Monday, April 07, 2008

Barack Obloggo

Been away from the blog for a couple weeks, but now I’m back. Did you miss me, honey?

Where have I been? Perhaps the New York Times provides an answer…

“… Of course, the bloggers can work elsewhere, and they profess a love of the nonstop action and perhaps the chance to create a global media outlet without a major up-front investment. At the same time, some are starting to wonder if something has gone very wrong. In the last few months, two among their ranks have died suddenly. Two weeks ago in North Lauderdale, Fla., funeral services were held for Russell Shaw, a prolific blogger on technology subjects who died at 60 of a heart attack. In December, another tech blogger, Marc Orchant, died at 50 of a massive coronary. A third, Om Malik, 41, survived a heart attack in December.”

Typing leads to death. That’s the message I’m getting.

We’ll always have Paris
I’ve been following the Olympic news on the radio. Many seem to be upset that protesters are ruining the Olympics by injecting politics into it. Well, I don’t have a dog in that hunt, really. I have never been anything but indifferent to sports, except for the event where competitors cross country ski and then shoot at something (what’s that called again?). But I remember the black power salutes, the murders at Munich, the protests in Germany way back in the thirties, the steroid scandals…. The Olympics have frequently been fraught, in other words.

The Chinese response to the situation in Tibet has not been very satisfactory, at least in my opinion. Even by despotic standards, the response has been both opaque and heavy-handed. My favorite moments have included hearing Chinese supporters accusing the western media of issuing pro-Tibetan propaganda. This is laughable, since no actual information has been emitted from Tibet. It’s all a big question mark. My other favorite trope is the Chinese attempt to depict the Dalai Lama as a rabble-rouser. But since he’s in exile, and the flow of information in and out of Tibet seems to be pretty much frozen, how exactly is he rousing the rabble?

The coverage of the protests in Paris has been odd. There was much about the torch being extinguished, as if that was some kind of tragic event. I mean, really, doesn’t anybody have a book of matches? Just light it again.

It was been reported, sadly, that the extinguished torch was placed in a bus to keep it out of the hands of protesters. There was an odd anthropomorphism here. I kept seeing the torch as some kind of cartoon Torchy (like the paper clip in Microsoft Word, only a torch!), smoldering and sad, all alone in the bus, a little tear forming on his little scorched face.

Andrew Ferguson, WEEKLY STANDARD
“No one who's wandered through an Obama rally and heard the war whoops and seen the cheerful, vacant gazes would come away thinking, ‘These are the smartest people ever.’ I'm sorry, they just aren't. What is unmistakable is the creepy kind of solipsism and the air of self-congratulation that clings to his campaign.”

Unlike, say, every other political campaign that ever was?

Laggards unite! But not yet.
“’Laggards have a bad rap, but they are crucial in pacing the nature of change,’ said Paul Saffo, a technology forecaster in Silicon Valley. ‘Innovation requires the push of early adopters and the pull of laypeople asking whether something really works. If this was a world in which only early adopters got to choose, we’d all be using CB radios and quadraphonic stereo.’”

I’m just waiting for 8 tracks to make a comeback.

Gossip Dustup.
From TMZ: “Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt - Did they or didn't they tie the knot this weekend? Does it even matter? Think about it. Hollywood marriages usually just equal messy divorces -- but it's not like Angie is going to sue Brad for spousal support. She does pretty well on her own. As for the four kids they have (and Angelina is pregnant again as we speak) they all bear the name Jolie-Pitt, so they have the gravy train coming in from both sides. Why mess with a good thing? Bottom line: they're better off just doing the Kurt and Goldie thing.”

On behalf of Brad and Angelina, thank you, TMZ, from the bottom of our heart for your sound advice. Without your sage counsel, I don’t know how we could go on. I really don’t.

Ann Coulter comes through again!
She writes: “If characters from THE HILLS were to emote about race, I imagine it would sound like B. Hussein Obama's autobiography, DREAMS FROM MY FATHER.”

THE HILLS is a popular television show with young people. It’s on MTV. It’s reality-based. Not being a young person, I’ve never seen it, so I don’t know what Ms. Coulter is going on about. Does she watch it? Why? Why does she refer to Barack Obama as B. “Hussein” Obama? Is that a joke? What’s funny about it? The headline to this particular opinion piece is: OBAMA'S DIMESTORE 'MEIN KAMPF.’

Now I know writers don’t usually create their own headlines, but what exactly is a “dimestore” MEIN KAMPF? Does that mean there’s a Saks Fifth Avenue version of MEIN KAMPF? Does it mean that Obama’s MEIN KAMPF is somehow not as classy as Hitler’s?

Ms. Coulter does say in her article: “Obama is about to be our next president: You might want to take a peek. If only people had read MEIN KAMPF….”

