Re: Halloween post: ol' pumpkinhead must go

1

My daddy says it's a poor craftsman who blames his tools.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 12:58 PM
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I think it's a multi-layered problem.

1. Free and cheap media (newspapers) respond to advertisers, not customers. $$

2. Many Democratic pros are happy with the situation we have. Dean helped some, but a lot of the losers / traitors are still entrenched. Again, Democratic donors are different than Democratic voters. $$

3. Probably 60% or 70% of the electorate is stable in its political opinions, for better or worse, but elections are decided by the ones who aren't. This includes a very few moderates and voters of divided loyalty, but it also includes a tremendous number of whim voters.

I recently saw that Clear Channel is restricting airplay of Springsteen and the Dixie Chicks, even though they're top sellers. Politics is the reasonable explanation. It's always said that TV is controlled by ratings, but listeners and viewers choose from what's offered. Tucker Carlson and Glenn Beck have horrifically low ratings, and they're still on. The competition is mostly between conservatives; Olbermann is a single, rather recent exception, and he's doing very well.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:12 PM
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This is probably a good place to confess that I've always wanted to hear a candidate use XTC's Peter Pumpkinhead as a campaign song. Catholics would be horrendously offended, of course.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:12 PM
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Surely you'll admit that the problem starts with extending the franchise to non-property owners.


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:12 PM
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I've always wanted James B's "Talkin Loud and Sayin Nothin" to be used as theme music for a news program. A dull knife that just ain't cuttin.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:14 PM
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I think this is more or less what Kucinich did lats night when he refused to answer the "do you have a red line re: Iran" questions and instead accused the media of being complicit in "ratcheting up the war rhetoric."


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:16 PM
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4: We're not savages. White males having certain incomes, per the most recent census, may cast votes with respect to certain municipal and county matters.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:18 PM
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3: Maybe not, or I confess I don't remember the lyrics.


Posted by: Cala | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:24 PM
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4: ever since I bought a house, I've found this position very appealing.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:24 PM
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The line that would be a problem is "Showed the Vatican, what gold's for," I'd think. And all the Christ imagery would look a little overinflated, as applied to oneself. But I still like it as a campaign song.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:27 PM
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4: Are we talking specifically real estate? And do co-op apartments qualify?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:28 PM
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ever since I bought a house, I've found this position very appealing.

In a related thought, the bar passage rate for lawyers is entirely too high!


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:28 PM
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A conservative is a liberal who's been muggedtaken out a mortgage.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:29 PM
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Oh, and the borders should be sealed shut from pesky people trying to become AmuriCans.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:29 PM
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And do co-op apartments qualify?

In the GOP's eyes, ideally not.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:30 PM
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Turn that music down M/tch! You and the Kraab's with all of that hoochie-momma dancing and drinking. Stop! You're driving down my property value.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:31 PM
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14: Can you get rid of some of the existing ones--for example me--by expelling us into Canada? (It's the nearest border, but I'd also be amenable to a nicely-situated refugee camp in Denmark or Iceland.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:34 PM
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17: Sorry, Frowner, no Canada or Denmark or Iceland for you, you're going to have to suffer in the south of France.


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:36 PM
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OT: I am listening to the music mix posted by Po-Mo Polymath a while back, it is RULES!


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:36 PM
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19: that is does.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:37 PM
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Three words and I fuck one of them up? My mic control is weak.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:37 PM
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Everywhere like such as?


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:39 PM
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You know, I've always been a model tenant, but I distinctly remember the very first time I ever felt actual sympathy for a landlord's point of view. Then I immediately thought "Crap, I must be getting OLD!"


Posted by: M/tch M/lls | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:39 PM
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Surely you'll admit that the problem starts with extending the franchise to non-property owners.

Traditionally, I think the claim is that the problems started with extending the franchise to property.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:46 PM
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And I agree a bit with Flip's dad: what do people expect from a campaign? It's a sales job. Nobody bitches when Dentyne gets sold on the basis of a catchy song and a cute couple. What are people hoping for?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:47 PM
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17: Everything that anyone who has ever commented on a blog claims to hold dear, with the exception of health care -- CDs, travel, food, books, magazines, television -- is prohibitively expensive in Iceland.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:51 PM
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what do people expect from

You make this argument a lot. Not everything that sucks sucks necessarily and forever.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:54 PM
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25: It's possible to have election campaigns that take place on a rather more serious level than the average Dentyne ad, surely.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:57 PM
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25: Less toolish tools.

