July 15, 2006 - July 8, 2006
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
had been looking over his shoulder with some curiosity.
`What a funny watch!' she remarked. `It tells the day of the month, and
doesn't tell what o'clock it is!'
`Why should it?' muttered the Hatter.
`Does your watch tell you what year it is?'
`Of course not,' Alice replied very
readily: `but that's because it stays the same year for such a long
`Which is just the case with mine,'
said the Hatter.
Alice felt dreadfully puzzled. The
Hatter's remark seemed to have
no sort of meaning in it, and yet it was certainly English. "I don't think I understand," she said politely.
Rolling Stones are back, and some people seem to be upset
that their new album contains a song (or two) that are sharply and
expressly critical of the Bush administration. The offending cut is
called "Sweet Neocon":
The song is part of “A Bigger Bang,“ to
be released September 6, which the Stones say is their first studio
disc with totally new material in eight years.
An excerpt from the song was published by Newsweek magazine this week,
which described the Stones’ hard-hitting lyrics as “political“.
“You call yourself a Christian, I call you a hypocrite, You call
yourself a patriot, well I think you’re full of s---,“ the lyric goes.
(M)any, including influential English review New Musical Express, have
ventured the opinion that the song is specifically about US President
George W. Bush.
The band denies it, but ambiguously so.
Frankly, it's hard to get too upset about this. What's really annoying
about rock stars involving themselves in politics is their
self-righteous seriousness -- Bruce Springsteen touring to raise money
for John Kerry, Linda Ronstadt lecturing her concert audiences about
foreign policy, the Dixie
Chicks sounding off about Bush on foreign soil. "Sweet Neocon" might
have been slightly irksome had Jagger recorded it on a solo album, but
when it issues from the legendary Rolling Stones, it gets processed
through the wry, mocking tone that infuses all their music. It doesn't
matter what they say about it; the most sententious and serious lyric
in the world becomes a satire of itself when Mick's voice snarls it and
Keith's guitar spanks it on stage.
That's why I'll offer a sincere warning to the left
mistake of thinking the Stones have joined your, or any, movement. They
are first, last, and always the "greatest rock and roll band in the
world," and the world they have lived in for the past forty-some years
bears little relation to anyone else's. Just when you think you have
their attention, they'll flash you an evil grin and disappear back into
By the same token, I'll urge any offended Christians to remember that
"Sweet Neocon's" charge of hypocrisy falls from the same wagging tongue
that ended the radical era with these lyrics:
Please allow me to introduce myself
I’m a man of wealth and taste
I’ve been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man’s soul and faith
And I was ’round when jesus christ
Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name.
If you've forgotten this, he hasn't. While he was singing it at Altamont
people were dying in the audience. It became more than just a lyric
that day, and it's impossible to know just what he means by seeming to
mount a pulpit at this point in time. It's probably impossible
to know what he means
by it. Is he half aware that some of that old persona still
clings to him and that anything he says will be taken -- by those who
have half a memory or half a brain -- with a grain of salt the size of
a stone? Ask him. He'll probably flash that grin again, the one that
has made him the world's oldest bad boy and the only surviving (make
of an age that is long gone and yet still viciously present under the
a brand new century. Maybe there's "no sort of meaning in it," and
maybe there's another sort of meaning than he or we suspect.
Mick at the infamous Altamont concert
-- and as seen by guitarist Ron Wood
The one thing we can all count on is this: he knows what madness is,
and he knows that he knows it from personal experience. Does he ever
read his own lyrics the same way twice? I know I don't. You do what you
Saturday, August 20, 2005
Tune in -- Monday, August 22nd, 2005 at 9:35 a.m. EDT -- The Eric Hogue Show --
KTKZ AM 1380 in Sacramento, CA.
Mr. Hogue used InstaPunk's post regarding Cindy
Sheehan quite extensively in the Friday show and wants to talk to the man himself -- on the air.
