Re: Benched

1

I kind of sat out that whole thing where Ogged had a girlfriend who played some kind of instrument.


Posted by: Adam Kotsko | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 9:11 PM
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There have been elements of the current financial crisis - generally, the stories about the big banks - that I just don't have enough patience to sit through and understand.

I've noticed a trend in many of the articles on the current economic troubles where the experts and the journalist claim that economics is just really confusing and we can't possibly be expected to understand it all. Actually, I do expect someone writing for a national newspaper or magazine, or someone who's job is intimately related to having an understanding of the economy, to be able to write about the issues at hand and to explain them.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 9:13 PM
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2 - This is a really amazing description of what's going on with the banks. Very accessible. Definitely worth an hour to figure it out.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 9:14 PM
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I sit out a lot of news stories. I can't think of any at the moment, but there have been plenty.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 9:19 PM
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I also sit out most Unfogged threads .


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 9:20 PM
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I generally sit out any of the hyped murder news stories (The Scott Petersen trial thing, for example). But I kind of assume it's not that sort of story that Becks is talking about.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 9:21 PM
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Oh, here's one: I totally sat out all that Bristol Palin stuff during the election.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 9:34 PM
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7: But now you're totally up on the Bristol - Levi split, right?

(And thanks, Becks, I'll read and/or listen to the piece).


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 9:38 PM
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I have heard that it happened, yes.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 9:40 PM
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I sit out pretty much everything except Unfogged threads. Frankly, I'm embarrassed by this, but odds of it changing anytime soon aren't great.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 9:41 PM
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I totally sat out people taking comic books seriously.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 9:46 PM
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I try to sit out the day-to-day financial market ups and downs, but public radio reports and multiple co-workers conspire to make me well aware of How Things Are Doing, Right This Largely Meaningless Second.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 9:52 PM
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Yeah, Kosovo. All of the Yugoslav wars, pretty much. I ain't proud of it, either. This is like a round of "Humiliation". What's the Hamlet equivalent? The September 11th attacks, maybe.

now you're totally up on the Bristol - Levi split, right

Passed me by completely, I'm glad to say.


Posted by: Gonerill | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 9:53 PM
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I didn't hear the OJ Simpson verdict until 3 days after it was announced. I give as little attention as possible to celebrity murder cases and abductions of attractive young white women. I use that attention to follow police brutality cases instead.

Other than that, I try to keep up with as much politics and international news as I can. It's tough though. I still feel pretty ignorant -- about things like the 1965-6 anti-Communist purges in Indonesia that killed 500,000 people for instance, which I only read about for the first time 2 days ago.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 9:57 PM
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I sat out great chapters of the Bush atrocities, preferring to be outraged as a default position. I've been catching up by reading The Dark Side, and feeling bad that I didn't pay closer attention as it was being revealed. (Syllogistic inverse bumper sticker "Just Because You're Outraged Doesn't Mean You're Necessarily Paying Attention".)


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 10:01 PM
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Shorter 14: I confess that I don't read Star.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 10:02 PM
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I'm not surprised that you missed the OJ Simpson verdict, minneapolitan, since clearly you don't even own a television.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 10:03 PM
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Kosovo was actually about the closest I ever came to being reasonably informed about a current event -- but only by virtue of representing a refugee in an asylum case at the height of the fall of Milosevic, etc. Odds that I'd be able to speak about it intelligently anymore are slim.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 10:03 PM
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JPS-pwned.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 10:03 PM
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I didn't hear the OJ Simpson verdict until 3 days after it was announced.

I can tell you with precision where I was when I heard it: in my eight grade math class. Why do I know this? Because the principal announced it school-wide over the goddamn PA system.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 10:04 PM
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eight s/b eighth. It wasn't a very good math class.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 10:05 PM
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Aw, hell.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 10:05 PM
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At the same time that I've been reviewing the torture files, I've been writing a sample Chuck script. It's a charming show, but less so for being about a CIA agent whom the title character must learn to blindly trust. The superviolent agent also makes plenty of cracks about how wussy the FBI is.


Posted by: Wrongshore | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 10:08 PM
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I can tell you with precision where I was when I heard it: in my eight grade math class.

We listened to it live on the radio in my fifth-grade class.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 10:12 PM
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3

I agree. The earlier The Giant Pool of Money (which I believe I learned about from this blog) was pretty good also.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 10:13 PM
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I don't think I can claim to sit out the Israel/Palestine news coverage entirely, but I have a general policy of not discussing it with any living being, so maybe that comes close. (I certainly don't pretend to be well-informed about it, either.)


