Re: Bob Woodward, John Belushi, and Tanner Colby

1

Woodward was on celebrity jeopardy once. Obviously one can't draw concldude's an idiot.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 7:22 PM
horizontal rule
2

I mean, shit, his role in the Watergate reporting was essentially 1. Republican and 2. hair.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 7:23 PM
horizontal rule
3

The way Woodward's reporting of events is described in that article, it comes across as a nearly pathological misunderstanding of nuance. I'm tempted to call it autistic, but that's unfair to autistics.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 7:26 PM
horizontal rule
4

I think he's just a prig.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 7:28 PM
horizontal rule
5

This one isn't half bad.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 7:31 PM
horizontal rule
6

Well, and also not smart.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 7:31 PM
horizontal rule
7

I think Joan Didion would probably be my first choice if I could write non-fiction like anyone alive in the world today. I once would have said John McPhee, but he's slipped a lot in recent years.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 7:33 PM
horizontal rule
8

Von Wafer, I totally agree, but I fear that Didion's slipped in recent years, too. I thought her book about her husband's death was most painful in demonstrating how much she needed him as an editor.


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 7:36 PM
horizontal rule
9

I have definitely typically been a much bigger John McPhee fan than Joan Didion fan (although 5 is awesome, and for some reason has got in my head Frank the Bunny from Donnie Darko accosting Bob Woodward saying "why are you wearing that stupid Robert Caro suit" which is definitely a tangent) but I feel like some of these young bucks coming up can really turn their mouth around a sentence or whatever.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 7:41 PM
horizontal rule
10

8: I saved myself a lot of pain by not reading that book. Also, will you send me an e-mail when you have a moment?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 7:43 PM
horizontal rule
11

9: you should read the essays in The White Album. You might change your mind.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 7:44 PM
horizontal rule
12

On the other hand in his prime John McPhee had an ability to describe complicated spatial and temporal relationships in dynamical systems utterly clearly and vividly in elegant prose, which was basically astounding and which nobody can do.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 7:44 PM
horizontal rule
13

I get most impressed in non-fiction by the ability to set the scene in preparation before anything happens. John McPhee's thing about the Nevada cow-branding inspectors is the best piece ever.

I would choose to write like David Quammen. Zoom in and out, from the big picture to the perfect detail.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 7:48 PM
horizontal rule
14

11: sure, I doubtless should do that first part. I like things that are good.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 7:49 PM
horizontal rule
15

12: yeah, he used to be the best. But he's slipped so much in recent years that it's hard for me to think of him as being the same writer. And though I believe Didion has slipped too, I haven't witnessed the decline, so I can pretend she's as good as she was in 1979.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 7:49 PM
horizontal rule
16

13.2: what of his should I read?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 7:50 PM
horizontal rule
17

What of McPhee's should I read?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 7:58 PM
horizontal rule
18

The Song of the Dodo is a phenomenal book. Although the point it makes, amazing at the time (1988?), is kind of conventional wisdom now.

All of the other DQ books I've read are basically collections of journalistic pieces. Wait, that's what McPhee did too. Anyway, Monster of God is very interesting too.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 7:58 PM
horizontal rule
19

17: I'm a particular fan of Levels of the Game and The Curve of Binding Energy, for different reasons, but they just are mostly great.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:01 PM
horizontal rule
20

17: my current favorite is Pine Barrens. But Coming into the Country (about Alaska) is also outstanding. Or, if you like geology, read his trilogy on the subject (now collected under one cover and title: Annals of the Former World). There are many others that are also fantastic, including Control of Nature (a three-part examination of people's efforts to control nature), Encounters with the Archdruid (about the former head of the Sierra Club, Dave Brower), or Curve of Binding Energy (a long profile of Theodore Taylor), but I think the ones listed above are a good place to start.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:02 PM
horizontal rule
21

Oh man and The Control of Nature, of course.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:03 PM
horizontal rule
22

Actually, don't start with The Pine Barrens. And yes, Levels of the Game is also wonderful for the reasons Jetpack gave above: a sense of how to convey space that's unparalleled among non-fiction writers.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:04 PM
horizontal rule
23

Annals of the Former World is wonderful, but some people (my dad) have been put off by how intensely focused on geology it is.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:04 PM
horizontal rule
24

No, I made my recommendation first. Noseflow has to start with the one about the Nevada cow-branding inspectors.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:04 PM
horizontal rule
25

18: thanks!


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:06 PM
horizontal rule
26

If somebody can find me Tom Junod's essay about Mr. Rogers formatted in a way that isn't completely hideous, I'll be very grateful.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:09 PM
horizontal rule
27

I read the piece linked in the OP earlier today, because Slate is pretty much my go-to place for at-work procrastination these days. I thought it was quite good.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:15 PM
horizontal rule
28

my go-to place for at-work procrastination

Clearly we need to step up the contrarianism.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:27 PM
horizontal rule
29

It was certainly a much more interesting read than such other Slate offerings as The Dave Weigel Show and Mr. Yglesias Goes to JCPenney.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:28 PM
horizontal rule
30

Clearly we need to step up the contrarianism.

If you could step it up enough to circumvent my employer's website-blocking software, that would be... impressive.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:29 PM
horizontal rule
31

And we even cut down on the cock jokes.


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:33 PM
horizontal rule
32

Have you considered changing jobs so you can talk to us more?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:34 PM
horizontal rule
33

I have not read John McPhee. I guess I should.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:35 PM
horizontal rule
34

They don't seem to filter by content; instead they have some sort of system that classifies sites by type and blocks certain types entirely. So sites classified as "blogs" are blocked entirely, but sites classified as "news" are allowed even if they also contain blogs. It's a weird system.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:35 PM
horizontal rule
35

Have you considered changing jobs so you can talk to us more?

No, the advantages of this job have overall outweighed the disadvantages (of which this is the primary one) enough that I'll just live with it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:36 PM
horizontal rule
36

I don't read non-fiction. I prefer never doing anything at home except wasting time on the internet and occasionally watching movies and tv shows. Also, writing comments.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:37 PM
horizontal rule
37

I don't read non-fiction.

You read the criticism, though, right?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:38 PM
horizontal rule
38

I have not read John McPhee. I guess I should.

Eh, I read Coming into the Country and it was okay but I think that style of lyrical non-fiction is not really for me. I definitely thought it dragged in places, especially toward the end. I haven't read any of his other stuff, so I'm not sure how much I can generalize from the one book. I've also never read any Didion.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:39 PM
horizontal rule
39

It's a weird system.

In the world of classification systems, there are only two categories: weird and miscellaneous. They overlap.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:39 PM
horizontal rule
40

34 I thought this was an eclectic web magazine.

I too enjoyed the article in the OP.

Bob Woodward is a zit.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:40 PM
horizontal rule
41

In addition to The Control of Nature and Encounters with the Archdruid, I'm quite found of Looking for a Ship. (I've never read The Curve of Binding Energy, but I've added it to my list; thanks.)


