Football Jesus is back. This discussion just made me think of another Florence King quote. Here's "dorky Reverend Thatcher,' the "Baptodysterian" minister:
He saves his best theological chalk talks for the young men's Bible group. "Jesus," he tells them, "was no pantywaist." To prove it, he recalls the Michelangelos he saw on his trip to Europe with the synod. "Most old paintings show Jesus as a pale, skinny, sickly guy, but Michelangelo told it like it is... er, was. He painted Jesus and the disciples as as big muscular guys with good builds. He knew they had to be tough to walk all those miles and rough it the way they did. And Peter and Andrew went fishing every day! You'd better believe they were in shape!"
See, I'm finally getting around to putting away my books (or I was) and The Florence King Reader happened to be at the top of one of the boxes.
Dueling for top spot as the Weirdest Reaction to the Easterflap: fans of Easterbrook's retroactively disappeared column on ESPN are using this ancient post of Scott Chaffin's as a kind of forum to lament the loss of their favorite sports read; and Diana Moon (whose Letter from Gotham blog has apparently once again been consigned to the neverland of the Google cache) has declared (see the comments here) that Meryl Yourish is the "Jewish Al Sharpton."
Oh yes, and the DOS attacks just keep a-comin'! Which is why it took me several tries to post this. Also, I think I am playing another Brighthouse my-cable-modem-sucks game.
Look at all the clever people.
Seriously, I can't be a woman, none of this stuff makes me think of "melting" at all. And I can't even think like this -- "Give her the remote"? "Give" me, hell. My fuckin' teevee, Mister, get you're own and play with your own goddamn remote. And I don't use makeup much, and I certainly don't have orgasms over those few shades I like. "Oooh, honey, you got me Satin Plum from Avon! Let's have hot monkey sex right now!" It's not World War 2, whale fat isn't being rationed.
Yes, I know, I'm being cruel to a sister. But geez, why can't we stop perpetuating this Harlequin Romance bullshit? It's destroying more marriages than the cholera killed Bangladeshi children. Take that "Don't try to figure out what is bothering her just hold her" myth. I can tell you right now (and this is not just from my own experience but those of female friends and things I have read and Deep Female Intuition and I am also breaking the rule of the Sisterhood by telling the world a secret of the female psyche so this may be my last blog entry, mwahahaha...) that when a woman is mad -- excuse me, "upset" -- the last thing in the world she wants to hear, see, touch, smell, or taste is the man in her life. Men, if your wife/girlfriend is stewing about something, my advice to you is, if you can't flee to Alaska, to just start a fight. You'll get into one anyway, best to just get it over with. See, if you try to do that figuring out thing -- and you know this -- you will catch forty kinds of hell. But if you take Shell's word and try the cuddly approach, the first thought that will go through your dearest's mind is: "He wants to have sex! When I am so pissed off/depressed/whatever! How could he be so insensitive!" The fact that this is true does not mean that men deserve the resultant tongue-lashing/frying-pan attack for what is, after all, a natural (and otherwise welcome) reaction.
Then there is the laughable idea that men should take their female partners out and select a "fabulous" outfit for them. Unless your husband or boyfriend's last name is Blackwell, you know what that will really mean: a beeline straight to Victoria's Secret. Not that there is anything wrong with that store, but come on. Most men think women look "fabulous" when they are naked, except for a red lace garter belt. I don't think that qualifies as "an outfit." (If his last name is not Blackwell and he uses the word "fabulous," well, ever, then you have a different sort of problem altogether.)
"Always take her side." Great, bring back that old notion that women are basically amoral, emotional creatures with no sense of honor, reason, or accountability. Thanks, Melvin Udall.
"When she's working on something, come up behind her and kiss the back of her neck. Just because." When she jumps and shrieks, and the back of her head hits your nose and breaks it, blame Shell.
"Write a message on the mirror with your finger. When she gets out of the shower, the fog will show it." I don't suggest "Redrum."
"Schedule a professional portrait sitting for the two of you." Oh my god. I would kill anyone, male or female, who did that to me.
"Dry her after her shower." Far from making me melt into a pool of amorous reflection, this sends me straight back to childhood, and my mother rubbing me down with a towel after my bath. In other words, I would feel as if I were being treated like a toddler. "I can dry myself, thank you," is likely to be my reaction.
Shell is a woman Unlike Me, in that she likes that whole being treated like a fragile, delicate thing routine. I on the other hand hate that kind of crap, because it means I have to just sit there and I can't do any fucking thing I want. I'm not five, I'm not at Grandma's wearing my Sunday dress and the white gloves with the warning that I had better not get them dirty and look she's so sweet she's mama's precious angel oh god spew. I can't go on, I really can't. I made it to "read her a fairy tale every night," and I have to stop. Any further that way madness lies.
