Re: The Franchise

1

The General Will will force you to be free, Ogged.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:34 AM
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And ice-cold Coke on a hot day is liberty. Anyone who says otherwise is a commie. Or an Iranian. Same fucking difference, at least in the eyes of a nuclear warhead.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:35 AM
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Ari, keep it up and I'll start trolling your blog, and we'll see how you like that.


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:38 AM
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Moi? Also, you don't already? That's disappointing.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:41 AM
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Ogged, politics isn't going to be fluffed away by an American Idol thread. Nice try, though.

Now I can say it: Obama sucks. For that reason, he's a shoo-in for the Presidency. McCain tries to suck, but he's just too old.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:42 AM
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But, since Ogged asked, the only thing that will overcome the liberal consensus, such as it is, is another truly catastrophic event that shifts public opinion from the bottom up. Peak oil, if that's what we're experiencing, and the related economic consequences, might be just the thing. Really, it would have to be something that overturns people's most deeply held assumptions, the way that widepread unemployment did for government assistance during the Great Depression.

There, is that better?


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:44 AM
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Tough question.

I think that the key line "liberalism as nothing but capital's official ideology -- a logic and alibi for its drive to marketize more and more of human life." isn't a new critique and is one that both refers to a real dynamic, and isn't entirely fair.

From a philosophical point of view, I think that Liberalism has no natural reason to encourage the monetarization of social dynamics (and has reasons to be skeptical of that) but that it is even more skeptical of the other social forces that have tried to claim ownership of the public sphere -- religion and tradition chief among them.

Beyond that, I think there are many liberals who see the marriage to the market as one of convenience based on The Moral Consequence of Economic Growth.

I haven't read the book, I'm just name dropping here, but I think that there's an argument that allying with the market in support of "prosperity" helps people gain power to advocate for their own interests.


Posted by: Nicks | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:47 AM
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6: What's supposed to replace it?


Posted by: SomeCallMeTim | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:49 AM
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Transhumanist glibertarianism.


Posted by: Standpipe Bridgeplate | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:50 AM
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What's the Kuhnian word? "Incommensurate"?

That's what revolutions and paradigm shifts mean. You not only can't understand what comes after, you can't even see the path to getting there.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:52 AM
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shifts public opinion from the bottom up

Is this really how a historian understands change?

I would characterize the change required as one of new, flexible, strong institutions. The system built around private capital controlling independent companies has some amazing adaptive benefits along with plenty of problems. Command and control economies couldn't match it and paired up with very repressive political systems really sucked. Social democratic institutions are different along a few dimensions but similar to anglo-american capitalism in many.

What's interesting to me is whether any of the experiments and flexible organizing using communications technology might really grow into alternative institutions with some of the adaptive advantages of current capitalism with fewer of the repressive disadvantages.

Also, could we talk about So You Think You Can Dance instead of Idol? Same producers, much more fun.


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:54 AM
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The Moral Consequence of Economic Growth.

Robert Lucas? I looove name-dropping. It's helps me know where to look.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:54 AM
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Everything I know about classical liberalism I learned from Thomas Mann's Magic Mountain - all those chapters in which the paupered Italian and the wealthy Jesuit argued in circles. I'd love to read something about how modern American liberalism evolved from this, and what assumptions remain despite the changes.


Posted by: spaz | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 11:59 AM
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Robert Lucas?

Ben Friedman.

My main source of information is DeLong's review here. I also see another post refering to the book here


Posted by: Nicks | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:02 PM
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8: I have no idea. But here, let me take another go at this. A few years back, somebody (maybe David Brooks) wrote a looong piece in the The Atlantic (I think), which was intended (I'm pretty sure) as a reply to Thomas Frank (maybe). In it, the author contrasted two places: a DC suburb and some town in Kansas (unless I'm wrong about that).

The point of the article was that the people of Whereever, Kansas, though they make much less money, have roughly the same buying power as the people in the DC suburb. Now, the author was trying to suggest (if memory serves) that this explained why people vote Republican, apparently against their class interests. And I thought that was bullshit. But I do think the availability of cheap goods and services explains why people accept a neo-liberal social and economic order: because, for the most part, it seems to work for them.

