Saturday, February 26, 2005

Another victory for the "poor and lower middle class!" (Today's NYT)

With Friday's vote, Wal-Mart can continue to say that not one of its 1.2
million American workers belongs to a union. Support for organizing dissipated
here after the company repeatedly showed workers videos about what were
portrayed as the shortcomings of unions, and transferred into the shop six new
workers who, Mr. Noble said, had been screened by the company to ensure their
antiunion sentiment


Friday, February 25, 2005

Peggy, You Ignorant Slut

Did we need Peggy Noonan to tell us that Hunter Thompson had a drug problem? Do we need her to psychoanalyze him, too?

He must have been very scared to get tanked like that to write. The empty page,
the blank screen, is scary. But so is a mortgage. So is the stillness of a
courtroom before you make the closing argument. And so is a broken leg that
needs fixing fast. We all have jobs.
Thank you, Peggy. Your moral courage is a comforting example to us all; most especially, I'm sure, to the family of the deceased.


Nordlinger Gives Up "Honest Debate"

In a shocking turn of events this week, the National Review Online's Jay Nordlinger has given up trying to "reason with" people on the political left.

You want to have an honest, robust debate with your political opposition — you
really do. But what if they think you're out to screw old people and enrich Wall
Street? Can you talk to such people?
Can you?

It seems Nordlinger's well-meaning attempts at a mutually elevating dialogue have sustained one too many blows from the emotionally charged fictions that fuel such things as Wal-Mart protests and university conferences.

Yet, though discouraged, he comes out of the battle with the liberal elite with the truth at his side, still secure in the knowledge that "Wal-Mart is a godsend to the poor and the lower middle class." While we might think at first that he means lower middle class and poor Americans, who don't happen to work in manufacturing, want to join unions, or make a living wage, Nordlinger anticipates our misreading and misinformation. Yet, rather than succumbing to the temptation to mock the ignorant liberal reader, Nordlinger serenely turns away from the technique of making straw men out of the opposition and delivers us the cold hard facts, setting us straight about the Wal-Mart issue:


The anti-Wal-Mart mindset is a kind of religion, like dumb
environmentalism, or dumb devotion to gun control, or dumb hatred of the SUV. You can't reason with these people, can't have an honest debate with them: Wal-Mart is simply their devil.


After clearing up the whole Wal-Mart thing, Nordlinger moves on to make a compelling argument against the problems in the (other-than-Bob Jones) universities of today:


At Weinstein Auditorium in Wright Hall, you can attend a panel concerning
"What is the new surveillance? An overview of current conditions." Later you can
hear from such scholars as Joy James, "Africana Studies, Brown University," and
Amrita Basu, "Women and Gender Studies, Amherst College," and . . .
I could go on, but it's too depressing. One thing's sure: I bet they're not "invested in
the complexity of human endeavors across the planet"; I bet they regard things
as pretty simple
.

Nordlinger's relentless, brilliant logic is almost too much. It's no wonder his attempts at dialogue with liberals don't work; his arguments are too complex, too mercilessly dazzling in their subtlety and intricacy. All the poor overwhelmed liberal can do in the face of such an opponent is abandon any attempt at logical engagement and resort to name calling and gross generalization, pathetic rejoinders like "oh yeah? Well I bet you regard things as pretty simple! Ha!"

Somewhere, there is a secret academy where minds like Nordlinger's are trained. Until a liberal is admitted to its halls, our cause is hopelessly shackled by primitive thinking and cult-like fidelity to an ideology that ignores the facts. In the meantime, we should be grateful that Nordlinger is still publishing, and take this opportunity to learn from the enlightened.


Sunday, February 13, 2005

Liberating Brigitte

My favorite thing on T.V.? “Strange Love,” the new reality show on VH1 chronicling the romance of Flava Flav and Brigitte Nielson. There are few sights more gratifying than that of Flav jumping around in a white bathrobe, slippers, and a Viking helmet, upon whose horns he has impaled two croissants, declaring his love for an aging, brain damaged hysteric.

But this is not your usual reality T.V. show. It is, in fact, a heartfelt homage to the first term of George W. Bush.

