Out strolling this evening, I overheard this conversation.
Why am I a fucker?
I said you look fucked up.
Are you looking in the mirror?
Great stuff guys, see you at the next open mic.
Once again, I'm probably way behind the curve, since I'm just finding out about this from the Times, but if you're looking for new music, apparently Nic Harcourt's "Morning Becomes Eclectic" radio show is the place to look. It's on KCRW in L.A., but there's a stream, and, even better, archived playlists.
What's the word for when someone begs off saying something or answering a question? I keep thinking "defer," which isn't quite what I mean, but makes me think of "demur," which sounds right, but isn't, and the word has tones of "reticent." This word exists, right? "Earnest," maybe?
You know: I think I'm thinking of "demur," but that's not what demur is supposed to mean, is it?
Was it in Pulp Fiction where, fearing for his life, some guy answers a question with, "Man, I don't even have an opinion"? That guy was not a
blogger publisher of Online News, Commentary, and Editorial. Atrios:
Look people, plastic surgery sometimes works when you use it to look "better." Never use it to try to look "younger."
I kinda feel like my turf has been violated.
You know, in all the hubbub about who will replace her, it's worth just noting that Sandra Day O'Connor is an amazing person who has led a remarkable life. I wonder if her reputation as a "moderate" obscures that.
a woman walked up to Tafv, asked her to stand up, turn around, and then said, "You need to be between a 2 and a 4; you're between a 4 and a 6. And you need to have a 24-inch waist if you're going to do couture, which is what we'd want you to do. If you're serious about modeling, you need to lose weight, exercise and eat right. Thank you. Good-bye," and walked away. The encounter, according to reports I received, took less than 60 seconds.
I take it we're supposed to be appalled. ac comments,
You wonder if there's even a flicker of awareness of how creepy it is to tell a size 4 girl to lose weight.
But it doesn't seem creepy or appalling to me. Modeling is a job, and like any other job, has certain requirements. One of those requirements is to be unnaturally skinny. Watch the NBA draft and you can hear guys who are 6'8" 240lbs. described as "too small" to play power forward. (And keep in mind that there are different kinds of models, just as there are different positions in basketball. So bikini models, for example, can be shorter, curvier, etc.)
Of course, what's supposed to disturb us is the fact that this unnaturally skinny body type is the ideal of feminine beauty in our culture. But, is it? There are a few ways to look at the question.
Is it what guys desire? When confronted with actual 5'11", 110 pound models, most guys recoil. Insofar as they think that they want someone who looks like a model, they actually have something else in mind--not something common, but not something freakish either.
Is there pressure on women to look that way? It depends. Unless someone actually is a model, I'd say there's a fair bit of pressure not to look that way. "You should eat more" "You're too thin" etc.
But there's no disputing the fact that what we see all day, in various media, exerts quite a bit of pressure on people to look a certain way, and value certain forms of beauty. But even so, it seems to me that "media images" aren't really the reason people are unhappy with their bodies, but the explanation that people give themselves for their dissatisfaction. Huh? When people are in shape, and using their bodies, and making their bodies graceful or strong, they stop caring about whether their body looks like X, and start thinking in terms of what it can do, and with how much alacrity. People appreciate bodies in the same way. Jennie Finch, compared to a couture model, is a cow. Brandi Chastain is a pygmy. They're both something else: hott. And I'm confident they spend a lot more time thinking of how to be or throw faster than they do about whether they look like Giselle.
Those who work at law firms can, I think, sort of understand this story:
Employees at the DC office of Skadden Arps were welcomed Wednesday morning by a truly disgusting sight. Someone took a dump outside the elevator bank on the 10th floor. They had someone clean it up pretty fast, leaving a wet stain on the floor and caution: wet floor sign but maintenance confirmed that it was indeed human crap...
Make your SCOTUS predictions here. The first one making the rounds is pretty obvious: nominate a completely crazy justice, back down and offer "compromise" candidate who's only seriously crazy. My two cents: Bush will nominate a reanimated aborted fetus, then I'll apologize for it the next day.
We should have some kind of betting pool or something.
