Sunday, June 04, 2006

Once more into the blog, dear friends!

Stop Global Boring
Al Gore has been transformed from the stiff Gorebot we all knew and loved, to whimsical Uncle Al, amusing us all with his self-deprecating humor. Still, the good reviews for his new movie, AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH, puzzle me. Admittedly, I am one of those people for whom the words “raising awareness” or “raising consciousness” induce shudders, but still – isn’t this movie essentially a PowerPoint demonstration? Ordinarily this is something you are forced to sit through. Why would anybody pay money for that?

I read another story just like this one!
From the Associated Press: “Idaho Gem, the world's first equine clone, and his brother, Idaho Star, made successful debuts Saturday in what scientists billed as the first professional competition between clones of any kind.”

With God’s help, I… oops, never mind.
More from the Associated Press:
“Worried about the safety of her family during a stormy Memorial Day trip to the beach, Clara Jean Brown stood in her kitchen and prayed for their safe return as a strong thunderstorm rumbled through Baldwin County, Alabama.

“But while she prayed, lightning suddenly exploded, blowing through the linoleum and leaving a blackened area on the concrete. Brown wound up on the floor, dazed and disoriented by the blast but otherwise uninjured.

“She said 'Amen' and the room was engulfed in a huge ball of fire. The 65-year-old Brown said she is blessed to be alive.”

Watch out for lightning, Bob.
Posted by Robert Jensen on AlterNet:
“I don't believe in God.

“I don't believe Jesus Christ was the son of a God that I don't believe in, nor do I believe Jesus rose from the dead to ascend to a heaven that I don't believe exists.

“Given these positions, this year I did the only thing that seemed sensible: I formally joined a Christian church.

“Standing before the congregation of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas, I affirmed that I (1) endorsed the core principles in Christ's teaching; (2) intended to work to deepen my understanding and practice of the universal love at the heart of those principles; and (3) pledged to be a responsible member of the church and the larger community.

So, I'm a Christian, sort of. A secular Christian. A Christian atheist, perhaps. But, in a deep sense, I would argue, a real Christian.”

In a deep sense, I would argue that Mr. Jensen is a pretentious get.

Worse than that, they altered his biography on Wikipedia.
From the New York Times:
It began with an impassioned, 5,000-word letter on one of the country's most popular Internet bulletin boards from a husband denouncing a college student he suspected of having an affair with his wife. Immediately, hundreds joined in the attack.

"Let's use our keyboard and mouse in our hands as weapons," one person wrote, "to chop off the heads of these adulterers, to pay for the sacrifice of the husband."

Within days, the hundreds had grown to thousands, and then tens of thousands, with total strangers forming teams that hunted down the student, hounded him out of his university and caused his family to barricade themselves inside their home.

Speaking of Wikipedia….
From an essay by Jaron Lanier, DIGITAL MAOISM: The Hazards of the New Online Collectivism , posted on The Edge.

“…[T]he problem is in the way the Wikipedia has come to be regarded and used; how it's been elevated to such importance so quickly. And that is part of the larger pattern of the appeal of a new online collectivism that is nothing less than a resurgence of the idea that the collective is all-wise, that it is desirable to have influence concentrated in a bottleneck that can channel the collective with the most verity and force. This is different from representative democracy, or meritocracy. This idea has had dreadful consequences when thrust upon us from the extreme Right or the extreme Left in various historical periods. The fact that it's now being re-introduced today by prominent technologists and futurists, people who in many cases I know and like, doesn't make it any less dangerous.”

Jaron Lanier, by the way, coined the term “Virtual Reality.” It’s a good essay, though.

More things that bug me.
Either reality is real, or it’s not. Reality can’t be “virtual.” And there’s no such as a non-fiction novel. Here in California we are about to vote on funding for “pre-school.” This one really makes me grind my teeth. “Pre-school” is, in fact, “school.” Why we are so intent on throwing 4 year olds into those shark-infested waters is beyond me. If it were up to me, I wouldn’t put kids in school until they’re 7. What’s the big hurry?

Back to Al Gore…
Jonah Goldberg, writing for the Los Angeles Times, goes after Al Gore, via Ariana Huffington:
“Gore told Huffington that this was his second trip to Cannes. ‘The first was when I was 15 years old and came here for the summer to study the existentialists — Sartre, Camus…. We were not allowed to speak anything but French!’ This, gushed Huffington, ‘may explain his pitch-perfect French accent.’ Perhaps. Though according to David Maraniss' biography of Gore, the former vice president's 15th summer was spent working on the family farm. Remember those stories about how Al Sr. said, ‘A boy could never be president if he couldn't plow with that damned hillside plow’? That was the same summer.

“Apparently, Poppa Gore thought a boy who couldn't both plow a field and parlez French existentialism could never be president either. Then there's the fact that young Al got C's in French at his tony Washington high school, St. Alban's. That's some school if a kid who can intelligently discuss Sartre's ‘La Nausée’ and Camus' ‘Betwixt and Between’ in apparently pitch-perfect French still can't earn a B in French class. Mon dieu!”

Now, I’m not a big fan of Al Gore (see above), but what the fuh? Al Gore got a C in French class forty-some years ago? Stop the presses! Maybe Gore plowed the field AND went to France. Who knows? Who cares?

You can learn to prepare a pre-school curriculum with great care.


Blogger Merle Kessler said...

True, he's back on the issue, but the issue won't catch on, until somebody like McCain, or even Arnold picks it up and runs with it. As far as red state America is concerned, It's one of those "I don't want to hear this, and I really don't want to hear it from you" type of deals. People who listen to Al Gore don't need to be convinced.

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The LA Times article makes sense if you remember that the media "frame" for Al Gore is that he's pretentious, elitist, and a liar. This dates all the way back to the 2000 campaign, when their frame for George W. Bush was that he was a charming good ol' boy you'd like to have a beer with.

The press has always hated Al Gore, and the LA Times article simply reflects that.

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But to get to existentialism (in French!) by age 15 did he have to start pre-school at age 4?

4:30 PM  

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