So, the point of my earlier comment was that only when that social and economic order stops working for the vast majority of people, when they see their friends getting ground up by consumer culture, rather than coming home from B/est B/uy with a really nifty new flat-screen, only then will the liberal consensus crumble.

Obviously, there are all manner of problems with the above. For example, the idea that our economy, as it currently stands, and the social order resting atop it, works for people might require quite a bit of false consciousness. Or, if you're not feeling particularly Marxist today, it at least requires people to define works in very specfiic ways. That said, I do think that consumer culture is the key here, as Ogged's post intimates.

As for what will replace it, I really have no idea.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:05 PM
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This from Thoma's was the 2003 Lucas paper I was thinking of. It is about the reasons to favor growth over distribution.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:05 PM
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Along the lines of Bob's comment, I found this post to be very insightful.


Posted by: Zippy the Comment Frog | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:08 PM
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Is this really how a historian understands change?

Historians argue endlessly over the engines of change. That's just what we do. As for this historian, not always, but often, yes.


Posted by: Ari | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:11 PM
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As a premise or example, the America that existed after Jackson might not have been recognizable to Jefferson & Madison, even though it resulted from the structures they themselves created. Or maybe 50 years after Jackson. Or whatever.

I am not a liberal, and part of my illiberalism is an assumption that we really don't have rational rule-based control of all this shit. I mean, that is what liberalism is, isn't it? A mechanistic program of educating and enlightening and institution-buildin and then like clockwork we get a good society.

Youda thought the 20th century would have disillusioned more people of this stuff.

But I need to go read about the Enlightenment to know what I gotta kill.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:18 PM
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Please write 5000 words on whether or not the consonance of that picture of liberalism with (a) the conclusion of Schiller's Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Mankind and (b) compatibilism generally.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:20 PM
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Bob, since the rules are made by people they are imperfect, and the clock breaks down over time. Or needs to be rewound, or whatever. That is the problem with every system, even capitalism. We cannot make informed economic decisions in our own interests, because we have imperfect knowledge, so we muddle. Those who are marginally better informed on certain subjects gain advantage, which can be exploited for greater gain. It won't matter what system is in place, that will always happen.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:26 PM
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If energy becomes much more expensive (likely) and if short-term gains with obvious long-term costs come to be more widely seen to be stupid (less likely, but I can hope), then what's wrong with consumer culture? I don't like Pepsi either, but when faced with a choice between consumer culture and something else, many have voted either with their feet or with lifestyle for consumer culture. Vapid people in reasonably-sized dwellings using sensible transport doesn't seem so bad. I don't think it's necessary to reject market liberalism, though maybe the neat-looking reading material cited will convince me otherwise.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:29 PM
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20:Naw. I like got every serious thinker since Freud Nietzsche Marx Hegel Spinoza to read first.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:30 PM
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After the revolution, pop songs will be performed by voluntarily constituted, topless collectives of self-realized individuals.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:30 PM
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(less likely, but I can hope)

I suspect this is hopeless, and if so that's the key problem with any highly consumptive culture.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:31 PM
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Absent the Second Coming, what would an overcome liberalism look like? One of those scifi worlds where everyone wears grey coveralls?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:31 PM
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Schiller was a serious thinker, bob.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:33 PM
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One problem with the DeLong-Friedman thesis (human progress through continual growth) is that it may run head on into environmental realities. This accounts for the strength of the resistance to environmentalism from economists; without strong growth indefinitely into the future, their whole utopia becomes a distopia, and they have no backup plan in case such growth is environmentally unsustainable. (Many seem to claim that environmental restrictions on growth are a formal impossibility, though to me they seem to be nuts.) Left and liberal economists are as bad as conservative and moderate economists.

The depressing part for me is that these plans all cue everything on the increasing wealth of the wealthiest, because they're the ones who make things happen. From a humanist / environmentalist perspective, it would be best to bring the poorest out of misery while leaving the wealthy about where they are, but economies just don't work that way.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:34 PM
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The post zippy links in 17 is nice, but I'm not seeing the great insight held within it.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:35 PM
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There is so, so much wrong with the beginning of that jane dark post, though, good as it may otherwise be: claiming that sf/j is interesting; that he has a good writing style (wtf?).


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:39 PM
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The post zippy links in 17 is nice, but I'm not seeing the great insight held within it.

Has your laptop got a glossy screen?


