August 4, 2012

Madison, Friday night.

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"I said, God this guy is too handsome to be governor but he does look like he could be president."

"As the years have gone by I'm beginning to think even more so that."

Acid attacks in Colombia.

"I would like to go to sleep today and not wake up tomorrow.... The truth is life is too hard and I am alone."

Architects dressed as their buildings.

"Go bold, Mitt! Pick Paul Ryan, the Republican party’s intellectual leader..."

"... the man who’s laid out the core of the post-Obama policy agenda and gotten his colleagues in Congress to sign on to it."
Or pick Marco Rubio, the GOP’s most gifted young politician, the man who embodies what is best about the Tea Party and a vision of a broad-based Republican governing majority of the future. Barack Obama was right about this (if only this): Modern democratic politics is about hope and change. Ryan and Rubio, more than anyone else, embody Republican hopes and conservative change.
(I'm not agreeing with this... just pointing to it.)

"A woman should always have fair skin... Otherwise people will think you’re a peasant."

Tanning is so disliked in China that some people wear a head and face covering — ski-mask-style — to go out swimming.

Meanwhile, in the United States, the infamous "tanning mom" has de-tanned somewhat.  

45% of the monks in Thailand are obese.

They're eating what they collect from the public, but the alms-givers are giving them fattening things, apparently.

A Drudgetaposition.

This line-up at Drudge (right now) is no accident. Obviously — don't bore me with disagreement — Obama making the teeny tiny gesture next to the missile launch is a small penis/large penis visual joke. Next to that we see the double-amputee with highly effective prostheses. (Olympics spoiler alert.) It's a challenge to complete the implied statement, but we can see the relationship.


(Click to enlarge.)

The Obama pic goes with "8.254%" and the linked story is about Obama saying, essentially, it's smaller than you think. He's referring to the unemployment rate, which was announced as 8.3%, but if you take it out to another decimal or two, you can see that the rounding, though conventional, makes it look bigger than it really is.

The missile pic goes to a story about Iran test-firing a long-range missile. And the amputee picture is "Legless Pistorius makes Olympic history; Qualifies for 400-meter dash...."

So... at the visual/subliminal level, at Drudge today, it's all about... what can I say? I'll say: masculine power.

"What a perfect opportunity to inflict this on Althouse readers!"

Said Palladian...

A kiss-in should be a love-in or it shouldn't be done at all.

Protests express opposition and therefore usually anger. Expressing love is inconsistent with anger. So if you're going to use a gesture of love for protest, you've got a special problem. Appropriating an expression of love for hostile purposes is a dangerous matter. It's what makes rape so horrible.

Think about it. Most of us love sex but if we were beset by a hostile assailant, we would prefer a punch in the face to sexual intercourse.

I'm looking at pictures from the Chick-fil-A kiss-in. These were people who wanted to demonstrate support for same-sex marriage. (I agree with them on that issue, by the way.) As their form of protest, they chose kissing — individuals of the same sex, kissing in restaurants that are associated with opposition to same-sex marriage. So the idea was, go where you think you are not loved — even though there's no evidence that Chick-fil-A treats gay customers with less respect and friendliness than straight customers — and do something you think will upset them.

Now, restaurants generally don't want anybody making out, so you've chosen behavior that would be disruptive to a restaurant's business whether the kissing couples are same or opposite sex. The form of expression is offensive and not like the old civil rights demonstrations where black people sat at lunch counters and were not served. They simply acted like customers — good customers — and the only reason it worked as a demonstration was that the store only served food to white people, the policy the protesters very successfully demonstrated was wrong. Kissing at Chick-fil-A does nothing to show what's wrong about anything Chick-fil-A is doing. It's just displaying hostility to the place.

And it's displaying hostility with kissing. So what have they done? They've perverted kissing, which should be an expression of love. Ironic, considering that the gay rights movement seeks to dispel the belief that homosexuality is perverted.

It's a challenge to protest with gestures of love. It can be done, but it can't be done with hate or love is not love. We think of hippies and their love-ins (and be-ins). I don't remember those demonstrations involving targeting any person or business. Yes, those hippies upset the squares — the straight people — and through what they claimed was love they made themselves dislikable to people they knew would be bothered by the way they acted, but that just goes to show how hard it is to use love to express something other than love.

ADDED: Here's a sign in a photograph chosen to top a favorable presentation of the kiss-in: "We're Here/We're Queer/& We're Not Eating." See how different that is from the old lunch-counter sit-ins? These 2 men are flaunting their taking up space in a commercial establishment without being customers. They are kissing as a way of saying: We're hostile to you.

The second sign says "I [heart] my boyfriend just as much as you love your spouse!," but the man is failing to demonstrate the equivalence between him and his boyfriend and "you" and your spouse because unlike the black sit-in protesters, they are not behaving like the people they want to say they are equal to.

The civil rights sitters-in behaved like ordinary customers, causing the store to behave in a way that onlookers could see was ugly. But since a straight couple doesn't go to a restaurant and stand around kissing without buying anything, the 2 men are not demonstrating sameness, but difference. An onlooker's reaction could be: No, you are not like me and my spouse because we only go to restaurants to buy food, and when we do, we treat everyone around us with respect, and when we kiss we do it in an appropriate setting and only to express love. Again, I see a terrible irony: They've sent the message of perverted love.

IN THE COMMENTS: As my whimsy leads me reminds us: "Judas perverted kissing when he betrayed Jesus."

I was thinking about Jesus when I wrote this post. Not in the context of Judas betraying Jesus with a kiss, but Jesus telling us to love our enemy. If someone strikes you on the face, instead of striking back, turn the other cheek, an invitation to the assailant to strike you a second time. That's how much love Jesus expects from you. That's a demonstration of love to the onlooker, who receives the message, the kind of demonstration that was made — to brilliant effect — in the civil rights era.

August 3, 2012

3 years ago, on that mountaintop....

... we got married.

Right here.

ADDED: Here's the post, from 3 years ago, explaining how it is we got married, alone together, on a mountaintop in Colorado. That post talks about law and federalism.

At the Old Leaf Café...

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... what's new?

MIT researcher and undergrads figured out a way to win the lottery and — over 7 years — spent $40 million to win $48 million.

Daily Mail reports:
Officials at the Massachusetts state lottery knew one of their games had essentially been taken over by the group of highly-intelligent gamblers but did nothing because their syndicate generated $16million.

Their system became an almost full-time business as the sophisticated gamblers snapped up hundreds of thousands of lottery tickets at $2 each.

By 2005 they had essentially monopolised the game....

It is thought lottery officials found out about the loophole in 2010 - or maybe earlier - but did not act because it was bringing in so much money....
So much for the notion that the lottery is a "tax on stupidity"? Actually, it still was a tax on stupidity for everyone outside of this syndicate, and since it was draining money from the amount that would otherwise be distributed to the stupid people, the stupid people were being taxed at a higher rate than usual. And the lottery officials were negligent (in creating the loophole) and then knowing as they enjoyed getting the money that they raised taxing stupidity.

Governor Phil Bryant wants the world to know that "Mississippi has changed."

And it was "unfortunate" that some people at a Mississippi church didn't want 2 black people to get married there.
"I'm sure there are very good people of Crystal Springs and in that Baptist church that don't feel that way and are supporting that effort," Bryant said of the Wilsons' desire to marry in the church.

"Look, when people want to get married, we ought to let them get married," Bryant said. "We have enough people that won't go and get married. I want to make every opportunity I can for any couple that wants to, to go get married."

But when asked if that should include couples where both partners are of the same sex, he added: "I wouldn't say gay couples, no," Bryant said. "I'd say a man and a woman. Let me make sure, let's get that right. When I say couples, I automatically assume it's a man and a woman."

Why "You Didn’t Build That" won't go away: Obama "went after bourgeois dignity."