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 10:20 PM
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I pretty much sat out the first year or so of the Clinton Administration*, especially the initial "scandals"— Travelgate, early Whitewater etc. Started paying attention again in the wake of the Vince Foster suicide (but by then it was too late!). The shameful thing is that in being only loosely tapped in, I initially gave way too much credence to much of the BS floating around. It was the start of my really deep suspicion of media narrative.

*Hey my guy, the dynamic Paul Tsongas, hadn't gotten the nod**, but at least a Dem was in the WH, and Congress was safe ...

**Never understood why not. A short Greek guy from Massachusetts with a reputation as a liberal? Slam dunk.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 10:22 PM
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I don't think I can claim to sit out the Israel/Palestine news coverage entirely, but I have a general policy of not discussing it with any living being

I have the same policy, which seems to work okay. I think I actually have been coming pretty close to sitting out the day-to-day coverage lately, but it's very hard to ignore the issue entirely.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 10:26 PM
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I sat out the recent terrorist attacks in India.

What's funny about 14 is that there's even a Mel Gibson movie about it.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 10:26 PM
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27: You forgot, "...with a terrible health history." Fucking Tsongas.


Posted by: ari | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 10:31 PM
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Wise people everywhere will sit out the watching of this video.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 10:35 PM
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I sit out pop culture, swipple, shoes, Harry Potter, film, TV, dance, theatre, cars to the extent possible, teeth, relationships.....I only follow the news in a partisan / nihilist way. If Germany' labor market is restructured, or if SE Asia is afflicted with a deadly new fungus, or if the steel industry is revitalized by a new technology, or anything else non-partisan and non-nihilist happens, I'll miss it.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 10:47 PM
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I sat out the Teapot Dome scandal.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 10:47 PM
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All of the Yugoslav wars

Right. I never have understood why the Europeans couldn't handle that insanity all by their little old righteous selves.


Posted by: Biohazard | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 10:53 PM
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I sat out 'the fifth quarter' in 8th grade football practice. But only because I had soccer practice after.


Posted by: TJ | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 10:53 PM
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||
Mostly OT
Connecticut v. Syracuse in the Big East Tournament 104-104 going into the *5th* overtime. Several incredible endings already (best was regulation with a Syracuse "winning" 3 taken off the board for coming too late by less than .1 second).
|>


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 10:54 PM
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for coming too late by less than .1 second

ATM? Wow. It's usually more of a too-early thing.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 10:56 PM
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What's funny about 14 is that there's even a Mel Gibson movie about it.

If you don't know that the aftermath of the overthrow of Sukarno is the subtext, What Women Want makes no sense at all.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 10:59 PM
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36: This game is nuts. Tied up again!


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:02 PM
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Without 36, I'd have sat out that game entirely. Damn Pac-10.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:05 PM
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I sit out much pop culture, and it bothers me a little when I ee names like "Chris Brown" that I don't recognize.

I have just given up on I/P. Never gonna get better.

I pay no attention to local or state politics.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:06 PM
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Holy crap, a 6th OT?


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:06 PM
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I sat out most of the controversy surrounding Mel Gibson making religious films.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:06 PM
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Going to 6th OT. Syracuse has not had a lead in any of the overtimes.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:06 PM
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Hey, Syracuse leads finally. I think most of their team has fouled out at this point.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:09 PM
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That record of 7 OTs is probably safe now.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:12 PM
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I really have to get cable, for sports alone.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:12 PM
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Join the campaign for a la carte cable. At least, there should be a campaign.

Incidentally, does anyone know anything about the neighborhood around the Potomac Ave/Stadium Armory Metro stops?


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:14 PM
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But I don't like conference tournaments -- only the NCAA really matters. There's nothing more depressing than busting your ass to win the conference tournament and then washing out in the second round of the NCAA.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:16 PM
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48: I wouldn't recommend living there.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:18 PM
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34: Wasn't the problem that you were sitting it out?


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:20 PM
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Er, by "you" I mean "they."


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:21 PM
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48: If you're near the new Harris Teeter right at the Potomac metro stop, that is an improving area, but the whole area is still somewhat dangerous and some areas very dangerous.

If you're coming to DC that's good, though. We should have a meetup or something.


Posted by: PGD | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:22 PM
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More specifically: here.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:25 PM
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We should have a meetup or something. Been meaning to plan one but been too busy with work.


Posted by: Becks | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:32 PM
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I sat out my love life.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:35 PM
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Yesssssss. How's that for the sweet sweet self-absorption?

I sat out so much shit, man, I don't even know how much I sat out. True fact.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:36 PM
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55: yeah, dates, eb? et. al.?