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:40 PM
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It isn't as if there is a shortage of thoughtful critiques of liberalism out there, from Schmitt/Strrauss/Arendt to Foucault/Baudrillard/plague of frogs. I am completely overwhelmed by what I should be reading. Should have read already.

Ben, I am limited by books I have on hand. Which is a lot of books. I have at least two on German Idealism (Cambridge Companion is one). After I get thru all the early Moderns, consume Rorty and his sources, I may dive in there.

I want three lives.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:42 PM
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McManus as Henry Bemis

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Enough_at_Last


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:46 PM
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That is a great episode.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:48 PM
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I like the idea that support for capitalism/liberalism/markets is necessarily defined as an all-or-nothing-thing. Can one not stake out a position in the middle (regulated markets, decoupled as best is possible from increased resource consumption) without being derided as either an Idol-lover or a sniffy, anarcho-eliti-marxi-toon?

Also how the fuck are you people getting there from a SF/J piece? I like him a lot more than Ben, but come now; couldn't we base our pointless divergences on the works of Stephanie Zacharek or Bill Simmons?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:49 PM
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THE PEOPLE DEMAND GABBO


Posted by: GABBO | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:50 PM
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"the people have the power" doesn't partake exactly of The New Yorker's house ideology. It is a cynical allusion to a patty smith smith song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCn-mpXZZps
http://www.oceanstar.com/patti/lyrics/people.htm

It also makes the point that the judges comments are ineffective grandstanding in that the telephone poll determines the person voted off rather than the judges.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:50 PM
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I am Henry Bemis!


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:51 PM
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Also how the fuck are you people getting there from a SF/J piece?

From the quotation in the post, Sifu.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:51 PM
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39: in some ways, you didn't answer my question at all.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:52 PM
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Yeah, but those ways suck.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:54 PM
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You could look at the linked post, Sifu, wherein a quotation from the New Yorker is made.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:56 PM
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38. Henry Bemis would be a good pseud for a know it all book worm. the commenter would have to refrain from your more "combative" style, JE, to remain true to the character.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:56 PM
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It also makes the point that the judges comments are ineffective grandstanding in that the telephone poll determines the person voted off rather than the judges.

Seeing as those very same voters are being asked to buy the records, or mp3s or whatever, this makes more sense than having the judges taste determine the winner.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 12:59 PM
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28: John Emerson - yeah, what you said.

The curse (and probably the blessing) of every human system is that they are not sustainable. Either they try to fight against human nature or they embrace human nature.

Either way is unsustainable.

Why do we expect sustainability? The entire process by which we were forged selected us to be non-sustainable.

Humans change. We adapt. We get tired of everything, even perfection. That is our blessing and our curse. Even if we did somehow manage to achieve a perfect equilibrium, a perfect system that balanced everything perfectly and was sustainable we would go ahead and change that too.


Posted by: Tripp the Crazed! | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:01 PM
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41: Ben w-lfs-n's In Praise Of Literalism;

Before advancing my own arguments for literalism, I must dispose of one which I cannot accept. Whenever a person who already knows the answer to the question they're asking proposes to engage in some everyday kind of trolling, such as SF/J-defending or griping, he or she is told that such conduct takes the acid tongue out of other troll's mouths, and is therefore wicked. If this argument were valid, it would only be necessary for us all to be literal in order that we should all have our threads full of comity. What people who say such things forget is that when a man is baited he usually trolls in return, and in trolling he enlivens threads. As long as a man trolls about his hobbyhorses, he puts just as much invective into people's mouths in responding as he takes out of other people's mouths in rising to various baits. The real villain, from this point of view, is the man who seeks comity. If he merely puts a stocking in his fat mouth, like the proverbial French peasant, it is obvious that he does not provide bait. If he nurtures his gripes, the matter is less obvious, and different cases arise.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:03 PM
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OT: If one were to fill out and submit this application form should one be concerned that the page isn't secure?


Posted by: samuel gompers | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:04 PM
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re: 1

Admire my shiny red coat. [Writes a fat scottish correspondent].