Virginia Postrel explains:
“Bourgeois Dignity” is both the title of a recent book by the economic historian Deirdre N. McCloskey and, she argues, the attitude that accounts for the biggest story in economic history: the explosion of growth that took northern Europeans and eventually the world from living on about $3 a day, give or take a dollar or two (in today’s buying power), to the current global average of $30 -- and much higher in developed nations....

That change, she argues, is way too big to be explained by normal economic behavior, however rational, disciplined or efficient.... McCloskey’s explanation is that people changed the way they thought, wrote and spoke about economic activity. “In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries,” she writes, “a great shift occurred in what Alexis de Tocqueville called ‘habits of the mind’ -- or more exactly, habits of the lip. People stopped sneering at market innovativeness and other bourgeois virtues.”...
Read the whole Postrel piece, and perhaps the book as well. (I just put it in my Kindle.)

A question for the day: What is each candidate inviting us to sneer at?

"Oakland, the Last Refuge of Radical America."

A long NYT Magazine article.
In a sense, Oakland is the last place you would expect to find the most stubbornly active outpost of the Occupy movement. It’s a city almost entirely devoid of financial or corporate institutions, a city that “capital” fled decades ago. The shimmering skyscrapers of downtown San Francisco, packed with Pacific Heights investment bankers and venture capitalists, are all of 12 minutes away. Silicon Valley, bursting at the seams with dot-com millionaires, isn’t much farther. Why not take the fight there, to a more plausible surrogate for Wall Street?...

Why are radicals so inexorably drawn to Oakland?
Good question. And I have another question, about that photograph of "Boots Riley... a rapper and activist who doesn't want to see capitalism reformed; he wants to see it toppled." Does he always sit on chairs like that, was that his idea how to pose for this article, or did the photographer position him like that? I don't know, but I'm nevertheless going to recommend that revolutionary-type Americans wedge their chair into a corner (so it won't topple, like capitalism) and then sit on the seat back with your shod feet on the arms. Your feet may be shod in sneakers if your name is "Boots" or in boots if your name is "Sneakers." Your choice.

"I'm very looking forward to a Republican being back in office... When you're rich, you want a Republican in office."

The Politico headline says "Jenna Jameson supporting Mitt Romney," but I think you might want to credit her with cleverness. That might be a cute way of saying she's for Obama. Be alert for humor from sly porn stars.

IN THE COMMENTS: I have a lot to say to the people who question whether Jameson is smart.

AND: Watch her stand up to Bill O'Reilly:

Does chalking count as graffiti?

"A Virginia mom charged with vandalism must serve 50 hours of community service after she let her 4-year-old daughter draw on rocks with chalk."
But when it comes to vandalism, Ralph White, park manager for the James River Park System in Richmond, says “it’s all the same thing.”

“A couple of weeks ago, I was covering over pornographic drawings done in chalk,” White told WWBT. “It doesn’t matter what the medium is. It’s offensive.”
If you're going to ticket for the porn chalking, you have to ticket for kid's scribbles. Otherwise, it's viewpoint discrimination.

Previously on this blog: Confronting the chalking "Workers of the World Unite" on a Civil War monument.

Demonstrating that bulimia had destroyed her gag reflex...

... a woman laughs inopportunely.

The urologist...

... and the up-skirt photography.

The 5 guys who attacked Monte Ball said "something along the lines of 'nine more football players to go'..."

"They said that two or three times and they just kept running...." according to one witness. Ball is the University of Wisconsin star running back (a Heisman finalist last year).

What's with the math? How can you get 11 minus 1 wrong? 

"[D]oubling down on the bland, middle-aged white guy quotient on the Republican ticket could be a major mistake."

Writes Chris Cilizza, giving 3 reasons why Rob Portman is the wrong VP choice for Romney. One of the reasons is "Boring":
Portman is not exactly Mr. Exciting. (When your calling card for charisma is a chicken impersonation, it’s pretty slim pickings in the personality department.)
Must everything be about chicken? I would invite everyone to read "15 Genuinely Interesting Things About Rob Portman." The "great impression of a chicken" is in there, and in fact, there's another one with chickens:
He assembled a chicken coop for his wife's Christmas present this year and he gave her four chickens that live in their backyard. They lay four eggs a day.
To be fair to Cilizza, he also wrote a column about why Portman would be a great pick. In that analysis, boringness was a plus:
The rap on Portman is that he’s a boring guy who no one knows. That fact virtually ensures that if Portman is the pick the narrative that will emerge will be along the lines of “he’s more interesting that you might think!”. It’s just how these things tend to work.
I see that column links to the "15 Genuinely Interesting Things" that I remembered.

By the way, will it ever become politically incorrect to say white men are boring? People assume that it's safe to be racist and sexist when you're insulting traditionally privileged groups, but if you are one of those people who's felt the comfort of that insulation, I'd like to invite you to consider the way those insults always contain an implicit stereotype insulting the traditionally disadvantaged groups. If you say white men are boring, you're also saying something about women and about black people.

Oh, but it's a compliment — you say — to call someone interesting.

Is it? And there's a big difference between saying that a specific person is interesting and asserting that a particular group is "interesting." Black people are interesting — Is that something you think is acceptable to say?

ADDED: Remember those pathetic people who ate rats in an art gallery and imagined that they were adding to their interestingness? In the linked post, the commenter t-man said:
The sad man who lives in fear of seeming to be uninteresting brought to mind the classic Bugs Bunny lines:

My, I'll bet you monsters lead in-teresting lives. I said to my girl friend just the other day, 'Gee, I'll bet monsters are in-teresting.' I said. The places you must go and the things you must see -- my stars! I bet you meet lots of in-teresting people too. I'm always in-terested in meeting in-teresting people. Now let's dip our patties in the water!
 Now let's dip our patties in the water!

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee apologizes for saying Republicans had obtained "Chinese prostitution money."

The DCCC admits to making "unsubstantiated allegations," which "was wrong." (Note the grammatical correctness of the verb "was." They don't admit the allegations were wrong, only that making them was wrong.)
The DCCC had seized on an Associated Press report indicating that a former executive at the Las Vegas Sands Corporation in China alleged in legal documents that [Sheldon] Adelson was aware of prostitution at the casino’s location in Macau. Adelson is CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. “What will Speaker Boehner, Leader Cantor and House Republicans do with their Chinese prostitution money?” the DCCC had asked on its website, according to ABC News. The taunt was referring to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), the majority leader.
Their Chinese prostitution money!

Romney's foreign trip was a festival of gaffes.

That's the story MSM fell all over itself trying to tell. Here's Charles Krauthammer with the counternarrative: "Romney's excellent trip."

"After Warnings of an Olympic Crush, Businesses Suffer in a Deserted London."

Regular tourists, who would have patronized the shops and theaters and so forth, chose to go somewhere else.
Cabdrivers complain that business is down 30 percent from normal at this time of year. “Where are the million extra visitors that we were promised?” asked Steve McNamara, a spokesman for the Licensed Taxi Drivers’ Association. He coupled this with a palpable absence of the national pride Mr. Cameron has urged on a nation hosting its first Olympics since 1948. “I’m looking forward to the closing ceremony,” on Aug. 12, Mr. McNamara said.

"Give up wine; give up meat; avoid chills; sleep only on your right side; take rhubarb pills three times a day."