I've never beat up on Stephen Green. It's time.
Why do people make lists like this? Let's look this over:
Slum through Europe
No thanks. I'd rather four-star-hotel through Europe.
Skydive solo without a static line
Skydive without a parachute. Now that would be a thrill.
Drink your age in Jell-O shots*
Yuck. No. I hate those noxious things, and drunkenness ceased to be amusing for me about fifteen years ago.
Own a classic convertible*
That would be nice.
Total said convertible, walk away, and laugh*
That would really piss me off. No thanks.
Buy a bottle of the real Absinthe
See about drunkenness above. I also hear that this stuff tastes like ass, and life really is too short to spend money on stuff that tastes like ass.
Pilot an airplane
No thank you.
Since I don't have one, that won't be difficult.
Walk the Golden Gate Bridge*
What's with all this stuff to do in midair? No. Thank you.
Have sex in public without getting caught*
Ummmm... no. Not even with Elijah Wood. Not even if he asked us nicely.
No asterisk? (These denote things Stephen has already done.) Shyeah, right.
Do something regrettable in Vegas*
I don't even want to do something I'd be proud of in Vegas. I don't want to go to Vegas. As a destination, Las Vegas ranks for me somewhere behind Ulan Bator. In fact, I'd much rather visit Ulan Bator.
Fail completely at something big*
I'm sure I could do that with no trouble, but I am not sure why this is on a list of things one should do. To each their own.
Succeed at something even bigger*
That would be nice.
Make a pass at a clergyman or woman
Um -- no. Just.... no.
Have kids and love them to death
"Are there any women in the audience who aren't turned into bundles of mush by the cuteness of this?" (Raises hand.) No thanks.
Change a stranger's flat tire
Can I let the air out of their tires first?
Join an improv comedy troupe*
I thought I was a comedy troupe.
Build a fort*
Only if I can have a moat filled with alligators, and real artillery emplacements.
Ride in a hot air balloon
Again with the high-up-in-the-air stuff. Look, I'm acrophobic. No.
Spend a day at a spa
Let me tell you how I fucking hate beauty salons, and people "tending" to me, and being touched and massaged by strangers, and having to spend an entire day anywhere (unless it is in front of my computer with the coffee machine nearby).
Sneak into a movie*
I've done it. The movie sucked too. Yay, big thrill, now I can die.
Have a drink thrown in your face*
Huh? Masochism now. And he doesn't follow that with "beat to a pulp the bitch who does that" so, no thanks.
Jump in a river/lake/ocean fully dressed*
Win over a hostile crowd*
I'd rather send them into a panicked run.
Spend a summer as a Renaissance Fair geek
Oh right. Spend an entire summer, which in most of the continental US is usually scorchingly hot and humid, walking around outdoors dressed in heavy long dresses with my bosom squeezed up. No.
Drive from coast to coast
Okay, this I'd like to do.
Laugh because it hurts*
Only if it's because I'm hurting someone else.
Eat at a diner called "Mom's"
Sure, why not.
Look for buried treasure
Been there, done that, got sand in my crack, found no treasure. It's not fun, and if you are one of the unlucky people who actually finds a sunken stash of pirate loot, the tax regulations will make you wish you had died before fulfilling this requirement.
Learn how to paint
I already have. Yay me, I've lived!
Comfort someone who is dying*
Don't ask them if they've done any of these things.
Commit all seven deadly sins in one afternoon*
I can handle gluttony and sloth, but the others involve either effort or (like adultery) close contact with other people, so, no thanks.
Take ballroom dance lessons
See above about other people. No.
Smack Carson Daly with a brick
That would involve having to be in the same room with Carson Daly. No.
Buy a $500 bottle of wine
Only if I have somehow come into enough money to make $500 seem like pocket change.
Drink a $500 bottle of wine*
Sure, if someone else buys.
Roll down a hill of freshly-cut grass*
There are no hills where I live.
As an adult*
So much for the hard-won dignity of adulthood.
Pilfer office supplies*
I still need to keep my job. No.
Get a pedicure
See a movie at a drive-in*
I rarely see movies as it is, and I prefer the comfort of my own home, dvd player, and coffee machine.
Get a tattoo in the Philippines
No... what the fuck?
50 over the posted limit*
I drive a rice-burner, and this speed thing seems to be a guy thing anyway, so I'll pass.
Do something gentlemanly for a hooker*
This does not at all apply to me, and anyway -- dude, TMI. And pretentious.
Eat all the green M&Ms
Yeah, okay, whatever...
Abuse your authority
I don't have any, but I really don't think that this would be something I'd be into. It would sort of invalidate (at least in my own mind) any complaints about authority abusing me, so, no thanks.