When we first tune in, we find Flav on vacation. Already, we begin to see the parallels.

He is attempting to wrest Brigitte (a sort of Iraq-figure who is fond of long, flowing head scarves) from the clutches of her fiancée--in France. His aim is to take her back to New York with him and show her what life’s really about.

But when Flav gets a bit crazy and breaks her stuff while they’re in the bath tub (Baath-tub?), we see Brigitte’s Arab-like ambivalence surface with some not-quite-intelligible verbal abuse. Flav makes it up to her by firing her maid.

Of course, during this difficult but morally correct courtship, Flav, like W., has to deal with the snobbery of old Europe. An Italian vintner is at a loss for what to do with him when, after being invited to stomp on a few grapes, Flav decides to go on stomping for hours on end, demanding more and more grapes, and screaming “we gonna get drunk tonight!” (Purple toes—purple fingers?)

Brigitte puts the whole thing in perspective for us, renewing our sympathy for our noble but misunderstood commander in chief, when she comments to the viewer that “Fufie Fufie” has to understand Europe isn’t like America.

What happens next? Will Brigitte make the transition to Flav’s Laissez-faire values? Or will she remain in the service of her despotic fiancée, content to enjoy the support of the old European establishment, haunted by the painful knowledge of what could have been as her life continues to dissolve into chaos? If he fails in this first attempt, will Flav be able to make the case back home to Chuck D. and Terminator X to loan him more money so he can go back to Europe to finish the job? Only time will tell.


Sunday, February 06, 2005

Update

That transcript from Scarborough Country is here. Even better is the next step, in which Scarborough, interviewing Tom Lucero of the Colorado Board of Regents, gets on board with the ever-more popular characterization of liberals as irrational, hate-mongering enemies of free speech (after all, they interrupted the Board of Regents), and asks Lucero point blank if he has "the guts to fire" Churchill.


Friday, February 04, 2005

Try Asking Another Body Part

From MMFA:

Sinclair's Hyman wrong on Ohio voting problems

Poor Sinclair.


Let's Clear This Up

Perhaps it was a show of solidarity with George W. Bush. Or maybe the self-satisfied boasting of the proverbial Ugly American at its most abhorrent. Or just some kind of twisted souvenir.

But whatever anyone says, that purple ink on the fingers of Republicans at the State of the Union was not a show of solidarity with the Iraqi people.


The Great Terror Comes to Scarborough Country

Yes, Ward Churchill is probably an idiot.

An argument along the lines of Chomsky's "Manufacturing Consent," that we are all part of a bigger problem involving capitalism, military power, and oppression may be plausible. But to claim that suicide bombers are a good means of counteracting that problem is absurd. Fine.
But the fun hasn't stopped there.

Of course, I don't need to go on and on about free speech here. But I do ask you to take a moment of your time to reflect on how freakin' scary this whole thing is getting: look at the power wielded by Bill O'Reilly, for example.

From his website:

Hamilton College has decided to cancel its engagement this week with controversial University of Colorado Professor Ward Churchill. Congratulations, Factor fans! While the college cites security concerns as the reason for the cancellation, we believe that the volume of your messages sent to Pres. Stewart criticizing his appearance was the real factor in deciding to shut down the event. To express your approval for the decision to cancel the Churchill lecture, please contact the school.

Okay, maybe it wasn't all those calls from "Factor fans" that were responsible for the decision. Maybe it really was a death threat from some psychotic right-winger. None of whom are Bill O'Reilly, or his fans.

But no matter. Now the game is on in Scarborough Country. Last night, Scarborough called for the firing of any state-school professor who expresses views contrary to those of the Cult of the Purple Finger. (Transcript to follow as soon as MSNBC posts it). This wouldn't have bothered me so much before all the fair and balanced questioning Joe and his creepy, slightly dazed junkyard dog, Pat Buchannan did with the Swift Boaters, or before the whole Churchill business.

At the moment, however, it seems like the Great Terror has come to Scarborough Country. These people are in power now, and they can't be satisfied.


Really

Who gives a damn about Kinky Friedman?