Old advice on how to extend one's lifespan, from the books available to Michel de Montaigne, the 16th century essayist, whose opinion on such advice is discussed by Steven Shapin and Christopher Martin in "How to live forever: lessons of history":
It wasn’t just that he doubted whether such nostrums would deliver the promised effects — although he did doubt this very much. It was that the purpose of extending life, even if it could be so extended, was not worth the price asked for. If you put the conduct of your life under the care of physicians, Montaigne thought they would make you miserable: “If they do no other good they do at least this, that they prepare their patients early for death, undermining little by little and cutting off their enjoyment of life.” By all means, listen to those who may have authentic medical expertise, but do not give up your freedom of action in so doing. Montaigne said that he knew of, and pitied, “several gentlemen who, by the stupidity of their doctors, have made prisoners of themselves, though still young and sound in health . . . . We should conform to the best rules, but not enslave ourselves to them.” As another proverb has it, to live physically (that is, according to the dictates of doctors) is to live miserably. Don’t be like those people who, in order to extend life, never actually live it. Life is not just about avoiding death; it’s about the active use of our powers while we are alive. To live like a human being, you must do all the things that human beings are capable of doing and should do; you must learn to suffer like a human being, and, finally, to die like a human being: “We must meekly suffer the laws of our condition. We are born to grow old, to grow weak, to be sick, in spite of all medicine. . . . We must learn to endure what we cannot avoid.”

Another idea for delaying aging.

At last night's open thread, the Coal Café, our beloved commenter Lem got inspired to look for updates on that story from a couple weeks ago about the burned fire walkers:
I was looking for news of the bed of hot coal walkers we had fun with and how they might be "getting over it"... when Google gave me this..

Bed warmer... The term is also commonly used in the United Kingdom and Australia for a temporary sexual partner, or a relationship of necessity.
This is not to be confused with Shunamitism, the practice of sharing a bed, but not necessarily engaging in sexual relations, with a young maiden, in hope that the shared warmth and moisture would delay aging.
Clicking through on Shunamitism, I see that the idea was that "the heat and moisture of the young woman would transfer to the old man and revitalize him." The term, Shunamitism, goes back to King David, who had a young woman from Shunem (named Abishag) brought to his bed to keep him warm. 1Kings 1,1. And: "Among scientific physicians, both Thomas Sydenham (17th century) and Herman Boerhaave (18th century) prescribed shunamitism for their patients." That's quite a prescription, if you can get it.

ADDED: I'm imagining Shunamitism as a New Age front for a prostitution business.

A presidential hypothetical.

Meade and I had what was to me a fascinating conversation yesterday, passing the mental time while we rode a 20-mile bike trail, so I thought you might enjoy batting this around in the comments.

Assume JFK was not assassinated. Now, beginning with the 1964 election and continuing up to 2012, name the candidates for President and Vice President in both parties and who would have won. Fill in with reasons why this happened.

I'll reveal our answers, which is mostly Meade's, after you have some time to talk about it, uninfluenced by us.

UPDATE: In 1964, JFK is reelected, with LBJ as VP. The GOP does not yet do its big shift to conservatism, and its defeated candidate is Nelson Rockefeller (whose VP choice is William Scranton). Barry Goldwater rises up in 1968, and he is successful, defeating LBJ (who has Hubert Humphrey as his VP). Goldwater's VP is William Miller (as it was, in actual history, in 1964), and Goldwater is an immensely successful President, winning the war in Vietnam, leaving civil rights issues to the states (and in the process preserving federalism values, to be used to excellent effect in succeeding years), and foreseeing and avoiding the problems of dependency on imported oil. Goldwater is reelected in 1972, defeating Hubert Humphrey (who has Scoop Jackson as his VP).

In 1976, Bobby Kennedy is the Democratic nominee (with Walter Mondale as VP), and he wins, defeating William Miller (who has Bob Dole as his VP). Bobby gets health-care reform, called "Bobbycare." But Bobbycare goes too far, and RFK goes down in 1980, crushed by Ronald Reagan (whose VP is George H.W. Bush). Reagan is reelected in 1984, defeating Walter Mondale (who has Geraldine Ferraro as his VP).

In 1988, it's Michael Dukakis and Lloyd Bentsen against George H.W. Bush and Jack Kemp, and — no big surprise — Bush and Kemp win. But they're in for only one term. Blamed for the economy — stupid! — they lose, in 1992, to Bill Clinton and Al Gore. Clinton and Gore are reelected in 1992 (facing Jack Kemp and his VP choice Tommy Thompson).

In 2000, it's Gore (with Lieberman) against George W. Bush (with Cheney), and Bush wins. In 2004, John Kerry (with John Edwards) lose to Bush and Cheney. In 2008, it's John Edwards against Mitt Romney, and Mitt Romney wins. (We won't worry about their VPs right now.) Challenged by Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney is reelected in 2012. And we don't get our first woman President. But the Romney terms come to a close. Now it's 2012, and Hillary goes for it again, only to be defeated in the primaries by another "first," the possible first black President, this fascinating upstart with the funny name Barack Hussein Obama. (But America, having avoided dependence on foreign oil, thanks to Barry Goldwater, never got dragged into crazy interactions with those Middle East countries, and there was never a 9/11 terrorist attack or an Iraq war, or any of those things that would make "Hussein" seem truly odd.)

Speaking of firsts, there's a first coming up on the GOP side, a woman! It's the hyper-competent and stunningly beautiful Sarah Palin. With 8 years as Governor of Alaska, her executive experience and record of accomplishment wow America. (She was term-limited in 2014, and spent the next 2 years running for President.) And so in 2016, we have our big first, the first woman President: Sarah Palin!

August 2, 2012

At the Coal Café...

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... get over it.

Add years to your life: Eat 600 calories a day.

"The bottom line is that it is the only thing that's ever really been shown to prolong life... Ultimately, ageing is a product of a high metabolic rate, which in turn increases the number of free radicals we consume."

And you thought you wanted to rev up your metabolism! No, keep it slow. Make it slower! If you believe this stuff, that is.

ADDED: New research indicates that exercise does not "rev up" your metabolism (as many people seem to think). It either stays the same or slows down. I'm guessing that response is healthy and protective of the body, not a dysfunction at all (as many people seem to think).

"This is a fucked-up country to grow up in, especially as a girl."

"And we all want to give young women the tools necessary to succeed. So let’s teach girls to survive a misogynist culture with a fist, not a smile."

Jessica Valenti, over at The Nation, is getting a bit exercised about plastic surgery (and a charity that pays for surgery to correct children's facial deformities, including some things that aren't that terrible, but that parents with enough money would probably get fixed to improve their kids' lives).

The psychiatrists could have done more to stop the Aurora theater murderer.

Dr. Lynne Fenton did contact the University of Colorado Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment team, but it "never came together."
"It takes more than just statements,” said one source, explaining that Holmes would have had to tell Fenton “something specific" before she would have to report it to law enforcement.

“He would have to tell her he had taken steps to make it happen,” said another source....

One source [said] that the team may not have been convened because while Fenton had “serious concerns, there may not have been an immediate threat.”
Maybe these standards and procedures need to be changed.

"I assume the one without the Civil War sideburns is the woman?"

A comment at Smoking Gun.

And by the way, if you're planning your transgressive day in the park, read this first.
You also can't be beaming ear to ear like John Edwards, looking like a total prick for making light of a grave situation. You certainly can't have some gonzo grin like you're still high... No, you need something in between. You need the smirk. Look at Samantha Ronson, Nicole Richie, or David Bowie. They say, "Yeah, I know I'm in the clink, but I'm still awesome and I'm going to get out of this, and I did, in fact, shoot the sheriff." That's what you want: bemused badassery, a photo that says you know you're going to get off because you're famous, pretty, and, perhaps, innocent.

"People don’t really know what they want when the thing they want doesn’t yet exist."

But wait. Vaginas exist.

If you're thinking of searching Amazon for "Tenga," please use the Althouse ahem portal.

"There's a special place in purgatory reserved for scientists who make bold claims based on tiny effects of uncertain origin..."

