I was walking down the street yesterday and saw a woman wearing a low-cut sundress with a tattoo on her breast peeking out over the top. Now, I'm not a huge tattoo fan but I think breast tattoos are particularly bad. Breasts are perfect enough on their own; additional adornment can only detract.
But this tattoo was even worse -- it was a large 9/11 tattoo of the twin towers in a heart encircled by "Never Forget". I'm sure the motivation was to get it over her heart but seriously? On her breast? That has to be deadly for one's sex life. I can't imagine a bigger bonerkiller than being face-to-face with 9/11 every time you're about to do it.
So, for the past year or so, Jammies and I have been fighting. It pretty much started when he moved in. At first we were just quibbling over little things. I chalked it up to sorting out living together - after all, I lived by myself for eight years before he moved in. But the arguments never ended. Over time, they increased in scale and tenor of topics - who is spending too much time blogging? Who brings in personal criticisms into the fights? It has gotten really stressful. At this point, every time one of us opens our mouths, it sets off another argument. Over anything.
Around July, we had a serious conversation about why we're in this relationship at all. Is it even worth it? I know we used to enjoy each other. Is there enough love to keep this household together? It felt like we came to some crossroads, where we had to shit or get off the pot. Ultimately, we decided we had to do something to bring more love into our relationship, or we were headed to destruction. And so, we decided to have a baby. Something to love, and to love us. Something to heal the chronic fighting. And so, I'm excited to share the good news: I'm two months pregnant!
I don't even love dogs that much, but this made me laugh and laugh. Just how they're aping human emotions and being all cute. Let's watch some guilty dogs get scolded:
Bear with the long trip through the wreckage, for the payoff when you meet the dog:
I recently subjected myself to the awful experience of hearing and seeing a frattish tool with an accordion cover "I'm Your Man".
Jonathan Haidt, the social psychology professor with the five-factor theory of morality was on Bloggingheads again last week. If you're interested in the topic, which I am, it was worth listening to, but what I want to react to is a peripheral comment Haidt made in the last few minutes.
Everyone probably remembers that the political finding of Haidt's theory is that liberals only value harm-avoidance and fairness as moral values, while conservatives also value in-group loyalty, hierarchy, and purity (liberals have similar emotional reactions to conservatives on these axes, but don't given their reactions moral weight). Haidt's comment was that as a strongly identified liberal, developing this theory had been personally very enlightening for him, in that it had allowed him to understand and sympathize with conservatives more. Where social conservatives used to seem irrationally intolerant in a really alien kind of way to him, he could now see them as people reasonably applying a socially valuable and meaningful set of moral standards; he was now more empathic with conservatives, and less supportive of alienated liberal reactions to conservatives.
My snap reaction here? In-group loyalty: UR DOIN IT RONG.
Seriously, this isn't in any way an attack on the validity of the theory, which I find fascinating and persuasive, or on Haidt, whose emotional reaction to the understanding he's developed is one that I find sympathetic and commendable. But like any rational analysis of the benefits of the irrational, this is an area where depth of understanding is necessarily going to interfere with those benefits. The idea that in-group loyalty to some arbitrary group, or adherence to some arbitrary set of purity standards, is meaningfully a moral issue, depends on a belief that the group or the purity standard really is different from all the others. Someone with the outsider's perspective that loyalty to some group or other, or adherence to some purity standard or other, is what's important, while the specifics are not, can't themselves be vividly feeling and applying purity or loyalty as foundational building blocks of their morality.
Another way of putting this is that any politically grounded attempt to develop a 'richer' morality, based on a theory like this - to encourage liberals to base their moral arguments on all five foundations - can only be cynical. Analyzing Buddhist vegetarianism and Orthodox kosher rules and Catholic opposition to birth control and evangelical opposition to gay marriage as all 'purity' rules implies a belief that they're all equally arbitrary - maybe socially and emotionally valuable, and inherent in the nature of human thought, but not any sort of expression of something true about reality. So a liberal consciously attempting to value 'purity', for example, more highly, while recognizing the arbitrariness of the particular standard they're respecting, can't really inhabit that aspect of morality in a meaningfully sincere way.
Where do I go with this? I don't know. I guess I'd like to see liberals unashamedly retaining their elevation of harm-reduction and fairness above purity, loyalty, and hierarchy as moral values, as that's the only way I can see to deal justly between socially distinct groups of people. If I'd like to see anything from liberals in terms of giving more value to the other three axes, I'd like to see a little less shame about the fact that we all have emotional reactions based on those axes. I'm sure Haidt's a wonderful person, but there was something about the way he sounded so pleased and proud that through a process of intellectual reasoning, he had divested himself of some loyalty to liberals as a group, and become more sympathetic to the sort of conservatives who would view him as an outsider and an alien, which felt like a perfect demonstration of why liberals get pushed around so badly on these issues.