KTKZ provides audio streaming, so you can get the program over the net (Just
click on the LISTEN tab at the top of the blog). Get ready Sacramento. We're pretty used to InstaPunk around
here. You're going to get the truth -- straight up -- like we like our Single Barrel
down here on the plantation.
UPDATE: For those who heard the
broadcast and would like to read the posts discussed -- here are the links:
Stepping In It -- the original Cindy Sheehan post.
Reforming The System -- a look at government without chickenhawks.
The Boomer Bible -- see for yourself how R. F. Laird has
dissected the modern mind.
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Something called the Newman Anti-War
BEST WE CAN HOPE FOR
. Last night, the local Philadelphia news
programs led their broadcasts with the jubilant report that vigils were
underway in the city, led by mothers of U.S. troops in Iraq, demanding
that the war be brought to an immediate end and that all the boys be
brought back home. We saw mothers singing, mothers speaking in pulpits,
candles burning... all very moving stuff in the liturgical trappings of
a religion that seems to be despised except when it can serve as a
useful prop. And that's all it was, because the nature of the moral
authority that we were being urged to acknowledge was laid out clearly
by Maureen Dowd in one of her recent columns
(Bush's) humanitarianism will
remain inhumane as long as he fails to understand that the moral
authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute.
This does seem to be the position of those who hold that it's
impermissible to level criticism of any kind against a grieving mother
who calls the President a terrorist
and claims that America is not
worth dying for
Don't worry, my dear progressives. I'm not launching another attack on
Cindy Sheehan. I'm just trying to reconcile a couple of contradictory
elements that seem to be very much in play here, and I'm hoping to
resolve them in a constructive manner.
Contradictions? Well, yeah. Anyone perusing the internet orgy
surrounding the Sheehan
can't avoid noticing that whenever a commentator does
criticize maternal grief as a credential for making foreign policy, he
is likely to be branded with the charge of being a "chickenhawk," a
term that flew hither and yon at great velocity during the 2004
Presidential campaign, when progressives discovered they had a war
veteran on their ticket while the Republicans didn't.
During that campaign, it seemed the only moral authority belonged to
those who had served not just in the military, but in combat. Everyone
else was disqualified from having or expressing any opinion whatsoever
about the war.
So now I'm curious: what form of government would sort out the
competing claims of moral authority and keep the childless non-veterans
in their place? Could it still offer freedom and equality to any but a
handful of its citizens?
It seemed an impossible task at first, but the more I thought about it,
the more I began to see a way through the complexities. The first step
is to figure out what it is progressives mean when they talk about
freedom and the role of government in securing that freedom. They
understand freedom in terms of what human beings should be free from
rather than free to do
, since doers are almost
invariably oppressors. Therefore, the basic human rights they are
concerned with are the right to be free from unequal treatment of any
kind, ill health, pollution, sudden death of any kind, offensive
rhetoric of the kind that might diminish self esteem, and any kind of
restraint on rhetoric that might be construed as immoral in traditional
(i.e., religious) terms.
It's also important to understand the meaning of equality in their
context, which has to do with long-term social justice. For example,
it's useful to think of the people who are alive now as mere
representatives of all the foregoing generations of whatever groups
they belong to by virtue of race and sex. Since women have been,
reputedly, treated less than equally in the past, they can be treated
more than equally now and in the foreseeable future in order to make up
for the continuing agonies of their dead forebears. (And conservatives
claim progressives don't believe in life after death...!)
Obviously, such definitions of freedom and equality make it clear that
liberty in the American tradition is obsolete. To ensure true freedom
and equality, certain discriminations do have to be effected. Howard
Stern can expect to be free from Christian moralizing that might make
him feel like a sinner, while Christians cannot expect to be free from
Howard Stern's particular brand of life philosophy. White men cannot
expect to be admitted to colleges until after many compensations have
been made to women and people of color; any sense of liberty they feel
to pursue their own archaic definition of equality is harmful to society
as a whole and should be strenuously discouraged.