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:36 PM
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Also, ben's apparently drunk or has a paper due.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:37 PM
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That DC crime google map is amazing. Also, I should probably turn down the place I was looking at. (But it sounded so nice.)

Anyway, I've been here since late January; I just have a sublet ending soon.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:37 PM
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Isn't ed already in DC?


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:37 PM
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And by ed I mean eb. And my question was answered in 60. Yeah, time for bed.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:38 PM
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Neither of those things is the case!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:39 PM
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I sat out my love life.

We all sat out your love life.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:45 PM
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It comes to the same thing.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:48 PM
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Or perhaps fails to, as it were.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:52 PM
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Thank you, Di, for saving me from making that joke.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:53 PM
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I might not be here past the end of May, so a meetup before then would be good.


Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 03-12-09 11:56 PM
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68: Hey, eb, would you e-mail me via the google mail service at stanleysparks? If you're down with organizing a meet-up, that is.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 12:05 AM
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67: I'm here for ya, babe.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 12:15 AM
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66, 67: If only people would sit in the right places, Ben might have had a fantastic love life thus far.

Oh shit, I'm drunk on a Thursday, aren't I?


Posted by: Po-Mo Polymath | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 12:32 AM
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There was someone in my office when I was interning in DC who lived in that area. My sense of it was that it was improving but still pretty sketchy.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 12:34 AM
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Wow. Jon Stewart just took Jim Cramer to the fucking woodshed. Amazing stuff.

|>


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 12:35 AM
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Drunk or sober, you oughtn't go to bed without seeing bad paintings of Barack Obama. You should keep clicking on the little refresh dealie on the lower right, and under no circumstances should you stop before seeing the one with the tacos and the underwear, which is unspeakably awesome.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 12:37 AM
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Oh shit, I'm drunk on a Thursday, aren't I?

Nah, it's been Friday for over an hour already.


Posted by: Di Kotimy | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 12:52 AM
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Depends on your time zone, but then again I suppose Di and PMP are in the same one, so, um, okay then.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 1:01 AM
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Man, what haven't I sat out? I think I've basically sat out Iraq since the surge.


Posted by: mrh | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 2:25 AM
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74: The bare-chested sparkly rising-from-the-sea one with the unicorn is disturbing, because it raises the possibility that the people who do fantasy and romance covers are sincerely trying to paint the most beautiful thing they can imagine.

I sat out the Damien Hirst auction.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 5:42 AM
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I've been sitting out the Israeli-Palestinian dispute for about twenty years. It's been working out for me, thanks.


Posted by: bjk | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 7:02 AM
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I generally sit out any of the hyped murder news stories (The Scott Petersen trial thing, for example)

Yes, this. Basically, any of the cable news sensationalism stuff. I've tried to sit out the whole octomom (ugh) thing, but even AB had an opinion on it.

Sometimes I try to convince myself that I'd be less agitated and have more free time if I could just sit all of it out - my paying close attention to the stimulus bill doesn't seem to have made any appreciable difference to the outcome - but I can't do it.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 7:06 AM
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I never have understood why the Europeans couldn't handle that insanity all by their little old righteous selves.

Mystery to me. Maybe it's the same reason that the US can't handle Iraq or Afghanistan by itself and has been whining about needing more help from Europe in one or the other or both for the last six years?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 7:06 AM
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I'm not sure how "sitting out" works for these, but I generally pay a bare minimum of attention to any kind of shooting. Much more attention than I pay to a White Woman In Danger story, but basically I read the heds, determine the number of people dead, status of the shooter, and whether it confirms my worldview, and move on. But they're basically 1-day stories, so I'm not sure it really counts.

74: I'm sorry I didn't get a photo of the Chevy in the grocery store parking lot that was completely covered with paintings of Obama, flags, eagles, etc. Lots of folks were getting pix, but I wasn't on foot (for once) and couldn't manage it.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 7:10 AM
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I sit out much pop culture, and it bothers me a little when I ee names like "Chris Brown" that I don't recognize.

I initially read this as "Charlie Brown," and was going to say, Who are you trying to kid, bob?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 7:17 AM
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I sit out threads about therapy.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 7:20 AM
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You all need to stop sitting out my comments. Sheesh.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 7:20 AM
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Aaaand, I think I'm gonna sit this one out:

Mysterious rash spreads through Sto-Rox Middle School


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 7:21 AM
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the one with the tacos and the underwear, which is unspeakably awesome.

After I had just about given up and figured you must have made this up just to mess with us it finally appeared on my screen. Wow! It is awesome! Can somebody please explain the iconography? Why is Barack holding the underwear?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 7:31 AM
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I sit out Big Brother. You might say Big Brother isn't news, but you wouldn't realise that from looking at the British MSM.