I was at a concert recently at which there rare event of one of the musicians involved selling cds on which he had played was to be witnessed (indeed, these cds were released on his own label, 90% of whose wares involve his playing). I wanted one particular one, of which he had apparently only bought one copy, whose presence on the (almost throughout the duration of the affair unmanned) merch table I noticed during the opening set, but which had been bought up by the end of the whole thing, when I finally bothered to ask how much he wanted for it.
When I mentioned that I was the one (presuming, of course, that there was a particular the one, but that seemed likely, and anyway, no clash came of the presumption) to whom he had mentioned that album on soulseek a month or so ago, he promptly told me that it was on that same network. That is, this person, who played on, and released, and therefore stood to profit in presumably not just one way from selling to me, this cd, told me that it was floating around on a filesharing network, and that I could obtain it there. I find this remarkable.
(He also told me it's on emusic, so if I don't get it from him at the next concert I attend at which he performs, I will obtain it that way. Emusic is pretty great, in the end, especially now that they've moved to an open format for their download management files.)
So does this mean we're leaving Iraq? For real? For good?
A challenge for the Unfoggedariat: I dare you to make angel food cake using only a whisk. No electric tools of any sort or even a hand crank.
So, should we lower the drinking age to 18? I appreciate the argument for preventing drinking from being driven underground and being able to model responsible behavior -- the drinking age was 18 for part of the time I was in college and I thought the "share a beer with your professor"-type events we had were valuable on both of these grounds (forgetting that one prof who gave us 5 extra points on the final for every tequila shot we could do).
I do wonder, however, if the 100 signers of this petition can speak to the universal experience of the 18-21 year old. Most seem to be from private, residential colleges where there is much more control over the students' lives. What about students at car-centric commuter colleges? Or the almost 35% of high school graduates who don't go to college at all? Is this a good policy for them, too?
Also I'm feeling really pessimistic about the election. I can't bear the idea of waking up, the day after the election, with the staggering burden of McCain's presidency. Someone please help the Democrats un-handicap themselves.
School's in. I'm tired. The sun is setting and it's been drizzly all day. Let's cultivate a sense of ennui together, shall we?
I'll kick things off with Modest Mouse, and the full disclosure that this is the only Modest Mouse song I know, so don't be all in-group-y lyrics-quotey with me, bub.
What cranks your ennui handle? Black and white photos of starving children? The indention on the couch shaped like your butt? Do you do the thing where you rest your forehead on the window and it's raining outside, and look at your reflection? Let's stew.
Quoth the Breath of Lizard in comments:
Chopper's going to be in NY Tuesday evening [19 August], and suggests a meetup. Because I am nothing if not in a rut, I think Fresh Salt would be a good place, but anyone else who's going to show up who has a better idea should pipe up.
Go ahead and organize. It makes the rest of us jealous.
Update: Directions to Fresh Salt at the link. I'm, annoyingly, getting over strep throat right now (Newt two weeks ago, Buck last week, me over the weekend), but I'll probably make it for one drink, and I'll show up between 6:30 and 7.
There are many weblogs, but there is only one The Weblog. And it's moved. Now you know. Adam asked me to post this on the occasion of my Tuesday Hatred (it's Tuesday in Chicago now, you know) but because he doesn't trust me he only gave me the ability to write posts, not to actually publish them. So anyway, it's written, and will presumably be published sometime tomorrow, when Adam wakes from his slumber, and you'll be able to read all the latest negative thoughts and ideas from me.
Until then, let's accentuate the positive!!! and talk about how awesome was that Sam Amidon/Nico Muhly concert I just attended? Pretty fucking awesome, even though they also had some act called Doveman playing during parts of it who came off like a second-rate Mojave 3. (IOW, I agree with Jesus.) They easily could have cut some Doveman and accommodated my request to play "Prodigal Son", but that didn't happen, but that's ok, it's all part of life and whatnot, and the literal showstopper, Muhly's "The Only Song", was a goddam showstopper. So all of you who have missed this tour so far, you all have missed out, and all of you to whom it is yet to come, you should go, unless of course you don't like that kind of music, which is also ok, you know, it takes all kinds, so long as they're reasonable; otherwise, you can gun them down (actual Rawls quote).
Remember, not just Adam's ability to get it up, but his very penile integrity depend on a steady flowing of traffic to his blog, so, like, update your bookmarks and shit.
So I signed up for that thing where Obama will text you when he picks his vice presidential running mate. (Confidential to BHO: JUST PICK SOMEONE ALREADY, FOR CHRISSAKES.) Not that I need the text message for his VP pick that much - surely I won't be able to escape the news in DC. I'm just hoping he keeps the list and drunk texts us all from time to time late at night. Anything to encourage that.