"... and an extra-long sentence is imposed on those who also keep their data secret, publishing only hard-to-interpret summaries of statistical modeling."
The flames that purify their scientific souls will rise from the lake of lava that eternally consumes the journalists who further exaggerate their dubious claims. Those fires, alas, await Drew P. Cingel and S. Shyam Sundar, the authors of "Texting, techspeak, and tweens: The relationship between text messaging and English grammar skills", New Media & Society 5/11/2012....
(Via Volokh.)

"I need a gun, many guns, and then I have the ride of my life."

"I will give myself a wonderful ending and be with Claas very soon. I like this plan, finally a good idea."

"Jill Stein, Green Party presidential nominee, arrested."

Trespassing.

Protesting.

Boring.

"I have a horse that is going to be fighting for gold in London and I am very excited about that. Wow!"

"It has been a dream of mine for a long, long time, ever since I was a little girl."

Spoiler:

Harry Reid on Mitt Romney: "His poor father must be so embarrassed about his son."

Now, it's like he's just trying to make him mad. Almost 100 days left until election day and things have already deteriorated into a street fight.

"General Motors' profits fell 41% in the second quarter..."

That's the news today. Was your first thought what this means for Obama? If so, isn't that crazy?

Here was Mickey Kaus, yesterday:
I don’t quite understand why President Obama has to claim that General Motors is a great success story (“back on top … [b]ecause America always wins when the playing field is level …” etc.). Why couldn’t he say: “We gave GM and its employees another chance, at a time when our economy was fragile and couldn’t absorb a massive shutdown. Now it’s up to them. They have the tools they need. They may make it–I hope they do. They may not. We aren’t going to bail them out again.”

"Two planes taking off from National put on collision course with plane trying to land."

There was "an approaching storm... and the air traffic control center in Warrenton wanted to reverse the flow of planes into the airport... The Warrenton controllers communicated the plan to the controller tower at National.
“The tower agreed, but they didn’t pass it on to all the people they needed to pass it on to,” said a federal official familiar with the incident who was not authorized to speak publicly.

"After 50 years at the top of the Sight & Sound poll, ['Citizen Kane'] has been convincingly ousted by ... 'Vertigo' – and by a whopping 34 votes..."

"... compared with the mere five that separated them a decade ago."
So what does it mean? Given that Kane actually clocked over three times as many votes this year as it did last time, it hasn’t exactly been snubbed by the vastly larger number of voters taking part in this new poll, which has spread its net far wider than any of its six predecessors.

But it does mean that Hitchcock, who only entered the top ten in 1982 (two years after his death), has risen steadily in esteem over the course of 30 years, with Vertigo climbing from seventh place, to fourth in 1992, second in 2002 and now first, to make him the Old Master. Welles, uniquely, had two films (The Magnificent Ambersons as well as Kane) in the list in 1972 and 1982, but now Ambersons has slipped to 81st place in the top 100.
Obviously, there's a lot of strategy in voting. It calls to mind the GOP primary here in Wisconsin. Tommy Thompson is "Citizen Kane." You know he's the favorite to win. How do you defeat him? You don't just pick your favorite film, or your favorite Hitchcock film. You've got to know the one film that all the anti-Kanes can get behind. It's been established over the years that that film is "Vertigo." You can't be all: But I think "Notorious" is better. You vote for "Vertigo." But this Sight & Sound voting has been going on for 50 years, so it's shaken out that you vote for "Vertigo" and not "Notorious" (or "Psycho" or "North By Northwest"). We haven't had time to figure out whether Mark Neumann or Eric Hovde is "Vertigo." Not enough information to get the strategic voting right.

***
You know... if I hadn't been very rich, I might have been a really great man.
Don't you think you are? 
I think I did pretty well under the circumstances. 
What would you like to have been? 
Everything you hate.
***

What's this doohickey? 
It's a brassiere! You know about those things, you're a big boy now.
I've never run across one like that.
It's brand new. Revolutionary up-lift: No shoulder straps, no back straps, but it does everything a brassiere should do. Works on the principle of the cantilevered bridge.

"More email. 'Tell me something.' That's the subject line. He's like a stalker."

I say, and Meade says, "Who is he?" and I say, "He's a man named Barack Obama."

Here's the body of the message:
Millions of Americans are stepping up for this campaign right now.

I want to know if you're one of them:

http://my.barackobama.com/In

Barack
my.barackobama.com. My Barack Obama? If you click on the link, the URL turns into a normal barackobama.com, so that feeling of going to a special place with your email boyfriend/stalker is lost. But there is a social media effect — a little Facebook icon and next to it the notation "[2 names of actual Facebook friends of mine] and 27,600,417 others like this." Arrayed beneath that notation are little thumbnail photos of some of my Facebook friends — people I know — smiling for whatever reason and not because they anticipated their image being appropriated for a campaign fund-raising web page.

The email said "Millions of Americans are stepping up for this campaign right now," and then when I clicked, I saw people I know, snagged from Facebook. And the President of the United States wants to know if I'm "one of them" — which gives me a whole "Freaks" vibe. I picture all my Facebook friends going one of us, one of us, one of us...

Gooble gobble.

"Ann Romney slammed for $990 Shirt, Michelle Obama praised for $6,800 jacket."

What a sharply tailored double standard!

But let's take a closer look. Michelle Obama was consorting with royalty and representing the United States at a very posh event of the highest importance to Great Britain. Her clothes had to express our country's respect. They had to be completely appropriate and a thorough defense against criticism, as she would be minutely examined by hundreds of millions of persons, many of whom love to slag her, especially when they get their hands on pictures of her next to Kate Middleton, the #1 fashion icon in the world, whom the Brits love to fawn over and adore. Do you think that's was all narcissistic fun for Michelle? Remember last time she was photographed with Kate? Everyone went wild over Kate's simple beige dress, while Michelle stood there in something very shiny and colorful that ended up looking really awful. There was a lot of pressure to get it right this time, and she did. It was pretty, it was flattering, it was not overly showy, and it was appropriate for the occasion.

Ann Romney was going on TV in that $990 short. It was just another public appearance. She needed to look pretty and appropriate, but there was no gala event and no anticipation of comparisons with other women. She could have worn a $25 long-sleeved black top and been perfectly fine. No one would have thought to ask about it. But she wore a top with a giant photograph of a yellow fish printed across her chest. Of course everyone's going to talk about it. Naturally, we found out the price of the shirt. We wanted to know all about it. It was so in our face, that fish face. Ann Romney and her stylists chose to make us talk about her fish shirt. They knew many of us would be flummoxed by the style, that we'd hear the price, and we'd be all you paid a thousand dollars for that?! It's not just that the very rich lady wears thousand-dollar shirts. It was that particular shirt. It shouted at us that she wanted to be judged as a style icon. She wanted to stir it up. Maybe she wanted at least some of us to think: It will really be fun to have her as our First Lady.

In short: This isn't proof of a double standard. The 2 things compared are not equivalent. (And I'm currently really disgusted with the extreme pro-Obama bias in the press. It was going to be the first thing I blogged about this morning, but I got distracted. So I am absolutely not a defender of the neutrality of the press.)

August 1, 2012

"Drive-through lanes were backed up and dining rooms were packed at Chick-fil-A restaurants across the nation today..."

"... as hundreds of thousands of people turned out to support the fast food chain after it came under attack when the CEO [Dan Cathy] said he opposes gay marriage."
[S]everal openly gay restaurant workers... said working for the company was difficult in light of the controversy because often times employees say homophobic things to them, thinking the comments are welcome at Chick-fil-A.

An openly gay 24-year-old employee said a man came in and say he supported Cathy's comments then 'continues to say something truly homophobic, like "I'm so glad you don't support the queers, I can eat in peace."'

Another gay employee added: '(It's) constantly having people come up to you and say, "I support your company, because your company hates the gays."'
Hmmm. It's a chicken sandwich, people. America needs to calm down.

ADDED: If you have trouble understanding my position, I spell out 6 principles here.