(Posted as a favour to JRoth.)


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 7:32 AM
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74: You're right about the tacos-and-underwear painting. I almost had to stop at the "Obama-in-a-feathered-headdress" painting, but I'm glad I didn't.

I have general Middle East fatigue; eight years of obsessively keeping up with this shit under the Bush regime has really worn on me, and I would sort of like to be able to get on with my life, which in reality means dialing back the obsessiveness from 10 to about a 6.5.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 7:32 AM
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I determinedly sat out the OJ Simpson case. However, I do remember the afternoon of the verdict, because, as I think I've remarked here before, I watched two white guys who were old enough to know better nearly come to blows over it.

For some value of "sit out" though, I sit out about 90% of the news stories reported every day. Temperamentally, I'm a sitter-outer. If I had servants, I might let them live for me.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 7:42 AM
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I sit out murders, missing children, and where-the-white-women-at stories. International news generally I follow in a very half-assed kind of way -- I stay aware of it enough to identify the current stories, but not to actually understand them.

I'm really handicapped by being brutally bad with names -- I don't have a hope of retaining the names of people involved with any story, until I'm already following it enough to understand the narrative and their roles. This makes it really hard to work my way into a story as it's getting started; I'm almost always lost in the news coverage until I read at least one "This is what's going on in the [X] story" editorial, which gives me enough to start adding new data on my own.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 7:44 AM
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I sit out the shallow and unimportant stories, and stay incredibly well informed about the complicated, important stories.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 7:44 AM
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Oops, pwned.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 7:45 AM
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I don't have a hope of retaining the names of people involved with any story, until I'm already following it enough to understand the narrative and their roles.

I had exactly this problem with War and Peace.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 7:51 AM
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I manage to miss most movies, which might not really count, but reasonably often I'm asked if I saw some recent release and I won't even have heard that it existed. But watching very little TV and only one, non-local newspaper makes this easier. That also avoids most of the daily up-and-down market churn and the like; I think cable news would drive me around the bend.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 7:53 AM
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My wife's father passed away around the time of Kosovo, so needless to say she wasn't paying attention at the time. I found out years later that she had no idea that the thing in Kosovo actually happened. Someone made reference to the US bombing Yugoslavia, and she just assumed the other person was being ignorant. I had to explain that yup, we actually did fight a war there.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 7:54 AM
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eight years of obsessively keeping up with this shit under the Bush regime has really worn on me, and I would sort of like to be able to get on with my life, which in reality means dialing back the obsessiveness from 10 to about a 6.5.

This, exactly. I think I've already started dialing it back. I'm sitting out most of the Obama admin staffing problems stories, and now that I no longer have any money in the stock market, I'm sitting out most of that coverage as well. I've even sort of taken a break on following the daily minutiae of the GWOT policies reversals, under the theory of "Jane Mayer will tell me how it's going once there's a real trend to report." I would have liked to follow the "Belgium disintegrates" story, but couldn't work up the energy.


Posted by: Jackmormon | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 7:56 AM
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I would have liked to follow the "Belgium disintegrates" story, but couldn't work up the energy.

It was more fun than watching the Middle East, though, and Ingrid at CT was excellent. But they didn't break up in the end, which kind of spoiled the narrative.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 7:58 AM
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I would have liked to follow the "Belgium disintegrates" story, but couldn't work up the energy.

Neither could they, evidently.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 8:05 AM
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92: I am not sure how I manage it, because I swear I don't put any effort into it, but I somehow manage to stay on top of all the celebrity gossip.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 8:10 AM
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I sit out sports. I can recognize the really big names and sometimes I'll watch some of the Super Bowl and I know the rules well enough to tell which team is ahead when I walk by a TV and a game is on, but that's it. It's conceivable that I might not know the name of the local baseball team if not for the fact that their ballpark is between my office and the nearest metro stop.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 8:22 AM
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I have a hard time caring about a lot of what congress does outside of a few issues I care about, for which I use third-party summaries-- I have no idea whether the stimulus packages could have been easily improved for example. I'll occasionally do homework, but only skim press coverage.

I have a hard time getting much of a grip on what's happening in Egypt, Pakistan and Iran, all three of which seem pretty important. The Economist has some correspondents, Liberation, Le Monde, and Spiegel have a bit, but it's pretty unsatisfactory. Basically, I find TV and daily press useless, weeklies and monthlies are better.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 8:25 AM
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I'm sitting out this thread.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 8:27 AM
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I actually sit out a lot of national news...anarchism as laziness; I assume that US capitalism will generate awful outcomes for vulnerable populations no matter who is in charge or how the policy is written, and that rich politicians have more in common with each other than with me no matter their alleged ideology. I also have a set of large theories ("housing bubble will burst and everything will be disastrous", I thought back during the bubble; "the Iraq war will be disastrous and regionally destabilizing", I thought back in 2003) that tend to save me time. Now if something catches my eye--like if the Iraq war had been teh awesome, or if US capitalism is in fact significantly reformed by various Obama policies--I'll start paying close attention.