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:40 PM
horizontal rule
42

I really like the Didion stuff I've read, but it's mostly her early work.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:41 PM
horizontal rule
43

Woodward's history of Unfogged would be called Cocked.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:42 PM
horizontal rule
44

42: On the whole, I like Slouching Towards Bethlehem better than The White Album but both are strong. Salvador was pretty much crap and I've only read the occasional essay since then. Probably too harsh and stupid on my part, the Woodward thing is excellent.

And for fiction I really liked Run, River and Play It as It Lays. I liked her before she sold out, man.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:48 PM
horizontal rule
45

38: that wouldn't have been my first choice, in fact, for anybody else new to McPhee. I like it, but I think he gets a bit indulgent. It was appropriate for you because reasons, of course.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:49 PM
horizontal rule
46

La Place de la Concorde Suisse is an extremely weird, and hilarious, McPhee book.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:50 PM
horizontal rule
47

It was appropriate for you because reasons, of course.

Right. When I was in graduate school my roommate actually loaned me a copy of The Pine Barrens but I never got around to reading it and then she moved out and I gave it back. I probably should have made more of an effort to read it.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:51 PM
horizontal rule
48

And I either did not know (or more likely) had totally forgotten that Woodward had written Wired. Jeez. I thought this was the best line, Wired was so wrong, Belushi's manager said, it made you think Nixon might be innocent.

I like to think that the autopsy was done by the Samurai Coroner.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:54 PM
horizontal rule
49

Yeah, that was a great line.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:56 PM
horizontal rule
50

47: "I roomed with this totally cute guy but I knew it was never going to work when I lent him The Pine Barrens and he didn't even read it."


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 8:56 PM
horizontal rule
51

I started but never finished Control of Nature.


Posted by: fake accent | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 9:00 PM
horizontal rule
52

48.1 -- the longtime LA coroner who conducted Belushi's autopsy was Japanese-American, you racist.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 9:01 PM
horizontal rule
53

52: Then he probably could have pulled it off.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 9:06 PM
horizontal rule
54

Damn it, 48.2.

Also to get in my 2 cents as quickly as possible, I like John McPhee's geology books are the best because they're the most straightforward, sometimes he has a bit of the New Yorker profile disease which puts me off. The White Album and Slounching Towards Bethlehem are two of the best books of all time. I liked Miami for later (but still very old!) Didion and I haven't read the book about all the death.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 9:06 PM
horizontal rule
55

52: Also it goes 1 then 2. Eat some bread and you'd remember things like that.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 9:07 PM
horizontal rule
56

sometimes he has a bit of the New Yorker profile disease which puts me off

Right, this was the problem I had with CitC.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 9:08 PM
horizontal rule
57

54,55: Fuck.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 9:09 PM
horizontal rule
58

Slounching! We're halfway to Flouncing Towards Bethlehem!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 9:10 PM
horizontal rule
59

What is the New Yorker profile disease?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 9:11 PM
horizontal rule
60

Logorrhea?


Posted by: Kreskin | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 9:12 PM
horizontal rule
61

I'll spare folks the full monty, but here are the Woodward relevant parts of something I had fun writing back in the day [*cough* defunct blog whore *cough*]:

Outlined against the troubles of a nation, the Four Writers wrote again. In Internet lore they are known as arrogance, pomposity, cluelessness and idiocy. These are only aliases. Their real names are: Broder, Woodward, Howell and Hiatt. They formed the crest of the cyclone before which the reputation of the Washington Post was swept over the precipice these past ten years as a million readers peered at the bewildering panorama spread out on their breakfast tables and computer screens.
...
11.[Woodward] And when he had opened the second link, I heard the second courtier say, Come and read.
12. And there I read another work of stenography: and power was given to him that wrote therein to transcribe the thoughts of the mighty, and that they should flatter one another: and there was given unto him great riches for his efforts.
...


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 9:15 PM
horizontal rule
62

59: teo called McPhee "lyrical" upthread. Maybe that? (Though lyrical is not a word I'd use to describe McPhee.)


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 9:19 PM
horizontal rule
63

I liked Slouching Toward Bethlehem a lot more on first reading than second. In the interim I grew older and saw Didion speak in person. I admit to not being able to fully separate the politics from the writing, for her or anyone else, and her politics irritated me.

I've barely read McPhee. I have to say I've really liked what nonfiction of Steinbeck's I've read.

Anne Lamott is someone else who I really loved on first read but seemed to have gotten pettier and more abrasive when I went back. Even Bird by Bird, which I once loved, and still do give as a gift.

There is an absolutely beautiful poetic justice in a Bob Woodward thread turning very quickly into a "Let me reminisce about gorgeous writing, thread.

I second every word of 3.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 9:38 PM
horizontal rule
64

Argh, close quotation marks.

"


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 9:39 PM
horizontal rule
65

What about Didion's politics irritated you, Witt? (I'm not doubting you or challenging you; I'm genuinely curious.)


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 9:42 PM
horizontal rule
66

I think I am old; all I can think of in terms of non-fiction writers are old people and dead people. I must say that Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek was an absolute revelation to me when I first read it, and I have somewhat enjoyed some of her other stuff.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 9:45 PM
horizontal rule
67

Ron Rosenbaum is another. Old.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 9:46 PM
horizontal rule
68

As best I can remember (and it was a few years ago), it was a combination of:

1. An off-putting snobbishness about people who weren't the right kind of literate, mannered (I felt like she was thinking "civilized") readers/writers.

2. A weird tendency to overgeneralize about the representativeness of her own experience and/or perspective and/or social circle. I say "weird" because anyone so obviously intelligent and talented (and of a certain age) might reasonably be expected to have had such assumptions jarred by encounters with real life. She didn't seem to have.

I was also irritated by how the moderator kept harping on authenticity, as though even her more personal writings were not carefully crafted slices of her "authentic" life. But even I can't blame the author for the moderator's sins!



Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 9:51 PM
horizontal rule
69

I guess what I'm trying to get at in the above is a kind of world-wearyness, a patronizing tone that implies that if you haven't come to the same conclusions she has about the world, you are just young, or misguided, or idealistic -- or all three.

It's like the person next to you at a dinner party who quotes the line about "If you're not a liberal when you're twenty you have no heart, if you're not a conservative when you're fifty you have no brain...." blah blah and thinks they are being Deeply Insightful.

Didion is way too smart (and talented) to think anything that shallow, but her general attitude didn't come off that differently, at least to me.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 9:54 PM
horizontal rule
70

But even I can't blame the author for the moderator's sins!

If the Old Testament god can do it, why can't you?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 9:54 PM
horizontal rule
71

Weariness. Good grief, I have to go to bed.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 9:54 PM
horizontal rule
72

The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed and Oranges are pretty great too. I'd say that Annals of the Former World and The Control of Nature are masterpieces, but that Coming into the Country was long and draggy.

I have to say I've really liked what nonfiction of Steinbeck's I've read.

A Russian Journal is terrifically entertaining, especially the bit where Robert Capa takes over and rants.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 10:04 PM
horizontal rule
73

68: I do think you've hit the nail on the head with the aspects of Didion that can irritate. The first is certainly on display in her review of The Getty Museum and her discussion of the California governor's mansions. An excerpt I'd posted previously on Unfogged.