I thought his article on Weldon Kees was nice.
I have to admit I'm feeling a bit guilty about my snide aside about Christianity in the circumcision post. (Proud of the Eric B & Rakim theme, but also guilty.) I know lots of Christians, after all, who fully acknowledge that the OT has some very strange moments, and I don't think this by itself undermines the faith or anything like that. The vitriol is reserved for those who talk about the Bible as if it were The Complete Idiot's Guide to Living and as if every word just glistened with divine purity, since such talk is a very strong hint that they haven't read the thing recently.
Part 17 in my "act bitchy, then apologize" routine. Perhaps later god will empower Eugene Mazo to smite me with his lawsuits-o-fire.
A very good, very clear article explaining just how many troops we have, how many of those are combat troops, and why we're not likely to have many more anytime soon.
But: See Idealist's comment.
To me, MC means "messy circumcision." Check this out:
Dinah, Jacob's daughter, is raped by Shechem. But then Shechem starts to really like Dinah and wants something more than a one-rape stand. Hamor, Shechem's father, talks to Jacob to work something out. The deal: Shechem can marry her if everyone gets cut. Hey, sounds good. [Check out the foreskin on that one, eh?] Then we get one of the weirder political messages ever, leading to everyone getting circumcised. Then, when people are lying around wondering what the hell made that seem like a good idea, two of Jacob's sons kill everybody, plunder the city, and generally go nuts.
OK, two points: first, this lego stuff is out of control, but in a good way. Second, this Bible stuff is pretty out there, no? I mean, I know I should be nice, but still, I have to say that Christianity kind of gives me the creeps.
Ok, this is very cool. Slingbox is a little-ish box that you connect to your TV and your home network which then lets you watch and control your television from anywhere in the world that has an internet connection. The main drawback so far is that the video quality isn't fantastic and your ability to control all your Tivo-like functions is limited. But this is still nifty. (Maybe a stop-gap until we have services that offer live TV directly through the internet, but that still seems to be a few years away.)
We had that discussion of eminent domain and regulatory takings here the other day, so you might be interested in Eugene Volokh's take.
Reactions to the President's recent speech have emphasized-- read "made me notice"-- an interesting and increasingly sharp divide between left- and rightosphere on the significance of 9-11. (This Taranto column is the proximate cause of my post, but examples abound, e.g., here.) Familiar points: the generic lefty position is that 9-11 is something of a red herring when it comes to Iraq, because the Iraqi regime wasn't sufficiently involved in al-Qaeda operations; the generic righty position is that the lessons of 9-11 show us the necessity of the Iraq war as part of a global and comprehensive war on terror.
My first reaction is to think, perhaps ungenerously, that people who learned certain things from 9-11 weren't thinking very hard on 9-10; if it came as news to you that various terrorist groups very much wanted to kill lots of Americans, or, more broadly, that there are important Middle Eastern circles in which the US inspires much hatred, that says something unflattering about your state of information. (One reason this might sound a bit harsh is that it seperates, in an artificial way, the 'purely epistemic' lessons of 9-11 from its psychological impact.)
(This point is akin to one Ted H makes about the problem of evil, which, if I remember it right, is an elaboration of the idea that a serious theist shouldn't be troubled by, say, the tsunami because the serious theist already understands the existence of natural evil and has decided that this is no obstacle to faith. [I thought about this a little bit here.])
Another familiar point that might be worth underscoring right now: suppose we agree that 9-11's "lesson" or "meaning" is that these people mean business and must be dealt with accordingly. There's still no immediate conclusion about Iraq; the inference to action rests on a very broad and unhelpful reading of who "these people" are. Look for example at Captain Ed's discussion (linked above):
The dominant theme today will be the complaints that Bush exploited 9/11 -- complaints that will once again reveal how critics can't remember what 9/11 actually meant. It showed that we cannot afford to wait for terrorists to wave their flags and tell us where they are, because the only time they'll do that is when they're raising those flags over the ruins of American cities. That day taught us that we can no longer ignore serious threats like Saddam Hussein, especially in the Middle East. It showed us the folly of appeasement in exchange for the illusion of stability, which really meant the consignment of tens of millions of people to brutal tyrannies that produce radicals willing to die for no other reason than to kill innocents to promote their ideology.