AND: Quite aside from gay marriage... should a man be named "Cathy"?

"Is Medical School a Worthwhile Investment for Women?"

"Even though both male and female doctors both earn higher wages than their PA counterparts, most female doctors don't work enough hours at those wages to financially justify the costs of becoming a doctor."

"Did you hear the one about prosecutors going on strike? No? Me either, until now."

"A county DA’s office in the San Francisco suburbs announced this week they are considering striking to protest new, unpopular labor contract."

Snoop Dogg is now Snoop Lion... and he's the reincarnation of Bob Marley.

The new music will be reggae, not rap. He's 40 years old now and he's "got to give something" that the children can listen to, because "That's what you do when you're wise."

He says he's "born again" — born again as a Rastafarian.
Snoop didn't explain why he was switching from "Dogg" to "Lion," but it's likely a reference to the Lion of Judah, a religious symbol popular in Rastafarian and Ethiopian culture....

He said that in Jamaica, where he stayed for 35 days, he grew closer to his wife....
PR/religion? Who knows? But the sense of growing older and needing to provide for the next generation.... And since Bob Marley's son Rohan is happy with all this leveraging on Bob Marley, sure, go ahead. It's for the children.

Via Throwing Things.

Oh, but Rohan is not Bob Marley's only child.

"Obama is positioning himself as a protector of the working class, even as blue-collar whites are showing historically low support for him."

"Likewise, [Elizabeth] Warren’s rhetoric appealing to the working class resonates predominantly with some of the wealthiest liberal Americans, who have donated generously to her campaign. But it’s been a challenge for her to connect with many of the average Joes, in part because her background as an academic and government official. Unlike Romney, [Scott] Brown has a well-worn reputation for connecting with those folks."

And yet Warren has been chosen to give a high-profile speech at the Democratic Convention.
Perhaps Romney will be a much easier foil than Brown on the convention stage. Democrats are confident about using the convention to cast Romney as an out-of-touch plutocrat and believe Warren’s background advocating for consumers in her brief role with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau makes her an ideal prosecutor. In a best-case scenario for Democrats, Warren could emerge as a hit among the “Walmart moms,” that oft-cited swing demographic who could play a decisive role in a close election. Several Democratic operatives pointed out that the speech will coincide with the NFL season opener, making it likely the audience would be more female and more in Warren's sweet spot.
Walmart moms... don't they watch NFL games now? Last I looked, 55% of women were watching (and 73% of men).

In any case, I suppose that to appeal to women, the convention needs some prominent women speakers — especially if they're going to feature Bill Clinton, which they are. Clinton needs to be vouched for by a woman.

"I have to admit that while my politics generally tend to the liberal option, on this one issue of chipmunks, I can see the NRA point of view."

"Part of me wants these suckers to die."

Says Mayor Citizen Dave.
Also: "I love tomatoes enough to rethink my concerns about global climate change."

Self-interest. It's baked in. 

"Wisconsin senior running back Montee Ball was the victim of what police are calling an 'unprovoked assault' early Wednesday in Madison, Wis."

"Ball was attacked by five men near Wisconsin's campus around 2:15 a.m. Wednesday. Witnesses told police the men knocked Ball to the ground and began kicking him."
Ball, a 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist, was taken to a hospital. A team spokesman said Ball spent two hours in the hospital before he was released....

Ball was walking with two friends on the 500 block of University Avenue. The two friends were walking ahead of Ball, and turned around to see five men jump him, knock him to the ground and begin kicking him in the head and torso. Several people came to Ball's aid, including a man walking on the other side of the street, and ran off the attackers.

"Here we go – upset brewing in Wisconsin Rep Senate Primary?"

The candidate who would be upset is Tommy Thompson... but if you want to upset him, you need to pick one. There are 2 potential upsetters.

Give Wisconsin conservatives some advice. Let's say they want a not-Tommy. What's the scenario for getting the not-Tommy votes to go to one place — to Hovde/Neumann?

#dangleboris.

Photoshop fun with the image of London Mayor Boris Johnson stuck on a zip wire.

Via Metafilter.

Dolphins are snobs.

Don't let those phony "smiles" fool you.

"When you see the greed... did you ever have a moment of doubt about capitalism?"

Phil Donahue leans forward, prodding Milton Friedman (in 1979), and Friedman responds with startling cogency and articulateness:



Via Rush Limbaugh, yesterday, the 100th anniversary of Friedman's birth.

On putting the bathtub in front of a huge window with a great view and deciding not to have blinds or curtains.

When would you do that? Here?

When would you leave off the blinds/curtains next to the tub/shower?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

"Twitter was forced to admit it breached the trust of its users when it apologized for suspending the account of Guy Adams..."

"...  a Los Angeles correspondent for the U.K.'s Independent newspaper."

100 years ago today: "Arthur Eldred, a 17-year-old Boy Scout from Long Island, became the first person to earn the Eagle Scout rank."

"Eldred's initial accomplishment was to complete the requirements for the rank of Eagle Scout only six months after that supreme award in American scouting was announced in April 1912." 
The leaders of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), assuming it would take several years for any boy to earn the required 21 merit badges, hadn't yet devised a final review system for Eagle candidates; they hadn't even settled on a design for the medal....

Out of the more than 115 million boys who have passed through the Boy Scouts of America in the last 102 years, approximately two million have become Eagle Scouts, a 2% rate that has climbed to about 4% of all scouts in recent years....

Many went on to notable careers and distinguished service to the country. The list of famous Eagles over the last century includes movie and television stars, six Medal of Honor recipients, Nobel Prize winners, novelists, a number of astronauts (including most Shuttle astronauts), Tuskegee airmen and Japanese-American internees, congressmen, senators and governors, an endless number of corporate CEOs and university presidents, a U.S. president (Gerald Ford), and the first man to walk on the moon (Neil Armstrong). But there are other, perhaps less obvious, Eagles as well: sexologist Alfred Kinsley, Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and Washington's disgraced ex-mayor Marion Barry....

"Culture Does Matter," writes Mitt Romney.

In National Review, pushing back efforts to make it seem racist to say that nations prosper when their culture has certain qualities that Israel has and the Palestinians lack.
But what exactly accounts for prosperity if not culture? In the case of the United States, it is a particular kind of culture that has made us the greatest economic power in the history of the earth. Many significant features come to mind: our work ethic, our appreciation for education, our willingness to take risks, our commitment to honor and oath, our family orientation, our devotion to a purpose greater than ourselves, our patriotism. But one feature of our culture that propels the American economy stands out above all others: freedom. The American economy is fueled by freedom. Free people and their free enterprises are what drive our economic vitality.
But what exactly accounts for prosperity if not culture? is a clever question that provides leverage for arguing — not that he argues it — that if you don't think it's culture, you must think it's some inborn biological factor. That is: If you don't agree that it's culture, you could be a racist.

(And yes, I realize that inference will be resisted with the argument that the economically unsuccessful places are oppressed by other countries, Israel is oppressing the Palestinians, etc. etc.)

ADDED: This is related, from Stephen Moore's tribute to Milton Friedman (who was born 100 years ago yesterday):
Once in the early 1960s, Friedman wrote the then-U.S. ambassador to New Delhi, John Kenneth Galbraith, that he would be lecturing in India. By all means come, the witty but often wrong Galbraith replied: "I can think of nowhere your free-market ideas can do less harm than in India." As fate would have it, India did begin to embrace Friedmanism in the 1990s, and the economy began to soar. China finally caught on too.

Over 3,000 comments on WaPo's blogpo "Harry Reid: Mitt Romney didn’t pay taxes for 10 years."

It's gotten this bad, the shameless, idiotic, desperate efforts to push Obama: passing along something Harry Reid said "a person who had invested with Bain Capital" said. Well, HuffPo had already published it. It's a fact that it's a rumor. Just reporting the existence of a rumor, maybe. Pathetic!