In the entire house there are only enough bookshelves for a set of the World Book and some Books of the Month, plus maybe three Royal Doulton figurines and a back file of Connoissuer. ... I have seldom seen a house so evocative of the unspeakable.
But still I enjoyed reading her early work immensely despite/because of the irritation.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 10:04 PM
horizontal rule
74

I saw the headline of the OP when I was reading this, stupid Facebook math problem, less stupid than most post-Kinsley Slatisms.

--------------------------------------------

6 √∑ 2(1+2) has only one right answer, but hear me out. The problem isn't the mathematical operations. It's knowing what operations the author of the problem wants you to do, and in what order. Simple, right? We use an "order of operations" rule we memorized in childhood: "Please excuse my dear Aunt Sally," or PEMDAS, which stands for Parentheses Exponents Multiplication Division Addition Subtraction.* This handy acronym should settle any debate--except it doesn't, because it's not a rule at all. It's a convention, a customary way of doing things we've developed only recently, and like other customs, it has evolved over time. (And even math teachers argue over order of operations.) "In earlier times, the conventions didn't seem as rigid and people were supposed to just figure it out if they were mathematically competent," says Judy Grabiner, a historian of mathematics at Pitzer College in Claremont, Calif.
Mathematicians generally began their written work with a list of the conventions they were using, but the rise of mass math education and the textbook industry, as well as the subsequent development of computer programming languages, required something more codified. That codification occurred somewhere around the turn of the last century. The first reference to PEMDAS is hard to pin down. Even a short list of what different early algebra texts taught reveals how inconsistently the order of operations was applied.

Posted by: Econolicious, abuser of vinculum | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 10:48 PM
horizontal rule
75

I am convinced by the chatter here, and also by a quick review of its contents, that Coming Into the Country is actually pretty bloated, and that at least one of its three acts should have been cut entirely. I retract that recommendation.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 11:03 PM
horizontal rule
76

Yeah, I think it would have been much stronger as two books, one containing the first two sections and the other the third. Since they were all originally separate magazine articles there's no particular reason to include them in the same book except the common location.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 11:18 PM
horizontal rule
77

And by the New Yorker profile disease I basically meant that he has a tendency to go on and on giving lots of details that aren't particularly relevant but also aren't nearly as interesting as he seems to think. This is especially true in the third part of CitC. We don't need to know the life story of every single person in Eagle! It doesn't add anything to the picture he paints of the community to pile on all this additional description.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 11:22 PM
horizontal rule
78

Speaking of Slate, I've never watched Girls and have no intention of starting but I thought this was a good discussion of an issue I've been thinking about a lot lately.

In general I've found the XX Factor blog to be quite good despite its terrible name. It even has Amanda Marcotte! (Remember her?)


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 11:39 PM
horizontal rule
79

77: I had totally forgotten the part about Eagle, and you're absolutely right that it's filled with too much detail about people who aren't interesting enough. That's McPhee's method, mostly, and it works really well when the character in question is, on her or his own terms, riveting or, failing that, at least engaged in some activity that's genuinely interesting. If neither of those things are true, it's just boring, which has been the case for most of McPhee's writing for the last decade.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 11:55 PM
horizontal rule
80

Didion doesn't hang nearly as much of her work on character development, does she? I'm not sure what she does instead, though. Mood, maybe? Thick description of some kind?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-12-13 11:56 PM
horizontal rule
81

I had totally forgotten the part about Eagle

Really? It's half of the book! I guess this is good evidence that it's the less interesting half.

That's McPhee's method, mostly, and it works really well when the character in question is, on her or his own terms, riveting or, failing that, at least engaged in some activity that's genuinely interesting.

Yeah, it works really well when he's talking about Willie Hensley or Joe Vogler, or even some of the more interesting people in Eagle like John Borg. The historical narratives are also good, and were probably my favorite parts.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:04 AM
horizontal rule
82

I have seldom seen a house so evocative of the unspeakable.

Someone's been peeking at my Martha Stewart/HP Lovecraft fic again.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 2:30 AM
horizontal rule
83

Completely endorse everything Ned said re. Quammen. I quite like Kingsolver's non-fic, but that probably marks me as a person of no taste. But most of the best non-fiction these days appears on line and maybe gets collected two or three years after you read it, so it's a different world to that in which one first encountered people like Didion. Exceptions of course for long form stuff like that Kelman guy.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 3:52 AM
horizontal rule
84

||

Mark my words, people, one day pain perdu will be remembered as a political prophet on par with Kevin Phillips.

|>


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 5:12 AM
horizontal rule
85

There's a great anecdote about Woodward in one of Al Franken's books, which I am paraphrasing here. Woodward is interviewing Franken for Wired. He asks, "Did you ever see John Belushi snort cocaine?" Franken answers truthfully: "Only once. With Carl Bernstein."


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 5:15 AM
horizontal rule
86

84: And 8 comments later, that same perdu fellow made the following predictions:

The theory in 281 yields at least three testable predictions:
Rush Limbaugh will adopt a "fat pride" stance.
Haley Barbour will do better than Mike Huckabee in the 2012 GOP primary
Jonah Goldberg will replace Rich Lowry as editor of the National Review.

Has Limbaugh weighed in yet?

Maybe Root Boy Slim will expropriated as a before his time conservative hero.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 5:41 AM
horizontal rule
87

I try not to think about Didion's politics, since it's enough, for me, that she's such a genius at description and style, but Witt has them exactly right. There's a Burkean conservatism, which secretly I sometimes sympathize with, overlain with just what Witt captures, the usually vulgar and always maddening stance of treating leftism as something one outgrows.

But damn you, Witt, for putting that into words--now I have to like Didion less!


Posted by: Mme. Merle | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 5:42 AM
horizontal rule
88

I couldn't quite put my complaint about Didion into words, but then Witt did it better than I ever could.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 5:45 AM
horizontal rule
89

And 68.2 gets at a lot of what made Salvador infuriating (I don't think I actually finished it). She pops into Salvador for a very short visit and voilà "Clarissa Joan Explains It All." I recall a Robert White (ambassador to Salvador at the time before he was run out by the hard-core Reaganoids) article (or letter to the editor) taking great issue with her "Robert White thinks X" constructions.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 5:52 AM
horizontal rule
90

Witt Explains It All.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 5:53 AM
horizontal rule
91

Didion's latest book about her daughter's death and life really hinges on all the points Witt mentions and is also just muddled (as I suppose writing through grief almost has to be) so that it makes all the characters more shallow than they really should have been in troubling ways. I advise against reading it.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 6:00 AM
horizontal rule
92

Has Limbaugh weighed in yet?

To my knowledge, Rush hasn't yet declared "fat is good" in so many words, but he did vocally oppose the healthy school lunch initiative and the "Let's Move" campaign to combat childhood obesity. Presumably these stances were taken more on the theory that "If the Obamas are for it, I must be against it" than any deliberate strategic positioning. But it's not unheard of for positions taken for convenience or by happenstance to harden into party dogma.