I blame media consolidation, not that I have any idea how the problem could have been prevented or what to do about it. With just one (or three or four) networks airing these things, those networks can get complacent and fat and lazy. The networks show entertainment because it's cheaper and easier than substance, and they get away with it because there are few to no other ways to see all the candidates on a stage together answering questions.

FL is right, basically; in a country where Tim Russert has become rich and influential by asking inane, pointless questions of candidates, hoping for candidates any better than Clinton may be overly optimistic.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 1:58 PM
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You make this argument a lot. Not everything that sucks sucks necessarily and forever.

So explain what systemically works. That is, no answers that depend on the basic decency of the people involved (or the commitment to charitable interpretation of the various audiences).


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 2:00 PM
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I would like to state for the record that I am not Ryan Avent.


Posted by: NCProsecutor | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 2:01 PM
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25: To be fair, Dad uses that little bromide in its original sense, like "Many hands make something something Why don't you shave? It's Christmas something something income tax something something."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 2:02 PM
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Nobody bitches when Dentyne gets sold on the basis of a catchy song and a cute couple.
People complain; easier to notice if the TV's off and you read something worthwhile; something old (Adorno):


Culture is a paradoxical commodity. So completely is it subject to the law of exchange that it is no longer exchanged; it is so blindly consumed in use that it can no longer be used. Therefore it amalgamates with advertising. The more meaningless the latter seems to be under a monopoly, the more omnipotent it becomes.

Something new

It's not stable that a country with so much should shill its leadership like a brand of toothpaste.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 2:07 PM
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in a country where Tim Russert has become rich and influential by asking inane, pointless questions of candidates, hoping for candidates any better than Clinton may be overly optimistic.

I don't get the causal connection between the first and second clauses in this sentence. It is supposed to mean that a hostile, stupid, inane press will go easier on Clinton than it would on those other candidates? Or is it supposed to mean that only Clinton can survive the ravages of a hostile, stupid, inane press, given her remarkable and heretofore unrevealed political gifts?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 2:08 PM
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I don't get the causal connection between the first and second clauses in this sentence. It is supposed to mean that a hostile, stupid, inane press will go easier on Clinton than it would on those other candidates? Or is it supposed to mean that only Clinton can survive the ravages of a hostile, stupid, inane press, given her remarkable and heretofore unrevealed political gifts?

Stop being so hostile. It means that candidates that succeed in running the gamut of a stupid press are greatly different from the candidates who would succeed in running the gamut of an intelligent press, and probably far inferior.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 2:11 PM
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explain what systemically works.
Don't be simple. Things have been much, much worse other places in the past, and quite bad in the US, and improved. Unstable situations can't persist, though predicting which way they will change is rarely possible.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 2:12 PM
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So explain what systemically works.

This is what I was alluding to in #4. The problem just is the system*: mass democracy will occasionally get you Lincoln and Churchill, but more often, Tracy Flick. It's actually somewhat remarkable that we get as high quality public servants as we do. If that's the effect at the level of candidates, why should we expect the press to be much better? Especially given the influence of TV. Does the average journalist do a worse job in promoting the public interest than the average congressman?

[*Needless to say, that doesn't mean I think there's a better system on offer. There isn't.]


Posted by: baa | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 2:14 PM
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I've always wanted to hear a candidate use XTC's Peter Pumpkinhead

Not "Mayor of Simpleton"? Myself, I'd like to hear a candidate use the Minutemen's "There ain't shit on TV tonight."


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 2:16 PM
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Clinton's advantage is with Democratic donors, Republicans tired of Bush, and Democratic loyalists, though. The media haven't been her friend so far.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 2:17 PM
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A property test for voting would have made Bush's margin larger.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 2:18 PM
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Stop being so hostile.

Jesus. Stop reacting as if I'm being hostile when I'm just asking a question.

It means that candidates that succeed in running the gamut of a stupid press are greatly different from the candidates who would succeed in running the gamut of an intelligent press, and probably far inferior.

Right, sure, but what evidence is there that Hillary Clinton represents the former and her rivals don't? She's been elected senator in a safely Democratic state, where she ran against a cipher and still did worse than Al Gore. And she was utterly unsuccessful in winning over public support for her health care plan. So why am I supposed to think that Clinton is uniquely gifted here?