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:05 PM
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42: the point, to be explicit, is that where taking an SF/J article as having larger sociological meaning is stupid, taking a response to an SF/J article that interprets it as having a larger sociological meaning and using it as a jumping off point for yet larger conclusions is stupider, and taking that second piece of analysis as the jumping off point for a discussion of the larger nature of liberalism is, in it's third-order remove from an actual basis in well-reasoned conclusions is... well, is something I feel like whining about. So there.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:06 PM
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From this I conclude that Sifu is really easy to bait.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:07 PM
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47: Here you go.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:08 PM
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That gives me a domain name mismatch certificate warning, whatever that means.


Posted by: samuel gompers | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:15 PM
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It also probably still isn't secure, as the form submit button most likely just sends off an e-mail to whoever it is. But it looks secure, which is all you're ever really getting, anyhow.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:16 PM
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Off topic, but is it offensive to think that this ought to be the Obama theme?


Posted by: FL | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:18 PM
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So the answer to 47 is "yes, but oh well"?

At least the form doesn't ask for anything like a Social Security number.


Posted by: samuel gompers | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:19 PM
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But it looks secure, which is all you're ever really getting, anyhow.

Security through "Eh, how bad could it be".


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:22 PM
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56: oh, it could be plenty bad. But it's not like anybody else is doing better. If they had all kinds of certificates and trust-e certifications and whatever other malarkey then you could at least be convinced that the front end was secure, and your information would be protected until whatever HR person mailed it to the pacbell account of a working-from-home employee with an unsecured windows laptop on a cable line.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:27 PM
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. . . what I call "market populism": that in addition to being mediums of exchange, markets are mediums of consent. With their mechanisms of supply and demand, poll and focus group, superstore and Internet, markets manage to express the popular will more articulately and meaningfully than do mere elections.

****

And as business leaders melded themselves theoretically with the people, they found that market populism provided them with powerful weapons to use against their traditional enemies in government and labor. Since markets express the will of the people, virtually any criticism of business could be described as an act of "elitism" arising out of despicable contempt for the common man. According to market populism, elites are not those who, say, watch sporting events from a skybox, or spend their weekends tooling about on a computer-driven yacht, or fire half their work force and ship the factory south. No, elitists are the people on the other side of the equation: the labor unionists and Keynesians who believe that society can be organized in any way other than the market way. Since what the market does--no matter how whimsical, irrational or harmful--is the Will of the People, any scheme to operate outside its auspices or control its ravages is by definition a dangerous artifice, the hubris of false expertise.

-- Tom Frank, One Market Under God [emphasis mine]


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:29 PM
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57: Agreed, it was just a lame joke.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:29 PM
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59: I was trying to think of a lame joke in return; "No Security Through No Security"? "Security Through Prominent Flaws"? Nothing really seemed to work, though.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:31 PM
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My usual method, `Security through pretending to be Ogged' just doesn't work for the likes of job sites.


Posted by: soup biscuit | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:34 PM
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I'm going to assume that 55 is correct, then.


Posted by: samuel gompers | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:34 PM
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54: I thought we agreed Obama is more of a "ring-a-ding-ding" guy.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:35 PM
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62: well, it's problematic, but unless you're willing to recreate the form offline, encrypt it, and e-mail it to them, I'm not really sure what you can do.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:35 PM
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That is to say, a "ring-a-ding-ding" guy.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:37 PM
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...couldn't we base our pointless divergences on the works of Stephanie Zacharek or Bill Simmons?

I don't really have anything against Stephanie Zacharek, but a devoted Simmonsist could make some hay out of his recent podcast with Chuck Klosterman, who invaded Simmons' comfort zone surprisingly adroitly. [Insert Deadspin-esque complaint about '80s movie references here.]


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:37 PM
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I don't really have anything against Stephanie Zacharek

Really? Oh, I just can't stand her. Ohhhhh, she's awful. I like the reviews where she doesn't actually understand the plot of the movie. Those are my favorites.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:38 PM
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I have no impression of her or any of her reviews at all and I must have read some. I suppose that is its own statement.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:39 PM
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68: just for you, Flip, from her latest review:

I loved Parker, and I loved "Sex and the City," for most of the show's six-year run. The series' detractors decried it as an insulting and retrograde depiction of modern, single urban women. But viewing the show so narrowly is like applying social-realist standards to Fred Astaire movies. At its best, the show was wonderfully conceived and executed farce; each episode, at under 30 minutes, was a perfectly satisfying petit four. "Sex and the City" was sophisticated not because of its depiction of New York as a world of expensive handbags and shoes but in spite of it: Looking back on the series, and on the way it could so often be both breezy and sharp, I can see it more clearly as a grandchild of the jazz age, a cocktail laced with the spirit of Anita Loos.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:44 PM
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Wait, it's not my birthday! Aw...