The experiment to test the second prediction was never conducted, and the data is not yet available to test the third prediction.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 6:05 AM
horizontal rule
93

92: The problem with the theory is that it strikes at the core conservative argument against Obamacare: health care costs are rising because lazy poor people are fat.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 6:22 AM
horizontal rule
94

93: Seriously, that's a trifling obstacle for the party that simultaneously ran on support for the Ryan budget and opposition to Obama's Medicare cuts. Just wait until they can tell fat people that Obamacare specifically permits their employers charge them a higher deductible* if they refuse to work out at the company gym before work or to choose their lunch from the cafeteria options marked "heart healthy". I guarantee this will be the Fox News Outrage of the Week ™ at least once by 2015.

*Technically, they can't charge you a higher deductible for refusing. They can merely refund part of your deductible for assenting. The difference will be scarcely perceptible in practice.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 6:40 AM
horizontal rule
95

86: I would like to repost this comment from the same thread, for egotistical reasons:

Another prediction: the right wing will either gradually ease off on Michael Moore or will condemn him as a lipotraitor, a fat man doing the thin man's dirty work. An Uncle Tum.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 6:54 AM
horizontal rule
96

I liked the Slate article about Woodward too. It wasn't surprising, because I had already read about the "threatening" e-mail, and I have the impression that Woodward's books during the Bush years were fairly stenographic. (On checking, I find that I can't call them "hagiographic," not when one was titled "State of Denial." Still, though, that wasn't until late 2006. They were within the conventional wisdom, even if leaning to the correct side of it.) The Slate article was still a bit depressing anyway, that a guy like this has been and remains so influential.

Periodically I've been curious about "and Bernstein." I had just kind of assumed that he died or got a job out of the public eye. It seemed the most logical explanation for why he is in the news so much less than Woodward. But now that I simply go to Carl Bernstein's Wikipedia page, I see that no, he's fine and still in business, but he's not nearly as much of a Washington insider as Woodward.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 7:12 AM
horizontal rule
97

That Slate article makes him sound like the reporter in the Simpsons who edits Homer to sound sexually harassing- "I wanted some of that sweet... sweet... can."


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 7:20 AM
horizontal rule
98

94.1: There is a hint that at least some part of the media have finally "noticed" how utterly inconsistent the Repubs have gotten on things like this in their election posturing. But it is still incredibly infuriating that during this period of all out elite attack* on the "deficit" and "entitlements" that there is so little acknowledgement that Obamacare, flawed though it might be, is an attempt to address the most significant area which is potentially leading to a debt (and broader societal) crisis. Ah, not really worth mentioning out loud here, but periods of elevated elite "insanity" are so infuriating. Off to swim read "Nightfall."

*They are so fucking desperate that the economy might improve a bit and take away the urgency before they get a chance to really fuck things up. So many similarities to the run-up to Iraq.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 7:22 AM
horizontal rule
99

There is a hint that at least some part of the media have finally "noticed" how utterly inconsistent the Repubs have gotten on things like this in their election posturing.

The problem is, the basic structure of the political media is what's responsible for the "not noticing," and that structure hasn't changed. "Ignorance" will continue.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 7:30 AM
horizontal rule
100

They are so fucking desperate that the economy might improve a bit and take away the urgency before they get a chance to really fuck things up.

Fortunately, that's not a problem their counterparts in the UK have. NEISR now reckons that we won't be back at 2008 levels of prosperity until 2018, and that idiot Cameron is reduced to outright lying about what his own Office of Budget Responsibility is telling him about the deficit (and the OBR is calling him on it publicly, good for them).


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 7:31 AM
horizontal rule
101

96.1: There was an article or post somewhere saying that he tracks CW very closely in his books - that he wrote a near-hagiography of Bush in 2003, Plan of Attack, and then a few years later State of Denial, which used much of the same material slanted differently.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 7:32 AM
horizontal rule
102

4: To go back to the OP -- I think Tweety is right that Woodward's problem was not an inability to grasp nuance, but a consistent bias towards presenting Belushi negatively. I'm guessing this was a reflection of the times -- during the height of the Drug War, Woodward may have felt like he was doing good, by refusing to portray a drug addict as larger-than-life or even likable.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 7:32 AM
horizontal rule
103

101: You probably mean this Rick Perlstein item in The Nation where he goes through the three books comparing how Woodward covers the same material. Call it [2004] the middle volume in a Goldilocks series: not too fulsome, not too mean, just something a little bit in between--just right: after all, his presidential approval ratings were hovering all that year right around 50 percent.

...

That is to say, he is utterly useless in explaining how Washington works. But he is almost uniquely useful as an object lesson in displaying how Washington works--especially its elite punditry division.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 7:41 AM
horizontal rule
104

This is a slatepitch, but it's also my actual opinion: Of course Sperling threatened Woodward.

Woodward's entire shtick is access journalism - he prints what people want him to print. That's all he's got. If Sperling says Woodward is going to regret printing something, he's pointing out that Woodward relies on the good will of people like Sperling.

I suppose it's possible that Sperling didn't intend it as a threat, but it's easy to see why Woodward took it that way. As he told Politico:

"I've tangled with lots of these people. But suppose there's a young reporter who's only had a couple of years -- or 10 years' -- experience and the White House is sending him an email saying, 'You're going to regret this.' You know, tremble, tremble. I don't think it's the way to operate."

Right. He's not saying that Sperling made him nervous about being the target of a drone strike. He's saying that he was threatened with losing access.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 7:57 AM
horizontal rule
105

Woodwardism is why I find it hard to lament the death of journalism.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 8:00 AM
horizontal rule
106

Slatepitchslatepitch- Good, Sperling should have threatened him. If a journalist is printing lies, either for self-profit or for ideological reasons, he doesn't deserve to keep the access that he relies on. I know there are members of the clan of the pundits who argue it's unfair not to give access to people like Jeff Gannon and Breitbart, but fuck them.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 8:08 AM
horizontal rule
107

Personal to peep: Your email address I have is now sending out daily heating spam, just FYI. I suppose it could actually be you, but I certainly haven't clicked through to check.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 8:13 AM
horizontal rule
108

106.last: For instance, future Fox News employee, Jake Tapper:

It's escaped none of our notice that the White House has decided in the last few weeks to declare one of our sister organizations "not a news organization" and to tell the rest of us not to treat them like a news organization. Can you explain why it's appropriate for the White House to decide that a news organization is not one. ... But that's a pretty sweeping declaration that they are "not a news organization." How are they any different from, say - ABC. MSNBC. Univision. I mean how are they any different?
"Come See the Wankery Inherent in the System (more defunct blog-whoring): It takes a whole confederacy of wankers to make the system work.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 8:21 AM
horizontal rule
109

There's a Burkean conservatism, which secretly I sometimes sympathize with, overlain with just what Witt captures, the usually vulgar and always maddening stance of treating leftism as something one outgrows.

Think, "Burkean conservatism" is a good description, but it doesn't make me appreciate Didion any less. Most of what I've read by her (Bethlehem, White Album, Political Fictions) has an element of carefully controlled scorn as part of the tone.