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 2:20 PM
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As usual, the problem is the money. The ink stained wretches were more interested in the story than the sound bite, and would be embarassed by the fawning coverage of the modern press corps. Throw in J school for spice. The modern pol is using your tax dollars as a slush fund for cronyism. But as baa said, better than the alternative.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 2:21 PM
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38: I'll vote for the candidate who uses mclusky's "To Hell With Good Intentions."


Posted by: strasmangelo jones | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 2:22 PM
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Bartok's Music for Celestina Percussion and Orchestra.
Porter Wagoner's Satisfied Mind, or, better still, Tell Her Lies and Feed her Candy. Schoolly D's I hate Rock-n-Roll, with a totally racist video clip.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 2:23 PM
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and quite bad in the US, and improved.

Right. I don't disagree. But how to improve it? That's what I'm asking. Nothing obvious to me.


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 2:25 PM
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"Strings, Percussion, and Celeste"

Great piece.

/w-lfs-n


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 2:26 PM
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My presidential campaign will use Leonard Cohen's Democracy as a theme song.

It's coming from the sorrow in the street,
the holy places where the races meet;
from the homicidal bitchin'
that goes down in every kitchen
to determine who will serve and who will eat.
From the wells of disappointment
where the women kneel to pray
for the grace of God in the desert here
and the desert far away:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 2:26 PM
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But how to improve it?
Sysyphus supported worthy local politicians. Icarus resorted to propaganda to garner sponsors for his first flight.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 2:27 PM
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More immediately, Kathleen enumerated judiciary committee senators who will soon have to vote about Mukasey. I called mine.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 2:30 PM
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So explain what systemically works.

Not consolidating your media into the hands of a few people on one end of the political spectrum probably helps. Probably also a good idea to not passively accept a media culture that regards the consumer essentially as a stupid child. It really makes no sense to try to treat the shittiness of American media as some kind of eternal verity; the media is never going to be perfect, but it can damned sure aspire to not be an environment in which, say, a figure like Michelle Malkin is able to flourish and be taken seriously.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 2:33 PM
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It's lame, and it's been lame all my life. I don't see the media doing to anyone on the Dem side at this stage anything at all like it did to Dukakis and Gore in the general.

Sure ownership matters, and matters a lot. Even more, though, is the weenie's desire to be on the winning side. Thus reporters could sublimate their own preferences (I'm thinking more of 1988).


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 2:39 PM
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Mick Jagger's "Memo from Turner," with Ry Cooder on slide guitar, would win my vote:

Weren't you at the Coke convention back in nineteen sixty-five?
You're the misbred, grey executive I've seen heavily advertised.
You're the great, gray man whose daughter licks policemen's buttons clean.
You're the man who squats behind the man who works the soft machine.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 2:40 PM
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50: right. Plutocracy is more the problem as mass democracy.

The media got this bad step by step while most Democrats stood and watched. Chomsky and a dozen others like him have been screaming about this for 20+ years. Some Democrats are finally getting the word. Others were quite happy with the way things turned out. Being #2 isn't really all that bad. It's sure a lot better than being a citizen.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 2:40 PM
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52: I've always though of that as Jagger's attempt to write a Dylan lyric. It's really unusual for him, anyway.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 2:42 PM
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Fuck it, I want a candidate who will use War Pigs as her theme song.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 2:45 PM
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55: I bet ozzy would agree to sing it live at the convention.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 2:48 PM
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I'll vote for the candidate who uses mclusky's "To Hell With Good Intentions."

I'll just vote for the candidate who actually takes more drugs than a touring funk band.

19 and 20 made me blush what felt like a deep crimson in the middle of the office.


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 2:49 PM
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That Mick Jagger song is nice , thanks for the pointer. And I liked PMP's set too.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 3:03 PM
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I'll just vote for the candidate who actually takes more drugs than a touring funk band.

Let's keep it in the real world, Po-Mo.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 3:04 PM
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54: Honestly, that never occurred to me. It is hard for me to separate the song from the relevant sequence in Performance, which doesn't seem like a movie that shares much worldview with Dylan.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 3:10 PM
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55: Robert -- "Firing Squad" by the (Canuckistani) Subs really is my ideal campaign song.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 3:12 PM
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I'm sure I'm not the only one enjoying the juxtaposition of complaints about superficiality and suggestions for theme songs.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 3:20 PM
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Dude, they're totally not superficial theme songs. They're meaningful theme songs.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 3:24 PM
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They're meaningful theme songs.