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:45 PM
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58 is amazing (and badly written!). I like the way it's not clear, in that final sentence, if what he's describing is a view he endorses, or a view pushed by businessmen who perhaps don't believe it themselves either in order to get their way.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:47 PM
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69: Anita Loos's husband? The most famous of all John Emersons, the gay one. (Not Clifton's real name).


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:47 PM
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And the first paragraph of 58 is breathtakingly simpleminded. Jesus christ.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:49 PM
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70: one more for you:

The idea of being drawn to a movie and not knowing why is practically lost in the contemporary moviegoing experience, at least when it comes to mainstream Hollywood pictures. We're so conditioned to feel excitement over the new Spider-Man movie, the new Batman movie, the new Judd Apatow-produced movie, that the idea of walking up to an interesting-looking poster in a subway station and thinking, "Now this might be something," is almost unthinkable.

It's completely unthinkable in the case of "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," the fourth installment in Steven Spielberg's rabidly beloved adventure series, which has been building its own Temple of Hype for several years now. But the strange thing about Spielberg's latest is that, for me at least, it miraculously pulled off the effect of feeling like a surprise: The picture both fulfilled some vague, unexpressed hopes I didn't know I had and also left me with the sense that I'd just seen something I wasn't quite prepared for -- the kind of contradiction that great showmanship can bridge.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:49 PM
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The second paragraph of 74, in addition to being breathtakingly simpleminded, should have been blockquoted.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:50 PM
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71: The fact that it's written by Thomas Frank should clear up a lot of the ambiguity.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:51 PM
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"[V]ague, unexpressed," indeed.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:52 PM
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72: this might be a question for w-lfs-n, but would a gay philanderer still be a philanderer? Or would they be a true philanderer, and your typical het male cheater would be a philogynist?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:55 PM
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Or, I guess, since that word already has a meaning, a philogyner?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 1:56 PM
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76: Um, yeah, ben. I thought it was pretty clear even without Frank's name on it. Perhaps your right parahippocampal gyrus is out of whack.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:00 PM
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Check out the etymology. A woman loving her husband is a philander.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:03 PM
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My god neuroscience articles in the NYT are irritating.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:03 PM
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Oh, Tom Frank, right. I saw that and got confused with Tom Friedman, which made some of the rhetoric a little confusing, but since Friedman's a legendarily bad writer, you know, uh...


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:04 PM
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81: so a woman given to many flings with men would be called a philogynerer?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:05 PM
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Sorry, many flings with married men.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:05 PM
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You could just call her a philander, Sifu. It's not limited to husbands.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:06 PM
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I always confuse Tom Frank with Ted Frank.


Posted by: Otto von Bisquick | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:07 PM
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I suppose I could have opened the excerpt in 58 more clearly with: "From Deadheads to Nobel-laureate economists, from paleoconservatives to New Democrats, [from Tom Friedman to David Brooks,] American leaders in the nineties came to believe that markets were a popular system, a far more democratic form of organization than (democratically elected) governments."

and, to resolve any ambiguity, ended it with this:

"Market populism is, in many ways, the most blatant apologia for economic inequality since social Darwinism."


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:09 PM
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Or a philandererer, if she is drawn particularly to that kind of man.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:09 PM
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Parahippocampal Gyrus would be a great pseud.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:09 PM
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"From Deadheads to Nobel-laureate economists, from paleoconservatives to New Democrats, [from Tom Friedman to David Brooks,] American leaders in the nineties came to believe that markets were a popular system, a far more democratic form of organization than (democratically elected) governments."

I blame Clinton.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:10 PM
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The parahippocampal gyrus is responsible for a hell of a lot more than "processing sarcasm". (Stupid, NYT! Stupid! Hate you!)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:12 PM
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I'm planning to blame Hillary Clinton for a whole lotta shit from now on.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:13 PM
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I was thinking earlier of saying "surely it should be obvious that the first paragraph of 58 is descriptive, not trying to persuade." But now that I think of it, I could imagine Tom Friedman saying it without a trace of doubt.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:13 PM
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89: Don't you mean "philphilanderer"?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:14 PM
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95: well, but if that's the case, why wouldn't "philanderer" be "philphilander"?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:15 PM
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Let's not bash Thomas Frank, UVa grad, too much!!


