June 21, 2008 - June 14, 2008
Thursday, August 02, 2007
A Primer on
the map it's somewhere near the top, in the middle, but slightly left
It's a terrible tragedy, and we have nothing but condolences for
the victims of the bridge collapse and their families.
[Pause for a typically phlegmatic
nordic expression of grief; i.e., a long sigh]
Okay? Okay. Now we begin the long and complicated process of bringing
blame for this catastrophe home to the Bush
. I suspect liberals are going to need some help with
this, because Minnesota lies not on the blue west coast or the blue
east coast, but somewhere in between, in -- let's face it -- flyover
country. So why would Bush and company need to drop this city to its
knees with so much loss of life? As it happens, there are plenty of
good reasons to suspect a conspiracy.
In the first place, Minnesota is a blue state. The greatest writer yet
produced by this northern wasteland was Max Shulman
made it clear
that the roots of his home were far different from those of the
Anglo-Saxon imperialists who did so much to impose their will on the
New World. Note, for example, Shulman's eloquent translation of
"a name which derives from 'minne' meaning a place where
men and women
ate underdone pemmican and 'sota' meaning the day the bison got away
because the hunter's wife blunted his arrows in a fit of pique."
You see, they're just different. Not Scottish, not Irish, not Welsh,
not even English, but Scandinavian, descended from the Norwegians and
Swedes who have led
the way in turning Europe into a suicide-obsessed
That's undoubtedly why leading conservative intellectuals like Ace of
Spades have expressed some polite reservations
about their character and motives:
I don't remember when my Pappy first
taught me hate -- hatred of the icicle-squating Scandi snow-wops. But
I'll always thank him for it.
One of my earliest memories is of watching the Muppet Show, and happily
laughing along to the Swedish Chef. Hur-de-ver-de-verd-e-verr, the
Swedish Chef said. And I, not knowing any better, merrily repeated his
dirty Scandi gutter-talk. "Hur-de-verd-de-verd-e-verr," I said along.
My Pappy walked in, agahst, and shook his head in disgust. "They're
goddamned trying to brainwash these kids," he said. The next day, the
television was gone, and in place of the tv was a record player and a
bunch of Richard Pryor and Redd Foxx albums. "You listen to these
guys," my Pappy said. "They don't truck with any goddamned Scandi
I remember how excited he'd get to watch the US Open, and root for
Jimmy Connors, who he called "The Great Off-White Hope." The day Bjorn
Borg beat Jimmy Connors was just about the saddest day of my Pappy's
life. "Don't worry, son," he told me as he gave my hair a comforting
tussle. "Bjorn Borg is just a shaved Yeti in short-shorts. Those people
are barely evolved from the snow-sasquatches. Jimmy Connors is still
the greatest human tennis
player in the world."
The thing about the ultra-whites (as Celts refer to Scandis) is how
credulous they are about dumb socialist ideas. For example, it's only
natural that the mainstream media would have lionized at least one of
their number as a coldly objective journalist. Don't know who we mean?
Ultra-whites are always great at sliding in under the radar
Aaron Brown (born November 10, 1948 in
Hopkins, Minnesota... is an alumnus of the University of Minnesota. He
dropped out after his freshman year to work at a local radio station
and never returned.
Brown has over twenty-six years of experience in journalism and was
CNN's lead anchor during breaking news. He also hosted "CNN Presents,"
a documentary series, and was co-anchor during election coverage.
They can't fool real Americans like Bush, Cheney, and me, though. He
attracted my attention
a long time ago:
[A] journalist always has to be on the
alert (a la Dan
) for the story that is being suppressed just because it's
false when everybody who is anybody knows it's really true, or sort of
true, or should be true, because it would make such a damn
. And that's journalism in a nutshell, which is where you
can always find the mind of an Aaron Brown.
the Wellstone Funeral
“I find myself at exactly the right place for a reporter tonight. I’m
annoyed at both political parties, and you can’t be more fair and
balanced than that. Last night’s event in Minneapolis – calling it a
memorial insults the dead – was totally tasteless....Equally shameless
has been the reaction received here. There may in fact be non-partisans
upset with the event, they may in fact exist. They did not make
themselves known in our in-box today. Instead, what we received was a
series of identical letters....I don’t mean thematically identical; I
mean literally identical. Word for word....So here is what last night
proved: One side can be tasteless and the other side has the computer
skills to cut and paste under the guise of genuine outrage. Which is
worse? To me it’s a tie.”