Here's one of the highest rated comments:
It may appear that Reid's claim that Romney paid no taxes for ten years is extreme and poorly sourced -- however, if Mitt thinks his comment is unfair, all he has to do to make Reid appear a liar and a fool is to release his own tax returns, which is totally within his power. 

While not having paid ANY taxes for TEN years is a sufficient cause for Mitt to not release them, it is not a necessary cause. There could be many other things he wishes to hide, from offshore tax shelters, to very low tax rates, to connections to Bain Capital actions he wishes to hide from. There is only one thing certain about Romney's tax returns: HE KNOWS that there is SOMETHING in them which is disqualifying, that there is something that dare not face the light of day.
That's the narrative. All you have to do is to track people into thinking like that, and Harry Reid knows it.

Ted Cruz — a big Tea Party victory and the GOP will have another Hispanic Senator.

He wasn't what the party insiders wanted. (He crushed their guy, David Dewhurst, 55% to 45%.)
[Matt Kibbe, president of FreedomWorks, a Washington-based group that helps finance conservative anti-establishment candidates] said Cruz’s win is the biggest this year for tea party activists, calling it “an 11 and Indiana a 10” on the scale of importance. The reason, according to Kibbe and other tea party leaders, is because of the sheer size of Texas.

In the 2010 primaries, the movement fared best in smaller states without large media markets — places such as Delaware, where neophyte Christine O’Donnell used grass-roots support to sweep past a 30-year veteran of state GOP politics. Just 50,000 people voted in that primary. The tea party’s feat was repeated in other small-turnout states, such as Nevada and Alaska.

This year, tea party leaders sought mostly pure conservatives but also candidates with more political and professional experience, aiming to appeal to activists as well as independents in the general election. “You’re not going to see any Christine O’Donnell train wrecks,” Kibbe predicted, noting O’Donnell’s defeat by nearly 20 points in that fall’s election.

Cruz epitomized that effort. Unlike some of the anti-intellectual candidates of the tea party past, he boasted of his undergraduate degree from Princeton University, his national debating championship, his Harvard law degree and his Supreme Court clerkship.

“I think he’s got the pedigree, he’s got all of it,” [Rand] Paul said. “In fact, we’ve joked that he’s too smart for the Senate to fit in.”
So now the Tea Party has it: A really big state and a really big brain. And Hispanic!

ADDED: I think we'll see a lot more of the effort to distinguish Cubans from other Hispanics. That has already come up in the context of Marco Rubio.

"Eight female badminton players tossed out of Olympics for trying to lose matches, Badminton World Federation announces."

Email from CNN.

Earlier story here.

IN THE COMMENTS: LoafingOaf asks:
If they have the tournament set up so that it's to a team's advantage to lose a match, what did they expect? 
Answer: more subtlety.

ADDED: "... Sections 4.5 and 4.16 of the Badminton World Federation players' code... stipulate that a player employ 'one's best efforts to win a match' and bans 'conducting oneself in a manner that is clearly abusive or detrimental to the sport.'"
Most paid spectators at Tuesday's badminton women's doubles matches played Potter Stewart, knowing "detrimental" when they saw "detrimental" — as four pairs of players clearly tried to throw matches in order to influence their draws in the tournament's quarterfinals....

"I'm sorry, it's blindly obvious what's going on. It's as if neither player wants to win the match. There's a simple answer: Tell both players, if you don't play properly, you're both thrown out of the tournament," intoned the BBC's announcer at Wembley Arena....

But it is sport. Manipulating the seeding or draws in tournaments has a long tradition in sport...

If the Olympic badminton players could be faulted for anything, it's for not throwing their matches better.

Sending endless serves out of bounds and hitting returns into the net — that's no way to tank. Points must be played above-board, until the critical moment when a shot goes awry. The players should have strained and gasped, and inspected their racquets for holes after misplays.
As I said: more subtlety.

"Because there is no cosmic point to the life that each of us perceives on this distant bit of dust at galaxy's edge..."

"... all the more reason for us to maintain in proper balance what we have here. Because there is nothing else. No thing. This is it. And quite enough, all in all."

Wrote Gore Vidal, who reached the end of his enough yesterday. He was 86.

Here's a late interview (with al Jazeera), where he makes himself cry — at 2:23 — saying, about Americans — "They're the greatest nation in the world in the world." And then "Everybody says that, that's why they keep shooting us.... That's jealousy." And then recovers and says "This is irony, you know."



ADDED: Here he is calling William F. Buckley a "crypto Nazi"... and also:
Consider his "incorrigible" mother, a sometime actress who "failed a Paramount screen test because of the prominence of her manly mustache." Did you know that Eleanor Roosevelt had a mad Sapphic crush on Amelia Earhart and was "constantly proposing" that they fly around the country, "with Amelia at the controls"?....

Asked to define commercialism, Vidal remarks, "It's the ability to do well what ought not to be done at all." Bobby Kennedy had "aggressive non-charm." The '60s: "a decade stolen from those of us who were living in it." And he doesn't turn away from the wit of others. Like Tennessee Williams, who stares at Jack Kennedy and mutters, "That boy has a nice ass."
What's the story with Amelia Earhart? Vidal's Wikipedia page says: "according to biographer Susan Butler, was the great love of Amelia Earhart's life."

July 31, 2012

"Romney has a 20-point advantage among white voters."

"Obama is supported by 91% of black voters and 57% of other minority voters."

Subliminality.

Here's something the Obama campaign did in an ad — displaying the word "felons" for 6 seconds on a graph labeled "Romney."

More locally, a candidate named Mark Pocan, running for Congress in my district, had an ad displaying the word "assassination" over a photograph of his opponent — Kelda Helen Roys — looking oddly like Lee Harvey Oswald!

"Smoking meant a lot to her sometimes."

"She worked very hard and it had some ability to rest and relax her psychologically. She was a widow and she had no close relatives to write to in the evenings, and more than one moving picture a week hurt her eyes, so smoking had come to be an important punctuation mark in the long sentence of a day on the road."

McSweeney's makes a comical list of "Suggested Buzzfeed Articles."

"Elvis Presley’s 42 Sweatiest Moments... The 100 Filthiest Bathrooms in Philadelphia... 11 Retired History Professors Being Stung by Wasps... 26 Celebrities Who Look Worse Because of the Passage of Time... 84 Things That Aren’t On an Everything Bagel... 41 Close-Ups Of Severely Rotting Teeth... 3 Raccoons That Would Kill You and Your Family... The World’s 13 Laziest Salmon... 16 Beautiful Photos From Underneath a Bed...."

You get the idea, don't you? Do you? Let's assume you do. Anyway, Buzzfeed — that website with those lists that are there to get you to click on them, because people love lists — went ahead and made "84 Things That Aren’t On An Everything Bagel," and got the upper hand, I'd say. And they kept going.

Forget McSweeney's. Buzzfeed is a thing, e.g., "Annoying Photo Trend: Girls With Mugs In Front Of Their Faces. This is a Thing." And: "The Unnecessary Censorship Of Men's Olympic Diving."

What would it take for you to realize you had 80,000 bees in your house?

"... it wasn't long after that honey began to slowly drip from newly emerged cracks in the living room and kitchen ceilings, while a cascade of the sweet liquid even blew a lightbulb after filling it half-full of honey."

And for comic relief after that (as suggested by a commenter there), try "Covered In Bees":

"I chose a pseudonym, Chris Marker, pronounceable in most languages, because I was very intent on traveling. No need to delve further."

The film director — whose 1962 short "La Jetée — was the basis of the 1995 movie "12 Monkeys" — died in Paris on Sunday at the age of 91.
His films often feature a first-person narrator, a device he once called “a sign of humility.” They abound with avatars and alter-egos, including his own cat, Guillaume-en-Egypt, which sometimes appeared, in the flesh and in cartoon form, as his surrogate....