Yeah, it's not like someone is proposing "Sex With My Ex" or "Mambo #5" or something.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 3:27 PM
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Certainly any candidate who chose "War Pigs" as his/her campaign song would be more honest than the one who chose "Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow."


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 3:29 PM
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Although I have spent nearly all day thinking about tomorrow. Shit, I have so much work to do.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 3:29 PM
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Ah, "Mambo #5." A stumbling block and impassable obstacle to any theodicy.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 3:33 PM
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So why IS Tim Russert so notably orange? Surely his makeup people watch the show!


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 3:47 PM
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Possibly the available alternatives are worse.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 3:52 PM
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His preshow ritual is DDR to Mambo#5. Alternately, he keeps a bevy of not-entirely-real aspiring actresses, all of whom have spray-on tans, and the color rubs off.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 3:52 PM
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37: It would be awesome if someone could come up with a way to offset the dangers of mass democracy through mass education.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:00 PM
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71: i.e., mass education in "shit that actually matters" rather than mass education in sitting still and being submissive and other job skills.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:00 PM
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war pigs would be pretty great.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:02 PM
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mass education in "shit that actually matters" rather than mass education in sitting still and being submissive and other job skills.

Why do you hate Capitalsm?


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:02 PM
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72 has a lot to do with what was discussed in the 'tailgate trickertreating' thread though.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:04 PM
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parents fearing the novel and notn wanting their humanoid granite countertop/Hummer to be in any way different from themself.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:05 PM
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Why do you hate Capitalsm?

Why do you hate Democracy?


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:06 PM
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70: Do any creatures other than pretty girls move in bevies? I've never heard of a bevy of tax lawyers or pastry chefs, but I've lived a sheltered life.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:06 PM
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78 I didn't see any

http://www.rinkworks.com/words/collective.shtml


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:11 PM
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78/79

It's a cheat of tax lawyers and a flake of pastry chefs.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:15 PM
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I'd vote for a candidate that used "California Uber Alles", but there's only one candidate it would work for, and I like him anyway.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:15 PM
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77 Why do you hate Capitalsm?
Why do you hate Democracy?

Because I can't fucking spell.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:16 PM
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I'm curious as to what Labs thinks we could do that would count as not "putting up with this shit." What could we, the readers of Unfogged, possibly do about this situation? Presumably, there must be something, if by failing to do it we come to "deserve" our inane political culture.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:18 PM
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Wait- it is a bevy of deer. Which makes sense as to why that collective nouns would also apply to pretty girls. Or maybe a heather of pretty girls?


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:20 PM
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Burn shit down!


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:21 PM
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LB 2008 --- "Let's burn shit down"


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:23 PM
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What could we, the readers of Unfogged, possibly do about this situation?

Elevate the discourse, of course.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:25 PM
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c.1430, collective noun of quails and ladies, from Anglo-Fr. bevée, of unknown origin. Bevy of interested parties, bevy of bosses. What is abject besides poverty, despair, and failure?


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:26 PM
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What is abject besides poverty, despair, and failure?

Humiliation.


Posted by: slolernr | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:29 PM
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Dude, they're totally not superficial theme songs. They're meaningful theme songs

And to kinda circle the thread back on topic, what better than Jon Friedman speculating in a Marketwatch column on the Springsteen songs Tim Russert could use as themes for the various presidential candidates.

I bet Russert could woo Springsteen by playing snippets of his tunes to accompany appearances by the candidates: "Glory Days" for Sen. John McCain, "Born to Run" for Sen. Hillary Clinton, "Two Hearts" for John Edwards, "It's Hard to be a Saint in the City" for Mitt Romney, "New York City Serenade" for Rudy Giuliani, "Jungleland" for Mayor Michael Bloomberg and, of course, "I'm on Fire" for Obama.
How Friedman got on to that topic left as an exercise for the reader.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:29 PM
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88: What is abject besides poverty, despair, and failure?

Subjugation.


Posted by: Lunar Rockette | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:30 PM
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83, 85: One thing that might do our side a power of good is to let go our Huey Newton fantasies and, in the spirit of Dirty Harry, acknowledge our bourgeois limitations.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:31 PM
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I, for one, plan to favor neighborhood parents with tenously connected political declarations while trick-or-treating. When regime change comes tomorrow, I'll display humility and explain that anyone at all could have been the catalyst, but I'll keep a secret, butterfingery satisfaction inside.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:31 PM
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Subject abjugation.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:31 PM
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An abject of Congressional Democrats.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:35 PM
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poverty, despair, and failure

Boy, do these ever sound familiar. Story of my life.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:35 PM
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Wouldn't the failure come before the despair in most cases?