Be subpoenaed by Congress
I don't want to. How's about that?
Try for four in one night after age 30*
This would seem to refer to the sort of activity that involves more than one person, so, no thank you.
Sleep in until at least Tuesday*
I get a backache if I stay in bed too long.
Update: WWAD? (What Would Australians Do?)
There is only one reason to visit the blog of Max Sawicky, and that is for Andrew Northrup's comment to this post.
By the way, of course one can criticise a movie one has never seen. I do it all the time. I used to have a web page devoted to "Movies I Won't Be Seeing." Maybe I'll revive it again. I would criticize the films based on their trailers, which, since they usually show the best parts, are an economical and convenient way to criticize movies.
Well, what can I say, Mike at Begging to Differ is obviously a much nicer, more understanding, and tolerant human being than either I or James Lileks. His post has everything except Childe Robinson being chased across the ice by an evil gaybasher. As for the struggle with the sex thing and the marriage and the breakup and the apparent abundance of wonderfulness that oozed out of the pores of everyone concerned (except for the unnamed meanies who made Robinson feel bad about his urges when he was a sharecropper lad), there's a movie script in there just waiting for that rumored new gay cable channel, though if they can get Susan Blakely or Rebecca Arquette to play the suffering wife they can put it on Lifetime.
Oh, go ahead, call me cruel. Look, I don't care what Gene Robinson does with his peepee. I don't care about the Anglican church; if they want to become the Church of All-Inclusive Kewlness in order to fill up the pews ("Announcement: the ritual human sacrifice to Baal has been postponed until Thursday; the Orgiastic Rite of Ishtar will go ahead as scheduled Sunday at 10pm") that is their problem. Isn't the thing about Episcopalians supposed to be that they are "Catholic but without the guilt"? I always thought that just meant you could have married priests, like the father of my fifth-grade best friend, but that was a long time ago and I see things have changed... I don't even care, much, about the offended sensibilities of other people concerning this man. But I do object to this ongoing softening of standards everywhere in favor of sanctimonious posturing about how "fair," "open," and "honest" we all are. I've always thought that people who paraded their "honesty" and "openness" and "refusal to live lies" to be hiding a basic self-centeredness and a tendency to look upon the world as owing them a favor. Who is Lileks or anyone else to judge, Mike asks back to the James in that annoying ooh-look-I'm-so-clever-I'll-toss-his-statement-right-back-at-him! way these moral levellers have. Okay, Mike, since Lileks doesn't blog on weekends, I'll tell you who he thinks he is: a father of a kid who is appalled that other fathers of kids could voluntarily leave their children and the mothers of their children for a reason he finds frivolous, and I do believe that he finds Robinson's desire to, well, fulfill his desires (if he didn't leave his family for another man right away, don't you bother to tell me he didn't plan to find a man eventually -- and he did, wow, a whole eighteen months later) to be frivolous. You don't like it? Welcome to the world.
(Via an email sent, perhaps unwisely, to me from Mike himself.)
Update: here are some other links to people on this and related subjects. Steve H. thinks this whole thing is crazy, and he would really like an explanation, because as far as he was always told, the Bible didn't have much nice to say concerning homosexuality ([TROLL WARD-OFF] I'm not saying this is right or wrong, but that book is still the owner's manual for the Christian vehicle, right? [/TROLL WARD-OFF]); here's more sensible stuff about marriage and love from Moira Breen; Jeff Jarvis is all into the tolerance and the exclusiveness and the so on and so forth; Donald Sensing isn't all too thrilled (no permalinks, just scroll and look for "gay bishop" and so on). And in reply to some people who commented in my previous post on the subject: no, I am not advocating that divorce be banned, or that all marriages be kept together "for the Children™ no matter what the circumstances. I just think that our society on the whole would be better served by whatever authority figures we put over aspects of our lives if said authority figures would take life and their actions in it a little more seriously.
Oh -- one last thing, for David Strain: yes, I also agree with Lileks that "life-intentioned" is a horrid phrase. Here are my reasons: it sounds godawful -- clunky, gallumphing, clumsily "sincere" like something a high-school guidance counselor would come up with to replace gender-specific references in the departmental newsletter. Just more debasing of the language. Here are a couple of words that already exist, and suit the situation quite well enough: lover -- as in "I am Father Gene Robinson, and this is my lover of n years, blah blah": or, if they are really now celibate, "friend," or "roommate." Sure, they aren't very specific, or descriptive terms, at least not in the personal-detail-parsing way we've come to demand from everyone who opens their yap about their S.O., but I think they are fine. I can also see an objection to "life-intentioned" from the viewpoint of the man's own church: just what is "life" supposed to be intentioning here? I thought that Christians believed that "life" didn't "intend" things, God "intended" things -- he intended life to exist, for one thing. It sounds like Robinson didn't trust in his relationship all that much; wouldn't he have said it was "god-intended?" (That's the correct form of the word, buy the way -- you don't "intention" things, you "intend" them. The grammar is incorrect too -- the final blow, so far as I am concerned, but the man's awkwardness with his own mother tongue may simply endear him to his motley congregation and reassure them further that those stuffy robe-wearing fellows are really no better than us folk down here in the mud.)