I read local news; I follow immigration issues and race/justice stuff; and up until I ended up being so busy during RNC I used to follow (for shame!) fashion news in great detail. Weirdly, my blog-reading habits are such that I actually know a fair amount about London politics and a reasonable amount about Sheffield.

Honestly, whenever I do sit down and read national/international news I'm struck by how much worse everything is than even my politics had led me to believe--far more human suffering at a far greater level, elites more corrupt and unaccountable, stupid cruelty all over the place. It's mobilizing for a few weeks and then it's depressing and I crash.


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 8:28 AM
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More usefully: why not sit out, say, politics? I realise some of you work in the political machine, where you actions can actually affect outcomes, but for the rest of us, do we not just generate hot air? What is the point of keeping abreast of politics just so you can agree with your hosts at dinner parties that, yes, GWB was a chump?


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 8:29 AM
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Weirdly, my blog-reading habits are such that I actually know a fair amount about London politics and a reasonable amount about Sheffield.

Who do you read on Sheffield?


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 8:30 AM
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Oh crap. Pwned. Should have sat out like I said I would.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 8:30 AM
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105: I think there's maybe something in there about being able to cast informed votes, or something? Advocate for policies in your community if you're so inclined? Call your congressman, shit like that?

What we all need -- America is particularly poorly served, but all of us generally -- is newsmedia that generates at least marginally reliable news, so that keeping up with politics isn't like taking on a second job.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 8:32 AM
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whenever I do sit down and read national/international news I'm struck by how much worse everything is than even my politics had led me to believe

Oh man, do I know this feeling.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 8:34 AM
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I'm definitely pulling back as well. I've stopped reading the letters to the editor, which used to be my favorite way to get my heart rate up. I'm sure -- now that the good guys are in office -- that there's a bit of fingers in the ears la la laing to it.


Posted by: Mo MacArbie | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 8:47 AM
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I am not sure how I manage it ... but I somehow manage to stay on top of all the celebrity gossip.

Osmotically.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 8:47 AM
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I keep up to date with general UK politics and with the major international news. I think I'm fairly up on most major stories.

At least, I'm about as up and you'd expect for someone who reads a national newspaper every day and subscribes to a couple of dozen political blogs.* I also have a couple of pet issues I follow in a bit more detail.

Stuff I don't follow: US internal politics and a fair bit of EU political stuff passes me by completely. Surprisingly, I'm not very up on domestic Scottish politics [at the Parliament] either.

* That doesn't mean I spend hours and hours doing it. I skim over the blogs with the morning coffee, and read the paper on the commute to and from work.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 9:01 AM
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As much as possible living in DC, I sat out Bush v. Gore. And then Kerry was utterly uninspiring so I sat out Bush v. Kerry too, although during that campaign my girlfriend's brother was doing fundraising so it was harder to stay as out of the loop as I'd have liked.


Posted by: fedward | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 9:16 AM
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I sit out most non-AL East baseball, at least until the playoffs.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 9:19 AM
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I would have liked to follow the "Belgium disintegrates" story, but couldn't work up the energy.

The who in the what now?

Was it nanotech? Antimatter? I think I should have heard about this.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 9:22 AM
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115. Belgium didn't have a government for about 6 months and everybody thought it was going to split in two.

It didn't.

The general implications of a country getting by with no government for 6 months and the heavens not falling have not been discussedmuch, because they might be a bit embarrassing to various people.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 9:27 AM
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It was the Walloons, wasn't it? The dirty, stinking Walloons.

[The above random ethnic slur brought to you by my childish delight in saying "Walloon." Waaallooooooonnnn.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 9:30 AM
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why not sit out, say, politics?

Ignore what politicians say, sure, but this is how GWB got elected, I think. Keeping track of how bad things are is a duty. Figuring that someone else will do it leaves power in the hands of technocrats who can be seized by sufficiently aggressive ideologues. Remember the conspiracy burblings after 9/11?

Ignore what people say and pay attention to what they do (i.e., which laws are enforced, what is actually built or destroyed) is IMO a useful rule of thumb.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 9:31 AM
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I pay almost no attention to local news. I could never stand watching it on TV, and we gave up the local rag after getting boned one too many times from a customer service perspective.