Note that once we have defined equality in historical rather than
census terms, most of the problems associated with establishing a
progressive and free democracy have been swept away. Ironically, there
is even constitutional precedent for what must be done. The founders
declared black Americans to be counted as three-fifths of a person for
counting purposes and did not accord them a vote. The right of infinite
compensation thus enables the progressive state to assign percentages
of voting weight according to the degree of historical injustice that
must be compensated for. For example, white men who have never served
in combat could be assigned a voting weight of 0 percent, while mothers
who have lost children in combat could be assigned a voting weight of
100 percent, and all other groups and constituencies would lie
somewhere in between.
We're ready now to start envisioning the actual government(s) that
could enforce the progressive concepts of freedom and equality. First,
at the level of national government, the only citizens who could be
authorized to hold office are combat veterans and parents who have lost
children in combat (except possibly grieving white fathers, who are probably
deadbeat dads anyway, if not the child abusers who brainwashed their
sons into volunteering for death in battle.)
This may seem a fractious group to put into high office, but in fact,
it works out rather neatly. Yes, many combat veterans tend to be hawks
about foreign policy, but many veterans still fall into the category of
converted pacifists. And yes, not all parents of those killed in combat
are reliably pacifist either, but chances are that the hawkishness they
display on occasion has more to do with not tarnishing the memory of
their lost child by craven surrender than with being gung ho to
start a new conflict. The split between hawks and doves in this groups
will, at any rate, form the basis for political parties, and it looks
very much as if the result will be the Doves as majority party and
Hawks as the permanent flag-waving minority. (Somebody still has to
make speeches and touch off fireworks on the Fourth of July, after all).
There will be those who carp that this model gives us a pool of
potential officeholders that numbers in the mere tens of thousands. But
all these things are relative. The aggregate number of voters isn't
going to very large either, since only those people who have actually
served in the military or have children who (have) serve(d) in the
military will be eligible to vote in national elections. This will
ensure a fine and moral focus on foreign policy issues and will
entirely prevent them from being decided by any tide of public sentiment
in the event of destabilizing emotional events like terrorist attacks.
I also anticipate the criticism that a national government so
completely oriented around foreign policy issues might result in
neglect of domestic matters that greatly affect various freedoms, as
defined above. This potential problem is resolved by two long
established progressive strategies. First, most domestic legislation
dealing with freedom can be written directly from the bench, by
federal district courts and, obviously, the U.S. Supreme Court, which
will have to rewrite the Constitution on the fly, as it were. But the
courts will be well stocked with progressives who can be trusted
implicitly to sort out the various freedoms at issue in a way that
accommodates social justice in the historical sense -- without a lot of reactionary foot-dragging.
Even more importantly, many of the key freedoms -- health, economic,
environmental -- are really best handled at the global level, by the
many institutions already in place seeking international laws capable
of enforcing social justice in worldwide terms. It also makes sense to
transfer authority for taxation and regulation of commerce, trade, healthcare,
religion, and the protection of the earth from mankind to such global institutions. Of course,
Americans in this scenario will have to get used to seeing themselves
in this larger perspective as the racist, sexist, rich white men of the
world and expect to be treated accordingly, but they will learn to get
used to it, because the kind of morality represented by the list of
"freedoms from" and social justice in historical terms is pretty
The various state, local and municipal governments can go on pretty
much as they do now, and it's possible that as much as forty, no, say
thirty, percent of the populace will be authorized to vote for
candidates at this level. And to be perfectly clear about one bone of
contention, make no mistake: all felons past and present WILL be
allowed to vote in state, local, and municipal elections. The bad old
days of tyranny will be done for in this new government model.
I leave it to others to work out the many huge positive impacts the
progressive government model will have on our great nation. You know
the one I mean. The one we all love so very very much.
Michelle Malkin is sick of the whole
, and we don't blame her. Please email her and let her know
that it's all going to be fixed soon, courtesy of what we've worked out
here. The freedom and equality idealists will probably stop sending her
unspeakably obscene messages when their moral purpose has been achieved.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
The New Sex Appeal?
"Chubby, hairy, and poor."
