Thursday, July 20, 2006

. . . And What I've Been Reading

  • Why the Right-Wing Gets It--and Why Dems Don't:

    On the contrary: the GOP knows that the middle DOES matter. They know that by playing to their base in very well-crafted ways, they can shift the very definition of what the middle is. By introducing radicalism into the public discourse (and taking initial heat for it), whatever used to be radical within this context becomes moderate by comparison.

  • Your Final Exam in Eighties Canadian Song Lyrics

    Please study the lyrics to Rush’s 1981 chart-topper, “Tom Sawyer”, and then answer the questions below.


    1. If his mind were for rent, would you be more or less likely to put him down as arrogant? Defend your answer. What if you could lease with the option to buy?

  • Doing Scales:

    I liked him because he was messy and self-absorbed, and didn't shame me for the crazy shit I was doing that summer, a lot of which involved riding the subways at 4 a.m., eating takeout Chinese for breakfast, sleeping with him, and never opening my mail so that it would pile up in stacks on bookshelves, my coffee table, my dresser, my windowsills - collection agencies shrieking at me like a bad dream.

  • Ignorance on Parade: Richard Cohen's Mistakes:

    Ignorant man: Read your modern history. Half of all Israelis are now Sephardic Jews, refugees from Arab lands that expelled their Jews or drove them out through pogroms. Israel took them in, gave them homes and lives, and their children are now running the country.

  • CrabAppleLane Sunday

    Patsy throws whole corn out on the grounds for the larger birds that don’t go to the feeder. This one hasn’t learned to fly yet. When he does, I think we're moving.

  • Assertions Were Meant to be Challenged:

    The aggro-rant isn’t for everyone (though I freely and wholly love one), but honestly, it doesn’t mean they aren’t participating in examination and critique. If something makes a person angry and they pontificate about it, who’s to say they aren’t hungry for someone to come back at them equally vociferously? Often, people who make passionate, assertive arguments love nothing more than when someone makes another one right back at them.

    (I add: That last sentence is definitely true for me, as is its opposite. This is probably not strictly healthy, but fact is, I interpret failure to engage me in an argument as failure to engage me, period.)

  • Fat Tony:

    I've had a couple of guys try to get too detailed, and not in a good way. I really don't need clumsy back story like, "And then, I pull off your skirt and feel you up and your clitoris comes out to say 'Hello.'" A dude said this to me once, and my clitoris ran back inside and refused to come out to play for the rest of the night.

  • Monsoons Indeed!:

    Imagine a life in which a sixty-mile hike in triple-digit temperatures, a one in ten chance of dying at least, is something you would think reasonable to face more than once in order to pick lettuce for five bucks an hour or less.

  • Keep It Up:

    So, what do we have? Greenwald is “illiterature”, a moron, a liar; he is a douche, the uberdouche, the biggest douche in the blogosphere, the Babe Ruth/Bill Gates of douches; he is McCarthy, befuddled and/or manipulative, more than a bit of a fascist, intellectually and morally bankrupt, an absolute disgrace, gay (tee-hee!) and therefore insane; and, of course, a terrorist lover. The transgression which occasions these remarks is patiently cataloging, recording, and referencing what these people say, every single day. And it makes them insane.

    (I add: I know that's two links from the same site. Is there a rule that I can't do that? Because fuck your rules, then.)

  • Unequal Weapons on the Pitch: A Partial Defense of Zidane:

    Leaving aside gendered and sexualized insults, what power do the words "honky" and "cracker" and "redneck" have to hurt compared to, say, the word "nigger"? If you call me a "cracker" (a term more accurately used to refer to poor rural whites), I'm going to laugh -- there is no history of violence and hatred behind the word. If I call a player of African descent the "n" word, I'm going to expect a different reaction -- not because he has less self-control than I do but because of the extraordinary legacy attached to that term.

    Anonymous said...

    "Please study the lyrics to Rush’s 1981 chart-topper"

    I have never understood the appeal of that song but I tend to sing along if it comes on and I can't do anything about it.


    Anonymous said...

    One other thing: Zidane is ze idiot. No one's honor was at stake. His opponent was intentionally trying to goad him into a foul. That is a typical schoolyard trick and should never work at that level. It may have cost his team and his country a world championship and his great career prior to that stupidity will be forgotten.


    ilyka said...

    I have never understood the appeal of that song but I tend to sing along if it comes on and I can't do anything about it.

    Plus, it's one of those that gets in your head by osmosis even if you never listened to it a-purpose. Now, though, I'm never going to hear it again without thinking, "Is the world? Oh, is it really?"

    Re: Zidane--I'm basically agnostic about him. I think what you said is probably exactly what my father would say about it and in most matters sports, I defer to my father.

    Really what I liked about Hugo's post was the idea that context matters. It's a notion I used to try in vain to get across to a certain blogger, who basically always argued back that, no, what mattered was what he meant IN HIS MIND.

    Rob said...

    I think Hugo is entirely wrong across the board.

    One other snippet from Hugo:

    "It is dangerous for whites, particularly white Christian men, to suggest that players like Zidane (who is of African descent and is a non-practicing Muslim) ought to be able to control their tempers better."

    There is nothing dangerous about it. EVERYONE, particularly people with bad ones, should learn to control their tempers better. It is ridiculous to think that anyone is entitled to a bad temper. If they insist on having one, it will always be expensive. People with bad tempers get in fights, they break things, and they get thrown out of world championships.

    One other thing: What is a non-practicing Muslim? A Methodist?