Update 2: Justin Katz has a gone further in depth with the story, and has unearthed some interesting quotes. My favorite (that's a sarcastic "favorite") is the line from one of Robinson's daughters.
Actually, Diana, that joke is older than either of us. I used to work for a mortgage company in Miami and my boss there, who was a New York Jew from the Bronx, used to joke about Florida's resemblance to the organ of male pleasure at least once a week.
So, what should my next controversial post be about? Possible topics:
Go ahead and suggest more topics! (Seriously, the conversation in my previous post is quite civilized. I'm the one who's not civilized.)
So Glenn Reynolds disapproves of the Pope's stance on gay marriage. Hey, he's entitled. But why is it always such a surprise when the Pope says some traditional pope thing like "don't take the Pill," "abortions are wrong," "no I'm not going to let priests get married," and so forth. For one thing, he's about a thousand years old or something like that. Not that that means anything in itself: some old people go out with a bang, doing all the crazy things (in so far as they are able) they didn't dare do when they were younger. Obviously John Paul 2 isn't one of these old people. He's not going to disturb his final moments by issuing a papal decree that says that everyone has to get naked at mass.
But he is -- if you will excuse me for pointing this out -- Catholic. Last I heard, there were a whole lot of things that were prohibited by the Catholic church that are still not only legal but practiced by many Catholics. So yay, the pope has declared that Catholics must rise up against the idea of gay marriage just as they have to rise up against abortion, birth control, divorce, and so on. Also, the earth made one more complete revolution yesterday, and I still don't understand why Seinfeld was so popular.
Face it, world, if you are looking to people in traditional positions of authority to give your rad new societal change the thumbs up, you'll be looking at the backs of their heads for a long time. There are better and faster ways of getting what you want.
As an addendum to the AOL-blogging fuss, here is the experimental AOL blog run by media and blog maven/guy/commentator/thing Jeff Jarvis. So far no teenage trolls seem to have commented, but these are early days.
[Yes I am still here. Actual moving out will be Wednesday or Thursday, due to the lack of availability of persons with the requisite upper body strength to help me drag certain large items into a U-haul before then.]
Internet snobbery and cliquishness is on full-color display over at Bill's Content. The "Peoria Pundit" is much exercised over the advent of America Online's new blogging utility for its members. "this will not raise the level of social discourse in the blogosphere" he admonishes. Further down he declares that
Personally, I plan to use IP banning to block all AOL customers. If I lose regulars, fine. That should be another incentive to switch to a real ISP.
Good lord, get the smelling salts!
Ah, there is nothing like I like better than the smell of a The "'Real Internet' Versus Those Primitive AOLers" conflict in the morning. It is incidents like these that convince me that for Americans, the one central formative experience that binds us all together is high school, and that many of us never really leave those hallowed halls. For them there will always be the Cliques: the Valedictorian/Student Government clique (the so-called "elite" bloggers), the nerds (the techie bloggers), the jocks (the "right wing" bloggers), the drama club (the "left wing" bloggers), the Odd Men Out -- which could either be the Cool Kids or the Outcasts, sometimes both at once -- all those bloggers who refuse, or say they refuse, to consider themselves part of a "group," and the Special Ed kids (whose mantle used to be worn by Live Journal users, but this will now obviously be passed to the new AOL bloggers). And of course there are the Popular Kids, who cull the best and the brightest from the the other groups and whose dicta rule the school. Bill obviously thinks he is one of the blogosphere's arbiters of status; he has the "we can't let just anyone into the group" shtick down pat.
PS: Bill's trackback is broken.
(Via a small victory.)
Is my blog gay? I mean, I'm not gay, but considering the constant Elijah Wood motif, my blog might be gay. Then again, I have been doing a lot of design-tweaking. Now excuse me, I have to go polish my combat boots with neet's-foot oil. Go be diverse and shit.
Random: I don't think there is anything wrong with the blog island analogy. That way I can use the word "Blogipelago," which I am sure I just coined. I could be wrong. But if I am I'll just deny everything so don't even think of starting with me.
Dang, tech-bloggies are sensitive.
Actually, he seems to be back. Whatever.
(Via Richard Bennett.)