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:37 PM
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83: What could we, the readers of Unfogged, possibly do about this situation?

All you have to do is repair your broken electoral system in time to prevent the GOP from stealing the White House again, knock enough spine into the Democratic party to keep it from completely screwing up its majority in the House and Senate, and pressure your elected officials to enact effective antitrust legislation that will break up the existing media conglomerates. Easy-peasy.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:37 PM
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poverty is to live without wisdom, no man is a failure who has friends (George Bailey, say). Despair is up to you, but just between us, shows that you're paying attention and is basically a sign of health.
You joke about being unhappy-- if you're regularly having trouble sleeping or find that you don't have the energy to leave the house, your body is telling you that the despair is not just in your head.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:39 PM
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95 -> 98


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:39 PM
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The abject sequence:

stupidity->failure->humiliation->despair->subjugation-> ... comity.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:43 PM
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Wouldn't the failure come before the despair in most cases?

Not necessarily. It's hard to succeed at anything while despairing. They're mostly simultaneous anyway.

poverty is to live without wisdom

Sounds great.

no man is a failure who has friends

I don't have friends.

Despair is up to you, but just between us, shows that you're paying attention and is basically a sign of health.

Noted.

You joke about being unhappy-- if you're regularly having trouble sleeping or find that you don't have the energy to leave the house, your body is telling you that the despair is not just in your head.

I'm not joking. I called in sick to work today.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:44 PM
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30: explain what systemically works

83:what [...]we could do that would count as not "putting up with this shit."

Start a union!In certain circumstances, it is true, assholes have gotten involved in the management of unions to the detriment of their members, the companies they negotiate with, and America. But unionization is one of the more asshole-proof means to creating change. It can be discouraging. The legal system does not favor success (though it is possible to act outside it). It does not have the adoration, though perhaps it does earn the favor, of supercool bloggy types. But a union consistently creates better working conditions than at comparable firms; the greater the union density in an industry, the higher the wages. Unionized workers also vote Democratic at higher rates than their non-union counterparts of similar race, gender and income, and their beliefs are more reliably progressive. Unionized tech workers have fucked up media mergers, to return to the thread topic.

Build institutions and movements capable of holding elected officials accountable!A local union, or peace group, or church-based organization, is capable of holding a local official accountable. This is tricky because as you get to higher organizational levels, the kind of organization needed to maintain similar levels of accountability grows exponentially. The AFL-CIO has not proven capable of passing card-check; something called "the labor movement", in its throes of maintaining a tenuous hold on existence, has gotten it on the table in a way it has not been since Taft-Hartley. Lifetimes of work and love are necessary but not sufficient to will a group of local organizations into a social movement; discouragement is a real risk.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:45 PM
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97: I'll crunch the numbers and get back to you. I'll need 100 failures and 100 people in despair. Probably they n be recruited right here.

Teo is too young to be a failure yet, however. Hearing this may intensify his despair, I suppose. I had a friend decades ago who went from depression to more intense depression when he was refused admission into a crisis unit. Even mental illness was beyond his capacity.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:45 PM
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Teo is too young to be a failure yet, however.

Maybe not in a global sense, but I sure don't seem to be succeeding at anything.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:48 PM
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Well, I'm an old failure, and it's not that bad.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:53 PM
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Ummm, sort of a personal question, Teo, feel free not to answer, but: did you take any significant amount of time for yourself when your dad died? This might have some bearing on your current state of mind.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:56 PM
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What do you mean by time for myself?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:57 PM
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Time off. Away from work, school, whatever.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:58 PM
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Yeah, I took a week off.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:58 PM
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Okay. Then I humbly submit that a week may not be enough.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 4:59 PM
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Maybe, but it seemed like enough. It was kind of a relief to get back to work.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 5:00 PM
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I had a very edifying failure as a union organizer in my early twenties. There's a three-day training that the AFL-CIO puts on all over the country that you can sign up for if you're at all interested.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 5:02 PM
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" Even more, though, is the weenie's desire to be on the winning side."

bingo.


Posted by: Katherine | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 5:03 PM
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Teo, let me put this a different way: What's the hardest part about being you?


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 5:06 PM
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" Even more, though, is the weenie's desire to be on the winning side."