. A pair of items
in Drudge today are supposed to give new hope to ordinary guys. First,
there's this from the NY
hunks? The hairy, chubby & poor!
by Rivka Bukowsky
Forget waxed chests and rock-hard abs. A new survey finds ladies like
their men scruffy, a wee bit chubby - and definitely not a metrosexual.
Playgirl asked 2,000 of its readers what they find sexy in a man and
the answers were surprising: 42% said they thought love handles were
kind of sexy and 47% approved of chest hair.
The mag, which often features toned, hairless males in its beefcake
photo spreads, is now searching for a man who meets readers' standards.
Average Joes everywhere can send photos to firstname.lastname@example.org to
compete for a shot at a pictorial in a future issue.
Rich playboys need not apply - only 4% of women said the size of a
man's wallet mattered. Metrosexuals are also out: 73% want a guy who is
"rough around the edges."
"This survey shows that the guy who's most attractive to our readers is
not your average Hollywood hunk," said Playgirl editrix Jill Sieracki.
"It's the average Joe who came up on top. Women are practical about
their choices, and they're smart."
New York matchmaker Janis Spindel, a self-described specialist at
setting up "highly successful, well-educated, attractive
professionals," confirmed the survey's findings. "It's scary, but women don't care [about
looks]," she said. "Men are very superficial and very shallow."
But Spindel disputed the claim that
women don't care about finding a rich man: "Women want a man who makes
more money than they do," she said. "They want to be able to live a
comfortable lifestyle." [emphasis added]
Before moving on, though, I'll draw your attention to the highlighted
text. Why is it "scary" to Ms. Spindel that women don't care about
looks? Particularly in view of her statement that men are "very
superfcial and very shallow" presumably because they do
care about looks. Does this mean
it would be less scary if women were as shallow as men? And are women really
less shallow and superficial
if they want "a man who makes more money than they do"? This makes it
sound as if it's the men who want romance and the women who want a
plush bank account. Which is not news.
So -- somewhat less hopeful -- we turn to the other Drudge item,
By Jacob Osterhaut
Good news, losers: It's cool to be uncool. With the upcoming releases
of two new movies, "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "The Baxter," and the
recent success of "Napoleon Dynamite," Hollywood has gleefully embraced
Hear that, matinee idols? This might be the time for you to trade in
your Uzi and Aston Martin for a pocket protector and a sweater vest.
What's all the excitement about? A couple of new movies, including one
called the "40 Year old Virgin." Here's what Mr. Osterhaut has to say:
Hope we don't give anything away, but
the title character of "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" has never had sex.
Excuse me, Mr. Osterhaut, but when the title of a movie is "The
40-Year-Old Virgin" I would be extremely surprised if it weren't
about a person who has
never had sex. Or does the word "virgin" have a different meaning in
New York City than it does everywhere else?
Andy (Steve Carell) collects action
figures, plays video games and, on weekends, blows his baritone horn.
"This is a character who has missed out on some opportunities in his
life," says Carell. "He was probably in the marching band when he was
in high school."
But the affable guy finds love by the end of the film. "Andy is
attractive because he is nice and sweet," points out Carell. "He's not
a bad boy. He's not dangerous. He is not threatening. He is unique."
Unique? Because he's not bad, dangerous or threatening? Or because he's
a virgin? I suspect the country is full of men who aren't bad,
dangerous, or threatening; these have always been the nice guys who
"finish last." If I had to guess, though, few of them remain virgins
till the age of 40. Mostly, they find women who turn to them at last
after getting burned one too many times by the bad boys.
Still no news here, it would seem. But wait -- buried in the article is
this striking paragraph:
"Women find sex appeal in male geek
movie characters," notes Gitesh Pandya, editor of
www.boxofficeguru.com. "Geeks have charm in their awkwardness. The
personality of a geek makes him sexy, partially because he can be
pitied and partially because they [sic] are good-natured people."