I can't imagine, for example, basing a policy position on something I read by Didion, but I appreciate it as being completely unapologetic in arguing for a certain world view (and a certain tone).


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 8:21 AM
horizontal rule
110

||

Department of WTF?

[Dennis] Rodman was said to be in Rome to help Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana become the first black pope. But the Associated Press reported that he did not seem to be sure exactly who he was promoting. "From Africa, right?" Rodman asked. But he said he was sure the next pope would be black, and he said he would like to meet him in Africa on his mission to promote world peace.

|>


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 8:31 AM
horizontal rule
111

||

WTFD #2:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/559914737/the-veronica-mars-movie-project

|>


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 8:47 AM
horizontal rule
112

My #slatepitch# is that the Slate article is singularly unpersuasive. It criticizes Woodward for writing the book he wrote instead of the book the author wrote (about Belushi's entire life, not his last few years). The underlying criticism is that sure, he's a celebrity who killed himself at a young age with cocaine, but that's no reason to write a book about the guy killing himself at a young age with cocaine. It describes several episodes where Belushi acted like an asshole, and claims that 20 yers later, someone or other didn't really mind Belushi acting like an asshole. Bascially, it's the widow's perspectie, which isn't Woodward's perspective, and isn't any more reliable.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 8:49 AM
horizontal rule
113

The underlying criticism is that sure, he's a celebrity who killed himself at a young age with cocaine, but that's no reason to write a book about the guy killing himself at a young age with cocaine.

This isn't exactly the criticism. The criticism is that he dwells exhaustively on the stats and technical details of Belushi's drug binges, while simultaneously mis-portraying him as a lazy, undisciplined asshole.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 9:27 AM
horizontal rule
114

111: Goddammit, Rob Thomas, stop fucking with us.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 10:15 AM
horizontal rule
115

Also, wow, at least one person has given $10k and three people have given $6.5k? I no longer feel like a very committed VM fan.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 10:18 AM
horizontal rule
116

I would have thought that if Rob Thomas and Kristen Bell are "on board", they might have access to actual, like, investors or something. What a travesty.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 10:24 AM
horizontal rule
117

Back-of-the-envelope, based on refreshing the webpage several times, they'll reach their goal by tomorrow. $2 million is really all they need? Kristen Bell doesn't have that just sitting in her checking account or something?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 10:29 AM
horizontal rule
118

Bialystock's first rule of producing, essear: never put your own money in the show. And the second rule? NEVER PUT YOUR OWN MONEY IN THE SHOW!


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 10:36 AM
horizontal rule
119

I guess Kickstarter can be used by people who don't actually need money, for something they were going to do anyway, as a good way of starting a fan club. Nobody wants to join an email list.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 10:37 AM
horizontal rule
120

$2 million is really all they need? Kristen Bell doesn't have that just sitting in her checking account or something?

Perhaps the studio has committed to further funding if they can get $2M in outside money. Note, for example, that backers will get, "behind the scene scoops throughout the fundraising and movie-making process."


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 10:39 AM
horizontal rule
121

Of course, Warner Bros. still owns Veronica Mars and we would need their blessing and cooperation to pull this off. Kristen and I met with the Warner Bros. brass, and they agreed to allow us to take this shot. They were extremely cool about it, as a matter of fact. Their reaction was, if you can show there's enough fan interest to warrant a movie, we're on board.

My understanding of this is that the actual money isn't the point -- being able to raise the money is supposed to be proof that there is enough fan interest to justify making the movie.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 10:41 AM
horizontal rule
122

If I paid enough money, I could get Kristen Bell to follow my Twitter account, if I had a Twitter account.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 10:42 AM
horizontal rule
123

Once Kristen Bell knows that you're engaged to Denise Milani, she'll coming running, essear.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 10:48 AM
horizontal rule
124

Surprisingly, what physicists use Twitter for is advertising that they've just been named to a "Top 25 Most Stylish" list in one magazine or a "Top 50 Sexiest" list in another magazine.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 10:51 AM
horizontal rule
125

Essear -- if I name you to my list of Top 50 Sexiest Physicists that Comment on Unfogged List, will you join Twitter to advertise it?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 11:00 AM
horizontal rule
126

108: future Fox News employee, Jake Tapper

What's that? Tapper just moved to CNN and is going to have his own show (since he was (stupidly) dissed in favor of Stephanopoulos to replace Amanpour on that Sunday talk show), and he just wrote a book about how fucked up the war in Afghanistan is and has been, which book has apparently been fairly well-received.

Now, the CNN show might suck and the book might suck -- I don't know -- and it's true that the passage quoted in 108 looks for all the world like a circling of the journalistic wagons, but on the ranking scale of journalists assigned to the White House beat, which I think is a pretty sucky beat overall, he's not scum level, I don't think.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 11:05 AM
horizontal rule
127

125: Pointing out to your physicist friends that there are 48 spots on that list wide open? (I think.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 11:06 AM
horizontal rule
128

||

Habemus pappam. Not clear who yet.

|>


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 11:10 AM
horizontal rule
129

Oh good. I need to know whom to start hating.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 11:16 AM
horizontal rule
130

129: Don't hate me just because I'm Pope!

(I suppose they might have chosen someone else, but why?)


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 11:19 AM
horizontal rule
131

128: it's a boy!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 11:20 AM
horizontal rule
132

128: Heh, I was just coming back here to mention: the radio is going bananas: Breaking news, breaking news, we interrupt this broadcast .... We'll be staying with this story throughout the afternoon until we know who he is .... What's the mood there in Rome?

(I am afraid I couldn't care less, but the thought that billions of people worldwide are presumably throwing up their hands in joy and/or piety, or whatever exactly it is, is, hm, I feel like I'm watching a cargo cult or something, like an anthropologist struggling to keep bemusement from morphing into amusement.)


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 11:21 AM
horizontal rule
133

131 made me laugh out loud.


Posted by: heebie-heebie | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 11:22 AM
horizontal rule
134

130: Because the Church, qua global misogynist, homophoboic, greedy, corrupt monarchy, sucks. I have a general hatred for monarchs, though as least Elizabeth II doesn't con poor women into having more babies than they have to money or health to afford.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 11:23 AM
horizontal rule
135

to s/b the


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 11:24 AM
horizontal rule
136

129. I'm sure you hated him already, assuming you've ever heard of him.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 11:24 AM
horizontal rule
137

134: I agree with all that except it's not a monarchy, is it?

But that will be changing soon with the peep papacy!

I decided my unfogged name will also serve as my papal name.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 11:27 AM
horizontal rule
138

True enough, but I'm really bad at the "Potential Pontiffs" category in Jeopardy.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 11:27 AM
horizontal rule
139

126: My read on Tapper is that he's managing his career in a way to keep open the possibility of becoming the future Fox News gravitas loss-leader in the style of Brit Hume (who is scum).


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 11:33 AM
horizontal rule
140

Not that long ago, people thought the Pope had to be Italian, and then John Paul II was the most popular Pope ever.