It showed us that we are at war. We can choose to fight that war here, in the US, or we can choose to fight that war where the terrorists and their state supporters live. I'd rather we opted for the latter, and beat them there before they come over here. Building democracies in their midst creates powerful allies for us in that fight against radicalism, and Iraq's population and geography provides a strategic key to that success. Too bad that the nation's newspapers and the critics can't see past the bloody flag. [My emphasis]
I've been having a hard time putting my finger on just what bothers me about this passage. I think these are the main points: (a) it conflates a bunch of distinct problems into one monolithic issue-- "the terrorists"-- when these distinct problems might have different solutions; (b) similarly, it slides from the idea that we must respond to one threat--al Qaeda, say-- with force to the conclusion that all such threats must be dealt with accordingly (attending to Saddam and invading are different things, and force's appropriateness in one case doesn't, by itself, transfer over to another); and (c) it falls back on the tired and dangerous 'fight them here or there' argument. In a rush to make the perfectly true point that there are some non-nuanced judgments to be made in the area-- "kill the bastards" is sometimes the right response, after all-- it abandons the very important thought that it's always important to prioritize, to pick some fights and leave others, and so on. (Bush's approach to North Korea might be a similar case.) This is, I guess, an elaborate way of agreeing with Atrios' [of all people!] irritation at the conflation of "serious" with "bellicose" in foreign policy discussions.
Oi. This is such a tired issue. Maybe now we can get back to the serious business of jokes and rhymes about Scalia.
A few people have asked, so I'll say it here: anyone is welcome to lurk and read along with the reading group, and I don't even mind if non-participants comment, as long as they have something helpful to add, and aren't just sharing an opinion or asking a question for their own edification. And it's definitely not too late to join if you're so inclined.
I redirect your attention to the latest evidence that we are all honkies.
Have you played with Google Earth yet? The "tilt" feature is *so* cool.
I direct your attention to the first Unfogged Freestyle Law Battle.
First question: by the end of the summer, if all goes as planned, I'll have about six months' expenses in the bank. At that point I'll start putting the money in some slightly more risky investments. What should these be? Keep in mind that I'm pretty risk-averse, but not so crazy as to keep the money in a mattress. (In particular, please contact me if you have a remarkably profitable Nigerian money-laundering scheme to propose.)
Second question: what are your favorite suggestions for charitable contributions? In particular, I'm trying to think about the relationship between causes that are close to my heart and the causes that do the most good. Or should I just adopt Gary Farber?
John Hood kills irony in the Corner with a lead pipe:
By putting the president in front of a military audience, which ensured little if any interruptions for applause, the White House removed all semblance of political theater, which would have been unwelcome given the solemnity of the occasion and the need to convey seriousness of purpose (you don't typically get applause out of troops unless you are commending their fellows for service or pledging to vanquish the foe).
I'm sure you were all transfixed by the NBA draft last night. Salon's King Kaufman has the two best observations.
12. Los Angeles Clippers: Yaroslav Korolev, C, Russia
I don't know anything about this 18-year-old, and I know this already: He's a better pick than Michael Olowokandi was.
It never ceases to amaze me how, with all of the basketball being played, high school and college ball, international ball, the world cannot annually spit out 30 players who are obviously ready for the NBA. That's how good the NBA is.
It's been far too long since I took a gratuitous shot at some stranger on the internet. But this post by Opinionista about her 10-year college reunion is pretty damn annoying.
Eventually I head to the Class Tent to begin the first round of bland artificial greetings. The bankers occupy one corner, I envision them comparing portfolios, ski destinations and business card embossings in perfect Christian Bale deadpan. The married/engaged crew are busy spreading their commitment gospel, infiltrating mobs of flirtatious singles to wave a ring and preach a bit too loudly about how happy they are to be safely removed from the boring hookup scene. The PhD candidates and other remaining grad students hover by the buffet table, grateful for a source of plentiful free food. And in the center of the room, in a tight bundle, are the lawyers, circling and sniffing each other like packs of pampered Upper West Side poodles on their Central Park walk. I quickly bypass the lawyer region, assess the path of least resistance to the open bar and stake out a spot in immediate proximity to free-flowing booze. Soon I'm greeted by a gaggle of skinny blondes in pearls and sweater sets, some toting well-groomed, obedience-trained husbands. I cement a smile and turn to engage in some affected repartee.