Posted by: Will | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:16 PM
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You leave Dr. Phil out of this, Tweety.


Posted by: Tassled Loafered Leech | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:16 PM
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Tom Frank is good. Crooked Timber, on the other hand, is sick, and with a very weird error. I blame Ogged and his spammy server juju.


Posted by: Kieran | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:20 PM
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I bet if Ultimate Warrior wasn't super gay he'd be a Philogyner. He doesn't like confusion; messes with his Foke.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:20 PM
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The parahippocampal gyrus is responsible for a hell of a lot more than "processing sarcasm".

It also takes the processed sarcasm and packages it in individual market-ready units!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:23 PM
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75: Phew! You scared me.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:23 PM
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102: my simple mind treads other paths.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:24 PM
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Ah shit I think we've been hacked vita some php injection crap.


Posted by: Kieran | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:25 PM
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A hacked vita? I hope your employment is secure.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:26 PM
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104: that's been happening a lot lately. Some new exploit or other.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:28 PM
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Market populism is, in many ways, the most blatant apologia for economic inequality since social Darwinism

Rather than try to command the tide to recede, I think Dems need to be thinking of ways to exploit the inherent tension between market populism and cultural conservatism. To date, the Republicans have managed the neat trick of defining market populism in opposition to cultural elitism (though, in reality, the purported elite "culture" is defined mostly by the choice of consumer goods rather than by appreciation of or even exposure to High Culture). We're far enough away in time from the Boston Brahmins and the Wm. F. Buckley brand of conservatism that the defense of High Culture is no longer especially important to the conservative ethos, except where it can be conveniently set in contrast to Hip Hop culture or trendy Third Worldism.

In defining the debate thusly, conservatives have been able to paper over a deep cleavage in their coalition: the fault line between the market fundamentalists and the religious fundamentalists.

I think the Clintons recognize this, which is why they shadow-boxed against purveyors of raunchy television (recall the V-Chip) and videogames. The rift surfaced briefly in the Republican primary when oppo researchers planted stories about Mitt Romney profiting from a company that makes money from hotel porn.

I'd like to see the Democrats find some wedge issues that directly pit the money-cons against the theo-cons, ideally in ways that don't too badly piss off the younger and more libertarian voters.

For a while, I thought à la carte cable television pricing might be that issue--why should good Christian families be required to subscribe to filth that they don't want in order to enjoy Fox News programming?--but it turns out that the Christian broadcasters oppose it because they know that no one would subscribe to their holy roller channels if they weren't part of the basic cable package.

Another possible issue could be gambling (how about a punitive federal excise tax on casino winnings?), except that the producer lobby for the gambling industry cuts across party lines in peculiar ways.

I'm stumped, and I've got to get on a conference call now. Any ideas how to cleave the money cons from the theocons?


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:31 PM
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I'm stumped, and I've got to get on a conference call now.

A mere conference call shouldn't be enough to stop commenting.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:41 PM
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Yeah that's what the mute button's for, Knecht.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:41 PM
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Comment, comment, conference call, comment.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 2:44 PM
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107

"I'm stumped, and I've got to get on a conference call now. Any ideas how to cleave the money cons from the theocons?"

Well it depends of course on which of the two you are trying to break off but it isn't really difficult to find issues on which they disagree.

Theocons will be more economically populist, anti-rich, anti-big business, anti-immigrant, anti-free trade, pro-minimum wage etc.

Moneycons will be more socially liberal, pro-abortion, pro-contraception, anti-blue law, less religious etc.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 3:08 PM
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Prosperity theology cons play both sides. People forget them.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 3:17 PM
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Theocons come in many a strange flavor these days:

"There is a strong drift toward the hard theological left. Some emergent types [want] to recast Jesus as a limp-wrist hippie in a dress with a lot of product in His hair, who drank decaf and made pithy Zen statements about life while shopping for the perfect pair of shoes. In Revelation, Jesus is a Pride fighter with a tattoo down His leg, a sword in His hand and the commitment to make someone bleed. That is a guy I can worship. I cannot worship the hippie, diaper, halo Christ because I cannot worship a guy I can beat up. I fear some are becoming more cultural than Christian, and without a big Jesus who has authority and hates sin as revealed in the Bible, we will have less and less Christians, and more and more confused, spiritually self-righteous blogger critics of Christianity."


