August 2010

A Whole Beck of Trouble

August 31, 2010

In response to yesterday’s Ten Questions for Monday, Esteemed Commenter Kate (or E.C., a certified title with the American Honorifics Society) honors us, in turn, with her usual thoughtful considerations. Note that she both prefaces and afterwords her comments with a now customary expression of her otherwise addled state of mind. I’m beginning to take [...]


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Ten Questions for Monday

August 30, 2010

All right, move it along. The weekend is over. Get back to work. 1. Can you name an individual who has ever been more respected for his independence and integrity who proceeded to abandon both so completely as did John McCain from his presidential campaign through his just completed primary campaign in Arizona? 2. How [...]


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Sunday Matinee – Double Down (Finale)

August 29, 2010

A Film Noir by A. Jay Adler DOUBLE DOWN Finale: the Dealer Calls the Hand The Story So Far Jack Miles, rock n’ roll roadie, has returned home looking for a job. He encounters old friends and begins a new love with Evelyn “Sonny” Morales, a detective. Old friends, Kyle and Ray, propose to Jack [...]


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Eating Poetry (XXI) – Occasionally A human being Saw my light

August 28, 2010

Florine Stettheimer, Soiree, 1917-1919 Beinecke Library, Yale University Occasionally A human being Saw my light Rushed in Got singed Got scared Rushed out Called fire Or it happened That he tried To subdue it Or it happened That he tried to extinguish it Never did a friend Enjoy it The way it was. So I [...]


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Doctor, I have this problem…

August 27, 2010

Over at The New Republic, Jesse Singal has a piece on Dr. Laura Schlessinger terrifically titled “Doctor Feel-Heinous: Good riddance to Dr. Laura, our generation’s most dangerous radio host.” If you want an incisive take on everything that was close to obscene about the self-important media scam that began with the doctor of physiology playing [...]


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Mind Games: Palestinian “Civil Society”

August 27, 2010

In “How I Work,” Elder of Ziyon offers a few crucial lessons, about any kind of investigative or reportorial blogging, and about the easy, slimy, self-delusive nature of political misinformation in the electronic age. He tracks a claim by BDS supporters about Palestinian Authority cooperation with BDS activities (which is not the policy of the [...]


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Political and Poetical Thinking

August 27, 2010

Lea Carpenter at Big Think ruminates on alternative responses and needs attached to the “Ground Zero” Islamic center dispute. In “A Poet for the Mosque,” she writes, Let them build it. Is this what the rationalists want us to say? Let them build it. These four words counter the one, more emotional one—never—echoing across anger [...]


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The Political and the Wretched

August 25, 2010

(Updated Below) The separation of adjectives in the title is an act of forlorn hope against almost all evidence. There have actually emerged isolated instances of thoughtful, free-thinking, and humanistic consideration of the Cordoba Initiative Islamic center in lower Manhattan, but they are overwhelmed by the worst manifestations of reflexive political contention. All evidence now [...]


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I Know There’s a God Because There is Stephen Colbert

August 24, 2010

I’m late posting today because I’m working on that long post I promised last week to piss everyone off. In the meantime, a monkey hitting a keyboard randomly for a thousand years would one day type: I Take Sen. McConnell ‘At His Word’ When He Says He’s Not A Human-Turtle Hybrid. The Colbert Report Mon [...]


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Story Board

August 23, 2010

The best New Yorker story I’ve read in some time. From “The Dredgeman’s Revelation,” by Karen Russel, the story of Louis Thanksgiving: The dredge barge clanked downstream with its dipper handle swinging. For the first time in his short life, Louis had real friends, all sorts travelling alongside him into the glade—calm men, family men, [...]


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Writers Write

August 23, 2010

“My task which I am trying to achieve is, by the power of the written word, to make you hear, to make you feel – it is, above all, to make you see. That – and no more, and it is everything.” Joseph Conrad, “Preface” to The Nigger of the Narcissus (1897) * * * [...]


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How the World Turns

August 23, 2010

I had an interesting and instructive experience Saturday, on several counts. As I had said before signing off last week on my blogcation, I left not only the blog, but Facebook and Twitter behind. I tried to disconnect a little. In truth, I did make a couple of personal comments on Facebook, and I checked [...]


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Sunday Matinee – Double Down (Part 12)

August 22, 2010

A Film Noir by A. Jay Adler DOUBLE DOWN Part Twelve The Story So Far Jack Miles, rock n’ roll roadie, has returned home looking for a job. He encounters old friends and begins a new love with Evelyn “Sonny” Morales, a detective. Old friends, Kyle and Ray, propose to Jack that he help them [...]


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Blogcation

August 16, 2010

I’m taking one. A blogcation, that is. Actually, truth be told, it won’t be any kind of cation. The fall semester approaches, and I will be devoting my hours next week to course preparation and related projects. It is just that I will not be blogging. No posts. No Facebook updates. Not tweets. No twits. [...]


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Sunday Matinee – Double Down (Part 11)

August 15, 2010

A Film Noir by A. Jay Adler DOUBLE DOWN Part Eleven The Story So Far Jack Miles, rock n’ roll roadie, has returned home looking for a job. He encounters old friends and begins a new love with Evelyn “Sonny” Morales, a detective. Old friends, Kyle and Ray, propose to Jack that he help them [...]


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The (Lost) Art of Democratic Argument – A Day Trip (3)

August 13, 2010

from Eric Scheie at Classical Values, on the subject of “odious debt” from which a citizenry might be granted relief: The Cato Institute has another piece on odious debt: Most debts created by Saddam Hussein in the name of the Iraqi people would qualify as “odious” according to the international Doctrine of Odious Debts. This [...]


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The (Lost) Art of Democratic Argument – A Day Trip (2)

August 13, 2010

Yesterday at the Huffington Post, Shawn Amoei offered a post entitled “Neocon War Plans Undermine Iranians’ Quest for Democracy.” The post opened, after that already auspicious title, The “Bomb Iran” crowd, fresh off their historic blunder in Iraq, is now at it again with Iran. As if the daily drumbeat of articles and op-eds advocating [...]


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The (Lost) Art of Democratic Argument – A Day Trip (I)

August 13, 2010

The other day I posted a TED video of Harvard’s Michael Sandel on “The Lost Art of Democratic Debate,” or argument. Today, we’ll look at some random (hmn) examples of what he might have been talking about. Here is Sharron Angle, Tea Party challenger to Nevada’s, and Democratic Party Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, from [...]


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The Five Most Misconceived Criteria for Determining the Fifteen Most Overrated Contemporary American Writers

August 12, 2010

Yes, that may be the longest title I have ever placed above a piece of my writing, but only the first six of the words are mine. The remainder is appropriated from Anis Shivani’s post the other day at Huffington Post. It’s gotten a lot of reaction, elsewhere, and, as I write, over 1650 comments [...]


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T.S. Eliot – La Figlia Che Piange

August 11, 2010

(H/T Maureen Doallas)


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Michael Sandel: The lost art of democratic debate

August 11, 2010

Harvard’s Sandel offers a pithy “real-world” introduction to thinking about justice – Aritstotle’s still “da man” – and defense of reasoned, democratic debate. There is a tendency to think that if we engage too directly with moral questions in politics, that’s a recipe for disagreement, and for that matter a recipe for intolerance and coercion; [...]


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