This reminds me of people who say that they can't stand politics because NEWSFLASH!! POLITICIANS LIE! No shit there are superficial people at reunions, and yes reunions bring out the worst in some people, but if you can't find one or two interesting people to talk to, and be glad to have met or re-met, you are an Unpleasant Person. So maybe the "thought process" here...
"Oh! Did you hear that Trey, she's a lawyer too! I went to [Top 5 Law School] and now I'm at [Juggernaut Firm]. Which firm are you working for?"
I respond, she nods, a millisecond assessment of my place in the legal hierarchy flashes across her Anglo Clinique-powdered features. I can translate her entire thought process: "She's at X firm, so she's making X this year, and it's 5 spots lower in the current NALP rankings than my firm, plus my law school had a slightly lower admission rate, so I'm safely a notch higher on the Overachiever Food Chain." Sigh. Following a quick, unsubtle look-over to determine the cost of my outfit and current weight, she's satisfied her knowledge requirement and moves on to the next unsuspecting former classmate.
...could be rendered otherwise. Jesus, this woman never had a good word to say about anyone. I'm not going to tell her shit. "This is where I went to school. This is where I work." Ugh, is she still standing there? Could I be more obvious?
But maybe what most irked me about the post is that it's apparently well-written.
There's a sort of masochistic depravity in an Ivy League reunion. It's like a 4-car tractor trailor pileup on the Jersey Turnpike; you know that the accident scene itself will be a gruesome display of shattered glass, crushed metal and human suffering, but you can't help but stare the whole time you're driving by, half hoping to spot a mangled limb or blood-spattered windshield section lying by the side of the road.
Take a hackneyed observation and...kick it up a notch! It's not just a car wreck, it's a tractor-trailor wreck! It's not just gruesome, it's about mangled limbs! She doesn't avoid things like the plague, she avoids them like an STD. Oy. No. Oy...vey!
I called the ex on her cell phone this afternoon, and she answered in whispers because she was at the bookstore. She's from Canadia, so I sang O Canada as loudly as I could, for the greater glory of the Great White North and also to entertain anyone within earshot at the bookstore. (This is where the national anthem post came from.) She got off the phone, but later told me that there were about fifteen people around who could hear me. I'm like, famous.
Ok, which one of you emailed Defamer?
A reader e-mailed to tell us that "Tom Likes A He" is an anagram of "Katie Holmes." We don't know what that's supposed to mean, nor do we know what an anagram is. Is it like a female engram?
We should have pwned!! that joke.
Use for good, not for evil.
Also, can I, in OS X, make this one of my sound effects? This was so easy in 9, but the "sounds" file seems unalterable now. Phooey.
What is this?
On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
That, my gringo hermanos, is part of what I submit to you is a crappy, unsingable national anthem. Not only do we need a new one, I further submit that what our anthem should be is a good fight to have every, say, 25 years.
So then. (America the Beautiful is out, cheeseballs.) Third place in the first ever Unfogged About Damn Time National Anthem Contest goes to Bob Dylan's Subterranean Homesick Blues. Second place goes to Cat Stevens's Wild World. (I did so want that one to win.) But the winner of the first ever UADTNAC is another Dylan selection: Tangled up in Blue.
I've been thinking more about W-lfs-n's objection to the anti-pseudonymity crowd, that in fact their position amounts to the belief that "simply having a real-name-like pseudonym is sufficient to disperse doubt concerning one's potential pseudonymity." I commented a few days ago over at Cliopatria, and registered as ogged. A bit after my comment appeared, it was removed and I got an email directing me to their posting policy.