So, what do you think about this "bright" bullshit? Well, I guess you can tell what I think... here is the comment I left in Dean's post on the subject. He's all thrilled to pieces. (Read the post.) I'm not:
Why do I hate this "new" usage of the term "bright"? It has nothing to do with the latest agenda of people like Dawkins to stick it to the Xtians, or whatever his damage is this month. It has nothing to do with anyone's views on reality, mine included. (My theory is we are all really dead and this is the afterlife. We are all doomed to this hell of mediocrity for all eternity! This really is as good as it gets, baby! Bwahahaaha!)
Ahem. Anyway, I hate it because all my life "bright" has been used to describe a child that was really average-to-mediocre in everything he or she did, but was a simpering little suck-up -- I mean, was clean, neat, had good social skills, and always turned their homework assignments in on time. And then there is the sound of the word, which I loathe when it is used to describe people thusly. I just envisage all these people saying to each other "I'm a Bright!" "My daughter is a Bright child!" with the big jaw-stretching grimace-y smile that this word makes the lips and teeth do, and I just want to do violence to someone.
(For some reason, phrases such as "bright light" don't bother me.)
You know, I'm not religious -- but these days I content myself with saying "I'm not religious." I don't need to highjack a word to make myself feel all yummy inside about my convictions or lack thereof.
And here's some high-school-level arguments in favor of this latest atrocity against the English language. Yeah, anyone who is religious is just a dumb ole poopyhead. [/PARAPHRASE OKAY?] That's so convincing! Why, I'll bet the pope his own self is packing his robes away and calling in a plane ticket to Cancun as we speak. The heck with all this Big Pretend Man in the Sky stuff! What the world needs more of is people saying "nyah nyah nyah" to other peoples' most deeply-held beliefs. That'll get 'em on our side.
Update: Dipnut speaks.
Ooookayyy.... Stephen Green does not like Hillary Clinton one little bit. Me, I don't care much for her, but... jeez. Well. Um. I'm, uhhh... going to read my Harry Potter book for a while and then go to sleep. Yeah. That sounds like a good idea.
Something named Caz wants the world to know that people who read Harry Potter novels in public are sheep or something. How dare they read a kid's book in public where Caz's sensitive soul can be scored to the core by the sight!
Yes, it is truly a dreadful thing that the hypnotized masses are reading this awful book. Burn J.K. Rowling at the stake! After all, her readers made Caz's day at the mall most uncomfortable.
And to reply to Caz's martyred cries (scroll way down past the stuff about bras): no, I don't think you are a lesser being for not caring for Harry Potter books. I think you are a lesser being for condemning others for liking Harry Potter books. People like you who think you know What Is Really Good For Us chap my hide. I'm so sorry if you have to share a planet with others who don't think exactly like you.
Americans are emotional and have little or no memory.
Yeah, I guess that's why we are still bickering over the effects of things like the Civil War, World War 2, Vietnam, and -- what was that thing that happened in New York a couple of years ago? Some sort of transportation accident?
Adam has a stern warning on his blog: "don't try your amateur psychoanalysis on me. EVER." Okay. I'll just call him a big jerk instead.
Update: speaking of condescension -- man, I love it when someone sashays into a blog comments fray and acts as if no one but them had figured out yet how to use those weird "search engine" thingies on this here "enter-net." (Scroll wayyyy down to "eve's" comment, and read my reply, if you are curious.)
Okay, the heck with that Moxien shizzle, Kim du Toit shows the girls how to wage a proper blog war. He takes on Sgt. Stryker, who questioned Mr. Du Toit's, um, character, in this post. Who will be the last man standing? Both of them have access to firearms, so this could get bloody.
Frankly, my money's on Kim: I read Stryker's post and was all like "Huh? Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Wilson?" It was clear that Kim exempted military and other essential personnel from his beef with drug testing. But maybe Stryker was trying to stir up trouble. Well, he's got it now!
Aaarrrgghh! The insane Moxie-vs.Moxie webfight has erupted in Spleenville -- to be precise, at Tim Blair's site. Here's my take on the matter:
No one who can see lightning, hear thunder, and is warm to the touch could possibly have thought that Moxiepop.com and Moxie.nu were the same website much less the same person. Moxie.nu is, if you ask me (and I have only read her site once or twice) being a real asshole about this. I don't care about the established writer Ellay-Hollywood, "my Brand" kashizzle. "Moxie" is a commonly known and rather outdated slang word, not a special name that Moxie.nu came up with all by herself. The girl at Moxiepop.com took the name from a popular soda that they sell in part of the country and if they haven't sued her than where does Moxie.nu get off with calling the girl an "imitator"? Moxiepop's anger at being basically labelled a thief is justified.