Now, the cardinals realize the time has come for a non-Catholic Pope.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 11:35 AM
horizontal rule
141

138: Who are people who have never been in your kitchen?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 11:36 AM
horizontal rule
142

I assume I'm not the only person who keeps reading "Habemus papam" as "We have a potato".


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 11:36 AM
horizontal rule
143

except it's not a monarchy, is it?

Technically, the pope is the king of Vatican City and in previous times was the king of much of Italy. Regardless, the Church operates as a monarchy in many ways, including the divine, infallible rule of its sovereign.

Full set of pope's titles: Sovereign of the State of Vatican City, Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Servant of the Servants of God.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 11:44 AM
horizontal rule
144

Pope Peep Pops Persistent Pontiff Precedent.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 11:48 AM
horizontal rule
145

143: Ok, you're right. I thought hereditary succession was essential for something to be called a monarchy.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 11:50 AM
horizontal rule
146

139: I wouldn't go so far as to mention Brit Hume in the same breath, but yes, I do understand that read on Tapper. Fair enough.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 11:51 AM
horizontal rule
147

145: I can admit I'm wrong for now. Soon I'm expecting to be infallible.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 11:51 AM
horizontal rule
148

It'd be funny if the new name was "Pope Snose".


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 11:51 AM
horizontal rule
149

I assume I'm not the only person who keeps reading "Habemus papam" as "We have a potato".

You are. But I read 128 as "We have a lentil wafer!"


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 11:53 AM
horizontal rule
150

145. That would exclude the Holy Roman Empire for a start. Elective monarchies are quite common (elective monarchies on the basis of one subject, one vote are, in contrast, unknown.)


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 11:55 AM
horizontal rule
151

Agreed on the Papacy being an effective monarchy. (We were told by NPR a short while ago that we have to wait because the new pope, whoever he is, will be ushered into some private chambers where he will select his raiments and especially his shoes (!) and have them sized, and of course he's also selecting his name, but he's presumably already done that.)

I find it very difficult not to find this archaic in the extreme.

My understanding was that the choice for pope was down to an insider guy (European) who knows the ins and outs of the curiae, and an outsider guy (maybe he was from Brazil?) who does not, and who might or might not shake things up.

That is actually of interest. I'm going to bet on the insider guy.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:03 PM
horizontal rule
152

I find it very difficult not to find this archaic in the extreme.

Oh gosh no it's terribly modern. All brushed aluminum and black marble and TVs showing max headroom, pope tearing off his Vuarnets and pointing to his chosen shoes as Information Society plays on the Bang and Olufsen built-ins.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:05 PM
horizontal rule
153

I understand that Wry Cooter is still available as a pope name.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:09 PM
horizontal rule
154

151: We prefer retro to archaic. And retro is in.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:10 PM
horizontal rule
155

I am trying to be respectful, Sifu. We have self-identifying Catholics among the Unfoggedtariat. 'course, I don't know how they feel about any of this; they might be some of those who have heretical ideas about the Vatican's direction.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:10 PM
horizontal rule
156

The sentence "I feel like I'm watching a cargo cult or something, like an anthropologist struggling to keep bemusement from morphing into amusement." doesn't LOOK like it's trying to be respectful.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:11 PM
horizontal rule
157

I find it very difficult not to find this archaic in the extreme.

Speaking of archaic, I hear the pope shits in the woods.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:13 PM
horizontal rule
158

I understand that Hastings-on-Hudson is available as a new improved location for the Holy See.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:14 PM
horizontal rule
159

It's the Argentine.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:14 PM
horizontal rule
160

If there are any practicing catholics who find cheeseball '80s brand references enormously disrespectful... well, that is sort of weird. Honestly, straw caricature catholic person, I was tempted by some Vuarnets on ebay not that long ago. No need to worry your imaginary head.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:15 PM
horizontal rule
161

159: damn, now 152 seems disrespectful as hell.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:15 PM
horizontal rule
162

He's calling himself Francis? Why Francis?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:18 PM
horizontal rule
163

159: What!? What?!

Wow. I'm sort of impressed.

156: Ned, the operative word was "trying", unfortunately.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:19 PM
horizontal rule
164

162: Maybe he likes birds.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:19 PM
horizontal rule
165

Since we've already had 2 John Pauls, I hope the next pope considers George Ringo the first as a papal title.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:19 PM
horizontal rule
166

As long as he steers clear of John Ringo.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:21 PM
horizontal rule
167

I wonder if there's going to be a signal whether Francis means that he's the PETA pope or the Jesuit pope.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:21 PM
horizontal rule
168

166: OH NO


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:22 PM
horizontal rule
169

Aw. Francis is a good choice.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:22 PM
horizontal rule
170

All-beef popefranks!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:24 PM
horizontal rule
171

He is Jesuit.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:24 PM
horizontal rule
172

162: I assume he's signalling that he'll spend every day preaching and then begging for bread outside St. Peter's Basilica.


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:24 PM
horizontal rule
173

As Cardinal, Bergoglio became known for personal humility, doctrinal conservatism and a commitment to social justice. A simple lifestyle has contributed to his reputation for humility. He lives in a small apartment, rather than in the palatial bishop's residence. He gave up his chauffeured limousine in favor of public transportation, and he reportedly cooks his own meals.

I'm thinking the papal chefs are a little nervous now.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:25 PM
horizontal rule
174

Dope pope steaks make chefs chaff, Vat fat


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:27 PM
horizontal rule
175

173: THIS IS NOT THE TIME FOR PAPAL AUSTERITY.


Posted by: OPINIONATED PAUL KRUGMAN | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:29 PM
horizontal rule
176

I guess they chose him over me, because he cooks his meals from scratch.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:30 PM
horizontal rule
177

173: Yep, it's Bread and Jam for Francis.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:30 PM
horizontal rule
178

177 is the best ever!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:33 PM
horizontal rule
179

162: After the Talking Mule?


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:36 PM
horizontal rule
180

The Spanish-language press is referring to him as "Papa Francisco I", which sounds way cooler than "Pope Francis".


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:39 PM
horizontal rule
181

I laughed at 175.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:39 PM
horizontal rule
182

175.
Dear Prof. Krugman,

"Rather than preventing that, it seems they have opted for making inequalities even greater," he said. "Human rights are not only violated by terrorism, repression or assassination, but also by unfair economic structures that creates huge inequalities," he said at the time.

Sincerely, Francis


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:40 PM
horizontal rule
183

180: Wikipedia said Pope Francisco, which prompted me to make an obligatory Love and Death joke, and then I deleted it when it seemed to be Francis everywhere else.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:41 PM
horizontal rule
184

The Guardian article says he is " A champion of liberation theology". The wikipedia article on him says, "Bergoglio is an accomplished theologian who distanced himself from liberation theology early in his career. He is thought to be close to Comunione e Liberazione, a conservative lay movement."

I have a strong hunch the wikipedia article is closer to the truth.