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 3:32 PM
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108,109,110

"What? Bread and water again?"
There, there, my sweet little Ruprechts. Once daddy figures out how to cleave the money cons from the theocons, he will be able to work again.


Posted by: Fleur | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 3:36 PM
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107: To clarify, I'm looking for issues that put "market populism" in opposition to "traditional morality", as opposed to market populism being the opposite of cultural elitism, as expressed by e.g. arugula eating.

The twist is that these wedge issues should not cause major blowback with traditional Dem constituencies. (Without that constraint, you could just say "crack down on pay per view porn", and you'd put the moneycons and theocons at odds.)

Also, I'm not sure that the theocons are as anti-rich as you imply. The politically active evangelicals that we want to cleave from the GOP coalition (or at least encourage to say home) are probably slightly above the median family income (I'm guessing).

Well it depends of course on which of the two you are trying to break off

It's not that you are necessarily trying to win the votes of either constituency, but you want to break down their political solidarity. William T. and Helen J. Biblebelt need to start suspecting that the Republicans don't really care about their concerns, when push comes to shove. Meanwhile, Bryce Ayebank needs to worry about the evangelicals taking away his porn and forcing his mistress to carry their little accident to term.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 3:38 PM
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For a while, I thought à la carte cable television pricing might be that issue--why should good Christian families be required to subscribe to filth that they don't want in order to enjoy Fox News programming?--but it turns out that the Christian broadcasters oppose it because they know that no one would subscribe to their holy roller channels if they weren't part of the basic cable package.

The problem with à la carte cable TV is that bundling is a reaction to the economics of cable distribution. Big capital costs, low marginal cost of delivering an additional channel. Either you bundle together a bunch of channels such that most people will pay $40 for the 5 they want out of 30 and get the other 25 for free, or you sell groups of $5 for $40 each, and the minority who want it all get screwed.

Another possible issue could be gambling (how about a punitive federal excise tax on casino winnings?), except that the producer lobby for the gambling industry cuts across party lines in peculiar ways.

If you figure out how to slow or stop the spread of casinos, and especially the concept of "casino as a way to revitalize depressed smaller cities", I will vote for you forever.


Posted by: water moccasin | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 3:39 PM
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113: Vox Day would eat that guy for lunch.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 3:40 PM
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113: Oh my. That's a good post, though.

I am of course most interested in Driscoll's comment that he is unable to worship someone he can beat up. Strangely enough this would seem that he is unable to worship Jesus. As John Howard Yoder pointed out in reflection on John 1, the proclamation that the Word became flesh "does not simply mean that God became tangible. It means he became weak, undignified, vulnerable. The power behind the creation came among us in such a way that we can hurt him." The whole reality of Jesus is as one who makes himself vulnerable, who puts himself at the mercy of the forces of sin and death that we have unleashed upon the world.

He does indeed seem to have rather missed the point.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 3:41 PM
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114: Fleur, my love, I am simultaneously engaged in assessing the impact of declining large vehicle production on demand for outsourced kitting and sequencing services, so you and the little Ruprechts can rest easy.


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 3:45 PM
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It's probably going to drop, if that helps.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 3:49 PM
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semantic dementia, a progressive brain disease in which people forget words and their meanings.
this is scary
i often forget people's names
never was able to memorize phone numbers or just numbers, not good with processing sarcasm, irony etc if translated, for now :(


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 3:54 PM
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115

"The twist is that these wedge issues should not cause major blowback with traditional Dem constituencies. (Without that constraint, you could just say "crack down on pay per view porn", and you'd put the moneycons and theocons at odds.)"