However -- the actions of friends of both women are another matter. Posting obscene comments, calling Moxie.nu the c-word referring to her as "that ho," and so on, and harassing Moxiepop with childish names ("MoxiePOOP" -- oh, ha ha ha) and obscene emails and IMs (note to Moxiepop: you really should restrict your IM list to just your Buddy list; that will keep the weirdoes away), and so on, is not only infantile, it is making both women look bad. Stop it, all of you.*
I think the KKK thread is more fun, really...
*I am referring to the comments threads in both Dawn Olsen's site and Right-Thinking.com more than to the owners of those sites, though both Dawn and Lee have also contributed more than enough to this wrestling match. But it's their commenters who have really taken the fight to a new low. Do we really have to let blogs descend to the level of newsgroups, people?
Update: dig it -- Mark Russell is tha shizzle to Lyz's nizzle!
Jeff Jarvis wrote a big post on media bashing and I wrote a big reply in his comments. To review his post, he complained about media bashing by people unlinked and unnamed except for one Lawrence Lessig who I had never heard of. I have read through his post a few times and I still don't know who he is referring to -- no one I have read has bashed "all big media" as being bad in itself; the claims seem to be a little more specific than that. But I took issue with his slamming of bloggers, in a how-dare-they-presume waggon-circling stance straight out of the big-media-personnel handbook (from the chapter "How to Deal With Criticism from Outsiders.") Here is what he said:
As for the anti-big-media bashing we've seen from webloggers -- inspired lately by the FCC and by the New York Times screwups -- I'll argue that they are essentially jealous. Webloggers are nanomedia moguls with big-media aspirations. Most of them are conservative or libertarian and thus should abhor regulation, even of media. But in this case and this case only, they endorse regulation. Why? Because they hate big media. And they hate big media because it has the resources and the distribution and the audience they don't have. Hell, big media pays; blogging doesn't.
My reaction was, Hurrr? Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Jarvis? I will admit most of the regulate-deregulate media argument makes my eyes glaze over. I guess I am in favor of as little regulation as possible -- for one thing, it's easier to manipulate the media behind the scenes if there are regulatory boards that can, how shall we say, be "coaxed" to favor one viewpoint over another. But that rant is for another day when I get interested in the subject, which will probably be never. But who are these bloggers whose dispute with "big media" can be reduced to matters of simple envy? It's not even a question of the pot calling the kettle black, since Jeff Jarvis is not the only professional media person with a blog.
Anyway, here is my rant, posted in his comments, but I wanted to share with you, my readers:
With all due respect, I don't think you can see the forest for the trees here. You've missed the point of most of the "attacks" on big media, at least the ones by webloggers.
I was under the impression that the ire "big media" has been getting from bloggers et al isn't so much about the Evil Conglomerate Communist Leftist Corporate Hegemony whatsit or because they are "jealous" of the pay and prestige professional media people get (excuse me, but what the hell?), so much as they are sick of the way pro-journalists and editors of big-deal publications come off as a bunch of snobs when they find their august attention distracted by those pesky blogger flies and other annoying members of the hoi polloi. Look, I am not a "nanomedia mogul with big-media aspirations." I don't want to go on CNN, I don't give a shit about fame and fortune and getting invited to tony Noo Yawk partays with the big boiz, nor do I care one fig about how many people read my blog; but I do get irritated when I read a column in a major publication that treats blogs as nothing more than the equivalent of a high school girl's unicorn-infested webpage on Geocities.
And it's not just blogs that get the patronizing treatment -- the members of the "fourth estate" have an attitude towards their readers that make a pre-Revolutionary French seigneur's treatment of peasants on his lands positively egalitarian by comparison. Just take a gander at this quote from Dana Milbank on the subject of White House chatrooms (quote lifted from the Blogger Formerly Known As Juan Gato): "The White House began the online discussions as a way for administration officials to communicate directly with the public -- cutting out those pesky journalists who act as filters. The resulting exchanges are a blend of the frivolous, the revelatory and, often, the saccharine." Filters. Leaving the relative merits of chatrooms aside, thanks but no thanks, Mr. Journalist Man; I don't need things to be "filtered" for me.
I know that you are a member of "big media" -- but so are a lot of other bloggers who complain about big media (cough Ken Layne Matt Welch Tim Blair cough). Are they just "jealous" too? For the record, I also don't care if all the newspapers and teevee stations in the country get bought by one giant borg of a company. I am not going to sue Clear Channel because their rock stations play nothing but Staind and Nickleback all day instead of my record collection. I don't think media should be "regulated" -- it's already regulated up the yin-yang. I don't care if big media isn't "fair" to all viewpoints. (I am beginning to hate the very concept of fairness. But that is another diatribe.)