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:46 PM
horizontal rule
185

173: doctrinal conservatism

Oh no.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:47 PM
horizontal rule
186

I am trying to be respectful

Catholics are up there with Joe Paterno boosters as people I'm not going to waste one moment on worrying that I'm being sufficiently respectful.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:53 PM
horizontal rule
187

Well, from the perspective of a non-Christian, here's what I'd like: for the Church to embrace women in the priesthood, artificial forms of birth control, tolerance of homosexuality and condemnation of those places that render it a crime, and acceptance of the wisdom of elective abortion.

Fat chance of that happening, but a Vatican III would be welcome.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 12:56 PM
horizontal rule
188

I foresee many "lighten up Francis" jokes in our future.


Posted by: AcademicLurker | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 1:03 PM
horizontal rule
189

Someone whom I don't know, but who is a FB friend of a FB friend and therefore extremely reliable sez her Argentinian friends say Francis has an uncomfortable history re: the military dictatorship.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 1:04 PM
horizontal rule
190

Oh, tell me they didn't elect two fascists in a row?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 1:05 PM
horizontal rule
191

Vatican III: Revenge of the Sith

Pope Franky Knuckles
Pope Fran Tarkenton
Pope Franks 'n' Beans
Pope Francisco Franco
Pope Franking Privilege
Pope Frank Talk
Pope Francie Brady
Pope Francis The Talking Mule

187: for the Church to embrace women in the priesthood
Well, better that than altar boys, I suppose. ZING!


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 1:05 PM
horizontal rule
192

On 15 April 2005, a human rights lawyer filed a criminal complaint against Bergoglio, as superior in the Society of Jesus of Argentina, accusing him of involvement in the kidnapping by the Navy in May 1976 (during the military dictatorship) of two Jesuit priests. The priests, Orlando Yorio and Francisco Jalics, were found alive five months later, drugged and semi-nude. The complaint did not specify the nature of Bergoglio's alleged involvement, and Bergoglio's spokesman flatly denied the allegations. Under Argentine law such accusations can be made on little evidence, to be investigated by a court


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 1:07 PM
horizontal rule
193

"Franky" Knuckles?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 1:08 PM
horizontal rule
194

Is it with an "ie"? I'm not familiar with all of the groups you young people listen to nowadays.

http://www.argentinaindependent.com/currentaffairs/newsroundups/roundupsargentina/cardinal-bergoglio-to-testify-for-crimes-committed-in-the-esma/


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 1:11 PM
horizontal rule
195

Well, from the perspective of a non-Christian, here's what I'd like

What I'd like if for the Church to respond to scandal just like Joe P did, by weeping bitter tears, promptly dying, and having its monuments taken down out of the public eye.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 1:14 PM
horizontal rule
196

Jesuit jokes, to assist in the transition to the new regime.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 1:16 PM
horizontal rule
197

Eh. The more I hear about this, the more I think they've actually gone old-school. Doctrinally conservative, champion of the poor. Those two things don't actually result in consistent policy in my view, but my grasp (possibly a stereotype) of South American Catholicism is that it's way old-school with respect to, say, women.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 1:16 PM
horizontal rule
198

The Guardian article says he is " A champion of liberation theology". The wikipedia article on him says, "Bergoglio is an accomplished theologian who distanced himself from liberation theology early in his career. He is thought to be close to Comunione e Liberazione, a conservative lay movement."

I have a strong hunch the wikipedia article is closer to the truth.

Rather.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 1:25 PM
horizontal rule
199

191: Pope Frankie Goes to Hollywood


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 1:28 PM
horizontal rule
200

The Italians win, sort of.


Posted by: md 20/400 | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 1:41 PM
horizontal rule
201

||
Orange post title?
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/559914737/the-veronica-mars-movie-project
|>


Posted by: jms | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 1:47 PM
horizontal rule
202

Hey, a little credit people, they picked a South American! Sure he's an Italian born in the whitest country on that continent that also just happens to be a former Axis country but come on, they're really branching out.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 1:48 PM
horizontal rule
203

200: Maybe so. Just saw a comment at Balloon Juice to the same effect.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 1:49 PM
horizontal rule
204

Correction, Uruguay is the whitest country on the continent.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 1:51 PM
horizontal rule
205

gswift, we're talking about a seriously hampered people in the first place. The Catholics here can say something in its defense if they want to, but I don't think the world at large expects much anyway.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 1:54 PM
horizontal rule
206

An overview from Echidne of the Snakes.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 2:03 PM
horizontal rule
207

201: Minivet already pointed it out in 111 of this very thread! Looks like they're easily going to meet their $2 million goal.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 2:05 PM
horizontal rule
208

gswift, we're talking about a seriously hampered people in the first place.

By tradition maybe. Not so much by "laws" and "ethics".


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 2:09 PM
horizontal rule
209

"seriously hampered" = lots of dirty laundry


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 2:13 PM
horizontal rule
210

208: I think they argue about that a lot, don't they? Some Catholics think that they very much do, by laws and ethics, have to be firmly against the autonomy of women (for example), because the scriptures said so. Or something. God said so.

Less glibly, I don't know what the source of the discrepancy between Vatican policy and the actual moral compass employed by many actually practicing Catholics is. If the Vatican weren't living on Mars or something, it would take that question seriously.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 2:21 PM
horizontal rule
211

Nworb Werdna.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 2:32 PM
horizontal rule
212

Mars, Rome, who can keep track?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 2:34 PM
horizontal rule
213

211: I guess we'll see, then. It sure doesn't sound to me like Francis is a moderate conservative.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 2:39 PM
horizontal rule
214

He's already being fingered for collaborating with the dictatorship over the disappeared. If that has legs, this was a seriously bad choice.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 2:43 PM
horizontal rule
215
What one did not hear from any senior member of the Argentine hierarchy was any expression of regret for the church's collaboration and in these crimes. The extent of the church's complicity in the dark deeds was excellently set out by Horacio Verbitsky, one of Argentina's most notable journalists, in his book El Silencio (Silence). He recounts how the Argentine navy with the connivance of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, now the Jesuit archbishop of Buenos Aires, hid from a visiting delegation of the Inter-American Human Rights Commission the dictatorship's political prisoners. Bergoglio was hiding them in nothing less than his holiday home in an island called El Silencio in the River Plate. The most shaming thing for the church is that in such circumstances Bergoglio's name was allowed to go forward in the ballot to chose the successor of John Paul II. What scandal would not have ensued if the first pope ever to be elected from the continent of America had been revealed as an accessory to murder and false imprisonment.
- Guardian, January 2011


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 2:48 PM
horizontal rule
216

214.last: Not for some people.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 4:21 PM
horizontal rule
217

Given the current climate, just the fact that he's a Jesuit (first Jesuit pope!)alone seems like a reason to be pretty happy.

This was really encouraging:

"In our ecclesiastical region there are priests who don't baptize the children of single mothers because they weren't conceived in the sanctity of marriage," Bergoglio told his priests. "These are today's hypocrites. Those who clericalize the church. Those who separate the people of God from salvation. And this poor girl who, rather than returning the child to sender, had the courage to carry it into the world, must wander from parish to parish so that it's baptized!"
Bergoglio compared this concept of Catholicism to the Pharisees of Christ's time: people who congratulate themselves while condemning others.
"Jesus teaches us another way: Go out. Go out and share your testimony, go out and interact with your brothers, go out and share, go out and ask. Become the Word in body as well as spirit," Bergoglio said.