“Sans Soleil” (1982), often acknowledged as the masterpiece among Mr. Marker’s late works, is one of his least classifiable, a free-associative mix of ethnography, philosophy and poetry. Purporting to be the footage of a fictional cinematographer accompanied by his letters to a nameless woman, the film roams from Iceland to Guinea-Bissau to Japan...
Here, you can buy a Criterion Collection DVD containing "La Jetée" and "Sans Soleil." ("La Jetée" is also in this collection) (And here is "12 Monkeys," one of my favorite movies.)

David Brooks is boring.

I mean, he's bored. That is, he says it's all so boring and everyone's bored.

Racializing Romney.

The press is.

Torso time.

Bookcovers and the bathing suits that match them. "Each match discovered by hand." Via Metafilter.

Also via Metafilter, and since we're gazing at the human torso: "The Naked World of Spencer Tunick." Comments made by me while looking at the set of photos:

Photo #1: "At least they let the people on the glacier wear slippers."

Photo #3: "He put the prettiest people in front."

Photo #6: "I like the painted people."

Photo #10: "Mmmm. Part of the pattern, with the aqua seats."

Photo #24: "It's kind of cool to see huge groups of naked people where they don't belong."

Photo #26: "This looks like the chicken display at the meat store."

Photo #29: "It's really funny the way some of them really look like naked people standing around and some of them look like a pattern and not really naked people at all."

"Romney Photo Spurs Domestic Abuse Incident."

"Suspicious that his live-in girlfriend was planning an affair, a Tennessee man confronted the woman after spotting a photo of an unknown guy on her Facebook page..."
Lowell Turpin, 40, “angrily demanded to know who the male was,” reported Anderson County Sheriff’s Department investigators.

Crystal Gray, 38, “replied that it was a picture of Mitt Romney.”

Despite being informed that the man on Gray’s wall was the presumptive Republican presidential candidate (and not some hunky, severely conservative sidepiece), Turpin apparently was not placated....

What standard of living should others feel moved to lift you up to? Question 1: What's your "social context"?

We saw in that NYT article about the "FUCK! I'm in my twenties" girl Emma Koenig that her mother had to do some analysis before deciding to help pay for her $1,200-a-month East Village apartment. The key line was: "It made me see that Emma’s social context was such that our helping with her rent was legitimate..."

It made me think about the refugees of Hurricane Katrina, housed in the Houston Astrodome, about whom presidential wife and mother Barbara Bush famously said:
"And so many of the people in the arenas here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them."
What's your social context? Is that the right question?

I just got email from Barack Obama with the subject line "So"....

Text: "Sometimes politics can seem very small./But the choice voters face in this election couldn't be bigger./Over the past two months, we have been outraised by our opponents...."

So... whatevs.

I dunno. That... seemed very small....

Her blog's "title begins with a common vulgar interjection" and her book "goes by the same name as the blog and concludes with the words 'I’m in My Twenties'..."

How the NYT refers to Emma Koenig's "FUCK! I'm in my twenties."

The NYT article fusses (inanely) over "fuck." What do her parents think? Her parents are 61 and 62 — i.e., my age, i.e., big Baby Boomers. Why the fuck should the New York Times think East Coast Baby Boomers struggle with language on the level of "fuck"? The mother is a psychotherapist and the father is "a television and film set dresser." And yet the article is headlined "Wash That Blog Out With Soap," as if the parents were from middle America and a generation or 2 older. I mean, it's been obvious to me for a long time that the NYT is aimed at aging, east coast, middle-class women.

(That's exactly what I am, despite my decades-long exile in Madison, a city which, it must be said, imagines itself as not really part of the Midwest wherein it finds itself.)

Perhaps the Times is craftily stroking me (and my kind) by luring us into the fantasy where we self-flatter: I'm more hip than this woman whose daughter is profiled in the NYT. You experience that  envy — she's pictured there, kissing her adorable daughter — immediately palliated with feelings of bullshit superiority: I'm cool with "fuck"!

If you keep going in the article, you get past the faux "fuck" flap and on to the real sexuality of the inner pages of the New York Times: real estate. Would Koenig's parents finance her post-NYU-arts-school lifestyle in a Manhattan apartment?
[Koenig's mother Bobby] Bass made a spreadsheet of all her daughter’s friends who were in the performing arts. “I wanted to see who was making a living, who was making a living in their art and who was being supported by their parents,” she said. In a graph of 45 young adults, only 3 were getting no help whatsoever, and those 3, Ms. Bass said, were working full time either in a restaurant or baby-sitting, and had limited energy left over to pursue what they had studied.
We're invited to admire the rationality and (apparent) computer use, but I'm marveling at the accomplishment of getting all that information on 45 individuals!
“It made me see that Emma’s social context was such that our helping with her rent was legitimate,” Ms. Bass said. “I didn’t feel like we were indulging her. I felt like it was a necessary fifth year of college where she had to stabilize herself without the structure and positive feedback of school.”
Emma’s social context was such....

May the younger generation read that and learn — learn how to reason with your rational — emotional — Baby Boomer parents.
And Ms. Bass was familiar with the data points surrounding her daughter’s generation, otherwise known as “Generation Screwed,” as a Newsweek headline announced recently. 
Screwed? You mean fucked.

Anyway, over at The Atlantic, Richard Lawson is reviewing the NYT article.
Emma Koenig, 24, has a blog. It's called Fuck! I'm In My Twenties and is full of cutesily hand-drawn musings about the plight of the aimless millennial. This blog is popular enough to have been turned into an Urban Outfitters book and now Koenig is working on a TV pilot. 
An Urban Outfitters book. Are you familiar with that special category of books that are sold next to the comfy clothes and cutesy housewares at UO?
Reaction to the piece has been, let's say, mixed. Because of an implied privilege in Koenig's work (mom and dad are gainfully employed, her brother Ezra is in Vampire Weekend), and an abundance of clever cluelessness, the comments section on the Times profile is littered with people calling her a whiner or a spoiled brat, deeming her frivolous and self-obsessed.

This is a common criticism of a particular set of young creative types who tend to blab on about their own lives....
Lawson — who's not an aging Baby Boomer like me but a guy in his 20s, late 20s — assumes the article is about the daughter, which for him and for others who are at least somewhat young, I'm sure it is.

"Increasing Taxes on the Wealthy Is Lowest Priority Issue, Even Among Obama Voters."

Gallup discovers.

"'So patently false' Obama removed Churchill bust from the White House."

Politico headline for an article relying on White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer to contradict something Charles Krauthammer wrote in his WaPo column. The headline remains in that form, with no reference to the update that's now there, down at the bottom, saying:
Pfeiffer's "fact check" isn't quite right. While there is still a bust of Churchill in the White House, it's not the same one that was in the Oval when Bush was president. The bust by Sir Jacob Epstein... was lent to Bush's administration for the duration of his presidency, the British Embassy in Washington told Mediaite. When Bush left office, the loan ended and the bust was placed in the embassy. The White House collection includes its own Churchill bust by Epstein, which is the one that's now in the residence.
(All the boldface in this post is mine.)

Let's go back to Krauthammer's column. Here's the line that Pfieffer is quoted saying is "so patently false": "Obama started his presidency by returning to the British Embassy the bust of Winston Churchill that had graced the Oval Office." Based on the update, I'd say what Krauthammer wrote was so patently true.

Krauthammer's column — which was about Romney's overseas trip — imagined Romney saying to the British:
 “We are grateful for your steadfast solidarity in awful places like Iraq and Afghanistan. The relationship truly is special.

“And one more thing. Still have that bust of Churchill?”
And in fact, Krauthammer says, on Thursday: "Romney did say he wants Winnie back in the Oval Office."