For some reason, I receive semiregular emails from from an organization called "The Conservative Voice". I'm not sure how that happened, and since I've memorized the "delete" keyboard shortcut (that would be "#") in gmail but not the "mark as spam" one, if there is one, I keep on seeing them. I suppose it would be otiose now to add that I normally just delete them. I just got one, though, whose subject line—"Headed for Obamageddon?"—inspired me to peek inside. Let me show you some of what I saw there.
We start off auspiciously enough:
The Democrat's convention is just ten days away.
Big media is swooning over him like love-sick teenagers. People are acting as if he's the greatest celebrity on Earth or even some sort of cult leader -- the "Obamamessiah."
You think, at first, that something's a little weird about that first full sentence. Shouldn't it be "The Democrats' convention", or "The Democratic convention"? More than one democrat is convening, after all; indeed, a convention requires more than one person. But soon enough this rhetorical gambit pays off: we see that, as far as the Democrats or the media are concerned, it really is a convention just for one person. "Obamamessiah" is pretty stupid, though. Haven't these people heard of haplology?
There's a kind of odd shift in perspective in the second sentence. The author wants to convey that there's an Obama cult, which is an ok thing to want to convey, I guess, but: "acting as if he's the greatest celebrity on Earth" is most easily read as "acting as if they consider him the greatest celebrity on Earth" (it's perfectly possible to be indifferent or even scornful towards the person who actually is the greatest celebrity on Earth). But "acting as if he's ... some sort of cult leader" means "in my eyes, these people are acting towards him as cultists do towards their leaders". "Cult leader" is derogatory; even people who actually are cultists presumably don't think of their leaders as cult leaders. Certainly the whirliest-eyed Obamabot would not characterize his or her relation to BHO that way.
Sloppy writing ... or modernist?
Americans need to stand up now and show our opposition to the radical left agenda that a President Obama would impose on us. Now is the time for us to stand up to the New York Times and their liberal media cronies and show our opposition to Obama. Join the NObama revolution.
Click here now and order your NOBAMA yard sign and bumper sticker set.
When you order your NOBAMA kit you will receive a years subscription of Townhall Magazine. Your first issue includes a special feature we commissioned that looks into what America could look like after a year of an Obama presidency ... it could be called "Obamageddon." The year is 2011 and bestselling writer Douglas Mackinnon takes us into the halls of power as several of the nation's greatest military minds gather to find a solution to the tragic mess our national security has become.
Strasmangelo jones can handle the first paragraph, I think. Is the bitching too little, when one points out the absence of an apostrophe in "years"? What about if one pointed out that after a year of an Obama presidency, it would be 2010, not 2011? Or that one could just as easily write a story taking place in 2011 in which utopia had been attained?
I'm tempted to subscribe; evidently, this periodical offers "compelling photography, analysis, humor and wit", and, you know, I'm for those. Plus! a "very special" immigration exposé! I'm guessing that a hardened, weathered Minuteman, who's been raising his daughter, now thirteen, by himself for the past seven years after his beloved wife was killed in an accident, which also injured him, that was caused by shoddy workmanship perpetrated by a swetbacks, meets, during one of his patrols (the only thing that offers his heart any solace), a young (24) illegal immigrant who's crossing the border to look for work in the States so that she can send money back home to her own ailing father, whose wife was murdered, and who himself was rendered unable to perform the factory work that had previously sustained his small family, in some of the regional troubles they've got down there (this can be researched later). Touched by her filial piety, so unlike anything he's seen in his troubled, smartmouthed daughter, he finds himself unable to unload his rock salt or whatever they use at her, and even, in a moment of inverse akrasia, takes her into his home, telling himself it will be just for a night or two. Yadda yadda yadda, one year later they're married, his daughter's started hanging out with a nicer crowd, and he's finally at peace with himself. At the wedding, he gets on like gangbusters with his new father-in-law.
I bet that's exactly how the report goes.
The Catholic League wants BitchPhD decredentialed for the Democratic Convention, and their big damning evidence in the press release is that she links to my web site. Am I bitter that I get no specific mention from Bill Donohue for making the "patently obscene comments" about Balloon Jesus' penis? No, because I'm a bigger man than that.
Now that we've moved into the track and field part of the Olympics, I'm far less interested. I've never been a fan of the track events and I think a large part of it is that I find the athletes to be far less likable.
One standout example of that is how runners treat the flag, wrapping it around their sweaty body and then frequently dragging it behind them as they wave to the crowd. (I'm not one of the crazies calling for an anti-flag burning amendment or anything and I think it's possible to believe that people should be allowed to do something to the flag as an act of political speech while thinking that general public mistreatment of it, especially outside your own borders, makes you an asshole.)
I don't think Amy Alkon is a very interesting advice columnist, even by the low standards of that genre, but the real revelation of her dust-up with Sadly, No! (1 2 3 4) is that it's possible to be moderately successful in her line of work and still be idiot enough to take the bait so relentlessly.