Also this:

As economic problems buffeted Argentina at the turn of the century, Cardinal Bergoglio spoke forcefully for the poor and against neo-Liberalism and the International Monetary Fund. "We cannot permit ourselves to be overcome by inertia, to act as if we were impotent or to be frightened by threats," he said in a sermon.

I mean, my understanding is that basically the current arrangement is that the Jesuits are the sane/intellectual/liberal wing of the Catholic church and have been taking it on the chin for the past 30 years. So maybe as good as you could hope for given the current college of cardinals?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 4:57 PM
horizontal rule
218

I really think it's going to take me out of the movie to see the waiter deliver the check and think, "That guy paid ten grand to say that line."


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 5:17 PM
horizontal rule
219

Where does the new Pope stand on the issue of child molestation? For or against?


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 5:44 PM
horizontal rule
220

What on EARTH? (From the Nworb link.)

The reluctance of the Vatican bank to sign up to European money-laundering protocols means that it is currently unable to offer any cash machines inside the city state.

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 5:48 PM
horizontal rule
221

Back when I was still able to be whimsical about my inherited faith, I would joke that Catholicism demanded obedience to one's conscience, and that therefore, as a sincere atheist, all I'd need to do is retain a sharp Jesuit lawyer to argue my case for passage into heaven.

I suppose the Jesuits are somewhat less repugnant than the rest of the Church, but Holy Jesus (as they say) that's a low standard.


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 5:55 PM
horizontal rule
222

The VM fundraising already hit its $2M goal!


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 6:17 PM
horizontal rule
223

222: so what are you going to name your characters?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 6:19 PM
horizontal rule
224

Ah sorry, I knew there would be a VM sub thread somewhere.

I have a friend of a friend who says that Francis told his mom to chill out on the ex-gay therapy.


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 6:43 PM
horizontal rule
225

223: I didn't go that overboard. I had just about talked myself into shelling out enough for one of the lesser personalized prizes, but then refreshed the page to learn it had already sold out.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 6:48 PM
horizontal rule
226

Wow, only one of the rewards for donations $500 and over is left. Like, only one as in only for one individual.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 6:56 PM
horizontal rule
227

Anyhow, essear, I'm excited you're getting a theater rented to show the movie here and would happily accept your invitation to attend.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 6:57 PM
horizontal rule
228

I don't understand this:

The election of a Jesuit is significant here. Priests in religious orders, unlike the "secular" parish clergy, take deliberate vows of celibacy. It is not offered as part of a package deal with their vocation. So they are better placed to see the effects of the discipline on those who less willingly accept it.

Is he saying that celibacy is optional for religious-order priests? That seems odd. Or is it just that the vow is taken separately from the other undertakings?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 7:03 PM
horizontal rule
229

222: so what are you going to name your characters?

"Craig Ferguson", obviously.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 7:05 PM
horizontal rule
230

That's kind of brilliant, nosflow. Hopefully you dropped $8k on the naming rights.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 7:21 PM
horizontal rule
231

Would that I could.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 7:33 PM
horizontal rule
232

You could have started a Kickstarter to raise $8k to use to pay the VM Kickstarter. What could go wrong?


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 7:34 PM
horizontal rule
233

Kickstarters upon kickstarters! That's how we'll finance cultural production in the post-copyright era.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 7:59 PM
horizontal rule
234

I have a kickstarter to set up a kickstarter options market. Hedge against kickstarter failure!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 8:11 PM
horizontal rule
235

I sold a tranche of that and similarly risky kickstarters to Bjartur of Summerhouses as a hedge against a bad year for his sheep.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 8:19 PM
horizontal rule
236

Etiquette question: I haven't received an honorarium check for a gig that happened about 3.5 weeks ago. When is it appropriate to send a very polite "What gives?" e-mail?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 8:30 PM
horizontal rule
237

Adding to 236: it's not just an honorarium, but also a reimbursement. I paid for my airfare out of pocket.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 8:31 PM
horizontal rule
238

With 237, the answer is "yesterday." You don't even have to mention the freaking honorarium--total win self-imagewise and you'll get your money.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 8:34 PM
horizontal rule
239

238: you really are married to a Jew, aren't you? Anyway, I'll wait til Monday to send a nice "WTF?" note.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 8:37 PM
horizontal rule
240

Also, my tax refund is taking for-fucking-ever.


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 8:37 PM
horizontal rule
241

Anyone have a few bucks they can spare?


Posted by: Von Wafer | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 8:37 PM
horizontal rule
242

235: are you flirting with me, JP?


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 8:39 PM
horizontal rule
243

240: What kind of a Jew gets a tax refund? Is the government paying you interest?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 8:43 PM
horizontal rule
244

Not sure. What are you wearing?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 8:44 PM
horizontal rule
245

What kind of a Jew gets a tax refund?

Not this one.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 8:50 PM
horizontal rule
246

236: I'm used to reimbursements taking anywhere from 1 to 3 months, but maybe you deal with more efficient people than I do. (Also, this reminds me I've been forgetting to send receipts to one of those cash-strapped UC schools we've been discussing so I can steal some of their precious dollars.)


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 8:55 PM
horizontal rule
247

220: The Vatican Bank is a rat's nest of criminality, although it's apparently a different sort of criminality than the previous rat's nest of criminality involving the Vatican and banks, the Banco Ambrosiano/Roberto Calvi scandal of the '80s (which touched on not just the Vatican and Opus Dei but also the right-wing Masonic lodge Propaganda Due and thus the Italian intelligence services).


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 9:18 PM
horizontal rule
248
The banker's body was found hanging under Blackfriars Bridge, his feet dangling in the River Thames in the heart of London, on June 18, 1982; he wore two pairs of underwear, had five bricks in his pockets, about $14,00-worth of three different currencies and the business card of a Mafia figure.

Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 9:26 PM
horizontal rule
249

See, that's what you get when you let Catholics run the banks.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-13-13 9:34 PM
horizontal rule
250

Shit, the terrorists have won.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-14-13 3:18 PM
horizontal rule
251

My sister and I both read the Didion book on her husband's death independently after our mum died -- ie didn't know the other was reading it -- and both got a lot from it. Our closest shared friend, who I thought would like it a lot, in fact hated it, and didn't get very far into it before crossly giving it back to me. iirc she adduced that Didion was extremely controlling (of family and reader) and took a dislike to this: I think this is a correct observation but to me it's more of a demonstration of a characteristic and a symptom very relevant to the story Didion was telling. I think I might go read it again.

(If it hasn't been pointed out already, the Guardian rowed back its story at 215 somewhat: "Although Verbitsky makes other allegations about Bergoglio's complicity in human rights abuses, he does not make this claim. The original article also wrongly described El Silencio as Bergoglio's 'holiday home'." [It's the name of Verbitsky's book.])


Posted by: tierce de lollardie | Link to this comment | 03-16-13 10:59 AM
horizontal rule