Posted by: Chopper | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 9:33 AM
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117: Walloon! Flem! You could say that for hours.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 9:37 AM
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Because of my bizarre radio listening habits, I know more about the local news in Newark, NJ than the city I live in.


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 9:37 AM
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In the famous Walloon Trilogy, Flem Walloon was the lowlife who clawed his way to the top of the Belgian government.


Posted by: Populuxe | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 9:45 AM
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106: I read things linked from/on the recommended blogs list at Sit Down, Man, You're A Bloody Tragedy and Lenin's Tomb, mostly. It's not so much that I read any one person who writes about Sheffield constantly as that I read a large and shifting group of blogs where people post intermittently about Sheffield. Also I did some research a year or so ago for a dorky science fiction story I was writing.

(Because of a bizarre confluence of music choices, politics, novel-reading (Margaret Drabble in my late teens, M. John Harrison, various 20th cen British writers) I have a strong interest in UK economics. Thus I'll read pretty much anything, no matter how dull, about northern England in the seventies and eighties, have a collection of stuff on the miners' strike, etc. Here in the Minneapolis left, there's a tiny body of anarchists who know all about the miners' strike, Arthur Scargill, etc, because they've had to listen to me go on about it so often--that's my mark on the universe.)

Okay, that's a question: What totally irrelevant news do you follow?


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 10:00 AM
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What totally irrelevant news do you follow?

The New Jersey state budget? (see 121)


Posted by: OneFatEnglishman | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 10:07 AM
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118: Right -- does anyone remember a conversation here about the runup to the Iraq war, with some people saying that it was perfectly possible to have known before the war that the WMD based case for it was a pack of lies? And a few other people saying "Maybe, but only if you were paying very close attention"? There are at least some political stories where public opinion matters, and paying enough attention to not be uninformed is a responsibility on the same level that voting is (says the woman who messed up and failed to vote this year because she was off volunteering out of state instead).


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 10:08 AM
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What totally irrelevant news do you follow?

Unfogged, obviously!

125: It seems it would require an inordinate amount of effort to do this (the WMD issue), and then an even more inordinate amount of effort to make practical use of the information (other than dinner party boasting).

Take a simple issue, such the construction of a new road. To have an informed opinion requires knowing traffic data and budget limitations, current and future city plans, how data has been collected and analysed and so on. Assessing all this is a huge job, so much so that people should and are paid to do this. Then scale up to the national level and talk about, say, water rights. That's orders of magnitude more complex. Maybe I'll just go fishing instead.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 10:23 AM
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I often sit out any form of local news. Occasionally I'll bother myself to get interested, but for the most part I'm woefully unaware of what my city, county, and state are up to, minus the horrific car crash stories. (That would be one of the irrelevant sort of stories I follow).

In terms of irrelevant news, I feel like I'm way too informed about both food and fashion. Even I wonder who the fuck cares as I read yet another piece.


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 10:23 AM
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126: Well, there's a sweet spot for issues of sufficient importance and where a not inordinate amount of attention has to be paid -- I think the runup to Iraq was one of those: a very moderate amount of attention had to be paid to get it straight; it was going to affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of people; and public opinion was important. Not a lot of stories qualify that well. And of course the marginal good of one more person getting it right is very small -- while I think that's one story where there was some kind of general responsibility to be paying attention, any individual's failure to do so is a very minor one.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 10:29 AM
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128: I can agree with that (and yeah, I went on a lousy march that did no frickin' good).


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 10:34 AM
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I follow news mostly for entertainment. So I pay more attention to national politics than state politics and more attention to state politics than local politics. Which is backwards from the point of view of your opinion making a difference.

Speaking of New York State politics what has Paterson done to get everyone to hate him?


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 10:37 AM
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What totally irrelevant news do you follow?

Considering that I've seen something like 5 movies in the last 6 years, probably any time I spend following movies is irrelevant.

But it makes me feel less irrelevant.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 10:38 AM
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Speaking of New York State politics what has Paterson done to get everyone to hate him?

My impression is that he's puttered around - he's fumbled some popular initiatives, while spending too much effort on unpopular things. The Gillibrand/Kennedy thing is a big black mark against him - even conservatives who might be satisfied with the result still think he was dumb in handling it.*

* This is all my impression from far away.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 10:41 AM
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I sit out all sports news and all news stories directly related to children or celebrities. Britney Spears could get caught feeding Chinese lead paint to her kid on the 50 yard line at the Super Bowl and I'd never know.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 10:41 AM
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So I pay more attention to national politics than state politics and more attention to state politics than local politics.