This is were the statements about "liberal media" fail. Access, baby. They would shrivel up and blow away without their precious access. Which can be read uncharitably as toadying.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 5:22 PM
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Teo- your contribution here is definitely valued.


Posted by: terpbball | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 5:29 PM
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Thanks, terpbball. I appreciate that.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 5:45 PM
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Hey Teo -- After my dad died about 6 mos. ago, and I wasn't as young as you are and my dad was certainly much older than yours, I felt sort of agressively hollow (does that make any sense?) and stupid for months. As in, it literally took me months to think straight again and I walked around feeling like I had been beaten up. So even though it feels right to go about one's business again rather quickly, don't fault yourself for not feeling like yourself yet. Oh, and forgive my presumption.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 5:53 PM
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113: I have a hard to imagining that woudn't get one put into a database that makes one completely unemployable.


Posted by: yoyo | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 5:56 PM
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Oh, and forgive my presumption.

Don't worry about it. I don't know how much of my current funk is due to the death rather than other factors that had already been there for a while. I do think it's been helpful to go back to work and such. Today was both the first day I've taken off since the week after it happened and the day when my depression was by far the worst it's been since I started taking medication. Not necessarily a relationship there, but it's suggestive.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 5:57 PM
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Teo: I know (roughly) what you've been doing about the girlfriend situation, but are you doing anything to find friends? I'm hardly an expert on this, but it seems like it won't improve unless you make an effort, and that there are things you can do that'll help (like trying clubs or going to young professionals' happy hours or something.)


Posted by: the Other Paul | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 7:03 PM
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I'm not really doing anything to find friends, no, unless going to synagogue counts (which I suppose it does). I don't really mind not having friends the way I mind not having a girlfriend, but people keep telling me friendship is important. I do actually have a couple of friends that I see occasionally, but they aren't a major part of my life.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 7:25 PM
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I think it's important to make friends, so that you have a support system and a social outlet besides your (potential) girlfriend and your imaginary friends on the Internet.


Posted by: the Other Paul | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 7:32 PM
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That's what people tell me. I figure, if I meet some people I want to be friends with, great, but I don't care enough to seek out friends just for the sake of having some.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 7:36 PM
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"What is a friend? Another I."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 8:42 PM
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Shorter Waldman:
There's that major league asshole. Yeah, big time.

-- Articulate candidates for empathy.

--------

NIN's Head like a hole
would make a great concession song for the candidate
lacking in gravitas, unpresidential looking, or otherwise unelectable.



Posted by: Econolicious, aka Anonymous D | Link to this comment | 10-31-07 9:38 PM
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I don't really mind not having friends the way I mind not having a girlfriend

But I think if you had a bunch of friends with whom you socialised you probably would meet a wider selection of potential girlfriends. "Friend of a friend" is how lots of people meet their SOs.


Posted by: emir | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 6:45 AM
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Dude, they're totally not superficial theme songs. They're meaningful theme songs.

That's what the Dentyne people say.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 6:49 AM
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But I think if you had a bunch of friends with whom you socialised you probably would meet a wider selection of potential girlfriends. "Friend of a friend" is how lots of people meet their SOs.

Moreover, when you ultimately find a girlfriend, as you surely will, you want to have friends of your own to fall back on. The alternative is that you become excessively wrapped up in her and *her* friends become your clique. And when the relationship ends, as it likely will, you will be completely knocked on your ass.

Take it from one who has been there.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 6:52 AM
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128, 130: Clubs are good. Or get into some sort of voluntary work.

Or there's always the National Guard! Lots of camaraderie!


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:41 AM
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130: At the end of my three-year marriage, her friends were my friends and my original friends were gone. And I had little in common with her friends.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:43 AM
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129: It's more that we were imagining what sort of character a politician would have to have, in order to appro ve `war pigs' et. al. I know that's utopian, but hey, this is unfogged


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:45 AM
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132: This isn't always as bad as it sounds; the same thing happened to a guy I know, but he endied up with all her friends, and she ended up with nearly none.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:46 AM
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OK, serious assessment of the candidates: They're people who have real power now as legislators. A critical reading of any portion of their legislative activity (which amendments did they support or introduce, not just final votes) rather than of their speeches or superficial style choices would be great. Where do others go to get this? I found
Grist's assessment of Obama interesting reading.
Follow the money and mitigate immediate harm are what I care about the most, with outsize prison population and an emerging police state two harms I'd love to see mitigated.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 11- 1-07 9:54 AM
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