January 2012

From the People Who Brought You Richard Nixon & George W. Bush

January 30, 2012

Who has a shorter memory than the perpetual loser? Over and over the perpetual loser performs the same self-defeating act. Again and again, the loser fails, and failing, finds cause for failure in the inadequacy of others. Charlie Brown runs, as he has run countless times before, for the football Lucy holds to the ground, […]

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Existential Threats and Slanted Arguments

January 28, 2012

. UPDATED BELOW There are breeds of argument that always startle me for their smug, tendentious presumption. Here is one, frequently made, this time by Robert Wright, that rests the continued –  literally – existence of a nation on the parsing of translations and the assurances of theocratic tyrannies. (I assure you, said Mr. Hitler, […]

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El viajar en Ecuador

January 27, 2012

. Making our way through the Andes, writing and connecting as I can. Preparing some posts for the coming days. Mountains and clouds – always a road to wonder.

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The Matter of Glenn Greenwald

January 24, 2012

. Let a hundred blogs bloom: let a hundred schools of condign retribution contend. Something like that. Mao was so ahead of his time in so many ways. In this blooming bloggery, stars arise, tall stalks that reach for the sky. Lesser plants, leaning toward the light, bend in their direction. They lean toward Glenn Greenwald. […]

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Bile as Argument

January 23, 2012

. Several days ago, a late reader of my post “Christopher Hitchens, Glenn Greenwald, and the War of Ideas” sent me an insulting private email. Since this is a blog with a public commenting apparatus, I am always struck when people choose to insult me privately rather than offer counter-arguments and insult in the public […]

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CineFile: A Serious Man

January 22, 2012

. Before the Law. Waiting for Godot. Meeting Marshak. Anticipating the week ahead… Related articles CineFile – Cheyenne Autumn (sadredearth.com) CineFile – The Last of the Mochicans (sadredearth.com) CineFile: Let There Be Light (sadredearth.com) Running for Office in Movies (sadredearth.com)

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O. M. G. WTF P.U.

January 21, 2012

. The perfect bitter loss. Except for 0-2, the Los Angeles Clippers led EVERY SECOND of the game last night UNTIL the Minnesota Timberwolves tied it with a three pointer at what turned out to be (with a .6 second correction) 1.5 seconds remaining. This three pointer AT THE BUZZER won it. (Courtesy of friend […]

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Libertarians: Call Them Irresponsible

January 18, 2012

. The full range of Ron Paul’s reeking extremism was exposed yesterday by The New Republic. Ron Paul has recently suggestedthere was only a “total of about eight or ten sentences” of “bad stuff” in the newsletters that he regularly used to publish under his name. This assertion was patently false: As TNR has shown, the newsletters […]

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CineFile – The Last of the Mochicans

January 15, 2012

. From my recent Geronimo post, we’ve had a brief discussion in the comments section about John Ross, Chief of the Cherokee at the time the Great Removal (in contemporary terminology, “ethnic cleansing), or Trail of Tears, and Andrew Jackson, and who should really be on the $20 bill. One of the actors in the […]

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Didion Dearest

January 12, 2012

. Sometimes posts pretty much write themselves. In 1975 Caitlin Flanagan’s mother and father, who was then chair of the Berkeley English department, hosted a dinner party for Joan Didion, a Berkeley alum back as a one-month Regents Lecturer. Flanagan, then only 14, was of course expected to attend. She is unforgiving. From “The Autumn […]

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GOP Incoherence and Mendacity

January 11, 2012

. It is a kind of intellectual zone defense  to respond to accusations of bad behavior by noting that others are sometimes bad too. Political parties should rise and fall on the basis of the their own incoherence and mendacity, and the contemporary GOP, reaching new depths since the 2010 elections, will be recorded for […]

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The Reactionary Libertarian

January 10, 2012

I said in “Ron Paul and Cranky Libertarianism” that libertarianism is a disposition claiming an offense, a cranky warning to other people to bugger off. I closed by characterizing it as a rejection of modernity. This is so of most contemporary American conservatisms, but the libertarian rejection is different, not simply conservative in the original […]

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The World Isn’t What You Think It Is

January 9, 2012

.   It wasn’t ‘t even what you thought it was when you thought it was it. From “Ernest Hemingway: war hero, big-game hunter, ‘gin-soaked abusive monster’,” Time Literary Supplement James Campbell reviewing The Letters Of Ernest Hemingway, Volume One: 1907–1922 and Hemingway’s Boat: Everything he loved in life, and lost, 1934-1961, by Paul Hendrickson […]

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CineFile – Cheyenne Autumn

January 8, 2012

. Yesterday’s post on Geronimo put me in mind of John Ford‘s Cheyenne Autumn. The excerpt from We Shall Remain noted how within only several years of Geronimo’s capture he had transformed in the American consciousness from demon savage into the iconic fierce warrior. (The U.S. special forces operation that killed Osama bin Laden was code-named “Geronimo.”) John Ford spent much […]

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How We Lived On It (45) – Geronimo

January 7, 2012

. Just over three years ago, Julia and I were present for the aftermath of a blessing ceremony – the participants and witnesses of which had been Apaches only – on the San Carlos Apache reservation. “The purpose of the ceremony,” I wrote at the time, “was to prepare the land for the installation of […]

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The Libertarian Delusion

January 5, 2012

. One of the signatures of the fallen human state is how precipitously and flat seemingly reasonable people can land on their cogitative rears. Accordingly, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on ourselves. You watch me, friend. I’ll be checking you. For now, we have Ron Paul. In addition to certain strains of […]

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In Their Own Words: Glenn Greenwald, Armatya Sen, John Gray

January 3, 2012

. Glenn Greenwald, considering Christopher Hitchens and George Packer and aiming the gun at his own head. Is it really “a sign of decency” to refuse to view any political ideas as not merely wrong in some abstract intellectual sense, but as a reflection of the person’s character? Obviously, there are many political disagreements — most — […]

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Ron Paul and Cranky Libertarianism

January 2, 2012

. Here’s the thing about Ron Paul – he’s not an outlier. I don’t mean that every libertarian is as bad as the worst of what is on the record of what Ron Paul has published in his name or believes or may privately feel. I mean that libertarianism by nature – which is to […]

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