Same here. I don't know if this is local politics generally, or NYS/C particularly, but local politics seems completely non-public on any serious level -- everything that happens happens for some behind-the-scenes reason. It might get comprehensible if I devoted my life to it, but more attention in the range of how much attention I have doesn't seem to make any difference.

Speaking of New York State politics what has Paterson done to get everyone to hate him?

All those fiddly little proposed (downloads, soda) taxes were pretty stupid and annoying, but they're off the table -- I dunno, I hadn't realized people were hating him particularly. It's a bad time to be running a state in terms of looking good, of course; he's had to make a bunch of speeches talking about how bad things are. Lots of problems, not a lot of money.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 10:45 AM
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The Gillibrand/Kennedy thing is a big black mark against him

True, that was sloppily done, and the outcome wasn't something that was going to make a lot of people happy.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 10:45 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 10:49 AM
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125: It seems it would require an inordinate amount of effort to do this (the WMD issue), and then an even more inordinate amount of effort to make practical use of the information (other than dinner party boasting).

Are you kidding? This was one of the most open-and-shut obvious stories of recent times.

It took no work at all to know that we were being fed bollocks.

Other stories, yes, might require some digging, but the WMD situation wasn't one of them.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 10:52 AM
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Posted by: | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 10:53 AM
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I've dialed back my quantity of interest since Obama got in, because of a reduced sense of impending militarist disaster, but I do see too many people relaxing because they think he's better than he is. AFAICT he's as bad as McManus said, especially on the most important issue, the economic collapse, but alos otherwise.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 10:54 AM
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AFAICT he's as bad as McManus said

I wouldn't quite agree with this, because McManus got pretty over the top, but I don't think bob has been proved wrong, either.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 10:56 AM
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I'm very good on pop culture, not so hot on the 90's or early 00's.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 10:56 AM
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134

... I dunno, I hadn't realized people were hating him particularly. ...

I was thinking of stories like this . True Paterson hasn't been great but record low popularity seems rather extreme.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 10:57 AM
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I've just learned I avoid any news concerning Stephen Wolfram.


Posted by: W. Breeze | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 10:59 AM
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134

Same here. I don't know if this is local politics generally, or NYS/C particularly, ...

Well NYC isn't really typical of local politics. Local elections where I am involve just a few thousand voters and it is easier to imagine one person making a difference.


Posted by: James B. Shearer | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 11:00 AM
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Because of my bizarre radio listening habits, I know more about the local news in Newark, NJ than the city I live in.

I used to listen to Vermont public radio online, mostly to catch ATC early in the afternoon and partly out of nostalgia. I particularly liked the weather report, which was of course irrelevant to me, but it was just so much better than anyone does here (Cyrus may be familiar with the "Eye on the Sky"). It's like the joke about the guy looking for his wallet under a streetlight down the way from where he lost it. "But the light's so much better here!"


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 11:01 AM
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116
The general implications of a country getting by with no government for 6 months and the heavens not falling have not been discussedmuch, because they might be a bit embarrassing to various people.

To be fair to the people who would be embarrassed by it, Belgium seems very unrepresentative of the situation. When most people think of a country with no government, they're thinking of an underdeveloped, post-colonial or post-Soviet backwater (possibly with racial subtext in there) that lost its government when an empire collapsed or was forced out. I didn't follow the Belgium situation closely, but that doesn't describe the place at all.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 11:04 AM
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145: Yeah, I pretty much never listened to NPR on my own, but my parents did, so I heard "From Fairbanks Museum, this is Eye on the Sky," often enough.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 11:08 AM
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On following local news, this is what I love about the SLOG. The combination of pictures of pretty people mixed with posts about "this conversation at city council last night will change this intersection like so" is so exactly right for me. I would freakin' LOVE to have someone telling me what local EIRs mean and then show me a kitten. Sadly, the SLOG is about Seattle, and Sacramento isn't generating anything remotely similar.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 11:09 AM
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I would freakin' LOVE to have someone telling me what local EIRs mean and then show me a kitten.

This would be even more fun if it happened in person. Admittedly, they'd need big pockets if you expected to be shown a variety of kittens.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 11:12 AM
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(Also, what's the SLOG? Seattle Local Something Something? I figure it's a blog.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 11:12 AM
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True Paterson hasn't been great but record low popularity seems rather extreme.

Well, don't forget that the guy wasn't elected - he has an underdeveloped electoral base and, evidently, no machine to call his own. He could have overcome that - I think people were pretty much rooting for him - but, through a combination of bad luck (economic collapse) and bad decision-making, has squandered it all.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 11:13 AM
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I'm more curious about the kind of pockets that could hold an EIR.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 11:13 AM
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Stranger bLOG?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 11:15 AM
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I'm more curious about the kind of pockets that could hold an EIR.