I doubt the moneycons actually care much about pay per view porn.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:00 PM
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never was able to memorize phone numbers

For some stupid reason, I can rattle off the phone numbers of a dozen friends in high school. Not numbers I could reach them at now, mind you, just the ones their parents had in 1985. Completely friggin' useless information that my brain won't eject. However, I couldn't tell you my own past phone numbers beyond my current and the last one.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:02 PM
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118: Inhabitatio Dei is generally interesting, even to a laymandudeperson.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:06 PM
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From the post:

I'm very sympathetic to this critique of liberalism, although I'm unclear on how we're supposed to overcome liberalism, and how the post-liberal regime will be sustained.

I'm having trouble understanding what the question here is, alas. Is it: how can a participatory democracy that's seemingly replaced electoral participation with market participation overcome that (distorted) conception of freedom? Or is it: how can anything other than such a (perverted) sort of 'democracy' be economically sustainable? But I take it that "sustained" here doesn't refer to the economic realm.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:08 PM
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115

"Also, I'm not sure that the theocons are as anti-rich as you imply. The politically active evangelicals that we want to cleave from the GOP coalition (or at least encourage to say home) are probably slightly above the median family income (I'm guessing)."

Consider Huckabee's crack about Romney. And people slightly above the median family income are not rich.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:09 PM
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I remember an article about how internet access at hotels was going to displace pay-per-view porn, which ostensibly would make everyone feel better somehow -- though it seems that the real effect would just be that people would be downloading internet porn.


Posted by: Zippy the Comment Frog | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:09 PM
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my sister can memorize 7 figures phone numbers when told just once, but she says she can't memorize foreign words, though her Russian is excellent, our foreign languages courses were the same programs at hs, depends on everyday usage maybe, the language learning
i forget any numbers, can't hold it even for a few sec, have to always write it down, so really stupid short attention for numbers


Posted by: read | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:12 PM
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Of course my 125 has nothing to do with Knecht's question.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:13 PM
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I went to read the "Schiller as Philospher" book w-lfs-n kindly linked to there is apparently more free book there than I expected.

But came back to note the Crooked Timber had a post recently on pluralism vs liberalism or pluralism is liberalism only better or something. It was a really useless post and comments and y'all really shouldn't read it. Especially since there is a lot of much better stuff out there discussing forms of pluralism as post-liberal that isn't even hard to find.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:33 PM
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I remember an article about how internet access at hotels was going to displace pay-per-view porn, which ostensibly would make everyone feel better somehow -- though it seems that the real effect would just be that people would be downloading internet porn.

I was in a hotel a while back--it must have been in Europe, because I use a wireless 3G card for internet access in the U.S.--I logged into the hotel LAN and was about to accept the charge for internet access, and a screen came up that said something like: "Option A: 24 hours of internet access, 13.95; Option B: 24 hours of internet access plus unlimited pay TV, $24.95. Note: option B will appear on the invoice as 'internet/data connection'".


Posted by: Knecht Ruprecht | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:34 PM
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I think Ogged is overstating the critique in order to make it knottier. There is a whole spectrum of critique, of course, that ranges up to revolutionary communism. But the Tom Frank side of things is more towards the social-democratic. It's liberalism that rejects the false equivalences between free markets and free minds, between consumer choice and freedom, between participation in the market and participation in democracy. It valorizes unions to the extent that people who don't have them wonder why they don't have them and don't assume that their job is too middle-class or white-collar to merit some invigoration of economic democracy. It re-poses the discourse around artistic selling-out as one of the audience's desire to engage with the art without engaging with the corporations that sponsor it, not as one of the relative purity of the individual artist.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:35 PM
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I doubt the moneycons actually care much about pay per view porn.

Not as a class, no. But the moment you start talking about depriving TimeWarner and the Mariott Group of a major source of EBITDA, and the fund managers will be on the case.


Posted by: KR | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 4:37 PM
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The post Flippanter links in 113 is good, yes.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 06- 4-08 7:48 PM
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I like the idea that support for capitalism/liberalism/markets is necessarily defined as an all-or-nothing-thing. Can one not stake out a position in the middle (regulated markets, decoupled as best is possible from increased resource consumption) without being derided as either an Idol-lover or a sniffy, anarcho-eliti-marxi-toon?

SOCIAL DEMOCRAT!


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 1:55 AM
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Wer hat uns verraten? Sozialdemokraten!


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:39 AM
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135: who loves ya, baby?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 8:42 AM
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136:Please don't be doing that.

Obviously not me.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 06- 5-08 10:05 AM
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