I've added boldface to stress the importance of the placement of the bust in the Oval Office (not tucked away somewhere less symbolic and high-profile) and the relationship signified by the loan from the Embassy. Those things might not seem that important to those who are pushing Obama's reelection, like Pfeiffer, but Politico should be ashamed of its shoddy work, taking what is obviously an unjustified shot at Krauthammer and leaving the accusation in the headline where it can continue its dirty work.

And here's Pfieffer's column on the official whitehouse.gov website (which should not be a campaign outlet!):

July 30, 2012

"It wasn't very long ago they were trying to tell us that Romney was a bully.... Now he's a wimp?"

Rush Limbaugh riffed on the new Newsweek cover today:
Calling Romney a wimp is aimed at suppressing the white blue-collar vote.  Blue-collar voters hate wimps.  You know, the working white voters that Obama has abandoned, and now whose votes they're trying to suppress, this is all about trying to make those people think that Romney is a wuss....
Rush goes on to say that if anyone's a wuss, it's Obama:
We've all seen Obama throw a baseball.  He looks not even as good as an average girl throwing a baseball....
That is: You want to talk about who's wussiest? We'll crush you. We'll knock you down and cut off your hair...

But what I'd like to say is: Attacking a man as "wussy" is homophobic. Do the Democrats care about gay people or not? The effort to label Romney a "wimp" is a betrayal of liberal values. It's hypocritical.

What's the best response to the Romney's-a-wimp attack?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

ADDED: Rush introduced the word "wuss." I changed some of my uses of "wuss" to "wimp." "Wimp" is the word Newsweek used against Romney (and back in 1987 against George H.W. Bush).

ALSO: My quick research says "wuss" and "wimp" mean exactly the same thing. The OED says the origin of "wuss" is "uncertain" and "[p]erhaps a blend of wimp... and puss..." That is, "puss," defined as a name for a cat. "Pussy" — according to the OED, goes back to the 1500s, meaning "A girl or woman exhibiting characteristics associated with a cat, esp. sweetness or amiability." Beginning in 1904, "pussy" is seen denoting "A sweet or effeminate male; (in later use chiefly) a weakling, a coward, a sissy. Also: a male homosexual." "Pussy" meaning "female genitals," goes back to 1699. (And there's this from 1865: "My poor pussy, rent and sore, Dreaded yet longed for one fuck more." "Philocomus" Love Feast.)

"[Angel] Ortiz and a generation of urban latchkey kids who spray-painted their initials all over Manhattan in the 1970s and '80s and landed in the city's street art scene" are getting old.

"Fortunately, there's no forced retirement in graffiti," and life goes on:
For decades, Ortiz, 45, has been known on Manhattan's Lower East Side as LA II. A traumatic loss of a girlfriend brought him out of a 14-year hiatus from graffiti writing. He has since been caught three times spraying his tag on property, each time while walking a friend's dog.
"Everywhere that dog stopped to pee I would write my name," Ortiz says. "The streets were like my canvases. I just started writing my name everywhere."

The author of "Imagine" imagined some Bob Dylan quotes.

"The quotes in question either did not exist, were unintentional misquotations, or represented improper combinations of previously existing quotes. But I told Mr. Moynihan that they were from archival interview footage provided to me by Dylan’s representatives. This was a lie spoken in a moment of panic. When Mr. Moynihan followed up, I continued to lie, and say things I should not have said."

And now he has to resign from The New Yorker.

Here's the book, on Amazon, where it seems as though you're not allowed to buy it right now.

What sorts of Dylan quotes did Jonah Lehrer concoct? "It’s a hard thing to describe.... It’s just this sense that you got something to say." Why would you make up something like that? Arguably, he didn't. And that's what he says. He did some heavy editing on the Dylan chapter and somehow in the process lost track of the sources.
In [a] quote mined from Dont Look Back, in which Dylan is asked by a pestering Time magazine journalist about the inspiration for his songs, Lehrer quotes Dylan as saying: “I just write them. There’s no great message. Stop asking me to explain.” The last sentence sharpens and simplifies Lehrer’s point—that Dylan’s brilliance isn’t easily explicable. But it doesn’t appear in Dont Look Back.
Maybe Lehrer is just a horrible transcriber.

Ah, well, that last link linked me to Isaac Chotiner's review of the book. The review is very negative (and not because of the quote problem). I loved this part:
Imagine is really a pop-science book, which these days usually means that it is an exercise in laboratory-approved self-help. Like Malcolm Gladwell and David Brooks, Lehrer writes self-help for people who would be embarrassed to be seen reading it. For this reason, their chestnuts must be roasted in “studies” and given a scientific gloss. The surrender to brain science is particularly zeitgeisty. Their sponging off science is what gives these writers the authority that their readers impute to them, and makes their simplicities seem very weighty. Of course, Gladwell and Brooks and Lehrer rarely challenge the findings that they report, not least because they lack the expertise to make such a challenge.
I've never given much thought to Jonah Lehrer. (We've talked about him on this blog here and here.) But Gladwell and Brooks are a big deal. And Chotiner's pithy criticism in that paragraph is much more important than Lehrer inventing (or botching) some Dylan quotes and then desperately dissembling. It's important not just because Gladwell and Brooks are big. It's important because it says something about us, the readers, our needs and frailties.

"Just one piece of general advice from a writer has been very useful to me. It was from Colette."

Said Georges Simenon:
... I remember I gave her two short stories and she returned them and I tried again and tried again. Finally she said, “Look, it is too literary, always too literary.” So I followed her advice. It’s what I do when I write, the main job when I rewrite.

What do you mean by “too literary”? What do you cut out, certain kinds of words?

Adjectives, adverbs, and every word which is there just to make an effect. Every sentence which is there just for the sentence. You know, you have a beautiful sentence—cut it. Every time I find such a thing in one of my novels it is to be cut.

Is that the nature of most of your revision?

Almost all of it.
Ha ha. Here. Maybe this will help.

Pro-Romney super PAC spends $7.2 million to air Romney-saving-the-Olympics ad.

Featuring Kristi Yamaguchi:

"He faced a $400 million budget deficit and turned that around into a $100 million surplus."

Would you be prepared to survive in the event of a complete breakdown of modern civilization?"

"A man-made or natural global disaster could strand you for months, years or forever with no electricity, no water from the taps, no grocery stores, no city services and no government. Further, you'll be surrounded by countless others who didn't prepare — the very same people who mock survivalists by calling them paranoid pessimists and worse. But survivalists are the ultimate optimists. They believe that they will succeed - no matter what happens to the rest of the world — if only they can assemble the right supplies and learn the right survival techniques."

The book (recommended by Instapundit) is: "Long-Term Survival In The Coming Dark Age: Preparing to Live after Society Crumbles." I like that it's available in Kindle format. Gives me an idea for an update of that old "Twilight Zone" episode "Time Enough at Last." I'll blend in some elements from "The Shelter."

("Time Enough at Last" is the one where — after the nuclear holocaust — a man who wants to read breaks his glasses. "The Shelter" is the one where — as people think nuclear war is about to begin — one family has a bomb shelter and their neighbors don't and want in.)

"Any time someone has looked like superwoman in the history of our sport they have later been found guilty of doping."

John Leonard, the executive director of the World Swimming Coaches Association, saying that Ye "looks like superwoman."
Leonard rejected comparisons to Michael Phelps, who broke the 200m butterfly world record when he was just 15, back in 2001. "Phelps got consistently faster every year on a normal improvement curve. There has never been anything that you look at in any of Mr Phelps' swims that you look at and say 'well, that's impossible, that can't be done.'... [A] woman does not out-swim the fastest man in the world in the back quarter of a 400m IM that is otherwise quite ordinary. It just doesn't happen."