Saturday, November 18, 2006

Don't call it a comeback / I've been here for years

Hello again.

In response to Robot's conjectures, I finally did see Dick Rorty, though not in the context of handsome solei. He was at a Classics colloquium for visiting prof Alexander Nehamas. Some dude he was with asked him midway through if he was "tired." Lame.

I regret the lack of posting and commenting. I remain faithful to you all.

In other news, Chuck Krauthammer is a fucking asshole. (That's how you know this is a Scantron post.) Expect this kind of "we gave the Iraqis a republic and they screwed it up" drivel as the official party line when the smoke clears.

The other debate I'd like to touch off is the freakin' crazy populist revival going on. Is this the real thing? Or simply media hype? See Jacob Weisberg's prescient post at Slate. Lou Dobbs' response. Is Lou Dobbs a disgusting xenophobe or a hero of the little man? Both? And what about Jim Webb's populist, dare we say class conscious Wall Street Journal op-ed? Blogger Billmon's response. Have the Democrats shifted right on social issues only to embrace progressive economics? Are they simply engaging in demagoguery? I will say that I saw an interview with Webb on, of all places, Lou Dobbs Tonight, in which they channeled John Rawls for five minutes straight. Economic "fairness." "Fair equality of opportunity." "I don't judge a society by the status of the top 1%, but the bottom portion." Is Rawls just an ideological screen for populism then? (Um, no, I can tell you that much.)

Gentlemen and women, I'm off. I've managed to find something to do on a Friday night in this godforsaken place, praise Jesus.

3 Comments:

Blogger Robot said...

Certainly agree on Krauthammer. I actually used to semi-respect him, but I think every since he was forced to give an intellectual defense of torture, it seems that he thinks he's capable of giving a defense of everything. Worse, he's sly enough to persuade people.

Forever unpersuadable, however, will be George W. Bush. What the hell is he talking about when his trip to Vietnam brings up the fact that we must say in Iraq because:

1. “History has a long march to it,”

2. “Societies change and relationships can constantly be altered to the good.”

3. "We tend to want there to be instant success in the world, and the task in Iraq is going to take awhile.... It's just going to take a long period of time for the ideology that is hopeful, and that is an ideology of freedom, to overcome an ideology of hate."

Now, I'm the first one to admit that analogies between Vietnam and Iraq are often poorly executed, but if Bush wants to bring it up, let's shoot him down. One doesn't need to be a fucking genius to see that millions of Vietnamese fought two successive wars that lasted three decades to free themselves of a foreign occupant. If anything, isn't the lesson more like, "History has a long march to it: occupied countries have a tendency to fight INDEFINITELY until the occupiers leave"?

11:46 AM  
Blogger The Sheriff said...

The US isn't occupying anything, it's fostering the democratic process. We're trying to alter things to the good.

2:57 PM  
Blogger Scantron said...

Juan Cole echoes your sentiments about the White House using vietnam examples.

http://www.juancole.com/2006/11/18-dead-in-baquba-battle-rice-urges.html

Blogger Brendan Nyhan has an informative post on Krauthammer in which he reveals him to be (surprise!) a complete hypocrite:

http://www.brendan-nyhan.com/blog/2006/11/krauthammers_re.html

It's always fun to return to this post, too, in which Nyhan lays out Krauthammer's five-time use of a certain "Hitler appeasement" quote:

http://www.prospect.org/horsesmouth/2006/08/post_316.html

Krauthammer is, undoubtedly in my mind at this point, a two-bit swindler. But he is symptomatic of the condition of the entrenched punditry in this country, on the right and left. With a salaried position and a word limit to meet every week, these people can just spout whatever watercooler wisdom they find interesting or, what's more likely, ideologically self-serving and never be held accountable. This doesn't just apply to people with an obvious agenda --for example, definitely check out this piece on Slate with documents taken from John Moody, senior vice president of news editorial for Foxnews:

http://www.slate.com/id/2154078/entry/2154079/

--but also our "reasonable" pundits with their "moderate" inanities, like Thomas Friedman. I think the Sheriff was on to something a while back when he took his media sabbatical--sometimes it's enough to make you sick.

2:59 AM  

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