And no one is disputing (well, no one except Indymedia freaks who think that the CIA has implanted listening devices in their bongs) the fact that the media in the US is the freest in the world. Maybe I haven't read the same things you have read -- but it seems to me that the threat to media freedom isn't coming from cranky webloggers and other critics, but from members of that same media -- say, like editors at the poor, beleaguered NYT who allow persons like Jayson Blair to write a bunch of lies and call it a "true story."
And then later I happened upon Lawrence Lessig's website, so now I know who he is. I don't know if he is a snob or a bigot where big media is concerned, because I am not interested in reading his whole blog. He does seem preoccupied with the subject. And that petition of his is wack, though I can't quite put my finger on why. Pay a dollar to extend copyright? Um, okay. Whatever... I didn't realize this was such a problem. Of course, doesn't that mean Disney will have no problem extending copyright over their product for eternity, or until civilization crumbles ("whatever duration Congress sets," hah hah!) -- but I guess that's okay? (Because if you think Disney's going to ever make it possible for my friend to publish his cartoon of Mickey fucking an orange you don't know Disney.) So he's not a big media hater after all? I'm so confused.
Oh yeah, there's one little thing. I've been seeing various irate postings here and there (I can't remember where) on the matter of one of those sports dames trying to horn in on some guy-only competition. Normally I don't care one way or the other -- I'm not into sports, and I have no interest in the Feminist Struggle™ to integrate the sports world (aka "Make Them All Throw Like Girls, Inc."). But I had to laugh at some of the "sports are a guy thing" comments I've been reading, because the sport in this discussion is golf. For chrissake, it's golf, and I'm reading stuff about how women can't hack it against men, and so on. Can't hack what? Walking around in the sun? Picking a five-iron out of a bag that the caddy has been carrying? Riding around in those little carts? Wearing ugly pants?
Golf, it seems to me, is one of the few sports that you don't need an outie peepee to be good at. I think the guys were on safer ground as long as they stuck to pointing out that the lady-golfer-fembots were acting like little girls resentful that they weren't allowed in the boys' treehouse.
Please don't bother leaving comments in here about how I don't understand the game (well, duh), or that only men can play it "as it was meant to be played" (since it was reportedly invented by the Scots I imagine it really should be played in a light, barely-above-subfreezing drizzle while wearing a kilt, so you golfer guys in your ugly pants aren't playing it properly either -- and where are your sheep?), or any of that shizzat. I don't care.
It's all true!
Oh look: it's a reasonable, truth-telling, freedom-lovin' website! Sigh -- I only wish there were more of these -- it must be so hard for the Enlightened Ones to get to a computer from their cells in the Gulag. Fight the Man! (And why wasn't I included on this list! I'm twice as insane and fascist-loving as any of those other pansy websites!)
(Via Grouchy Old Cripple.)
Oh, what utter bullshit.
For one thing, guess who's involved. If that doesn't set off your alarm bells, then the mere fact that someone on the run from a family that "is an alarmingly influential pillar of a small European country, deeply meshed into the financial fabric of the nation and at the core characterized by the highest extremes of power and influence" is keeping a weblong with extensive entries should be a clue. Especially now that the site has been moved from the relative anonymity of Blogspot to its own domain. If her family is so much like the Corleones, isn't she afraid of endangering whoever registered the domain for her? I guess not -- but then she probably isn't even real. In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if this isn't another of Mr. Plagiarist's performance-art-like stunts designed to mess with the blogworld's collective head.
As a side note, I can't understand the praise this writer, whoever it is, is getting from people. "She's a great writer" my ass. My cursory visits to her site to get an idea of what this was all about nearly caused me to go into a coma from boredom. If you have an old, dull, well-worn plot like "rich, powerful, and controlling family vs. frightened-yet-determined rebellious daughter" you sure had better have a writing style that raised your story above all the others mouldering in the remainders box with their front covers torn off. This girl (or whatever) doesn't -- she's so dull she makes me want to go to a used bookstore and dig up something by Barbara Cartland.
(Via Neal Sheeran.)
My only weakness, well never mind, never mind.
(Yes -- it's another episode of Name That Song!)
Why the fuck would I want to "log in" to your service if by merely visiting your page without logging in I'm labelled an anonymous coward? Kiss my ass.
Oh -- and pale blue sucks much dee eye see kay. I preferred your original green background.
Excuse me for being unimpressed, but -- so what?
A conference is holding a panel on "warblogging." However, none of the participants are warbloggers, so far. The Trent Lott reference adds to the dated, so-2002, feel. (What use are these conference things, really, beyond a chance to collect ballpoint pens with logos on them?)
(Via Richard Bennett.)