My dad's old Burberry coat could hold an entire NYT in the pocket (not the Sunday, tho).

So maybe the EIR for, like, a new parking meter.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 11:16 AM
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That reminds me - I've been a lot less agitated since I decided to sit out Ryan Avent's blog. While his politics are basically in the right place, let's just say that it's not shocking that he writes for The Economist.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 11:17 AM
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Pretty sure that JRoth has it. I don't think it is an acronym, It is the blog of their alternative newsweekly. But they put real resources into it and it shows. Several journalists write important and trivial pieces all day. They aren't ashamed to write long posts about local government either, which is awesome.

I know at least one of their writers reads here fairly regularly.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 11:19 AM
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I've put copies of the EIR in my pocket before. They aren't sitting around at the public library anymore now that LaRouche's in-house printing operation has fallen apart.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 11:22 AM
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Belgium seems very unrepresentative

The Czech Republic had no government for about 5 months in 2006. Ukraine isn't doing so well now, Hungary either. Thailand seems conflicted, though I think that's pro- and anti- Thaksin "parties". Multiparty democracies produce fragile coalitions, with the delicate negotiation usually over which party gets which ministries.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 11:32 AM
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Well, having no ruling parliamentary coalition or cabinet is a far cry from having no government, right? Belgium's executive branch and judiciary kept doing its routine stuff, I assumed.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 11:37 AM
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Pretty sure that JRoth has it.

Since Heebie's been pregnant, I've taken over some of her always-being-right duties.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 12:03 PM
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Also, I sat out the first 24 hours of coverage of the war in Iraq, as I was a guest of Mayor Daley and he didn't think to provide me with any media sources. So it took me a whole day to find out that things were really fucked up.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 12:04 PM
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I'm kind of embarrassed that I don't read the web content of the alt-weekly for which I, myself, write. I mean, 2 of the best writers have blogs, and I've never looked at them.

The guy who used to cover local politics for them has gone on to covering it for the local daily, which is good, I think.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 12:05 PM
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So it took me a whole day to find out that things were really fucked up.

Wasn't the whole reason that the Mayor was accommodating you that you didn't need the next day's paper to tell you that things would be really fucked up?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 12:06 PM
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Since Heebie's been pregnant, I've taken over some of her always-being-right duties.

Are you saying that being pregnant removes your ability to always be right, JRoth? Hmm?


Posted by: Parenthetical | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 12:06 PM
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That was always AB's excuse.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 12:07 PM
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There's room for us both to be always right, JRoth. Just check with me to make sure I agree with what you're about to say.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 12:09 PM
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163: Well, yes. Therein lies the joke, as it were.


Posted by: minneapolitan | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 12:21 PM
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I just thought the joke was that the famously considerate Mayor would fail to provide his guests with both morning and afternoon papers.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 2:11 PM
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We should have a meetup or something. Been meaning to plan one but been too busy with work.

I've been meaning to mention that I'm going to be in D.C. March 24-April 3.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 5:06 PM
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I determinedly sat out the OJ Simpson case. However, I do remember the afternoon of the verdict.

The fact that the verdict was announced in teo's and Stanley's schools is beyond appalling. The only news event I ever remember being broadcast on our PA was Reagan's being shot. I do recall the day the O.J. verdict was announced; it was pretty hard to miss in D.C.


Posted by: Sir Kraab | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 5:11 PM
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I'm pretty sure the only things I have ever watched on live TV in school were Clinton's inauguration and the OJ Simpson verdict.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 5:13 PM
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I somehow missed watching the space shuttle blow up in school. I think we were supposed to; dunno what happened.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 5:50 PM
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The fact that the verdict was announced in teo's and Stanley's schools is beyond appalling.

Race riots don't just happen, Kraab. And without them school security would be dangerously neglected.


Posted by: John Emerson | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 5:56 PM
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Yeah, my 7th-grade typing teacher thought typing drills were more important than watching the Space Shuttle blow up.


Posted by: Bave Dee | Link to this comment | 03-13-09 7:24 PM
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My school had a teacher work day when the shuttle blew up, and since I am a huge nerd since small times, I was watching it rather than running around outside. But I think I probably mean the other shuttle that blew up.

Rah and I will be in DC the weekend of the 3rd/4th/5th of April, but may be wicked tied up.


Posted by: Robust McManlyPants | Link to this comment | 03-14-09 11:32 PM
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But I think I probably mean the other shuttle that blew up.

The first one. Not the second, lame, ripoff time. The first one.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 03-14-09 11:46 PM
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