. The soiled soldier either slinks away or does nothing.
Shorter TIDOS Yankee: “Should I be an irresponsible piece of shit? Allow me to present my case.”
I’m presenting working on what will likely be my last post on the Jamil Hussein/Hurriyah mosque attacks debacle. [ed.-- sweet bleeding Jesus, this is good news!] I’ve got some emails out to several sources and the AP itself attempting to tie up loose ends, and I won’t write a final draft until those addressed have a reasonable amount of time to respond.
I did, however, have one question I addressed to all of those I queried, that I’d like to ask my readers as well:
Should I “out” Jamil, revealing his real, full, and complete name?
Now, I have few doubts that Bob Owens suffers from delusions of grandeur and that the actual identity of Jamil Hussein has been revealed to him by a tiny green Martian that only he can see as it floats effortlessly over his right shoulder. Whatever madcap hilarity this might produce, his posts of late have been soaked with an air of self-importance that he has not in fact deserved — constantly announcing without irony that he’s “awaiting Kathleen Carroll’s response” to whatever lightly toasted ideas he’s sent forth into the void; making vague and dramatic references to his “sources” in The ‘Raq; and generally carrying on like an asshole.
This, however, shows once and for all — as if we needed further confirmation — that cracked, wingnut warbloggers will never be mistaken for actual journalists.