Update: hah, their lame trackback thing doesn't work, I get a 500 internal server error. :P
Update the second: I thought I had included the link to the site. Bleh.
Oh man, I was going to say a little something about this funeral for Human Civilization™, but Treacher beat me to it with one succinct, perfect sentence. I'll just be over here fiddling with my blog, pay no attention...
Though seriously, I'd like to address one issue that no one seems to be talking about much -- probably because that would mean treating the citizens of Baghdad like human beings instead of Helpless Victims/Zombies Rampant. Where were the curators of the ransacked and looted museum before the coalition forces drove into the city and the authorities, such as they were, skedaddled to wherever? What were they thinking? Were they so bemused by the hallucinogenic rantings of Baghdad Bob that they were absolutely sure that the Americans et al would be turned to dust before ever setting foot within the city's environs, and therefore never even gave a thought to their "national treasures" -- such as taking the precaution of tucking at least the more valuable and easily transported bits into the vaults? These museums do have vaults, don't they?
Or was there something else taking up room in the vaults, so that not even a necklace or a cuneiform tablet could be squeezed? Things such as -- oh, I don't know, cannisters of nerve gas, or explosives, or guns, or something. Who knows -- everyone is too busy crying over the theft of the artifacts to wonder why they were still sitting in their glass cases instead of being stored away. I also wonder how many relatives of the museum's personnel were among the "thieves and looters," but then I have a nasty suspicious mind...
Well. Some Christian organization has sent a sort of pamphlet to US soldiers in Iraq. It contains, among other things, a prayer for George Bush, which can be torn out and sent to him. This has some people in a snit -- I don't know what else to call a post with the pursed-lipped heading "As usual, it's all about him." Now I'm no Christian (I was raised Methodist/Presbyterian/whatever but among some of today's more fervent practitioners of the faith I feel somewhat like Oscar Wilde felt when asked if he were a Christian: "I don't think so," he replied, "I'm an Irish Protestant"), but excuse me if I refuse to play this game of Shock 'n' Outrage.
For one thing, there is absolutely no -- I repeat, no -- evidence that the president has anything to do with this, or even that he knows anything about this, or if he did, that he wouldn't be embarassed instead of swelling up like a puffer fish with pride. But that seems to be the general tenor of the criticism here: that this organization must necessarily be one of the Dubya's evil, Cthulhu-like tentacle groups through which he (bwahahaahahaa!) intends to control minds and rule Ze Whole Vorld! An acquaintance of Nielsen Hayden's is positively doing backflips of rage at the -- horrors! -- existence of a website called PrayforGeorgeBush.com, even though there is a prominent disclaimer at the bottom of the front page that says: "Webpage Not Authorized by President Bush or any person(s) associated with his administration." But it's a good opportunity to get in a few slams about what a
feebleminded, morally challenged, inbred, penny-ante usurper
Bush is, so hey.
Quite frankly, this hysterical attitudinizing is a major factor in what drove me to switch my party allegiance from Democrat to Republican. After eight years of Clinton -- who I will now say I think is an intelligent man, probably a fun dinner companion, no matter all his other faults* -- and after observing what the Dems must think of as their Wounded Knee (the 2000 Endless Election), it occurred to me that liberals (or what call themselves liberals -- Democrats, progressives, whatever) just can't handle power, either having it or losing it. Either it goes to their heads when they have it and they fuck up somewhere (ibid. Clinton), or they become abso-fuckin-lutely unbearable when they suffer a political setback. When will the anti-Bush faction grow a pair and stop acting like whiny victims? "He stole our election, boohoohoo!" Give me a break. They're like the divorcée who never got over her first marriage.
*I wouldn't leave my daughter alone with him, had I a daughter. Heck, I wouldn't stay in the same room alone with him without a blunt object handy. Nor would I leave the silver unwatched. But I'm sure he's a fine person otherwise.
Oh, now I feel bad. I said something mean about a fellow blogger who has done me no harm. Oh wait -- that's not what I meant. I feel great. I'll have to remember to do that more often.
You kind of want to make fun of a series like this, but it's actually good.
Uh. I went there, to the actual site with the instructions, or suggestions, or list, or whatever the hell it is (it's a blog, actually, on Blogspot, so have fun waiting for it to load! Go make a roast or resurface your driveway or something while you wait), and I first saw the word "Synergize." Shaking off the effects of encountering that word unprepared, I scrolled down a bit, and came upon the use of the termlet "Win/Win" used in a non-ironic context, and my brain locked up. I had to click back before I started drooling and twitching. So I guess I won't be making fun of it. I guess I won't be reading it at all. So there goes my chance of being Highly Effective, dare I say Proactive, and becoming a Force for Change in the World...
Aieee! The mind rays! They've broken thr--