– Anchor Aaron Brown’s “Page Two”
commentary at the start of CNN’s
NewsNight, October 30.2002
Yes, we remember the Wellstone funeral too. No matter how long we live,
we will NEVER get over the ugliness of the fact that Republicans
objected to it and had the unmitigated gall to communicate their
objections to the mass media via boilerplate language. It was
unspeakable then, it's unspeakable now, and it represents a permanent
dishonoring of the memory of Paul Wellstone. And the Democrats
shouldn't have done what they did either, like Aaron pointed out.
I had occasion to remember Aaron's eloquence last night, when a Minneapolis Star-Tribune
pointed out that Minnesota hadn't experienced a tragedy as tragic as
the bridge collapse since the plane crash of Paul Wellstone. I'm sure
the families of the victims would be happy to trade their lost loved
ones for Paul Wellstone even now if he could be restored to life and
That's where real Democratic values come into play. Ultra-whites in
Minnesota are primarily Lutherans (atheists) who exhibit the limitless
tolerance for opposing ideas exemplified by the state's most
Garrison Keillor. Here's a touchstone American liberals should all be
able to relate to in their struggle to accept the humanity of
Minnesota's pasty-faced and diversity-free residents of an otherwise
contemptible heartland state. His 'Lake Woebegone' is the drab,
emotionally impotent commune all liberals everywhere pine for with the
certainty that it can never come to pass. I've gone personally out of
my way to recognize his unique contribution to public discourse in the past
Here's a man, we're being told, who
knows how to
listen, a man whose ear for heartstrings has perfect pitch and
infallible memory. The word pictures create for us a space of tender
three-dimensional empathy inside which we can share with him everything
that is fine and good and humble and human and authentic in the
But there are dark things afoot, things that cannot help but alarm a
man of such exquisite sensibilities and, of course, all who have the
depth of character to recognize the harmonic intricacies of his
composition. Okay, I'll get to the point. If you want to know what
Garrison is working up to here, listen for the discord in this passage:
After the iPod takes half the radio
audience and satellite radio subtracts half of the remainder and
Internet radio gets a third of the rest and Clear Channel has to start
cutting its losses and selling off frequencies, good-neighbor radio
will come back. People do enjoy being spoken to by other people who are
alive and who live within a few miles of you.
People like Tommy Mischke, a nighttime
guy on a right-wing station in St. Paul and a free spirit who gets into
wonderful stream-of-consciousness harangues and meditations that are a
joy to listen to compared with the teeth-grinding that goes on around
him. Not that teeth-grinders are to be disparaged: I enjoy, in small
doses, the over-the-top right-wingers who have leaked into AM radio on
all sides in the past twenty years. They
are evil, lying, cynical bastards who are out to destroy the country I
love and turn it into a banana republic, but hey, nobody's
perfect. And now that their man is re-elected and they have nice
majorities in the House and Senate, they are hunters in search of
diminishing prey. There just aren't many of us liberals worth banging
away at, but God bless them, they keep on coming. [emphasis added]
My my. The article is 1770 words long,
but the bold-faced clause is
just about all you need to read. Like his soulmate Andy
Keillor affects a folksiness that is merely a cover for pronouncements
by a personage who is, truth be told, superior to most of us.
He simply knows and we should
believe him because he is wired into the real soul of the nation:
The reason you find an army of
right-wingers ratcheting on the radio and so few liberals is simple:
Republicans are in need of affirmation, they don't feel comfortable in
America and they crave listening to people who think like them.
Liberals actually enjoy living in a free society; tuning in to hear an
echo is not our idea of a good time. I go to church on Sunday morning
to be among the like-minded, and we all say the Nicene Creed together
and assume nobody has his fingers crossed, but when it comes to radio,
I prefer oddity and crankiness. I don't need someone to tell me that
George W. Bush is a deceitful, corrupt, clever and destructive
man--that's pretty clear on the face of it. What I want is to be
surprised and delighted and moved. Here at the low end of the FM dial
is a show in which three college boys are sitting in a studio, whooping
Do you see what's going on here? In his
universe, good and evil are
so dead obvious and simple that they don't need to be explained,
illuminated, or even considered. They are merely declaimed like
commandments, because the speaker is not, for all his aw-shucks
"hankering" and "twiddling," one of the great unwashed, but a seer. He
listens, he sees, he passes judgment.
Now I hasten to say that someone of my
intellect is easily satisfied by
the act of criticizing a Garrison Keillor or an Aaron Brown. But the
Bushes and Cheneys of this world do not
have my intellect. Have you
noticed their brow ridges, their prognathous jaws? They represent the
neanderthal throwbacks of the not-quite-white Celtic under-race. They
can't ever hope to attain the transcendent ennui and schadenfreude of
the master race
That's why the Bush administration had to act as it did.