Only readers who register with HNN are able to post comments. They are required to post under their real names. To make sure they are who they say they are they have to provide their email address. Once a reader registers the system dispatches an email to their registered email address. They then have to respond in order to be able to post. Once a reader registers in this manner they can post as often as they like without reregistering. Email addresses are hidden, but the readers' names appear on the site.
Bolding mine. Of course, the email address demonstrates no such thing. And if I'd registered as Robert Williams, the comment would have been left to stand, no matter what email address was attached to it.
This isn't a gripe about the comment being deleted, I don't care about that; and it's not directly on point to Leiter's objections to pseudonymity. But it's something for people who don't like pseudonymity to consider. What, finally, do they want? And how will they know they've got it? I'm actually a bit concerned because of things like this.
[there is] a push by federal officials to force domain-name owners to identify themselves accurately in the WHOIS database, a database which is, of course, publicly available. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) moved earlier this month to make such public identification mandatory for .us domain names, not only making it illegal to provide false information but also eliminating private registrations; they now seem to be on the march to expand this policy across the net.
A lot is left unclear. People who blog with Blogger don't have to register domains. Do they get to stay anonymous? What about registering with a foreign registrar? Is that possible? Legal? If those options aren't viable, I'm not sure what a site like ours would do. Close up shop or become criminals, I guess.
Ok folks, thanks very much for being patient. The reading group is up and running. If I've forgotten something or been otherwise stupid, please let me know. Or just ask any questions you have.
Admit it: anyone who has ever bought one of these is a Bush voter. (Might not be safe for work.)
Various hyperbolic denunciations of the recent decision in Kelo would be more persuasive (well, less persuasive, but more honest) if they didn't loosely throw around sentences like, "We're told that it's a 'public use' to take property from one owner and hand it to another," without making clear that the "taking" is actually accompanied by a check for the fair market value of the thing taken. They would also be more persuasive (again, actually less persuasive, but more honest) if they made clear that their real beef was with the power of eminent domain itself, and not its use to transfer property from one private owner to another. My sense is that Jim Henley would be just as mad if the government forcibly purchased someone's property to run its own amusement park as if it forcibly purchased someone's property to sell to an amusement park operator.
John Emerson's philosophy of child-rearing reminds me of an episode from my high-school freshman basketball team. One of the players was slacking during runs, so the coach, in what you could tell he thought was some great innovation in psychological warfare, pulled up a chair, made him sit down, and said, "Now everyone else is going to run extra because you were slacking." The idea, of course, was that he would be shamed, we would be angry, and he would never, ever dog a run again. Coach's particular genius was to have singled out the funniest, most popular kid on the team, who sat down, stretched out with his hands behind his head and a grin on his face, and settled in to watch us run. Best was Coach's mounting desperation; his belief that if only we understood what was happening..."They're running because of you!...Don't look at me, you're running because of him!" Looking back, I feel a little bad for Coach.
The Powerline guys seem to agree that, whatever the merits of the CCR version of "Proud Mary," the Ike and Tina Turner record is loathsome. I was about to react angrily to this, but I dug up the Turner cover and it is kind of annoying. Go figure. (The ironies of the powerline guys being really into Creedence will have to wait for a future post.)
From the Times story on today's ruling:
Even as Ms. Miller and Mr. Cooper prepare for jail, Mr. Novak remains free. Neither he nor Mr. Fitzgerald will say why that is so.
Hey, cool! NPR used one of The Poor Man's blog posts in one of their pieces. We've all been saying that more people should know about The Editors...
There are at least a few Townes Van Zandt fans in the audience: there's a new TVZ documentary.
Uh, nevermind panty-blogging; I think Profgrrrrl's latest has moved us closer to damn near naked blogging.
It was a movie-going kind of day. Just got back from Rize, which is ok as a documentary and amazing as a record of dance. I actually got a little choked up a couple of times just watching the dancing because the rage and anguish is so raw and powerful. The movie itself drags a bit in parts and tries to cover too much ground, but whatever, you can ignore all that--the dancers and the dancing are remarkable.
(Of course, there's the issue of saying, basically, "Dude, cool" to something that's a product of lives that are more wrecked than any ought to be in America. I don't know the proper response.)