I haven’t read Obama’s autobiography, but I did read MEIN KAMPF some years ago. I understand that much of Obama’s book deals with his occasional discomfort around white people. Hitler did not have this discomfort. He really liked white people. Unless they were Jews or Communists.

And somehow I don’t think that Barack Obama views world events as a life-and-death struggle between Aryans and non-Aryans. I haven’t examined his position papers, but still--

Ann Coulter as torch.
She is kind of torch-like, isn’t she? Let us extinguish her, and put her on a bus.

Let us now turn to Hitchens.
Christopher, that is: “To have accepted Obama's smooth apologetics is to have lowered one's own pre-existing standards for what might constitute a post-racial or a post-racist future. It is to have put that quite sober and realistic hope, meanwhile, into untrustworthy and unscrupulous hands. And it is to have done this, furthermore, in the service of blind faith. Mark my words: This disappointment is only the first of many that are still to come.”

So much for my pre-existing standards for a post-racist future, I guess. Damn. I had them on a Post-it on the fridge.

Under fire.
Hillary Clinton lobbed a grenade into the bunker at Bosnia, then ducked and waited for the explosion that never came. She waited, and waited, but the explosion never came.

New one on me…
Reuters: “Mindset Media, a media company that examines personality traits of different consumers, found that people who buy more than three pairs of sneakers a year are 61 percent more likely to have the qualities of a modern leader.”

Why then, do you never see modern leaders wearing sneakers? They generally wear combat gear or sturdy Florsheims, do they not? What are they doing with these sneakers? Are they piling up in a closet? Are they some kind of talisman?

This last Sunday some guy named Linden Weeks wrote a piece for the Washington Post. First, he evoked a vanished time: “Sentimentality reigned, frequently expressed through ‘the happy ending.’ We laughed together, wept together, said ‘awww’ together when Andy Griffith or June Cleaver gave us a parental talking-to.”

Things are different now, by golly! “The revolt against sincerity -- the Snark Ages, still upon us -- began as a rebellion against corny, over-the-top displays of emotion in movies, songs, TV shows. But the rebellion spiraled out of control, and any public expression of emotion, no matter how sincere, was a target for mockery.”

The Snark Ages? You can just smell the book deal, can’t you?

Mr. Weeks, not one to shy away from gilding a lily, also predicted in his piece that “We are entering the Era of the Cynicmental.” So I guess we have that to look forward to. He cites movies like JUNO, and writers like Dave Eggers.

So how to respond? Is this cynic, or mental?
“[A] Thai luxury hotel group ploughed ahead with a meal it claimed would help bridge the divide between the rich and poor. About 120 guests clad in black-tie finery late Saturday worked their way through 10 gourmet courses, prepared by five chefs flown in from Europe and served in the glittering ballroom of Bangkok's Lebua Hotel. Some guests were flushed -- perhaps from the wine, but also after a day in the sun in a rural Thai village. The visit was the first course of a scheme Lebua dubs ‘emotional tourism,’ but derided by some as ‘poverty tourism.’ Lebua flew about 30 of its top guests to an elephant camp in northern Thailand, with the idea that seeing the beasts and their handlers in miserable conditions would spark an altruistic streak in the food-loving high-rollers.”

Was there pie?


Blogger BonzoGal said...

The skiing/shooting sport is called "biathlon", which could mean any two sports combined, but mostly refers to the cross-country shootin' n' skiin' event. (The "summer Biathlon" is a runnin' n' shootin' event, which sounds much more useful as a practical skill than the skiing thing.) It was invented by the Norwegians as part of military training.

I tried to do some amateur biathlon training in the park near my house, and hoo-wee, you never saw such a fuss. Crabby sports haters!

1:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Merle Kessler wrote:
Typing leads to death. That’s the message I’m getting.

Oh, non-bloggers die too, but people either don't know, or don't care.

So one could say that writing leads to obituaries.


3:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I've missed you, and I'm glad it's not for death.

I ran across a (hardcover) copy of Dr. Science's Book of Shocking Domestic Revelations in The Book Garden, a nearby used book store/comic book shop/florist's that I quite like. The curious thing is that it was filed under ``Self-Improvement''.

It was priced to move at $5, putting it even with Jim Harmon's 1967 ode to the Golden Age of Radio, The Great Radio Heroes, but fairly well behind Donald Read's $10 The Power Of News: The History Of Reuters. It stands up pretty well to Will and Ariel Durant's The Age of Voltaire, which commands $7, though.

1:09 AM  
Blogger Donal Loch Hinman said...

Possibly the "B. Hussein Obama" spelling that Ann Coulter espouses has something to do with her trying to form a subliminal imperative in the minds of the feckless masses. Like..."BE Hussein, Obama!" Ya know, kind of an instruction... Once Perceived as a bona fide Hussein (of some yet-to-be characterized dangerous stripe), then she can get on with a more sanctioned form of vilification.

Or should she just be sanctioned full stop?

11:40 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home