Do you still doubt? Well, just consider this in-depth poll taken among
Minnesota citizens a few years back. They were asked two simple
questions: 1) Did Bush lie? 2) Did people die? Here are their answers.
wouldn't have taken this as
a cue to destroy property and citizens.
But I never conspired to make 9/11 happen, either. All I can do is try
to shed some necessary light.
I think I've done that. Yah?
Some migratory species require bright
lights, fast cars and fast food.
LOVING THE LAND
Here's an interesting news
seeks changes in U.S. border fence plan to protect migrant species
The Associated Press
Monday, July 30, 2007
MEXICO CITY: Mexico on Monday called on the United States to alter a
plan to expand border fences designed to stem illegal immigration,
saying the barriers would threaten migratory species accustomed to
roaming freely across the frontier...
On Monday, Mexico's Environment Department said the proposed fences
would seriously hurt species that cross the 1,952-mile
(3,218-kilometer) border and that the United States needs to alter or
mitigate the barriers where necessary.
"The eventual construction of this barrier would place at risk the
various ecosystems that we share," said Environment Secretary Juan
Rafael Elvira, noting that the border is not just desert, but includes
mountains, rivers and wetlands.
Mexico also wants Washington to expand its environmental impact study
on the fences and will file a complaint with the United Nations'
International Court of Justice in the Hague, Netherlands if necessary.
The inventory of affected species is rather large.
Free-ranging cabana boys have to
deliver margaritas over a vast area.
Larval gangbangers are genetically
wired to nest in urban concrete habitats.
servants annually "flock" to Malibu and Beverly Hills.
are irresistibly drawn from the desert to green suburban oases.
Not surprisingly, farm laborers migrate obsessively toward farms.
it's a cheap shot. But no cheaper than Mexico's flimsy excuse for
opposing a border fence.
We wish them luck with that U.N. lawsuit, though.
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Snowy, Icy Stuff
is that other who walks beside you?"
Well, I'm backward, I guess. I just found out about Christmas in
July this week. But I can make up for it. Here are some ice-cold
entertainments that are guaranteed to last you till December.
First up, starting on a reasonably light anti-Vick note, is a movie
about the relationship between tough dogs and tough men (and one tough
woman). It's called Eight
. Based on fact, according to the background info. Antarctic
researchers act desperately to save one of their number who is injured.
In the process, they leave behind the team of sled dogs who rescued the
stricken man from immediate death. The man whose team it was tries to
get back to save his dogs from the fatal Antarctic winter but no one will help. The movie cuts back and
forth between the world of dogs and the world of men. They're a lot
alike as it turns out. Did I say the movie was light? Sorry. There's
some sadness here. The star is the young husky with the deep eyes. We
think he's going places. Not that he hasn't already been places. The
Antarctic. It's a season in hell. Hopefully, he won't buy a Bentley and
start squiring Paris Hilton around. No, he wouldn't do that. We're sure
Next, the Snow Walker
A handsome bush pilot is hired to ferry a sick but young and beautiful
Inuit (i.e., Eskimo) woman to a place where they have hospitals and
some sort of treatment for tuberculosis. But they crash enroute. Think
you know the rest? Think again, kiddo. This movie's a keeper. There's
nothing cheap about how it gets to you. You'll know that because it
keeps resonating long after the credits are done. In the same way that
it took Return to Paradise
to make us
appreciate Vince Vaughn, this one made us appreciate Barry Pepper. And
that heartbreaking Inuit girl.
We haven't seen it yet, to be honest, but we're waiting for Netflix to
deliver the two-part production of Shackleton
Kenneth Branagh. How could it fail? It's the true adventure story
to end all adventure stories -- how one man recklessly sailed his crew
into the waters of the Antarctic in 1913, and then, just as recklessly,
moved heaven and earth to save them from certain death. The great news
is that it's still possible to buy a copy of Endurance
the masterfully written account of the expedition by Alfred Lansing. We
recommend buying and reading the book, then watching the DVD. If you're
anything like us, winter won't seem so cold to you this year -- or ever
If you can buy one book, you can buy two. Here's the other one you have
to get if you haven't already read it. Alone
by Admiral Richard Byrd. Yeah, it sounds like it might be dry,
superior, and philosophical. It isn't. The explorer made a huge mistake
and put himself in life-and-death peril. His account is so vivid that
you'll feel the freezing cold in your bones days after you finish the
book. Come to think of it, maybe you should read this one before
you go the Shackleton route.
Otherwise, you might wind up sitting on the couch with a shawl wrapped
around you for the next ten years or so.
Phew. Just made it. Christmas in July. Enjoy.