The geek is sexy because he can be pitied? This is
news. Women want men who are pitiable
!? And this is supposed to
be good news? That would pretty much wipe out the driving force behind
the creation of advanced civilization -- the feats of leadership,
heroism and genius men have forced themselves to accomplish for the
purpose of making themselves attractive to women. Now we are to believe
that it would be better to let it all go, put on a few more pounds, and
practice acting awkward and helpless instead?
Oddly enough, Drudge also seems to have offered up some confirmation of
this notion in yesterday's report. Consider this otherwise contextless
item from the U.K.'s News
Michael Buerk, the veteran BBC
newsreader, has launched a tirade against what he believes is the
all-pervading influence of women in society, claiming that men have
been reduced to little more than "sperm donors".
Buerk, the former presenter of The Nine O'Clock News whose report on
Ethiopia inspired Live Aid, said that life was now lived "according to
women's rules" and that traditional male traits had been marginalised.
In an interview with The Radio Times, he cited the decline of the
manual workforce as an example of the trend as well as the number of
women in top jobs at the BBC and other media outlets.
Buerk, who now presents BBC World and recently attacked some of his
fellow news presenters for being overpaid "lame brains", complained
that the "shift in the balance of power between the sexes" has gone too
far and we needed to "admit the problem".
"Life is now being lived according to women's rules," he said. "The
traits that have traditionally been associated with men - reticence,
stoicism, single-mindedness - have been marginalised."
And now all that women need or want from the male sex is a shopworn
teddy bear who makes a decent living as a nonthreatening drone?
Interesting idea. But the next line of Michael Buerk's rant also seems
relevant. He says:
"The result is that men are becoming
more like women...."
This is certainly true. And it's intriguing that such a definite
declaration comes from an employee of the BBC, a member in good
standing of the ultra-liberal journalism establishment. Women may be in
charge now at the BBC, but they're not in charge of all elite media. So
why does the mass media coverage of the Bush Administration (for
example) seem so stereotypically female in tone -- hysterical,
histrionic, hyper-emotional, and irrational -- its argumentation
entirely developed and arranged for the purpose of attacking one man --
at all costs -- rather than making any attempt to think through the
situation without second-guessing every motive and digging up every old
The so-called progressive opposition to Bush is remarkably akin to that
of a woman who has discovered her lover cheating on her. She's through
with him. There's nothing he can say or do, ever again, to command her
affection or respect. She will go to any length, no matter how
self-destructive, to obtain her revenge. In furtherance of her purpose
she will care about things she's never cared about, stand her own
principles on their heads, and use every vicious trick she can think of
to do more hurt to her target.
This extremely virulent side of the feminine mindset may be more firmly
implanted in the mainstream media than it is elsewhere in the culture,
but there is virtually no institution that does not increasingly
manifest at least the milder versions of the female personality. Our
corporate meeting rooms are geared to consensus and cooperation rather
than breakthrough leadership (and its inevitable hurt feelings), our
schools are drenched in feel good flummery rather than the demand for
accomplishment, our politics are awash in policy-making by
heart-tugging anecdote rather than sober cost-benefit analysis, and our
tolerance for the very real human costs of defending the nation in a
tough and violent world has disappeared into a swamp of tears and
What's more, I think there are a lot of women who detect that this is
the case and suspect that it's not Utopia. Yes, they wanted to
participate in the institutions and the decision-making, but in their
heart of hearts, they didn't want men to become just like them. Now
they see men who are as obsessed with appearance, clothes, and grooming
as they are, famous athletes who whine and storm like teenage girls,
leaders in a variety of fields who care more about what other people
will say (and have said) than how to get the mission
accomplished, whatever it is, and they know that something's wrong.
But do they even remember men? What does a man look like to a woman who
was born after the feminist revolution? Perhaps he looks like he
doesn't care how he looks, perhaps he has a driving interest in
something other than money and status, perhaps he lacks the degree of
narcissism to plunge himself into the beauty pageant relations between
the sexes have become. Maybe she sees a geek and thinks maybe
she's looking at a man.
If so, love handles and pitifulness might not be the answer. It might
be that what men need to do is relearn the difficult and complex skill
of thinking and acting like a man.