Ten Questions for Monday

by A. Jay Adler on June 28, 2010
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Weekend is over. Back to work.

  1. Who is right about Iran, Leon Wieseltier or Fareed Zakaria? The answer later in the week. (The Answer Man)
  2. What would be the nature of a Democratic president who was truly a Democrat, pursuing truly Democratic policies, with whom conservatives would genuinely respectfully disagree?
  3. Is a female politician who disdains feminism like a worker who earns 30 dollars per hour, with a 35 hour work week, benefits, sick leave, and two-weeks paid vacation, who hates unions?
  4. How much environmental damage would be enough for conservatives to believe that the loss of oil industry jobs was a necessary price to pay?
  5. Does self-consciousness transform every act? If a woman wears two-inch heels in the full knowledge and desire that they sexualize her for men, do her knowledge and wish release her from the bonds of male desire? Does the woman then bind men in female desire, or has the woman only adopted the male vision of the female as her own?
  6. Put your money down – Yankees, Tampa Bay, or Boston?
  7. Did you know that Amnesty International claims that Israel still occupies Gaza, even though Israel dismantled its settlements there and withdrew in 2005? Do you know what AI’s definition of occupation is?
  8. The rich kid on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis television series, named Chatsworth Osborne Jr., was preceded for six episodes on the series in a similar role by what ultimately world famous film actor and director?
  9. Referring to question number 1, should the U.S. ever foster or support popular uprisings in undemocratic states? What should be the criteria for deciding to do so, if ever?
  10. Was Albert Camus right, when he said, “We must simultaneously serve suffering and beauty”?

AJA

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4 comments

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kate June 29, 2010 at 11:04 am

Mr Adler,

The feminism that enabled the female to be a successful politician is a good thing, as is the the unionism that allowed that worker the 35-hour week with benefits and all (speaking of which, where does one get one of those? I haven’t seen a week that short since I was unemployed).

As you might have noticed, I tend to lean hard-middle with a strong flavoring of practicality. The highest ideals in the world cause great evil if you’ve got to go Procrustean to make them happen in a real world setting. That post-colonial affliction really irritates me, not least because evil is racially neutral (not culturally neutral, unfortunately, courtesy certain highly dysfunctional cultures). As soon as someone starts claiming that all evil in the world is caused by colonialist powers (aka “white men”), they have to gloss over the evils committed by everyone else. That’s not reasonable or sensible.

I should just admit it. I reserve the right to change my beliefs based on the evidence available to me, and have done so in the past. If reality doesn’t match what I believe, then I need to reconsider.

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Kate June 28, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Mr Adler,

#2 All of these hold for Democrat and Republican, as it happens. Willingness to compromise would be a good start – real compromise, not “You give and I take”, which seems to be standard procedure on both sides of the political chasm these days. Willingness to look for practical ways to implement the ideals – actually researching similar incentives elsewhere, what worked, what didn’t, and aiming for the best possible mix. Not assuming that people who disagree are stupid. Especially not saying that people who disagree are stupid. Trying to understand why someone else would disagree and looking for common principles and common ground. That’s a decent starting point.

#3. *Which* feminism? Today’s brand – the one that ignores the horrific conditions of women in certain Islamic families (the ones where a woman is expected to believe her husband’s abuse is justified – and where *he* considers himself in the right to hack off her head because she had the gall to file a restraining order against him and file for divorce)? Or the one from the early 1900s, where women fought for the same rights as men? For that matter, which unionism? The brand that’s used its effective monopoly on labor to drive its employers into bankruptcy, or the one that actually protects workers against abusive employers? (If the latter in both cases, then both are equally contemptible. If the former, neither.)

#4 Perhaps as much environmental damage as the environmental movement is willing to tolerate in order to prevent oil drilling in areas where drill failures would be less catastrophic? No land-based well failure has done as much damage as the gulf failure. Heck, not even Saddam Hussein setting fire to all the wells his army could get to during the first Gulf War did that much damage. (I’m not even touching the nuclear power question, beyond saying that nuclear energy, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki, has still caused fewer deaths than coal-fired power plants. If you could get accurate statistics out of China, that would probably change to “fewer deaths per year”)

#5 Or maybe she simply likes the effect?

#9 There isn’t a ‘right’ answer here. The first duty of the US government is to the well-being of the people of the USA. If that means supporting a morally reprehensible state, there’s an argument that the US government should do so. I don’t agree, but I’m not in the hot-seat, either.

#10 Suffering enables true appreciation of beauty – and in many cases inspires the creation of great beauty. So… Yes.

Kate (who is not in the least opinionated)

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A. Jay Adler June 28, 2010 at 8:38 pm

Charlie K, on #9, I agree, but the question is, when? As for #8, and this week’s The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis trivia question, the answer is – Warren Beatty, who played Milton Armitage prior to his first film role starring in Splendor in the Grass.

Kate, you’re so balanced in your judgments, it’s hard to get a teeter out of your totter, but on #3, I would say one of your “feminism” alternatives is not feminism at all, but a broader post-colonial left affliction that just happens to target women as well as men. The resolution of your alternatives, though, I think, is to specify that the feminism I mean is the one that enabled the female to be a successful politician, and the kind of unionism I mean is the kind that gained that worker the 35-hour work week, with benefits, etc. The disdain and hatred I reference are the kind that ignore that feminism and unionism and focus on the other.

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charlie k June 28, 2010 at 8:48 am

#10 Is there a difference?
#9..why not, the US has consistently trained and supported the armies and police forces of fascist states. The US regularly violates the “prime directive”, maybe supporting democratic forces would be a refreshing change.
#8 Robert Redford
#7 There is no occupation of Gaza!
#6 Yankees
#5 Send that woman over and bind me…I’ll let ya know later.
#4 too much!

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