Saturday, June 03, 2006
Late to the Party
PSAYINGS.5Q.33. We try to keep up with what's going on in the blogosphere, the internet, etc, but sometimes you run behind schedule and wind up arriving at something good when all the other guests are driving away. That's what happened last week. Do you let it go, or do you own up to being negligent and offer up the praise that should have been forthcoming when the work was still new?
We found three essays we really liked. Smart guys holding forth on three different subjects. It's possible you missed them if you're as scattershot as we are. So we're going to add our two cents well after the fact. But in case you didn't miss them, we're going to limit our excerpts to one or two tantalizing paragraphs of each. Then we'll give you the link to the whole piece, which in all three cases you read in full if you haven't already.
The first is from Mark Steyn, who took a more serious approach to an issue we considered only humorously last week. It's about the technical question of what the hell is going on with the leadership of the U.S. Congress, especially the Republicans. He says, in part:
Of all the many marvelous Ronald Reagan lines, this is my favorite: ''We are a nation that has a government -- not the other way around''...
I said the other day that McCain and Specter and Sarbanes and Lott and the rest were presidents-for-life of the one-party state of Incumbistan. Between all the comprehensive immigration reform and corporate governance reform and campaign-finance reform and campaign-finance-reform reform and all the other changes, McCain and Co. sail on, eternally unchanging, decade after decade. There are no plans for Senate governance reform or Trent Lott finance reform. Incumbistan is a government that has a nation.
That's the beginning and end of Steyn's column. Everything in between is brilliant. Here's the link.
The second is an unexpectedly thoughtful, detailed, and insightful essay from Ace of Spades, hidden among the usual potpourri of scatological jokes and grumpy left hooks. It concerns the real reason why lefties are so quick to go nuclear with their political opponents, especially those -- like conservative blacks and Jews -- whom they are disposed to attack as racial and philosophic traitors. Here's the excerpt:
The left, to a man, considers itself to be educated and enlightened. It matters not how little actual schooling a particlular leftist may have had, nor how unintelligent the person might be. They all consider themselves intellectuals of sorts. If they dropped out of college after one semester, they just think of themselves as autodidacts whose genius could not be stimulated by the ossified and bourgeois teaching of the academy. If they're just plain stupid or crazy -- like, say, Charlie Sheen -- they indulge in farcial conspiracy-theorizing, reassuring themselves that they are intellectual because they know things others do not. They are one of the chosen few brave enough to see past the web of lies and glimpse the arcane truth behind, say, the implosion of the World Trade Center (a SEAL team planted those charges, you know?).
This conceit, usually wholly undeserved, of practically every leftist in the world is what makes leftism so intoxicating for the intellectually insecure, and what makes leftists so easily led and manipulated. It's an attractive doctrine for those who wish to conceive of themselves as intellectual and brilliant, for it provides an instant short-cut to the equivalent of an MIT education.There's much much more, and it's exceptionally well argued. Here's the link.
Finally, we stumbled across a thought-provoking essay about American Idol, which is 1) highly unusual, and 2) asks a very interesting question about the proceedings that have fascinated so many millions of people. Until we looked at this little gem, we weren't particularly fascinated.. See what you think:
I'm always drawn to the early episodes in a season of "American Idol." They're entertaining, as guilty pleasures tend to be, but also intriguing in a way that speaks to my scientific curiosity. I'm referring to the multitude of contestants that perform, umm...shall we say, dissonantly—meaning they are seriously out of tune, even awful.
What's especially interesting is that often these same contestants are completely ignorant of this fact, sometimes defiantly so. As a scientist, I feel compelled to seek an explanation somewhere in the scientific literature.A scientific explanation for all those inane diatribes by the talentless about being informed that they can't sing? That is intriguing. Here's the link.
We'll slink away now. Thanks for sticking with us this far, if you did. If you didn't, it can't possibly matter, can it?